If I’ve learned anything this past year of saying yes, it’s this: your past failures and disappointments only define you if you give them permission to do so. I’ve fought against this a lot this year in every area of my life. It’s hard & necessary work. The truth is we get bitter or we get better. And it’s as simple and as difficult as that. I chose better. You with me?
Stand up straight, legs slightly more than hip’s width apart, hands on hips. This Wonder Woman pose is so powerful that if you do this for 5 minutes, it not only boosts your confidence but has been found to boost the confidence others have in your for as long as 3 hours later. I read about this in the book Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I’ve been giving it a try for the last week, and I have to say I’ve seen a drastic difference in myself and others. Give it a try. Let me know what you find.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Ken, was telling me about his current project and how it came to be. Someone asked him what he needed to bring his vision to life, and he went for broke. He laid it all on the line, didn’t pull any punches, and went for it. I decided to follow his lead.
Last week I was scheduled to have a conversation that I was nervous about having. I wasn’t sure what to expect, what to ask, or what the outcome would be. I knew what I needed the outcome to be, but I really had no idea how to get there. I knew a lot of people were counting on me to come through for them; I wanted to do right by them. I tried to prepare for it, create a presentation, or at the very least get down a set of bullet points. I stared at my screen and then at a piece of paper, and drew a blank. I would have to go with the flow; I had no choice.
It went fine, better than fine, better than I could have imagined. In the moment, I was asked what I needed and I laid it out clearly, reasonably, and without hesitation. If you’re trying to prepare for something, and the preparation just won’t come, maybe that’s a sign that you don’t need any preparation. Maybe you already have all the words you need.
“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” ~Unknown
Yesterday, Phineas decided it would be a good idea to roll in goose poop. It wasn’t. Or at least I didn’t think this was a good idea. However, he loved his decision so much that he didn’t care about whether or not I liked it. He proudly marched through Central Park like he was a king. He made me think of the quote above. And though I wasn’t thrilled with having to clean him off with hand sanitizer in the park, followed by a bath once we got home, I do admire his confidence in his choices.
“Dear Ocean, thank you for making us feel tiny, humble, inspired, and salty…all at once.” ~Unknown
Nature has a way of doing this to us—giving us perspective while also giving us a deep strength and resolve. We begin to see that we are part of something bigger, and that has the dual-advantage of giving of humility and confidence. I can’t think of a better way to feel better about the world and our role in it than to spend time outside. A little fresh air helps us realize that anything is possible.
Yesterday, I was having a discussion in which I mentioned that I didn’t want my gut instinct to cause me to pass up what seemed like a good opportunity. The person I was talking to paused, and said, “Christa, when has your gut ever been wrong?” Never. My gut has never been wrong. And my biggest regrets in life happened when I didn’t listen to my gut. Sure enough, I did a little more research on the big, shiny opportunity I was considering and it has enormous ethical and financial issues that would compromise my personal values. I’ll pass on it with grace and professionalism, but pass I will. A big thank you to my very intelligent gut, and to the wise person who told me to always listen to it. Always. Message received.
“You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.” ~Charlie Parker
There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from music and musicians, and this is one of the greatest. In music and life, we practice not to get that practiced material perfect but to develop the muscle to do whatever we need to do when the time comes. Practice teaches us to leap and land on our feet, to think and act in harmony, and to roll with whatever is thrown at us. Practice gives us confidence, experience, and grace. Practice doesn’t make us perfect; it makes us perfectly prepared to handle anything.
“Life is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Most of the time, it’s both.” ~ Lana Lang
You may find that you’re ready for a change. Change is liberating and difficult. It’s exhilarating and frightening. There is rarely a good time for it. We are rarely truly ready for it. While careful planning can help to create a transition, sometimes you have to do something radical. You have to just leap with the confidence that you’ll be able to handle whatever happens. And you will. You will.
“I would rather be a hot mess of bold action, a make-it-happen-learn-on-the-fly kind of person, than a perfectly organized coward.” ~ Brendon Burchard
This quote resonates with me in such a powerful way. We might think we have all our ducks in a row, that we’ve accounted for every possibility, and yet we find that life has a funny way of throwing us the curve ball we never saw coming. Contingency plans won’t save us. Our abilities to adapt, evolve, grow, and learn are our saving graces. They are the things that will help us not only survive, but thrive, in a world that will always change. I don’t rely on my organizational skills to get by; instead, I believe that I can and will handle whatever life throws my way. Courage to face our challenges head-on is everything.