Posts tagged ‘LeBron James’

January 4, 2018

Forget Resolutions – Answer the Big Questions

As this year begins, forget resolutions! Until you answer the big questions, it’s pointless to make them anyway.

Is there really much chance you’re going to hit the gym an hour a day for a whole year if you haven’t explored why you’ve purchased 3 yearlong gym memberships before and worked out a total of 3 times?

Will you be able to achieve your goal of reducing clutter if you don’t know why you buy more clothes, but don’t remove anything from your closet?

Is it realistic to set a goal to prepare most meals from scratch if you don’t know whether you believe that anticipated long-term health gains are more important than the convenience that gets you through today?

We’ve talked before about setting up a life structure to support change, but that’s really starting in the middle. Before you set up that structure, you need to know yourself and be clear on your values.

Most of us believe we have a clear view of ourselves, but I can tell you from interviewing many employees and then subsequently observing their job performance, we are either terrible self-assessors or willing to be incredibly dishonest to get a job. If we’re not good at self-assessing, we’re not being honest with ourselves.

I have only a passing knowledge of Brené Brown’s research into shame and vulnerability, but it seems logical that feelings of shame regarding our perceived inadequacies or the vulnerability of being unemployed contribute to our construction of a story that doesn’t match other people’s perception of us over time. While this may feel necessary for landing a job, or our social mask may feel necessary for navigating public interactions, it is important for us to connect to our true selves. If we don’t, we simply can’t construct a life that will benefit us.

Think of it this way, if you build a house with standard height doors, it won’t comfortably fit LeBron James or Kevin Durant. If you love to sleep late and work at night, a 7am – 3pm job does not fit you as well as an 11pm – 7am job. If you value routine, outside sales will make you crazy. It doesn’t matter that your earning potential is increased because the job is not a good fit! On the other hand, if you love flexibility outside sales will let you blossom.

Asking the big questions helps to identify our strengths, obstacles, and things that bring us joy. Answering the big questions with courage solidifies our values. With the resulting clarity, we can construct a life framework that supports us becoming our best, healthiest, most joyful selves, even if our new plan is 180º from where we’ve been headed.

Is it seriously possible to go from an inability to keep a single resolution to a 180º turnaround? I believe it is. I’m not saying the path will be straightforward – your particular trail may never have been blazed before. I never expect a journey that has a straight up trajectory, or is without failure. Forward progress most often requires a foundation of commitment, diligence, learning from mistakes, and holding yourself accountable.
question
What does a big question sound like if I should want to ask one?

Big questions are things like:

1)What are my greatest inherent strengths?

2)What are my greatest learned skills?

3)What are my greatest weaknesses?

4)What am I most lacking right now?

5)Can I sit still in total quiet without distractions or company and feel calm and comfortable?

6)What do I have in great abundance?

7)What do I have that I can live without?

8)Am I invested and engaged in my family, my job, and my community?

9)Am I able to feel my real feelings in the moment?

10)What do I do to avoid my feelings?

11)Do I embrace my emotions, both positive and negative, and lean in?

12)Can I look myself in the eye in the mirror and sincerely utter the words, “I love you?”

13)What is the worst thing I’ve ever done? Have I forgiven myself for that?

14)If I have not yet forgiven myself for my worst action, can I do it now?

15)Do I have good boundaries?

16)Do I contribute more often to peace or to conflict in my relationships?

17)Am I more likely to display compassion or judgement?

18)Do I take responsibility for my contribution to family or work conflict?

19)How do I behave when I’m my best self and during what percentage of each day am I my behaving that way?

20)Am I willing to practice gratitude, bravery, health, fitness, kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity?

21)Am I reliable? Can others regularly count on me?

22)What kind of friend am I to myself? Do I take care of myself as well as I do my husband, wife, children, friends, coworkers, or clients?

23)What inspires me?

24)What motivates me?

25)If there were no obstacles, what would a perfect week look like?

26)What steps can I take today that will move me toward that perfect week?

27)If there is no way to change my current circumstances, will I be okay and can I learn to thrive?

28)How much time am I willing to commit each day to improving my physical health and fitness?

29)How much time am I willing to commit each day to strengthening my emotional & spiritual health?

30)What percentage of the time do I say no when I should say no?

31)What do I believe is the biggest obstacle standing between me and my #1 goal?

32)Do I have the courage to sit with my fear?

33)What one thing can I do each day that will add joy, laughter or connection to my life?

34)What do I believe I deserve in life?

35)Am I aware of the effect my choices have on those around me?

36)What one kindness can I offer someone else today?

The answers to big questions often reveal themselves in stages of realization slowly over a period of time as we gain insight. Many of us have had our relationships to ourselves interrupted in a manner that leaves us feeling alone, helpless, weak, undeserving, defective, or numb. When this is true, it can be a monumental task to reconnect with our emotions. If you have difficulty seeing yourself as lovable, deserving of good things, or feel a need to avoid all emotions, Somatic Experiencing® may be a good place to start.

Somatic Experiencing® Therapy allowed me to reconnect with my body so that I could relax the defenses that prevented me from feeling. Developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, SE can easily be practiced with or without the assistance of a practitioner. Using SE tools still helps me trust my body to support me while I free my mind to know what I know and my heart to feel what it feels. That puts me in a much better position to answer big questions in a manner that is consistent with supporting my best self.

If you’re already feeling concerned that you may not keep your resolutions this year, forget them and try answering some big questions! After all, there’s no danger in trying something different and the knowledge you gain about yourself can give you insight into a better strategy for sustaining positive change.

Take your time, you’ve got all year! Let’s just call this a rebuilding year.

https://brenebrown.com/

http://somaticexperiencing.com/

August 15, 2017

Travel Tip #18 Push the Limits?

Travel Tip #18 Push the Limits is written with you in mind if you suffer from IBS, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease or other conditions that may lead to a sudden need for bathroom facilities. I just got back from LA. During Sunday brunch I had a sudden reminder of how uncomfortable it can be to travel with a gastrointestinal condition. This travel tip deals with a subject that’s difficult to discuss in public.
cypress
If your guts are constantly in a knot and you can’t predict when diarrhea, gas, or pain may suddenly hit, it can be hard to imagine taking a long trip on an airplane or even in a car full of people. A fear of embarrassment or discomfort can lead to a gradual withdrawal from family outings and vacations.

Reluctance to disclose the real reason for resistance to certain situations often leads family and friends to misinterpret what’s happening. I mean who really wants to say, “I just can’t face the chance that I’ll poop myself during a 3-hour plane ride?” I don’t. It really doesn’t matter how close we are, I just don’t want to discuss that with you.

So, what should I do?

Pretend to be too busy, too sick, or too angry with Aunt Jane to attend?
Insist on a different trip that no one else is excited about?
Wear adult diapers?

Sometimes saying no may be the best choice. If your only motive is to take care of yourself, you’ve explored all the options that might make the journey enjoyable for you, and you still can’t find a way to make peace with attending, then say no. It’s only when you have an ulterior motive or when continual refusals begin to limit your access to a full life that saying no becomes detrimental.

Say yes within limits. If it’s hard for you to take care of yourself, establishing certain parameters in advance can make it easier to decide in the moment when presented with an invitation. For instance, you may want to have a rule that you only agree to car trips in areas with ample facilities. You may want to limit flights to 1 hour at certain times of the day. You could have a rule that you will not stay at friends’ houses so that you have the privacy of your own space. Along those lines, you can have a rule that you don’t share hotel rooms. If you know you usually have fewer problems an hour after eating, join the family after the meal rather than for the meal.
breakfast
Make sure you eat properly and/or take your medication on time. When you’re willing to say yes, there’s no reason to tempt fate. Adhering to the regimen that works best for you while varying your activity can make all the difference. Investing a little time in research and advance planning can make it possible for you to have plenty of medication on hand even when you miss a connection.
It can also mean that you have plenty of tummy friendly snacks on hand when meal times or restaurant options unexpectedly change.
orange tree
Focus on the good stuff. A beautiful view, a warm hug from your favorite cousin, or the smile on your grandson’s face when he meets LeBron James can all mitigate a little discomfort. After all, you may not feel perfectly well at home. If you can feel equally good and add some great memories, it may be worth risking possible inconvenience or embarrassment. If things turn out badly, you can make a different choice next time. If you always stop yourself before you start, you’ll miss out on a lot of good stuff.

Bring the party to you. If you need to be in your own space to be comfortable, make your home the place everyone gathers. Let the travel be someone else’s problem. Instead of missing out on memories and contact with people you enjoy, develop your hosting skills.

That doesn’t mean you have to do a lot of work and throw a party. Just establish that you’d like to see everyone at a certain time and invite, invite, invite. When someone visits, relax and enjoy them. It may take some time to develop momentum, but eventually word will spread that your place is the place to be. Making your guests feel welcome is all it really takes to be a great host.

If you suffer from IBS, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, or Celiac Disease, should you push the limits and travel or should you stay home? There’s no right or wrong answer. What’s right for today may not be right for tomorrow.

The important thing is to always, always take very good care of yourself. For some of us that is in and of itself pushing the limits.

September 9, 2015

Did Curiosity Kill the Cat or Give it 9 Lives? More Importantly, Can it Help You?

Did curiosity kill the cat or give it 9 lives? More importantly, can it help you? Recent research has shown that curious people tend to report “higher levels of subjective well-being which, in turn, is associated with lower levels of depression.”(1) As for whether curiosity is as good for cats as it is humans, I’m not really allowed to investigate. My grand dog Stewart forbids it and, as you know, he is in charge because he’s just so darn cute!

Nonetheless, it’s good to know that there’s now official research to support my longtime contention that nurturing curiosity and the natural joy of learning in ourselves and our children on a regular basis can give us an invaluable tool to use when we find ourselves unable to shake a blue period. Had I not been inspired by the larger world I discovered by being curious, I do not believe I would be here.

I grew up in a household filled with chaos, anger, cruelty, and neglect that left an imprint which still sometimes colors my view of the world. I feel so grateful to Dr. Seuss, Alice Hegan Rice, Madeleine L’Engle, Emily Dickinson, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Corrie Ten Boom, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Steinbeck, William Golding, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and John Updike for giving me pages to turn that held my curiosity and expanded my world. While books were a lifeline for me, you may feel more pulled to music or art or the outdoors.

While I can’t remember a moment I ever felt completely carefree, I also can’t remember a moment in which I wasn’t excited to learn something new. Even at a point when I felt so disconnected and numb that I knew it was time to visit the doctor, my curiosity moved me forward and pulled me toward resources that helped me find a path to change my circumstances and improve my life. That was long ago. I’ve sorted, processed, changed, and healed many more difficult things since then, and curiosity has served me well each time I’ve wandered down the path of healing, growth, and self-improvement.

Sometimes positive change comes from something as simple as allowing myself to get curious about my own behavior. Rather than label a response as good or bad or hurtful or defensive or anything at all in a particular circumstance, I take a moment and look at the moment from an observer’s point of view, shrug my shoulders and say, “Huh, I wonder what that was about?” This has the effect of moving me past a feeling of crisis and into a problem solving mode. It’s an invaluable tool at my disposal whenever I need it.

When I move into the observer position, I automatically talk to myself in third person. Turns out my instinct to do this is another good tool to help reduce anxiety and help me self-regulate. A recent study led by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor states that “small shifts in the language people use to refer to the self during introspection consequentially influence their ability to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior under social stress, even for vulnerable individuals.” The authors note that this is a technique used by LeBron James.(2) Hey if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me. And I love having another useful tool in my arsenal.

At this point you may be curious (we can only hope) why I’m talking about this anyway. It’s really pretty simple. If you’re choosing healthy food and making time to exercise that’s great, but it’s equally important to actively care for your emotional well-being. This is especially true if you are physically ill or are a caregiver for someone else. While this may seem like a no-brainer, most of the daily messages I see about health or healthy lifestyle focus only on diet and exercise. I want to make sure we help fill the gap by providing you with recipes for emotional resilience as well as for good food.

So, today I’m curious what Elon Musk will say tonight on The Late Show. I really want one of those Tesla 3 cars. Well, if I like it once I drive one. I’m curious what we’ll discuss at my Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter meetup this week. I’m curious whether the code I wrote last night will show up correctly on an updated browser, although I could lose interest in this answer pretty quickly since it’s useless code. I’m curious about Bzees shoes since I saw my neighbor’s pair. And…I finally figured out why I haven’t felt compelled to call my former walking partner since the day I turned around and walked off from him without explanation (See, sounds like terrible behavior doesn’t it, but instead of telling myself I must be a bad person, I’ve just been curious about my behavior for the past 4 months). As it turns out, my life is more peaceful when I don’t spend time with him and, along with curiosity, I highly value peace.

Of course I’m wondering, do you find curiosity a useful tool? If so, how has it helped you?

Read more about the research here:
(1)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886911004983

http://www.psyweb.com/lifestyle/depression/can-curiosity-help-depression

(2)http://selfcontrol.psych.lsa.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/KrossJ_Pers_Soc_Psychol2014Self-talk_as_a_regulatory_mechanism_How_you_do_it_matters.pdf

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”