Do You Know What Makes You Awesome?

Ever wonder what it is that makes you awesome?

When someone says “Hey..you’re awesome!” Do you ever wonder how they know that?  How they could possibly know that you’re awesome, without really knowing you?

Or maybe you’ve done something nice for someone, and how they thank you is by telling you that they think you’re awesome.

who's awesome

Some might say that the word is overused so has lost it’s power. I say it isn’t used nearly enough! If everyone in the world knew they were awesome, I’d tell you the word was now being overused. Until then…

It isn’t like there’s a guide book where you can look under the tab that says “when someone thinks you’re awesome” to tell you why you are. So you can be crystal clear about it.

It’s tough for us to believe someone when they say something like that to us. Awesome? You think I’m awesome? Me? Really?

Well let me tell you a little bit about what makes you awesome.

1.  It’s your willingness to thank someone, even if you don’t believe them, when they say something nice about you, to you.

2.  When you hear about a challenge, one that makes you a little bit nauseous, you do it even though you’re scared. Because that’s who you are. You’re all about jumping outside of your comfort zone. You may crawl back to it every now and again, ’cause life sure can be a little bit scary at times, but you’ll always venture back out to take on something new.

3.  You are always willing to learn something new, about yourself, or the world you live in. You’re curious, you ask questions and you’re willing to look. Even if sometimes, it’s uncomfortable.

4.  You are constantly doing what you said you’d do. Even if you just said it to yourself.  You keep promises whenever possible. You will do your best to never let anyone down, and if that does happen, you’ll be sure to be responsible for it. You call when you say you will. You show up when you say you will. You go when you say you will, even if you don’t want to.

5.  You are willing to look foolish/stupid/crazy. You are so willing to try new things, even things you know you can’t do, and are willing to risk looking foolish. It takes a special kind of person to be okay with not looking good.  Whether it be by falling in love (again), or quitting your job and not knowing what you’ll do next, or taking on a challenge that you are pretty sure you can’t finish. The glory isn’t in the finishing. It’s in the willingness to try.

6.  You have a desire to make a difference in the world, in your life, and/or in the lives of the people in your life.

7.  You know that the best way to have your life rock, is by making yourself a priority, your first priority. Taking care of yourself, means you have more room to take care of others, which is the path to having your relationships work. It doesn’t matter that you think it’s selfish. It kind of is.  It’s the best kind of selfish there is. When YOU start to put yourself first, others will follow in your footsteps. It’s a win/win.

8.  Believing in the dreams of others, cheering them on, making sure they know they are not alone, and that they CAN do anything, is a super power of the awesome.

9.  Love. Love is another super power of the awesome.

10. You know that being awesome, simply means that those around you, those you come into contact with, they get to own their awesome too.

No then…go forth and be awesome.

Rita xo

If Not You…Then Who?

Sometimes, we can’t plan it…

Not that long ago, a young teenage girl not far from where I am, killed herself. She’d been bullied in school for quite some time, and she couldn’t take it anymore. We forget, that at that age, our friends, schoolmates, and now, social media, are our whole life. If we don’t have the acceptance of that triad, we have nothing. You might even say, she was bullied to death. I wept when I heard about it, and I watched what happened when a friend of hers created a page on Facebook so friends and family could grieve together, by posting photos and loving messages in her memory. Instead, what happened was, people continued to bully her. Even in death, the comments being made on that page, and on the photos were disturbing. I couldn’t read them. I couldn’t bring myself to know that this poor girl, even after she’d died, still had to undergo the criticism and scrutiny from people who hadn’t actually taken the time to get to know her. To make themselves feel better, they needed to make sure she felt bad about herself.

I shake my head as I write this. That this is what it’s come to. Being grateful to not be in highschool now. I want to cry when I think about my nephews in a few years, entering the schools when this is what is going on. I want to weep for them and for the terrible things that other kids may say to them. I’m not saying I was immune to it. I had some experiences with being bullied, and being mocked, and being made to cry. But never, EVER did I consider killing myself over it. That wasn’t what life was about back then.

It was just easier.

This past weekend, I shared about ownyourawesome while in a course, and doubled over in tears when I talked about the message I want to share with the world, and the world in which I am sharing it into. It doesn’t line up.

How can I possibly tell people that they are awesome and all the reasons why, when kids are literally killing themselves. How can I possibly put out a book telling people how to be awesome, when this is the world we live in? How can I do it? How can I risk being heartbroken every single time someone kills themselves because they couldn’t see how brilliant they really are, or because someone told them they aren’t? The death of the teenage girl, left me heartbroken. But I couldn’t tell anyone that I’d taken it so personally because I didn’t know her. It sounded crazy, in my own head.

See, that’s the thing about not saying something out loud. It makes us sound crazy. Where, once I said it out loud, I could then start to think about something else.

Like..maybe I COULD take the message global.

But I couldn’t see it until I said it out loud. Until I shed the tears and said the words. That I felt I had failed this young girl, and all those who may come after her. For not getting the message out fast enough.  I cried until all I could say was “Who am I to tell anyone anything about anything…”

And the woman who was leading the course, said to me…“Rita. If not you…then who?”

That’s all I needed to hear. My heart is going to break every single time something like this happens. My life is going to alter every single time I hear another story of another person (child or adult) being bullied or taunted for being different, or for being themselves. My conversations are going to get deeper. More fulfilling. My message is going to get out there.

Why? Because THAT is what I said matters to me.

So if there’s something that you want to do that will ultimately change the world you live in…do it. Let’s do it together. Let’s take on a world that isn’t set up for awesome, and plant a flag.

Why? Because we said it mattered.

Anything other than that is just a bunch of background noise.

go be awesome.

Rita

No Really. You ARE Awesome

Ever notice, when someone pays you a compliment, you brush it off and say something like “Well I was going to do it anyway…” Or “I was going that way anyway..” Or even…”Well you’d do the same for me.”  Why is that?  Why do you think we can’t just muster up a simple thank you when someone says something to us that resembles a compliment?

The other day, my neighbour and I had some work done on our shared driveway. A new garden bed with some beautiful new plants, and we had the hedge trimmed. The fella who did all the work, he called me at work a bit later in the day and said that he’d blown all the leaves off my front lawn, and moved a few plants around to better locations and cleaned up a few other things (which was over and above what we were paying him to do). To which, of course, I replied with a wholehearted “Wow, THANK YOU!” to which he responded by saying…”I had the blower out anyway.”

Do you know that when you say something like that in response to a person showing you gratitude, it not only takes away from the great thing you did, but it also doesn’t give you the opportunity to be awesome (even if it means you being uncomfortable for a minute) and also, after doing all these great things for me, completely unsolicited, and then saying “I had the blower out anyway.” leaves me with the experience that I’m actually not that important and you would’ve done it for anyone.

See where I’m going with this?  When you do something for someone, you do it because you are a kind human being and you want to do something nice for someone. When that someone you did the nice thing for, wants to thank you. Please do not take that opportunity away from them. It isn’t about buttering you up, and it isn’t about making sure that you stay interested (if it happens to be someone you’re dating), and it isn’t for any other reason but to express gratitude.

Some might say the ability to express gratitude is an important characteristic.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that accepting gratitude is actually a bigger deal.

So often, we are quick to brush off all the awesome that others see in us.

Can we not do that?

People of the world, are aching to contribute to each other. Some might contribute by doing something nice, others may contribute by expressing gratitude in regards to who you are for them, and how much they appreciate you.

Let them. Believe me, it’s as much for them as it is for you.

You both get to walk away feeling pretty damn awesome.

Okay?

Can we start today?

Great.

Thanks.

Rita xo

How to Be Awesome When Life Goes Sideways

Listen.  Life is going to kick us in the shins every now and again.  Things are going to go sideways more often than we can count.

Relationships will ebb and flow, and we’ll have a hard time not eating that extra piece of chocolate cake, or the job we apply for isn’t going to happen.

Friends are going to talk behind our backs, we’re going to injure ourselves at the gym, or on the run, or getting off the couch, or heading downstairs to do laundry (trust me..I tore my Achilles taking a step down to finish doing laundry – CRAZY!), and we’re going to get down on ourselves with a whole lot of negative self talk when our focus shifts from what matters to us, to something a little bit more manageable and trivial.

In my case, the people at TEDx haven’t been in touch and they are announcing their speakers starting next week.  If I were going to be one of their speakers, I would’ve heard from them already.  A really good reason for me not to be awesome don’t you think?

When in reality, I had the balls to send in a speaker application. Did you hear that.  I. HAD. THE. BALLS. TO APPLY.  THAT is what makes me awesome! The other day, a friend of mine, sent me an email.  She often sends me emails, randomly, so the other day was no exception.  In the email she’d sent a link. The email said “I think you need to apply to be on the Jeff Probst show.” So, I opened up the link, and I applied. There’s a question on the application that says “Share your story”…so I shared a story. I didn’t know exactly what story they wanted, as I had no context for why she wanted me to apply. But I did it anyway.

Why?  Because life is so much more fun being a YES than a maybe, or an outright no. 

There is so much more to life than the neighbour keeping you up at night, or a job not being gotten, or a bill not getting paid, or a car breaking down, or a flat tire.  Even when all of those things happen, we still have the option. Do we keep being awesome, or do we let those things take us sideways? Is life really about circumstances? Are we only temporarily awesome?  Are we fair weather awesome? No. It’s all in perspective. Choice.

One of my most favorite things is when someone says “I’ve had the worst day ever!” And I ask “Tell me what happened…” And they start off with “Well my car wouldn’t start…” Or the one that always makes me smile on the inside “Someone cut me off on the way to work this morning…” Then I say “And then what happened…?” And they say…”Well, nothing. But the day just sucked.”

We all have the option to hit the reset button at any time. There’s no rule book that states that just because you got cut off on the way to work, or you missed your bus, or your car wouldn’t start, or you had a flat tire, that says you no longer have to be awesome in the rest of your life. Not even close.

I used to be one of those people.  Something slightly off kilter would happen, and it would make me cranky and turn my entire day into a schmozzle.

Then, something else happened. I started to see my life differently.  I started to notice that something happened, and I could let it make me cranky for the rest of the day and impact every single person I came into contact with through the entire day OR I could take that thing that happened, look at it for a few minutes, examine it, turn it around, see it from another angle, maybe talk to someone about it, and then, hit reset.

Nothing says we have to let one bad thing take us out of the rest of our lives.  Missing the bus doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Maybe you missed the first bus so you could get on the next one, and meet a super cute guy…or maybe you got a flat tire, so you wouldn’t be on the road at the same time a house is being moved which would make you late for work anyway. There are so many other perspectives. So many other ways of seeing life.

We all have moments where life goes sideways.  We all have that in common.  It happens.  Nothing can change that it happens. It just does. It’s not personal. It just happens. And contrary to popular belief, it happens to good people.

It’s how we interpret what happened that sets the stage for life.

What if the awesome meter was always set to awesome?  What if we could alter our own experiences of life simply by changing the setting?  What if you just shifted your perspective slightly from what happened being a personal attack to a life experience that could potentially teach you something?  What if your level of brilliance had nothing to do with the “what happened’s”?  What if you were amazing simply because you were?

I bet you’d walk taller. I bet you’d strut more.

So. Here’s my challenge to you. The next time something happens, and you see your day/life going sideways faster than you can say supercalafragalisticexpialadotious, remember the reset button. Take a deep breath. Sit up, and put your shoulders back, and reset yourself to awesome.

go be awesome

Rita

Don’t Forget To Be Awesome

Yesterday, I got a call from a friend who wanted some “advice” on how to maintain his schedule, especially in regards to his workouts. He is committed to sleeping for 8 hours, and  working out in the morning. Often he wakes up tired and doesn’t want to work out, and rather than managing his schedule the night before to ensure he gets his 8 hours AND still gets up in the morning to work out he stays in bed.  Imagine how crazy making that must be!  He wanted to know how I manage to go and work out AND be so excited about it.

There’s no easy answer to this. Exercise sucks. For most of us. I don’t really know anyone who loves getting up when it’s cold and dark and raining or God forbid – snowing, to get out of a nice cozy warm bed, and go do what you said you would do. But here’s the thing. If you said you would do something, and then you don’t do it, something happens.

For the most part, I like to think of the world, and the people in it, as kind and generous. We may not always be that for ourselves, and sometimes, we may not even be that to each other, but that’s how I like to view the world. We make promises to each other, and we do what we can to keep them. And sometimes, we are unable to keep them and then we apologize which is never bad. But what about those promises that we make to ourselves?  What about those?  You know the ones.

I’ll work out starting tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’m not going to eat out.

Tomorrow, I”m going to join the gym.

Tomorrow night I’m going to make sure I get 8 hours of sleep.

Tomorrow, I’m going to respond to that email.

Tomorrow.

And then, tomorrow happens, and we stay up too late, and wake up tired, so we can’t go work out, and after work we’re too tired from all the food we ate that we shouldn’t have eaten, that we just want to go home and have a nap, so maybe, I’ll wait until tomorrow to join the gym.  One more day isn’t going to kill me.

But what if it does?  What if the words you say to yourself are equally as valuable as the words and promises you say to another?  Why is it easier for us to disappoint ourselves but we try and avoid that with others?

Why do your words not matter to you?

Something starts to happen inside when we stop honouring our own promises to ourselves. We start to doubt ourselves.  We start to relate to ourselves as someone who is unreliable. We start to convince others that we can’t be relied upon. People start to stop believing us when we promise something. We take on some kind of fitness challenge, and secretly, others are thinking in the back of their minds “Yah..sure.” We start to see ourselves in a lesser light.

We stop being awesome.

All because we said something and then we didn’t do it.

We start to tolerate it, more and more, until we stop making promises. Until we can’t bring ourselves to take on another challenge, because even we know we won’t do it.

When deep down, all we really want is to be awesome.

Our words are what make us awesome. Who we be in the world, is all based on our words. We speak it. We be it. We are awesome.

So please.  Don’t forget to be awesome.

It’s what makes the experience of life exceptional.

go be awesome

Rita

Hiding Out From Your Awesome

Some might say that it’s impossible to own your awesome 24/7. Likely Some would be right. However, let’s take a look at what it might take to make you awesome always. No matter what.

Last Sunday, I had a date. I’d been talking to this guy for over a week via email and text and on the phone. In theory, this was the guy.  Sunday morning, I woke up and I was paralyzed by fear and anxiety. What if he doesn’t like me? Ridiculous right? But true. Why is this significant?  Because if I were truly owning my awesome, it wouldn’t matter. As long as I went into the date being awesome, it wouldn’t matter if he liked me or not. I was still awesome.

It was such a revelation for me.  I got ready for the date, showed up for it completely being awesome, spent 3 hours with him, and it turns out he’s not the guy. But you know, I never doubted my awesome even for a minute.

So often we think we have to have it all together, we have to have it all figured out, we couldn’t possibly share what’s going on for us if it’s not all neatly tied up in a bow. So, we struggle, and suffer in silence and alone, when all we really need to do is pick up the phone and get it all out. Let me let you in on a little secret, and one I had to learn the hard way: We never have it all figured out.  We never have it all together.  And we especially don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. So just out yourself when you’re struggling through something. Life is not worth the suffering.

This date I was on last weekend, one of the things he said to me was “You can’t sell awesome!” very adamantly, and very righteously. He didn’t stop long enough for me to share with him the premise and context and mission of what I’m creating here, but he was simply convinced that you can’t sell awesome. The great thing is I am not trying to sell it.  My intention is to become a living, breathing example of what is possible in the whole world of awesome which then gives others the courage to be that as well.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am awesome, because I say so. And I don’t always say so. I have to remind myself, and consider it a practice just as often as not. It isn’t a natural state. But it’s a choice. I don’t often wake up happy, although after 7 hours solid sleep, sometimes I actually do, and then I choose. How do I want this day to go?  Do I look on the bright side of everything?  Or do I choose something else?

Last night, the story broke about Lance Armstrong being stripped of all of his Tour de France titles and banned for life from a sport that he brought to the surface. Why?  Because the USADA believes he was doping during his 9 different wins. After years of testing, there is no basis for the allegations, however, he’s done. He is stepping away from the “fight” because of the toll it’s taken on his family and himself. The man has changed the face of cancer, and he’s made a gigantic difference in the world, yet he can’t win this one. So, he’s “giving up the fight”. Does it mean he is guilty? Hell no. What I see is Lance Armstrong owning his awesome. It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree. The bottom line is he’s awesome, not because you say so, but because he does.

I mention it only because it’s a great example of what it means to be that. To stand in that, even if the rest of the world doesn’t agree.

Owning your awesome takes something. It means stepping outside your comfort zone. It means letting yourself look bad, and flailing and being responsible for the flailing, it means allowing yourself to be human and awesome all at the same time.

Here’s another perfect example of a modern day fairy tale where it took a stern talking to and a talisman to get the damsel back into her own awesome A Deva Tale by Sandi Amorim.

How have you been hiding out from your own awesome? Care to out yourself here?

go be awesome

Rita xo

 

One Bold Action Step = Awesome

So much is happening so fast, that I haven’t had a moment to update you on what IS going on.  People are curious.  That’s what happens when something awesome happens.  So, although the site is still something I’m working on, and this isn’t really the place where I want to share “updates” like this, it seems appropriate to share with you what’s been happening.

Since announcing ownyourawesome I’ve had so many people, so excited! I sense it’s big.  My sense is I don’t even know how big yet.  And it’s coming, I can feel that.

Tomorrow, is the first of many photo shoots with my good friend and amazing photographer Jodi to get some great shots for the website.  It’s just a place to start.  She has some great ideas and I’ve got pink boxing gloves.  Let’s see what we can do with that.

Monday, I have a meeting with a friend who also happens to be a communications specialist, who has offered to write a bio for me since I’m going to need one.  She wants to be involved in any aspect of ownyourawesome that’s how excited she was when she read about it.

After sending the original announcement to a woman who gave me my very first opportunity to speak at an event, she replied within moments of reading it and invited me to speak about it at an event on August 31st as well as at a conference in March!  I’m already booked for March!  Who knows what could happen by then!

Last Friday, I “hired” my Executive Director for Camp Awesome.  She is a dear friend, a mum, a huge lover of children, a former teacher, and someone who has dreamed of running her own summer camp.  It’s amazing what comes out of having passionate conversations with people.  She is such a gift.  We have our very first focus group scheduled for September 22nd with adults who are amazing at what they do, in regards to working with children and awesome related things.  Originally, I thought Camp Awesome would have to wait, and then my new Executive Director appeared.

I may not entirely have the long term vision, or what this is going to look like once it’s fully evolved, and despite not knowing, I may feel fear, and on occasion, doubt, and where we’d often normally let the fear or the doubt lead the pack and stop, this matters to me more than the fear.  It just feels right.  So I’m going t with it. I am setting up meetings, creating plans, meeting with people, ordering merchandise, researching government grants, looking for property, all because of an epiphany and because it feels right.

Speaking of which, I ordered business cards (and one pen).

So the lesson in this thus far…one bold action step in front of the other, no matter what.

Chris Guillebeau, I believe you and the other awesomeness I discovered at WDS may have just altered the course of my life.

go be awesome

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck

There’s something to be said for allowing ourselves to be awestruck by something awesome each and every day.

Giving ourselves that experience, gives us the experience of awesome – which gets us closer to owning our own.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video by Jason Silva.  It’s extraordinary when you think about how it works…

go be awesome

The Meaning of Awesome

Awesome means that which inspires awe {Wikipedia}

So be that.

Rita

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