Be Bold. Be Awesome.

014+Be+Bold+1

Have you ever noticed that you don’t know you’re not being something, until you do something that reminds you of who you used to be?

Not clear? Let me try that again.

Earlier today, I made a bold move. Took a bold action. Not necessarily an unusual thing for me to do. Except…after I did it…I suddenly realized I hadn’t felt that feeling that I was feeling in that moment, in a very long time. It doesn’t matter what the thing was that I did. The point is, that in the doing of the thing, I was struck with how long it’s been since I’ve felt that way.

I took a few hits over the past year. Big ones. NFL Superbowl worthy hits. Life started to seem harder…And by harder, I mean…it became easier to call in sick, or stay in bed, or in my pajamas watching Netflix all day. It became easier than allowing another hit. No way could my body take another hit. If I holed up at home, and didn’t put myself out there, in anyway, perhaps the hits would stop.

What’s funny, is that I never stopped preaching the importance of being bold. Of stepping in. Of leaping. Of “going for it”. It just took me until today to realize I haven’t been living it. Whoa. Big. BIG personal integrity issue for me to address. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I’m someone who lives life on the court, playing the game, doing the things, taking the risks…and yet. I stopped and I didn’t even notice.

I think that’s the saddest realization of all. I stopped and I didn’t even notice. I went from a techni-colour life, back to a black and white one, and didn’t notice. Now, I know I’m not alone in this. We all do it. At different times in life, things happen, and we cocoon into our ‘safe zone’. We all have one. Mine sounds a little bit like “I am never going through that again.” Whatever “that” is…we’ve all been there. We all have made decisions that make us take a few steps back. It’s the act of being human. It’s just what we do.

We get our hearts broken. We lose a parent. We lose our job. We cheat on someone. We wrong someone else, and a list of a thousand other “we” sentences. And then, we shut down. We stop growing. We stop showing up. We stop participating in life. And we don’t even know we are doing it. Not until the moment something shifts. Like the subtle shift that happened for me today.

I have been afraid to put myself out there. To risk looking bad. To risk being hurt. To risk…anything. It was subtle. I took the necessary time I needed to deal with what I needed to deal with. And only today did i see the residual effects. The lingering of the fear. Our unconscious is very powerful, so if our brains are telling us not to take the risk, we won’t, and we tell ourselves it was a “good” decision.

Ever notice, when you have a decision to make, you think about it, and you stew over it, and you convince yourself you’re not ready…and then the opportunity passes you by.  That’s some old thought/experience that’s back there, making the decision for us. In my case, I’ve built a proverbial iron cage around my heart, even though on the outside it looks like my heart is wide open to every single experience, it’s not – It’s locked up tight. I can’t let anyone get in there…every corner, and crevice is sealed tight.

But for what? What am I saving it for? I like to think that I want to be thoroughly used up when I die…and yet…I’m unwilling to unlock the one piece of me that matters the most. The one piece of me that has me be out in the world, doing all the things I am so passionate about.

**side note – I’ve been obsessively listening to this song called “The History of my Heart” from the Nashville Soundtrack. Yes. That’s right. I said Nashville. I can’t get enough of that show. I am obsessed with that show. When I’m not watching that show, I’m thinking about that show. When I’m watching something else, I feel like I’m cheating on that show. Go ahead and judge me. I’m awesome. I can handle it.

Anyway…I’ve been obsessively listening to this song, and while it’s mostly speaking about love lost…It’s also about that no matter where we go, no matter who we are with, no matter what happened…that experience will stay with us. Because it is a part of who we are. Our history. It’s all a part of our history, and always will be.

Which means we are creating our history every single moment, of every single day. As someone said to me this afternoon, “when you’re on your deathbed, you don’t want to wish you had…” There is something to be said for spontaneous moments, and inspiration. If you’re not inspired by your own self…do something about that. Believe me, you’ll walk with a new spring in your step. You’ll feel proud. You’ll walk taller.  You’ll be owning that awesome of yours.

And best of all…you’ll feel more alive. And by you, I actually mean me. I promise.

Rita xo

 

 

There Is Always A Brightside

Y’know what I’ve noticed? People have a hard time finding the good in something when it happens to them. We have no problem finding something for someone else to be grateful for, but it’s tougher when something happens to us. This afternoon, just as I was leaving for lunch, I got a parking ticket. It’s a $32 parking ticket and I still had half a day of parking left to pay for when I returned from lunch. I yelled to the guy that I was coming, but he quickly finished writing out the note, and ran. He actually ran away as I was walking towards him. Poor guy. He must’ve thought he was in some danger. It took me quite some time to shake off the “he just ran away from me” thing. I took it very personally. I was 12 minutes late getting back to my car. I figured I’d chance it and it didn’t work out in my favour. Then I texted my friend and told her i was having a hard time finding a brightside.  It’s possible I texted the wrong friend because she wanted to burn his house down for me…which is an awesome characteristic to have in a friend should you ever need someone to do that. So she couldn’t find a bright side either.

But have you ever noticed? If you’re worried about something…say you’re worried about money, or a debt you have to pay. You can spend so much time worrying about that, and forget that there are so many things to be grateful for.

Two weeks ago, I was flying to Portland to attend the World Domination Summit for the 4th time. It’s generally an easy bet that when you fly out on the first flight of the day, you’re going to get to where you’re going pretty drama free. Portland is 1 hour and 15 minutes by plane away from where I am. It took me 12 hours to get there that day. Lots of circumstances happened. The first flight of the day had mechanical issues so they couldn’t fly. They were re-booking people, but forgot to re-book me. By the time they did get to me, after I checked in with them, all the flights were sold out. They had to find me a completely different airline. They lost my bag. I had to pay for my bag twice since I was now on a new airline…I got a food voucher thanks to the kindness of the person working behind the counter, and then the security people in Seattle took my food away from me. Because..of course. It all had to happen so I could have one of the most impacting weekends of my life. While I would have completely enjoyed my breakfast date with friends when I arrived in Portland as planned, and the burrito bowl I was planning on having at Chipotle and the time I was going to spend shopping…I’m not sure that I would have appreciated it as much once I got there.

So much gets taken for granted when things just go the way we plan for them to go. It’s when they don’t go according to plan that we really get to be extraordinary humans.  In the face of all of those things, I got to know the woman who was helping me, she had my back. She was going to make sure I was getting to where I wanted to go. She even hugged me when they found my bag and wished me well on my journey. And then a little while later, because I was still laughing and joking with the person checking me on my other flight with a completely different airline…she waived my baggage fee because there was no way in “hell” she was going to let me pay for it again. Bright side. Bright side. Bright side. I got to be awesome with those people when so many aren’t, especially at airports, and they had a chance to contribute to me which is what all humans want an opportunity to do.

The next time something goes array, or doesn’t go according to plan, or you lock your keys in your car, or the power goes out, or you miss your flight, or you don’t get the job you really wanted, or you run out of gas, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, or your phone dies while you’re waiting at the dentist’s office, or you’re at the dentist’s office…or any other number of things happen…look for a brightside. I bet you’ll be able to find one if you look for it.

Turn it into a game. Find one. Come tell me about it. I love brightside stories. Especially when the odds are stacked against you.

Rita xo

Sticks and Stones And Words That Hurt You

be-an-encourager

I was recently “cat fished”.

In case that’s a word you’re not familiar with, according to Urban Dictionary, here is the definition: Being deceived over online profiles as the deceiver professed their romantic feelings to his/her victim, but isn’t who they say they are.

It’s a loose description. There’s a whole documentary about it. It happens. Usually to older, unsuspecting people, usually women, but I never would’ve thought that it would happen to me. I spent 2 weeks talking to this guy, he was charming and open and lovely and very handsome, mature etc. All the things you would expect. Now, I’m not an online virgin. It’s not like I don’t know the way of the world…but I got duped by this guy. Turns out, he was just out to get his rocks off without having to leave the house. For all I know, he could be a perverted 80 year old man sitting in a retirement home with a laptop and free WiFi.

It happens. I know it happens. Knowing it happens, doesn’t make it any easier when it does happen. I felt like a chump for a few days. How did I miss that? It wasn’t even as though anything major happened. I woke up 2 weeks into it with a niggling feeling I couldn’t shake. And it turns out I was right. No fireworks. No money lost. Just someone with no regard for another human.

So while my ego took a bit of a hit, do you know what was hit even harder? My heart. Knowing that there is someone in the world, someone who got into MY world, who deceives people for hours a day, every single day. How on earth did someone like that get through? How did I not see it?

Anytime something like that happens, whether it’s to me directly, or whether it’s something that happens to another, I feel it. There is nothing awesome about deceiving someone…whether it’s to deliberately cat fish someone, or whether it’s to lie or steal from them. What’s the purpose? To hurt another? Is that how you win?

I just watched a video of one of our weather reporters in Vancouver, on one of the major news networks, get attacked via an anonymous letter because she’s pregnant and the viewers think they have a right to write in and tell her what they think of the clothes she’s wearing and how they think she looks in them. They feel she should be wearing “more appropriate” maternity attire and use words that no one has the right to say to another.  Course if they were well known fashion designers they would’ve signed their names to the letters they sent.  That’s just not nice.

I read that Kathy Griffin is leaving some talk/fashion show she was one of the hosts of because she could no longer perpetuate the culture of bullying celebrities based on how they look or what they wear. While I’m not a huge fan of Kathy Griffin, I applaud her reasons for leaving the show.

And then, just a few minutes ago, I read this post about Monica Lewinsky and her TEDtalk. I saw Monica’s talk on another platform shortly before her TEDtalk in Vancouver. I was excited for her. She had an opportunity to finally face the public and share what her life has been like since she was the first person publicly shamed via the internet.  At 24, what Monica went through, no one should ever have to go through, no matter how old. She isn’t responsible for the state of affairs in America or any other country. She just did what she did when she was 24. Aren’t there things you did in your 20s you cringe thinking about now that you’re older and you know better?

I bet none of those shenanigans ended up on the internet. So this post I just read…Made me cry. Why? Because people can be so hurtful and mean. Social media has made it easier, and quite frankly, acceptable for the most part to be mean to someone online.  Teenagers are killing themselves because of cyber bullying. That is not okay.

When did we stop being awesome to each other? When did it become “normal” to be anything less than kind? Considerate? Aware of another person’s feelings?  I am always mortified by the comments left on photos/posts/youtube videos. When did things become so personal? When did it become okay to hurt someone’s feelings knowingly? Intentionally?

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have a solution. It breaks my heart every single day to see things like this go on. Monica Lewinsky is ever so brave for taking what happened to her, for turning her shame into something positive. Something that could potentially make a difference in the world. And yet, people still want to bring her down?

Don’t you think there’s enough of that going on in the world right now?  How about we just stop doing it? How about we go back to lifting each other up, rather than doing whatever we can to tear each other down?

Isn’t that the world you want to live in? One where your kids get to grow up knowing they are awesome? One where you get to tell your friends how awesome they are just because they are. One where you know there isn’t anything that you can’t do because you have people who have your back? A world where you get to wake up every day knowing feeling awesome because you were awesome to another?

Doesn’t THAT sound like a much better world to live in?

So can we please just stop with the mean, hurtful, horrible things and return ourselves back to loving each other?

“We talk a lot about our right to freedom of speech, but we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of speech.” ~ Monica Lewinsky

Rita xo

Regrets Are Not Awesome, But You Are.

note to selfEver do something you regret?

Ever have that experience where you’ve done something and you feel like you failed so badly, something that got so messy you may NEVER ever want to do it again?

Ever tell yourself that you suck?

Doing something you regret doesn’t make you any less awesome. You just did something that you regret.

You didn’t fail at anything. You did something and it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.  Or it got really messy. A relationship ended and it tore you up inside. Or you tore up another. You had a conversation with someone that didn’t go as intended. You hurt someone’s feelings. You didn’t mean to. But you did. Is there anything worse than hurting someone’s feelings? Yep. There sure is. Having someone be disappointed in you. I die a little bit inside each time that happens.

How often do you tell yourself you suck for something you did? Something that really just shows you you’re human. That you have weaknesses just like everybody else?  Sometimes we do things so we are forced to confront just how human we are. I don’t know about you, but I like to spend much of my life making sure I never look bad, that no one is ever disappointed in me, that every conversation I have is a good one, that I never hurt anyone’s feelings…What I have learned along the way is that it’s not possible.

Sometimes, I make bad choices. Sometimes. I do something that goes against everything I am. And it doesn’t take away from my own awesome. It just means that I am aware of my humanness. My vulnerabilities. Ugh. How much do we dislike that “v” word?

I had a friend call me yesterday, and I suggested that perhaps it’s been a very long time since he’s been excited or ALIVE about anything. He was quick to agree. So, I gave him some homework. Some awesome homework. I told him to go and do something bad** every single day for the next 3 weeks.  Today, he had a 5 minute cold shower. Yep. I think he’s got the hang of it. He hasn’t been being his awesome self for many months, and he knows it. And he seized an opportunity to be that. THAT is awesome.

Sometimes, we over think things. Sometimes, we think about them so much we don’t do them. Sometimes, we think about them so much that we DO them and then we regret doing them.

Just remember..every single thing you do in life, adds to your level of awesome.

The real question here is: wouldn’t you rather be doing things that will alter your experience of life? Wouldn’t you rather do things that make you happy to be alive?

Do you wanna die happy?

Or do you wanna die wondering? Wishing? Hoping? Regretting?

I bet I know what you’ll say…

Go. Be awesome.

Rita

PS You may regret the thing you did. But it will force you to confront that part of yourself that you’ve never looked at before. It’ll shine a light in a corner of who you are where there’s never been light before. So, before you try and shake shake shake that memory like you would an etch-a-sketch, just remember, you can choose to learn from the experience, or you can stick your head in the sand. Either way…it already happened.

 

Doubt is Not Awesome, But YOU Are.

Awesome is a choice

Ever have one of those days, where you’re doubting everything that you do? Any decision you make, you think might have been the wrong one?

That no matter what you do, it’ll never be the right thing?  That no matter what you say, it’ll never be the right thing to say?

To be honest, I’d be surprised if you weren’t nodding in agreement or recognition of what I’m saying so far.

The beautiful thing about being a human being is that no matter what colour or race we are, doubt is something we have in common. It’s a Universal truth among us. We doubt the people in our lives. We doubt experiences. We doubt words. We doubt actions. And most importantly, we doubt ourselves.

You know what’s really great about doubt? It only takes mere seconds to be done with it.

Doubt means you’re trying something new and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

Doubt means you’re afraid that you’re going to eff things up. And you might. But it doesn’t matter, because you had the courage to give it a shot.

Feel free to feel doubt. There isn’t a cure for doubt. There’s simply doubt. And on the flip side of doubt is not doubt. I’m not sure what it is. Confidence? Surety? Certainty?

Maybe being confident, sure and certain about everything you do in life, makes it just a little bit less challenging? Or exciting? Maybe when you’re actually feeling doubt, it just brings you one step closer to the life you want to have.

It could be anything. From going bungy jumping naked (which a friend of mine just did yesterday!) to taking a trip you’ve only dreamed of…or maybe the thing you doubt is whether you have what it takes to be in a relationship with another human being.

Doubt just means you’re literally, one thought away from being awesome.

Maybe it’s true what they say? Maybe certainty is a ridiculous notion? Maybe if you already know how something is going to turn out, unless it’s a souffle, it’s not as mind blowing when you do it.

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