career

Nature Can Help Put Things In Perspective

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My long term work contract ended about two weeks ago and this is the first time in a very long time, I’m not employed. It’s unfamiliar and strange to not have something to get up and go to each morning (even if that means working from home). People have been telling me to enjoy it — relax and just go with the flow. It’s amazing how hard that is for me. The first week was nice, but now that I’m heading into the third week, my mind is starting to go deep. Lot’s of thinking about what I am going to do next. More like – what do I want to do next. I’m lucky that I’m not dead broke (yet) and we have health insurance. I suppose that gives me a bit more breathing room and freedom, but at times I certainly don’t feel that way.

Never Have Enough NatureI grew up with a mom who worked all the time –and I mean ALL THE TIME. There was, and based on my Mom’s current schedule, still is NO DOWN TIME with her. Even entertaining the thought of being home for a bit is uncomfortable. So, I’ve been living in a state of being uncomfortable which is well, uncomfortable. To help, I’ve been exercising and walking Trooper. I have always been told when you are feeling stressed or out of sorts, head outdoors. There is something calming and grounding about surrounding yourself with Nature. So, it goes without saying I’ve been doing my fair share of visiting Mother Nature lately for sure.

And as an added benefit, spring in Virginia is absolutely gorgeous. I’m lucky to live within walking distance to a really cool park, the W&OD trail. It’s the perfect place to walk Trooper, and soak up all the signs of spring. Even the smells are amazing.

I’m not saying that my walks are solving my problems, but they are certainly helping put things in perspective and are making me just feel better. So, my advice is if you are feeling like there is a big weight on your shoulders or just stressed, take time to get outside. Take your shoes off and walk around in some fresh cut grass, head to a park and swing, or heck, just garden.

As Thoreau said, “We need the tonic of Wilderness. We can never have enough nature.

Here’s a taste of how gorgeous Virginia is in the spring…

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The World Needs More Inspirational Leaders

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The World Needs More Inspirational LeadersI’m once again on the hunt for career opportunities. After almost two years, my long term contract with a magazine publisher for younger kids has come to an end. It’s part of the drawback of being a contractor – no notice, no severance. Just – “hey, yeah, um we aren’t going to renew your contract that ends like TODAY.” But with all experiences, I have learned so much about so many things, including what makes a good inspirational leader.

In all fairness, my boss tried her best to get them to renew. She has been wonderful and I’ve loved working with her and the small marketing team. I made some real, strong friendships. What I didn’t like was the lack of true leadership that permeated throughout the company. No one took ownership or set a clear vision for the company. I would be in meetings and when pressed to make a decision, everyone in the room shrugged, unable to make the final call. How can anyone make progress and move forward if no one is at the helm?

The phrase, “Let’s try this again, just so we can check it off the list as things we have tried that don’t work, so the bosses feel satisfied” was repeated time and time again.

Everyone at the company was kind and polite, but the company lacked any sort of internal culture. The company has not been doing well for years. The owners have way too much expendable income on their hands and keep funneling money into it for whatever reason – only known to them.  And because they lacked funds, they were unable or unwilling to infuse innovation, inspiration and fun into their corporate culture.

What I realized towards the end of my contract was this: It’s not the kind of place I want to work. While it did meet a few of the things I am looking for, it was missing a key factor: Inspirational Leadership. 

What makes an inspirational leader? 

We all have different ideas of leadership, but I bet that there are some traits that almost everyone can agree on.  In my never ending quest of improving my own experiences, here are 6 traits that I have found make a leader successful and inspirational:

  1. They have a VISION.
    You may not completely agree with it, but you trust them enough to help them achieve it.
  2. They get to KNOW THEIR PEOPLE.
    I’ve been managed by far too many that never take the time get to know who works for them. No wonder they end up not trusting them or empowering them. You don’t trust people you don’t know.
  3. They have PASSION.
    The people that others want to follow are hungry for what they do. They go after things with gusto.
  4. They come to work with an OPEN-MIND.
    Surrounding yourself with yes men is never a good idea. The leaders that succeed are open to other’s opinions and do not shoot down someone challenging their ideas.
  5. They keep LEARNING.
    They understand how important it is to encourage learning for everyone, including themselves. We all have plenty to learn.
  6. They are PERSONABLE.
    You can probably point out a few leaders who lack the ability to really connect with others, but for the most part – a true, successful leader is someone you like to be in the room with. They make you laugh, draw you in, challenge you to think. They have charisma.

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As I look for the next career opportunity, this experience has taught me to much about the importance of good leadership and has made me that much smarter about what to look for and what to accept.

Keep Learning my Friends…and if you have any leads in the marketing/social media consulting realm – let me know!

Election in America: Pulling up the Bootstraps

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Election in America: Pulling up the BootstrapsToday I am choosing Happiness. I am willing to accept the outcome (like I have a choice or anything) and will be figuring out how I help. For me, it was important to take time yesterday to feel what I was feeling. I am seeking to learn about the perspective of those that voted for Trump. I want to understand – really I do. One of the most shocking things to me about the election was the realization that I didn’t even know how a huge number of people were feeling in this country. I like to think I am a caring, smart, well-read person, so for me not to even know the disillusionment and anger that a huge percentage of people are feeling — it rocks me to my core.

I didn’t spend my time yesterday insulting anyone. I spent my time thinking about what happened and seeking clarity on what exactly happened. If you don’t understand what caused this outcome, than you can’t do much to fix it.

I am finding it difficult to understand some Trump supporters reasoning’s though. When asked about how they reconcile Trump being ok with having the KKK support him, I’ve read that “it’s a Democrat conspiracy”, even when presented with a tweet from David Duke himself. It seems that some of his supporters are fine with simply ignoring some of the dirtier aspects of their candidate while magnifying those of HRC.  I am truly trying to understand because I don’t.

However, I did read a really well thought out post yesterday from Alex Young that put some perspective around this whole thing for me and suggested a coherent game plan that we all need to get behind…

I am concerned about what Trump’s win says about us a country. We are really broken — and yes, we are America and will pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and fight against injustice. It’s in our blood. I trust in the great document that we live and die by created by our founding fathers. It has stood the test of time. But, this is a big shift in our country and a wake up call for each and every one of us. Yes, politicians come and go. Yes, I woke up today and have the same responsibilities to my family as I did Monday.  But, none of us should forget we have a responsibility to our country and to each of its citizens. We can’t grow and prosper without taking care of one another. And that’s what I am going to focus on.

Election 2016: Grasping for Clarity

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Struggling for ClarityWoke up to the news — I’m sitting here speechless, in tears thinking about how scary the reality of what has been done. My kids have to grow up with a leader who has been honest about his lack of respect for women, minorities, anyone not in his camp.

He has no plan, doesn’t do his homework, is unkind and disrespectful and lacks any self control. He gets to help pick a SCOTUS. He has Omarosa as one of his advisors.

This is America? This is not the America I want – and I’m sitting here thinking about how I’m not sure what to do and how to change it.

Someone this morning on FB mentioned not understanding the tears, that life goes on. I thought about that — Why am I crying? Why am I feeling scared? Do I lack faith in my country or fellow man? Do I not believe in kindness above all?

My tears are coming from a place of sadness, fear and anger that our great country is this broken and that people are so divided. It’s not about woe is me. The problem arises when you keep crying, unable to see clearly and get stuck long after today. Having to tell my kids that this man, who has said and done some really terrible things publicly, will now represent us globally is unsettling. Appreciation of our lives, knowing that life does indeed go on and stopping to feel whatever one feels are all ok.

How can anyone forget the KKK publicly backed Trump. He did not publicly say No Thanks which any decent person would have done. I’m trying to make sense of what happened last night. I am still in disbelief. I am struggling to understand how this happened? I am grasping for clarity…

Stop Fearing Fear and Use It To Your Advantage

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I had no idea when I mentioned how my boxing place was closed for a death in their family, that would mean that they would close permanently but I got the notice a week or so ago that indeed they are closing their doors. I’m pretty bummed about it but can you imagine in the course of a few weeks the life shock that family has gone through? My heart breaks for them as they figure out how to adjust to their new life. With that said, I have to figure out another cardio/strength option now that there are no close by boxing places for me to move on to….

Change is good

Boss: ‘Change is good!’ Employees: ‘Who’s getting fired?’

And change must be in the air because it looks like my long term contract that I had is probably coming to an end early December. It’s been a great experience, and my original boss was awesome. She taught me so much, was fun to work with and had perspective about the work we were doing. But, she left this past spring and as usual, with new management and changing of the guard – they want to bring in their own people. So, come end of the Fall, I will be looking for more consulting work. I’m not going to lean into the fear though. I have sent out some emails — and have some meetings already set up. And, I keep repeating to myself —what’s the worst that can happen? to help keep the fear at bay and get perspective.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Fear Loop

In this article about using fear to your advantage, they suggest reminding yourself that most of your fears are irrational, that you will get through the situation that is making you uncomfortable, and most times getting through it will make you stronger.  A while ago, I shared some info about Tony Blauer’s fearloop, and how you need to be aware of how it works so you don’t get stuck in it and become paralyzed by fear.

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Ordinary People

Change is Constant

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IMG_7569Lots going on — which is why I am slacking on updating often. My day job has been in the midst of a lot of change – my awesome boss has decided to leave, our CEO resigned and we are moving offices -which will add a sucky commute to my work week- all in the span of a few weeks! Talk about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, not to mention the kids are now out of school for the summer and my puppy, Trooper, has been away for two weeks getting some serious obedience training. We miss him terribly and have been all excited for him to come home and yesterday the trainer texts asking if they can keep him an extra week at no charge, so they can work with him on tracking. So – I would say he’s doing well with his training and we can’t say no –but man, we miss him.

Oh, and HB is done with middle school. It’s hard to believe my little baby is now heading to high school. I have mixed feelings about it all. I just really cant get my head around the fact that she is growing up so fast. She is now officially taller than me. I keep having flash backs of little moments when she was a baby and it really does seem like yesterday. Then I am reminded that it was a very long time ago when she tells me I don’t understand anything and how could I embarrass her so much by <whatever it is that particular day>!

As for my fitness life – I’m down another pound. Seems like that’s my MO. Slow and steady. That’s 11 pounds down and about 3% body fat lost. I’m really happy with the progress. I feel so much better and you can see a lot more definition in my body. It’s the protein I tell ya! Eat more protein!  I’ve been enjoying my 2x a week sessions with my trainer, Wayne. I’m doing some strength training I have not ever done before and he seems to enjoy trying to figure out how to make me sore. Every session he has been asking me how are you feeling and I have said, a bit sore but nothing major. Well, this week – my calves were SORE. When I went in for yesterday’s session – he seemed to revel in it a bit more than he should and proceeded to have me do a very intensive upper body circuit that left me shaking. It’s been interesting to work 1:1 with a trainer. It takes a few weeks to get acquainted. I guess you can say it’s like dating. At first, it’s all nice and once you are more comfortable, the real sets in. Well – we are at the real point. In a good way of course – He is pushing me and I am seeing results. Which is the point – and it has reignited my motivation. So I would say it’s been money well spent.

Then of course there is [Solidcore] and Boxing — a well-rounded fitness cycle. Some people ask me how I find the time to do it all and still take care of stuff in my life. Well, it’s a good question. Some of it is getting up super early to get my work outs in. Some of it has to do with asking for help. My hubby knows it’s important to me, so he does his part to help the gears run. And finally, my kids know that it’s just what Mom does and I hope they take my lead and continue to be active throughout their lives. It’s about 5-6 hours total out of each week if you think about it. There are MANY hours in a week – 5 or 6 is nothing – and we all deserve ME time. It’s my therapy, my time to hang with my friends, listen to some good music, challenge myself physically and mentally, and set the example I want to set for my kiddos. How can I NOT find time – ya know?

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Be a BadAss

 

Find Meaning in Life’s Challenges

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I’ve been putting off reading Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement address to the 2016 UC Berkeley grads – knowing it would bring out the feels. I read it this morning to help fire up some inspiration – sure enough, it hit me just like I expected…

The entire speech is poignant, funny and meaningful, but here’s what resonated with me the most…

“when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning.”

‘Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience. People who take the time to list things they are grateful for are happier and healthier. It turns out that counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings. My New Year’s resolution this year is to write down three moments of joy before I go to bed each night.  This simple practice has changed my life. Because no matter what happens each day, I go to sleep thinking of something cheerful. Try it. Start tonight…”

‘Build resilient communities. We find our humanity—our will to live and our ability to love—in our connections to one another. Be there for your family and friends. And I mean in person. Not just in a message with a heart emoji.’

Scotty’s cancer battle profoundly changed me. And, while I do at times find myself getting dragged under by the minutiae of life, I try my hardest to focus on being thankful and choosing joy. It’s about perspective – my life could be a lot worse as I found out. I choose to be thankful and look for the meaning and joy in every day. It sounds schmultzy, but it’s true. Life is way too short to hold onto anger, be resentful, let fear control you or hang out with toxic people.

Thank you goes out to Ms. Sandberg for sharing her very personal, intimate experience with the world. By sharing it, she is helping others find meaning in their challenges. I’m glad I finally read it – it was definitely worth it.

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2016 Scope It Out 5K for Colon Cancer Awareness

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March is Colon Cancer awareness month, and that means it is time to run the Scope it Out 5k in DC on March 20th! I’ve run this race for years.

2016 Scope it Out 5K

You can join (or donate to) our team, Hoagie’s Heroes, by visiting this URL: Scope It Out 5K

 

DATE 
Start: Sunday, March 20, 2016 @ 9:00 AM (EDT)

ADDRESS
Near Freedom Plaza 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington , DC 20004

Join us and help celebrate Scotty’s 7+ years of being colon cancer free!!

Are you at risk for Colon Cancer?

if you are at risk for colon cancer, have any of the symptoms below, or are 50+ please go get screened for Colon Cancer. If caught early, colon cancer is beatable! And more and more young people are battling this horrible disease, so it’s not just a cancer for those ‘old people’. Know the risks, the symptoms and don’t let your guard down.

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool, which may make it look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

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(recognize a certain family?)

Behold the View

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Climb the Mountain for the Challenge“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ― David McCullough Jr.

I’ve been thinking about how much simpler life was when I was a kid. We didn’t have the constant barrage of distractions and choices were limited. If we were sitting on a train or travelling somewhere, what did you do? You slept, talked to someone, played some sort of game or simply got lost in your own thoughts. Now, our choices are endless for almost everything. It has created some wonderful opportunities, but it also has a lot of disadvantages.

Someone recently asked me why I think the world seems angrier and less tolerant. You could argue that the world isn’t any worse, we are just getting information from more sources so we are getting more of a full picture of whatever is going on. I don’t know, but if people have always been this angry, that’s pretty sad.

We are so connected that we don’t stop and just take it all in. I traveled into DC this week for work and while my co-worker and I were walking to the Library of Congress, I was stopping to take it in. I mean – it’s awesomely cool to walk around the monuments and recognize the history. I was snapping pics and just enjoying it even though it was cold and we were late to the meeting (through no fault of our own). I think it was annoying my co-worker, but you know what? People all over the world dream of seeing these buildings and being here. It was not going to kill us to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the view…

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Stand Up to Cancer: 2015 Crush Cancer Event

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I love sharing information about working out and giving back. This weekend, in gyms across the country you can participate in: The 5th Annual 2015 Crush Cancer event to benefit Stand Up to Cancer! 

crush-cancer-2015

The 5th Annual 2015 Crush Cancer event to benefit Stand Up To Cancer’s collaborative cancer research. This year, Crush Cancer will host one main event that will be held in Culver City, California, on Saturday, October 10. In addition, gyms from across the country and around the world will be hosting their own events—all with the goal of raising as much money as possible for Stand Up To Cancer.

THE GOAL: Raise awareness and fund accelerated cancer research while providing a motivating and challenging workout experience.

While this is not a CrossFit sanctioned event, it resembles a CrossFit WOD type of workout.

The Workout 

Stand Up to Cancer3 Rounds/1 Minute Each (Levels: Advanced, intermediate, Novice)

  • Power Cleans (95/65)
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Burpees
  • Double Unders
  • Shoulder to Overhead (95/65)

Tally your reps each round and your score is the cumulative number of reps at the end of 3 rounds.

In the DC area, DC CrossFit is hosting an event, but if you can’t find a local gym, hit up your local fitness spot and get it done and donate some money for this important cause

CRUSH CANCER EVENT DETAILS:

Timing/Locations

  • o Washington DC
  • o Saturday, October 10th 2015
  • o Location: 1525 Half Street SW, Washington DC 20001
  • o 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

 

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