Monthly Archives of: September 2010

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Take Me Home Country Roads

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We attended the WVU vs. Maryland football game this past weekend at the WVU home stadium, and as usual, it was quite a scene.  The Blue Lot was full of underage, college age, and over age drinkers, all decked out in their blue and gold.  My husband drove over with the kids, and I walked.  Traditionally Davey and I walk to the game, which is about 2.5 miles uphill.  We enjoy the air, the people watching and the exercise.  My friends think we are nuts, but hey,  there’s no waiting in traffic either way for us!

We have really great seats right behind the band in the new section, but last week we were invited to go up to the Centra Bank suite and watch from there.  The kids had a blast, Sloane hung out with her new friend, Katia, that speaks Russian, and Vance played with his best buddy, Jake.  Davey and I mingled with the Centra Bank gang, as well as some other friends.

After the Mountaineers pulled off a victory, we lingered in the box for a while to let the kids play.  I walked over to the window and stood there to take it all in when the band started playing Take Me Home Country Roads.  Voices filled the stadium, and the echo of the song rang true in my heart.  I looked down through the big open window and noticed a group of ten people still lingering as well.  There were five people in one row, and five right behind them.  They were also holding hands, some with the people in the row in front of them, and some with their arms around each other.  They were all swaying from side to side singing John Denver’s greatest song ever.  When the song was over, the group started hugging each other, and most of them had begun to shed some tears.  At this point they had my full attention, and admiration.  An older gentlemen pulled out some pretzel napkins and passed them around to wipe the tears away.

It was obviously a group of old friends or family, but whoever they were, their love really touched me last Saturday.  Maybe they came long distances to be together, or maybe they just really love the Mountaineers.  Either way, it was a fitting end to a great football game.  They gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy, and allowed me to be in the moment with them.  Those fans had no idea that they were being watched by some random stranger that was totally caught up in their moment.  They brought tears to my eyes, and I felt the love that they shared, as an innocent bystander.  That’s the power of love.   It causes a rippling effect, even when you least expect it.

Show one really great act of love today, and I challenge you to do it with a stranger.  Whether it be an act of compassion, helping out a child in need, or just giving a compliment to someone you don’t know.  Our universe needs way more love going around….and what goes around, comes around.  (Go Eers!)

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How Good is Your Word?

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How good is your word?  Well, how good is it?  Your word to yourself?  Do you find that you keep your promises to your family and friends, yet you break your commitments to yourself all day long?  In my opinion, we are only as good as our word is, especially to ourselves.  When we continually break our promises to ourselves, we quit believing ourselves.  At least I find that to be true.

For instance, when you start a diet.  You’ve been doing great for a few days, you’ve sworn off sugar, alcohol and carbs, and then find yourself making excuses to eat the birthday cake at your neighbor’s party.   Your brain is thinking, “no, I’m not gonna touch that piece of yummy looking heaven wrapped in chocolate ganache,” yet, at the same time your hand is going for the fork, piercing the fluffy square and it’s flying right toward your pie hole.  “Don’t do it!  Don’t do it, don’t….here it comes.  Avoid, run, shut my mouth!  Don’t eat it….…..Crap.  I did it again.” Even though you promised yourself come hell or high water, you wouldn’t even take one bite, you ate at least half the slice.   Your self-esteem crashes and you feel like you lied to yourself yet again.

Or maybe you’ve made a bucket list with some really adventurous stuff on it, but you just keep making excuses not to let it happen.  I could name a list a mile long of the promises we make to ourselves that we break, from little to big.  But at the end of the day, a broken promise is a broken promise, which in return makes us question just how good our word to our self is.  And after a while, you’re shaking your own head when you hear the promises come out of your mouth because deep down you know you will break them.

I had realized that over the last several years my word to myself wasn’t so great.   As far as friends and relationships went, my word was as good as gold.  So what’s the difference I asked my self?  Why is it so easy to keep my promises to friends and family, but not to me?  Why was the value of my own personal goals and commitments not as strong as the commitments I had made to those around me?  Why was I always putting others first?  I think for me it was a combination of always wanting to please others and having a hard time just saying no.  Also, I realized once I promised all the hours of my day away, there’s wasn’t much time left for me for personal growth or furthering my education.

I’ve practiced keeping my word to myself, and I can tell you it has really made me grow as a person.  I had to make it a habit though.  It’s not like one day, all of a sudden, I just didn’t break promises to myself anymore.  And I still do, but not like I used to.  I’d say I used to break about 90% of the promises I would make to myself, and now I might break about 10%.  It’s completely transformed my life, and it’s still changing every day for the better.  A habit takes anywhere from 30 to 100 days to form.  So a habit has to be practiced daily for it to become automatic.  One thing that really helped me with keeping my promises to myself was getting rid of the excuses I had used.  And trust me, when you don’t allow yourself room to use excuses, it’s pretty hard to break a promise to yourself.   I have also been practicing the habit of creating a daily goal list every night for the following day.  If I forget to make one the night before I wake up and feel a little lost and directionless.  When I do make my goal list the night before, I wake up with a fire under my butt and a burning desire to take on the challenge of reaching all my goals.  I don’t always reach every single goal for the day, but I’ve learned to swallow the frog first.  The thing that makes me cringe the most, is usually the thing that I need to conquer first.   Reaching my toughest goals are the ones that reap the highest sense of accomplishment.  The saying is true.  The thing that scares you the most is the thing you most need to do.

So now if I decide I’m going to do something, I do it.  I take action.  I don’t sit idle and watch time pass me by.   In the end, I’ve found it is a lot easier to keep my promises than to break them.   Instead of sitting around thinking about what you should be doing, take action and just do it.

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The Goal Line

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The Goal Line

What is it that keeps us from crossing over our own goal line for success?  I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect lately about the things that I’ve been successful with and the things that I’ve quit before crossing over that big, beautiful finish line.  Most of the things I’ve quit, I can chalk up to listening to that little voice inside my head that says, “It’s going to be so much harder than you think, so you might as well give up now…”  Who is that person anyway?  I’m pretty sure I don’t like him.

I’ve decided to evacuate Mr. Negative from the room he had been occupying in my head and out onto the streets, or maybe he’s moved into the head of John Malcovich.  Either way, I’m glad I don’t have to make his bed anymore.  My husband, Davey, has always said, “Time is all we have.”  And he’s right.  Time wasted on negative thinking is time you can’t get back. Besides, negative thinking just leads to bad choices—or no choices—and consequently poor results.

I was inspired today by my friend Monica to go for a three-mile run.  I’m an on-again, off-again runner because every time I get to where I’m physically comfortable running three to four miles, my ego gets in the way and I run faster than my knees will allow and then I end up injuring them. (I was hit head-on by a drunk driver during my senior year of high school and the dashboard ruined my knees.)

However Monica, who had similar knee issues, told me not to be a hero and to just keep at my own pace and build the strength in my knees.  So with that simple advice I headed out for my first three-mile run in more than two months.  My goal was to run the entire time, no matter what.  I soon had a stitch in my side, my lungs burned, and I felt like a water buffalo, but I kept on trucking.  I knew the real test would be the last two long blocks, which I always walk because they are at least a 15% grade.  But no walking tonight! I wanted to finish strong.  I planned ahead for that voice to say, “it’s only two blocks, it’s okay to walk them,” by replacing it with, “Go for it this time!  Take baby steps if you have to, just don’t quit running!  It will be tough, but it will also be easier than you think.”

I knew the pain of not trying my hardest would be greater than the pain of jogging up those last two blocks; I’ve found the pain of half-assing anything is greater than any pain or stress that comes from giving it my all, whether it be with my family, my fitness, business or friendships.

So I ran up those last two blocks today, and it hurt like hell, but at the same time it was easier than I thought.  Turns I’m still alive, I didn’t have a heart attack and my knees are just fine.  Maybe I should’ve tried such thinking seven years ago when I decided I wanted to be a short-distance runner!

When you keep the end in mind, and visually see yourself doing something to its completion, it’s so much easier to achieve your goal.  So get rid of the naysayers, whether they be the voice in your head, your family or friends, or your those who simply don’t believe in you, and go cross that goal line you’ve been unable to realize. Lubricate your thoughts with positive affirmations, and you will probably surprise yourself with what you can accomplish!