Monday, January 17, 2011

It's easier said than done

Hello again! Greetings from a VERY cold and snowy Mississauga!

Are you feeling a little sad or depressed or upset today? You're not alone. It's the third Monday of January, aka "Blue Monday", the most depressing day of the year. Well, I'm kinda there with you, poppits. Today, out of the blue, I started to get weepy while having coffee with a friend and colleague. Poor guy! I'm sure I freaked him out a little. Although he was quite gracious and kind in his response, it made me wonder just what the HECK was going on!

Admittedly, I've been getting progressively bummed out and nervous about not having a contract on the horizon. It feels like I'm working my network, scanning the job search websites, sending out my resume. Yeesh, I'm even applying for full-time work, which is not where I want to be! But I've been listening to people tell me to "set goals", "develop a plan", "get focused", "work my network"...yada-yada. My work stress has shifted into a personal stress as well. I realized I've been caught up in a vicious circle...
... I don't want to spend money so I don't go out ...
... I don't go out so I don't socialize ...
... I don't socialize so I feel isolated ...
... I feel isolated so I don't reach out ... and so on ...

When I thought about this a little further, I heard the sound of a lightbulb going on above my head! I've seen this cycle before. It's the EXACT same cycle I've witnessed some of my clients going through. It's the same cycle most people experiencing a career or life transition often share.

Wow! Hey! This is a GOOD thing for me to experience, right? I'm earning the right to say "I understand" and actually mean it! I'm getting more amazing experience for my book...or my motivational speech ... or my workshop ... or my Movie of the Week. Right? RIGHT?!?

Maybe it IS good for me, but I'm here to tell you it sucks! This is not a fun position to be in and, while it's giving me great experience and humility and a much needed reality check on just how many new pairs of shoes one actually NEEDS, it really does suck! The fear, the self-loathing, the self-inflicted embarrassment...not fun! And I'm someone with a healthy level of self-confidence! Imagine what this type of transition can do to someone who has a diminished self-esteem....

hmmm.....and there it is. The realization that my situation is not that bad. That I really do have strong, solid resources available to me - most of which reside within myself. And once again I am reminded of my passion, my purpose, my raison d' help people tap into their strengths so they can reclaim their power.

OK, so suck it up, sister! It's time to end my pity party, get off my bum and follow my own advice. Three tips for surviving transition from "yt's School of Hard Knocks":

1) END THE ISOLATION - Remember your energy source!
Are you a social creature? Do you thrive on human interaction or do you prefer to re-energize by yourself? Either way is ok, as long as you remember to keep a balance. You have to have the right combination of focus and social interaction. Just remember that humankind was not meant to be isolated all the time. If you prefer to be alone, force yourself to get out and mingle - even if it's just a trip to the grocery store or to your local coffee shop. Try and have at least two, human connections a day, whether that's a phone conversation or a face-to-face encounter. If you're like me, a social animal, find a spot where there is human energy around you, but still lets you focus on the tasks you need to accomplish. Starbucks is a great place for me as it has free internet so I can focus on my work (or blogging!) and it's always busy!

2) TAP INTO YOUR CREATIVITY TO PROBLEM SOLVE - Remember not everything is a crisis!
Feeling a little sensitive about your cash flow reduction? Admittedly, a tight budget may mean fewer lunch or dinner meetings. But that doesn't mean you have to stop meeting people altogether! Taking my own advice, I've started meeting people for coffee. If my schedule is flexible, it's easier for people to "fit me in" over a coffee than lunch. Networking over coffee is preferred anyway. And, do I/you really have to stop meeting people at lunch time? No! Who says lunch has to be at a restaurant? It's still possible to have a decent conversation in the food court. And for someone trying to manage what goes into their pie-hole (like me), bringing lunch means I/you have better control over what goes into that meal. OK, so maybe it's a small example, but the point is that a solution to a problem is much easier to find when you look at ALL the resources available to you and approach it with a bit of creativity. Sometimes, the solution is merely to change your mindset.

3) FOCUS ON WHAT IS GOOD IN YOUR LIFE - Remember to celebrate the goodness of you!
Sometimes it's hard to see what is good in your life, especially when you're hit with road blocks at every turn. Believe me, there have been days when I look in the mirror and the only thing I feel I can celebrate is the fact that I remembered to take all my vitamins. During these bleak times, if you can't find something to celebrate, call upon your good friends to help you out. Just ask the question..."so, why do you keep hanging out with me?" That's when you get to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. What a great perspective that is!

OK, so I'm feeling better now. Tomorrow I'm heading into the city with my head held high and looking forward to the possibilities that lie before me. Possibilities I may not be able to see, but know they are out there. LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR!!

What I'm going through is part of my journey, my story. I don't realize it yet, but this experience is instrumental in defining who I am meant to be.

So tell me, poppits, how do you think the journey you are on now is shaping the person you are meant to be?
(a)yt xox

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's all about "perspective"

Hello again and HAPPY 2011!

Man, what a ride it's been since last I updated this blog. To be honest, I have no idea why I haven't sat down and typed. I've thought about it on MANY occasions, but never really felt like it. I don't know why, but it doesn't matter. I'm here now. BTW, thanks to everyone who sent gentle or smack-me-upside-the-head reminders to start blogging again. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that interest and/or concern!

One theme that keeps running through my head is "the power of perspective". More specifically, how something so simple as a new view can help you see things differently. Here's how I came up with this idea....

I went to Phoenix to spend Christmas with the sibs who are there - my brother, John and sister, Dianne and family. Helping me with perspective was my brother's dog, Pearl. For about four days, Pearl's world had been turned upside down because my bro moved into a new home. Adding to her challenges was me...I just kept hanging about. For anyone who knows a dog, they simply can't resist other people's business and my moving about the house was preventing her from, ya know, sleeping.

One morning, early in the morning, Pearl was in a mellow, "kumbaya" mood as she'd just had her nap interrupted by my getting out of bed and getting a coffee. Since Pearl is not one to let action pass her by, she sidled over to me, pawed at my leg and looked up at me with those "please cuddle me before I die" eyes. Pearl's only agenda items are "fetch" and "food", so when she's in this mellow, snuggly mood, I like to take advantage of it. So, up she came on my lap...which changed Pearl's perspective...and her mood! Now, she could freely see out the window at all the things that were passing her cars...and bicycles...and birds. She perked right up and started barking at anything that moved. New perspective, new energy. All of a sudden she was happy and highly energized, simply because of a change in view. Pearl's reaction to her new view planted a seed with me about the topic of "perspective".

Lately, I've been struggling with many things...regaining my "mojo" to get back on my Journey to Good Health...securing contract work that will help me fund my dream...staying positive when so many people in my life are struggling with SOMETHING! It's a troubled world and my perspective on things seems to get tainted by the dissatisfaction of so many in my life and the bleakness of winter.

So, what the heck am I gonna do about it?!? Let's explore my choices:

1) Continue to wallow in my funk, soaking up the sadness that is all around me and letting it change my whole, NO FLIPPIN' WAY!!

2) Take it one day at a time, seeking out positive things and acknowledging the successes I've had, no matter how big or small they are....hmmm....good start!

3) change my perspective...BINGO!!

I've had some ankle-biter issues that have been dragging me down. So, I've taken stock of the most challenging ones and am going to address them head on. Here's how I'm changing my perspective:

- I am committed to redesigning and revamping my website. What I viewed as "tedious" before, I am now looking at as "fun". I have fresh eyes and I am excited about all that the website CAN be! Rather than look at it as a chore to complete, I am approaching it with a creative eye, embracing that side of me and applying this positive energy to the design and content of the website. Can you feel my positive energy?!?

- I have decided to stop pining for my elusive "mojo" and start getting back on track with small-but-meaningful changes in my behaviour. I know myself well enough to know that ANY reduction in my caloric count will be beneficial. So, I've changed my perspective from "woe is me" to "you go, girl!" and I am taking back the control of my good health. Here are the small steps I'm committing to do:
1) track my calories so I don't exceed 1,600 per day
2) stop eating after 7:00 pm
3) fast one day/week

These are all things I've done before and know that I am capable of doing them again. BTW, it's 4:30 and this is my fast day for the week. I'm hungry and feel a bit low energy, but I'm not dying and I am determined to make it through the night with no food.

Now, about all the negativity that surrounds me. I've changed my perspective on that too. A good friend reminded me that the only thing within my control are my actions and reactions. People are going to feel crappy because they are dealing with some really bad stuff. Does that mean I have to also feel crappy? Not at all! I can choose to be sympathetic without being, listen, advise without getting emotionally attached to the outcome...focus on the good in my life to contrast the negativity that others are experiencing. See what I mean?

Funny, what shifting a perspective can do. Now when I look outside my windows, I no longer just see the clouds in the sky. I can actually see the blue sky BEHIND the clouds!

Tell me, poppits, what can you do to change your perspective?

Glad to be back in the blogging saddle again!
(a)yt xox

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How do you celebrate SO MANY good things?

Hi all!

Sorry for my tardy update. It feels like forever since I was basking in the sun of Phoenix. Fortunately I still have the memories...and the tan!!

I was talking to my friend, Emmanuel...aka Motivator Man. He writes a great blog and motivational tips based on his passion - movies. Reading his blog will change the way you watch a movie!

ANYWAY, it had been a long time since we had chatted, so there was alot for us to catch up on. The last time we spoke, we were both in very different places. THIS time, it was all so awesome! Both of us have ALOT of amazing things happening in our lives. I said I felt like I was being grateful "almost hourly"....that's how many positive things that were happening for me. Fortunately, Emmanuel was experiencing the same abundance of awesomeness!

After hanging up with him, I began to notice the physical and emotional benefits I was feeling for being in a "grateful space"...

- I had a smile on my face ... even in traffic!
- I felt highly energized; like I could dance all night. (it DID help to have Billy Idol's "Dancin' With Myself" playing on the radio-just sayin')
- I felt optimistic and really happy...I mean playing-with-a-puppy-in-a-giant-field-of-soft-grass happy.
- I couldn't think of anything about which to be negative...or sad...or afraid.
- I felt like I was about to burst open with excitement, sprouting lovely, colorful flowers from my really taut belly (hey! I can dream of a taut belly, right?!?)

So, what does this mean? It's about feeling good, poppits, and what makes you feel that way. Looking at all the good things going on in your life is one of the best coping mechanisms you can have. Looking at your life through the lens of all the stuff you have vs. what you DON'T have changes your perspective in a good way.

Like, for example, the workout I had yesterday. The Evil One is back and worked me like there was no tomorrow. I did step ups; I pushed a friggin' bench back and forth across the floor; I did skipping with no mercy for the pain of my jiggly bits; I did 50 non-stop half-seated bench presses; THEN, I did ab crunches where I pulled myself up then hit the punching bags at the top. Seriously, by the end of the workout every muscle in my body ached. Did I feel like "accidentally" punching Werner in his manly bits? NO!! Actually, I thanked him for not giving up on me. For showing no mercy and reminding me I have the capability to do the hard workouts. Quite frankly, it was time to get back on the exercise horse and ride again and I was really happy to be back on the horse.

So, if being grateful can help me look at a workout as a GOOD thing, think of what that emotion can do for you!

Try it, you'll like it...

Wishing you things to be grateful for coming out your ying-yang!
(a) yt xox

Friday, October 8, 2010

For what are you grateful?

Halloooo and greetings from sunny, warm Phoenix! I'm sitting in my bro's office and thought I'd type you an update.

These past few weeks have been quite eventful and thought provoking for me. I always get kinda kumbaya around Thanksgiving because I try and reflect back on the year, remembering all for which I am grateful. As I look back on this year, all I can say is...


Please indulge me while I take a few notes...
- lost a few pounds
- exercised a few times
- took a few trips to Phoenix
- climbed a little trail through the Andes
- developed and performed a few workshops
- got a few initials behind my name
- coached a few, AWESOME clients
- met a few new people

Get the picture?!? Oh, and how about, survived financially doing work I love with people that inspire me daily?

People, you can't imagine how incredibly grateful I am for the life I lead. If you are reading this blog, know that you are one of those people who have touched my life and ROCKED MY WORLD. To you, I am and will always be...

1) appreciative of who you are and what you bring to the table every time I see you!
2) amazed at your never-ending wisdom and inspiration
3) humbled by your courage
4) honoured by your friendship and trust

So tell me, poppits, when you look back on this past year...What made you proud? Who made you happy? What made you say "I totally ROCKED that!"?!?

I'm guessing those are the moments and the people for which you are most grateful!

Wishing you love, gratitude and lots of pumpkin pie! Happy Thanksgiving!
(a)yt xox

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Asking for help

Sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my car to get work done and thinking about the concept of help. Trust me, this is not a random thought sprung on me because of an incident at the Starbucks. Here's where I'm coming from...

Last night I joined Weight Watchers. There's a new "chapter" about 3KM from where I live (right next to a Baskin Robbins, btw - no irony there!). They have opening deals, so I thought I'd sign up and get back on track. It's time.

ANYWAY...the topic for last night's discussion was "Asking for help". Marlene, the facilitator, asked the question...if we could ask for help, what would we ask for and who would we ask for it from? When we all looked at her like deers in headlights, she took a step back and asked..."why is it so difficult for us to ask for help?"

Ooooohhhh.....good question!!!

While I'm the first one there for anyone who needs help, it's VERY difficult for me to ask for help myself. And, based upon the responses from last night's group, I'm not the only one who faces this challenge. Here's what some of the responses were:

- asking for help admits to failure
- asking for help exposes a vulnerability that isn't always comfortable to admit
- asking for help surrenders independence
- asking for help makes you dependent on others

YOWZA!! Really? Does asking for help really mean all of the above? It made me think about times when I actually DID ask for help and what REALLY happened. Let's do this checklist...

- Did I feel I failed? Not really. It was more like I just didn't know what to do next and realized I couldn't do this alone anymore. Admitting I don't know everything is a good dose of reality!

- Was I vulnerable? Oh yeah! I felt a little like I was taking another leap of faith. Only this time it was jumping off the ledge into the arms of someone, trusting they would catch me. And what did the person to whom I asked for help do with that vulnerability? Nothing really...didn't acknowledge it or embrace it or anything. Just helped...without question or judgment or drama. Which, btw, was the perfect reaction for me!

- Did I surrender independence? DARN TOOTIN'!! And that was a good thing! What makes me think I'm perfect enough to take care of EVERYTHING in my life?!? While I'd like to THINK I'm Wonder Woman, I'm not ... hello?!?

- Did I become dependent on others? For this particular situation, yes. And guess what? It worked!!

Here's the deal, poppits. No one can go alone in this world. I don't think we're meant to be completely self-sufficient for everything. Everyone needs some help, even if it's for an explanation of "Venti" vs. "Grande". Oh, and think about a time when you were able to help someone who needed did you feel when you knew you COULD help him/her? Pretty good, eh?

So the next time you're stuck with something, ask yourself..."Who can help me with this?" and seek out that help. You'll feel better and you'll actually give pleasure to someone else.

Taking my own advice, I'm about to ask for help in refilling my Venti Pike Place coffee!

Here's hoping your leaps of faith and asks for help will find you jumping into the arms of Ryan Reynolds...or Scarlett Johannson ... or both! Hey! I'm not here to judge!
(a)yt xoxo

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Star gazing in Toronto

Hello all!

I'm taking a break from the blinding flashes of the paparazzi and the screams of the fans to touch base with you. That's right! The Toronto International Film Festival is in town and Yours Truly has been hanging about this week. For those of you who know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of the glitz & glamor of celebrities, as well as an avid movie fan. TIFF is just a glorious combination of the two!

To be truthful, the star gazing addiction and the frenzy of "must get the best photo" is a new phenomena for me. When I lived in Los Angeles, it was not a big deal to see celebrities hanging about. So, where my addiction to the glamor has come from is beyond me. But I have to tell you, it's kinda over the top. I realized this as I found myself mashed up against complete strangers, waiting to see Edward Norton and Robert DeNiro before their movie, Stone, Friday night. I'm talking feel-the-heartbeat-of-the-person-standing-behind-my-back mashed. Now, the fact that I was in more intimate positions with complete strangers than with past boyfriends was not the disturbing part. What was alarming for me was my reaction when Robert DeNiro showed up and didn't even greet the crowd. Instead of seeing him, I saw the side of the SUV that drove him. I got caught up in the anger of the crowd and found myself yelling things like "Come on, Bobby...give it up for your fans!!" and "Who do you think you are? Al Pacino?!?"

Honestly, can you believe it?!? It wasn't my finest moment. The interesting thing is that I didn't realize just how ridiculous I was behaving until I started to tell some other friends about it. Their "yeah, so what?" attitude gave me good perspective. It helped me to GET A FRIGGIN' GRIP, SISTER!

I kinda vowed that I would control myself and not get so crazily involved in the hype. Fortunately, there weren't many other huge celebrities I was going to see, so the temptation really wasn't there. It was a good dose of reality for me, though.

So, I think I'm back to my "normal" perspective around TIFF. Yeah, it's fun to see celebrities (saw Amy Madigan, Ed Harris & Jennifer Connelly tonight!), but they are human too and are here to enjoy themselves. They like Toronto because the fans are non-intrusive and respectful. My behaviour towards DeNiro was not very respectful, truth be told. I have to retract the rumour I spread on Facebook that says he showed up late for the gala because he had a tummy ache and was found in an embryonic position crying "I want my mommy"..see, not respectful.

In the meantime, I will continue to be grateful for experiencing this for the 12th year in a row, with friends who are able to enjoy the glitz & glam with me. That's the best part! Star gazing is always better with someone!

Remember, poppits, everyone is glamorous in their own way. When you're getting ready for work tomorrow, pull out your finest outfit with your highest heels. Throw on some makeup, curl your hair and walk out the door like you're walking into your own paparazzi party. Believe me, you've got star power, so work it baby, work it!!

I'm signing off and heading to bed now. I need to be fresh for the red carpet!
(a)yt xox

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scared straight!

Happy Hump Day, poppits! It's been a while since I've updated you on the saga that is my Journey to Good Health, so here we go!

I've been trying to maintain my routine of the 8-hour eating window, with no grains, sugar and dairy. For the most part, it's been a pretty good haul. There are days, however, when all logic gets tossed aside and I find myself in Organic Planet buying Kale Chips, the Awesome Almond mix and some of their yummy baked goods. Usually these things don't make the drive home before I've inhaled them, so all of those calories are consumed within a 15 minute drive...leaving me feeling full and like a failure!

I TRY to stay away from there, believe me, but it's like my car is on auto pilot and my feet just move themselves through the store. All the while, there is a running commentary in my head, outlining all the logical reasons why I should put down the Power Cookies and walk away before anyone gets hurt. I've even had visions of myself throwing my hand-carried basket of treats at the innocent, smiley cashier while running out of the store yelling "YOU WON'T TAKE ME ALIVE!!!!"

But that never seems to happen and I buy the food, snarf it down and begin the routine of self-loathing. sigh...

So, in my self-loathing mood, I went to a workout last Tuesday (17th). I put on 4 lbs., after having lost 6 lbs. the week before. Well, The Evil One had had enough and threatened to fire me as a client! He said he had fired clients before when the effort they put into their workout wasn't supported by the effort they put into their eating. He didn't want to waste his time. When I realized he was serious, I thought...


What would I do without "The Evil One"?!? My rock? My support? My reality check? The thought was not pleasant as Werner has come to mean a great deal to me, beyond just the training. I consider him a friend and someone to whom I will always be loyal.

Needless to say that was a good wake up call. When I weighed in this week, I was down 4 lbs., so the scale is going in the right direction. I'm back to feeling calmer about my approach to food and I kick my own butt at my gym, so all's good on the exercise front.

In retrospect, I think Werner was just trying to shake me up - well done to him! Having said that, I think he also reached his point of maximum frustration with me. All he saw was someone who had worked hard for over a year to lose 85 lbs. and exercise her way through The Andes, who was now becoming complacent and uncommitted. Honestly, I can't blame him for questioning me and I thank him for that "brick wall moment".

I just want to know...

What happened to my passion?
What happened to my commitment to me?
What happened to my buns 'o' steal?!?

I want all of that back, dammit, especially the buns of steal! So, I remind myself of my "golden rules" for my Journey to Good Health...

1) One meal at a time - don't throw the day away if I mess up on one meal. Keep focused on every meal!

2) Keep the goals simple and achievable - 8 hour window; no grains, sugar or dairy; exercise HARD at least 3x/week; LOOK GOOD NAKED!

3) Celebrate my success - I'm still the smallest size I've ever been as an adult; I feel great; I've come a long way and I REFUSE to turn back!

4) "Reality check" myself to keep perspective - it didn't take me a week to put the weight on so why should I expect to lose it in a week?; I won't starve or die if I don't have bread. Honestly, it's just bread!; Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure run rampant on both sides of my family. Is that ice cream really worth the risk?!?

5) Share the journey - people want to help and have good suggestions for keeping me focused; everyone has their own personal challenges. Me blogging about my challenges just helps to remind people they aren't alone!

Well poppits, it's time to go to bed. Thanx, again, for listening to my story! I will leave you with one question...

What are your "golden rules"?

(a)yt xox