Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

What Do They Think?

Written by Kate • September 14, 2011 •

Image Thanks to Christian Revival Network

I was on the phone today with a friend who is making some decisions in his life. He knows what he wants, he knows how to get where he wants to go, and he’s got a plan. The one thing that is holding him back is the worry and fear he has for what “they” will think. Will “they” think he’s being silly pursuing this dream? Will “they” still be his friends? Will “they” disapprove and think badly of him?

“They” have a lot to say and “they” can rule your life if you let them.

Who are “they”, though?

“They” are voices you hear in your head that are, in fact, all the worries, fears, criticism and negativity you’ve ever encountered, both from yourself and from others in your life, that has stuck with you. “They” are the thoughts and ideas that keep you living small.

I had a run with what “they” thought recently myself and I was glad to experience it again so I could banish it from my mindset.  I got a speeding ticket in town the other day. I was trying to play an audible book on my iPhone and I wasn’t paying attention. After I got the ticket, I drove away and realized I was feeling a surprising sense of shame about the ticket.

So I examined my thoughts, as Byron Katie would advise, and I realized that I was thinking about what “they” would think. As in, “they” will think badly of me because I got this ticket. I shook off the belief by going through the exercises below, pulled another part of my power into my own solar plexus [having unknowingly left this little bit external to me for too long], and continued on my way, stronger for the experience. I was actually happy I got the ticket. How else would I have known I thought that?

If you realize that you care too much about what “they” think, here are some tips I’ve used to overcome the feeling that I’ve just failed to live up to some unknown rule:

#1.- Ask yourself who “they” are.  Sometimes the voice of what “they” would think is actually something I would imagine my mother, my friend, my sister, my partner, or some specific person in my life would say to me if they were with me physically in the moment.  It can help to know you’re channeling your mom’s voice from 20 years ago, for example.

And once you know who they are, you can actually have a conversation with that person [in your head] and let them know that they no longer have the power to control your actions. And ask yourself if “they” would really want you to live your life in small and unhappy ways based on something they said but that you interpreted differently than what they said. And if the answer is no, then you can wrap yourself in the feeling that really, “they” want you to be your best. And if the answer is yes, they do want you to live small, then it’s time for you to do some work on being OK with disappointing people and removing the power they have over you. You’ll have to do that at some point any way. So why not now?

#2.  Ask yourself why what “they” think is more important that what you think. This one may seem obvious but what it really does is get at your need for approval, your deep fears of rejection or not being good enough, and your sense of personal power [or lack thereof]. The answer to the question about why what “they” think is more important than what you think is a true sign post to what’s going own with you and your power center.

#3. Feel where the power of worrying about what “they” think is. You can almost feel that when you worry about what “they” think -or a specific person in your life- you’ve given your power away. Your power over the situation is external to you and that’s why you feel so shaky about going against what “they” will think.  Once you’ve gone through the thought exercise of points 1 and 2 above, imagine absorbing the power that had been outside of you right into your third chakra, your solar plexus, and owning the decision on how you’ll proceed.  With this act of pulling your power into you, you’ll feel surprisingly more powerful and grounded than you had.  It can be a bit of a rush!


What Are You Doing For Approval?

Written by Kate • September 8, 2011 •
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ApprovedWhat will you do for approval? If you’re not sure how far you’ll go or if you’re living a purpose-filled life, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you ignore what your gut and heart are telling you?
  • Do you allow someone else to tell you how to live your life? How to spend your day?
  • Do you live in fear of disappointing others?
  • Do you ignore your own dreams in order to keep the peace?
  • Do you play small and waste your life thinking you need someone’s approval before you follow your dreams?

No? Are you sure? The following are 4 ways to know if you’re following your dreams rather than living in order to gain approval.

Approval Not Required

#1. You know what it’s like to disappoint and worry others and it’s OK.  One of the easiest ways to disappoint others or make them worry  is by listening to your own internal guidance.  If you haven’t regularly disappointed a lot of people in your life, that you’re not living your own life.

#2. The phrase “keeping the peace” doesn’t resonate with you at all. If you’re still working on keeping the peace with your husband, boyfriend, partner, Mom, Dad, or sister about how you spend your time, what you do with your day, and  even sometimes what you think about and explore, then you still care more about what they want than what you want.  Because when you’ve gotten to the place in your life that you know how to follow your own road, there is no peace to keep. It’s already peaceful because you’re living your purpose. The people in your life are supportive of your path or they’ve fallen silent [or away]. Following your purpose helps you see who supports you and you is holding you back because of their own fears and limiting beliefs.

#3. You have a clear sense of where you’re going and why. To know in your gut, in your heart that you’re on the right path means you’ve veered down a few wrongs paths, turned around, and started again.  The only way to have clarity about your purpose, about your why is to have begun to act on the knowledge of what you want to do in this world. When you’ve acted on your beliefs and made changes in your life that are map to your own ideas , you stopped living for another’s approval.

#4. You’re often a little bit scared. You know that you’re expanding your life, living a bit bigger each week, reaching for new and better opportunities the more scared you are. And it’s great to be a little scared with what you’re daring to do. And it means you’re risking disapproval, failure, and change.  A little bit scared means you’re exactly on the right path.

If you’ve just realized that you’re sacrificing too much of yourself to keep someone else’s approval, it’s ok. We all start there! Just begin to ask yourself why their approval means so much to you, why their way of living life is more valid than how you want to live,  and if their approval is worth the pain of living such a small life.  Then take one small step towards living how you want to live. Go out with your friends on your own. Spend the evening in your room by yourself. Get up early and write a poem. And then incorporate another habit that resonates with the life you want to live..and then another and another.

It all adds up to a big, sparkly life that makes YOU happy.*

*Isn’t that what someone who truly loves you would want for you?

Trying Something Out of the Ordinary – I loved it!

Written by Kate • August 3, 2010 •
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I’ve been exercising regularly for most of my life. My Mom put me in various sports when I was a child, including gymnastics and soccer. I tried a lot of them but only soccer held my interest. I loved loved loved playing soccer and ended up playing at least one season a year from ages 6 to 18 years old. After graduating high school, I timidly tried out for my college’s soccer team but felt it was too tight knit a group and I felt quite intimidated and not very welcome, and truth be told, I was in relatively terrible shape. I remember being so winded during the sprint exercise and I definitely felt my “teammates” sense of disapproval at my time trials. Nonetheless, I made the team but with my conditioning, I never started a game. And with the continued sense of being an outsider, I just stopped showing up at practices and I’m not sure if anyone ever minded. I didn’t get any follow up, “where are you, Kate?” phone calls.

I soon began to miss the exercise however and started to run around the track, going for time rather than speed as in I’ll run for 30 minutes rather than saying I’ll run 3 eight-minute miles. I find it hilarious, in retrospect, to think of the start of my solo sports adventures, to think of me exercising in my sophomore year as I would get up in the morning, shower, spend a good 45 minutes on my hair, getting it shellacked all to hell with hair spray and then walk 40 minutes to campus only to run another 45 minutes and shower again, taking care not to ruin my “do”, in which nary a hair had moved since first shellacking it more than two hours prior.

I became, at age 18, a runner and I loved it. I had no plan, no goal, just the love of exercise, the sport, and being out “there”.

Nearly 10 years later, while I was serving in Peace Corps in West Africa, Benin to be specific, after close to two years of being away, I came home to attend my sister’s wedding. Side note, thanks again Chris for the miles on Delta and for making it possible for me to attend my sister’s wedding! While in California at my parent’s place, the ancestral manse, and going through monster amounts of culture shock, I decided to go running to clear my head and get grounded. My sister-in-law, who’d also flown in for the wedding – but from Indiana- asked if she could accompany me on my 5 mile run. I was more than a bit surprised as Cathy is a far faster runner than I have ever been and typically ran a sub 7-minute pace. At that time, I was happy with my 9-minute pace. I explained the obvious about my 9-minute pace. I’ll never forget, she said, “No that’s ok, I need to keep pace with a slower runner since I’m not supposed to run fast”. You see, she was 6 months pregnant at the time. So we hit the road, running together the whole time at her easy, breezy 9 minute pace and me realizing that perhaps my 9 minute pace was a big too difficult for me and perhaps I really ran an average of 9.5 minutes. She was enjoying the “slow” run and I was sucking wind. What a great lesson in perspective.

Here I am, 13 years later. I no longer run even a 9 or 9.5 or even a 10 minute pace. I’m down to an 11 minute pace and I’ve been hit with plantar fasciitis too, for the better part of two years. 8 months after having been treated for it, I am now back to running 5 to 6 days a week. But then I thought, what about that life long dream of being in truly peak conditioning? Why continue on my same steady state running/cycle lifestyle? What’s wrong with running with intensity for shorter periods of time and working my way up to 30 minutes again but at a greatly increased average speed? Let’s try it!

So last week, I took my scheduled 15 minutes of running and hit the treadmill instead. As I was beginning my run, I wasn’t even sure I could run a 7 minute mile for even a few seconds. I got nervous that maybe my plan was too ambitious and began thinking “but what if I can’t do it?” And instead of chickening out, I thought, we’ll know soon enough! You know what, I can run a 7-minute pace – for 30 seconds at a time. What a revelation! How fun! It was a lovely run. Three minutes warm up at a 10 minute pace, and then 10 minute of intervals of 30 seconds at 7 minutes and 1 minute at a 9.40pace, ending with 3 minutes of the 9.40 pace.

I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to be able to run a full mile at the seven minute pace but I’m excited to try it out.

If you don’t try it, how do you know you can’t do it? And as Steve Pavlina says, start with acts of courage that fit your current level of courage ability and begin training yourself to become more courageous with more bite sized efforts – appropriate to your level of training. It feels great!