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I had something happen to me today that reminded me how important it is to have boundaries.

And stick to them.

Far to often, whether or not I agreed with what I was being asked to do, I did it.  I didn’t question.  I did my job.  I did it 99% of the time with a smile.  I didn’t ask why.  Why didn’t matter.  Or, at least that’s what I thought.

Why matters.

I have had time to reflect on my career and what I’ve learned is that by being so agreeable, doing the job without raising to much of a fuss, being a “yes” woman and never questioning will make everyone around you happy.

Everyone around you.

Everyone but you.

I felt completely taken for granted.  Not valued.  And, you know what?  I finally decided that I was worth more than that.  I wanted needed to feel appreciated and valued and know that my work mattered.

The e-mail I received today reminded me of exactly why I left.

But, today was different.

Today, I put myself first.  Today, I protected my soul.  Today, I respected myself.

Today, I honored my boundaries.

That's Me On The Left!

 

13.1 miles

2 hours 29 minutes 51 seconds.

April 10, 2011

I used to look at those 13.1 stickers on cars with astonishment.  How could you ever run 13.1 miles at one time?  Without stopping?

I’ll never wonder again.

My first half marathon represents so much more than just a race.

13.1 represents a crowning achievement on my weight loss journey.  It began 2 years after I had my 2nd child.  I stepped on the scale one morning and was none to happy about the number that was staring back at me.  I wasn’t really surprised, I knew what I had been eating (everything).  So, I started walking on a track during my lunch break.  14 times around equaled 2 miles.  Every single day. I incorporated jogging.  I started doing some 5K races.  I changed my diet.  I never completely cut out anything from my diet, I simply ate the serving size.  I lost 30 pounds.

13.1 represents 2 years of finding balance.  Balance between 2 kids, my husband, work, friends and downtime.

13.1 represents strength.  So many days I didn’t feel like doing anything and many days I didn’t.  I didn’t get down on myself.  I did my best with the time I had available.

13.1 represents dedication to myself.  I wasn’t doing this to prove anything to anyone.  I did it for me.  For once, just me.

13.1 also represents heart.  The best part of my 13.1 was coming home and having my daughter ask if she could be in the next race with me.  We’re set to do a 2-mile run on May 1st.  I can’t wait.

To everyone out there reading, if your goal is to lose weight – start small.  Don’t do it for anyone – do it for YOU.  There isn’t a magic diet or a magic pill to lose weight.  Don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t have dessert.  Live your life, just live it responsibly.  Be healthy.  Be realistic with your goals.  Do what you can do.  Don’t get down on yourself.  Be an example for your kids.

13.1 represents pride.

 

Fear.

Fear is paralyzing.

Fear prevents you from trying new things.

Fear keeps you from speaking up.

Fear keeps you from being true to yourself.

Fear?  Screw you.

Fear has prevented me from doing all of those things.  I have been scared to make decisions for fear that I would disappoint someone.  Scared of the responsibility that comes with those decisions.  Fear has caused me to have so little faith in myself.  Why couldn’t I believe everyone around me who told me how great I did or how awesome that event was.  It was a constant internal struggle.

No more.

I’ve realized that my lack of confidence in making decisions was causing me to drift further and further from the person that I know I am.  The person that I want to be.  The person that I need to be.

There isn’t room in my life for fear.  If I want to inspire people to do big things or to have the confidence to make a difference or  to help solve problems – there is no room for fear.

So, what do you fear?  What’s holding you back?

Whatever it is, either slowly start pushing your fear aside or do what I did…make your mind up and just say:

Screw Fear.


Believe.  Believe.  Believe.

It’s been my mantra.

It’s what I need to get through the next couple months.

I don’t have any answers.

No solutions.

No real idea what I am really going to do.

But, I believe.

I’m at peace with my most recent choices.  I can feel it in my soul that it’s going to be okay.  I hope that if you are struggling with any decision, whether it’s personal or professional, that somehow you too can believe that things will work out.

In case I needed more proof, for fun I decided to add a Wordle to this post.  (Free and fun to do:  http://www.wordle.net/) .

Believe?  Yes. I. Do.

I believe that people are inherently good.

I believe that it’s time to stop using “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a reason for anything.

I believe it’s time for to start thinking of new, more efficient ways to work.

I believe in hard work.

I believe that you can have a good balance of work and home life.

I believe in having fun while you work.

I believe in sharing what you know in order to help others.

I believe in trusting others.

I believe in having values and not wavering from them.

I believe in honesty.

I believe in telling those you are closest to the hard truth.  Even if it hurts.

I believe in compassion.

I believe that its time for me to step-up.

I believe that when you find the right people you can accomplish anything.

I believe in great customer service.

I believe in never shutting someone down during a brainstorming session.

I believe in dreams.

I believe that in order to establish trust you need to be willing to share things about yourself.

I believe in grassroots efforts.

I believe in myself.

Tell me what YOU believe in.

I recently read a post by Scott Ginsberg called “How to Walk Away.”  If  you are struggling with that very decision, either personal or professional, I encourage you to read it.  Please click here.

Scott encourages you to watch out for the warning signs.  He says that people walk away for two reasons, “either because its hard, or because it’s right” and than gives you a list of warning signs to watch for.  One that he doesn’t list, but that has become a sign for me is:  If you’re the only one that can muster any positive energy in your office, it’s time to walk away.

I’ve thought about walking away for a while.  I could give you a list of reasons why I haven’t starting with:  it’s hard.  Really hard.  But the person I’ve become, or the person I can be, is not someone I even like.  I could use the space to tell you all the insanely stupid things that have happened, but anybody can do that.  I don’t want to be that person.  Sure, I still need to vent occasionally, but it feels so much better to keep my chin up, get the work done, and when the time is right – walk away.  I also learned from reading this that while you’re leaving something by walking away, you’re gaining something back in self-respect.  To the end, I decided to write a pledge to myself.

I pledge….

to have respect for myself by speaking up when I have an opinion.

to help find solutions for problems rather then just pointing them out.

to always give it my all.

to be a good listener and open to criticism, even when its hard to hear.

to not be afraid of change or willing to change.

to trust that those who are around me will always do their best.

to walk away from the people who don’t.

to take time for myself and not feel guilty about it.

to trust my gut.  Its usually right.

to be patient.  Remember, things take time.  Do it right.

to own up to mistakes.

to not be afraid to fail.

to laugh every day.

Are you contemplating walking away?  What’s holding you back?  Have you made a personal pledge?

I just got back from my daughter’s soccer game.  It was hard fought.  We didn’t bring home the win, but I don’t think there is anything cuter than a bunch of 6-year old kids playing soccer.

I’m grateful for lots of things in my life, but tonight I just feel lucky.  Lucky that I got to sit by one of my favorite parents.  See, the thing is, she’s not just a cool mom I like to hang out with, no, it’s more than that.  I know I could learn so much from her.

She’s smart.

She’s quick.

She’s easy to talk to.

She’s doing what she wants to be doing.

She’s great at it.

She’s got a heart of gold.

She’s a great mom.  (Trust me, she’s got some of the friendliest and kindest kids.)

We were talking about jobs and happiness and what she’s working on and she gave me the greatest advice.

I have a hard time focusing on the ‘what’ I want to do.  People ask me, I can’t really give them a clear and concise answer.  Instead of focusing on that answer, she told me to start focusing on, and more importantly writing down, what a perfect day would look like for me.

My perfect day would look something like this:

1.Take the kiddos to school/daycare.

2.Go for a run.

3.Meet with a client (I’m picturing small business or non-profit organization) to talk about how to engage more with customers or donors/potential donors using social media as a tool.

4.Work. Hard.

5. Meet back in the middle with the family, have dinner together…

Yeah, making that list just made me realize something.  I’m not asking for much.  This is a completely attainable list.  I will get there.  I truly believe that once you start saying things out loud, somehow, somewhere, someway things will start to happen.  Telling someone your dream makes you stay on track.  Makes you believe that you can (and will!) make it.

Thanks friend, for good conversation, for the advice and for helping me stay focused.  You rock.

I found my way back to the treadmill.  I *think* I missed it.  From the obvious benefits of better health and losing weight, the treadmill has almost become a new friend for me.  It’s such a great way to get lost in my thoughts and to think very clearly (okay, more clearly) about my life, my career, and what I want to be when I grow up.  I mean, seriously…does anyone really know?  As I run, I keep thinking about people who seem to be happy, people who are always complaining about something, people that appear to be doing exactly what they want to be doing and those well, that aren’t.

I recently wrote a post about things that make me happy.  (http://ow.ly/3IMi5).  I keep coming back to the thought of happiness because I’ve been told that “it’s easy to be happy when you don’t really deal with anything.”

Interesting.  Thanks for that.

Wait.  Do I live in a perpetual state of denial? .

I don’t think so.

What good does it do to let something or someone affect your state of happiness when there isn’t really anything that you can do about it?  There are things in the news every day that make me sad.  There are things that have happened in my life that will stay with me forever.  I’ve lost friends to car accidents, I’ve watched our close friends bury their child, I’ve grown apart from a friend I never thought I would.  I can remember experiencing sadness that at times I didn’t think would ever end.  But, as time went on and the pain slowly (s-l-o-w-l-y) eased day by day, I was able to to start seeing things and feeling things and doing things that made me feel better.  And, while those moments will be with me forever, they won’t stop me from being a happy person.

What do you think?  Can a person choose to be happy?

No matter how crazy work gets.

No matter how crazy family can be and will continue to be.

No matter how bad the news gets.

No matter how bad the stress of being a full time working mom gets.

No matter the amount of personal stress I put on myself to be a better blogger or Tweeter.

No matter what.

I know that this choice is easier for some than others.  I think people only have enough room for a limited number of emotions.  It’s like an upside down triangle with the emotion you’re feeling the most on top (the biggest space) and as you move your way down there is less and less space for other feelings.  Make sense?  The space will move and shift depending on the day, or the week or even the year.  But, it’s up to us, to YOU, to choose where we’re going to fit happiness in.  It won’t always be on the top, but, please don’t let it always be at the bottom either.

What are you going to choose today?

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