I am Second! It’s ok I didn’t do my best today!

I am Second

 

It’s been some time since I’ve last written anything, sometimes I don’t know what to write, so I elect not to. That’s the great thing about writing though, sometimes the end result isn’t what you initially imagined. Sometimes you just have to show up and you can inspire others even if you don’t think it feels right. Besides I don’t write for me, I write because someone else might need the encouragement, so why should it matter if I feel motivated about the topic! I was speaking to a friend yesterday, and she was beating herself up for not feeling like her best, she felt that her day was wasted and it just “totally sucked.” My first response was to laugh, because the day wasn’t over yet, it was only 3pm. To me it sounds like there was still plenty of time to turn the day around. In one of the latest articles I posted, I talked about someone who was in prison, and despite his circumstances, he still found time to be positive. Happiness is a state of mind, it’s not dictated by your circumstances. So what if you woke up late, if you didn’t get the start to the day you wanted. That’s just the start, there’s still plenty of time to be positive and change your attitude. This brings me to my words of encouragement:

Always do your best

There are days when you don’t feel well, and then days when you feel that you can conquer any obstacle in your way. So each day do the best that you’re capable of, if you can only do 40% then do all of it. If you can do more tomorrow, then do that. I learnt this from the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. When you do the best you can, it puts a lid on the judge, you find it harder to blame yourself for not feeling like you’re enough. For this to work though you have to embrace that sometimes you’re not going to be at 100%, and it’s ok, it’s not an excuse but just learning that you have limits. Taking up this philosophy has freed me from the burden of guilt. Yesterday I didn’t feel like going out, I was tired and wanted to stay in, so I embraced it. I was able to encourage my friend when she needed it (I didn’t initially listen to my inner voice, I thought about texting her, and decided not to, then she texted me later and said she was having a bad day. I almost missed out on the opportunity). I also had a really great conversation with my mom about life and faith, but that’s because I embraced that I wasn’t feeling like going outside, so I did as much as I could do inside. Even though you’re not feeling great, doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish something great (feel free to tweet that one)

I AM SECOND

Not winning first place isn’t always a bad thing, you showed up to the race, yes someone was better than you. Sometimes being humble and acknowledging that you gave it your all is the bigger winner than being first. The stories that got the most traction in theWinner Podium 2014 Olympics weren’t of the people who got first, there were many stories about athletes who helped others. How their great sportsmanship was an inspiration to others. I use the term I AM SECOND to acknowledge that I am not an island, anything great I do isn’t of my own accord, whether it’s my faith or someone offering an encouraging word. Even the athletes who make it to the Olympics, it’s not of just their natural talent, they were coached and also encouraged by their parents. I AM SECOND because I’m not perfect, I have my flaws, but those flaws makes me human not broken. I AM SECOND because I believe that there is a higher power out there, I call it my faith in God. I AM SECOND because I enjoy alcohol from time to time, I give into temptation and sin, and I even lie sometimes. I’m not perfect, but I believe I was beautifully made, and even in my flaws there is grace and and encouragement that helps me lift up others. I AM SECOND because I choose to not put Money, Sex, Drugs, Alcohol and Stuff as my God. I believe that there is a higher power that holds all of the Universe together, there are too many amazing things that happen for me to think that it’s all just a random coincidence. There is nothing random about thinking of a specific person and a specific problem, only to talk to them and find out that you’re right. I think it’s one of the greatest fallacies that we can do it ALL on our own, at every stage you’ve gotten help from someone. I think we should all acknowledge and give thanks, even for the bad stuff, because we don’t know what worse situation that action prevented us from being in.

What about you, how can adopting the attitude of doing your Best and not always putting yourself first change the way you feel about your life today.  What is Love, is it not putting the needs of another above yourself? Those love songs and poems do they say I love you let me go first, or I love you let me go first so I can face the danger for you. Love is self-less not selfish, love puts others first. So as you practice love isn’t it saying I AM SECOND? Freeing yourself from the thinking that doing your best is always giving 100%, acknowledging that you have limits helps you to free yourself from guilt. Adopting this practice helps you to feel like you’re enough, and that even if you’re not 100%, it doesn’t mean that you’re not giving your best, it doesn’t meant that you still can’t do something great and amazing.

Time to get my MOJO back!!!

motivation 2

 

It seems funny, but in an attempt to get motivated, I asked a friend if she can yell at me like a Drill Sergeant; I think she took me seriously too. I don’t talk about my Undergraduate Degree much, but I have a B.S. in Business Psychology. One of the things I’m most proud of with that degree, is that I got a chance to complete an Academic Paper. I interviewed participants, conducted my own original research, and stoped just short of the getting published part. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that my topic was on Motivation, specifically Workplace Motivation. I’ve written in previous posts that I feel like my life is in slow motion right now, I feel stuck and I’m not sure how to get out. I know that I’m moving in the right direction, but I feel like I’m getting passed my a snail right now. In my effort to get out and get some sunshine on this first day of spring, I thought about my research paper, since it’s on motivation, perhaps there’s something in there I can use.

In my research leading up to my paper, the first question I looked to answer is what is motivation. In their research Eccles and Wigfield (Motivational Beliefs, Values, and Goals, 2002), described motivation this way: “The Latin root of the word “motivation” means “to move”; hence, in this basic sense the study of motivation is the study of action”. In other words, motivation is what drives us to action. So one of the first things I thought of was that in order to not feel stuck, I will have to be moving, to act, to not sit on the sidelines. In another article Sinha and Sinha (Personal Growth and Training and Development, 2009) thought that the best way to become motivated, is by proper training. They believed that learning and practicing effective strategies was a good way to find and maintain motivation. So motivation is not something static, it takes practice, and it requires continued effort to maintain. The first topics ALL pointed to one outcome, in order to be motivated, it will require ACTION.

So action and practice is the outward manifestation of motivation, but what’s the source. In their research Cameron and Pierce (Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: Resolving the Controversy, 2002) believed that motivation originates from within. They believe that the most effective tool for motivation is it’s intrinsic value, meaning that the real effort comes from within you. Whether its a coincidence or not, it seems that no study on motivation doesn’t find a correlation with Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs Theory. Nair (Organizational Behaviour, 2010) conducted a study involving large corporations, and found that there were several indicators to high motivation, and they were comprised of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory which are: psychological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. Nair’s research concluded that as we accomplish the lower needs on Maslow’s pyramid, we gain higher levels of satisfaction. For me I feel as though I’m still working on my safety and social needs; I’m still looking for job and financial security. Therefore until I’m able to accomplish those needs, I will continue to feel as though I’ve more to accomplish. For me I find that I’ve always had a pull to find meaning in my life, and to be able to feels as though I’ve somehow contributed to humanity, or at least those close to me. Seems that I’m seeking to accomplish my esteem and self-actualization needs. One thing this last researcher has shown me is that at the bottom of the pyramid, it takes a lot more of those needs to feel satisfied, than it does with the ones at the top. Thinking back to my time in the Marines, I’ve always felt as though I was doing something that made humanity, or at the lest my country better. Now that I’m out of the Military, I find myself wondering “what now? how do I maintain that feeling?”

Knowing where you want your life to go is a good first step, but how do you get there. Setting goals for themselves was one of theMotivation key factors for motivation described by my participants. A good way to set goals would be by using S.M.A.R.T (S-pecific, M-easurable, A-ttainable, R-ealistic, T-ime sensitive) goals. Sorry I don’t have a specific reference for that one, learnt it in one of my Communication classes. For example making $1 million in the next year when you only make $12/hr is not a good goal. In contrast saving $1200 in the next year, by putting away $100 each month, because you have $500 left over each month is a great goal to set. Additionally my research found that having a strong support system also was very instrumental to accomplishing goals. It’s key to surround yourself with people who will encourage rather than criticize you, and help you when you fall down. A strong support system lead to higher levels of satisfaction with my participants. It’s important to emphasize that a strong support system means people who are capable of helping you, it’s pointless and frustrating to have people around you that you lean on who can’t help you.

Ok so what does all this research mean? First of all, motivation is action oriented, to be motivated you must be moving towards something. It requires good proven strategies. There are some lower level needs that you must accomplish first, you need to have certain safety and physiological needs met before you feel satisfied about social or esteem needs. In order to get to the end, you should have specific goals set. Although I have my work cut out for me, I’m confident that I’ll make it. The next chapter of my life isn’t going to be easy, but I have some good strategies to follow. Now comes the hard part, getting off my butt and actually doing something, you know the ACTION  part. I’ve learnt a valuable lesson this year, and that is you will always have people around you who are capable of helping you, you simply need to ask for help. I can’t do this all on my own, it will require dedication, specific goals, and accountability.

What about you, what helps you when you feel in a rut? What strategies have you found to be effective? I’d like to hear about them.

P.S. Oh by the way if you’re thinking that my references weren’t formatted correctly, you can’t dock me points for that, I wanted to show that I didn’t pull info from space!!!

I’m only as small as my view of my Life!

Earth from Moon

I feel as though this part of my journey through my life has come with some set-backs. I’ve been stuck looking at my life based on the things I would like to accomplish, I understand that we all have a purpose, and each person has a different role to play. I even understand and know that I’m right where I need to be, I’m here in this place because I’m needed here. I also accept that I’m here because I have the right resources and support to get through it. I believe that my best days are ahead, and that there is something amazing waiting for me ahead. Despite all of those positive thoughts, it doesn’t stop the thoughts about the things I’ve not accomplished from creeping into my mind. I will continue to move forward, taking it one day at a time. I decided to write today because I wanted to share the mental turmoil I seem to be struggling with. How do I re-frame where I am so that I can have a more positive outlook?

Rather than looking at my life from the perspective that I’m not married, have children, or own a home; after all those are some of the most important measures of success! I wanted to re-frame my view of my life, to see myself from a new view. This past weekend just about every conversation I’ve had, or blog post, or article I’veMilky Way read seems to point to one idea, sometimes you need to change your perspective. I was sharing some of my thoughts with my brother earlier in the week, he thought I was crazy for thinking the way I was. The way he saw it was that I’ve moved to a new City, found work to keep me here for 9 years, made new friends, and have began to fully understand who I am. For him, those are things worth being proud of. I did explain that I didn’t think I was a complete failure, it’s just sometimes negative thoughts seem to outweigh all the positive ones. By re-framing how we both saw the same situation, that got me thinking, and of-course I kept seeing that same message through-out the weekend. The one that resonates the most with me is from a TV show I saw today, COSMOS. In this show they explored our universe, and how it came to be. In the opening episode they talked quite a bit about our planet in relation to it’s position in the known Universe, and on the time continuum. When our existence is measured against such a vast back drop, we seem quite small. One of the concepts they spoke about that really got me thinking was from a Roman Poet Lucretius Carus; he suggested what was a revolutionary thought for his time. The universe can be viewed as being infinite, or it’s only has big we can see. He suggests that what we see is a kind of a wall that our arrow hits, and if we were to climb over that wall, our arrow would be shot off into infinity, or into another wall; then the process repeats itself.

Perhaps I’m at that wall right now, so when I climb over it, I could either go on into infinity, or come to face another wall. By looking at where I am as a wall, instead of being blocked by it, why not climb over it and see what lies ahead. That got me thinking of how we perceive happiness, most people think that once they’re married, have kids, or own a home, they will be happy. The reality is that once you’ve gained those things, you find that you have another wall to climb and peer over. In life there’s never a point where you’ve reached a destination in happiness, then you never have to face unhappiness again. What life has thought us is that happiness is in each moment, and we have to work to maintain it. I’m not satisfied with my life right now, so I should work to getting that satisfaction. There will be days when things are great, and there will be days when I struggle. Instead of coming up to a wall and just giving up, I have to climb over it, and see what lies ahead. With each new discovery, a wonderful new undiscovered world lies ahead.

As I got away from negative thoughts and started thinking more positively, I noticed a subtle change. I didn’t feel tense, angry or frustrated. There was a calming uplifting feeling, my muscles were less tense, and I felt this amazing happy feeling from deep within. Thinking positively had a healthy relaxing feeling on me, I din’t feel stressed and tense anymore. So aside from seeming crazy and annoying to people because you’re happy and don’t let negative thoughts get you down, thinking positive seemed to have a healthy effect. I understand that this is not a revolutionary thought by any stretch of the imagination; but for me it’s an acceptance of it’s benefits for me. What about you, how can changing your perspective help in your life? Are you viewing where you are as just from our solar system, perhaps you should be thinking bigger, maybe you should be looking at it from the Galaxy point of view. How can changing your perspective bring positive, and calming feelings to your life?

W.O.W!!

Double Rainbow

W.O.W!! Go ahead say it a few times, when’s the last time you stopped to take a look at something because it was just soo amazing? If you can’t remember the last time you said wow, then you should probably take a minute, step outside. Whether you’re spiritual or you don’t believe there’s a god, you have to admit, the universe is a pretty amazing thing. The millions of stars, the beautiful wonder and all the bright colors. Even our planet, just the right distance from the Sun, and so far scientists haven’t discovered another like it in the known universe. Wow that’s pretty amazing if you ask me. I was thinking of this today, about how amazing and mind blowing our planet is. The trees, the plants, birds, and all the creatures. They all have a purpose and they’re all perfectly made. I just sat there and thought of all the great things, and just had to say “WOW that’s so amazing.” Now I know you’re wondering “what’s that got to do with anything?” I heard about a video this weekend Yosemitebear Mountain Double Rainbow, now this person knows how to appreciate nature and all the wonderful things it gives us. Granted I don’t think any of us can appreciate it with his jubilance, you have to admit, he is really happy to see that rainbow.

IMG_0833[1]

When is the last time you were really excited about something, and not about getting that new Playstation, or that one thing you’ve wanted since it came out on the market. I’m not talking about items, or little trinkets that could be gone in a flash. When was the last time you saw something in nature, or a special someone, that made you say “I’m really happy to see you.” Now before I get too off topic, let me make my point. Are you happy with the things around you that are natural, do you take the time to enjoy your life? Do you appreciate the people around you? Do you think you’re perfect and wonderfully made? If you’re like me, you probably answered no to at least one or two of those questions. I brought up nature and the beauty of it, because let’s face it, a sunset is perfect, and so are the birds, and all the animals. Each has it’s purpose and it fulfills that purpose each day. Now we are obviously much smarter than all the animals, plants, and beasts of the wild. Look at all the amazing things we’ve done. Seriously how did someone think up how to make the device you’re reading this on. Have you ever visited a factory, look at all the wires, tubes, ducts, and machinery. Someone thought up every little part. WOW how amazing is that?

We each have our very own unique purpose, and we have a wonderful gift to share with the world. What if, even our faults have a purpose, what if those faults can be our triumph in the right situation. What if just like all those other wonderful things in the universe, we are too. Let’s face it if everything else is perfect just the way it is, why are we the exception. If anything we’re exceptional, look at all the great inventions other humans have come up with. As I was thinking about all the great things around me, that thought started creeping in, “yea those things are great, but you’re …” You know, the I’m not smart enough, or I’m not pretty enough, or I wish I was taller … As I was thinking about how wonderful everything around me is, I thought I should learn to appreciate what I have to offer, how wonderfully made I am, the gifts I have to offer the world. Learn to embrace all aspects of my life.Even being single could be a blessing, because let’s face it, the grass is always greener on the other side. If you’re interested check out  OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO… BE SINGLE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! If you believe that everything else is made perfect, then maybe, just maybe so are you. So let’s learn to embrace ourselves, our REAL SELF.

So what about you, what WOW moment did you have this week. I’d love to hear about it, and for once lets change the way we see ourselves. Just like that amazing Rainbow, or the beautiful sunset. We’re all perfect just the way we are. Take time to smell the rose, if the dog gets it, let’s not be left behind.

Stop smell the roses