Failure is a part of life. You can call it whatever you want, a setback, an emotional let down, a breakup, a loss, but part of the reason why the experience is so incredibly painful is because at some level you feel you failed. You might be reluctant to admit this even to yourself, so you outwardly you label it as growing pains or transition; however, inwardly you’re a mess.
I was at a big stand up paddling race with my friend Bill, watching the pros battle it out for the big bucks in the sprint race. I was amazed at how deftly they could maneuver at high speed around the 8 cones on the course, zipping through 180-degree turns while simultaneously surfing 4-foot tall waves.
I was scared to death of waves and equally afraid of the turns, so I always stayed away from races that had a lot of either. As the race leaders rounded the cone closest to the beach, I asked Bill why the pros were so much better than we were, and without hesitation he said, “they’re not afraid to fall in”. Continue reading →
I live in Los Angeles, City of Angels. Aside from the angels, it’s home to entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, geniuses, doctors, the super rich. If magazines are a battleground of comparison for America, the people in those pictures walk around Los Angeles in real life.
I am 5 ft. tall. My dad is from Honduras so the likelihood that I will ever be tall and blonde is zero. I didn’t go to an Ivy League college. I don’t even know that my college would qualify to be labeled by any kind of plant life. I say all that to say that it’s very easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else has and who they are. It’s easy to overlook what I have to offer and that while I will likely never be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, I am no less a unique work of art, the only one of my kind now and forever.
I want to commit the 10 minutes before I walk out the door for the day
meditating on that concept.
I want to focus on being a better human.
I want to appreciate what I have to work with.
I want to take the focus off things I have no control over (other people, places or things) and not make them my competition or enemy.
I want to stop striving for perfection or to be first in line or someone’s choice because that’s not the point of anything.
All this striving to get ahead? It’s pointless if it doesn’t get us somewhere good. So I plan on refocusing this week. And you? How are you striving? What are you striving after?
FYI- Every Monday Intent.com features intents set by our users in our weekly newsletter so you can get involved! Next week is about fantasies so head to Intent.com and post in our Inspiration category. And if you have a project or idea you’d like to spread the word about Email MeLissa@Intent.com! We want to help!
Where I am concerned, my Dad’s heart is always on his sleeve. He is so grounded in truth, so deep in his thinking, and so moral about humanity that I wonder how I got so lucky! Of course he doesn’t see it that way, and wonders instead how he got so lucky to have me. We have been through a lot together over the years, and in his “lead by example” way I have learned so much from him that I have taken into my own adulthood. My favorites:
1. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You never know what kind of day someone is having and what they’re going through. Know that most bad moods, angry words, or scowling faces have nothing to do with you. Put yourself is someone else’s shoes when you can and try to see life from another’s perspective.
2. Don’t judge someone by what color their hair is, what their job is, how many tattoos they have, or who their parents are. Just because they don’t fit a socialized mold of “acceptable” doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the most caring humans you might ever meet.
3. Every dream and every goal is attainable no matter how far out of reach it may seem at the time. Break down your dream into small steps. Do three things a day that will lead you closer to your dream.
4. Religion is a personal decision and something to be used with respect and love. Don’t push your beliefs, or your lack of belief, on anyone else. We simultaneously walk our path alone and together, and each person has their own way to self-discovery and their own definition of “divine.”
5. Your past is not an excuse for your present. Not. An. Excuse.
6. Don’t hide who you are just to make the people around you more comfortable. You have every right to shine and to be yourself, because yourself is pretty fabulous!
7. Be dedicated to your body and your health. Life is so much easier when the body is whole.
8. “Disappointments, failures, weakness, making wrong decisions and mistakes are all part of life. Some of the most valuable life lessons come from these times,” taken verbatim from a letter sent to me in college from my Dad.
9. When your family needs you, really truly needs you, drop absolutely everything and go to them.
10. Anything worth doing has a certain amount of fear associated with it. Don’t be afraid of that fear and know that moving forward can be scary. Again, taken verbatim from a letter my Dad gave me upon high school graduation…”As you head in a new direction in your life, don’t let fear keep you from moving ahead. Moving forward can be scary because you are going into the unknown. Staying where you are is usually safe and comfortable but you never get anywhere. You have so many qualities that will take you anywhere you want to go.”
Above all…always let your kids know you support them one thousand percent, no matter what they do, where they go or who they become. They need you and life is a whole lot easier to manage with that kind of love.
Have you ever wanted to give up on something that you really, really wanted because it was just too darn hard to keep trying?
You can’t run one more step, write one more word, endure one more dead end? Join the club.
Can I Sit Down Now?
But, before you throw in the towel, there’s something you should know.
People who succeed at getting what they want in life aren’t smarter, more talented, or luckier than you.
They just might have something psychologists call grit: the ability to keep going no matter what. Grit, it turns out, may be one of the most powerful ingredients in your success recipe.
I’m not talking about trying endlessly to reach a goal where the chance of victory is close to zilch, like opening an ice cream shop in Antarctica. Although never say never.
I’m talking about the grit you need to stay on your healthy diet, save money, or start that business. Grit is different from willpower, the ability to focus for snippets of time, say, just long enough to resist that cookie. Grit is willpower’s big brother. It’s endurance for the long haul; the stamina to keep going even when you stumble.
I Want Some Grit, Please
When I was writing my doctoral dissertation, an intense research project that was my final step before getting my PhD, I needed a giant dose of grit.
That’s because the dissertation experience can be pretty grueling. I’d met students who were in dissertation-anxiety support groups, and I’d watched exhausted graduates–sporting newly spawned gray hair–lumber down the aisle to finally accept their diplomas, some after ten years. It was clear; I was going to need some serious stick-to-itiveness if I wanted to make it to graduation before my social security benefits kicked in.
Santa To The Rescue
My own grit arrived in an unexpected flash of inspiration. In the midst of a late night writing session, I suddenly remembered a television show my brothers and I watched every year at Christmastime called “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town.” In the show, there was a song I never forgot called Put One Foot In Front Of The Other.
I suddenly realized that to complete my dissertation, that’s exactly what I needed to do: put one foot in front of the other. Rather than looking at the enormity of the task ahead of me, I needed only to write one word, one paragraph, one page at a time. If I could do that–over and over again–I could find my grit and finish my dissertation.
To remind myself, on the wall over my computer, in big blue letters, I taped the words “Darlene, Put One Foot In Front Of The Other.” When I felt my spirits sag or there was a unexpected detour, I looked up at those words on the wall. I pushed ahead–one step at a time–and made it all the way to graduation day.
You Can Do It!
Are you chasing a dream that feels distant? Or do you want to improve your life in some way, but it’s hard to stay on track? I know it’s tough to keep going when you’re alone on your path or the road ahead is unclear.
That’s why I want to share with you the 3-minute video clip that inspired me. Watch it, and remember its simple message: put one foot in front of the other. Those words were so encouraging to me, they’ve since become my personal mantra. No matter where you’re headed–one step at a time–that’s how you’ll get there.
Sam Keen had a great line, “You are caught by what you are running from.” Genius.
We attempt to structure our lives to avoid our fears but that’s about as intelligent as straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic. The best way to overcome a fear is to face your fear. As a matter of fact, every time we do something we’ve been avoiding, we take back the power that seemingly scary or difficult thing had over us.
Every Leader Without a Title and world-class Productive runs toward what they are most resisting versus toward the exit door. They feel the fear of tackling a game changing project and do the project anyway. They acknowledge the sweaty palms before the high-stakes presentation, and give the presentation anyway. They experience the runaway heartbeats accompanying asking for the biggest order in the history of their company, and they ask anyway. And that’s what makes them great.
Perfectionism is particularly harmful because brain research shows that at birth, the brain is "wired" to track success and discard failure. But perfectionism focuses exclusively on failure–you didn’t do it right, you idiot–so we never learn and continue to create exactly what we don’t want to.
W. Timothy Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Work and other books, notes that we can change any habit if we "take off our judgmental glasses" and simply increase our awareness of what we are doing. Awareness without self-judgment, he claims, creates change all by itself because the brain is a self-correcting mechanism. The more we just notice to ourselves, for instance, “Oh there I go again, being so worried about doing it right that I’m not doing anything at all,” as if we were a newspaper reporter objectively stating just the facts, the more the behavior will disappear. The trick is to do it without beating ourselves up.
Think of it this way. When a baby taking her first steps falls, she doesn’t say to herself, “Stupid baby, you just fell over.” Rather, she just picks herself up, incorporates the learning, and tries again. That’s why she learns so quickly. We can begin to get ourselves off the perfectionist meat hook by understanding that when we treat ourselves to the same encouraging manner we use with a child learning algebra or a new sport, we actually increase our capacity to do things well.
That’s how my friend Allison broke free. One day, she heard her five-year-old daughter cry out “I can’t do anything right!” after failing to separate an egg properly. Says Allison, “I heard myself, and I knew history would repeat itself unless something changed. I took her in my arms, dried her tears, and urged her to try, try again.” After that incident, she began telling her daughter, “Oh well, mistakes happen.” Soon she was saying it to herself as well.
Secretly, I’m afraid we won’t raise the money. But it’s okay. I can plow through that fear. We’ll raise the money, and everything will be okay. We’ll raise the money and stand the business up. We’ll have to hit our targets, get the customers in the door, run hard with the marketing plan. Yeah, it’s scary. What if they don’t come? What if they come but don’t buy? What if they buy, but not enough? It’s okay, I can manage that fear. It’ll work. I’ll make it work and everything will be okay. We’ll do this.
What if you don’t do it? What if you, say, "fail"? Does that mean that fear wins? How much do you need to be more than "okay"?
While we’re busy managing fear, fear can be managing us. It’s still creeping in, grabbing at our pant leg, begging to be paid attention to. And fear can always find a reason to get your attention – that’s it’s job – to get you to feed it. But what about the flu? (feed me!) But what about the market? (feed me!) But what about ten years from now? (feed me!) But what will they think? (feed me!)
Beyond coping with fear there is fearlessness. Because, here’s the white hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off key, get beat by the competition, have to hand in the keys, you will still be okay. Ask anyone who’s been through it. They’re more than okay. People survive and they learn to thrive. It’s life. It’s business.
Don’t manage your fear. Lead your fear. Take charge. When fear climbs on your shoulder and starts nattering in your ear, here’s what you do: You stand as a master. You tell Scaredy Cat where you’re going, risks and all, and you convert Scaredy into a champion to help you get there. You say, lovingly but firmly (because ultimately the Scaredy Cat in you just wants some love and you’ve got plenty of it to give,) "Yep, we may fail, it’s possible. This is risky stuff. But we’ll still be okay. Because that’s who we are. We’re the kind of people that are okay, no matter what. So remember that invincibility and let’s get to work. There’s a new land to discover and the only way to find it is to keep going – cliffs, cash flow, agony, adulation and all. If you keep your mouth shut and your eyes wide open, we’ll get there sooner. We’re doing this. We’re doing this because we want to. Because this is what it means to do life."
And then watch what Scaredy Cat does. She’ll look perplexed for a minute. She’ll nuzzle up, as if to say thank you. And then she’ll strut down the street to help you recruit some new business.
Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com … which has been called the best place online for kick-ass spirituality. An inspirational speaker and CBC TV commentator, Danielle helps entrepreneurs rock their career with her signature Fire Starter Sessions. You can find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte
Researchers from Duke University show that back pain is usually caused by a person’s immunity attacking the disc in the same way that it attacks invading germs, not by a broken disc pressing on a nerve. They found that people with back pain associated with damaged discs have high levels of Interleukin-17, produced by your immune lymphocytes and known to cause asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
The natural history of back pain from "disc disease" usually starts after you hurt your back. You often appear to recover after several weeks or months of pain. However, the back pain can recur any time later, even many years after your original back problem.
The bones of your spine are separated by pads called discs. When you hurt your back, you can crack the outer layers of a disc, so the softer inner layers protrude through the cracks into the spinal canal. The softer inner layers of a disc normally are not exposed to the immune system. So the human immune system does not recognize it as self and attacks it in the same way that it attacks invading bacteria and viruses. The protruding inner portions of the disc then swell to press against nearby nerves to cause pain. This research implies that the immune reaction that attacks the protruding broken inner portion of the disc causes the disc to swell and press on nerves. The authors
feel that the pain is not caused primarily by broken pieces of a disc pressing on nerves so it is incorrect to use the common term "slipped disc".
If this is true, future treatment for disc disease would be to inhibit the lymphocytes that make interleukin-17. This would allow the treatment to reduce pain without blocking the body’s ability to prevent infections and tumors. Either way, surgery for "disc disease of the back" has among the highest failure rates of any surgery today.
Do you think it’s possible to not trust someone and not even be consciously aware? A month ago I’d have been certain it wasn’t possible. Today, my mind is shifting and wondrous feelings are coming at me so fast I don’t know if I recognize them all. It’s energizing and humbling at the same time. I thought I was broken. As in, certain biological functions were lost to me, that I had missed the boat per se.
Back in the day, I was so needy and insecure that faking it was second nature because I didn’t want to give anyone reason to leave me. Pathetic I know. But true none the less. When my firstborn’s father threw the switch and I had my first real ‘event’ I became his slave for life. My body and mind screamed “MORE” and I guess more was too much. My last real ‘fireworks show’ was in 1986. No that is NOT a typo. 24 years ago, wow – I better move on (I’m starting to get depressed). I realize now that needy and insecure coupled with desperate and green were a devastating repellant for what I then thought I needed most. Love. Inexorably confused in my immature heart and brain, so cliche in retrospect; love equalled sex. It doesn’t, but back then it did.
After fireworks guy left me and my son was born, I was disappointed to learn that just because someone flipped my switch, it wasn’t automatically “on” with everyone. I know, I know – many of you are reading this thinking “Is she for real?”, “How naive can one person be?”. The answers are yes and very, respectively. In another post I’ll have to explain a little more of my background but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, not only wasn’t it “on” – I started wondering if it disappeared entirely! Women weren’t supposed to peak until their 30’s, so at 19 I was wondering if I could be a freak of nature? Ho hum, ho hum – it was back to faking it for me.
No one has since come close to manifesting the big O for me. I might start to get there, but evidently it was a very elusive, ummm, creative, um circumstance… You get the idea. Regretfully, I had no support system, no one I could ask and feeling broken at such a young age is very isolating. A couple years later my almost-ex husband found me and I continued to fake it for the majority of our 20 years together. I say majority not because he was able to take me to the top but because toward the end I just didn’t care enough to fake it anymore.
Or maybe I started caring about me more. Finally… Hmmmm, that will require further analysys. But, again, I digress. We separated 18 months ago and in the past two weeks, simply by intercepting a call for my son, I’ve experienced such sexually charged emotion through phone conversation that it has been amazing. My first instinct when it started was to run from it. Instead I took a deep breath and allowed it to wash through me. Not fighting it, not encouraging it, simply experiencing it with intent was amazing.
The rationalizing started the next day. Again, facing each moment with intent – no expectations, no judgement, no need for permission – was and is empowering. In my more somber moments recently, it ran through my mind that I trust my caller more than I would have thought possible. The anonymity may play into that (another thing to think about…) but I trust him. I feel comfortable enough to just be me. I knew that in the last several years I no longer trusted my husband. In experiencing new trust however, I look back and realize that I stopped trusting my husband very close to the beginning of our relationship and I didn’t even recognize it for what it was.
I can say with absolute certainty that I will be all of me, no faking allowed, from here on out. I will wake up each day with the intent of being the best and most of me that I know how to be. I intend to face each day with integrity and banish the sense of failure and shame I’ve wrapped around me like a shield. I intend to build a life full of the promise of intent and the wonderment of following through. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. Intent.com – who knew?
I can be silly again too. Me – silly. Not the comedic relief I’ve developed over the years but actually silly! Anyway, I had to look it up on Wikipedia to be sure but since he’s 12 years younger than me, if I allow the next phase to evolve, I’ll be a ‘cougar”. RaWR… or maybe PuRR… We’ll have to see which suits me – maybe both or neither.
Well, after a short break on Intent.com, I’m refreshed and ready to finish my workday with focus and mindfulness.
I’m so glad you could join me. This is KrisSalys – still emerging, still becoming…