on the right foot: questions and appreciation

a life lesson, a coaching gem, some insight from my own experiences, a question to get you thinking–what better day than monday for a positive post?

So, I have myself a stress fracture.

Whomp whomp.

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The doctor’s orders are as follows: Take 4 to 6 weeks off of anything weight bearing. If it hurts to walk, I’m supposed to use crutches. I might be in denial, but I think it’s starting to get better. When I don’t have pain, ease back into activity (starting with 30 seconds of running alternating with 4.5 minutes of walking for 30 minutes total). Eat a healthy diet to promote healing. Don’t throw a shit fit.

I added that last part, but it’s mostly a joke. I threw myself a one evening pity party (in the form of crying for a bit, blogging, reading magazines, and ignoring my cell phone) and then decided that it was time to call in my appreciator, which I introduced in a post last month.

Coaching yourself can sometimes be a lost cause, but I did come up with some questions to help me move from the “my life is over” perspective into a more empowering place. Naturally, I included my word vomit insight.

What’s the gift in this situation? or What’s possible as a result of this situation?

I’m going back to school in approximately a week, which means that the more time I have to get my shit together organized, the better. On that note, not being able to work out as much as I’d like to (I can’t fathom swimming as often as I’ve been going to CrossFit, doing yoga, running, and biking, etc.) means I’ll need to find other ways to use my energy and other ways to fill myself up (exercise is my happy time). On my list of options? Journaling, reading, baking, cooking, writing letters and cards to friends, making a vision board, learning to knit (attempt #4) and playing my violin.

Another gift is a break from training that will give me the time to reassess where I’m at. This summer was a whirlwind in terms of what I was training for and how I was exercising—from CrossFit to soccer to yoga to running to kind of training for triathlon to going on my Outward Bound trip—and to be honest I’m a bit overwhelmed with what I should be doing and more importantly, what I want to do. This is sort of like a chance to start over. I very well might come back and instead of trying to maintain 20 different activities just be able to add in the ones that I really want to.

Getting hurt and being out of the gym also provided me with the insight that I wrote about last week in terms of looking at my self esteem in a different way–and that’s a pretty big deal!

The timing’s also something I’m grateful for—thank goodness this didn’t happen before my trip to North Carolina, which would probably have meant I couldn’t go.

What’s the lesson in this situation?

I’m learning that my body can only take so much and that overdoing it will eventually wear me down. I have managed to stay pretty lucky in regards to injuries even when I was exercising compulsively, but this is a big reminder to take care of myself. Along with making sure that I’m training in a healthy and sustainable way, this is a really good time to make sure I’m giving my body the nutrition it needs.

Who can I become as a result of this situation?

I’m becoming a cranky bitch for the next 6 weeks smarter athlete. I’m becoming more patient. I’m developing an appreciation for the ability of my body to heal. I’m becoming a stronger person mentally and emotionally. I’m becoming more dedicated to taking care of myself.

This is the kind of work that helps me get through things that bum me out and is the fastest way for me to start to get over it and see the bigger picture. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, 4 to 6 weeks is not a big deal, even if I am bummed that I can’t do Tough Mudder. In reality, this is a little thing–stress fractures suck but they heal on their own.

this too shall pass

I saw a woman in a wheelchair not too long after I left the doctor–instant perspective. I spent the weekend with friends who I haven’t seen as much of as I’d like to this summer because a friend of mine received health news last week that reminded me that we can’t take our health for granted and that life isn’t always fair and health doesn’t always make sense.

And if self coaching myself with some powerful questions doesn’t work, I’ve always got music that kind of goes with the theme.

Have you ever had a stress fracture?
How do you deal with things that bum you out?

on the right foot: shit storms and silver linings

a life lesson, a coaching gem, a question to get you thinking–what better day than monday for a positive post?

Today, I’m going to share a coaching tool that I picked up that’s been helping me in my personal life a whole lot lately as well as a big insight that’s come up for me recently.

In coaching, we call upon clients to access their “Appreciator”:

“The Appreciator is your inner authority that appreciates everything, the dark and the light, the wins and the losses, and the failures and successes, all without judgment. Everyone has access to their personal Appreciator, but accessing it is a choice.”

If it sounds like a cute way to remind people to look for silver linings, you’re right. Drawing out and calling upon the appreciator is a conscious choice to take an empowering perspective on whatever situation you’re in and can thus be powerful stuff.

silver lining 1

Last week was a bit of a shit storm for me. With lots going on (packing up and making the trek to my cousin’s wedding over the weekend, getting my things together for my trip to North Carolina tomorrow, and trying to keep up all the training and writing and normal things I do plus my coaching, working at GFC, and finishing my article for Canadian Cycling Magazine), a couple of poopy things happened that were kind of the icing on a knock me on my arse cake. I won’t go into details (you can guess how personal they must be if I’m not willing to put them out there) but from having a bag filled with almost $200 of brand new gear for my trip go missing (stolen?) within an hour of buying it to some family stuff, my week was filled with things that stressed me out.

Luckily, in the midst of the shit storm that was last week, I found myself drawing on my appreciator. Doing so started out as a “how can I make this less shitty?” attempt (which led to jokes and a bit of ease) and then led to a pretty big realization.

As much as I wanted to beat myself up for buying ice cream or for wanting to eat all the chocolate in my apartment (and I will admit that I did turn to food a bit for comfort), I recognized in the process that I was entirely capable of taking care of myself—even in a really overwhelming situation. I was choosing to use food as comfort just like I could choose to use my journal, talking to a friend, or blogging—things that I then started opting for instead.

When I was journaling, I wrote down, “The world is conspiring against me.” I made jokes about how if I had a kitten, it would probably die. Not funny and certainly not empowering.

Bringing in more of my appreciator, something big dawned on me. Rather than thinking that the world was out to get me, I could choose a positive perspective. What if the world is “conspiring” in a different way?

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Sure, conspiring typically connotes a bad outcome. But that it’s “typical” suggests that there’s an another alternative, albeit a weird option! What came into my mind was the notion that the world could just as easily be conspiring to serve me in a big way. I changed “The world is conspiring against me,” to “The world is conspiring to serve my greatest good,” and got on with things.

I looked at the beauty in being slammed with a bunch of stressful things all at once and not crumbling.

I’ve spent a lot of time working on beliefs about success being scary. The number of ways I’ve held back and haven’t let myself be as wildly successful as I know I’m capable of in an attempt to keep myself safe makes me sad. Realizing, though, that it was this idea that being at the top is scary and my fear of getting there and falling that was holding me back—not self-sabotage or my lack of ability—gave me hope. All I needed to do was shift those beliefs, right?

barrier

When it comes to changing our beliefs, it’s safe to say that it can be easier said than done. But what I had on my hands last week was an opportunity.

I’d “fallen” and survived. I wasn’t crushed.

If I can fail without considering myself without considering myself a failure, if I can stumble without stopping, and if I am entirely capable of picking myself and getting on with things after getting knocked down, the prospect of success (and the risk it carries) is less terrifying.

That was a lot of words to sum this up:

  1.  Shit storms happen. Finding our appreciators and consciously choosing to focus on the silver lining can open up all kinds of power.
  2.  The evidence that we need to shift our beliefs can show up on it’s own if we choose to recognize it as such.
  3.  I found me some balls to go after success a little more boldly from here on out.

What’s a silver lining your appreciator’s found lately?
Can you think of any beliefs you’ve successfully switched? What was it like?
What are your beliefs/thoughts around success? How are they informing your life?