A PR Wasn’t Good Enough

AKA Why are we so hard on ourselves? + Lessons on Failure

On Sunday, I ran the Broad Street run, which is the country’s biggest 10 mile race and kind of a big deal in the City of Brotherly love.

broad st 2
broad st 2

It’s a wonderful race – 10 downwardly sloped miles through the heart of Philly and some diverse neighborhoods.  It was my first long distance race ever back in 2011, so it holds an extra special place in my heart.

This year was my second time running and I had big dreams of cutting close to a minute off of my per mile pace… I know that seems absurd, but my running and recovery has vastly improved since adding Crossfit, T25, and most recently P90X3 into my training routine over the past 18 months. 

My training runs were on target to meet my goal, but about 2 weeks from race day, my training fell apart.  I got distracted, I had competing priorities, it rained a lot, and running just really wasn’t that attractive to me.

Fast forward to race day.

There are about 40,000 runners who run Broad St. (not counting any rogue runners) so it’s PACKED to say the least.  I crossed the starting line probably 25 minutes after the first heat, but I was distracted and I didn’t catch the clock time.  Instead of focusing on my time, I put my phone on airplane mode and decided to focus on the race, my feet on the pavement, the cheers, the change in neighborhoods, and the excitement of the day.

When I finished, I had NO CLUE what my finish time was like.

Of course, I obsessively checked the results page every 5 minutes for it to be posted.

When it finally was, my heart sank.

I had PR’d (set a personal record for the non-runners out there), but only by 32 seconds a mile.  Even though I’d run one of my best races ever, I was disappointed to still be so far from my goal.

Writing that now, I want to smack myself. ONLY by 32 seconds a mile.  It’s absurd. 

Cutting 32 seconds off your pace is INCREDIBLE.  I should have been jumping off the rooftops, but instead I was down in the dumps.

Here’s the thing: I expect a lot from myself, not just with my running, but in every aspect of my life.  So, when I didn’t reach my goal, it was a huge blow to my ego.

I set the bar as high as freaking possible, but sometimes I don’t give myself true freedom to fail.

It really got me thinking… it’s something I see a lot with my clients (and with myself) – not just a fear, but an apprehension, about failing.  It manifests itself in all kinds of different ways – from working around the clock to meet unrealistic deadlines to never actually starting and pretty much everywhere in between.

But, the thing is, failure is a remarkable teacher.  We learn more about ourselves through failure than through any of our successes.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” –Morihei Ueshiba

This week I learned that I need to consciously practice kindness towards myself, that sometimes the experience is more valuable than hitting a goal, and that all wins (even if they aren’t the wins I want) are worthy of celebration.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from failure?

I Was Scared of a Wooden Box

Let me tell you a story.  It’s a story about a girl and a box.  Sadly, not a shoe box.  Just a plain old wooden box, about 18 inches high.One day, the girl went to a Crossfit class.  The board read WOD: ... something, something... lateral box jumps... something, something.  Eek!  The girl already disliked box jumps, now she had to do them SIDEWAYS?

Well, she put her big girl pants on and jumped like hell (sideways) onto that box.  She did quite well at first, but as her legs grew tired, her jumps grew sketchy. 

And then... she fell. 

Not a graceful type of fall.  More of a straddle-the-box, bruise-all-four-sides-of-your –legs, land-flat-on-your-face kind of fall.   Her eyes were burning with tears; she was fighting hard to hold them back.  In her head, she screamed “Fuck that box!”; in her heart, she was defeated and embarrassed.

She walked away that day terrified of the box and she stayed that way for over a year. 

Sometimes, she’d get it in her head that she was over it.  She’d stand at the foot of a box and she’d think about jumping.  But her feet wouldn’t budge.  Fear’s grip was tight.

That girl was me.

I’m embarrassed to share this story.  I’m even more embarrassed that I was scared of a wooden box for over a year. 

But there’s no rhyme or reason to the things that terrify us.

There’s a happy ending to this story: I jumped on a box this weekend!  15 times to be exact. 

box jumps
box jumps

I beat the shit out of fear.

So, how’d I do it?

First, I made the decision that I was going to jump (literally). 

Second, I gave myself the time and space to do it.  A whole year in fact. I told myself, “I will do f’ing box jumps this year.” (those were my exact words)

Third, I declared it publicly.  I wrote it as a goal on the wall at the gym.   

Fourth, I got fired up.  Sometimes, I’d watch other women at the gym doing box jumps and I’d tell myself, “If she can do it, I can do it.”  Somewhere deep down I knew I could.

Lastly, I got focused.  I turned off all the noise in my head (thanks meditation practice!), I found a spot right up against the wall, I only looked at what was straight in front of me.  And I jumped.  BOOM!  Feet on box.

Clearly, this isn’t really a story about me vs. box jumps.  This is a story about me vs. FEAR. 

It’s a lesson about how fears hold us back from achieving things that we are totally capable of doing. 

I could have jumped on that box a year ago, but my mind was holding me back. What is fear holding you back from?

Are you ready to punch fear in the face?  I dare you to declare your fear in the comments. 

You Need an NBA Team

My friend “Bill” had what he called a basketball team: a harem of 5 women available at his beck and call.  Bill was a bit of a womanizer. I think "Bill" also had a couple of benchwarmers.  Bill was also kind of a dog.

You should have a basketball team, too.

Not the 2:30 am booty call kind.  C’mon, I give you WAY more credit than that. 

You need these 5 people to push you toward living a life you love.  Here’s your starting line-up:

  1. Point Guard: Your point guard DOES NOT get caught down in the weeds with you.  Instead, they’re great at seeing the big picture and visualizing the future.  They help you keep your “eye on the prize”. 
  2. Shooting Guard: Quick on the trigger, your shooting guard hates your indecision.  They push you to keep moving forward by taking shots and course-correcting when necessary.
  3. Small Forward: This little powerhouse is your biggest supporter.  The “man’s best friend” of basketball, the small forward is always by your side and committed to your cause.
  4. Power Forward: The power forward’s motto: “Do what you say you are going to do.”  They make you accountable and what let you forget your goals.  They’re constantly checking your progress and measure your success by the moves you make.
  5. Center: Your center does just that: keeps you centered.  When the shit is hitting the fan, they’re there with you right in the thick of it, reminding you why you’re there in the first place.

Who are these people and where do you find them?  They could be anyone: the girl you see next to you on the treadmill, your boss, your mom, your man, your favorite lifestyle coach (had to!), a writer you totally dig. 

It doesn’t need to be any one you know and you don’t even ever have to tell them they’re playing for you.

Who’s on your team?  Tell me in the comments.


5 Tips for Succeeding at Life (because resolutions suck)

Resolutions suck. For real.

Less than 8% of people actually follow through with resolutions.

Are you surprised?

Me either.

Here’s the thing: resolutions are fleeting.

How about instead of setting resolutions, we just RESOLVE to CREATE LASTING LIFESTYLE CHANGE (or revolt and eat all the jelly beans... whatever.)

new years resolution
new years resolution

Here are 5 of my best tips to always be successful at LIFE, no matter what you’re up to:

1. Be a student

The most successful people I’ve ever met (myself included, of course) seek out opportunities to learn. And not just from their daily experiences, although that’s part of it.

Become an avid reader. Attend a seminar. Take a class. Seek knowledge.

2. Limit distractions

If you’re read my eBook, you know that I think multi-tasking is a joke. It’s old news, folks!

But did you know this: according to a study conducted by Michigan State University, interruptions as short as 3 seconds DOUBLE errors.

So every time you pick up your phone to answer a text, or check in on your Twitter feed, or chat online with a coworker, your potential for success decreases dramatically.

My quick fix suggestions: turn off email notifications, log off of instant messenger, check email and social media on a fixed schedule.

3. Be accountable

We’ve all heard this before – but how often do we actually take action?

Tell someone (ANYONE!) your goals – a spouse, friend, coach, your dog... no, don’t tell your dog... tell someone who has the ability to ask: Hey, have you paid off your credit card bill yet? Have you told your boss that you want to work part-time? Have you started planning your big family vacation?

4. Start where you're at

Let’s get cliche for a second – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

And the masterpiece that is you – as wonderful as you already are – wasn’t either. Growth, transformation, success... it’s a PROCESS.

It takes time to get from point A to B (or C or D or L). And no one’s jumping from D straight to L – first you go to E, then F... you get the point.

Meet yourself where you’re at – alphabetically or otherwise. Make the next logical step, from D to E, and move on from there.

5. Be generous

You know what feels GOOD? Being nice to people.

There’s something about sharing what you’ve got goin’ on that really elevates your whole mood, your whole world.

It doesn’t even need to cost anything: send a note, give a phone call, open a door – small gestures of generosity speak volumes and come back in spades.

This week’s challenge: Perform a selfless act of generosity. Tell me what you did and how you FEEL in the comments.

I Don't Have a Weight Loss Story

Clients often come to me for help with weight loss.  I don't "do" weight loss.  It just happens to be a benefit of the work that I do.   Weight is a symptom that there is an imbalance in your life related to your "primary food" - surrounding yourself with authentic and heart-warming people, finding ways to be active, doing work you love.

"Food is more than what you find on your plate.  [Primary food] can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary...When we use secondary food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food, the body and mind suffer. Weight gain is just one of the consequences."

Let me tell you a story...not a weight loss story, a stress loss story.

When I was in the thick of a miserable existence, I was using all my energy (and most of the hours in my day) at work.  The last year at that job, I literally dragged myself out of bed every day, totally spent from the day before, just to head back to the gray cubicle that I'd grown more and more resentful of.  I let my 6-year relationship with the man who would eventually become my husband, THE most important relationship in my life, become secondary.  I ate whatever quick meals I could grab and go with, or I didn't eat at all.  When I was exhausted in the middle of the day, I headed to Starbucks to throw my hard-earned money at a triple shot (or quad if it was one of THOSE days) latte.  When I got home, the first thing I did was pour a glass (or four) of wine, before logging back in to work.  Eventually, I'd settle in to a restless night, just to wake up and do it all over again.

At the same time as this job was totally draining me, I was also deeply engaged in the work that I was doing, and I was f'ing good at it, too.  I still don't quite understand how I could love and resent something at the same time, but that's what it was.  Leaving felt like admitting defeat; staying felt worse every single day.

I was a mess.  I couldn't see it, but my primary food was TOTALLY out of whack and the symptoms were all there:

-A disgruntled attitude and accompanying constant stream of expletives coming from my cube -Binge drinking several nights a week - an escape from the drudgery of my everyday life -Constantly dipping energy levels, only fixed with multiple shots of espresso -Trouble sleeping through the night and waking up feeling drained -An emotional and physical disconnect from my husband; and -A reciprocal emotional and obsessive connection with my work

It was bad... but it didn't seem to be quite bad enough for me to quit.  Honestly, if I hadn't had the eye-opening experience where I realized I was totally replaceable, I might still be in that job.  I'd be single, have put on 20+ pounds, and get about 5 hours of sleep a night (if I was lucky).  

It was incredibly hard, but I did leave.  And something amazing happened as a result: I started to take care of ME.  I started running and got serious about my yoga practice; I even went so far as to go to yoga teacher training.  I spent more time with my husband - quality time, not "bitch about lazy coworkers" time.  I cooked more and ate lots and lots of vegetables.  I went on a hunt for work I loved (and I found it!).  Once I started to do the hard work of getting my primary food in order, the stress melted off of me - slowly at first, but compounding over time.

It happens like that with weight, too; when you start to do the hard work of creating a life you love, the rest starts to fall in to place.

It's not easy.  It's not always fast.  It's hard to walk away from things that don't serve us.  It's tough to take a step back.  But, it's also revolutionary, and empowering, and beautiful - and, as a personal coach, I'm here for you every step of the way

Feel Refreshed (not drained) this Holiday Season

So, how many photos of Starbucks holiday cups have you seen on Facebook and Instagram this week? I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen about 20.

Starbucks, I’ve seen your cups and hear your message loud and clear: The holiday season is here.

So many of us use the holiday season to kick back and indulge because, HELL, we’ve worked hard this year.  And you know what, you DO deserve to indulge and have a blast (not JUST during the holidays, but that’s a discussion for another day...).

But, what you don’t deserve is packing on a couple pounds in as many months OR completely overloading your body on sugar and booze OR day-long holiday shopping sessions fueled by Diet Coke and Annie’s pretzels. 

Let’s make this year different.  What do you say?

Join me for my 5 day Holiday Refresh from December 2nd to December 6th

(conveniently scheduled right after Thanksgiving, so you can kick that post-turkey bloat to the curb!)

You’ll get all the support you need to help you:

  • Slash cravings for sugar and carbs
  • Reduce bloating
  • Lose a few pounds
  • Have more energy and wake up REFRESHED every day

So you look and FEEL outstanding this holiday season (and rock that hot little black dress you bought for office holiday party!)

Here’s what’s included in the Refresh:

  • 5 days of done-for-you Refresh meal plans & a companion Shopping List ($199 value)
  • 5 days of Shakeology ($25 value)
  • Daily email support from me, your coach and cheerleader ($50 value)
  • Access to an exclusive, members only, online support group ($99 value)
  • PLUS a personal 50-minute Breakthrough session ($175 value)

The cost? Only $49 USD!

Ready to get started? You must register by 4 pm EST on 11/22! Click below to register!

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Any questions?  Email me (I promise to respond within 2 business days)

The Fine Print

  • Registration closes Friday, November 15th at 5pm EST
  • All purchases are final; No refunds or exchanges
  • All Breakthrough Sessions must be scheduled by 4/1/2014