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Posts Tagged ‘job’

As I slowly opened my eyes, feet dangling beside the fireplace and spooned up next to my cat I looked out the window in a dazed confusion.  It’s sort of light outside… is it morning, evening, raining?  Why do I feel so tired? Am I really napping?!

I could blame it on Vegas, and most people would understand that – or on how I just recently wrapped my 8 month season of coaching.  Maybe it is the high of winning and the inevitable release that follows.  Or it could be the training… yep I’ve been doing more than usual…

But I know the truth.  I could notice how my circumstances might affect me, but I don’t believe that energy is a limited resource.  Like the sleeplessness and lack of hunger that new love joyfully creates, energy comes from a fire within – a purpose.  And while I have achieved many goals this year, I feel like I’ve been evading making some decisions with intention.

The thing is that my life is amazing.  Truly it is.  Every single day this year I loved waking up, going to work and I loved being in the gym.  I couldn’t ask for a better roommate and my family is one in a million.  My relationship has changed and grown, giving me a chance to discover pieces of who I am and what I am made of.

And the thing that I’ve been struggling with, that I feel has sapped my energy, can be slotted into one simple question “What do you want to do”?

And I guess I am stumped by this question most because I feel like I have figured out a lot of important stuff this year –

I know who I want to be

  • somebody who is my word
  • who believes that anything is possible for anybody
  • wildly creative
  • committed to the health and wellbeing of myself and everyone around me
  • somebody who inspires others to live their dream

I also know what I want to create in my future:

  • A healthy body and mind
  • Success in beach volleyball
  • A job that I love and that allows me to use all of my talents
  • An amazing relationship that is exciting, challenging, unique and creative
  • A beautiful and blissfully happy family that contributes to making the world better

What I am missing is the details of this.  How do I do this? How much money do I want?  Where do I want to live?  Who do I want to live with? How will I be spending my days?

My friend just started writing a blog, and he truly inspired me to consider declaring what I want and letting the universe take it’s course.  The thing is that I’m not exactly sure how to figure out how to get to what I want.  I seem to get many amazing and unexpected opportunities, and it feels so easy that I wonder if I am letting life happen to me or if I am the driver. I know my starting point, I know my ending point, but it’s the stuff in between that I get confused about.  Do I look 10 years down the road and choose a job that gives me that future, or do I do what I love right now, and trust that will take me exactly where I need to go?  This isn’t a hypothetical question, by the way… I’m looking for insights and ideas, so please share!!

At the end of the day, the more I think about this stuff, the more I know in my gut that there is nothing to figure out.  Trying to figure life out is causing me to feel like a different person than I am.  I feel like this process has taken the spark out of me and I’ve been dragging my feet, rather than reacting to life’s unexpected gifts and ideas.  So in knowing this, and also having to make some decisions – what is the balance?  How do I decide what is right, and an even bigger question would be… is there such a thing as right?

And maybe, just maybe this has nothing to do with making a decision or figuring out some far out purpose.  Perhaps my life will just keep giving me what I need to learn something about myself that I haven’t discovered. And right now it feels like an enigma but as soon as I learn, it will all make sense.  What I have noticed, above all, is that whatever decision I have made in the past few years has always ended up being about self discovery.  And maybe that’s the whole point… more to come as I figure this one out 😉

I read a few quotes about decision that resonated with me and I’m going to post them- feel free to add any comments or email me about your thoughts!

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.  ~William James

A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.  ~Rita Mae Brown

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.  ~Roy Disney

You’ve got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.  ~Steven D. Woodhull

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you vs. me Tyra 😉

So I did a photo shoot the other day with Vivvos (www.facebook.com/vivvos) and it was a mix of things- nervewracking (seriously what qualifies me to be doing a photoshoot?), exciting (yay I get to do a photoshoot!), easy (just smile), difficult (look intense?), and fun (Tomasz you rocked! http://mananetwork.net).  Just standing there looking like myself brought all of these experiences to me and what seemed so simple… “look like you”, has much more complexity than I thought.

Looking back on my small obsession with America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I had never really understood what made a good photo from an average one.  Tyra would say

“it’s not this -[insert dead eye, “pretty”pose here],  “it’s fierce like this- [insert new and improved  pose here], as she demonstrates the difference.

As much as her shameless self promotion annoyed me, she had a point.  It was all in the eyes.  It was about convincing people that you were fierce, in that moment.

I alike it to someone telling you about something in their life… maybe it’s about their job, or their plans, or their boyfriend or girlfriend and even though their words say one thing, you just absolutely know that they feel differently?  And it comes off as fake, as trying, and as inauthentic?  Maybe they are telling you about a new guy, trying to act like it’s no big deal and you just KNOW its more – and they don’t get why you keep grilling them!  It’s because their words are futile…. you can see the truth in their eyes.  And we all have this ability to be able to see the truth, even with strangers.

That’s what a bad picture is.  Trying to seem fun, or intense, or powerful.  It comes off simply as trying, and there’s a weirdness to that.  I got some amazing advice yesterday from a woman who is a networking whiz.  We were talking about a project of mine and her advice was simple – be yourself.  Find a way to make this project about the depths of who I am so that I never come off as selling, or convincing or trying.  That is the authenticity in it.  And what an amazing way to live, to work, to date.  Know who you are and just do things that you are about!

It all becomes easy at that point.  When I was on the beach, the real turn around happened when I started to actually have fun, to feel intense, to feel pretty.  When my dead eyes came alive with energy and passion… When my inner Tyra stepped in and rather than worrying about how it would turn out, I just made it about that moment.  And while I am clearly no catwalking diva, for a minute I was a model (damn, anything is possible!)

So as in most people’s life, as one project is done,  new projects will emerge, new games will be played and the goal is just this – keep creating depth about who we are.  Be it and be true to it and the rest falls into place.  In volleyball, I think it’s official that I am not this zen chilled out player.  And that’s okay as long as I don’t keep trying to be! Just like when I date a guy just because he is successful, or really cute and I just don’t have that feeling.  My doe-eyed ANTM look comes out and I coast through the conversation, uninspired and definitely not my best.  Because it doesn’t ring true to who I actually am.

So here’s to knowing who we are, digging deep and, of course, “working the camera”  [insert annoying shameless self promoting Tyra pose here]  😉

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Running in the Zone

One thing that I know in my sport, and that most athletes know, is that we play best when in the zone.  For those who don’t know what that is, it’s this mental place where time seems to sit still, everything feels like it’s moving slowly (like in my sport, I see every cue a hitter gives me as to where she will hit the ball), I feel “on”, the game feels instinctual, and there is flow.  It is creative and though the game changes as I go, I just mold my game plan to it (I’m not attached to my plan), finding opportunities and ways to score no matter what I am given.  The one thing that always strikes me is that when I’m in the zone, I don’t seem to remember every single play that happened and I don’t think about every play that will happen… I am mindless, in some respects, but at the same time, totally mindful. Simply put, I’m present.

In a work situation, I notice the same thing. There are days where everything just works.  People are positive, documents get finished, time flies, yet all is accomplished, solutions are found.  And in relationships, it doesn’t feel hard.  You know where you stand, you may not know where you are going, but you trust the future.  We are in the zone and making things happen. 

 There are hundreds of books, writers, and sport psychologists making shitloads of money showing people how to get into the zone.  They give you tricks, processes, ideas, and yet it’s all to get to this coveted place “the zone”.  So what if it is actually simple?  What if the trick is actually to not TRY to get into the zone, but to LET yourself go into the zone.  But how?  What can we do to turn our minds off, so to speak?

Last year, I had one of the profound opportunities of my life.  I was face to face with  my favourite writer, Eckhart Tolle.  I actually had the chance to ask him anything I wanted, and here’s what I asked:

“How, when I believe that something matters and I want an end result, do I not think about it and just play?”

The reason I asked that question was because I found that when I was playing I would struggle with thinking too much about the outcome or the past when the game mattered.  I knew it wasn’t a state that allowed me to perform to the best of my abilities.  Simply put, my mind was getting in the way.

So what was his answer?  Well, he just stared at me.  Seriously.  He stood 1 foot from me, face to face and just looked at me. 

So here’s a little peek into what my mind was thinking during this time: 
“What’s he thinking? What is he going to say? Was my question good? Did he understand what I was asking? Am I supposed to be doing something?  Do I look away? Is this awkward?  Yes.  This is awkward.  No, this is nice.  Hmmm…”.  And then, I thought of nothing. 

Almost at that moment he finally spoke “Leah, do you know what I was just thinking of?”    No.     “Nothing”. 

Why?  How?

He said that when he was younger he spent loads of time thinking, analyzing, considering, and as he got older, he realized that he had more truth in BEING than he had in THINKING.  He was not his thoughts.  Truth was not in thoughts (and I just gave you a glimpse into some of my crazy thought patterns so this is a good thing for me!!) .  And it reminded me of a great stat that I learned about some of the top athletes in the world.  Compared to the 10,000 thoughts that normal human beings have a day, those elite athletes only had 2,000.  And they are experts in performance.  So then… less thinking = better performances?  Seems that is the answer to my question. 

So this is what I did (care of Eckhart) – for 1 hour a day, I practiced presence.  Every movement, touch, smell, taste etc. I focused on.  If I was washing dishes, I felt the hot water on my hands, smelled the soap, felt the coldness of the plate, and I took my time.  My eye was on the prize, and the prize was the moment.  If my mind wandered, I gently brought it back.  And I’ll tell you how surprisingly relaxing and refreshing this was (and I thought it would be boring!).  The notion was that if I practiced “turning on” my presence doing mundane tasks, then it would be more accessible when I needed it on the court.

If you agree that the only path to the future comes from the present, then shouldn’t we  focus on every present moment?  Like the dishes, for example.  I focus on washing them, putting them away, because later that night I will cook a meal, serve it on the clean dishes, the meal will be digested, and used for energy which will then allow me to perform on the court.  So washing that dish IS important in the chain.  Eckhart said this “either everything is important, or nothing is important”.  It’s a mantra that sticks with me. For me, EVERYTHING is important.

So, let me know if anyone has any other suggestions and ideas with how to be present and practice presence .  And is everything or nothing important?  I’d love to share and discuss!

www.vivvos.com (presently the best under?wear in the world)

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Better together than apart? Maybe not for long...

I did some really great work today with a sport psychologist named Erin (www.navigo.ca).  She actually does a lot of corporate work as well and I think that the parallels of sport and business are uncanny.  There is a team, there is individual work, there are leaders and coaches, performance expectations, financial rewards, and relationships.  There is what you expect of yourself vs. what is expected of you; who you think you are vs. how others perceive you; what others around you view as success vs how you personally experience success .  

After thinking about it a lot today, I believe that a  job, a family and a team are all driven by the same fundamental truth.  Our success, or perception of success is directly relational to how fulfilled we are.  If we are not happy, free and complete, it doesn’t matter what we accomplish- we will taint it with our incompleteness, if that makes sense…maybe we will fear that it will go away, or that it comes with an expectation we may struggle to fulfill. Perhaps we don’t feel we deserve it, and we do these self-sabotaging things to affirm that belief.  I have a good friend, “Stacy”, who is one of the funniest, brightest, most interesting people that I know.  Almost every guy she comes in contact with loves her and is drawn to her.  At first it is her beauty, without a doubt, but she backs it up with so much more!  So she starts dating one of them, it’s fun, playful, things are going well…UNTIL.  Until what, you may ask?  Until anything.  Until he says the wrong thing or doesn’t text at the right time, or is too much like her ex, or not enough like her ex.  If he doesn’t like her enough, OR likes her too much…Our group of friends calls these things “dealbreakers” and I’m not lying when I tell you that we have compiled a list that is probably 100 bullet points long of our dealbreakers.  It ranges from the obvious (smoker) to the obscure (wears spandex shorts at the gym)! Yes it’s funny, but the problem is that we have fallen for it as a means of determining if he is a yes or a no, and I think it’s actually a defense mechanism to keep these guys at an arms length. The question is, if she wanted to be in a relationship, then why sabotage it?

The thing is that Stacy is no different than pretty much every one of my friends.  And I wonder, if we were all complete and genuinely happy with who we were, never looking to another person to fill a void or complete a fantasy we have of the perfect life which (of course)would include the perfect husband, then would we actually be able to develop meaningful and powerful relationships?  I think the answer is YES.  If we had nothing to prove, nothing to gain or lose, nothing to change in ourselves then how would we be? It’s like in volleyball when I play just for the love of the game – when I don’t care what the result is, I play full on with power and passion, never caring about what a fan in the stands thinks or what would happen IF _______ (fill in the blank).  And I do well.  Always.  The result takes care of itself somehow because it truly is all about the process.

One thing I know for sure is that if we lived as fully complete and fulfilled people we would be free of games because there isn’t a game.  There is no end result, there is no winning.  And the irony is that we probably would win.  And it flows into sport, into life, into relationships and into family.  If we simply were okay with who we are and what life is right now then we would probably approach our life and the people in it much differently.  I think I’m onto something 😉

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Today was a long day.  It’s Wednesday and the 3rd day of my new job, which, along with training, has somewhat kicked my ass 😉  I need to figure out how to… a.  get up at 5:30am so I can train in the morning or b.  be able to unwind enough after training at night to fall asleep at a reasonable time… any suggestions?!

I think that in the past in times where I have felt stretched to my max, I’ve sometimes found reasons to give something up – to stop doing some of the things I know I need to do to feel great.  Reasons why I should be feeling stressed and why it is justified.  I think we often do that when we take on big projects or multiple projects- we want people to understand why we are a little moodier, a little more tired, a little more flaky, a little uncommitted to the “extra” things like eating well, working out, returning calls, and making time for the people we love.  And then we get into this spiral of feeling crappier, and doing more of the things that are making us feel crappier, and feeling more and more justified in feeling crappier each day as we are working so hard!

So I was swimming today for a workout -it was supposed to be 45 mins and 60 minutes later I realized I had been completely lost in thought the whole time – I could barely even remember the past 10 lengths!  In my life, this has been the signal that I am distracted and that my priorities are geting mixed up.  It usually is followed with giving up something that is important for me to be successful.  I was “thinking” about what I did today, what I needed to do tomorrow, who I needed to talk to etc. etc. etc. and it masked the mindlessness that my workout was.  I needed to be thinking about my strokes, my times, my rest and my program for that one hour, which would have refreshed and revived me, getting me ready to tackle whatever problem would come my way in the future.  Instead I spent the hour consumed in the “what ifs” of the future. 

I know that to be successful, both in beach volleyball and in my job, I will need to be able to create balance, to focus in on exactly what I need to focus on in that moment.  Forget what happened, and what is coming.  Do what I need to do right now.

I saw this really cool quote that I am going to stay true to…

“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.”
Bruce Barton

When things are busy, or difficult, or trying, we have to remember that there is an opportunity to be great.  It’s an opportunity to be great in everything we want to be great in, no matter what the circumstances, and these long days of work and training and designing with www.vivvos.com are a perfect way for me to develp the opportunity at hand 🙂

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