In these moments…

I love to see a moment unfold before my eyes, so much so that I have the awareness to take it all in and appreciate it. As I am climbing into bed tonight, feeling fulfilled from the day, I hear the rain outside and realize how peaceful it is. Quiet rainfall, not a downpour, and all I can hear in this moment are the drops hitting the roof. I would normally reach for the remote for the tv but instead, in this moment, I reach for my iPad and decide the time is better for an introspective blog post.

I look for these moments in my life and when I see them I identify them internally and depending on the company sometimes externally. I have moments all the time with or without the benefit of company or structure. Here are two examples that are still top of mind:

  • The other day I was driving home and saw a rainbow that was a full arc, end to end. In that moment I realized how magical it was and all that I had to be grateful for in this life.
  • On Friday as I was wrapping up a second day of doing budgets, it occurred to me as I sat with the three brilliant minds that make-up my team that I was in such perfect company. I told them as much.

Life is full of these moments however if you are not allowing the space to see them occur before you they will move on unidentified. This is the best reason I can think of for simply taking a moment when you get it; truly seizing that moment and reveling in it. A song, a rainbow, a feeling, whatever the moment is revel in it. You will not get that moment back every again, because it is just that, a moment in time and then it is gone.

I appreciate the impact of a moment so much that I have made a habit of texting someone when I am thinking about them. Just a quick note that says, “You are on my mind”. I do it because I believe in the energy of the universe and that if something comes to mind it is likely because of a flow of energy surrounding that thought or person. I did this recently for a beautiful friend of mine that has been working very long days away from home and she later told me, “Lori, you have no idea that at the moment I got your text, I needed it the most.”. She noted that there was no possible way I could have known what she was going through in that moment but what I did know is she came to my mind so strongly that it urged me to let her know she was in my thoughts.

Tonight I hope that you take a moment and simply breathe in the air around you reminding yourself that these moments in life are fleeting and the only way to truly “seize the day” is to stop, stop everything, and take a moment for yourself. You deserve to see the world around you. Take time to smell the roses, tell someone you are thinking about them and most importantly take care of yourself. You are the moment.

Life as it inspired me tonight – L.

Finding your voice…

I had the privilege today of being a Moderator for Castell Project which is a nonprofit that provides organizations in the hospitality industry tools and support to accelerate development of their high-potential women. My topics as shown in the picture included the one I chose for my blog tonight; Finding your voice.

I have a voice in every aspect of my life; sometimes too much of a voice but I have a voice. As I have discussed in previous blogs I work harder these days in silencing that voice; W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking) and only speaking up when I can add value. Again it’s work because I seemingly have so much to say that to hold back takes real effort.

The fact that “Finding your voice” is still a topic in 2019 is surprising until you sit in front of these amazing women I hosted at my table; of all ages and career paths. The reality is that it is a topic and one that we have to spearhead with our daughters, sisters, best friends and every woman within our reach. We as a gender have a voice however what I witnessed today as the overarching issue silencing that voice is CONFIDENCE. The confidence to speak up about what you KNOW, the confidence to ask for what you WANT, the confidence to be HEARD. These women need the permission to speak and since that is not going to happen when they are sitting “at the table” we have to give them the permission NOW.

This confidence has to show itself in our words and our actions…

  • It’s not being defined by the titles that are assigned to us. Who cares if you are an “Assistant” or “Associate” or anyone’s #2; it’s irrelevant. Do you know what you are talking about? If the answer is “yes” then apply that knowledge and speak up.
  • It’s not “telling on ourselves”. One of these fabulous women said to me “I feel bad because I have an eight-month old and if I have to leave for an appointment…” blah, blah, blah. I stopped her and “gave her permission”! Why do you have to tell anyone what your appointment is for, why are you telling on yourself. If you have an appointment it’s enough to notify of the appointment, leaving out the rest. YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY OVER YOUR CAREER. You can have both; balance it unapologetic.
  • It is asking for that raise if you deserve it, asking for the promotion if you have earned it and asking for what you want out of your career. No one is going to care about your career as much as you. Your career is your responsibility. You have applied for a job on your career path that suits your career at that time and your employer has employed you to do the job YOU applied for; what more do they owe you? Nothing. They have given you exactly what you applied for; if you want more YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. Don’t wait for someone to come to you.

I don’t like to believe that there is still a gender bias in the boardroom but I know there is…however it is our responsibility to be heard by speaking up. Stop waiting for someone to hand you the mic! If you have something to say, if you have value to add, if you are the authority in the room than I give you permission to SPEAK UP AND BE HEARD!!!

I am woman, hear me ROAR – L.

How bad do you want it?

I just had the pleasure of finishing David Goggins book, Can’t Hurt Me. This mans journey is one I won’t ever forget and will likely follow from this day forward. David’s journey while unconventional will make you question your own intentions and the efforts behind them. There were so many quotable quotes throughout this book that personally appealed to me but the two I am going to offer you are really the most important to me.

You have to go to war with yourself before you can find peace” – David Goggins

That quote says it all! I have often told my kids that “nothing worth having comes easy” but Goggins’ quote so perfectly states it in the raw. What is it that you want? A career, a fit body, a fat bank account, spirituality, athleticism…??? What DO you want? Once you figure that out now ask yourself how far you are willing to go to get to that “want”. To get to the FINISH LINE we have to set the intention, lay out the plan and EXECUTE. We have to do what we say we are going to do. This my friends, makes all the difference. Easy enough, right?

Then why don’t we do it??? Once we know what to do it is just a matter of doing it, right? But no, it isn’t because we don’t. The easiest example of this is diet and exercise. We know what we have to do to be healthy; eat right and move our bodies. Simple. Yet the diet industry is making BILLIONS on us as we continue to reach for that magic bullet, pill, patch, shake…you name it we will try it until it causes discomfort. Ahhh…what do we have here? We are game until we are uncomfortable, feeling deprived and battling that war within, that wants that pint of ice cream more than we want that healthy body in that moment. I know this first-hand as I have had many starts and stops in my life and many of the stops have purely been because in that moment of weakness I forgot the intention, the reason…that moment of self-indulgence proved more valuable than the intention to begin with thwarting my efforts and sending me into the failure funnel yet again.

if you want the reward you have to be willing to do the work, sacrifice and be uncomfortable. This applies to everything and everyone that has ever set an intention, made a plan and executed. What I know about going to war to get what you want is that sometimes it downright sucks! Long nights studying for that test, early mornings to get a walk or run in, feeling hungry after eating your measured portion…it all can suck, but if it wasn’t for the process there would be no reward. We learn the most from these journey’s and we become our own hero in the process and ultimately in the end the one you are looking up to is yourself because YOU did the work!

This next quote was too powerful to let go and boy do I know a thing about this both good and bad. When we are preparing to go to war or find ourselves at peace it is how we treat ourselves that can make all the difference. So often we are affected more by what other people say about us rather than what we say about ourselves. I was most famous for this when I was overweight. I have always been quite the comedian or so I thought, and so I was quick to make fun of myself. Some would call this self-degrading however I didn’t see it that way. I chose to believe that I was just making fun of myself because I was comfortable with myself however what I would come to learn was that it was a defensive mechanism. I was actually saying what I thought other people were thinking before they could say it. In the meantime, I was tearing away my self-esteem little by little. Here is my advice:

  • Be careful what you say because you might just believe it.
  • Don’t say “I can’t…” but instead turn it around and note what you can do.
  • Don’t tell on yourself, maybe no one is actually thinking those things you are trying to deflect.
  • Don’t let your mind “think” you into failure. Thoughts are going to come but it is our responsibility to ourselves to decide if we react to those thoughts or move them on.
  • Turn those thoughts around…I told you recently about what I do when I am running and my mind wants me to stop. I take an inventory from the soles of my feat to the tip of my head to see if everything is feeling okay and then decide if I will stop or keep running. Most of the time I keep running and the thought passes and with it the sensation that it was directing.

I used to believe in the theory that “you can do anything you put your mind to” but have learned otherwise throughout my life. What you can do is create intentions, make a plan and execute that plan. If you fail, stop and evaluate the lessons learned and then adjust the intention, make a new plan and execute. I am not afraid to fail but I do believe in failing fast. I don’t wait for the writing to be on the wall before changing the plan; not in my personal or professional life.

Last but not least, David Goggins wrote an entire chapter on being “uncommon among uncommon”. I relate to this as I have had one of the most unconventional journey’s of those that are crossing the same FINISH LINES as myself. There was a time that I was embarrassed by those uncommon approaches taken however I realize more every single day that I am at peace because I went through so many wars and in those wars got battle scars that truly make me who I am today. What I tell myself today is that I am strong, I am successful and I am always going to win because I am not afraid to fail. I leave you with another favorite quote of mine…

It’s not how you start that’s important, but how you FINISH

Super Soul Studies – Wooden

I am a student at heart. I love to learn and spend all of my free-time reading, writing and when I watch TV or videos it is often to learn. My favorites to watch are Super Soul Sunday (SSS) on OWN and TED Talks. My other faves are Dateline, 48 Hours, 20/20, Nightline and First 48. If I had to choose a different career than the one I am in it is safe to say I would be a Homicide Detective. (Gary likes to remind me that based on me being freaked out by the dead I would likely SUCK at this career. So now I am pushing Brendan to be an M.E. and so far it’s working, he took one semester of Forensics!!! Fingers-crossed – Brendan D. Kiel, Phd, Medical Examiner. Hahahahahahaha)

Okay back to my love of learning…that was a heck of a segue!

I only watch SSS and TED when I am fully attentive and engaged. I take notes and have years and years of Google Docs where I like to highlight those quotes, thoughts or theories that connect with me. I am going to share with you some of my favorites every week hoping that I can inspire in you a curiosity to learn or explore your own soul.

Today I chose one that is easy to get behind. John Wooden was the head basketball coach at UCLA. He won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period and is known for his short, simple inspirational messages. I had the privilege of hearing him speak during an event I attended years ago. He had me “hook, line and sinker” then and watching this SSS episode confirmed for me that he is worth following. Here are the notes I connected with:

  • These three things are all that you have control over:
    • Never try to be better than someone else
    • Always learn from others
    • Never cease to be the best you can be
  • Your reputation is what you are perceived to be and your character is who you really are
  • Rules – Never be late, be neat and clean, not one word of profanity, never criticize a teammate (The Coach gets paid to do it, you don’t)
  • The pyramid of success – Google it
  • Things will work out as they should providing we do what we should
  • The road ahead or the road behind – Moriarty 
  • Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses
  • Never mention winning, you can lose when you out score and you can win when you are out scored
  • The journey is better than the end – Cervantes

The meme at the top of the blog tonight sums up how I take on life and certainly how I have been forced to live the last year of my life. Let’s revisit…

Things turn out best for the people that make the best of the way things turn out- John Wooden

I didn’t ask nor did I expect what has happened in the last year. Losing my mother destroyed me but I had to find the silver lining and that was when I took an inventory of our relationship it could not have been more perfect. People would say when learning that my mother was dying of cancer “say everything you ever wanted to say to her” and to that I would respond “there is nothing left to say.” The most honest relationship in my life was the one with my mom, there were no regrets, there was never forgiveness required it was the purest form of love I will ever know. I heard a quote From David Brooks recently that said “I loved her more than evolution required” and man, does that cover it!

I also didn’t ask to go through seven months of the greatest health scare I have known to date and 5 procedures later and 13 total abdominal incisions later (I am TRULY a Miami Gangster…or at least my abdomen is!) I am still standing. I am not running, not even walking but dang it I am here, I am smiling and through it all I have learned many more lessons. Many more than I thought I needed to learn, many more than I wanted to learn…but I am better because of the journey.

I am still a student at heart with a few more lessons under my belt. Learned from Super Soul Sunday’s, TED Talks and a lot of life experiences sprinkled in. The biggest lesson I have learned in the last year is that all of these hours spent soul searching, learning and being inspired by the true masters were filling a toolbox that I had no idea I would desperately need to access. It was that toolbox that allowed me to breathe her last breath with her and to survive this health crisis with fewer emotional scars than physical.

I conclude today by reminding you to make the best of it, whatever it is, and fill your toolbox NOW before you need the tools so when the day comes, when you need to make the best of it, you have the ability to NAIL IT! L.