on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

The Problem with Criticism and Flexibility

sookiepose by 416style

I have been in a funk. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I don’t know if it’s Seattle’s endless winter or the fact that some things in my life have not been rolling on the shiniest side of the coin and I don’t really know what’s going on.

Okay, that’s a lie. I know what’s wrong and what’s not right and I’m nervous to admit it. Mainly I’m upset because I’m guilty of not moving forward. You know that I’m a fan of getting things done, making things happen, and a ton of other clichés. I am not wearing my strong suit right now and I’d rather shy away from the public eye instead of staring what’s wrong in the face, owning it, and changing it.

And then I write.

I received some really honest feedback about a month and a half ago that was so spot-on that it made me nervous. I internalized it and because of that I’ve let that feedback turn from constructive criticism, a chance to inspire and motivate myself, into something that has been halting me.

This has happened before and I know that “feedback” is hanging over my head when it really shouldn’t. It was meant to empower and give myself a gut check, and I totally took it the wrong way.

The problem with criticism (constructive or not)

I’ve been guilty of violating Tara Sophia Mohr’s eighth rule for Brilliant Women as I have been open to the feedback and guidance others are graciously offering to me, but I have not been viewing their feedback through my own eyes and my own perspective about myself. It is good to be open to the advice and feedback of others as it’s a good gut-check to how I’m coming off in public, but never, ever, when it’s at the expense of myself.

For example, I have been struggling with an injury since last summer and in January I started taking control of my own body and going to see specialists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and an acupuncturist to try and diagnose what happened so I can recover. It’s working, slowly. But around the first few weeks of February I came to a stand still when my physical therapist declared that I am a “hyper flexible” person or have “hyperextension” in my joints. It’s not bad, it’s just how I am and probably attributed to the injury. But then my doc gave me a barrage of information about how I should be aware as a “hyper flexible” person when lifting weights that I don’t over extend myself since I have weak joints, etc.

I became the poster child for “hyper flexible” people. I actually met someone at a party and we bonded over our hyper-flexibility. Seriously, if I found a bumper sticker that said, “Hyper Flexible People Unite!” it would have gone on my car.

Flexibility isn’t always a good thing

Everything I did was through the lens of a “hyper flexible” person. I was an advocate with a new identity (and a ridiculous one at that). And then one day at the gym my coach sat me down and read the following quote from Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, to me:

Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the will itself chooses. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not the will. And add this reflection on the occasion of everything that happens; for you will find it an impediment to something else, but not to yourself.

Whether it’s a physical ailment or part of what drives you, you can let something define you or it can just be a part of who you are. You can let it rule your life or you can rule it.

The choice is yours.

Has something someone said ever rocked you to the core and changed how you thought about yourself? How did you crawl out of that and find “you” again?

Photo by: 416style

Not the End: Lamiki Turns One!

Le Voyage des Ballons Multicolores

It’s after 10pm on Tuesday, February 15, 2011. Exactly one year ago today and about a few hours earlier, I was standing in my friends’ kitchen checking out the comments and page views on my very first blog post.

I felt like I was going to throw up. In a good way.

There I was, this girl who has had “writerly tendencies” throughout my entire life, but never in “public.” But it was time to tell my story in more than 140 characters.

The beginning

Since then, the game of statistics, traffic, and curating my own content has been an adventure – figuratively and literally.

In the past year, this blog has:

  • Put me on the radar with the brilliant folks at Mazda North America and taken me (and my husband) on our first international press tour as part of the launch of the 2011 Mazda2.
  • Given me a playground to show my mad skills through words and let my voice and perspective be heard.
  • Deepened relationships with the people I know online and develop a readership (yes, that includes you).
  • Landed me some pretty rockin’ jobs.
  • Allowed me to embrace an identity that has always been mine – that of a writer.
  • It has opened doors I didn’t even know I wanted to walk through.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that you can develop deep friendships that are threaded together through thoughts and words. And that people and experiences can inspire and work their way into your life and out through your words in the most curious ways.

And the best friends you can have are editors who include “gut checks.” And those who root for you, even before there’s something to root for.

To those people – I am forever thankful and in your debt.

Plus, no matter how hard you try, it takes a true rock star to create an editorial calendar and stick with it.

What happened to “The end”?

Tonight my husband and I watched a movie. It was one of those where the protagonist opens in heartbreak. He’s a writer and is “writing” the story he’s about to tell. It’s a story within a story that swirls and spirals deep within the arc of the tale. And it’s predictable, of course.

But the part that really stuck out was the end. And how they literally ended with the sentence: The end.

It made me wonder – when was the last time I wrote something and finished it with, “The end.”

Good lord, I feel like it was back in elementary school. Nowadays, the end of a page always symbolizes the end. The end of a screen when you can’t scroll down any further symbolizes the end.

It made me jump to another thought – there is no such thing as “The End” any more. We are constantly in beta, proactively working on version 2.0+, always soft-launching and revising to perfection.

“The end” doesn’t really exist any more.

I like that.

The goal when I launched this blog was to claim my piece of web real estate and, in the words of my first post, write my own story.

So what will happen during year two? Who knows, but it’s going to be big and driven by content. That much I’ll reveal. The rest, you’ll have to watch for.

So, how should I celebrate this anniversary?

Photo Credit: ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser

Make No Excuses

The Recession is no excuse to drink bad wine

I read the brilliant Danielle LaPorte’s post on The Perils of Justifying Yourself this morning and it aligns with how I feel about excuses – they’re a waste of your time and your breath, so don’t make them. And why the hell do you have to justify the rationale of your actions to anyone except for yourself? What you do in your life is right for you and you alone.

As all writers know, actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words. If there is something I want to do, I will do it. I will not tell you how or why I’m going to do it. I just will.

The perils of justifying yourself to others

Once you make a decision and announce it, the first question people ask is “Why?” These people usually care about you and are curious about your life, which is generally why they ask for details that you don’t volunteer. The challenge is to not to make excuses for your actions to others. Not to get wooed into justifying yourself after you consciously decide not to justify your feelings to yourself.

Everything that Ms. LaPorte lists about the corrosive effects of over-justifying your feelings can be applied when asked to justify your actions to others. Just don’t do it. Yes, there are times when it makes sense, but most times just stand by what you feel and what you do. Be authentic.

I get it, I really do. People want to connect with people on a personal level. It’s why we all dig blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and developing relationships online. It’s why I blog, too, right? I want to connect with all of you and share my world with you. I want you to care, and I want to care about you. But there are times when asking “Why” or “What happened” is not appropriate because people are looking for you to justify your actions. Sometimes it is, what it is

Photo Credit: henry…