on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘fear’

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

#snOMG: Overcoming My Fear of the Seattle Snowpocalypse

It’s snowing right now in Seattle. And it’s kind of a big deal. You see, all we need are a few inches and it shuts down the city. Call us whatever you’d like, but we just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with clearing roads and keeping all those hills clear. Plus, in most cases it only snows for a few hours, accumulates just over an inch, then warms out and turns to rain. And all of our fears are gone, but at least we got some time off of school and work.

We’ve received bad press about this, which I understand. There are a lot of good things that we’re good at here in the Pacific Northwest, but we dealing with snow like you crazy kids in Boulder and Chicago can. It’s just not a weakness we want to improve on.

It’s such a big deal that we embrace the hashtag, #snOMG, because that’s pretty appropriate with how Seattleites are feeling right now (whether they care to admit it or not).

Myself included. Yes, I am an active member of #snOMG.

Staring #snOMG in the face

Tonight, after barely making it home from the gym, John decided it’d be the opportune time to teach me how to drive in the snow. Uh huh.

As we crawl up our street, I’m on pins and needles, with my heart racing, hyperventilating, the works. I’m already in a fragile place: at the gym, I had a long talk with my coach about how much my arm is hurting from when I injured it during a workout over the summer. The hurt has evolved and is affecting my life outside of the gym. I can’t eat with chopsticks throughout an entire meal, it’s that bad.

So picture fragile Laura in the passenger seat of her brother-in-law’s almost-collector-status, rear-wheel drive, 1983 Mazda RX-7 with her husband at the wheel explaining the benefit of learning how to drive in the snow—something she’s afraid of and is not in the mental state to face right now at all.

We crawled up the street and a few blocks over to an abandoned parking lot. I regulated my breathing. The lot was without cars, speed bumps, and very few streetlights. John drove first, demonstrating and talking me through how to use the gas to regulate the direction that you’re going and how if you slide, point the wheel in the direction you want to go. Things specific to a rear-wheel drive car.

John drove, sliding in circles, and giving me the play-by-play for everything that he was doing and how to recreate it. Then we switched.

Taking the driver’s seat

With me in the driver seat, John’s instructions were to just drive and have fun and if he gives me any instructions to do them. Immediately.

I drove. I spun. I made a hard left, then a hard right. The back kicked out, I counter steered. I went in circles when I wanted to and I went straight when I wanted to, too. It was just like racing in an autocross—except there was snow under my tires and everything moved slightly slower. And I giggled. A lot.

I’ve raced a lot of cars in my life as an autocrosser, but the majority of them have been lightweight, rear wheel beasts. I know what it feels like to drift a corner and how to correct oversteer. Driving a car is intuitive—especially an older one that has a cable-throttle, giving my foot a direct connection to the gas without a computer getting in the way. The only difference here is less traction due to snow.

Learning: I can handle this

When you have a fear, even if it’s one that leaves you kicking and screaming to avoid, find someone to help pull you out of that place, show you it’s not as scary as it seems, and teach you how to overcome it. They key with snow—and what I’ve been lacking all along—is confidence that I can drive in it. Tonight I got my first dose of it and I’ll start building it from here. Baby steps, my friend.

Now, assuming that the rain doesn’t come and melt it all away overnight, I will not go cruising around like a teenager green from the DMV. I plan to fully embrace my #snOMG-ness and freak out by staying at home. I overcame my fear of driving in the snow, but that doesn’t mean I’m “cured” of all nervousness about it.

I’ll keep working on that one. I can handle driving in the snow; it’s everyone else on the road that I don’t know about.

Thank you, John, for being patient with me.

What’s one fear you’ve overcome lately and did someone help you through it?

Photo Credit: thisisbossi

My Unfinished Business with Angie

Down with you!! J. Star

In CrossFit, the workout-of-the-day (WOD) is generally named after a person. They can be named after girls, heroes, and other guys in between. Sadly, the hero workouts are named after CrossFitters who serve in the military or armed forces and died in the line of duty. I haven’t found how the girls earn a WOD named after them (or which real-life ladies inspire the said workouts), but it’s my goal to someday have a WOD named “Laura.”

Anyway, if I am the hero of my CrossFit destiny, pushing myself against me and laying down personal records day in and day out, then I can’t be a true superhero without an archenemy. And mine goes by the name of Angie.

Angie is a body-weight workout and the worst 20 to 30 minutes of your life (or 10 minutes, if you’re that good).


100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 air squats

For time.

CrossFit Evolution – Angie from Lori Schwartzberg on Vimeo.

My history with Angie

Angie and I have played together three times over the past year, which is a lot since CrossFit programming is constantly varied.

1/8/10 4/11/10 7/26/10

ANGIE adjusted

50 ring dips, 50 jumping pull-ups
75 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats


100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats


100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats

29:11 27:09 29:17

To set the context, April’s Angie was during the 40 WOD Challenge when I was going to CrossFit 3-days in a row, 1-day rest, 3-days on, 1-day rest, etc. I was at the height of my physical fitness for the year and was kicking some major muscle. In July, I just started a new job and was barely going twice a week. The thing that really pissed me off was I was busting out some killer pull-ups and rock-solid sit-ups. The push-ups, well, were a struggle. But two minutes slower? (more…)