Start By Starting

Think back to that moment when you were terrified to start something that you ended up doing anyway. What was the outcome? was it easy peasy right from the beginning?

I learned to ski as a teen and then after having children, did not hit the slopes for 12 years. Then one time the kids and I went with as part of a school group.  While they were in lessons, I took the tow rope to the top of the bunny hill. I stood there for 5-10 minutes, considering taking the skis off and walking down, thinking to myself, “It sure looks steep, what if I can’t turn, what if I hit someone, what if I can’t stop?” Skiing was something I had done adequately in the past, yet the delay in time made me feel like I was going out for the first time.

Contrast the experience with my first time on a snowboard at an age when women don’t usually start new sports. I had been skiing for a few years again, I was working out, I was cycling (strong quads) and I had lost some weight. I went to my first lesson with confidence and did surprisingly (to the instructor) well. I was still fearful of falling, I was still worried I wouldn’t be able to turn or stop. I fell many times. But I started anyway and I persevered.

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Sometimes we have opportunities crop up and we pause and wonder. Will I fall? What if I don’t know how to do something, what if I fail. What if it doesn’t work out. More often for myself, I consider whether I want to add one more thing to what I am doing. Do I really want to spend my energy doing the new thing? This is usually exasperated if I am tired or not feeling well.

Sometimes we are bogged down with the what ifs and never start, never pursue that thing that is niggling in the back of our mind. I can pretty much talk myself out of anything, especially exercise.

Is there a solution? I believe the number one solution is to just start. Start by starting. This might not mean starting without thinking, but it means that if you are only thinking of ways you may fail then the thinking isn’t productive. If the thinking is an effort to work out solutions to soar, then a little thinking can help. One thing that I have learned though, is when a person works out all the details, they often fail to start. Finding a happy medium is best. Most things you learn when you start because most times, you don’t even know what it will be like until you are immersed in the process.

Looking back at the things I started, and pursued, I sometimes consider what would have been different if I had not started. What would I not have learned by now. There are many things I started and did for 5 or so years and then moved on. And sometimes the fear people have is also connected to the feeling of permanency. What if I don’t like it? Time isn’t wasted in doing something where you are learning. Through the seasons of our lives we do different things, we learn, we move on to the next thing in the next season. I will be giving up chickens by attrition. They served well through the years with fresh eggs but now the commitment is too much with other projects and the plans for travel.

So, if there is something you have been holding back on trying, a language you keep thinking you should learn, a vacation you haven’t booked, a business you want to try or an exercise program you want to get started. It’s time to just do it without thinking too much. Just start by starting.

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Just When I Think…

Just when I think I have my act together, it falls apart. Or so it seems, it seems the world is conspiring to sabotage all the efforts, to wear me down, to poke holes into my resolve, to keep me from my goals, from success. Such was my week last week. I started out Sunday last week with energy, and accomplishments galore. I went for a run planning to run again on Tuesday (the forecast was for nice weather again). I had my other sports/workouts on the roster and I felt rested and motivated. Monday went just as well, and then…

Tuesday happened. It isn’t always a Tuesday but this particular Tuesday was the day. We were getting ready to take Furgus to the vet when my hubby started feeling pains in his back. By the time we got to the vet 40 minutes later my hubby was doubled over and almost passing out. I dropped Furgus off with the receptionist, signed the examination consent form and drove Lorne to hospital. Drugs and drugs helped his pain and tests and tests and the next two days more tests, finally revealed the sharp object moving in his urinary system…yep kidney stones. That was Thursday.

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You can see his right leg is swollen. He rested a lot. He also got his boosters when he went to the vet.

Back to Tuesday. The day was spent in the hospital, waiting, so much waiting and not knowing when the doctor would come in, and no food, no planning was involved…How do you plan food around an emergency visit to the hospital anyway? Furgus was okay, his swollen leg the result of a cat bite and treated with antibiotics. Arriving home in near dark having animals to feed and us to feed, I did not go for a run. The sheer exhaustion of the stress from the day did me in to the point of feeling ill. And we had to go back in the morning.

Wednesday morning did not start out with my scheduled bootcamp (nor Spanish class which is also on my dream board) and the day passed with a bit more stress being told, no stones showed up so you have to go to a different hospital tomorrow for a CT scan. That appointment was set for the afternoon.

Thursday I got to play wallyball in the morning as is my custom. An hour and half of good fun and exercise does wonders for the mental state. After getting the CT scan in the afternoon, we returned to the original hospital. After waiting there for over an hour we got confirmation of the moving stone, size and plan of action. Another late day and late feeding of chickens, eat quickly and head out to basketball.

That too was foiled with the sudden and rapid falling of snow. No visibility, I turned around and cancelled basketball.

At some points I felt rather discouraged, especially when I was feeling particularly exhausted. At other points I just went with it, because that’s really all you can do. I also felt encouraged because despite the chaos that was my life in those few days, I still got in some exercise, I still got in time to do Spanish homework, I still had a tidy house and still made good food choices (when I finally got to eat). Despite the upheaval, the things that needed to be done were done. Despite the stress of ‘not knowing’ at the beginning, we got the good news of kidney stones…yep good news because we know that ‘this too shall pass’ and all will be right again. Not without some pain (oh he will suffer greatly still) but then it will be done.

What my hubby was going through was terrible, that is his experience, his story; I am not saying his situation was about me. Still when my loved one is going through something, I am affected and that part is about me. That part is my experience; it is okay to feel it, to know it, to accept it, to talk about it. It is what is happening around me and does influence what is happening in my world. It changes my plans, it affects what I am doing. In accepting that part is about me, I can accept what I can’t change in the situation. In accepting what I can’t change, I can discover what I can control and in that way, I am empowered and not beaten down by the things I can’t control.

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I become aware of how terrible others have it. I am grateful for the ‘smallness’ of my struggles. When I think I have it together, it sometimes feels like the world conspires against me. In those moments I remember ‘This too shall pass”, to relax, to take a breath, and know that I can still be successful in some things, even if not in what I had planned.

 

Dreamscapes

Dreams do come true. It is really easy to say if you haven’t dreamed really big. Sometimes we don’t dream big because although we believe that the small dreams and goals can happen, believing something bigger isn’t possible is way more difficult. This weekend I made my first vision board. I worked on it for a couple hours from start to finish and came up with something I am pretty happy with. As with many of my creative works, I will revisit it to rework parts of it. I missed some items I had forgotten until it was put together. So I won’t be posting a photo of it just yet.

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One of the things included was my list of current commandments for myself (of which I missed one on the list and there is not space for it). I got the idea after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She has 12 commandments and a list of Secrets of Adulthood. I was inspired to do up a list of commandments for me. The first one is Be Dawn (her first one is Be Gretchen). I think it is important to remind myself to be true to myself. One of the others I have is Write. In an effort to keep that commandment my goal is to write a blog post every Sunday. I love to write but as with many things, it gets put to the side when life gets busy. As with most things I need to schedule what I want to do or it will be neglected.

I am wanting to write more about cycling. I started that last summer but…well I already went over that. So I will get back to that in the next while. It has been pretty nice out lately (for here), and when the shoulders of the road start clearing and the sun is high, I get the bug for cycling. It is a bit premature in January to get excited. Yes we have a trainer upstairs, but it isn’t quite the same. With the nice weather, I went for a run today for the first time in months. I didn’t really think about out it, just went.

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Sometimes you just have to start by starting, but starting can be difficult, because there is always a ‘reason’ to not. In fact, if I think about it long enough, I am pretty good at talking myself out of anything. I am better off not getting in my head; not a great place to hang out. So starting without thinking is my go to way of starting. Continuing is done the same way. Making a habit is a great way to stop thinking and just doing. So many things to work on.

Having said that, today I got a ton accomplished. I had a ton of energy. As I have mentioned in the past, I have struggled with some age related health issues, as well as incident related injuries. Over the last few months I have been concentrating on my insides and it is beginning to pay off. Having a ton of energy is super helpful in reaching goals, smaller ones and lofty ones.

With my vision board on my wall and my energy up, I have hope for the future. I will keep you posted.

My Comfort Zone Won’t Stand Still

Where is your comfort zone? Are you always in it? Do you have to be forced out of it by outside sources only to recoil in fear and push against it with all your might? The one thing about being comfortable is…it’s really comfortable. That voice inside us resists moving from that place. The other voice inside us tells us to move. Usually the situation isn’t so glaringly obvious, but as we age, this type of situation can creep up faster and faster. If we wish to create a world that is bigger, to have more abundance, we can do so by pushing back on our comfort zone by leaning into the uncomfortable.

If your comfort zone is the top of the mountain, reach for the sky.

When we are young, we learn by experimenting and doing. A child learns to walk and talk by observing and trying. A teen learns to branch out on their own by trying new things and finding what works and doesn’t. In our 20’s and 30’s we are experiencing new jobs, relationships and sometimes parenthood for the first time. Then we get comfortable, not necessarily in the every day (those who are parents realize they face new things daily), but we often get comfortable in our lifestyle. We have small growth activities through outside sources (interacting with people) and we upgrade at work, learn new technology, read a book, but often don’t do something big that scares us. That something might be small to a twenty year old who is all about adventure but the forty year old self is losing sleep over it. By fifty, the voice of ‘I’m too old for that…’ is resounding more often. Continue that theme into the sixties and by seventy a person can have one foot in the grave even without health problems.

As we age, our world gets smaller. Our memories aren’t as clear, which makes learning a little more difficult which means keeping up with new technology can be overwhelming; there is so much information. Our bodies slow down and it seems things take longer and there are health issues even if we work hard to prevent them.

I have done some things to push my comfort levels to different places. I have learned to snowboard, I have started learning a new language and practicing. I have pushed myself to learn new technology and a new business and another new business and all that is involved with those things. I am getting comfortable and it is time to start doing something new. Tomorrow, I will start a video challenge on my fb page A New Dawn-Feeling Good. I am not sure if I will do it daily all month but have plans to do it daily to begin with at least and have some topics set out. My plan is for a short 2-4 minute video each time. If there is anything you want me to talk about let me know. I will try to fit it in if I know something about it. I am scared, nervous, really uncomfortable with the idea.

As we go through life, our comfort zone moves. We can allow it to push us into an increasingly smaller world, or we can push our comfort zone to the mountain tops or beyond. Where are you taking your comfort zone?

Dream Bigger

I woke up in Colombia this morning. It has been 6 days of waking up in another country. Many years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined coming here for a visit. It’s funny how life takes on a life of it’s own and yet, it needs some energy behind it. How often does a person get an idea, a dream in their head and they push it away as a ‘dream’, a ‘whim’ a ‘notion’ that ‘just isn’t possible’? How often are we chided by that little voice in our heads that says ‘it can’t be done”? I have learned to dream big, to dream bigger than that little voice is comfortable with. I have learned that dreaming big and dreaming bigger makes those dreams a reality.

Almost 10 years ago we met a lovely family who started coming to our church. Within a short time we were good friends and had a group of couples that got together. We met more people from our church who were from Colombia and they were quick to tell us we need to be learning Spanish. Over the years we have remained friends with this group of people and those friends ended up in our home school circle as well so we spent much time with similar interests together. Five years ago they went to Colombia. When they returned they told us that when they were here they thought of how they would like to show us places they love.

At that point it was a conversation and fleeting comments followed although they were not part of a dream at that point; but the seed was planted and watered. My husband and I did not travel much while we were raising four kids. I stayed home with them and he worked really hard to make that happen. About 5 years ago, we were gifted (by my family and our kids) with a flight that sent us on our first ‘warm during the winter months’ vacation. We went on a few more because, well, it’s cold in Canada and it’s warm other places. I also decided to learn Spanish (after a trip to Cuba) using the Duolingo App. Of course I had friends who were more than willing to have me practice. I worked on it almost daily for a couple years and then last year didn’t spend time on it because of time spent on other things.

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A view of downtown Bogotá and beyond from Monserrate.

Then last year happened. I finished my personal trainer certification. I started my Monat business which happened to be with my dear friend. My husband’s job was iffy and we started a house flipping business with these same friends (and a brother). Then said brother became engaged and the wedding was in Colombia and now here we are, attending a Colombian wedding in a couple days, traveling around Colombia with our friends who are  patiently translating for us and helping us at every turn. However, I know enough Spanish to understand some of what is being said, I can speak enough broken Spanish and sign language to get a black, no sugar coffee special made for me at a street kiosk and tell people I have one son and three daughters, their ages and that I have 2 grandchildren and one more in 3 weeks.

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We walked a lot in Bogotá and when it was raining hard we stopped at a grocery store and learned about the fruits and vegetables here.

I have added a couple photos but this post really isn’t about our trip, it is about dreaming big. It’s interesting how there are little snippets of things that pop up when you are thinking of a post. I have been planning this one for a couple weeks but in preparation for the trip was unable to sit long enough to write it. This morning a friend posted a Facebook post about following your dreams and one of the lines was about waking up in another country. On the way from Bogotá to Ibague, I was listening to a couple podcasts. To be fair, I listen to inspiring podcasts that talk about dreaming big in business and in life, but the person interviewed was a young lady (26) who travels the world and has amassed riches through business after living a terrible teen life at the hands of others. The thing take home message along with others was, “Money is not the only currency”. When we are serving others, and being genuine in caring and help to others, we can receive the same from others…not always the same others but still receive.

We have been so blessed in all our travels to have the gracious help of others, to have accommodation, to be given food, to have transportation, and tour guides and advice from people. We have experienced the generosity of friends, new friends and strangers. We have been overwhelmed with kindness.

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The time spent with family and friends is the greatest of riches.

The currency of relationships, of connection and goodwill go far beyond what money can buy in enriching an experience. Yes, money is needed too. That is one of the reasons we work. But money isn’t the only currency. Dreaming big isn’t about money either; it is about doing things that you didn’t think you could. It is about, instead of saying “I can’t”, saying “How can I?” It may not be about travel for you, it may be something you want to do in life, go to school, have a bigger house, live somewhere else, have your own business, have more time for family and friends, run a half marathon, or lose weight. Whatever you dream, amp it up–dream a little bigger, then dream a lot bigger. You may wake up in another country one day and it will be good.

 

 

Life Is Too Short To…

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Some of you may be wondering ‘whatever happened to Dawn and that new blog she started?’.  Some of you may be tuning in for the first time.  Feel free to go back and read the previous posts.  I started a little series and intend to continue on with that in due time.  I am starting with a post today that gives you an idea about where I have been the last 7 months…well, really the things that started about a year ago, just to get you updated on where I have been and where I am going.  It’s good for you to know what I am about, to know if you want to hang out here.  And it is good for me to know where I am going because going in circles only works until you are too dizzy to stand.  No guarantees there won’t be some circles, but direction really helps.

A year ago at this time my husband Lawrence and I were in Hawaii, living it up in the sun, sightseeing and hiking some trails.  Living the dream in a tropical local only lasts so long for most of us, but really it would be nice to have a few more chances to live the dream. When we returned, I had my personal training course to complete (which I finished in May) and I was presented with an opportunity to have a business and have some residual income coming in.  Who doesn’t want to be paid while on vacation.  I have been presented with other opportunities but this one fit me because it fell in with my why for pretty much everything I do (more on that later). I started out slowly and have been building consistently, with (mostly) consistent work and consistently doing a little more.  There was a learning curve as I figured out the products and what people are wanting and how I was going to do that.  And I wasn’t sure on why yet (more about that later). I joined with Monat at the end of February.

Fast forward a month or two and Lawrence was forced to take his remaining weeks of vacation and his banked time (from all the overtime he had worked and had to bank in lieu of pay).  It was 7 weeks worth and he got to come with me to bootcamp and kickboxing and cycling during the day and he caught up on some things around the place and got a head start on other things. We really loved the lifestyle, but it didn’t pay well or at least it wouldn’t have if it kept going.  He was fortunate to be given some work when it ran out and kept his job. He earned a week of vacation only to have to again take it off in October. There was always the threat of not having a job after that period of time and each month there was a new ‘end of job’ date (and still is). Back to the spring; when we were enjoying time off, Lawrence mentioned to some friends that he needed to do something different. That’s when opportunity hit the fan again and we were introduced to something they had been working on for a couple years.  We decided life is to short to be unsure about a lifestyle we don’t love, and decided to jump into a lifestyle that, although it has no guarantees, is way more fun and has more potential to give us the lifestyle we desire. He continues to work in his current job as we march forward in this opportunity we are pursuing.

Starting a corporation, learning about real estate investing, flipping houses and all that entails has a huge learning curve and beyond the hands on learning there has been the ‘book’ learning as well.  Fitting it all in has been a juggling act to say the least, with continued feeding and caring for my family and pets and chickens and washing eggs, and laundry and dishes and cleaning the house occasionally.  And I definitely wasn’t going to let go of my sports and activities because that is part of the lifestyle. Anyway, you get the idea.

With all that learning came personal development because…well, because I believe personal development is so important.  I grew up in a family that puts a lot of value in personal growth, living life abundantly, being our best selves to serve others in whatever capacity the individual is called. And through the podcasts, books, you-tube videos and ted talks plus the regular things like meeting and talking with amazing people, hanging out with people, sermons, and personal conversations, I have learned a lot of stuff.  My head has sometimes felt like that cartoon image from Bugs Bunny of being hit with cymbals and continuing to vibrate long after.  And through going through this, I have been able to pinpoint more, why I want to write a blog, and have a fb page and do my businesses and they really all do come together.  Like really what does sports, fitness, feeding chickens and a garden and cycling, and house flipping and getting people anti-aging hair care products and cooking good meals for my family and, and and… all have in common? Probably as much as the million things each person does and yet, I am beginning to see what those things have in common.

I will share some of that on my next post which will be posted on Wednesday…look at me having a deadline and accountability to the three of you reading this today and tomorrow :-).