Self Love And Smog Checks: On Not Being A 30 Under 30.

Self Love And Smog Checks: On Not Being A 30 Under 30.

Body Community Love Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

I was convinced I’d be a 30 under 30.

I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t know where I would be. But I knew, in my heart, I was here to make a difference. And to me, there was no better indication that you’d “made it” than seeing your name beside 29 other change-makers who were yet to hit the 1/3rd of life mark.

If I’m being honest, I really wanted to be a 25 under 25. THIS would have really been making it, I thought. Some people have quarter-life crises. I’ll have a quarter-life celebration instead!

But really…if I’m being TRULY honest…I was really hoping that by some miraculous turn of events…I’d beat ’em all to the punch and score a 20 under 20 spot. THESE were the “fresh-faced youth” that were “changing the world;” the ones I knew would be leaders that lasted my lifetime. I remember being at sleep-away camp when I was 11 years old, and literally tripping over a copy of my bunkmate’s Teen Magazine. I looked down and locked eyes with the cover stars, the “Teens To Watch.” I’ll be like them one day, I told myself…

I think all ambitious kids do it. Probably moreso if they’re a creative of some sort. I was an early bloomer in a lot of ways. I was drawing faces and shapes before most of my friends could hold a crayon. I devoured books and educational cassette/video tapes, which got me enunciating eloquently before I even knew what either of those words meant. I instinctively looked inward instead of facing outward, and I had a habit of self-examining even when it was scary to do so. 

But when it came to stereotypical “success”…I don’t know. Most of my life, success had always been defined as being “the best” fill-in-the-blank. The best artist, the best singer, the best actress, the best daughter, the best partner, the best friend, the best at life. There were only two kinds of people – the prodigies and then everyone else. If you’re not striving to be a wunderkind, the world asked me, then what was the hell are you even doing?

And so being successful, for me, became more about being liked than being myself. I tied my worth to my praise, and my praise to my victories, and my victories to my worth, and back around again. If I could only make one of those Under lists, I thought, I would have concrete proof I’d “made it.”

~

Welp, I’m one day away from 30, and I’m not on any under-30 list. I’ve passed through 25, 20, and teendom, and in no age range or scenario have I ever been touted by anyone as someone “To Watch.” I’m yet to know the feeling of a global pedestal, and if Oprah or Forbes hasn’t called by now, there’s not a good chance they’re gonna show up in the next 24 hours.

What I’ve gotten in the last thirty years, though, is way better than my name on some list of people roughly around my own age (and the subsequent pressure you inevitably feel to maintain that “buzz” as you move from Person To Watch to actually being watched). I’ve built a person. A living, breathing, beautiful, flawed, brilliant, WHOLE person. Instead of being caught up in accomplishments, I’ve built a solid base of fulfillment. My refusal to conform to what might be normal – everything from career plans to dating – has brought me the kind of success you can’t see. The kind of success that stops me in my tracks and makes me think, “Holy crap, how did I even get here?” That sort of success isn’t tied to a paycheck, a person, or a nod of approval. It’s the kind of success that only I really truly know, because it’s the feeling of knowing myself on such a deep level that I know I can weather both the highest highs and the lowest lows.

That’s not to say entering my Third Decade comes without butterflies, though. I remember when I was ending my freshman year of high school, I feared entering into my sophomore year and blending into the crowd. I was known as one of the “cool” freshmen (read: not-actually-stereotypically-cool-in-the-way-freshmen-think-they’re-cool) in the theatre clique, and feared that my unexpectedness was what made me exciting. Without being known for being way more “mature” than a normal ninth grader, what was I?

Now, the same types of fears bubble up – I’m just more mindful about how I approach them. My ties to the idea of “youth” are not so much linked to the aging process as to whether or not I’m still…cringe…special. Almost all my close friends are a good five to fifteen years older than I am. I’ve been told my entire life that I’m an old soul and so much more mature “for my age.” So what happens now? What if I blend in?  What am I if I’m no longer an exception to the rule?

I’ll tell you what I am. I am not held back, that’s what I am. I am not using my age as a crutch or as a reason someone else should like me. I know now I can fill that head-and-heart space with something much more productive to love about myself. I am not my age, I am my soul. I am not an exception, I am my own rule.

I am not an exception, I am my own rule. Click To Tweet

I might not be leaving my twenties on any fancy-schmancy list, but honestly, I don’t care anymore. I don’t need a list to approve of my trajectory, and I don’t need to feed into the idea that in order to be Great, I need to be The Best. Because really, there is no “Best.” And as Sarah Robb O’Hagan brilliantly states in this video, this sort of “Participation Award” culture of awarding greatness by decade creates a false notion that there IS actually a Best and that Best is on a timeline, one that’s becoming increasingly shorter.

I want to live on my own timeline. And I want to live the life that’s the Best for me. End of story.

In the meantime, I have learned a few things to get me started…



30 Lessons In 30 Years: A Non-Exhaustive List


1) ASK FOR HELP, and take people up on their offers when they offer to help. 
I’ve learned that if I don’t know how to do something…it’s not that I WON’T do it, but I get tripped up over not knowing HOW to execute, it’s that I move SO slow. There’s a difference between moving slow and being cautious, and moving slow out of fear. I move slow out of fear. I finally came to terms with my natural way of being, but instead of sulking about it, I now immediately do something to counteract it. Now I know that just because my default is to act one way (slow, fearful, solo), doesn’t mean I need to make a drastic change to move forward in work or life…I just need to ask for help when I’m feeling on shaky ground.

2) In the words of the musical Rent, FORGET REGRET. Regret is a useless – and fabricated – emotion. How absolutely freeing it feels to live without regrets. Regret, to me, is a byproduct of a forgiveness and empathy deficit. When you’re able to forgive and have empathy for others, you’re able to learn forgiveness and empathy for yourself (and vice versa). You realize you were making the best choice you could in the circumstance you were in. LISTEN: On Listening As Service With Ben Mathes

3) If you own or lease a car, know the dates and costs to anticipate. Smog checks (your DMV renewal will have a notification on it – all you need to do is find a gas station or service outpost that says “Smog Check” and they’ll know what to do), drivers license renewal, car payments, and if you’re leasing, disposition fee. Knowing these won’t make the costs go away, but they WILL make you a lot less surprised when they pop up (and provide a little more impetus to keep some “shit happens” money lying around).

4) Money ebbs and flows. Accept that there will be extremes. No one extreme defines you, and no one extreme is forever. READ: Spending, Saving, Asking, Making: Let’s Talk About Cents, Baby

5) Keep a journal. A written, pen-to-paper journal. Write notes back and forth with your friends, and save them when you can. They’re like relics of who you once were and how you came to be.

6) Friendships are born EVERYWHERE. Don’t worry about so much about making your closest friends in your age group, career field, school, what-have-you. Community can come from ANYWHERE. And also, It’s okay not to have a stereotypical “best” friend – or a lot of friends. You will find your people, but only if you’re committed to being your own “person” above all else (instead of trying to fit in with someone else). READ: Being Afraid Of The Friends That You Need

7) Be kind to people – all people. Or at the very least, empathize, because we’re all human. Cynicism, backstabbing, manipulating, and just plain making fun of others are all things that get under my skin. I’ve been on the receiving end of all four, and more. It was hard to be kind sometimes. But kindness has always gotten me farther – and doesn’t leave me with that sick feeling in my stomach that I’m sending out negative energy to someone else in this world. Pettiness and negativity fester in the body, and letting them live out in the world is very different than letting them GO. You can be kind to people while still being firm, direct, and self-protective. Kindness is only a liability when it’s an excuse to not stand up for yourself. Saying no and being kind are not mutually exclusive. Speaking up and being kind are not mutually exclusive.

8) You can appreciate the advice of those you love without feeling like you should (or NEED to) take it. The people you love want what’s best for you. And what’s best for you is usually the least risk-averse option. Or maybe it’s not the least risky, but it’s the option they’d do in your position. Or maybe they wouldn’t do it per se, but it will lead you to be the person THEY want you to be. It could be a parent or a romantic partner. What is right for someone else isn’t always right for you, and vice versa. That doesn’t mean either option is “wrong.”

9) “Vulnerability” is your greatest asset. Show your entire self to the world.

10) The reality of the situation at hand is different than the emotions you associate with it. Feel it all, but learn to separate the two.

11) Learn to listen to your body, even when it would be easier to listen to a friend, or magazine article, or even a doctor. Tapping into how my body feels has been one of my biggest successes of my life so far. Your body never lies.

12) Exercise out of love, not punishment. READ: It Moves With You: The Right Way To Exercise This Season.

13) Read things that make your brain flex, listen to music that makes your heart hurt, watch films that make you think deeply. It’s exercise for your soul.

14) Love is so much more complicated than it seems. Surface level compatibility is awesome, calling you out on your shit should be a given. You want someone who is in the ring with you no matter what – sans jealousy, codependency, or worst of all, conditions.

15) In the words of Michael Pollan, “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The only modification I have to this is…don’t let society tell you what is too little or too much. Our bodies are ALL different – different activity levels, physiological make-up, etc. – so we all need different amounts of energy to live our lives. READ: Defining Diet On Your Own Terms

16) Your heart never forgets your dreams, so dream wisely. READ: The Dreams We Woke Up From

17) It’s okay to not want to let go, or be scared to let go – but don’t be so scared of the unknown and the other side of letting go that you DON’T let go. Just because you’ve invested in something for a really long time doesn’t mean you’re indebted to it.

18) Be proactive, not reactive.

19) We all learn the same lessons, just not at the same times.

20) Family, blood AND chosen, are the most important. What constitutes family? They’ve got your back no matter what (and you’ve got theirs).

21) The hardest (and scariest) things to do are usually the right ones.

The hardest (and scariest) things to do are usually the right ones. Click To Tweet

22) Buy trendy or “adventurous” stuff at thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads. Invest in staples and classics. Just trust me on this one.

23) Your gut never lies, but your brain gets easily confused. READ: Using Your Intuition vs. Being Triggered

24) Move somewhere new that feeds your soul. Getting a taste of new perspectives and new scenery opens up new parts of who you are.

25) You really do already have everything you need…you just might not know why you need it yet.

You already have everything you need...you just might not know why you need it yet. Click To Tweet

26) When it comes to your career, do you. If you want to switch jobs, cool. If you like working in an office, cool. If you work better from home, cool. If you’re someone who thrives off of multiple odd jobs for maximum happiness, amazing. There is no one archetype for professional (or personal) success.

27) You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing. Do what’s right for you. And just because someone else is doing it (and you’re not) is not a reflection on your worth as a human being.

28) Don’t drastically change something about yourself to follow a trend. Physical or otherwise. Very thankful for my thick eyebrows now, but I wasn’t in 1998.

29) Know your personality type. Take this test. And know that the way you are is MORE than enough. LISTEN: On Being an Introvert + HSP

30) Your life is not a clock to beat. Remember those game shows where participants would have to rush through a maze while there was a clock counting down the seconds in the background? Way too many of us live our lives that way. Everyone is on their own unique path. Just because your friends are getting married or having babies or are CEOs of their businesses DOESN’T mean you have to “keep up” by checking off those boxes yourself. When you honor your own timeline and move forward fearlessly on that path, your life opens up in ways you’d never ever expect.

Your life is not a clock to beat. Click To Tweet

And just like that, a whole three decades are done.

Cheers to the next chapter.

The Purdy 30s (because why would I manifest dirtiness?).

The Adventure Decade.

To laughs, love, highs, lows, and every single thing in between.

And hey, if all else fails…there’s always the 40 Under 40.

 



LISTEN TO MORE HERE: 30 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN 30 YEARS

WANT Yourself:
Which one of these lessons resonated with you the most?
If you’re over 30, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
And under-30s…what’s the ONE thing you want to work on the most in this decade you’re in?
Shoot me a comment below – I’ll consider it my birthday present :) I love you all.

 

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The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power the WANTcast Tips + Tools

And just like that, it was the Season One finale.

As you probably already realized…this episode is a little different. It’s just me today. I’m gonna try something new. It just so happens that by the time a lot of you listen to this, it’ll also be my 30th birthday. I decided that today, I’d jam about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 30 years. I know. A little headline-y. But hey – I always love reading those lists, and hearing what others have to say about the lessons they’ve learned, so I thought maybe you’d like to, too.

Honestly, as I was thinking about it, there is a LOT of overlap in the lessons I learned in season one of the WANTcast, so it seems fitting to honor the end of Season One with this episode. Some of these are pretty deep (think body image and life choices), some are a little more trivial than others (stuff about smog checks, for example), but in the moment, they ALL feel huge.

My hope is that this can help someone else through their first three decades – and maybe, just maybe, set the tone for what kinds of lessons open up to you from here on out no matter what decade you’re in.

WANT Yourself:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show Notes:
WANTcast archives
Benjamin Mathes episode
Kirsten Potenza episode
Ashlee Piper episode
Jessica Murnane episode
Kate Northrup
Many Lives, Many Masters
Using Your Intuition Vs. Being Triggered
I Love You And I Like You: The Ebbs And Flows Of Body Image
The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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Breaking Out Of Self Sabotage.

Breaking Out Of Self Sabotage.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

5:30AM: The alarm buzzes, and you refuse to open your eyes. Everything feels heavy. Your body is stuck in the drowned-out stupor of last night’s snackfest, when you raided the pantry and dove into that box of trail mix to accompany you as you browsed Netflix trying to find that one episode Crazy Ex Girlfriend you only got halfway through the night before. That one episode became four, and that handful of snacks became a now-empty plastic Costco tub of crumbs and pieces. That list of things to do is still three pages long, you feel puffed up and hung-over from snack overload, and that 6:30AM class at the gym you were so set on starting your day with is looking as unlikely as a sequel to the movie Titanic.

And so you wallow. You wallow in your despair, saddened that the great roll you were on only a few hours before has taken a different course. That good news you heard yesterday and that great opportunity you had last week don’t even seem so exciting anymore. I’m just not cut out for this today, you think. I’ll try again when I feel better.

Sound familiar?

~

Self-sabotage is a beast. It’s what we do when our long-held doubts and questions start to be negated and answered – and we panic. It’s those excuses we give and those rules we break semi-unintentionally. Self-sabotage is what keeps us from following up with that business contact that serendipitously came out of nowhere, what gets us digging into the fridge at 11pm when we’ve finally started to feel good in our skin, and what self-induces insomnia so that morning spin class is half over by the time our eyes flicker open in a groggy haze.

Self-sabotage keeps us in a place of fear.

And the difference between successful people and the ones that stay “stuck” in fear is not only self-sabotage – it’s control.

It seems obvious that success and control would be married, but it’s more like they’re…related. They’re slightly dysfunctional family members that love each other and need each other, but in too large of doses can drive each other into the ground.

Sure, success requires control to a certain extent. It requires control in vision, in preparation and in execution. The thing is, the most successful of individuals see the goal…yet relinquish control when it comes to the result. Successful people, above all, trust: trust that their hard work and preparation and high spirit will not be in vein, trust that their dominoes will fall into place, and most of all, trust that if their dominoes don’t, they’ll figure out a way for them to do so.

The secret to success isn't perfection - it's trust. Click To Tweet

Not too long ago (in the grand scheme of things), whenever things would start to go great for me, I’d start to make something go not-so-great. Probably to counter-balance what I thought deep down was something I hadn’t earned or didn’t deserve. More than anything, I was afraid of success. Failure was easier for me to stomach than the thought of possibly letting someone down once I was at the top. I’d react to Good Thing after Good Thing by falling back into my safe zones that kept me out of responsibility. Out of true extraordinary-ness. I’d do things that made me physically and/or emotionally feel awful. Forgetting deadlines (I don’t forget deadlines), binge eating or restricting (especially when I felt was getting too comfortable with the thought I didn’t have food “issues”), underpreparing for auditions (I was a serial over-preparer). Stuff that was completely antithetical to the ME I knew I was MEANT to be. These self-sabotagey habits kept me viewing myself as someone who was young, someone who was second-best, someone who needed help and assistance and was Less-Than. My legs felt heavy underneath me, and I’d cry to my closest confidantes that I felt like I worked so hard only to botch it all up. To me, self-sabotage was about staying in a zone that was safe, a zone in which I couldn’t be a true leader – because being a true leader meant I had nothing to follow but my own lead. And what’s more, if I could cry to someone about it later, I could be loved.

The “stuck” are without trust. The “stuck” are afraid of what happens if a domino accidentally hits another and takes a wrong turn, or stops the flow altogether. People who are “stuck” are so overwhelmed by outcomes that staying in the same loop begins to seem a whole lot more attractive. I know because this was me.

I don’t even recognize that girl anymore. I empathize with her, but god, she seems like such a far cry from who I am today. I now realize that I had major, maaajor trust issues: I didn’t trust myself to be able to handle success, and I didn’t trust that others would still love me if I didn’t “need” them in one way, shape or form. Oof.

Self-sabotage is a defense mechanism should we be given everything we dream of and not know what to do with it. Click To Tweet

Life is one big game of cause-and-effect, and we are hardwired to fear loss. And moving forward fearlessly into the life you know you’re meant to lead? There’s gonna be loss along the way. In a good way, yes – but sometimes, there will be losses you won’t be able to predict. Self-sabotage is nothing more than a sick, twisted defense mechanism should we be given everything we ever dreamed of and then not know what to do with it.

Because what if that happened? What if we literally got EVERYTHING we ever wanted? All our goals reached. All our boxes checked. Our lives would undoubtedly change. And change is very, very scary. We could have it all, and then lose it all once again! We could have it all, and then face a new host of obstacles even tougher than before! We have ZERO control over what happens once our light shines at its brightest. We could also do everything in our power to reach the goal but at the last moment, it’s pulled out from under us. That’s another option. The only way to succeed is to relinquish control – but relinquishing control sometimes means disappointment. So the “stuck” stay afraid, yet in control. The stuck person figures that if she fails, it’s gonna be at her own hands, not because of someone (or something) else. To make a dark analogy – it’s like goal suicide.

I’m nowhere near accomplishing all of my goals or feeling like I’ve got my shit together 100%, but here’s what I’ve learned about keeping yourself on…well, maybe not the “right” track, but the “right-for-you” track that will make you happy more often than not: Know what you want. Know EXACTLY what you want, every single detail you can muster up, even if it’s just a feeling. As a recovering sabotage-aholic, I can say that it’s not all going to be butterflies and roses, and you WILL have moments of relapse. We’re only human. It is inevitable. I had one last week. But when it happens, stop it in its tracks. Note exactly what you did, and dig deep for an answer as to why you did it.

Then do one thing to be proactive – to at least pick up some of the pieces and get the train rolling again. Strayed from your healthy eating plan? Have a green juice the next morning. Didn’t follow up with someone? Shoot off an email apologizing for being out of touch, and propose specific plans. Haven’t paid your overdue credit card bill yet? Pay that sucker and take the forty seconds’ worth of time to register for automatic bill pay.

Be proactive. Not reactive. Tell yourself you’ve got this. And ask yourself with full honesty, controlled intention, and release of the uncontrolled aftermath: How do I want my dominoes to fall?

self-sabotage


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a different version of this originally appeared on the chalkboard mag in 2012

The Right Track: How To Tell If You’re Using Your Intuition or Being Triggered

The Right Track: How To Tell If You’re Using Your Intuition or Being Triggered

Body Community Love Most Popular Posts Tips + Tools Work

(Everyone’s got at LEAST ONE crazy story when it comes to dating. I never liked to date…so when it comes to crazy stories, I literally have one. Just one. But I think it’s pretty good :) I also talked about this with Ashlee Piper on Episode 18 of the WANTcast if you’d like to hear more.)

A few years ago, I was introduced to a guy via some mutual friends, via Facebook. We were a perfect match on paper – and apparently, in our friends’ minds too. We began a very intimate, very personal relationship remotely based entirely on the idea that we were a perfect match. Swept up in the moment and my intuition telling me this is what was supposed to happen, I booked a plane ticket to fly out of state to see him.

Mind you, this was within 30 minutes of talking to him for the very first time. EVER. Via text. Not even a voice-to-voice call. And I was now going to spend a weekend with him. I’m historically cautious and haven’t ever really been a fan of the unknown, so from the outside this was WAY out of character. I had friends telling me it was no big deal, and I had friends telling me I was nuts. But I knew he wasn’t a psycho (my friends would have told me) and I knew in my gut it was right. So two weeks later, I found myself boarding a plane to Texas.

The couple sitting next to me on my flight had a daughter who had gone to my elementary school. We knew at least five of the same people. They were delightful. I never talk to people on flights, and I found myself chatting with them the entire way. This is a sign, I thought. This is meant to be. I already had my intuition telling me to move forward, now I was getting even more proof from the outside that this was sure to be the romance of a lifetime!

I entered the terminal with my heart beating out of my chest. I slowly walked through the oversized archway soaking in the feeling of a life that would never be the same.

I rolled down the escalator.

I saw him.

He was not my guy.

using-your-intuition
Intuition, by definition, is something that one knows (or considers likely) based on instinctive feeling. It’s quick and doesn’t register consciously. It’s a sense of “knowing” without even really knowing how you know. It’s so strong, so powerful, that many of us choose not to listen. It’s scary to trust your gut, especially when it senses things you don’t want to be true. Intuition feels so concrete, so objective, that no evidence is needed for you to know it’s right. And that can be scary.

There are times, however, when evidence is steering the ship. Some call it “jumping to conclusions,” but I like to call it being triggered. The term “triggers” is typically used to describe sensations, images, or experiences that remind you of a memory. And while you might not prefer the conclusion the trigger is making you jump toward, you are absolutely convinced of its truth, because you’ve got evidence to prove it.

Our problem, as a culture, is that we live in a noisy world that’s constantly drowning out that inner voice. Forget about companies and marketing – we’re our OWN worst enemies. We broadcast our lives and compare ourselves to others in hopes of receiving the validation we so crave from the world and ourselves. We’re looking for signs as to whether we’re doing this “LIFE” thing right or wrong, and what better way than to gather evidence?

And so we take evidence from our past to inform our future. We become emotionally swayed by what we see, and convince ourselves we’re the ones in control. We confuse the feeling of being triggered with what our intuition is trying to tell us.

We confuse the feeling of being triggered with what our intuition is trying to tell us. Click To Tweet

When we’re triggered by someone or something, a memory is stirred up, and an emotion rises that’s been festering for days, months, years, maybe even decades. Of course it feels as natural as intuition; we’ve spent so much time living with this masked belief system inside of us.

I’ve got intuition for days. I’ve learned how to listen to that objective feeling inside, whether I like what it’s telling me or not. But this doesn’t mean I don’t get swayed from time to time. When you have a strong sense of intuition and are triggered by something strong, it’s very easy to react. You’ve spent so much time “just knowing,” you assume that your intuition is always in control. But intuition is never impulsive; it’s proactive, not reactive.

When I slid down that escalator, my intuition told me this was not my “forever” person. But it wasn’t a feeling of danger or dread, it was just kind of…meh. Nope. My gut told me it was over before it began.

But did that stop me? Nope. He was tall, handsome, great energy, nothing off-putting whatsoever. We’d already established more emotional intimacy in ten days than some of my relationships had in ten months. We’d talked on the phone for hours, written love letters back and forth – and our friends were more than certain we were the perfect pair.

Triggers don’t always come in negative form. The promising depth we’d established, the on-paper compatibility, and the overwhelming reassurance of my friends reminded me of all the things I’d hoped for in relationships prior but had never gotten (or at least gotten all at once). I ended up staying with him for two months, trying way harder than my gut wanted me to – forcing happiness and bliss when it was really just a romanticized idea I wanted to come to fruition.

using-your-intuition

If you’re trying to figure out whether you’re being triggered or using your intuition, here are two questions to ask yourself:

(1) How emotionally charged is this thought/feeling? When you get an intuitive sense about something, it’s not because of anything people can see. It feels like a “knowing” as clear as the sky is blue. It just comes to you.

We all have the ability to tap into our intuition this clearly – it’s just that, most of the time, intuition is not based in rational emotion or evidence, so we ignore it. However, if you’re being triggered, you’ve got ALL the emotions and at least some sort of evidence to validate them, so it’s really tempting to believe. Whether those emotions and that evidence has to do directly with the situation at hand or not is inconsequential; in the moment, evidence is evidence.

The thing about intuition is that the emotions aren’t what matters. It’s the “truth” part – the feeling of knowing. If a thought or feeling is bubbling up and it’s based in emotion, it’s a good idea to check yourself and dig deeper.

(2) Am I trying to talk myself into, or out of, this thought/feeling? Most of us were taught from a very young age not to trust our feelings (or at least to second-guess them). We were told to “play nice,” and at times were made to feel as if we were too sensitive. Rational and cautious adults taught us to pause and be rational and cautious just like them. Although it was all well-intentioned, we subconsciously learned to talk ourselves out of our intuitive feelings and into more rational or evidence-based ones.

Identifying intuition gets messy when strong emotions (aroused by an ACTION OR CIRCUMSTANCE) come into play. Strong emotions are evidence that can lead to a conclusion. I’ve learned to realize that when I cannot separate what is happening from the emotions of the situation – I’m reacting to a trigger.

Intuition always helps me understand whatever situation is at hand, even if I don’t exactly know how I understand it. Triggers, however, feel like something that’s CONVINCING me to understand. A good rule of thumb when faced with a decision and you’re unclear if that decision is being driven by intuition or a trigger: If you’re trying to talk yourself out of it, it’s probably worth a second look. If you’re trying to talk yourself into it, you’re looking for answers in the wrong places.

Intuition helps you understand - even if you don’t exactly know HOW you understand. Click To Tweet

I knew in my gut that that person I flew to see was “not my guy.” But I also wasn’t getting danger signals to end it and fly home right away. It just came to me as sort of a casual, internal observation. My triggers were what made me believe this “perfect match” truth I’d convinced myself of in my head, and made the whole thing into a lot more than it ever really was. In hindsight, I think my intuition wanted me to keep things light and way less emotionally invested. But I was being triggered, and that got my hopes up. I was convinced the bliss would come at some point.

He wanted to fly out to see me the very next month. I knew he wasn’t my guy but I had this weird feeling that this was the right thing to do. So I didn’t stop him.

We ended it on that trip. On his flight home, he met a girl from his hometown. And that girl is now his wife.

Me? I’m a lot braver now. I listen to my intuition no matter what, and I pause before some sort of external expectation takes me places I don’t really want to go. If I had never gotten on that plane, I would have never learned how brave I could be. If I had never taken a chance, I would have never taken all the chances I’ve taken since then. Our relationship didn’t work out, but I walked away with more self-confidence I’d ever had in my life. The big things still feel big, but if my intuition is telling me YES, I jump without hesitation. If we’d never had our crazy love story, he would have never met his now-wife on that flight home – and I would have never known the objective, intuitive feeling of “yep, that’s my guy” if I hadn’t experienced the exact opposite.

Following your intuition doesn’t mean you won’t have doubts or fears come in and try to sway you otherwise, and it doesn’t mean you won’t question yourself along the way. But it does mean you’re on the right track. And you’ve got to trust that. Fiercely. Even when you don’t know why it’s the right track…or what right track you’re paving along the way.

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Tell me in the comments – have you ever had a moment like mine, where your intuition was telling you one thing but you convinced yourself to believe another? What did you do? And what did you learn from the experience?

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Down In The Slumps: The Simple, No-B.S. Shift For When You’re Feeling Discouraged

Down In The Slumps: The Simple, No-B.S. Shift For When You’re Feeling Discouraged

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I make lists like it’s my job. And for a while there, it was: I’ve gone down the personal assistant route, I’ve written round-ups of everything from the best protein bars to “7 bike shorts that don’t suck.” My methods for getting to-dos to-DONE are impressive at best, neurotic at worst. Bubbles, arrows, brackets – my lists are more like living breathing flow chat entities than items to be checked off (don’t even get me started on my Google Cal notifications).

My professional-life-enthusiast status does not come without its pitfalls, though. I have a tendency to become dependent on strategizing, and therefore a little addicted to a steady stream of outcomes. Which isn’t really a problem, until it is.

Sometimes life gets in the way of plans, but sometimes it also feels like life is that one super-late party guest who keeps texting you that she’s “ten minutes away” and then just ends up saying she’ll catch you next time. As much as I’d LOVE to be able to To-Do List my life, usually the universe has stuff in store that doesn’t quite line up with the algorithmic vision I have of causes and effects.

And when I find myself without a next step – or anything to show for my time and work, really – I deflate.

My friend Diane calls it being “down in the slumps.” Nope, not down in the dumps – down in the slumps. Her slumpy catchphrase was originally born out of a misunderstood idiom, but I’ve now found it’s actually pretty accurate when it comes to describing that lame feeling of defeat. It’s not just sad or depressed: when you’re down in the slumps, you feel like all the air that’s been keeping you buoyantly afloat has been drained out of your spirit. You try and try to hoist yourself back up into the air, but it’s nearly impossible to get even a few inches off the ground without slumping down over yourself more and more just a few seconds later.

I’ve seen my share of slumpy slumps. Heck, I just uprooted my entire life and moved across the country – don’t you think for one second that that sort of acclimatization process doesn’t come with its fair share of slump feelings. My slumps have almost exclusively been a result of (unintentionally) going cold-turkey on my “habit addiction,” not even leaving me with a set of vague rules or roads to use as guideposts. It’s why I’m historically not chummy with change, and why transitions are such a challenge for meWhat have you even been doing? an unfamiliar judgmental voice inside me nags. You’re a smart woman; you’re wasting your potential. You have nothing to show for the days/weeks/months that have passed you by.

You’re not trying hard enough.

You’re not doing nearly enough.

Enough enough enough. You’re definitely not enough.

Hey, inner voice, here’s a newsflash: sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try. Sometimes what’s necessary is exactly what you dislike the most. Sometimes you need to explore your full range of emotions to find out where the key is to get back out into the sunlight. Sometimes the challenge is necessary for the change.

Sometimes the challenge is necessary for the change. Click To Tweet

When I was in high school, my theater teacher used to tell us that instead of saying we were nervous before a show, we should tell ourselves that we were actually excited. Both nervous and excited are “aroused emotions,” meaning they trigger a response in the body that prepares you for action. Studies are now showing what theatre kids have known for their entire lives: Turning your words around in a tense situation can turn your emotions around, too. 

But what about when the emotions you’re feeling are a response to inaction? How do you flip a shitty feeling without sounding like freaking Mary Poppins or your well-meaning great aunt who passive-aggressively reminds you about ticking clocks and when-I-was-your-age and your super successful third cousin and what-not?

What happens when doing everything you can just never feels like enough?

~

Did you ever think about why exactly it is that you’re down in the slumps? Why is it that you’re able to feel as discouraged as you do?

Think of it this way: if you were actually an unmotivated, untalented, no-passion loser, discouragement wouldn’t be an option, right? You’d be living in blissful ambivalence, not caring about anyone or anything – CERTAINLY not giving a crap about moving forward fearlessly.

But you’re NOT any of those things, because you’re not someone who doesn’t care. Your discouragement is a reminder that you care, and care deeply.

The OG of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, once said It’s not about how far you fall, it’s about how high you bounce.

Did you ever think that the reason your lows are so low…is because you’re fearless enough to go chase the high highs?

Did you ever think that we’re all just getting the wording wrong?


We say we’re stuck and discouraged when really, we should be saying we’re ambitious and driven.

 

The great thing about ambitious and driven people is that they’re always seeking growth and expansion. Whether that’s personal growth (relationships, health, spirituality), career-related growth (new jobs, new projects, new ideas), or something else, the ambitious person is a professional possibility seeker. It’s part of them. It’s in their bones.

The flip is that possibility is subjective. One person’s vision is another person’s dead-end. So what happens when there’s no possibility to be found? The ambitious person shrinks. She deflates herself to fit the perceived space around her, one she sees as too small and narrow to hold her drive and desires.

She slumps.

How many times have we altered who we are in our core just to fit in? When possibility is scarce, we start to think “it’s us.” So we lower our intensity, mute our opinions, and become a shell of who we are in order to survive and thrive in the elements of where we are. Ambition and drive seem like negative qualities, not positive, when you’re buying into the belief that the world isn’t big enough to receive what you have to offer.

It’s a simple, borderline-positive-affirmation-esque shift. But what makes the discouraged-to-driven shift different than any old affirmation (or any BS click-baity strategy that ultimately just tells you to look on the bright side) is that with affirmations you need to talk yourself into believing the phrase. The discouraged-to-driven shift is easier to recognize as truth right off the bat. You’ve got PROOF from your life to support this fact. Times you’ve succeeded. Times you’ve soared. It’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to praise ambition and drive when things are actually going your way. So in frustrating or deflating times, it’s essential to remind yourself of your true nature.

In frustrating or deflating times, it's essential to remind yourself of your true nature. Click To Tweet

When you’re feeing discouraged, remind yourself that there is a big world out there that’s more than big enough to fit your unique level of ambition, intensity, and courage. All people have that electric drive in them. But not all people are brave enough to explore where it can lead them. It’s easier to give into the slump than it is to slowly-but-surely soar. You choose to go for the “soar” even though it requires you to show up, both physically and emotionally. You fall down and have to improvise at times, and if you’re like me and would rather have a list of to-dos to get to-DONE, it’s never going to be comfortable. But you’ll get there. That drive is part of what makes you extraordinary.

Side note – don’t you think I’ve stopped making lists in my life. It’s just not an *addiction* anymore. There was a time I thought my lists were what kept me motivated…but now I realize that it’s just the opposite. My lists are just byproducts of the motivation that sets everything in motion in the first place. There’s a whole lot in my life I’m just not able to list out and check off in sequence. Like what happens after you move across the country. Or what happens when you leave a job. But I know I’m a doer, and I know whatever the slump, I’ll find a way through.

There are unknowns and there are pivots, and there are times when it feels like you don’t even know where to start getting started. I get it. But the small step of identifying and trusting who you are at your core is the perfect small step to get the ball rolling. It’s not about how far you fall, it’s about how high you bounce. It’s not about how low you slump, it’s about how high you soar.

 

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It's not about how low you slump, it's about how high you soar. Click To Tweet


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The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

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Today’s guest is the lovely Ashlee Piper. Ashlee Piper is a political strategist turned vegan and eco-lifestyle expert, writer, and TV personality whose work has been featured in/on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Mirror Mirror, Mind Body Green, VegNews, Vegetarian Times, AOL, NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX News, to name a few. Piper is also a brand strategist and influencer for some of the world’s most ethical and innovative companies.

One of the things I love about Ashlee is her versatility and mad smarts. I’m fascinated by Ashlee’s background as a political strategist and creative consultant, and how that has led to her building a name for herself as an “eco-lifestyle expert” over the years.

You only want people and things in your life that want you, too. - @thelilfoxes Click To Tweet

In this episode, we talk Ashlee’s winding career journey that ultimately led her to where she is today, how to pivot both personally and professionally when what you had or who you were no longer serves you, the importance of listening to your intuition and how to discern whether it’s your gut talking or if you’re being triggered, how personal and professional brand can, and maybe even should, be one and the same, and the social media frenzy to keep it hashtag-authentic vs. actually authentic.

We also talk about how to push through when you’re afraid of taking chances and asking questions, self-promotion, and how to deal with that nagging question we all get at one point or another: What Will People Think Of Me? She gets me a little more chatty than usual when we start talking about intuition, and at one point got me revealing a story about a time that I was trying to convince myself that I was following my intuition, but I really wasn’t – a story that I probably would have been more comfortable just writing about and calling a day (because, I don’t know, it’s less vulnerable than saying it out loud?), but I’m so glad that she turned the tables a little on me, because it opened us up to an even greater conversation around what it really means to be happy.

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Whether you’re feeling solid in your career, romantic life, and personal life or you’re feeling like you’re on shaky ground somewhere in the mix, I can guarantee this episode will have something for you to take with you into your day and into your life, and make you even 2% more positive and proactive in being the you YOU know you’re meant to be.

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Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Ashlee’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

Photo cred: Amy Mokris

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