10 ways we as a nation are “numbing out”

After listening to the most recent “couragemakers” podcast (click here to experience it for yourself) I really started to think about how much I continue to numb myself. Although I work really hard on self discovery I still have a long way to go. Today’s episode was called “Challenging The Shit That Holds You Back” with Andrea Owen.

Andrea talked about how when she really started down her path of self discovery how her drinking had really accelerated. How when she really started to look deep within herself and address her pain the numbing became more prevalent. That really made me think about how we numb and all the different tools we use to numb. A lot of which you probably don’t think of numbing agents. Also how we really stunt our emotional growth when we numb ourselves.

Growth really happens in the most painful, uncomfortable, awkward times of our lives. If we numb ourselves in those moments to lessen the pain we are feeling we are really doing ourselves a HUGE disservice. If you can put down the drink, put down the doughnut, avoid the pills, or whatever it is that you are reaching for in that moment and just look that pain right in eye…feel the pain, and yes it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker….but those are growing pains and they are necessary.
First, let’s think about all the different agents we use to numb and how it is affecting us and those around us.

1.) Alcohol
This is a tough one for me because I really do enjoy cocktails…Prosecco is my current drink of choice…The thing is though how is it affecting not only you but those around you. Most people would say “what is the harm in just having a couple drinks”…I am one of those someone’s btw. One thing I start to realize with myself though is after even just one drink…I change. I lose momentum. My ambition towards greatness starts to decrease…I get this “meh, it can wait until tomorrow” sort of attitude. For others, they love the way the drink let’s their guard down but then they don’t know when to stop…before they know it they are slurring their speech and depicting themselves as someone their not which can make them look very unattractive to the people they love most.. Then there are the one’s who think they are “OK” to drive and end up injuring themselves and becoming the responsibility of a loved one. Or maybe get a DUI which again puts pressure on the loved one to drive them to work and everywhere else they have to go.  This can often cause resentment and inevitably lead to the end of that relationship. Or the absolute worst case is tragically taking the life of another human being…possibly ruining the lives of an entire family and more.

2.) Drugs
Drugs come in so many different forms now, Legal to illegal. Anything that is going to change the way you FEEL…masking physical and emotional pain, anxiety, sadness, fatigue…I am not talking about antibiotics here. Anything that if when the effects of the drugs wear off that you feel the emotional pain you were trying to mask with the drug in the first place…that is what I am talking about….Although I do not really think that marijuana is a harmful drug at all and I don’t think that legalizing it would be a bad thing it is still a mind altering drug and it numbs you from the pain you should be experiencing for growth. Which leads me to the other point…you cannot selectively numb….if you numb pain…you numb joy and happiness along with it. If you have someone in your life that loves you…they love all of you…the good, the bad, and the ugly. I recognize that many people suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety but I think many times those symptoms can be fought with a change in perspective, ownership of mistakes, and self-love.

3.) Sex
We as humans are here on earth for one reason and one reason only…Connection. So often we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to show the people around us who we really are so we feel the only way to feel actual human connection is through sex…I’m not talking about sex with someone you love and have a beautiful relationship with. I am talking about just having a warm body that you are trying to connect with. The problem with that is without that real connection that only comes with vulnerability of the heart you don’t connect anyway and you start to trust people less and less. You start to feel more alone than you did before this “connection” therefore even less likely to truly connect. There can be so much pain involved in this ….I think particularly with women as we tend to get more emotionally attached after sex then men do. When that emotional attachment happens but there is no foundation in which the relationship was formed there is a feeling of rejection when the deed is over with nothing to show for it.

4.) Shopping
Shopping actually boosts the same neurotransmitters, serotonin, as sex and drugs. When we buy things it makes us feel good which in many cases can be awesome. Anytime you make a purchase so many people prosper as a result of it. The company you purchased from, the creator of the actual item, the paper company that the receipt was printed on, the company that created the bag that you carried your time away in…the list goes on and on. The downfall is, much like alcohol, when is enough enough. We are the most in debt nation in the world for this reason. We max out credit cards, we blow our savings, we take out loans, you name it…we do it… all to just keep buying things that we don’t truly NEED. As a result our families suffer as we are now not able to provide the needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and eduction….or medical needs perhaps. I absolutely believe in buying things that make you feel good but there has to be a limit..it has to just be the things you NEED. Be intentional with your purchases. If you don’t absolutely love it then you don’t need it.

5.) Video Games
Whether they are on a gaming console, your phone, or your computer games can often times act as a distraction from the pain you are feeling. I think a game, when you are intentional about when you choose to play it is awesome. If you find yourself reaching for your phone, computer, or game controller because you begin to feel the tinge of pain when you sit in silence….you have to fight the urge and just feel the pain.

6.) Social Media
This is a major one. Social media has a wonderful place in this world. I will forever be grateful for Facebook because that was the medium in which my boyfriend Heath and I were reunited. The question is how are you using it? Aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and other sites is a sign that you are avoiding something. Worse yet, we like to share the things on social media that make us look really really good….what we WANT people to see. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a couple snap a pic of each other in this really lovey dovey pose with big smiles and pure happiness only to go back to not talking or looking at each other after the photo was taken. We are creating a mirage of what we want people to think in hopes that will make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. All that does is drive us further and further away from connection. Use social media for inspiration, motivation, entertainment…but make sure you are not using it to numb or mask. Unless you are intentionally searching for something or you are posting something that you are really proud of that you think your friends, family, and the rest of the world needs to see tread lightly because you are likely just avoiding facing the pain you are inevitably feeling

7.) Food <——my numbing agent of choice
This is one I can really relate to the most. I have struggled with my weight and my body for as long as I can remember. I love food, I love the way it makes me feel. I love the feeling of being full…not stuffed but full. I wish salads would give me the same satisfaction as pizza did! We need food for survival which is what makes it extra difficult. You can’t just say “ok, that’s it, I’m quitting food”. Food is a must. Unfortunately there is something in a big ol’ plate of nachos that really gives me comfort than I cannot find in a bowl of quinoa and kale. This is something I have really been working on. Identifying when I am truly hungry versus when I am just trying to numb some pain. When I am traveling the road of healthy eating though it is amazing the difference you feel. The energy and genuine happiness you feel. Because I am not filling a void or feeling of emptiness with a sleeve of Oreo’s I am forced to face my demons and identify with where they are stem from….and fight them.

8.) Television
This is very much in the same realm as social media and video games. If you find yourself scrolling through the guide on tv…you are avoiding something. If you reach for the remote, find exactly what you want to watch, and pay attention and enjoy that is different. I think, again, like social media and video games, television has a wonderful place in this world….but you have to be aware of are you just distracting yourself, just passing time??? Or are you engaged with what you are watching?

9.) Over-exercising
I have a feeling there would be some people who would fight me on this but it’s true. Exercise is something, much like food, that we all need. This is also something that so many people avoid…myself included. However, there is a whole lot of truth in “too much of a good thing is bad”. Working out also stimulates that beautiful neurotransmitter, Serotonin. It makes us feel good which is awesome but there are people that are spending 5-6 hours of everyday working out. Our bodies need rest and our brains need to be stimulated. I get it though…nothing makes you feel like you can conquer the world more than working out. But it has to come in healthy doses. Work out, build muscle, burn fat, escalate your heart rate….but be cognizant of when you are just trying to numb out…trying to avoid the emotional pain.

10.) Plastic Surgery
We see this all the time in Hollywood. The most beautiful people in the world go under the knife in hopes of changing the way they feel inside. I can understand how this happens. As I’ve gotten older it becomes harder and harder to identify with the person I see in the mirror…who is that person? Inside I feel like a young 22-year-old woman but I look in the mirror and see the reality, It can be tough to swallow. I am not against plastic surgery….I think if a little enhancement is going to make you feel beautiful go for it. A nose job, breast enhancements, Botox, facelift. Go for it….BUT, if you find that you get one of those done and you end up wanting to go back for more there is a deeper issue there. You have pain that needs to be felt and fought and until you do that there is not enough plastic surgery in the world that will make you feel beautiful. You have to feel it on the inside before you yourself can see it on the outside.

What this all comes down to is being intentional. Give yourself a few moments every single day to feel your emotions. When you are in the car alone, turn off the radio, put your phone on airplane mode, and just be. For most people this is going to hurt….to actually feel your emotions…it can be excruciating but once you do it…it is the most peaceful beautiful feeling in the world. Trust me on this, I can always feel when I haven’t gave myself a little silence. When I do though, I recognize my value, my worth, my beauty, and my power. You will too!

 

10 lessons I’ve learned from my nail tech. 1 for each finger

I spent another amazing 2 hours with the incredible Lisa Clark today at Lacquered Up Nail Studio (click here to visit their facebook page).  I want to say that something amazing happens when you are intentional about who you choose to work with, get services with, shop with, and surround yourself with.  When choosing my new nail design artist I knew that I wanted to support someone local.  I first heard of Lisa through my sister, who shares my same philosophies about making intentional choices on who you work with.  It took me a while to finally carve time into my schedule to get my nails done regularly.  I had no idea how much my life was going to change as a result of that.  Lisa Clark, nail design artist…AKA…mind blower upper, is the kind of person you must meet and I have 10 reason why….1 for each finger.  Lisa, for the sake of this blog, is going to be the name we use to represent the person in your circle that you can learn from and grow with.

  1. Lisa creates a safe haven for man, woman, and child

The love that Lisa shows to everyone is truly incredible but the most beautiful part is the safe place she creates for the people who struggle with vulnerability the most…..Men and teens.  Unfortunately society has made men feel that sharing their feelings is a sign of weakness.  Brene Brown talks about a man that she met who had told her that the women is his life would rather see him die on his white horse than see him fall and fail.  You show me woman who gives her man a safe place to share his feelings without judgement and I’ll show you a woman who will be taken care of in ways you didn’t know possible.  Same goes for the teens in the world.  Being a teen is the hardest thing in the world.  They are trying so hard to just fit in and be “normal”.  They are trying desperately to fit into the mold that their peers have labeled as acceptable.  Their brains are not fully developed however they appear to be fully functional fully developed human beings.  It’s  a mirage really, an illusion.  Inside they are confused, scared, and un-equipped for the expectations that are bestowed upon them.

2. Lisa loves with her whole being

The love that Lisa shares with the people in her life is insurmountable.  She accepts the best parts of you and the worst parts of you equally.  She recognizes the good, bad, or ugly that is who you are and she loves you for it.  That is a lesson we could all stand to learn.  No one is perfect.  We all make choices from time to time that do not shine a great light on us however it does form and shape us into the person we become.  Lisa will accept every aspect of you but will tell you when you are not being your best self.  Not only will she tell you…she will guide you through the darkness into the light that most flatters you!

3.  Lisa researches her emotions

When Lisa is experiencing a dark emotion she truly dissects it until she figures out where it originates.  When she is angry she truly thinks about where that anger comes from and deals with the source.  She not only admits when she is wrong but she makes it right.  And then she takes the steps necessary to grow in a way that she doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

4.  Lisa recognizes what makes her happy

Lisa is present and recognizes when she is truly experiencing happiness.  No matter what it is.  She finds joy in the little things and is intentional about experiencing that joy.  She finds just as much joy in cooking burgers and drinking beer with her husband as she does getting all gussied up and having a killer night on the town.

5.  Lisa learns from every single person she meets

Every single person that Lisa crosses paths with serves a purpose in her life.  Sometimes the person serves as a someone she strives to be for her own personal growth.  Sometimes that person serves as a student who learns from her own life experiences.  Sometimes that person serves as a bad example…the person she knows she doesn’t want to be.

6.  Lisa asks excellent questions

Good questions get good answers….great questions get great answers…Lisa recognizes this.  Not only does she know that she is going to grow as a result of your answer but she also is genuinely interested in what you have to say.

7.  Lisa lets you know how wonderful you are

For some people telling others how wonderful they think the people around them can be uncomfortable….not for Lisa.  Her words feel like warm hugs wrapped around your whole body.  If you ever need to feel like you are important and that you make a difference in this world…hang out with Lisa

8.  Lisa respects your purpose

No matter what greatness you are trying to pursue Lisa will be your biggest cheerleader. The sole fact that you have a passion to pursue is enough reason for Lisa to encourage you to keep going.

9.  Lisa is not afraid to push you into greatness

Choosing to be your very best self every single day takes a great deal of energy.  It’s hard work but it is worth it.  When the pain and fatigue start to weigh on you Lisa is right there to support you through your time of need.  Most of the time it’s simply words of encouragement that are needed to push you through however Lisa is not afraid to break out the tough love if she sees that’s what you need.

10.  Lisa is Lisa

No matter where you are, who are with, or what you are doing you will always get the same Lisa.  Her true, genuine, beautiful, empathetic, loving, caring self.

 

You never know when you are going to meet your Lisa.  They come in all shapes, sizes, creeds, religions, backgrounds, and occupations.  The key to finding your Lisa is to engage with the people you come accross…your server, your clerk, your mailman, your hairdresser, and most certianly your nail design artist.

 

 

This is what 2018 will bring for you

2017 was a wonderful year for me.  I have never experienced so much growth in such a short period of time.  I can attribute that to all of the tragedies I experienced.  The salon lost a senior stylist, had massive turn over, endured a security breach which left us with NOTHING, major appliance repair bills, and so much more that I know I’m leaving out.  Taking all those negative things and turning them into positives was amazing and a result of all the education I got in 2017.  I took many classes hosted by our amazing distribution company focusing on business strategies and systems, I read SO many books on development, leadership, and growth, and I attended the best growth and knowledge seminar I have ever experienced, Vision Quest, hosted in the beautiful Carlsbad California.

Reading and attending these “growth seminars” is what really brought me to this level of enlightenment.  Surrounding myself with like-minded people with killer strategies and a relentless forward motion towards greatness.

The A-ha moment I am having is that these amazing people who I had the pleasure of learning from all had one thing in common.  They all learned everything they know from other people.  That’s it….they took a philosophy, personalized it, ran with it and failed many times, kept getting up and dusting themselves off, and kept on polishing up their brand.  These philosophies and systems they teach and empower others with is nothing more than knowledge they learned from someone else.  It’s up-cycled information!

Why is this important to know and understand?  Because you need to know that the only thing keeping you from a heightened level of greatness is the proper information.  You have the desire, you have the proper vessel necessary to take you to the world’s greatest heights now all you have to do is fill that vessel with words, encouragement, strategies, and systems.

1. One book leads to another, leads to another, and leads to another

Every book that I have read this year was recommended by the Author of the book I was currently reading.  If you are really moved by the words you are reading know that the information that you are gathering are simply ideas and philosophies gathered from other people.  The Author received information, up-cycled it, and put their own unique energy into it.  Also know that if you are reading a book and it is not speaking to you….you don’t have to finish it.  Who made up the rule that you have to read a book from beginning to end…if you’re not into it put it down and find one that speaks to you.

 2.  TedTalks, YouTube, GoalCast….Videos stimulate you in a different way

There is something about watching a video that really gets me going.  To physically SEE the passion in someone’s eyes as they are sharing their stories and ideas…that is powerful stuff.  You can also learn great presentation skills by watching the way they present themselves.  The internet has put together an endless amount of information  for you to watch and learn from.  My favorite right now is Impact Theory…In fact I am wearing my new Impact Theory sweatshirt as I write this blog.  It says “Everything is My Fault”…and I love it.  I am all about taking responsibility for everything in my life and this sweatshirt empowers me when I wear it.  Visit Impact Theory to get some inspiration!

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 3.  Asking questions and hearing people’s stories

This one seems so obvious but I truly just learned its importance and magnitude at 41 years old.  To really hear someone’s story…man that is powerful and so inspiring.  Most of the time you have no idea the level of emotion that the people around you are carrying.  Most people will not just share that information either.  You have to give them a safe place to tell it (an honestly judgment-free zone) and ask them good questions.  Good questions come in the form of a genuine desire to learn about the person.  If you find yourself asking questions in hopes of getting the dirt on someone’s life that is the opposite of a safe place.  The information shared with you must be used for 2 main purposes…#1 to connect with the person that you are talking too and #2 to gain knowledge and insight that you can use in your own life.  These stories should NEVER be shared without the permission of the person telling them.

2018 is filled with opportunities and I believe these opportunities come in books, videos, and stories.  To be your very best self you must surround yourself with people who share that same desire and show action.  I consider the books, videos, and stories to be those people as well.  It doesn’t always have to be a physical person next to you it can simply be their ideals.

Read, watch, learn, grow….that’s where it’s at!!!  

Self-made is fiction

You often hear the word self-made when people talk about their successes. They worked hard, worked diligently, they did what ever they had to do to succeed.  While I absolutely believe that they worked hard, diligently, and did whatever that had to do to succeed…the self-made part…meaning they did all alone.  I’m calling bullshit on that one.  No one ever gets to the top alone.  Everyone finds help along the way.

Over the past 8 years or so I have really been on purpose to find the coaches in my life.  People that I want to be like.  Most of these people I have chosen as a coach have no idea I even exist.  Through the gift of technology I am able to follow their paths through audiobooks, podcasts, tedtalks, or the like.  I have also had many coaches who definitely knew of my existence but may not have known they were my coach.  One in particular was one that created my existence.  My Father.  There are no words in any language that could express the amount of gratitude I have for my Father.  He has taught me so many things and I am forever grateful for him.

Throughout life I have found that I have had a series of coaches.  Some that until just recently I didn’t even think of as a coach.  It wasn’t until I heard where the word coach was derived from in that wonderful book “The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell that I recognized it.  The word Coach comes from the horse-drawn coaches that were created in the 1500’s in the German village Kotsche.  Coaches were originally created to transport royalty.  In time they would also carry valuables, mail, and common passengers.  Today the word is defined as someone or something that carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be.  If you have a coach you know you will end up at your desired location.

I have many coaches for many different things.  Some are life long coaches and some are coaches for only a moment.  My very first coach in my career was the Co-owner of the salon I worked for nearly 13 years, Stephen Wake.  He took me and my career to place I didn’t even know was possible.  He had a gift of creating a vision.  I am not sure if he is aware of the impact he has made on me and my life but I hope to someday have the opportunity to show him.  The other is the other co-owner of that salon, Tricia Wake.  Tricia taught me how to value and accept the differences in people.  She taught me that not everyone learns the same.  She taught how to coach people on an individual level.

Some of my current coaches are John Maxwell, Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, and many more.  None of these people know of my existence but I go out of my way to listen to their words and incorporate their missions as my own.  My current in person coach is Bennie Pollard.  I have reached new heights professionally and personally as a result of having this man in my life.  He has created a team of coaches and leaders that I admire, respect ,and strive to be.

When it comes to reaching your goals no matter what those goals are, keep in mind you did not get there alone.  It was through research that you found through the successes and failures of others.  It was through the motivation of those that have done it before you and it was through that one or more people seeing your value and helping you get where are you today.

You did not do it alone…you are not self-made and the moment you realize that you open yourself up to greater growth and greater potential.  When you realize that it was through the help of others that you are where you are, you will begin to seek out more coaches to get you even further.

The most successful people know that there is always someone to learn from.  If you are at the very top of your class you are in the wrong class…you should always put yourself in a circle of people who are smarter and stronger than you.  That is the only way to ensure that you keep growing.

I would love to know who your coaches are.  If you need help finding coaches I be happy to help you find them if I am able to.

Please like and share this so we can reach as many people as possible.  I am constantly seeking out new coaches and would love to hear from as many people as possible in order to find them.

Our biggest mistakes are often blessings in disguise

Friday night I went to one of the greatest weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. It wasn’t because of the beautiful venue….though it was amazing. It wasn’t because of the food…though that taco truck was killer. It wasn’t because of the desert table…though the donuts were delicious. The reason this wedding was so amazing was because the groom had forgotten the rings. I know I am getting some sideways looks right now and some “what the hells?” Allow me to explain.
The bride it my best friend. She is motivated, strong, beautiful, smart, funny, and above all else, ridiculously organized and regimented. The groom is also a very dear friend of mine. He is talented, funny, handsome, smart, cultured, as well as disorganized and un-regimented. It is the most amazing display of the “opposites attract” belief that I have ever seen…aside from my own relationship that is.

 

It was after the bride had made her way up the aisle that my boyfriend had noticed the groom pat his coat pocket and get that “oh shit” look on his face. The groom whispered to the bride that he had forgotten the rings. I was completely oblivious to all of this at the time. It’s my boyfriends’ incredible attention to details that kept in the now of all the goings ons. While the officiate, also a dear friend, was reading his script the groom informed him about the blunder. Without missing a beat the officiant incorporated it right into his speech. In such a way that I wondered if this was all planned. It was so imperfectly perfect that I can honestly say that it is a wedding I will never forget.
How does this pertain to intentionality you ask? In every possible way! We are human. We make mistakes. It is how we react to them that makes us the best possible versions of ourselves. That is what intentional living is all about. Plans do not always go as smoothly as we’d like. One of my very favorite quotes is “Sometimes when you think that things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place”.

That wedding was beautiful and I mean absolutely beautiful but if I’m being honest it is the moment where the groom shared what happened…the bride laughed it off…and the officiate did some killer improv that I will remember most.

They intentionally lived in the moment and it was the most beautiful display of it that I had ever seen.

When something goes wrong think back to this story as a reminder that the mistake may be the thing that makes it a shining moment in your mental memory box!
Please share this with all of your friends and family!