On Finding Confidence

One important key to success is self-confidence.  An important key to self-confidence is preparation.

If it had not been for the wind in my face, I wouldn’t be able to fly at all.

-Arthur Ashe

Three to four inches heels have never inhibited my ability to confidently strut my long lean legs across a room…. that is until today!

After shredding my shoulders this morning, I moved on to my first official posing session!  In the locker room, I changed into my very short and tight shorts (I need to see my body, sweat pants won’t work).  The whole time, I’m thinking about folks, particularly the guys checking out my ass as I creep to a more private area to practice.   “Baby’s got back?”  Yup-always did!  Lol! But I have never been the type to wear ridiculously tight fitting clothes that bring unnecessary attention to myself.

You’re probably thinking,

She’s worried about walking across a gym floor in tiny shorts, when in two and half months, she’s gonna be half-naked on a stage in front of a 100 or more people!”

I know– I thought the same thing.  Mentally, I’m not quite there yet, but I am work in progress.

The chill of the room took my mind off my outfit and shifted my focus to my trainer’s instructions.  The mirrors are perfect for visual learners like me.  Walk with confidence!  Walk like you own the room!  I thought I was, but I was not.

Over-thinking movements and instructions got me feeling a little discombobulated.  Chin up, hand positioning, shoulders down, soft elbows, foot placement, transitions, smile……   Woo child… I’m dizzy just thinking about it!   Once again, I find myself extended beyond my comfort zone.  Hello?  Where the heck am I?

Out of corner of my eye, I could see gym members peeping in the room. Oh my gosh, can they see my tiny spider veins and other imperfections?  My inner voice shouts, Get over it girlfriend!!  Brene Brown’s, Vulnerability discussion on SuperSoulSunday pops in my head.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
Brené Brown

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
Brené Brown

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
Brené Brown

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
Brené Brown

Empowered by Brown’s wisdom, my determination, my coach’s encouragement, and positive reinforcement I was guided across the room again, and again, and again, until I improved.  Posing is more involved than it looks, so is life; I tell my kids this all the time.  Today I took a dose of my own medicine.

What’s next?  My competition shoes are ordered– they should be in any day now. Meanwhile, practice, practice, and more practice.   I should have gotten pictures today, but my mind was occupied.  Oops!

Talk to you later and have a fabulous day!

Allow the energy to emerge from within you

Yogurt. Shrimp. Lobster. Salmon. Asparagus. Kidney beans. Broccoli rabe. Soy milk. Skim milk. Oatmeal without milk or sugar. Brussels sprouts. Sea bass. Pomegranate. Garbanzo beans.  Tomato juice, and a few other items.

These foods have at least one thing in common. And that is, before the age 30 or 35, I didn’t eat any of them. As I was fixing one of my new favorite snacks, non-fat Greek yogurt with honey, walnuts, and blackberries or strawberries, I thought about how far I’ve come and laughed.

Before I started eating yogurt I watched others, with envy enjoy it.  This may sound crazy but because it is such a healthy snack, I insisted on learning to eat it, but continued to gag at the slightest scent of the cool and creamy treat. Through diligence and help from a few great friends; I got past the gagging stage and now enjoy indulging in the snack.

I say all of this to encourage you to try something new in 2012 and for the rest of your life. Anything! Just something that you haven’t eaten, read, visited or experienced before… within reason! Skip the illegal and immoral stuff.

Enroll in a class at your local college, learn a new hobby, try a new exercise, travel to a new city, just do something out of the ordinary for YOU. Go it alone without the security blanket of a friend or family member to encourage you along. Push and encourage yourself. Allow the energy to emerge from within you. Experiencing a new adventure solo will keep you focused on your personal experience and will further empower you, as well as, give rise to your personal satisfaction.

“If you do what you always did, you get what you always got” – Unknown

I’ve latched on to this quote because it is a cue to periodically switch things up. The wording of the quote may not be exact, but the meaning is the same. If you are looking for new results, try something different!

To grow we have to experience new, different, or change. To evolve, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to the unknown. It is that unknown that can unveil a gigantic and exciting new world.

In 2011, I took a Rags Sharqi (belly dancing) class and had a blast! I didn’t know anyone in the class, but met a few hip funky divas old enough to be my mom. They were cool and encouraging and probably a little surprised that this black chick didn’t have the “natural” moves needed to make the bells on my skirt sing like theirs. When my schedule permits, I will return.

My natural hair journey has also opened up a new world to me. I’ve learned about and now respect the importance of Fair Trade. I’ve made new friends and have learned to educate myself on the products that I consume and use daily. Most importantly, I’ve discovered new things about myself and sometimes feel as though, I’ve begun to shed a layer of transparent skin that desensitized my life experiences.

This year, I will set out again to wet my appetite with more newness– Newness in terms of discovering new foods, new places, new events, new talents and whatever out there awaits me. As I sit here and type this, I’m pondering the idea of adding a “Newness” page or category to my blog. I’ll mull over the idea for a bit and either it will appear or it won’t. Lol! I really am… Either case, I will positively share my new experiences in ’12.  Good luck!