Seek Beauty In Your Broken Pieces

A crack. A break. A defect. Imperfection. Busted. Broken. Early in life, we are positioned to see what is wrong and to prevent failure. When coloring with crayons, we are encouraged to stay inside the lines. When learning to ride a bicycle, we’re instructed to place both hands on the handlebars, so we don’t fall. Don’t run too fast, or you will fall. In elementary school, I remember easily crumbling a half-dozen loose-leaf notebook paper because I’d made a mistake and couldn’t completely erase my error.

The average student frets earning an “F” on a school project, a weekly quiz, a unit test, or worse, failing a class. In my late teens, several times, I failed a required written test for Rickles. Rickles was an 80’s version of Home Depot. After a week or two of training, I could handle the register with ease, however, at the site of the exam, my heart raced like I had completed the 100-yard dash. Although I knew the content, I repeatedly froze and performed poorly on the exam. To get the job, I needed to pass the test.

I legitimately did my best. But my best wasn’t good enough nor was it meant to be. My mother saw my failure as a significant blemish on my young work record and a potential hurdle to future achievements. I was chastised as though my failure was intentional. I was laughed at. Inside I felt like a failure and questioned my intelligence. On the outside, I masked my shame and humiliation with laughter. I didn’t know that I would fail. Naivety convinced me that effort would always prevail.

Looking back on my experience, I am confident that failing Rickel’s exam was the best thing for me. The failure was painful, but it changed the course of my life. My little hiccup temporarily derailed my confidence. I let it go and moved on. I discovered grit and tenacity. I grew stronger.

I wish I knew about The Wisdom of KINTSUKUROI

Kintsukuroi is a Japanese word meaning, “to repair with gold.”

Kintsukuroi is a Japanese art that meticulously mends broken ceramics with gold. The repairs are made by hand using urushi lacquer, and the seam is highlighted with gold or other metals. The technique is designed to enhance the beauty of the flaws and is said to be made even more beautiful than it was originally.

With the tradition, beauty is derived from the broken and flawed pieces. We’re all scarred just the same. Some scars we display physically. Other blemishes are hidden and packaged neatly like a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift. We are scared from failed relationships, failed businesses, wrecked finances, chronic illness, battle scars from cancer, low GPA’s in high school and college, foreclosed homes, and more. Cyndie Speigal’s book of daily inspiration, wisdom, and courage reminds us:

You will fail.

You will fail.

You will break.

You will stand up and dust yourself off.

You will repair yourself again and again.

And eventually, though you will be different than before, you will again become whole.

You will be even more beautiful precisely because of all of this.

You will be a better person because of your imperfections, not in spite of them.

Cyndie Spiegel

It’s 2019! Surely we will experience successes and failures in the New Year. Make a commitment today to allow yourself a moment to feel failure but to get back up and start over.

I will NOT be shaken

Psalms 16:8

Happy New Year Loves!!!

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Three Simple Rules In Life

Happy Sunday! ūüôā

go after what you want

If you do not GO after what you want, you’ll never have it. – Sitting around wishing, or worse, talking about what you’re gonna do (without action), isn’t going to get you anywhere or any closer to your personal or professional goals.

I get the fear factor situation because I too once allowed fear to nearly alter my destiny.

I stood outside of the meeting room door, paralyzed by fear, waiting for my turn to audition for a Trainer’s position. ¬†My head and heart both desperate for the much-needed career change.

Stomach knotted, heart racing, and a wicked urge to use the bathroom. Deep inside my head two whispering voices spoke.

What if you look stupid?  What if you fail?  You have never done this before? They are going to laugh at you!

How did I get myself in this situation?  How do I get myself out?

I stand. Walk to the water fountain, sip some water and sit down again.  Bonnie (Training Director) steps out of the room,

We are ready for you.  Come in when you are ready.

I acknowledge her but grow more afraid.  Another trip to the water fountain. My hand touches the door to enter the room, but fear prevents me from opening the door.

I turn around and walk toward the exit sign.

¬†I can’t do this.

The other voice stops me again.

You can do this! ¬†What’s the worse thing that can happen?

To this day, I don’t remember how many sips it took me to muster up the courage to follow through with the audition, but I am glad I did.

I walked in the room and faked every ounce of confidence like I’d presented a dozen times before. ¬†Prior to my audition, I’d never done public speaking, but they did not know this. ¬†I presented to executives and mid-level managers.

To assess my ability to deal with typical training situations, they enjoyed acting out roles of employees who had bad attitudes, who did not speak English, or who just did not want to be there.

I remember laughing a few times, because the scenarios were funny. At the conclusion, I was relieved and happy that I followed through.

Later I was told, I was one of the top three candidates. ¬†A month later, I got¬†a phone call. Although they enjoyed my presentation, the company’s policy to hire from within, broke the tie. ¬† While disappointed, the experience was a confidence booster and life changing.

I quit my job (working a good 60-70 hours per week), but continued night college classes. We (me, hubby, and our young daughter) went to Disney.

After a much-needed vacation, I took a holiday seasonal job selling Elizabeth Arden cosmetics at Macy’s.

Stay with me…

Two days before Christmas in a crowded cosmetic and fragrance department, a woman approaches me.

Hi! ¬†Aren’t you the woman that applied for the trainer’s position at Trop back in August?!?

Yes, I did. Why?

Someone left the department and they wanted to contact you but cannot find your paperwork!  Are you still interested in the job?

I’m thinking is she serious?

Uhh.. YES!!

She writes the director’s name and number down and instructs me to call her. ¬†The first chance I got, I called and expressed my interest in the job. ¬†Before my shift ended, I answered a call and this is what she said,

Merry Christmas!  The job is yours!!

Reliving the experience still makes my heart flutter. ¬†I had taken calculated risks that paid off well. ¬†What if I hadn’t auditioned? ¬†What if I had never quit my job? ¬†What if I did not take the cut in pay? ¬†The what if’s are endless.

The bottom line is that if I did not¬†go after what I wanted,¬†I would have missed out on future opportunities and my path would have differed¬†and I don’t think for the better. I was stressed out, over-worked, and burnt out.

If you do not ASK, the answer will always be NO.   I was one of 125 employees laid off from a job that I loved. While disappointed, because I loved my job and my director, I knew I would fare okay.  I felt sadness for my colleagues who cried and only saw darkness before them.

I was numb and confused. ¬†The new president of our company had recently held a pep rally. ¬†I was among nearly 5,000 employees who were¬†optimistic about the company’s future. Our president told us that he valued us and the company would depend on us to¬†move forward.

On my drive home, I thought to myself, I’m a model employee. ¬†Excellent attendance, outstanding reviews, respected by colleagues and superiors, superb initiative and more. Why was my position eliminated?

A letter was in order.  Yup!  I sat down and wrote a letter to the new president. My main question to him was simple.

 If I am the type of employee you want, why was I laid off and not moved to a different position?

I also requested to meet with him to discuss my future with the organization.

I hand delivered the letter to the president’s administrative assistant and asked if she would give it to him and she did.

Tho I didn’t get to personally meet with him, he read the letter and¬†responded.

I was rehired as an intern that eventually lead to a full-time position! ¬†If I hadn’t asked the question, the answer would have always been NO.

If you do not step FORWARD, you will ALWAYS be in the same place. Both experiences were opportunities for personal and professional growth.

I could not predict the outcomes but held faith that something positive would occur for me.  I was correct. Both situations opened new doors, new challenges, and more importantly, the confidence to continue to step forward.

Not caring about what others think about my decisions, because they are mine to make and no one else’s, feels damn good. ¬†Waiting for the approval of family, friends, or colleagues is pointless because they may not share the vision. I do understand that there is difference between seeking approval and soliciting respectable feedback.

Look around and take inventory. ¬†We all know someone stuck¬†in a bad place. They want¬†to be in a different place but are¬†afraid to step forward. The mindset creates a stifling and toxic atmosphere. Playing it safe in sports doesn’t win the game, neither does it make you happy in life.

If stepping forward were easy, everyone would do it, so do not be afraid to go it alone or with a small team in your corner.

success

By the way, Yes, I am still participating in the 100 happy days challenge. A few challenges have prevented me from posting, but the challenges aren’t keeping me from being happy. I will play the catch-up game this week.

Enjoy the day! ūüôā


The Near Win

 

Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.

-Albert Einstein

In the mornings and while my home is still relatively quiet, I seek out¬†daily inspiration. ¬†One of my favorite go to’s is TED Talk. ¬†This morning’s dose of inspiration comes from Sarah Lewis. ¬†

Have a great day!!


Rest In Peace Boston

Completing yesterday’s WOD was the intended topic of this post. However, in the middle of writing about my workout, I became captivated by the audio that hubby was listening to.

Nearly six-hour earlier, a deadly fire in Boston killed two firefighters. My hubby has dedicated his entire life to firefighting. At age six, the smell of smoke, blazing fires, and sleek ladder trucks racing through the streets of Atlantic City mesmerized him. It was no surprise to his family and friends that he chose Fire Suppression as his career.

As we listened to the audio of the fire, we sat on the bed frozen by the desperate and frantic voices pleading for water.  At the time, neither of us were aware of the tragic outcome, but hubby was frustrated and worried about the survival of the firefighters.

The heavy breathing of the voices trapped in the basement, screaming ‚Äúmayday.‚ÄĚ ¬†A female dispatcher‚Äôs, focused but concerned, voice assures them that help is coming.¬† This went on for over 15 minutes.

At some point, attempts to communicate to Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy resulted in silence. They no longer responded… Goose bumps covered my arms.¬† I looked at hubby.¬† ‚ÄúThey‚Äôre gone,‚ÄĚ he said. ¬†My eyes filled and the tears streamed. ¬†For the first time, I‚Äôd listen to two firefighters make the ultimate¬†sacrifice. Oh my God!¬†

Completing the WOD a couple of hours earlier meant absolutely nothing to me.  At that moment, my heart was grief-stricken. Their loved ones would receive the news that all spouses and families fear.

I am sad for the firefighters on the scene who tried to save their brothers. God help them.

Every day firefighters, police officers, EMT’s, military and others, risk their lives for the safety of others. Thank you for all that you do!  Yesterday the two firefighters died battling the brownstone fire.

According to Boston CBS Local, Lt. Walsh was married and the father of three young children. Sadly, his children will never get to kiss or hug their father again.  My thoughts and prayers are with both families and the Boston Fire Department.

Yes, the story hits close to home, but is yet another reminder of how quickly our lives can change.  A plethora of statistics exists on the life expectancy of just about every group on the planet.

However, ‚Äúexpectancy‚ÄĚ is not a guarantee of how long we get to live, so delaying our dreams is futile. I say go for it (whatever it is you’ve wanted to do)! You may need to begin your journey with small baby steps, but if you remain steady and focused, you will arrive at your destination. Failure will only occur when you don’t try. ¬†Sure we experience setbacks, but setbacks are part of the process. ¬†Valuable lessons come¬†from setbacks; those lessons are what moves us forward.

The other day I watched an interview with Michael Jordan. When MJ first joined the NBA, he was noticeably smaller in comparison to players like Charles Barkley, Patrick Hewing, and Larry Bird. ¬†Earlier on he took a physical beating because they were bigger and stronger. ¬†While MJ didn’t¬†fail,¬†he did realize that to compete and to play on the level he desired, he had to step up his game. He worked harder on the court and even harder in the gym. ¬†MJ grew bigger and stronger. ¬†Pretty much the rest is history.

Folks don’t put everything on hold for your children, your spouse, your partner, your boyfriend or girlfriend.  You owe it to yourself to find your purpose and a happy place in life.  You will certainly be a happier, more full-filled, and joyful person.  We can give to ourselves while giving to others.  The trick is finding the balance that works for you.

Fifty days remain until show time and I‚Äôm busting at the seams with emotions! ¬†Is this an easy journey? ¬†No. But if it were easy then it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

Effort… ¬† That is precisely what Lt. Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy put forth yesterday…. ¬†An incredible amount of effort that may have saved other lives but cost them their own.

RIP Lt. Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy.