Category Archives: Self

Posts focused around the Self section of The Glass

Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

“There’s hope in the darkness, you know you’re going to make it.”

That was a line to a Savage Garden song I listened to today.  A song that I’ve heard a lot over the years as it is on one of my favorite CDs.  Yes, I still listen to CDs.  Wipe that shocked look off of your tapes, it’s not like I said 8-track tapes or something.  And Yes, I did just link to 8-track tapes….sue me! 🙂

Anyway, where was I…oh yes, Savage Garden.  Or music in general is where I get some of my most inspiring thoughts.  The quote I started off with always struck true to me.  It always told me that no matter how dark it gets.  No matter how hard it gets.  There is always a way up.  I’m not saying it’s an easy way up or even an obvious way up.  But that old truism is still true…ism: when you’re on the bottom, there’s only one way to go.

I’ve seen people at their lowest.  I’ve seen people at their darkest.  And MANY more times than not, those same people are much better off now than they were then.  They have been able to rise above the tragedy, the pain, the sorrow.

It puts it into perspective for me.  The simple notion that I’ve seen people rise up from situations MUCH more dire than I may ever face, so why I am I worrying about my petty (in perspective) setbacks?  Well, a little worry is okay, because it can be a strong motivator.  However, too much worry can be a delimiter.

How many times have I stopped progressing forward because of what I perceive as a blocker or bottleneck?  How many times have you?  What’s really stopping us?  Ourselves….that’s it…end of story.  We are the candle that will light our darkness.  We have it within us to lead our own path to righteousness.  We are the key to our own future.

Embrace the darkness….it can only get lighter once we accept the fact that it is ourself pulling the blinds or closing the doors.

Be the light that shines inside of you.

Examine.

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and Dreams

It’s my second favorite 4 year tradition….second only to Leap Day!  The Summer Olympics are HERE!  Growing up, I had two Olympic images in my head.  The first being that I would one day be an Olympic swimmer.  I remember dedicating myself one summer to being the best swimmer possible.  Needless to say, that didn’t quite work out.  The second image I had in my head was a time and place that the world could put aside their differences and just compete in friendly competition.  A naive thought, you say? Maybe…maybe not.

As I grew older, I came to realize the amazing accomplishments that an Olympic athlete is.  Not just what they do, but who they are.  They are the epitome of dedication and drive, hopes and dreams.  They are amazing athletes who show you that anything is possible.  Oh, and if you have this thing called natural talent, that helps too.

There are two cases I want to bring up in these current Olympic Games.  Two gifted athletes, Michael Phelps and Jordyn Wieber.  Two American athletes who have tasted their own flavor of defeat over the past couple of days.  Two of the most amazing and gifted athletes in the world who came up a little short.  What am I doing harping on the negativity when this blog is supposed to be about open perspective?  Well, let’s dive into it.

Mr. Phelps is undoubtedly one of the most natural-born swimmers to walk on two legs.  Tearing through both Athens and Beijing, he was unstoppable.  Coming into this Olympics, he was definitely a major favorite, despite his age and apparent lack of training.  Then all of a sudden, he lost.  Okay, he didn’t lose, but he got 4th place, which means no medal, which to an Olympian means he lost.  Still one of the absolute best in the world, but not THE best.  Why?  He, himself, said he didn’t put the training in.

I bring this up, because it seems like a slap in the face.  What sort of arrogance is going through your head to make you NOT put in the training and still compete?   He also was a part of a relay team for the US and they did not win Gold either.  Did his lack of training effect that performance as well?  I don’t want to speak for Mr. Phelps, but it seemed very self-centered to think he could walk into the Olympics and win without giving 110% to his training.  Oh, and it may have also affected his teammates.

Next, let’s take a look at Jordyn Wieber.  By all accounts Miss Wieber is said to have a very rigorous training schedule and a very dedicated ethic.  Watching her perform only verifies the previous statement.  She is a well oiled machine and one of the best female gymnasts in the world.  So, what happened?  Well, on that particular day, two of her teammates were better.  Sure, she made a couple of mistakes, but unless you’re Nadia or Mary Lou, nobody’s perfect.

Here is where these two athletes differ.  Both tasted defeat, but for very different reasons.  Mr. Phelps did not train as much as he should have and Miss Wieber just wasn’t the best on one particular day.  Later on the same day, Miss Wieber ‘tweeted’ that she was excited about Team USA finals and happy for her teammates.  Who knows what Mr. Phelps will do, but at least for the moment Miss Wieber is 100% a team player and representing her country well.

I don’t take anything away from Mr. Phelps, he is an amazing athlete and should be looked upon as a great role model.  But in this case, fame appears to have gotten the better of him.  He achieved his hopes and dreams, and got used to winning.  More than likely, Miss Wieber will not achieve her dream of an individual Gold Medal, but she still has a chance to be a part of a Gold Medal team and thus far it appears that she is embracing that as she should.

Who would you model yourself after?  The undeniable athlete whose character is slightly in question or the one who gave it her all, came up short, and is still pursing for the benefit of others?

Examine.

Emotions vs. Education

Emotions vs. Education

First of all, let me say that this post means NO disrespect to anyone.  This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while now and it all kind of came to a head in a situation last week.

Sometimes we think things through and sometimes we just plow ahead with our emotions.  Both scenarios can lead to success, but sometimes not.

How many times have you been caught in the moment and said something you didn’t necessarily know was true, but felt so strongly about it that it didn’t matter?  It happens.  NO doubt about it.  However, in order to be truly successful, you must be able to give rational thought and a bit of research in order to make sure you aren’t spreading false information.

Does this mean that you need to research every little detail before you execute your strategy….probably not.  There’s a definite time and place for gut feelings and knee-jerk reactions.  However, dispensing information is not one of them.

In a world of freedom speech, freedom of religion and basically the freedom of opinion, everyone has one.  People will tout off a lot of information….and usually put it up on the Internet somewhere.

It’s very easy to fall into the public perception and forget to check the facts.  No examples are needed here as I’m sure you have already brought one or two up in your mind just reading that.

All I’m saying, is make sure you get the facts before sending on that forwarded e-mail or passing off that “Did you hear…”  If we all get a little better at educating ourselves, we will have more opportunity to have civilized discussions.

Examine.

Rhythm of Life

Rhythm of Life

So, I found myself wondering today, “Where did the day go?”  I mean, I sat down at my desk and started doing my tasks and all of a sudden I was 30 minutes late to leave.  Weird.  We’ve all experienced it, though, so it’s not a new concept.

Then I thought about the month and a half absence I took from this blog, albeit unintentionally, and realized that my life has been at a pretty fast clip for…well…a long time.  Probably the past two years.

If I had to equate my life to a song, I have been following the beat of “The Lone Ranger” when I should have been following “Fur Elise”.  Now there’s a classical reference that I’m sure not everyone will get.

My point is…I need to slow it down.  I’ve already started taking steps towards that end.  I’m taking a sabbatical from Marathon Coaching starting in September.  I’m focusing on spending more time with my family.  I’m going to actually START writing my book.  Basically, I’m going to become Mr. Fur Elise.

So, what’s your life’s theme song?  Are you “Mission Impossible” or Kenny G?  I suppose you can be set to a beat that is too slow also.  Remember, it’s the extremes you want to be careful of.  Do you need to slow down or pick it up?

Take a look….or a listen….

Examine.

Care More

Care MoreA friend of mine posted this today on Facebook:

“In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.”

A very simple quote….a very simple design to live by.  Stop caring less, start caring more.  A lot of times when I see people who have ‘given up’ on their hopes and dreams, it is because someone (and quite possibly themselves) have stopped caring.

When you stop caring about what is to come or what is happening around you, you stop believing….you just stop.  Remember what I’ve said before.  Every action in life needs to be, in some way, promoting yourself to move forward.  A stagnant life or a life in reverse is counter productive and will only lead to unhappiness.

Change is incremental.  Change is also contagious.  If you start changing your life, others around you will start to notice.  If you start caring about something you may have ‘given up’ on, the effect on others can be profound.  It can be two-fold.  It can motivate them to start caring more about what you are doing and become positive re-enforcement to you.  It can also allow them to start caring about dreams and goals they may have given up.

Stop caring less, start caring more.  Spread the love, joy and happiness you start to feel.  The change can be astounding!

Examine.

The Lesser of Two Evils

The Lesser of Two Evils

Happy 2012 to everyone!  I hope the holidays treated you well.  I hope you thought of others and thought of yourself.  I hope that 2012 brings you a new year of happiness, new adventures, new beginnings and no regrets!

The beauty of the new year is it gives you an ULTIMATE chance to start over.  Right?  Right!  Take a look around you and see if you need to change things up.  Take a look at your life and see what great things need to be expanded upon and what evils need to be purged.

This leads up to today’s topic…the Lesser of Two Evils.  Funny expression, really…but widely used.  Just remember, as the shirt says above, the lesser of two evils is STILL EVIL.  So, I then ask, why choose either?

If you’re faced with a situation where both outcomes are negative or less than appealing.  Why not go a different route all together?  Sure, I know this isn’t always possible…sometimes decisions need to be made in a snap-worthy fashion…but not all times, and I’m willing to gather, not MOST times.

You know what it really is…the decison is EASY.  A lot of times, a “lesser of two evils” situation is pondered because the outcome is fast and dirty….gets near enough the results you want to make it attainable.

Well, don’t let this happen to you!  Make 2012 a NO EVIL year.  Okay…let’s be real.  A LESS EVIL year!  Purge the negativity, Enhance the greatness.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer more
  • Go outside and walk/run/jog three times a week
  • Save all of your spare change for a month and treat yourself to a movie/mini golf/bowling/etc.
  • Reach out to a family member you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are doing (ON THE PHONE)
  • Take a weekend trip to the other side of your state.
  • Snuggle with the one you love!

There, take that and run with it!  NO EVIL on that list, am I right?

Examine the Glass!

Reactions

Reactions

Split second reactions.  Knee jerk reactions.  How many times do we do this?  How many times do we make a snap judgement about something we have seen or heard?  More times than we would like to admit, I’m sure.

Now, how many times have we looked back and said, “Gee, maybe I didn’t know the whole story” or “I wish I hadn’t reacted that way”.  Probably even more times!

With the fallout of the Sandusky grand jury report, the factual involvement of legendary coach Joe Paterno is a very sad thing to witness.  The facts are there.  He knew SOMETHING and did very little about it.  Subsequently he was fired.  What was the reaction of the students?  Look at the above picture.

They rioted.  They rioted because they were outraged at the firing of a man who knew another man was sexually assaulting young boys, and did not take the APPROPRIATE action.  Now, I know that if MY head coach was fired, and I didn’t know all of the facts, I would be pretty PO’d and ready to stand up for said coach.  That’s what the students did.  I would like to believe that they were just “not informed” enough to know the FULL story at the time of the riots.

I’m sure, in time they will look back at this and say, “Gosh, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped over that van.”  Students went to jail last night.  They will have a scar on their record and the regret of a mindless action for the rest of their lives…..all because they made a snap judgement and got caught up in the moment.

Again…this is something we all do.  Maybe this can serve as a wake-up call.  I’m taking NOTHING away from the victims in this scenario.  Rather, I’m looking at, and treating it as such, a separate incident.  The riots and the damage are a blaring example of a “worst case scenario” of snap judgement.

So, bring it home.  Take it down.  Examine your glass and see if there are times that you committed the same harsh judgement, maybe without cause.  When something happens, don’t judge…think.  Examine.  Once you’ve seen it from at least one other point of view, then react.  More and more, if that happens, mistakes won’t happen and regrets won’t be made.

The riots yesterday made me lose a bit of faith in humanity….until I realized that they just weren’t thinking.  It doesn’t excuse it, but it sort of explains it.  Hopefully this can serve as a reminder of what can happen.

Examine.

Therapy

Therapy

Therapy is spending the morning playing with my son and teaching him to crawl.  Therapy is playing Nintendo Wii with my wife.  Therapy is watching my beloved Seahawks, even when they are taking a beating.  Therapy is demolishing a wooden flower box with a sledge-hammer that my dog chewed up.

Actions that don’t seem they would fill the same day in one man’s life, but that was my life yesterday.  Needless to say, yesterday was a very therapeutic day for me.  It was a hard week, a busy week, and yesterday was just what I needed.  It allowed me to step back, examine my glass and realize that no matter how hard, busy or hectic my week is, I have comfort around me.  I have surrounded myself with people and things that not only make me happy, but add meaning and joy to my life.  My wife, my son…they are my therapy.

What’s your therapy?  Don’t have any?  Time to get some.  Whether it is spending time at a firing range or a golf course.  Whether it’s reading a book or knitting a sweater.  Whether it’s baking a cake…or eating it (in moderation, of course).  You need a release in life.  I can attest to you the significance of relaxation and how it makes all of the hard things in life melt away, at least for the moment.

My therapy today is running with a new pair of shoes that I got this weekend.  Getting back into shape, preparing to meet my fitness goals that I have already set for 2012.

What’s your therapy?  Examine your glass, find out…

Scars and Demons

Scars and DemonsGuess what?!?!  Everyone has them.  Scars, fears and demons are all these things we like to lump together as “emotional baggage.”  And yes, we ALL have it.  Some say it’s an unfortunate part of life.  Well, I tend to disagree…

As you know, the whole point of this site is to take a look at things from a different perspective.  Scars and demon are, in and of themselves, not a bad thing.  It’s all in how you deal with them.  To break it down, it is as simple as how you know to not touch fire or hot things.  One time in your life, you probably tried to pick at a candle, or put your hand on a hot stove, or ironed your clothes while they were on (yep…I did that….I mean, it just seemed MUCH more efficient at the time!).

Did the burn leave a mark?  A physical one, maybe.  An emotional one, definitely.  This goes for ANY type of emotional scar.  Being hurt emotionally is MUCH harder to deal with being hurt physically.  But a similar principle applies to both.  With time, wounds heal.  Well, as long as you let them.  If you have a cut and keep picking at it, it won’t heal, or it will heal abnormally and leave a mark.  Which will then, hopefully, remind you not to pick at it so it heals quicker next time.

Emotional scars are no different.  With time they will heal, but you must let them heal.  It will take self-reflection and honesty.  Try to reconcile what happened to make the hurt occur.  It is NOT always or completely your fault.  Sometimes it’s not your fault at all.  You need to recognize that and accept it.  Stop blaming yourself.

I had a friend who carried a lot of baggage around with him.  We went to middle and high school together and became close friends.  His mom and dad divorced when he was very young and his mom remarried.  After visiting his house a few times, I could tell that he and his step-dad did not see eye-to-eye.  In high school, I obviously didn’t know as much about life and the little intricacies that make up life, so I was not in the position to step in with him.  What I did do, was stay his friend.  Offered him to come over and stay with me if need be, which he only took up once.  We used to carpool a lot together, talked about a lot of things.

His defense mechanism, as I found out later, was to fabricate stories.  Stories that he thought made him look good.  Stories that also made him look like a victim, so he would garner pity.  I called him out on a couple of these things.  I know I was probably harsher than I should have been, but I was also a teenage boy and that is one thing that teenage boys do to each other.  We rag on each other whenever we can.  But it doesn’t matter because the male populous is an impersonal one, so we forgive easily.

We ended up going to different colleges.  I stayed near home, he moved to Montana.  Whenever he would come home, we would get together and he would have stories.  Stories and stories….

In our third year, I get an e-mail from a friend of his, sent to all of his address book saying that he committed suicide.  No note, no warning, just hung himself in his dorm room.  Needless to say, it rocked me to the core.  I was in shock and didn’t believe it.  In all of his “fabricated stories” this took the cake.  I was in such denial that even when a group of friends and I went to his funeral, I was convinced that the young man in the coffin that we all saw together was NOT him.

It was him.  It was hard.  Almost 10 years later, it is STILL hard.  I think of him often and think about what, if anything, I could have done to help.  In some small way, he may be a founding reason for this site.  Not sure, that’s for a therapist to find out I guess! 🙂

So, after that joyful story, what’s the point?  Don’t fabricate.  Don’t disillusion yourself.  BE HONEST with yourself and your friends.  There are those around you that can help you deal with your “baggage” if you need it, but deal with it.  I can only imagine how long my friend suffered emotionally before he finally broke.  It makes me sad even writing about it, but it’s now a part of my life.  It’s something I get to live with and deal with and hopefully use it as an experience to help others.  Yep, that was a self-blogging prophesy there.

So, after a wordy and darker post, I’ll call it a night.

Examine the Glass, get help if you need it, but more importantly be honest with yourself.

Confidence, It’s All Inside!

Confidence, It's All Inside!When I was in middle school, we had numerous fundraisers.  You know the kind.  Sell candy, sell magazine subscriptions, sell this, sell that, sell your soul….well, okay, we didn’t go THAT far.  But hey, in order to get that free trip to Victoria, B.C. in 8th grade, I would do just about anything!

I remember one time, selling magazines, when I wanted to be the top seller!  So, I hit all of the easy targets…my parents, my neighbors, my family.  Except that, when I called one of my uncles up, and asked if he would buy a magazine, he asked me for my pitch.  Well, I didn’t know what a pitch was, other than something that happens in baseball.  Turns out my pitch was, “Umm, do you want to buy a magazine?”  SALESMAN OF THE YEAR, FOLKS!!!!

Anyway, back to my demanding uncle.  He said that he would LOVE to buy a magazine from me, but I would need to come up with a pitch.  When I did, I was to call him back and pitch it to him.  If it was good enough, he would buy a magazine.

Honestly, at this point, I was ready to just move on to my next family member who would just buy from me, no questions asked.  But, something clicked.  Something about what he said, made sense.  So, I sat down with my #2 pencil and wide-rule paper and made my “pitch.”  Now, this story would be AWESOME, if I still had that pitch and could give it to you.  But I don’t.  So, this story just gets to “mediocre” level.

So, what’s the point?  Well, it turns out, my uncle gave me a swift kick in the rear, opened my eyes to a new sales technique, and you know what?  I was top fundraiser that year.  AND the next year.  AND I got to go to Victoria, B.C.

See, what he did, unknowingly, was give me an opportunity to grow.  To build confidence.  This confidence was always inside of me, it just needed an outlet.  And selling magazines at age 12 was the magic trick!  That confidence is still inside of me and it is what propels me through life.  I’m NOT afraid of what is to come, because I am confident in myself and in my ability to take whatever comes and deal with it accordingly.  No need to Examine THAT Glass, because I already know it’s well more than half full!

So, what about people who may not share this confidence?  Is there a way to BUILD confidence?  YES!  Believe it or not, everyone has it inside of them, they just need to bring it out.

So, here’s the plan.  When you wake up in the morning, set a small goal for yourself.  And I mean SMALL.  Like, I’m going to skip that soda at lunch today.  Or, I am going to smile at every stranger I see today.

If you ACHIEVE that goal, reward yourself in some way.  Or just congratulate yourself and take pride in knowing that you’ve just accomplished something you set out to do.  What’s going to happen is little by little, day after day, that “small” goal will get bigger and bigger.  Eventually you’ll start changing things in your life that you have wanted to for a while, but never thought that you could.  But now you KNOW you can.  Duh-Da TADA!  CONFIDENCE!

No no no….don’t thank me.  Thank my Uncle!

Examine the Glass, make the change.  You won’t regret it!