Freedom Through Discipline

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From fireworks to parades to hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball, many Americans will find a way in the next couple of days to celebrate the freedom this country was founded upon.

With the need to be free hardwired into our operating systems, it’s the rare person who willingly gives up that freedom without a compelling reason. Yet, to achieve almost anything worthwhile, sacrifice is usually required. At the very least, discipline is demanded.

Think about the last thing you wanted to learn, do, or achieve that you knew nothing about. Chances are you did not just do it and become an instant expert.

Say you want to get in shape to run a 5k race in October. If you’ve never run anything but late, then you’ll need a strategy, a training schedule, some dietary guidelines, and basic structure in order for your plan to succeed.

Too often we’re seduced by the idea of easy.

Now I’m all for things being easy, but the things that really matter usually do so because of the time, effort, and discipline required to call forth our commitment and courage. When we can conjure up those characteristics, then unlikely allies and opportunities also arise and ignite a spark we may not have even known was in us.

This summer and fall I am taking on a couple of things are way beyond my skill set. I’m making a video series called Sunday Summer Stretch Series (watch today’s episode here) and hosting a retreat in September called Tapping Into Your Wellpower. (Watch for details posted here this week.)

I refuse to let the fact that I currently don’t have the expertise I would prefer to have to boldly go where I have not gone before stop me from heading in that direction. I have traveled enough to know there will be rest stops, restaurants, and resources along the way. Consequently, I trust I will be okay.

If I let the reluctance to start because I have no guarantees I will succeed stop me, I’d never get anywhere. And, oh, the places I would like to go!!

To me freedom is always hard won. While I’ve never fought for my country as some of you have, I fight daily for my dreams and the privilege to help you realize yours as well.

I’d love to hear how you are not just celebrating your freedom, but finding it through discipline and exercising it by stretching your skill set this summer.

Tell us all about it in the comments below. (Accountability does wonders!)

 

 

 

Some Like It Hot

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It’s Day 21 of the Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge.  All I can say is someone turned up the heat around here!  Today’s challenge is to stay cool literally and figuratively when the heat is on.
When I stepped outside into the sweltering heat and humidity at 8am, I could have sworn I was experiencing a Savannah summer or, at the very least, a Dallas one. It was definitely not a dry heat like Arizona or New Mexico.  And I’m pretty sure I saw that egg frying in our newly-covered-with-black-asphalt parking lot at work.
Maybe you are someone who thrives when the temperatures rise? If so, you are about to have a run of really productive days. You may even be tempted to get 31 things done in 1 day.
If you are not, now is the time to channel your inner Elsa and learn how to chill.
And yes, it is possible to chill in 5-15 minutes. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Get yourself a glass of ice water or your other favorite beverage and sip it slowly.
  • Run under a sprinkler or find a pool, pond, or public fountain.
  • Seek out some shade and fan yourself with whatever is handy.
  • Slow down for a second, catch your breath, and imagine standing inside a refrigerated truck.

The mind is an amazing tool.  If it’s possible to convince it to walk on hot coals without a problem, it’s possible to convince it cool down on demand. Where the mind leads, the body follows.

For example, if I ask you to recall something stressful from your day, your heart rate and pulse may quicken, your palms may get sweaty, and your stomach may get queasy just thinking about it.
The same is also true for harnessing your mind to create instant calm.
Instead of asking everyone, “Is it hot enough for you?” repeat after me, “I’m as cool as a cucumber.” ( Just to be clear, I’m referring to the cucumbers nestled comfortably in my air-conditioned kitchen and not those hot ones outside in my garden.)

If all else fails and you can’t beat the heat, sing about it. I recommend this song by Vanilla IceOr this one by Robert Palmer and The Power Station. Or this one by Glenn Fry. Or this one by Buster Poindexter.
I’d love to hear your strategies or share your favorite heat-themed songs in the comments below.