Tag Archives: comfort zone

Throwbacks: a panic attack, revisited.

**Here’s a throwback of a different kind. Most of these have been recaps of stories I’ve shared on my old blog, about my divorce, or things I haven’t shared here, that are part of my story that some of you may not have read. This story and journey I have recapped here. The story of the first year of my new job and all the ups, downs and in-betweens…**

It was this day, a year ago, that my boss went on maternity leave 10 days early. And a day that I had my very first panic attack. Something I’d never experienced before. Suddenly, a wave of nausea, fear and well, panic washed over me. I was scared. I wasn’t ready (or so I felt). And to top it off, I was going to Jamaica in two days (given my boss did not think she was going to go early as it was her first child, my scheduling a trip right before she left didn’t seem to be a big deal…at the time!).

The perfect storm to cultivate a panic attack, no?

I remember sitting at my desk, in my old apartment, texting M frantically, IMing my sister Jess, and tweeting out my feelings to anyone and no one at the same time…scared and worried and wondering how the hell I was going to make it through three months without my boss, my safety blanket and security net, still very new to my job and to working for a global company (speaking of, I had my first call with our China PR team that night, a call I rarely joined, let alone had to lead!) and many names, faces and personalities to cope with. I had a list a mile long of notes, reminders, who to send what and when, yet I was still scared and feeling very unprepared.

And it was then that M said to me: “remember, it’s okay to lose to your opponent, but you shouldn’t lose to fear.”

And that statement, as simple as it sounds, was exactly what I needed to face the next 12 weeks. It was probably the hardest 12 weeks of my career. There were a lot of tears. There was a lot of unknowns I had to just face, and do. There was a lot of faking it, and a lot of questions I hated asking for fear of ‘sounding stupid’ (one of my biggest fears). There was a LOT of travel. There was a shitton of discomfort.

But most of all?

There was a shitton of growth too. I took this job in January 2011 with a hunger to grow, to be pushed, to learn what it is that I want out of this career move, what I want my job to look like. And looking back at the last almost year and a half? I have come incredibly far. I won’t mince words or half-say it. I conquered it. And I am damn proud of that.

But.

There is still so much I need and want to learn. So much more growth. More discomfort (it IS the year of getting out of the ‘zone after all) and reaching the next level. I’ve sensed that change starting. The ‘what am I waiting for’ feeling…just start doing it. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t even ask for it. Just DO it. That’s why I was hired. And that’s why I took it upon myself to request attending two social media events coming up (which I cannot wait to go to!) and why I am trying to approach my day-to-day with more confidence and direction. Not waiting for permission or for the answer to be given to me.

And I think this idea – the premise of unseating comfort zones and *not* waiting for permission can be applied to so much in life. What, precisely, *are* we waiting for? And why are we waiting? Think about it. There is always something ‘on our bucket lists’ or something we want to do ‘when we have time’ but why wait? Why not make it a priority and just for it. Empower yourself. Don’t wait to be empowered.

And that is exactly what I plan to do. No more panic attacks. Just do it. 

My 6-month run challenge: week 13 (on why the barre helps my running)

Earlier this week, as I was dreadmilling it, I realized something (or maybe the better phrase is, I re-realized it!). The barre really helps my running and this little run challenge I’m doing for myself!

Listening to music as I powered through some interval work (which I happily embraced this week…yet another thing I can’t get used to, actually *liking* interval work!), I looked at my reflection in the blank TV screen and I consciously shifted my shoulders down and back. Adjusting my posture naturally as I had started to hunch slightly. The fact that I noticed that instantly and adjusted my posture was so interesting to me. It’s one of the things I am learning during barre n9ne certification, all about proper alignment and how to spot when clients are out of alignment and how to adjust them. And having good posture while running helped me breathe better and feel stronger (maybe the ‘stronger’ part was more mental than anything) and also maintain a strong core, too.

What else have I noticed? My legs are so strong, stronger than they ever were even when I was doing a lot of heavy weight training on my lower legs. My quads, hamstrings, glutes…strong. Able. Pushing me through my run with Meaghan on Wednesday, and up one of my most dreaded hills (even she muttered ‘well this hill sucks!’) and faster than I’ve run before too, I’m pretty sure. Because as I huffed along after that hill, she mentioned we were running 9:15 miles – ! – which is at least 20-40 seconds faster than my normal and even that small increment of speed was hard and I labored, but I did it, thankful for a strong running partner (and patient one, too!) that pushed me out of my comfort zone for 6.4 miles.  Having strong legs is a major factor in how  much better I feel when I run, especially when I run outside. I compare it to how I felt last year and my legs just felt heavy and weighted down (which they were, literally, since they definitely weighed more then too!) and it made each run such a labor, but not in a challenging way, but in a ‘too hard’ way. (if that makes sense).

And lastly? Shin strength. Wow. I don’t think I have gotten shin splints once in the last 8 months or so. This is compared to last year, when I would have to space my runs at least one day, usually two, days apart to rest my aching shins. Compare to to this week and I ran 5 on Sunday, 5.5 on Monday and 6.4 on Tuesday. Zero shin pain. (thank you releves, and uber barre work!!)

It’s been a solid week for my run challenge, with one more to go tomorrow. Depending on how tonight’s 3-hour barre n9ne training goes (with another 4 hours tomorrow!), I’ll decide how far my run tomorrow will be, but no matter if it’s 3, 5, or 7, it’ll be my fourth run for the week, meeting my goal.

What a difference 13 weeks and 8 months of barre n9ne makes.

Happy Friday, friends! Make it a good one, will ya?

**asslap to everyone adding some sweat to their lives, no matter what form it comes in…yoga, running, walking, swimming, kickboxing, barre, you name it, it counts ;-) **

Stories that Define Me: Holding Back.

*This is the fifth in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

Growing up, I never did any team sports, or many group activities of any kind (except Band for two years in middle school and I hated every minute of it!) and I always wondered if that ‘hole’ in my childhood experience would come back to me later in life. And the more I look back at times where I have held back, I go back to my childhood and feel as though not participating in those activities has ‘rubbed off’ on me to this day. In terms of holding back and not fully having the ability to let go, to act a part, to be part of a group, as a leader. For some reason, I equate these types of group activities with cultivating that ability and comfort level with it, because I think not being as involved (this was completely voluntary, by the way, nothing to do with my parents or anything!) enabled me to shutter myself out a bit and be more naturally inward.

I think this is why I have put myself out there, out of my comfort zone countlessly over the last several years and in most cases, with success. But there is still a part of me that just holds back. It’s as thought my body is in this extreme state of discomfort, pushing against a wall that just won’t budge, so I get to that ‘good’ stage but never get to that ‘dare to be great’ stage. It’s actually extremely frustrating because I know I can do the things in which I am most afraid, but that I know will take the most work, the most discomfort and will cause the most fear to rise up in my chest.

But doing what I have always done – holding back – won’t get me to that ‘dare to be great’ stage. Nor will pushing against it and just hoping that it’ll eventually budge that extra few yards to the finish line. I need to act different. I need to approach the things that scare me – but that I really want most – differently so I don’t go into hold-back mode and I break through that barrier, farther than a few yards, more like an entire football field. Go for the touchdown, not just the field goal.

Part of that is quieting the mind…a post my sis wrote, that I read part of, but stopped myself, because we are clearly of the same mind today (shocking…you’d think we were related or something. Hehe).

Part of that is trusting myself and shutting out the voices that tell me no, and more importantly, shutting out the eyes that are watching, the ears that are listening, and just focusing on what I am doing. Just me, nothing else. I have always been so concerned with how I come across and how I am doing things, rather than just focusing on doing them well and screw whatever else is occurring around me, whoever is around me, and what the circumstances are.

And the biggest part? Just doing it. Run towards that fiery wall and just busting through it. No matter if I feel like I look stupid, or wrong, or different. That’s the point. It’s different. It’s new. It’s not me. But it will be.

Right?

Isn’t that what life is all about?  

Going for the ‘dare to be great’ moments instead of holding back and sitting by the sidelines? I’ve been down the ‘going halfway and then stopping’ route far too many times, the thisclose or ‘good enough’ but I am sick of that. I don’t want to be good enough. I want to be great.

And to be great means a clean slate, throwing the rulebook out of the window and just going for it. If I can apply it to running, I can apply it to anything, right?

So that is just what I will do. Go. For. It. 

What do I have to lose?

Absolutely nothing.

Carpe Diem.

Seize the Day.

Make your lives extraordinary.

**Watch one of my favorite scenes from Dead Poet’s Society…starts around 5 mins in…gives me chills every.single.time.**

Reminders.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. And when I went to bed, in tears, I was hoping to wake up with a sense of clarity and renewed focus.

Yesterday was a day full of reminders. And looking at it now, maybe I needed those reminders.

I had a rough day at work, starting almost immediately. My boss has been on vacation for the last 10 days and I picked up a shitton of stuff she didn’t get around to before she left (in her defense, it’s just a wicked busy time at work…but at the same time, I just think it was bad timing for a vacation, but I digress. It happens, and there never is a *good* time for vacation, now is there?). One of those items was a huge thorn in my side all week. Let’s just say – too many cooks in the kitchen, compounded by the fact that sometimes, it is hard to delineate whose feedback I should accept as ‘fact’ over ‘opinion’ when it comes to edits to a document. It’s a judgement call so much of the time and making that judgement continues to be an area I am working on…but usually have my boss as my sounding board. Clearly, I did not have her, so I was operating without a net (hello out-of-comfort-zone!) and trying like hell to just get it done.

Needless to say, the edits compounded and compounded into somewhat of a mess. But me, being so knee-deep in it, didn’t really see it. So my boss’s boss (who was my interim boss while she was on maternity leave this year. A tough, but very fair man, and I have honestly learned to quite respect him, especially after this incident) called me and basically told me it needed a rewrite and wasn’t up to par. I sometimes take constructive feedback quite personally (a flaw, I suppose) and was close to tears when on the phone with him. He was not mean, just honest, and blunt. After he hung up, the tears flowed. (M called me and gave me one of the best pep talks ever, which temporarily made me feel better…)

But the rest of the day went downhill from there. From a shitton of work, to stressing over that, to a meeting that got moved to 7:30 pm (late meetings that my boss would usually handle as they are in her time zone! and vice versa for mine!) that I then had to do on top of it all, and I was a mess.

I thankfully made it to barre n9ne and did the call right after from my sister’s house (who treated me to sushi, what a wonderful sister, right?), but came home deflated. I was tired. I was down. I was just ready for the day to be over. And then proceeded to tell me about some plans he had tonight (Tuesday) and all I was hoping for was to see him tonight, since I saw him all of 5 minutes that day. I got upset, irrationally motivated by the day I’d had and just couldn’t stop my emotions. We talked a bit, but I just wanted to go to bed. We crawled into bed together, he held me tight and allowed my emotions (rather than discuss further).  I fell asleep almost immediately, and as upset as I felt at that moment, partially with him, I couldn’t have felt more loved or protected or content.

This morning, I woke up and felt refreshed and thrilled that day was behind me. And that’s when the reminders hit me.

My job shouldn’t be puppies and rainbows every day. Yes, I love my job. Yes, I think I am good at my job most days. But some days, like yesterday, I, like all of us, need that reminder that there is always room for improvement. Failure begets success. 

(thanks Michelle for that quote, it is, needless to say, exactly right)

It was also a reminder that every day I have with M is a blessing. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours. He deserves to have social time too. Just because I won’t see him until late tonight, doesn’t mean I won’t see him. And we ran outside this morning in glorious 50 degree unseasonable temperatures and talked about last night, and just enjoyed the silence of running side by side. And tomorrow? Tomorrow is date night in. There’s talk of prosecco and a bubble bath. Why yes, indeed. And when he hugged me this morning and told me how much he loves me and that I am a priority in his life, I realized how irrational I was yesterday, and how very much I love him.

Reminders. Sometimes they are exactly what we need. Even if they make us cry.