Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Inching away from me on her rolling stool, the doctor lowered her glasses, squinted her eyes, glanced down the words “28 year old female” and said “A skateboard? Whose skateboard and why?’ She had asked how it had come to be that my left ankle was 3 times the size as my right. “I was skateboarding and I landed weird.” I said. No, my skateboarding skills are not something I have kept like a secret from you all. I had never tried to ride, save the one time I went rolling, hands stretched out, down a friend’s carpeted hallway. A couple of days ago, I was inspired by the amazing weather and the dazed feeling of happiness that comes from overdosing on sunshine, to try something new. I remembered one of many New Year’s resolution to “learn something new” and to “try something that scares me” and figured this would knock out two resolutions in one go. I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared, but I kept going. I was almost figuring out how to go more than 6 or 7 feet without stopping when I flew into the air and landed, like a heap of misguided arrows, onto my ankle.

An hour or so after the appointment, me and my crutches were navigating our way off the train platform. The weather was still as nice as it had been the day before, when I was strongly, bravely, soaring into my neighbor’s lawn, sending the skateboard on a unexpected trajectory across their driveway. I was happy, and I was surrounded by the type of people that make you feel invincible. What happened here? I was being brave, trying new things, and now I was hobbling and defeated.

Once I was home, raising, icing, compressing and elevating, I started seeing things differently. We are brave, or we act brave in the face of something we are scared of. We seek out courage when we want to do something but are not completely sure we can. “Trying something new” and “Taking a risk” or “Doing something that scares you”, are all commonly accepted as “positive” goals. You will notice that there are no caveats. It’s not “try something new and amaze yourself with how you did it perfectly” or “take a risk and it will be totally worth it and you’ll want to do it again”. It’s the initial act of trying that counts. It’s about getting on the skateboard, then smashing yourself up, and then being happy that you tried getting on the rolling death trap in the first place. You try something new, and before you find out how good you are at it, that initial experience of trying causes a change. Before you fail or succeed, you have already become more courageous for the next time.

While I don’t encourage dangerous behavior, and being safe is clearly one of the fundamentals for survival, I would like to put in a good word for adding some daredevil qualities to your week. Whether it’s Italian, or the fiddle, or speaking up when you want to, or an unfathomably hard to operate rolling plank of wood, I think you should go for it. I figure if I keep in the habit of trying new things, I’m sure to tumble and smash my way into something amazing.



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My week in Austin, Texas has come to an end, and I am one very tired yet inspired girl. I learned so much at the conference for total nerds (SXSWi) that I attended this week. I want to pass as much of that on to you as possible, and so we begin a little series about inspiration. Inspiration is so hard to find, especially when you’re uninspired and unmotivated. As if there was a harder time to seek out inspiration, right? When you’re at your lowest point? So hard! I just got a huge dose of inspiration, so while I’m riding this wave, I’ll try sending some your way. Believe me, before I left I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, and was all “seriously, what is the point”. I mean, we’re talking super uninspired. So it’s possible to turn things around. Let me know what you think, too! If there’s something that really helps you get yourself out of a funk, email or comment. Everyone’s mind works differently, and these are just things that I personally found inspiring. If you’ve got a different take on things, I’d love to hear it.

When someone does something amazing, you can either be inspired by them or madly jealous. Go with inspired as much as you can. For example, Europeans are generally more fashionable than you, no matter what you do. This used to infuriate me. I was in Paris and I was sitting at a café, staring this poor Parisian chick down, just trying to figure out exactly what it was that made her so damn rad looking. They have a name for it: Je ne sais quoi. You can’t figure it out, so stop trying. Or girls with adorable southern accents that can say “hey, y’all” and not sound like idiots. I sound like an idiot, no matter how much I practiced while I was in Texas. In design school, when someone would make something so insanely cool I would be instantly jealous. Going to conferences with people in my field, I was instantly filled with a feeling that I was not as good as them. I figured that if the people that hired me ever met these people there’s no way I’d have a job.

With this in mind, you can imagine my initial feeling last week as I headed off to a conference of amazing designers and other professionals, with a large contingent of Europeans. Recipe for complete self-doubt. Then, the strangest thing happened. It was if I was so overwhelmed with the awesomeness of these people that I couldn’t take it anymore. They started to inspire me. I wasn’t upset about the girl who looked like Uma Thurman, draped in scarves and bad-assery. I was inspired by her confidence and attention to detail with her clothes. That doesn’t sound so unattainable, right? Then I went to a presentation that was run by a woman who, I’m not kidding you, is living out pretty much all of my dreams. Like, if she’s ever held a baby gorilla on top of everything else she’s done, she would be able to check every one of my life goals off of my list. But listening to her, I wasn’t overwhelmed with guilt that I’m not living every second of every day like it’s my last and saving the world like I want to. I was just inspired to start. She had a goal, an idea, like so many of us do. The difference is that she did it. It wasn’t magic. She ran into tons of setbacks. But she had this vision and she charged ahead, no matter how crazy it seemed. I wanted to jump up and yell “hell YES girlfriend” but it wasn’t really that type of crowd.

If I can leave you with one thought, it’s this: what if you turned every moment of jealousy into an opportunity for inspiration. Just turn that train around. I’m not the type of person who sees the girl who is dating my ex and thinks “man, she looks so pretty and it’s great that she’s doing so well, I can really see why he loves her, etc”. Sorry. I’m not Ghandi, nor am I trying to be. I’m just trying to happy, and I’m finding that the more I use people’s successes to fill my own well of inspiration, the happier I am. So don’t hate, y’all.



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