Category Archives: Emotions
Over the last four months, fear has taught me some truths.
Truth #1: Fear is real. Fear is simply a threat to something you care deeply about. It’s a natural and very human reaction that elicits your emotions. It can dominate your thoughts, affect your mental capacity as well as your emotional and physical state.
Truth #2: Fear is real, but it is also a liar. Fear tells whispers in your ear, “You can’t.” Don’t listen; that is a lie.
Truth #3: Fear plays the role you allow it to play in your life.
Beginning on Oct. 10, 2015, life threw our family a curve ball; one that brought about medical conditions that caused severe and continuing headaches, extreme fatigue, numbness in my body and a poor quality of life. We thought it was as simple as degenerative disc disease. I did in fact have that, but I learned that was very manageable.
What was not manageable was what I later learned that I had: sleep apnea and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). My condition causes me to quit breathing about 15 times an hour and wake up, on average, 41 times an hour.
I began to have extremely restless nights getting very little sleep that was non-restorative. My muscles were not getting the oxygen they needed and were fatigued to the point where this avid exerciser had to forego anything physical. Just walking up the stairs took a lot of energy.
During my initial sleep study, I unfortunately had technicians who lacked a servant’s heart (in addition to poor bedside manner). During my sleep study, I was supposed to wear a CPAP machine, which is basically a machine, with a mask attached that blows air into your nose or mouth so that your airway doesn’t become obstructed. Long story short, the experience was horrible (one the business later apologized for).
Fear entered my life. And over the course of several weeks, it consumed me.
How long can I go on living extremely fatigued?
How long can I continue with this headache?
Am I going to get extremely sick because my body cannot get the rest it needs and fight off sickness?
What kind of mother am I right now?
Will my husband lose me?
Will my son have to be raised without me?
What will my husband say to my son when he asks “Where’s Mommy?”
With all this said, it’s important to know that sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Unfortunately, CPAP therapy can take weeks to adjust to, accept emotionally, and beat mentally.
I eventually got a second sleep study and was able to wear the CPAP so the neurologist got the information they needed to give me my own machine.
Though a hurdle was jumped, the fear remained. For many, definitely for me, the CPAP wasn’t something I adjusted to easily.
There were emotional breakdowns due to fear. What if I can’t do this? I am failing.
There were tears due to fatigue.
There were nights that fear said, “You can’t do this.” You’re not who you thought you were. You don’t get the life you wanted.”
Honestly, this is when fear consumed me.
But it was also at this point, that I stopped it. I put fear in its place. I had to, because living the life I was choosing to live left me drained in every way possible.
You see, thoughts of that machine and my life expectancy and condition consumed me. Despite that, I kept working full time. And, I attempted to continue to be the mother my son deserved. I continued to try to keep a functioning home. But, what was in my thoughts despite the fact that I kept putting one foot in front of the other was fear.
I knew it had to stop. So, I stopped it.
I quit thinking about it. I put what little energy I had into things I cared about. Impacting others through coaching. Beginning my reading again. Spending time with my husband, not thinking or talking about my condition. Being mentally present when interacting with my son.
Then, at night when it was time to sleep, I just put the machine on, laid down and didn’t allow fear to say, “You can’t.” I tried to make that the only time I thought about the machine.
I put fear in it’s rightful place in my life.
Is it still there, at times? Sure, I’m human.
But, when it pops up, I put it away. Because it’s a lie. Because if I allow it to, it consumes me.
I am now learning to sleep with the CPAP and beginning to get my energy back. It is still going to be a process and there will still be ups and downs, but fear no longer determines my path. I do.
As I walked into work each day, the kids in our school were learning about courage. One classroom had this posted outside their room: “Courage is the ability to persevere through any emotion.” There’s no promises of this being easy. But the chance is there and the path lies in our ability to choose. Choose the role fear plays your life.
The last four months of my life have been the hardest I’ve ever lived. But, it has provided lessons that I have never experienced to this depth. I am grateful for the experience. I am stronger because of it.
For me, courage is supreme of all core values.
I can’t speak to any other time in history, but in our current society, it’s paramount because so much in our society says we should do “x” often times at the expense of what is best for us.
After listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast entitled “How to Achieve More by Sleeping More,” I began to write a post about sleep, particularly since there was one night I didn’t get much sleep this week and my mental, emotional and physical health didn’t even compare to the rest of the week. I wrote the post, then thought, “the message here is bigger than sleep. The message is about courage.”
As Hyatt talks about in the podcast, I hear conversations almost daily of people talking….really bragging about their lack of sleep, as if it’s a badge of honor. People even say to them “You’re amazing! I couldn’t go on four hours of sleep.”
Let’s have courage in the face of this cultural acceptance of lack of sleep and instead look at those who are disciplined with their sleep and thus more productive and happier and say to them “You’re amazing. I can do that, too.”
Does this take courage? Sure it does, because it’s going against the norm, the cultural norm.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not on a pedestal here. I am the wife of someone who owns their own business. I have a three-year-old son. And, I work full time as well. I don’t always get my sleep.
And, there will be seasons in your life where it’s necessary that you go without sleep. The goal is to not make that your norm.
Following LifePlan, I made it more of a priority and it has opened up doors like crazy. I am able to maintain emotional stability when things get stressful at home. I am able to exercise more effectively. I am able to be a more productive worker. And, I am happier.
A sobering fact was shared in Hyatt’s podcast. A research study showed that people who only got 6 hours of sleep for two weeks, functioned at the same level of impairment as someone who is legally drunk.
“We act like sleep is a luxury or an indulgence. As a result, sacrificing sleep in the name of productivity has become routine. But the opposite is true. Cheating our sleep is like maxing out our credit cards. There’s a benefit now (at least it feels like it), but the bill always comes due in the form of decreased health and mental ability.”
Have courage. Be different. Take care of yourself. Watch your achievement soar and, more importantly, your health and relationships be given the priority they deserve.
I am motivated by having a plan.
LifePlan gave me that…a plan.
I am stoked beyond measure to build my discipline and daily habits so that I can successfully navigate my LifePlan journey. I’ve begun to develop those habits with daily early morning exercise, clean eating (though I’m still lacking discipline in completely cutting sugar out of my life!), time to read or write every day, weekly dates with the hubby, making a plan to proactively be a good steward with my talents in reading, teaching, coaching and leadership, preparing my mindset to add worklife back to the mix….all while balancing motherhood (which has more demands than ever now since my husband is starting his own business).
Truth be told, after I became a mother, I always felt a sense of guilt….when I was fully devoted mentally and physically to work, I felt guilty because I wasn’t with my son. When, I was at home, fully devoted to family, I felt guilty I wasn’t working.
It’s interesting. I had a chat with a co-worker this last year who is also a mother. Her kids are teenagers, so I asked her “Does the guilt ever go away?” It seems, as a mom, you’re always feeling guilty about something. At least I was. It was her experience that the guilt is always there.
I put that conversation in the back of my mind because something didn’t set right with me.
But, if I ask myself why I feel this way (guilty)….it’s likely tied to my high need for achievement….and not just average achievement, the yearning to go beyond average. After learning in LifePlan, that this yearning was tied to my root system, a root system where I had to work my tail off just to break so many cycles–poverty, unhealthy relationships and an unhealthy mindset. This meant working three jobs while going to college full time. There are reasons in my childhood that caused me to tie my self worth to achievement. Thus, when I wasn’t achieving, in my eyes at least, I struggled.
I still have a high need to achieve, but it’s not tied to my self worth. This is key to the success of my LifePlan, particularly as a working mother.
The reality is this: My current season of life requires me to balance, the best I can, at least. (Are we ever truly balanced?!) The reality is I have a three-year-old that demands my attention and, just as importantly, he won’t always be three. Someday I’ll miss this time.
Despite how much I want to be awesome at every area of my LifePlan, I have to proactively give myself grace that the level I want to move forward at may not be there in all areas.
And, that’s okay.
But, see, there’s even a problem in that…it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.
Do I still battle guilt, at times? Sure, I do. But, that’s emotion. What I know to be true is what I learned in LifePlan. My self worth doesn’t come from where I am at in “accomplishing” my LifePlan.
And, I don’t have to be guilty, because I’m on a journey (that has different seasons). A journey, I might add, where I determine where my time is spent.
My season in life is what it is. My LifePlan is my guide….and my LifePlan is a journey.
LifePlan gave me the perspective, tools and plan I need to carry out my best life. But, it doesn’t mean that I will be without struggle.
Because I am human and I am flawed…there will be times when I…
1. Have to remind myself that my self worth doesn’t come from achievements or other people
2. Respond with emotional immaturity in a heated discussion
3. Don’t respond with enough grace
4. Have to fight off self doubt
5. Am too hard on myself
6. Don’t think I’m achieving enough
7. Struggle with a multitude of things
But, here’s what Lifeplan caused: An ability to catch myself in these moments and respond with self-knowledge and to calmly ask “why” am I responding this way. I can pause and ask “What in my root system is causing me to react the way I am?” What LifePlan gave me was a tool to overcome emotional immaturity (yes, we all have that at times!) It allows me to identify the roadblock, gain perspective on it and work through it so that it doesn’t hold me and my relationships back.
Was LifePlan transformative? Yes, but there was no wave of a magic wand that suddenly fixed my flaws. But, it gave me something even better, the tools to overcome them myself.
“I’ve never known a truly successful person who didn’t allow others to pour into them.”
Joel, a member of Chris’s team, tweeted this out a few months ago. They were powerful words for me.
If you looked at my Before LifePlan page, you’ll see things were actually going pretty good for me. Which made it obvious to me: the only person holding me back was me.
I’ve always used this as guiding belief. In order to get out of poverty and unhealthy relationships, I had to.
With that said, it still irked me that I couldn’t figure out my “why.” Why did I have a feeling of discontent? Why was I so freakin’ hard on myself? In all reality (despite what I thought), I wasn’t failing. Was I struggling outwardly? No. Inwardly, yes. Not being able to figure out why, was the part that ticked me off the most.
As explained in a previous post about listening, I attempted to “listen” to what life was telling me. I saw Joel’s tweet.
That really was true, wasn’t it?!
I had navigated through life on my own, with the exception of some powerful, yet very brief, moments with mentors. Mentors who came and went, unfortunately.
I relied on my husband, but he doesn’t have all my answers.
I needed someone else. I needed someone to pour into me. And, that was okay.
That’s what they do during LifePlan. I’m very much an observer of people and as much as I knew those two days were about me, I also watched my facilitator pour energy, thought and time into me. I never mentioned it, but I saw him tire throughout the two days. But, that’s because they believe in what they do at LifePlan. They pour everything into you for two powerful days.
And, in those two days, I found some of my answers.
Other answers, came afterwards.
But, without allowing someone else to pour into me, I guarantee you, I would still be discontent.
But, instead, I’m living my best life possible.
Can you take the leap? Can you let someone pour into you? Are you ready to live your best life possible?
For me, the LifePlan event was a path I had to walk alone, but my husband’s role in it was instrumental.
Without his support, I would not be where I am today (and this is a pretty amazing spot to be!)
Here are somethings I wanted my husband to know before, during and post LifePlan.
1. I was happy with so many aspects of my life, but I wasn’t completely happy. That wasn’t due to any one thing in our present.
2. As independent as I am, I could not find the answers through introspection, in the pages of a book, or on a podcast. I had been doing that for months (no, make that years!) . My knowledge increased during that time, but there was still something missing. I needed to lean on someone that could facilitate that discovery.
3. I knew I was asking our family to make an investment in me. But, the purpose was so that I could be better for myself, for him, for our son and for those I interact with personally and professionally.
4. I believed in the LifePlan process and because I was committed to it, it would be successful. And, if he didn’t believe that, I needed him to trust me and my belief.
1. I thought of him often during LifePlan. He is one of the most significant aspects of my life.
2. I was in the midst of a process that was about to change me. It’s an experience I can’t describe fully.
3. I wanted to share, but I also needed time to reflect.
4. I didn’t need answers from him; just someone to listen and allow me to find my answers.
1. I had emotions I could not explain (at last in the first 36 hours afterwards). The emotions were not negative. Most of them caused a sense of peace and happiness. One of them caused sadness, but there was a reason for that in my root system, not in the LifePlan process).
2. I had a level of self-acceptance I never had before.
3. THIS was me, who I was now, right now!
4. I didn’t do this to remedy every small improvement needed in our marriage. But, there are things I learned that will allow me to give him more grace and work through things in a more mature way.
5. I need time, lots of time to reflect and implement.
6. This changed my life forever.
7. Your support before, during and after this process means the world to me.
The LifePlan event was a path I had to walk alone with my facilitator. But, at the same time, the before, during and after process is a path my husband and I have walked together as our path is intertwined. And, it is only after writing this post, that I truly recognize that.
PostLife Plan, the first 48 hours…
I’m sure everyone responds to LifePlan in their own unique way. I would venture to say that most experience some degree of emotion during LifePlan and afterwards (or a large degree!) It’s an intense experience. How often do we spend two days bearing our souls to someone? I stayed very even-keeled (a result of my root system) during LifePlan. I walked out the door knowing the discoveries we unpacked would forever change my life. I left with my self worth intact more than it had ever been before. I left with so many positive feelings. But, man, the first 48 hours after LifePlan, for me, was unexpectedly emotional, both with positive feelings and ones I couldn’t explain. I’m sure everyone has different approaches in how to take life on in those first couple of days after LifePlan. Here are a few that helped me through those emotions and reflections.
1. I tried to identify the feelings I was having and talk about them, despite the hesitancy I had in doing so. (Being pretty independent, that wasn’t something I was used to). I pondered what in my root system caused me to respond like this.
2. I made a plan for implementation. I am very “plan oriented,” (yep, that’s from my root system, too) so much so that making the plan refuels me. After the 9-hour trip home, I went into three intense days of professional development for my job and didn’t have time to make that plan or work through the emotions. Once I had time that weekend to do so, the emotions were more manageable.
3. I sought out connections with people who had gone through LifePlan previously. This was a big help as they could connect with the feelings and thoughts I was having.
4. I walked through the LifePlan process and my discoveries with my husband, over a two-hour discussion.
5. I started blogging in hopes to reflect myself, to help others who may be struggling and considering LifePlan, and to connect with others who had already gone through LifePlan.
6. I re-listened to Chris Locurto’s podcast entitled “Emotional Intelligence Explained.” Man, did that ever help. And, what was awesome, I REALLY got that podcast moreso than my first time of listening to it. It made sense on a whole other level.
7. I scheduled chats with my accountability partners and thanked the mentors in my life (again, as I had previously thanked them numerous times!)
It’s been about a week and a half since my LifePlan and life is awesome. There are emotions there that I am still identifying, talking about and attempting to handle in a proactive, positive way. And, that’s okay.
What did you experience after LifePlan? What approach did you take in addressing your thoughts and emotions?