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Molly Grace James

A Life Well Lived…

When Nothing Fits

I know I am not alone in feeling inadequate.  So what do you do when you feel lost, stuck, less than what you wish you could be?

Right now this applies to my work situation, which at times can feel like a representation of my life.

In a quick search for career improvement I found the book The Pathfinder, by Nicholas Lore, which was posted in an article (original here).

This list was super encouraging. I wanted to post it in the hope that someone else might find solace in the fact that a better or ideal career match is possible.

person meditating with animals
How I feel most days. Also, the cat is super cute!

The Benefits of a Career That Fits . . .

  • You enjoy better health, a longer life, more vitality
  • You have enhanced personal and professional relationships and are more fun to be around
  • You’re more successful and more productive
  • You have heightened self-esteem
  • You become a better role model for people of all ages
  • You lead a life that counts
  • You look forward to life
  • You have a deeper, richer, more authentic sense of humor

The Costs . . . . .

  • You would have to control your impulse to constantly remind your friends how much you enjoy your career
  • You would lose some of your best reasons to complain
  • People will talk behind your back
  • You will not be a member of the biggest, most popular club
  • It takes more heart, more energy, and more commitment
  • You would have to exchange comfort for vitality

That last one is still sinking in. I am accustomed to a certain lifestyle and perhaps with that comes corresponding expectations. It is such a privilege to even have the time, the resources to want more from a place of already having so much. My needs are met in the most fundamental (and beyond) sense.

So what do I want? Clarity.

And you can’t put a price tag on that.

 

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valentines

Keeping it simple on this day of love.

This was designed with my partner and love Matthew Wade in mind, hence the two connected hearts.

This is quick redesign made in Sketch, which is primarily a prototyping tool used to make screens for website design.

I use it for work and in my spare time use it to create fun side projects (as part of my goal to create and journal daily).

I am really loving the font Pacifico right now.

  • Pacifico is an original and fun brush script handwriting font by Vernon Adams which was inspired by the 1950s American surf culture in 2011.
  • It was redrawn by Jacques Le Bailly at Baron von Fonthausen in 2016.
  • It was expanded to Cyrillic by Botjo Nikoltchev and Ani Petrova at Lettersoup in 2017.

Source: Google fonts

Weekly Thoughts

 

A bit of a journal-style post today. My thoughts are like scattered, anxious kittens.

Feeling overwhelmed is common. More often than not I don’t know what is the “best” direction in my life.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday that suggested essentially pick a thing and go with it for a set amount of time.

Regardless of what the thing is…

You could try dancing, calligraphy or rock-climbing.

I like this because I often feel flakey or like I have conflicting desires. And when I feel like this I just wish there was a magic cure all for a happy/motivated/complete life. Is there?

I feel dread in the space between sticking with something that no longer brings joy and fighting through to complete something. This is often where I feel with “work.” I am sticking with something for the sake of sticking it out. And in that there is learning. And there is dread.

It is a talent to figure out what you want to do.

Thoughts that I am curious about for myself/others:

  • What motivates you?
  • What overwhelms you?
  • What do you dread and why?
  • How do you overcome that?
  • Are discipline and joy on opposite ends of the spectrum?

Note to self: Relax. Nothing is under control. 🙂

Mood Follows Action

Current mood: tired, yet hopeful.

In feeling tired I should just stay at home and not work towards my fitness goals? That of course depends.

Ultra endurance athlete and dad of four Rich Roll has succinctly said: “Mood follows action.”

Which means reliance on motivation is not what it takes to get up and get going.

Said another way: Don’t think. Do.

If I listened to every desire to hide out in my apartment with my kitten loves I would probably never get to “doing” part that is needed to advance my strength and lifting.

So what do you do when your brain and body have competing goals?

At the moment I am fortunate to have an extremely goal driven partner who helps bring out the best in my work out sessions. And who motivates me, as in will work out without me if I don’t get moving, to continue down the path of lifting/fitness success.

And I would add once you do then think.

In other words, it is easy to get stuck (at least it is for me) obsessing over every lift and over-analyzing each action. Too much of this and it is unproductive.

It is still helpful to evaluate on a broader level the trends of what went well or what didn’t. And to save the analysis for a coach or someone who can give you a better assessment.

Also, action for the sake of action must be balanced by listening to your body and taking proper rest measures.

Many days I feel exhausted. And perhaps this is a larger trend of the need to fine tune my sleep, nutrition, intensity of workouts.

Again, it is crucial to listen to the needs of your body. This is a bit trickier because of those competing desires. Fortunately resting appropriately is vital to any training program.

This thought reminded me of an Outdoor Magazine article called 8 Principles to Do it Better, by Brad Stulberg, which I found to be tremendously helpful.

Here’s the quick rundown of the principles:

  1. Stress + Rest = Growth
  2. Focus on the Process, Not Results
  3. Stay Humble
  4. Build Your Tribe
  5. Take Small, Consistent Steps to Achieve Big Gains
  6. Be a Minimalist to Be a Maximalist
  7. Make the Hard Thing Easier
  8. Remember to Experience Joy

Fortunately, there is always hope. Hope that improvements will happen. Hope that you will become a stronger, better person. And hope that additional information will continue to help with that process.

As the article mentioned, with respect to the third principle, “Knowledge is always evolving and advancing—if you want to evolve and advance with it, you need to keep an open mind.”

And that, to me, is comforting.

So here’s to advancing!

 

Photo by ivan Torres on Unsplash

Mindset Matters

Comptrain (the daily Crossfit training guide) sent out an email today with the headline “Resilience: The Success X Factor.”

This excerpt was particularly meaningful:

When situations unravel, resilient people can muddle through, imagining possibilities where others are confounded.

My takeaway from the email was to ask myself the following questions when I’m in a situation I perceive as challenging:

What are the opportunities?

And what are you learning?

Here are some situations I face that make me feel lousy:

  • Had a “bad” interview
  • Not feeling like I am making enough
  • Feeling like I am not advancing career wise
  • A bad workout (meaning not feeling fit enough)
  • Not lifting the weight you want to lift
  • Stressed about driving (this one may take more to resolve 🙂 )

These two questions feel especially helpful with my current job situation. I feel stuck. I feel like a pivot may be necessary and I am not quite sure what that will look like. So instead of feeling helpless and miserable it is encouraging to think of the ways that I can a) see this as an opportunity and b) take some time to think about what I am learning from this situation.

mindset
Source: quora.com

In reality I am very fortunate. I have more than enough money to meet my needs, while being able to contribute in small ways to helping others. I love investing and am able to do so. I have a place to live. I have a car. I have a loving partner. I have my family. I have my friends. I have my two cats. I have a formal education. I have the ability to improve.

So what’s next?

I am not sure, but I know I will be okay. Eventually.

How a skinny distance runner transformed into the strongest she’s been in her life 

If I had to write catchy click-bait title to this part of my life it would be most likely be something along those lines. The what is pretty simple, the how fairly straightforward, but the why is where the complexity begins. And what does it mean to be strong anyways? Mentally, emotionally, physically – those are all components – right?

As each of those improve it feels like there is more room for growth and continued improvement.

And the questions keep coming.

Is a life in balance a happy one? Is a life focused on achieving the most you can one of fulfillment? And what about the ability to then help others?

It feels in many ways to be a typical story. In college I felt lost. I tried out for the D1 Lacrosse team – had the fastest mile in tryouts and due to limited hand-eye coordination failed almost everything else (anyone who knows me knows this to be the case).

I found glimpses of purpose and belonging by picking myself back up and asking Bruce Lehane, the distance coach, if I could join the BU track and Cross Country team. I worked incredibly hard achieving times I never thought were possible. But I felt isolated. I struggled with feeling “good enough” and struggled with body image and disorders eating habits.

Fast forward to graduation and the sinking feeling of not achieving enough hit me full force. I always knew I would be “successful,” but feeling like an aimless wanderer was terrifying. A journey with no fixed endpoint – how was and is this survivable?!

By lifting and achieving measurable results – it sounds silly, but I started to feel like myself again.

 

We are all wired differently, but for me having a direction a sense of improvement motivates me and pulls me through times that feel overwhelming or dark.

And as I continue to progress and have a desire for improvement I have to remember where I was when I started – a person with hopes and dreams… who could barely squat her body weight. And who still today struggles with feelings of inadequacy and periods of sadness.

And it is easy to think: hey, that person over there has it all together, but maybe in life we are all in the rough draft figuring it out stage.

Or maybe there is, and always will be strength in vulnerability.

A New Day, a New Design

Push yourself because you are capable of a lot more than what you think. It doesn’t always feel like this, often in my life I feel crushed, I feel helpless, I feel that I am not living up to some sort of external idea of “my potential.” My goal this month, this year, is to learn from my mistakes (not run from them). I want to develop a thick skin, more self-awareness, and confidence. Thick skin does not mean becoming callous to others. It instead means tuning out external criticism. Choosing to live by your intuition instead of the path that someone else thinks is best for you. Still living each day in awe of the wide range of capabilities humans express.  Push yourself because you are capable.

dream-2

Loving Lifting

We all start off as beginners, but with deliberate practice we can take our passions to the next level.  For many years I was a long distance runner. I did not have the type of training or muscle development to lift “heavy.”

mj lift

It is so cool to complete a lift with ease. And this is very much a work in progress.

What’s great about lifting? I have found solace in the companionship of my fellow lifters/ athletes. And I am prone to read articles in the Huffington Post such as 13 Reasons to Start Lifting Weights.

It feels empowering to have a new found hobby and the strength and confidence that are continuing to develop along with the PRs. Start somewhere. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. You may not be the strongest person, but learning how to use your body in new ways is exhilarating and worth the callouses.

lifting friends
At a local competition with my fellow workout pals

Happy New Year!

Make-IT

Happy New Year to everyone! I recently created this poster as a type of reminder that action produces results. This year has been phenomenal and I look forward to what the next year holds. We all have fears, doubts, issues with confidence that hold us back. Even in the midst of these dark thoughts, I want to keep moving forward by strengthening the relationships I have and by working harder than ever.  May 2016 be a year of lasting joy and peace.

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