Thankful Tuesday: This Turkey

I think I’ve posted this silly image every year I’ve had this blog, so I apologize for repeating it once again. But, I just can’t help it. That goofball turkey face cracks me up every.single.time.

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I cut out this image and headline from the National Enquirer when I was in high school because it made me laugh until I cried. Somehow, I have managed to save it for years and years. And every time I look at it, that turkey makes me giggle.

Hope you had a terrific Tuesday! What are you Thankful for today?

Thankful Monday: Thank You Notes

Well, today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Great way to start off the week of Thanksgiving, let me tell ya.

Instead of counting blessings and giving thanks (which I was literally doing as I went to bed last night so, like, what happened??), I muttered angry phrases at other horrible drivers, yelled at my pug, and couldn’t stop thinking of my seemingly countless failings in life.

Obviously, this is not how I want this day or week of Thanks to go down. And, I am aware that I have more than most to be thankful for and I can’t let a case of the Mondays ruin today or any other day this week. So, I tried to cheer up… and failed.

Christmas music. Check. An inspiring email from my little sister. Check. A lot of coffee. Check, check, check. Better mood? Nope. What can be done with this awful mood!?!?!

Determined to feel thankful, I dove into a stack of thank you notes I’ve been meaning to write to everyone who contributed to my NYC Marathon Charity – the Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation.

And, guess what? I finally feel better. I feel more thankful. By choosing to spread gratitude and harnessing the feelings of deep, deep appreciation I have for everyone who supported me throughout the four months of long runs, fundraising and one incredible race, I actually changed my mood.

I feel grateful and ready for the week. I’m motivated to do my work. I’m motivated to host our Thanksgiving visitors. I’m especially motivated for tonight’s run. Even better, I’m determined to fix those nagging failings and stressors I was focused on this morning.

So, if you’re struggling to find a reason to be thankful, pull out a stack of thank you notes and write a few to some deserving people in your life. I think it’ll help you find a lot to be thankful for and will help make your week of Thanksgiving that much more fulfilling.

Happy Thanksgiving week!! What are you thankful for?

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Thankful Thursday: Changing Leaves

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Turns out, it’s fall.

Yup, autumn is officially here in Colorado. There’s a chill in the air. The trees are radiant shades of orange, red and gold. It’s snowing in the high country (that’s what we call the mountains). Change is upon us.

Daylight savings is probably soon, too. Right?

I’m unsure of exactly when fall happened. In Crazytown (where I spend most of my time), there are no seasons. But in Fort Collins (where I actually live), autumn arrived at some point in the last few weeks and now that I’ve finally noticed … autumn is awesome (as is alliteration).

Of course, fall is just a precursor to the real event (Christmas). But, it’s nice to stop and smell the dead leaves, too. Autumn, just like ever other season, is another chance to start over. Another list to start (you know how I love lists). Another chance to get it right (whatever ‘it’ is).

Lately, life has been a little hectic with a side of emotional outbursts. But, I’m optimistic about the coming months. I’m looking forward to the chance to get it right. I am thankful for the changing leaves that alerted me to this season that’s zipping by at lightening speed. I plan to slow things down a bit and enjoy this time of year as much as possible. (And, I’m thankful it’s almost Christmas!)

In summary, in case you didn’t notice, fall is here. Take time to enjoy it. Happy Thankful Thursday, what are you thankful for today?

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Get Up. Dress Up. Show Up. And Never Give Up.

photo+4+(1) Last week, I attended #HRevolution and #HRTechConf. This blog, clearly, is not an HR blog or a marketing blog (which is what I do in the HR industry). But, I am compelled to share my experience, nonetheless. I think you’ll enjoy it even though HR might not apply to you.

At both events, especially #HRevolution, I was beyond impressed with the knowledge, insight and creativity of the HR and marketing professionals in attendance. So much so that, within the first 30 minutes of my first session, I was too intimidated to tweet or post  (which is encouraged) about the content. Further, I was too intimidated to speak up and contribute to the incredible conversations happening during the sessions for fear of saying the wrong thing and looking foolish.

The people at these events were very welcoming and encouraged sharing, but I was mute. This rarely happens to me. Yes, many years ago when I was a freckle-faced, skinny junior high girl with braces, I was shy. But, fast forward to today, and being ‘shy’ is no longer how most people would describe me. However, when sat down in a room of professionals that I admire and aspire to be like, suddenly I found myself quiet.

I’ve also noticed this shy behavior when it comes to writing and blogging. After writing for quite awhile over at my old site, I attempted to cultivate online relationships and partnerships with other bloggers to grown this little blog. Instead, I found that the more I dug for information and researched other bloggers/writers, the more I realized that I wasn’t at the caliber of most of the women (and a few men) whose blogs I admired. And, as a result of my newly-realized incompetence, I became shy.

How? I stopped writing as much. I began to doubt whether or not what I was writing was valuable or unique. I thought I needed a better site, a catchier title, better photos, and more extensive understanding of search engines and social media to even think about blogging. And so, as you may or may not have noticed, my writing and frequency of posts has dwindled.

When it comes right down to it, HR professionals and bloggers scared me. Like, the two most on-your-side-let-us-try-to-help-you people scared the living daylights out of me because I didn’t know as much as them. I am not the expert that they are. I don’t have as many followers, as many site hits, as deep of a knowledge base, or as engaging of a marketing strategy. Compared to all the HR gurus and blogging superstars, I know very little. So, why even try?

Weighed down with these thoughts, I went running. I ran and ran and ran and ran. All Forrest Gump n’ shit. And during my run, as per usual, a moment of clarity struck me.

I’m not the fastest runner out there. I can’t run the longest distance (seriously, I don’t even know how far an ultramarathon is). I don’t have the best gear or a racing sponsor. People don’t ask me to write about or speak about running. I’m certainly not a professional, an elite competitor, or really a competitor at all. I just run.

However, I am the first to ask you to run with me. I look forward to #runchat every week. I happily chime in on conversations about running, offer advice, and look for an opportunity to convert non-runners to runners. Even though I’m not the best, the fastest, or the most educated on running, I am rarely intimidated by other runners.

And that’s because it never occurred to me not to run. I never thought to walk away from the starting line because I wouldn’t be the first to the finish line. Why would I?? By signing up for races, training hard, and seeking expert advice, I’ve become a relatively decent runner.

So why, especially in my professional life, have I reacted the way I did to a roomful of smart HR people or the blogging community? Instead of ‘lacing up’ and getting out there, I shied away from the opportunity to learn. I skipped the practice I need to get better. I disregarded the concept that we need to put in 10,000 hours to become really, really good at something. And I missed the whole point of attending conferences and sharing online – getting to learn from the experts.

So, my takeaway? Keep putting one metaphorical foot in front of the other.  For work, the only way I’ll show up at next year’s conference ready to participate fully is if I join in conversations throughout the year, be willing to say the wrong thing so other people can teach me, do my homework and work, work, work.

And the same for my blog. By continuing to write and continuing to network, I’ll only get better. Create, create, create. Write, write, write.

No matter how intimidated you may feel, no matter how unsure of your own work you are,  keep at it. Never Give Up. Otherwise, you’ll continue to stand on the sideline instead of run the race. And I can tell you from experience, it’s much better to run the race.

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Training Tip Tuesday: 10 Minutes

Training for the NYC Marathon is getting tough.

The financial commitment is looming out there on the horizon. And even the logistics of navigating the city on race day is starting to burden me down.

The running itself has had its ups and downs, too. My 17-mile training run left me wobbly and sore for days; I was convinced I’d made a mistake and would never be able to finish the race. However, my 18-mile training has left me feeling strong and ready to take on this challenge. Strange how much can change from week to week. Even day to day.

Some days, getting in a 5-miler is no problem. Easy-peasy. Other days, it can be extremely challenging to get inspired to lace up – especially when life is throwing curve balls (like floods and fires) at you.

But, to succeed on November 3, I have to get out there and do it. Right? (Yes. The answer is yes.) And for you to achieve your goals, you’ve got to keep going too, right? (Also, a yes.) So, how can we get out there and do it day after day even when we’re tired, sore and unmotivated? What is there to do when sheer will, determination and stubbornness have worn off?

My suggestion: Trick yourself.

It works for me just about every time. If I’m having trouble mustering up the motivation to get out there and run, I just tell myself I’ll only go for 10 minutes. And if, after ten minutes, I still feel like I don’t want to run then I can stop.

Over the course of my running history, I think I’ve actually stopped once after tricking myself with this method. Every other time, the little bit of energy produced from that 10-minute warm-up (and the creeping endorphin rush) took over and I completed my full workout.

It’s kind of silly because deep down I know that I’ll go for longer. But, saying it’s okay to stop and take a rest day when my body really isn’t responding to a warm-up seems to get me going every time (except maybe that once). And, quite honestly, if your body isn’t responding after ten minutes, you likely really need the rest day!

So, next time you don’t feel like running, walking, or participating in your chosen physical activity, just try doing it for ten minutes. I bet you’ll surprise yourself by how often you get in a complete sweat session. It totally works.

So, how about you? Do you trick yourself into a workout? Does it work?

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Thankful Thursday: State of Mind

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Happy Thursday!

Well, it’s another day of rain for Northern Colorado and things aren’t looking good out there. Lots of flooding in our part of the state and the rain is still coming down. Please send us good thoughts to dry us up! And, if you’re in the area, be careful out there!

But, that said, I am thankful for today. I would be more thankful if there wasn’t flash-flooding but I am thankful nonetheless. Why?

 …. Running!

I know, you’re getting sick of me talking about running. I can’t help it! I think about it all.the.time.

This week, I’m thankful for running because it has had a very positive impact on my state of mind in recent weeks. Endorphins aren’t just giving me a runner’s high every so often. Oh no. I’ve been better equipped to handle stress and all the ups and downs of life. I’ve been happier, more calm, more relaxed, and have experienced less anxiety. And, I believe it’s due to running a lot (like a whole helluva lot).

There are a ton of great quotes that sum up how running really does impact your overall well-being (you can find 41 of them here) and these are a few of my favorites:

  • I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought. – Arthur Blank
  • If you train your mind for running, everything else will be easy. – Amby Burfoot
  • Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. – Patti Sue Plumer

And this one seems especially fitting this week:

  • When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.  – Peter Snell

I hope you find your never-ending runner’s high. Stay dry out there!

Happy Thankful Thursday!

P.S. Clearly the image above isn’t about running but it is amazing state flag art I recently purchased from my friend, Matt. (State of mind. State flags. Kind of all goes together, no?) Aren’t they awesome!?

Image via Matt’s Instagram

Nose in a Book: Fall Reading List

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All right. I know it’s not actually fall yet but it’s a rainy dreary day here in Colorado and it sure as heck feels like fall. I tell ya what, we are certainly spoiled by sunshine here in this beautiful state. After only two days of rain, I’m missing my blue skies.

But, we must make do.

So, I’ve been planning a date with my couch, a blanket and good book for later tonight (what else can be done in this weather, right?). I have a stack of library books on my nightstand and a few I hope to check out this fall on my ‘to read’ list. Since I feel that friends frequently ask for book suggestions, I thought I’d share what I’ll be sticking my nose in.

Please share any ‘must reads’ that you love or want to read in the comments.

1. How Should A person Be? by Sheila Heti (I’m actually about half-way through this and so far, meh.)

2. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

4. Once a Runner by John L. Parker

5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

6. Freakin’ Fabulous by Clinton Kelly

7. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

8. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific by Cheryl Strayed

9. How to Hepburn by Karen Karbo

10. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

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Thankful Tuesday

Sometimes it’s challenging to be grateful.

It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to feel down. It’s easy to feel shorted in life. But, when reading about hungry children, seeing a homeless elderly person, or talking with a sick parent, suddenly you realize how truly lucky you are. You see beyond the car not starting, the tough day at work and the extra five pounds. And all that you have to be grateful for comes into focus.

Wouldn’t it be great to harness that clarity and spread that slap-in-the-face gratitude all the time? I wish to be that way. I also wish to be able to give at a level that could eliminate the homelessness, hunger and disease that plagues so many. But, you know the saying, wish in one hand …

So, instead of wishing let’s get started be grateful and giving, shall we?

Today, I am thankful:

  • for having to pull my car window up manually (like pull the glass with my hands b/c the motor-thing in the door is broken)
  • for this inspiration to keep writing, even though I know I’m not yet where I want to be
  • for the health my little family enjoys
  • for dealing with the feelings and emotions of an 18-month old’s emerging personality
  • for my weird, still-not-flat, c-section stomach that holds on to an extra five pounds
  • for the challenges of the 9-to-5
  • for this video that reminds me of how little others have and how silly it is that I keep complaining about my car window or the 9-to-5
  • for having the food that fuels me and keeps this extra five pounds around
  • for the little kids standing at the bus stop today reminding me of how quickly my 18-month old will grow up
  • for attending a luncheon to learn about ways to give
  • for never having anything to wear
  • for being so busy I feel overwhelmed
  • for the spouse cooking dinner and keeping that extra five pounds around
  • for feeling uncertain about the future
  • for a house to clean and all that laundry to do – even though I allegedly never have anything to wear
  • for rarely being bored thanks to all there is to keep me busy
  • for good girlfriends to share a night out with
  • for discovering that there’s more to everyone’s favorite frenemy, Dwight, in real life
  • for being inspired by so many
  • for slowly, but surely, finding faith again and starting to feel less anxiety about the future
  • for my legs, feet, lungs and determination to run even though I’m perpetually tired and sore
  • for babies and puppies
  • for really, really good music to keep those runs going
  • for still thinking my eyes are too close together
  • for realizing I get a lot of sleep for being a parent so I shouldn’t really be tired
  • for seeing things a little clearer after a run (even with my too-close together eyes)
  • for siblings and parents and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and in-laws and children
  • for life

Thankful Thursday: Fast Friends

You know when someone comes into your life and you are instantly attached to them? It’s like you can’t really remember what it was like before you were friends? Has that happened to you? One day, no relation. The next, BFF?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a handful of friends that I’ve had instant connections with over the years. One weekend in New Jersey (while visiting family), we met a long-time family friend’s sister (for the first time ever). We were all shocked by how easily she meshed with our zany crew. Next thing I knew, I had invited her to my wedding and she was making out with my cousin.

Or, even further back, I was starting my second year of rugby. My close friend and I were asked to pick a rookie to take under our wing. We took one look at the newest rugger in the line-up and said, “HER!” Insta-friends and still going strong.

Once, at a networking event, I learned all about one person’s family and passions within minutes. Years later, I’m still following their journey and non-profit work.

Another time, I was at a post-wedding party and the wife of high school classmate and I met for the first time. We spent the entire evening laughing. She called me the next day and asked me out on a friend date. We went to happy hour. And we’ve been laughing and knocking back cocktails ever since.

On the flip-side, I am so very fortunate to have friends with whom I’ve slowly built very strong relationships (I love them so much I have to be sure they know I’m thinking of them right now). My dearest friends and I get to see each other very frequently and text and call in between visits regularly. We all go way back to college and high school and I’m pretty sure started out as “fast friends” over card games and Key Light. You know who you are. ;)

But today, I’m writing about those very special folks who I became friends with in an instant. Even though we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we always pick right up where we left off.  We usually have to catch up on who’s working where, relationship status, and how the kids are doing – since our visits are so few and far between. But, it’s amazing how easy it is to share that information without feeling boastful and how eager I am to hear about their lives.

Last week, I had an amazing visit (and wished her luck on a big move) to my fast friend who asked me out. And today, I had lunch with one of my favorite rugger rookies.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am so very thankful for those fast friends that have become life-long friends.

Happy Thankful Thursday! What are you thankful for?

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His First Haircut

Little man had a baby mullet.

It’s true.

I didn’t want to admit it, but he did. It was short and sweet in the front but cascaded down the back … Like a Kentucky waterfall, I’m told.

The thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to cut it. I bought some hair-cutting shears, plopped him down in front of me on a stool, held his soft golden locks between my fingers, and picked up the newly purchased scissors.

And I couldn’t bring myself to snip.

Oh! His sweet baby hairs! How could I let them go!?

I let him run off to play and told myself lies about how it was fine if he had a mullet. He was a baby and could totes pull it off. Right?

Wrong.

The spouse, who was disappointed to see a party-in-the-back of my son’s head after the failed trim attempt, told me to take him to a salon or he would cut it himself.

And so to Cool Cuts 4 Kids we went.

I was a little skeptical of the place at first, but my happy dude had a blast. He rode in a train car, rang a bell and watched Sesame Street while a cheery stylist fluttered around his head with surprising speed and agility.

In a matter of minutes, hundreds of tiny blonde hairs surrounded him on the floor and my tiny guy had a proper cut.

Now, this is going to come as a surprise: I didn’t cry. I know. Who’s tough? This mom.

I did, however, request that they keep a lock of it for me (it’s in a bag I’ll save forever).

Here’s the sweet boy all ready for his first haircut! I just had capture one last shot of his long locks pre-chop.

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Here’s to his first cut! He’s just growing up too fast!