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The Spark Chapter 5: Cornerstone Positive Force

Thursday, January 28, 2010

OK, this one I am going to have to either argue with or grow into.

This was the first chapter I felt like talking back to. I mean, seriously talking back to. Yes, for many people, just being a positive influence in someone's life is a huge motivator. Chris has a painfully shy childhood, but I'm convinced he was an extrovert yearning to be let out.

I am no extrovert. I am an introvert with a job that requires a certain degree of courage and mimicking of extroversion! I'm close enough to the dividing line that I can pull this off. But I need some serious alone time to recover. If I add "volunteering" and "community service" on top of the peopling I already do to earn my living, I'm in deep doo-doo.

Building Block: COACHING

Despite my statement above, I do engage in a certain amount of coaching and encouraging. People nowadays come up to me and ask. And I share. I encourage here on SparkPeople, on a community on Live Journal, and in person in the work place and among my family. This helps keep me motivated... BUT...

I have to be careful of my own character flaw of wanting to do it FOR someone else, feeling responsible for "fixing" others. As with oxygen masks on airplanes, I have to be careful to put my own recovery first. If I don't, what kind of role model could I possibly be?


Toddler Barbie is sitting on the floor screaming "I don't wanna" and scuffing up her little patent leather shoes. Teen-aged Barbie is abdicating her throne as empress of the sim-soc country in her 8th grade class. I have never wanted to be a leader... because I'm too selfish... people (especially 8th graders) don't appreciate their "leaders". I wanted everybody to like me, and not everybody likes "leaders".

Flash forward... but it's what I do for a living. I have a team of people who I depend on and who depend on me. I think I'm reluctant to overload myself with the vocabulary of "leadership" more than the actuality of working as a leader of a team. I prefer to think of myself as a peer, although I've come to accept the title and responsibility.

Interestingly enough, as I have worked on my own fitness, so have others on the work team. We may have used alternate "plans", but we encourage one another. They know I'm on Spark People. They are aware (because of my yellow post-it) of my 32 day streak without soda. And three of the five of us take walking breaks, sometimes turning the walk into a work meeting, sometimes just social.


Sorry, gotta wait 'til I retire for this one. Maybe. I have my hands full with my life and work.

So, the important lesson for me, in this chapter is patience... don't expect too much of me too fast. Someday I may get there. Right now... well, what's the old phrase? Two out of three isn't bad?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/30/2010 3:50PM

    As I'm reading these backwards (from 1/30), I can see your frustration - believe me, you already perform community service and we're your community.

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DEBRA_T 1/29/2010 8:15AM

    You know what they say, Barb. Take what you need and leave the rest. Plus, if I might be so bold as to suggest, what you are doing in your job, among family and friends, is community service. And, by the way, just because Mr. Downie did it, doesn't me we all have to. It reminds me a little bit of the weight loss ads, "If I can do, you do too!" Well, not really.

I think you have a very good grip on who you are and how to conduct your life. You take care of yourself first. What's left over (if anything) goes to others. Sometimes there isn't any.

Rock on, my sister in Nebraska!


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MSLZZY 1/28/2010 10:05PM

    Positive attitude! I'm still in Chapter 2.

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NELLIEC 1/28/2010 9:42PM

    As an introvert, I feel that you do what you are called to. If something doesn't feel like it would work for you, don't do it.

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CONCHA77 1/28/2010 8:24PM

    2 out of 3 is Great!!! (There is Plenty of time for number 3) Sounds like your life is happy, content, and busy and that is what is important. Life is Good!
You are doing Great in Life.

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Feeling grumpy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OK, I recognize that service people get the same questions over and over and over again and probably get tired of hearing complaints they have heard before. But I was a *new* customer, and had never purchased anything from these folks before and the snippy tone of their e-mail back, essentially "YOU SHOULD HAVE READ THE FINE PRINT" has me feeling... attacked.

GRRRRR! Guess I'm just going to have to never buy from that merchant again. Vote with my feet and my dollars. What? Complain through channels? That's what got me the snippy response!

Time to hop on the treadmill and work off the GRRRR before I turn this into a binge excuse.

Edited To Add: After the first couple of responses, I decided that naming the merchant without giving them one more chance was not quite right, so I sent a second response to their first note (my first response wimpily accepted that it was in fact my fault) telling them how I really felt.

That felt good. At least now they know I'm upset with them! Sometimes I am just so ready to accept any trash people throw my way. And then beat up on myself for being a wimp. Today... NOT!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRA_T 1/28/2010 7:10PM

    You get 'em darlin'! With the advent of the credit card, merchants just don't need to care as much about customers; there's a line of them regardless. It's important to give you voice a workout sometimes, too, and let 'em know how you feel. Even if they don't care, it's great not to just take it sometimes.

Cheers, Debra

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NELLIEC 1/28/2010 3:34PM

    I think it is good that you wrote back and let them know how you feel.

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MSLZZY 1/28/2010 7:13AM

    Customer service should be able to deal with issues or get a different job. LOL!

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SUNNY332 1/27/2010 7:53PM

    Sorry - I just hate it when someone uses that tone. Today, I went to Hannibal to spend the day with my Father but I came home without my Jeep. It is still in the parking lot at Lowes. AAA came out and tried to start it but no going - not a energy problem. More than likely it is a computer chip. I can't wait to deal with Jeep over this. Hehehe AAA will tow it tomorrow.

BTW - a letter should be written to this company. Sometimes, it takes putting it in writing for them to realize their service representatives are not exactly representing the company in it's best light.

Hugs, Sunny

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    Who is the merchant so we can all be aware? I hate it when they get snippy, like the customer is supposed to know everything. I have worked in customer service and I hated it when a co-worker did that to a customer, and vise versa. Exercise is great anger management and binge management. Don't let em beat ya emoticon

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CSDAYS 1/27/2010 6:57PM

    You could have shared the name? I get upset if I think I've been taken advantage of.


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The Spark Chapter 4: Cornerstone Fire

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I think this chapter was written for me. You see, my biggest hurdle, looking back over the years, has been retaining my motivation. I battle to success, then something happens and I no longer see myself as worth the effort... an injury breaks training, and I have trouble coming back for it... overwork leads me to drop exercise... stress gets swallowed up in overeating... and I find myself back at the beginning of the journey. Or close to it.

And yet...

Building Block: Personal Leadership

Over the years this has grown. By the one step back, two steps forward method. Now, in my 50's, I feel more in control of my destiny, and less afraid. What may be surprising is that each time I have gone through the exercise of getting fitter I have discovered something about the fit me that I like. I may have slipped backwards, given up for weeks, months, even years on end, but never completely... motivation always returned eventually, if I was patient.

Building Block: Consistency and Momentum

During each of my successful periods, this has been the wind beneath my wings. Only when something relatively big got in the way did I lose my focus. Big? Yeah, injury that I'd have trouble coming back from. Job changes adding to stress, subtracting from time. Marriage falling apart... now wait, that was the beginning of a successful program. I did not deal well with the sea changes of life, in general, though.

But each time, I have got a little better at dealing with my own flaws... accepting my humanity makes the lapses shorter, and the restart quicker.

Building Block: Motivation

The older I get the closer the connection between good nutrition and activity and my health becomes. What do I want the quality of my life to be like for the rest of my life? It's an old fashioned concept, perhaps, but I don't want to be a burden on my son and his wife. I don't want them to worry about my health and independence... Oh, I've said that before, haven't I?

But it never hurts to remind ourselves of what motivates us! Why am I going to all this effort? Sure my health, but why do I care about my health? Because my health supports everything I do... from the good I do at work to the good I can do for my family to any good I can do to give back to my community and the world.

Health is more than physical... it's mental and emotional, too. And that's where the fun comes in. Can never let the fun go out of the motivation picture!

What sets your motivation on fire?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/27/2010 11:41AM

    As my mother said, "A woman doesn't even come into her own until she's 45" - Here's to growth in health as we age.

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SUNNY332 1/27/2010 7:46AM

    My Motivation is my health. I not only want to look good but feel good too.

Awesome post today and hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday.


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MEDDYPEDDY 1/27/2010 1:38AM

    It is true that even if I īm not succeeding in reching the goals I want, I learn a lot trying!
Thanks for sharing.

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DEBRA_T 1/26/2010 10:47PM

    A good reflection on the chapter, Barb. They used to say that outside motivations don't last, but I think, for some of us, they are more powerful than the internal ones we should have but somehow don't.

My motivation, aside from my own feeling of strength and well being, is to be a role model for my husband who had a mild heart attack a few months ago and perversely is ignoring almost all of the doctor's orders for his recovery. Rather than nag and worry, I decided to be the change I want to see in him.

And, it's working.

Cheers, Debra

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It's fuzzy but it's me...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My kid sis snapped the photo, the fuzzy old lady in the foreground is yours truly, rewarding herself with a fun activity. emoticon

This was one of the things I was going to do in 2010 - find the ice skates and use them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLIEC 1/24/2010 11:12PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/24/2010 8:12PM

    Good for you! That looks like so much fun!

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RUMBLETIGER 1/24/2010 8:00PM

    Good for you! Enjoy yourself - no one else will do it for you. :)

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DEBRA_T 1/24/2010 6:43PM

    You look like a woman having a lot of fun. Ice skating after a long time away -- did it all come back to you instantly or did the camera fail to catch the first wobbly moments?

Looking good, my friend!

Cheers, Debra

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JGOLFER 1/24/2010 6:36PM

    That looks like so much fun! Way to go! Life is definitely an adventure!

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WALKINGANNIE 1/24/2010 6:23PM

    This looks fun - and you look in good shape! I like your idea of exercise that's social as well as physical.

Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog, too. I appreciate it.

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SUNNY332 1/24/2010 6:22PM

    Awesome! Glad you found your skates and glad you went skating.


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KALIGIRL 1/24/2010 6:21PM

    Too cool - I love your adventurous spirit!

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LUCKIEST24 1/24/2010 6:04PM

    I love it! You look fierce out there on the ice. Way to go!!!!!

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The Spark Chapter 3: Cornerstone Fitness

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I took a whole week to read and ponder, a bit at a time. My reaction to much in this chapter was "yes, I've learned that... the hard way... over the decades".

The four building blocks to this cornerstone are stated as: exercise, nutrition, stress management, and sleep. It's not ALL about exercise. It's not ALL about diet.

Seriously. It makes sense. The only point on which I might differ from Chris on this is a minor detail. And it is related to "how much sleep is enough". I have learned that sleep is important to my well-being. I know that I need to get adequate sleep to be at my best. I'm convinced (again, over the decades, learning the hard way) that not everybody has the SAME sleep needs.

My own natural need for sleep appears to be somewhere between 7 and 8 hours. If I go to bed and don't put on the alarm, and I'm not super sleep deprived already, I will awaken after seven and feel rested.

Other than that, some nice thoughts to ponder, and my favorite two bits: Never give up. Avoid "stupid" stress. Both things I have internalized through decades of the battle.

Personal observation:

I am happiest when I am working on my life, thus the "never give up". Don't you just feel better when you try? Succeeding is not required. If at first you don't succeed, fail again. Fail better next time! (That's not original, I lifted it from a co-worker's motivational clip.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/24/2010 6:23PM

    "Fail Better" - I also have a co-worker who likes "See you tomorrow - we have another chance to get it right"

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SMARTIEBEE 1/24/2010 1:00PM

    I do so agree! People do have different sleep needs, we need to pay attention to our own bodies! And we really need to learn that the important thing is to keep trying and to NEVER stop!

PS, I love the Possum!

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SUNNY332 1/24/2010 11:10AM

    I agree with you and am with you on the sleep time. I too, if not sleep deprived, 7 hours is plenty. I have been sleep deprived lately and last night, slept for 12 & feel very rested this morning.

Hugs, Sunny

I am starting my book today.

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DEBRA_T 1/24/2010 8:07AM

    So true, so true. I am also a 7-8 hour person though occasional insomnia has plagued me a bit in my 50's. As to the rest, I am also happiest when I am really working on it, though, unfortunately, sometimes content (read, oblivious) when not. The one thing I will not do is give up forever; I'm just trying to make sure I don't give up at all this time!

Cheers, Debra

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MSLZZY 1/24/2010 8:04AM

    Lots of good observations! I liked the "Fail better next time"! But here's to success as well!

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