Wednesday, April 21, 2010

7 Truths You May Be Running From

If I were to ask if you were a runner, what would you say? Before you answer let me be clear, I’m not referring to a person who goes out every morning and jogs a few miles. Instead, I’m talking about the person who runs away from the truths of everyday life.
Whether you consider yourself a runner or not, the reality is, we all run from truths we don’t wish to accept. Some of us like to run more than others, but in the end everyone is a runner. Many go to great lengths to avoid facing reality and in the process end up miserable. Personally, I’ve done enough “running” in my life to qualify for a gold medal at the Olympics. But at the end of the day, we can only run so long.

Contrary to popular belief, personal growth is not all about being positive and in a zen state 24/7. It’s certainty important to look at the positive aspects of life and live in a state of flow, but honest personal growth also requires that you take a hard look at your reality even if it’s not where you want it to be. To get from point A to point B you have to be honest with yourself first.
The following are 7 truths you may be running from and several tips to face them.

You’re Not Healthy

Are you as healthy as you want to be? Be honest. I’m not talking about having a six pack or bulging biceps but rather a life that is congruent with remarkable physical and mental health. If you are living a healthy lifestyle I applaud you, but for those who are not it’s certainly not too late to start now.
If your lifestyle is anything like an “average” American, chances are you aren’t all that healthy. This isn’t something to beat yourself up over however, simply accept where you’re currently at. The first step to change is to acknowledge that changes needs to be made.
Because this article is about facing truths, I’m going to be honest and say that I am not nearly as healthy as I want to be. By no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself overweight, but my physical health is definitely something I need to continue to work on. If I spent as much time physically running as I did metaphorically I’d be set ;).

Action Steps

Be Specific: Getting specific about what you want in regard to health is essential in being at the top of your game. Give yourself specific actions you can take that you know will bring yourself into alignment with better health. Saying, “I need to eat better” is a weak goal to have. Instead be specific: “I’ll replace drinking a glass of whole milk, with a glass of water. Fun Fact: A glass of whole milk has as much saturated fat as 5 pieces of bacon. (Source = Switch)
Start Small: What area can you work on TODAY that will bring you benefits in the long run? Don’t begin with a radical diet/exercise overhaul because you will only burn out. Take small steps that you know you can do on a routine basis. It’s essential to create a routine because routines don’t require motivation as fuel. Take the first step.
Start a Food Journal: Some say this may be a bit excessive, but it gets results. Instead of counting calories, simply write down what it is that you eat. Do this for several weeks and you’ll be sure to find some patterns that may need to fix.
Walk Daily: By far the easiest way to get into the shape you need, is to go on a daily walk. Not only is it good for you, it will give you time to get away and relax. In Healthy At 100, a book on those who live to the age of 100, nearly every Centenarian walked at least an hour a day. Coincidence? I think not.

Your Relationships Are Holding You Back

Unfortunately, many of us cling to relationships that are obviously doing more harm than good. I’ve certainly been there before myself as well. It’s safe to say that you and I both know those kind of relationships, the ones you recognize you need to let go but you just feel you can’t.
Maybe you’re hanging onto a romantic relationship because you’ve been dating for several years and are scared of change. Or perhaps you’re still friends with Johnny, now a serial killer druggie, just because he was your best friend in 3rd grade. Sometimes you need to let go.
Being loyal to an old friend or partner who you are no longer compatible with is only intelligent for so long, then you’re just wasting your time and blocking future relationship possibilities.
This truth can be particularly hard to accept but deep down it’s usually obvious. I’ve dropped a handful of relationships throughout  my life because there was no longer the compatibility there once was. Again, I know this isn’t always easy but it’s something we all must face.

Action Steps

Examine Your Relationships: Taking a hard look at your relationships takes a effort,  but is also very important. How do you examine your relationships? Literally ask: ” How do I feel about Suzie Q?” Be honest with yourself and how you feel. Don’t splenda coat your answers. Do you feel your social circle is helping you contribute to the world? Does your current friends and family lift you up instead of bring you down? Only you know for certain.
Talk With Those You Love: Part of examining your relationships is having dialogue with those you care about. If you feel as if a certain relationship isn’t helping the both of you, it’s important you talk things out. Putting up with a relationship just because you’re afraid of change is not only selfish, it hurts both of you in the long run. Talking about your relationships can be scary and nerve racking but again that doesn’t change the reality of the situation. Make communication a high priority.
Ask a Friend or Trusted One: If you’re struggling with a particular relationship it can be beneficial to ask someone you trust for advice. Often times an outside source will be able to give you some insights that you may miss. Be open to their opinion as it is likely they have a more objective view than you. Obviously, you don’t have to agree fully with what they say but just be willing to listen. If you’re struggling romantically try asking your best friend an honest prediction of what he or she predicts will happen in the future, this exercise may take courage but can be very mind opening.

You’re Indifferent About Your Career

[If you're working a job you LOVE you can safely skip this section. Don't worry... I still love you.]
Although I’ve yet to have an official career, I know what it is like to struggle through work you can’t stand. I honestly believe if you’re simply content with your current career you’re being selfish. That may be harsh to say, but there is simply no reason you can’t be doing work you’re completely passionate about.
Sure, you have to make money to pay the bills and provide for your family, but putting in the extra work to create a meaningful career is well worth the energy and will allow you to contribute far more value into the world.
Realizing that you aren’t currently enjoying your career is the first step to creating one in which you do.

Action Steps

Start Your Own Projects: If you aren’t currently happy with your career there are a plethora of options for you to consider. Starting side projects don’t require that you quit your job or tell your boss he’s fat, but it will require a bit of extra effort on your part. Accept those facts and get moving. Start now.
Realize There IS a way out: If you can’t fathom working a career that you love,it’s time you realize what age we’re in. I hate to sound cliche but anything is possible. There are plenty of peoplecrushing it” on a daily basis all because they realize what is attainable.
Change Your Friends: Again, changing your friends may seem a bit harsh, but so is going to a job you hate everyday. If you’re surrounded by people who only wish to remain in the status quo, it’s no wonder you feel suffocated by what you call work. If you really wish to start contributing, it is likely in your best interest to create a new social circle that will support your future dreams and aspirations. It’s not totally necessary to cut all ties, but certainly something to consider. Work with a best friend? Bring them along.
What Are You Passionate About? Maybe you’ve been stuck in a dead end job for far too long and don’t even know what you’re passionate about. Not a problem. Open up a word document and do some journaling. Ask yourself questions like: If money was not an option what would I love to do? What brings me joy? See where those questions take you, then work to make it happen.

Your Fears Are Keeping You Grounded

Why do we run? In short, it’s because we are afraid. Seth Godin likes to say it’s because of our Lizard Brain. Regardless, being afraid isn’t particularly helpful in reaching our goals and dreams.
Healthy Fears: Being afraid of snakes
Stupid Fears: Everything else.

I find it remarkable how much energy we waste on fearing situations and outcomes that don’t have a remote chance in actually happening. If you live in a constant state of fear it’s nearly impossible to lead a tribe or create a revolution.
It’s unrealistic to believe we can knock fear out completely, but we can certainly attack the bastard once he stands up.

Action Steps

Be Bold: When I attended Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop in January (think what you will), we did a variety of power exercises that helped us get out of our comfort zones. This included going up on stage to sing, or asking a person who was playing the slot machines what year it was. Pushing yourself doesn’t require much other than a bit of courage. Tell that Starbucks girl you think she’s beautiful. Say thank you to the professor that has changed the way you thought. Be bold.
If You Knew What You Couldn’t Fail: What actions would you take if you knew you could not fail? I realize this is an often cheesy question cited in several dozen personal development books, but it is a powerful thought exercise nonetheless. What would you do if you couldn’t fail? I can’t hear you.
Do What You’re Afraid of: Considering this post is littered with hundreds of painful cliches, I figure I’m on a roll so without further a do: Do what you’re afraid of. To over come any fears that hinder your success you must face them. If I would have let my fears get the best of me, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now.

You’re More Remarkable Than You Think

Ah! So the personal development blog is finally positive! Yes wise one, very nice of you to notice. (With that failed Yoda moment let us continue.)
I hate to burst your I-feel-sorry-for-my-self-bubble, a bubble we all live in from time to time, but you are more remarkable than you think.
Unfortunately, because of social conditioning and being thrown in a locker everyday of the 3rd grade, ( that never happened to you?) we often feel as if we offer nothing of value to the world. But that couldn’t but farther from the truth.
STOP THINKING THAT YOU’RE NOT REMARKABLE (CAPS mean I’m screaming.) I promise no matter who you are or where you’re from you having something to give to the world. Don’t believe me? Send me an email and I’d be happy to help you.
Here’s the truth: Being remarkable scares you. Knowing that you can create long lasting changing is hard to wrap your mind around. But the reality is we can do all those things and more. You are more remarkable than you think.

You Like To Be Unhappy

Feeling high off positivity after hearing you’re more remarkable than you think? Back to reality ;) You like to be unhappy.
It might be odd to hear that you like to be unhappy because that goes against common sense. All I want is to BE HAPPY you might say. Yet many of your actions aren’t congruent with that statement. Don’t worry I like being unhappy from time to time too.
Obviously, we don’t really want to be unhappy, yet many times our actions and thoughts don’t allow us to experience the state of flow we all want and desire.

Action Steps

Become More Mindful of Your Thoughts: Becoming mindful of your thoughts will quickly lead you into noticing various thought patterns you may have. Throughout the day notice the language you choose to use. Warning: you may be fairly surprised.
Notice How Much You Complain: Complaining is your way of saying to the world I want to be unhappy, yet so many of us do so on a regular basis. Simply becoming aware of how much you complain will really wake you up to how lucky you are. Try going an entire day without complaining.
Create A Gratitude Journal: To combat your tendency to complain try the opposite approach. When you feel the urge to complain about the guy who just cut you off, be thankful that you have a car to drive. I’m not talking about superficial gratitude but rather being sincere in all the blessings you have. I like to express my gratitude right before I go to sleep.

Your Habits Suck

We like to think we have everything figured out, that our daily routine is effective for everyone involved. But rarely is that the case.
It’s safe to say that if you’re not currently living the life you want your habits are to blame.
Again, since this post is about being honest, the last 6 months I’ve struggled with creating habits that will get me to where I want to be. Only recently have I realized (or stopped running) from the truth. I’m currently in the process of making great habits that I know will take me where I want to be.

Action Steps

Start a 30 day trial: The best way to change a bad habit is to start a 30 day trial supporting a new and improved one. I’ve done several of these with wonderful success. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest a 30 day trial but I can attest to how beneficial they have been for me.
Write Down Your Activities For The Day: Writing down everything you do for one day will really open your eyes to how little you actually accomplish. You don’t have to have every hour of your calendar filled to have a productive day, instead do work that really matters then you can sleep at night.
What Habits Do You Want? Take a moment and think about the habits you think would help you reach your goals. Start small and aim to implement these habits at a pace in which you can keep up. You may struggle in establishing a habit but it will be worth it in the end.

Stop Running

Whether you like to admit it or not, we all run from truths from time to time. Instead of running from a reality take a moment to consciously face your current situation.
Being honest with yourself is perhaps one of the greatest characteristics you can have, because only when you are honest with yourself can you begin to change.
No matter how strong you think you are, you can’t run forever. Facing reality may be difficult and you may struggle, but it is far better than turning your back from the truth. As Shakespeare once said “Cowards die a thousand deaths.”
What truths are you running from? Were there any that I missed? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts below.
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