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See the Beauty of Failure

Failure Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.comcan feel awful.

So awful that it’s easy to be paralyzed by fear of failure, so that any new venture, undertaking, or adventure is off limits unless it’s almost 100% safe.

What would life be like if we could the see beauty in failure instead of the terror of it? How can we do that?

How can failure be a beautiful thing?

We learn in Biology 101 that one of the signs of life is growth, and one of the signs of growth is change. If you’re not changing, you’re now growing.Photo from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

Failure means you’ve tried learning or doing something new and different, even if success is not guaranteed.

But it’s scary! I don’t want to fail!

Thomas Edison once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In the movie Edison, The Man, there’s a pivotal scene in the story. Edison is close to giving up on his pursuit of creating the electric light bulb. He’s discouraged and worn out from years of finding “ways that won’t work”. He’s tired of fighting all the forces against him. Then something happens to set him back on course.

He has a dream that reminds him of why he started and wakes up renewed and determined to continue, no matter what.

Failure’s a great teacher.Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

It takes time and effort to figure things out. If we take Thomas Edison’s approach, discovering a way that won’t work is still a discovery. There’s no failure. What you’ve tried hasn’t worked? Try something else. Tweak a little here and there. Make adjustments. 

What could we do if we were more like Edison and not give up when what we’ve tried doesn’t work?

It’s a pretty big question.

What would the world be like if we were taught to look at failure as a beautiful thing instead of a source of shame?

The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, says dinner conversations with her father centered around failure. He wanted to know what she had tried and failed.

In an interview with CNBC last year, she talked about how those conversations helped her:  The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

She had her share of ways that didn’t work and people telling her no. She kept at it. Spanx made her the first woman self-made billionaire ever.

The beauty of failurePhoto from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

Failure means you’re trying – you have a dream, a desire. It means you’re working toward a goal.

When you look at it that way, failure’s a beautiful thing.

What will you fail at today?

Photo by Mark Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Dreamer’s Mindset

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. 

~ C. S. Lewis

Age really is just a number. Some people feel old when they’re thirty and some seventy-year olds think of themselves as “getting up there”, but they’re not there yet.

What’s the difference? How can you get the most out of life and be thankful for each day instead of longing for the “good ol’ days”?

You’re never too old to dream

No matter your age, keep setting new goals. Keep dreaming new dreams.

Start where you are now and move forward. Make the most of your life experience and play to your strengths. Or try something new just for the fun of it.

Photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
You’re never too old to learn or dream.

Every day’s a chance to learn something new. You don’t have to make massive changes or take great risk.

It’s okay to start small.

Be willing to change up your routine and start as a beginner.

Don’t talk yourself out of it. Go for it.

Do it for you.

Where will it lead?

Who knows?

Do it for the love and sheer joy of it. You never know what wonders await you.

Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Mindset of Self-Control

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Back in the day, we used to call it a “put down”. Something said or done to make you feel bad, to make you feel inferior.

Some one may “put you down” in order to feel superior to you in some way. Maybe it’s an attempt to manipulate what you say or do.

Words have power

We can be mean to each other. It’s normal to feel bad when some one says something

Downloaded from pixabay.com public domain published on strong-woman.com
Eleanor Roosevelt

hurtful, especially if it’s some one you love and trust.

But when a person tries to put you down and keep you down for the purpose of making you feel like you:

Aren’t good, smart, or deserving enough,

Know that you control that.

You can’t change people, but it takes two to play that game. And you don’t have to play.

You can’t control what people say or do, but you can control your reaction to it.

What can you do to help yourself?
  • Let your actions speak louder than your words
  • Listen
  • Be respectful

Then, you can walk away with confidence, peace, forgiveness, and grace.

We can’t control others. The best we can ever hope for is to control ourselves. For most of us, it’s a constant work in progress.

The one thing that can change everything

The one thing that can change everything

Gratitude. It’s a simple concept.

It’s that feeling that what you have is good, that you may not have everything you want, you have a lot. And what you have is enough for you to be okay, maybe even happy, right now.

Gratitude is a game changer, but it can be hard to think about being grateful for what you have when things aren’t going your way.

It’s all in how you look at things.

When you’re tempted to focus on what you don’t have, shift your focus to what you do have. And instead of looking at what’s going wrong, look at what going right.

Rather than getting discouraged about what you haven’t accomplished, consider how far you’ve come. Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do 

If you find yourself thinking, “I wish I had…”, say “I’m grateful that I have…”

Better yet, count you blessings. Literally, count on your fingers the people and things you’re grateful for. 

Gratitude opens your heart

Expressing gratitude opens your heart to the goodness life offers, and an open heart makes way for more blessings.

Do you have what you need?

What are the bare necessities of life? Not much. Air, food, shelter.

And yet what do you have beyond that?

Consider the people and things you use, interact with, work for, and would miss like crazy if they weren’t there.

A shot of empowerment

Having a grateful heart doesn’t mean you have to settle for a crappy situation. That’s not what this is about. 

Instead, let gratitude act like a shot of empowerment that boosts you to love yourself and those around you more. 

Every day’s a good day to feel grateful. You just can’t overdo it.

Related post: Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do

Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Why Women’s History Month Matters

March is Women’s History Month.

A little background information:

Women’s History Month started off as “Women’s History Week” in 1982.Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Beginning in 1987, March has been designated “Women’s History Month”, executed by either a Congressional resolution or Presidential proclamation.

According to the National Women’s History Project, since the signing of the Declaration of Independence  until the twentieth-century, women’s rights were restricted in most states in the areas of:

  • owning property
  • rights to earned wages (keeping money earned instead of handing it over to a husband or father)
  • contraception
  • reproductive issues (not just abortion)
  • the right to claim spousal abuse
  • the right to vote
  • equal pay for equal work
  • jury duty
  • the right to pursue a professional career
  • and many more.Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

People, men and women, worked to change the laws to give women the same legal rights rights and protection as men. In 1920, as a result of years of work by suffragists, the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote in federal elections.

Women’s Rights

It’s worth noting that equal rights are rarely granted without a fight.

Laws are in place protecting women, but they do not guarantee enforcement, such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The gender pay gap is real and well-known. Read more about the gender pay gap at Pay Equity and Discrimination at Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR.org).

And changing laws doesn’t change hearts and minds. It can take generations to shift attitudes.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Just the other day I had the great displeasure of hearing a guy who seemed to be stuck in early 1900s mentality:

I was having lunch in a small neighborhood restaurant and a group of about six men sat at a table next to me. One man in the group loudly expressed his attitude about women’s rights and women’s equality. I’ll paraphrase his words here,

“Women want equal rights and want to be equal to men, but that puts things out of order. It should be God, then men, then women. Women can’t come before men because that’s like putting on your shoes before you put on your socks.”

I thought this man was an ignoramus. Plus, he was loud and obnoxious in my opinion. But I wondered, “Does he have sons? Daughters? Married to a woman? What would it be like to be around this guy all the time?”

I only had to hear him for a few minutes. And truthfully, listened to what he was saying because I was stunned and amazed by his logic.

 

Laws don’t change people.

Women have choices now because of the battles fought by previous generations of women. My grandmother always said, “We had to put up with a lot but you don’t have to.”

It’s not just that equal pay for equal work is fair.

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com published on strong-woman.com

It’s that our grandmothers before us “put up with” injustice, bowed to men, fought for the right to vote, to participate fully in the freedoms granted by the Constitution for all Americans.

We need to know what’s at stake.

The saying goes, “He who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it.”

That’s why Women’s History Month is important. Let’s pay attention.

And for a detailed timeline of Women’s Rights, visit National Women’s History Project.

Read more about Women’s History Month at Women’sHistoryMonth.org.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Have a Mindset of Courage

"I am not afraid. I was born to do this." Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was only seventeen when she was inspired to take massive action.

Daughter of a poor French farmer, she believed God had chosen her to lead French troops in an ongoing war against England.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Her first step in this unlikely journey was to request a meeting with the man in line to be King of France. Miraculously, she succeeded.

She cut her hair, dressed like a man and went to battle with men.

Even though she successfully led French troops in battle, she eventually faced charges of witchcraft and heresy.

At the age of nineteen, her own countrymen convicted her of dressing like a man and she was burned at the stake.

What must it have taken for her to begin? To answer the call?

Surely, she had her doubts. Her internal dialogue might have gone something like this:

“That’s stupid. I’m going to leave my farm and go request a meeting with the king? Yeah, right! I’m just a girl! They’ll laugh at me and call me crazy! And besides, my family needs me. I can’t just leave them. Who’s going to do my chores?”Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

She showed tremendous courage when she answered the call.

Certainly she could’ve ignored it or talked herself out of it. She was human, after all.

Few people have that kind of courage. To ignore doubt and say, “I’m not afraid.”

That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Someone once said:

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Fear of:

change

hardship

struggle

pain

rejection

abandonment

the unkown

failure


Everyone’s afraid of something at one time or another. Fear is normal, and powerful. It can be hard to get past it.

Instead of letting fear paralyze you, shift your focus.

Focus on what you have to gain by taking action, instead of focusing on what you have to lose.

Instead of thinking, “What terrible things might happen?”, consider, “What wonderful things might happen?”

Crossroads photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
Shift your focus.

What could you do if you weren’t afraid?

Joan of Arc, a young peasant-girl, in early fifteenth-century France, was inspired by her belief that God was calling her to action.

And she exhibited incredible courage when she answered the call, stepped away from her traditional role, left her family, went to war, faced trial by her own countrymen, and died by fire.

Even after 500 years, her story is incredible and inspiring.

Have a mindset of courage, instead of fear, and you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.

For more information about Joan of Arc, read Britannica.com – Saint Joan of Arc

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Your resolution to succeed is the most important thing

President’s Day Mindset Monday:

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.

~ Abraham Lincoln

This quote is from a letter Abraham Lincoln wrote to a friend who was discouraged by a setback he experienced while pursuing his law degree.

Lincoln encouraged his friend to continue studying, to not be deterred. His message: If you really want it, let nothing stop you.

Medal photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Abraham Lincoln knew about getting past setbacks. He faced tremendous struggles in his life – poverty, family tragedy, little formal education, and failed business and political ventures.

He could have given up his pursuit of higher education and political office. Certainly no one would have faulted him for quitting. He suffered devastating personal losses and challenges.

And then, he was elected president at one of the most tumultuous times in American History.

Slow and steady is okay

No matter what, don’t give up. Resolve to keep moving toward your goal, no matter what.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Make your resolution strong. Focus on what you really want.

Whatever your definition of success, resolve to see it through.

Of course, it can be discouraging when one thing after another knocks you down. And sometimes, it may feel like it’s just too much to take.

No doubt, you’ll face setbacks, but don’t stop. Keep at it and figure it out.

Your resolve, your commitment to your goal, is bigger than any setback or circumstance. That “resolution to succeed” will keep you going when it’s tempting to quit. You’ll continue to inch forward, despite obstacles.

Keep at it and you’ll get there.

For information about all things Abraham Lincoln, visit AbrahamLincolnOnline.org.

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How to find an exercise group that’s right for you

One of the best ways to stay committed to working out is to find a group, gym, or club that’s a good fit for you.

How do you do that? Here are a few things to consider.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Ask around

Know some one who does a little bit of lots of activities? Running, cycling, weight lifting, and martial arts, for example? Or some one who focuses on an activity you may want to try? See if they have any suggestions about how you can get started.

Be a guest.

Most group workouts encourage participants to bring a friend for free. It can be a great way to meet some of the people and to try the workout for free. Most group instructors/ trainers will give you extra attention to make sure you stay safe through the workout and that’s a good thing.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Ask your doctor for a recommendation.

If you’re under doctor’s care, can he or she recommend an exercise program? Yoga, to relieve stress, or water aerobics for low impact activity?

Explore community education offerings.

It’s a chance to try a new activity at very little cost and for a limited time. If you find you love it and want to continue, that’s usually an option.

Try meet ups in your area.

The Meet Up website connects people with the same interests. Read the group description to see what they’re all about. There’s a wide range of groups in most areas, everything from tennis to fitness camp workouts.

photo published on strong-woman.com

Visit local gyms and try group classes.

Most gyms offer a trial membership so you can try a class for free.

Find a group you’re compatible with in these areas:

Activity

  • Find something you enjoy.
  • Be open to trying different activities. You may find that you like something you didn’t think you would.
  • Be teachable. You may think of the details as “common sense” but that’s not always the case. Listen, watch, and learn.

People

  • Group culture – Every group has its own culture or “vibe”. Find a group that’s a good fit. For example, if you’re a beginner, you may be overwhelmed in a group with very competitive members. She may need a more laid-back group.
  • Values – Look for a group dynamic that’s in line with your personal values. For example, a “party all the time” culture may not be the best fit for a non-drinker.

These are just a few things to consider when looking for the right exercise group for you.

Find what works for you and helps motivate you to stay committed to your goals.

Have fun with it!

 

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Love Yourself Like You Mean It

Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Love yourself like you’re in it for keeps.

Lifelong romance kind of love – that’s the good stuff. Work toward that.Photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Make it nurturing, forgiving, patient, respectful, humble, and kind.

Be nurturing. Take care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit.

Be forgiving. We all make mistakes and being able to forgive means forgetting pride and getting past the mistake, error, or wrong. Even the big ones.

Be kind. We can be our own worst and most unkind critic. Turn it around and work to be your own best and kindest supporter.

Be patient. We’re all a work in progress. And wherever you are in the process of being the best you possible, understand that you may not “get it” right away. Keep at it. Don’t give up.Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Be respectful. Actions speak louder than words, but words speak pretty loudly. You’re worthy of respect from yourself as well as from others .

Accept yourself as you are. Accept where you are and believe your’e worthy of love from others. Instead of looking at what you can’t do or what you don’t have, take stock in what you do have. Stop tripping over what’s behind you. Accept where you are and move forward.

Be humble. Build others up. Let your actions and work speak for themselves.

Love posted on strong-woman.com

Oscar Wilde is on to something.

Because no matter what, in the end, there you are.

Better to love yourself than not.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

What is Balance Training and Should I Be Doing It?

Today, we continue the series on the benefits of exercise (you can click here to read that post in case you missed it) and specific types of exercises. (Read about Cardio Workouts here and Strength Training here.)

The importance of exercisePhoto courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

According to Harvard Health Publications, guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend a well-rounded plan of “aerobic activity, strength training, and balance exercises.”

What’s balance training?

It focuses on improving and/or maintaining stability (not falling over). Stable movement improve overall mobility.

Some types of training that emphasize balance are:

Yoga

Pilates

Various core and agility exercises

Some martial arts practices, such as Tai-chi

BenefitsPicture downloaded from Pixabay for strong-woman.com

  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Improves stability and mobility
  • Requires little to no equipment
  • Multiple variations of simple movements
  • Helpful to people at all fitness levels

In-house fitness expert, Mark Montalvo, says this:

“As we age, balance usually decreases resulting in falling or injury…this is why balance training is so important. It develops proprioception, which simply means how we move our bodies through space and time.

He says effective balance training should be performed in multiple directions of movement, in an unstable environment. It can be as simple as walking on a straight line or standing on one leg.Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Complicate that by standing on one leg while throwing or catching a ball.

Drawbacks/Risks

  • Must practice good form to reduce risk of injury
  • Progress is hard to measure

So, everyone can benefit from balance training, no matter the level of fitness. Being able to stay upright and stable will go a long way to keeping you healthy and well.

Remember to check with your health care professional before starting an exercise program. This is especially important if you’re under doctor’s care for a health condition.