Thursday Thought: Do what you can

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Start where you are. Use what you can. Do what you can.
—Arthur Ashe

 

In an effort to broaden my own horizons and also minimize some of the communication gap between myself and some members of my community, I’m learning a new language. Two of them, actually.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to learn a new language and in the past I’ve given up because I just couldn’t (wouldn’t) spend the time I felt I needed to spend on learning. And then when I didn’t get any more fluent, I allowed my interest to fade and eventually quit.

So when I downloaded Duolingo and started learning a week or so again, I felt like I should have retained more. Why couldn’t I skip the basics and just pick up where I left off? Well, because I’m not there anymore.

start-use-do-arthur-ashe

Start where you are.

It’s easy to want to start from where you can see the finish line. Have faith that the line is there, that it’s reachable, and that you will reach it. And if that doesn’t get you going, just take the first step. You can’t be somewhere you’re not, so you might as well move forward from where you are. Every damn day.

Use what you can.

You may not have all the fancy tools someone else has to get to the proverbial finish line, but you do have tools. Your wit. Your character. Your work ethic. Your sense of humor. Your faith. Your creativity. When you feel yourself boxed in and don’t have a hammer to bust down the walls, get creative and use what you can instead of getting hung up on what you can’t.

Do what you can.

You may not have the time or the resources to do all the things you feel like you need to in order to get to your finish line, but remember that work ethic and creativity of yours? Use it to focus on what you can do, and then go all Nike on yourself and just do it. And when a roadblock happens, take a deep breath and get back on the road when you can.

 

I’m applying Arthur Ashe’s ideas about how to create change in my resolve to learn at least one of the languages I’m studying right now, but these can be applied to really any change you’re getting started on in your own life.

Don’t get caught up in the bullshit excuses your gremlins use to try and keep you small. Just start where you are, use what you can, and do what you can. Change will come if you let it.

Thursday Thought: Fear

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

America the brave still fears what we don’t know
—Macklemore

Fear is sometimes a great motivator for staying put. For being cautious and not moving forward. For waiting out the unknown in the hopes it will soon become known.

Under these circumstances, fear is keeping us small. Keeping us from moving forward. Keeping us inside our comfort zone, in which there is little room or opportunity for growth.

But what if fear motivates us to act? When the choices we make come from a place of fear, they cannot come from a place of hope or love or value. They come from a place of the unknown.

Fear often directs us from a place of needing to feel protected. When we’re feeling like we need to protect ourselves, we are more likely to lash out, to harm, to behave in a way that is not in alignment with our hopes, our values, or the love we have for ourselves and others.

This isn’t to say that we ought to shun our fears. They are trying to tell us something important. What’s necessary is to listen to those fears for what’s really being said. And then to make choices based in rational thought rather than reactive fear.

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
—Nelson Mandela

 

Thursday Thought: Small Things

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Do small things with great love.
—Mother Teresa

We can get so caught up in wanting to do big things. Big things are great. And it’s often the small things we do on a daily basis that bring us the big things.

If we can do just a few small things with a little bit of love, we’ll be better off for it in the long run because we will have learned how then to do the big things with love as well.

Try doing one of these things with love today:

  • make coffee
  • go for a walk/run
  • take the dog for a walk
  • make breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • pick up a piece of trash off the street you didn’t put there
  • receive a compliment
  • give a compliment
  • share the last bite
  • get the mail
  • the first/last five minutes of your work day

And if you don’t like my suggestions, use your own. The only rule here is love.

Thursday Thought: Thinking v Doing

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
—Bruce Lee

True. And also, there’s more.

If you’re spending a lot of time thinking about something and not doing it, there are two likely possibilities:

  1. You are ready to move forward (and instead are procrastinating by telling yourself you’re not ready to move forward).
  2. You are not ready to move forward (and are looking for reasons to not move forward).

The thing is, we’re rarely (if ever) ready to move forward. In fact, we tend to learn the most when we’re not prepared and do our learning on the fly.

And if the plunge, whatever your plunge may be at the moment, still seems too big and scary to do move forward, that may be telling you that you’re not ready to move forward.

You don’t always need to do the thing. But at some point you will need to make a choice.

Listen to your self. Listen to who’s speaking. Is it Your Authentic You or is it one of your Gremlins? Be honest with yourself and move forward with what’s right for you.

Whatever you do: stop thinking, start choosing.

Not Today.

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I woke up this morning like just about any other Monday morning:

Alarm clock noise insisting it was no longer the weekend, and also that I should really get out of bed and go for a run.

Fine. In just a minute. 

[Five minutes later] HOW ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

Fine.

A short run later as I was getting ready for work, grabbing a bite to eat and some coffee I looked at my watch and noticed the date.

June 27.

Back in 1991 this was the day that changed my life forever, although I wouldn’t know it until the following day. It wasn’t until the 28th I learned that my mom had been killed the day before.

It took me roughly a decade (and almost as many years in therapy) before I didn’t think about her death and its impact on my life every single day. At first I would dread birthdays and holidays and any special (or random normal) day I wished I could still share with my mom. Until one day I noticed I wasn’t doing that anymore.

It wasn’t a single day where I simply decided to stop noticing she was gone, but more that my life had begun to be more about me living my life than living it without her. I miss my mom when I think about her, but not always in the sad, longing ways I did in the first decade after she died.

Most moments my mom pops into my mind I’m able to laugh and remember her smile, her sense of humor, and know that I’m me because she was her. But today is not one of those days.

Today I sit here and while I remember her laugh, her smile, her sense of humor, her way of being, I find myself longing to hear that laugh, see that smile, beckon that sense of humor, be a part of her way of being.

The kind of longing where lumps line up in the back of your throat just in case crying lodges one of them loose.

Today I find myself longing to feel her arms wrapped around me, comforting me in a loss felt so deeply, even 25 years of knowing everything is going to be okay without her, it’s still sometimes never going to be.

Lump.

Today I find myself angry with my memory that I can’t quite recall the sound of her voice in my head. And so very sad at that, too.

Lump.

Today there are no words, no arms, no laughs, no smiles to take the place of my mom’s.

Lump.

Most days I’m okay with that.

Lump.

But not today.

Thursday Thought: Respect

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.
—Lao Tzu

People tend to respect authenticity in your words, your actions, your being. When you stop worrying about gaining the respect of others, it often happens that respect comes naturally.

The trick is to not get caught up in hoping you’re actually going to earn the respect of everyone you come across in life.

You’re going to earn the respect of people who have similar values to you when they see you honor those values on a regular basis.

If you’re authentic in your daily words, actions, and being, and honoring a value-set that’s important to you in doing so, and you don’t gain someone’s respect naturally, it’s time to ask yourself why you care.

And then maybe it’s time to stop that.

 

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