Devise an empowerment statement
As many runners do, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I run because I like how it makes me feel, but both my body and mind cringe at the thought of getting up early and pounding the pavement, bleary-eyed and rubber-legged. Months ago, I needed something to propel me forward at the thought of another mile, an anthem to pump me up when I wanted to quit.
I found one. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is the pump-it-up jam I listen to as I open my run with the early sunrise, a reminder of my strength, my tenacity, my will to finish what I start. And, like a self-proclaimed weirdo, I gasp it with my dying breath shout it out with confidence as I run:
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.
And it hit me: We ALL need a fight song. Not a literal song, no, but a statement of empowerment that we devise and recite internally or outwardly when the elements of change begin to kick us down. A reminder of JUST WHO WE ARE, regardless of the issues around us. Those issues do not define us. They do not control us. They do not own us.
And just as favorite jams change over time, so do our anthems of empowerment. We change, our fight songs must change. But starting with just a few words of empowerment will help to cement a piece of our identity so we can remind ourselves just who we are amid the shifts of adjustment.
Out of solidarity (and a little bit of fear), I’ll share with you my fight song:
I am strong and can stand as such although I exist within a river of change. I choose to be my own person, to possess my own personality, and I am able to act instead of react or be acted upon. I am powerful. I am authentic. I am true to myself, and I can choose my start lines and my finish lines because I am in control of myself.
The time to define your anthem is now: What’s your fight song?
Change the Channel
I recently discovered (care of the auto shop’s kind receptionist who CLEARLY felt bad for me) that a mouse had made its home unseen among all the essential “organs” of my trusty van and had, in turn, chewed through every (apparently cheese-flavored) cable or wire under my hood. Four days, $2000, and a cancelled vacation later, I was fumingly angry at, well, everything. Looking back, I must have seemed to my children like a giant, grouchy ogre barreling her way through their little cities of contentment, knocking over childhood imagination and upsetting their creative plans because I was angry.
Angry over something I couldn’t control. No one was at fault. No one I could blame. Nothing I could do except slide my worn, plastic card and weep slowly to the embarrassed service technician. “But how do I fix this?” I asked my very patient therapist. “What do I do?”
Her response: “Move on.”
Prepared with a huffy retort, I nearly responded with such until she encouraged me to spend less than three seconds of negative energy on any uncontrollable situation. “Change the channel,” she said. Switch gears. Flip the switch. Turn off the negative and, even if it takes some time, focus elsewhere, on positive, future events. Plan a game night, a drive to the mountains, a walk at dusk. By choosing to change the channel, you (yes, YOU!) will change your negative feelings into positive actions.
We are often not in control of the situation, but we can have (forgive me) the “remote control” to change our own channels. While it may be easier to dwell and fume and curse the gods or drown our sorrows in Rolos, we will find that what may be easiest is not always the most beneficial or healthy, especially as we navigate change.
A very dear friend of mine is an obscenely talented woman with three fiesty young children, a deployed spouse, a successful photography business, a handful of pro bono projects, and a mean, figure-harming cookie recipe. Like many of us, she’s ambitious and proactive and busy. However, after her husband deployed and her lifestyle changed, she was still caught by the hands of need clinging to her skirt hem, pulling her in different directions, chanting, “We need more, more, more!” It was then that homegirl decided it was time to reevaluate her priorities, and that meant giving up something. But how do you decide what to give away?
Value what your time is worth. When you find something that is not worth your time, give it away.
She decided that she would save precious, fading time by outsourcing the editing for her photos. She’s photographer enough to produce a shot with minimally needed edits, and so she let go of one little thing she couldn’t do anymore. This, in turn, protected her time and added hours and hours of memories of giggles and silliness and bliss with her precious babes.
Outsource the things, duties, issues that are not worth your time. I spent years feeling as if there were too much “too-muches” in my life. Too much to do. Too much to be in control of. Too many…everythings. But then I decided to give away something that was too much for me:
I saved up $40 and hired a housekeeper to come clean my bathrooms (and I gave her chocolate because, well, gross). Having my bathrooms clean gave me a head start on my other responsibilities, and I learned the value of letting go of all the control for the benefit of my sacred time.
What is your time worth?