Can You Change from Being Reactive to Proactive?

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.  ~Stephen Covey

If you aren’t sure if you are proactive or reactive, think about this quote for a minute.  Covey goes on to say that our behavior is determined by three main factors, and unfortunately, they start to look like a “Pavlov reaction” soon enough.

  • Genes: Did you inherit this character from your family?
  • Nurture: You got your character and ideas from how your parents brought you up.
  • Environment: The people and places around you are starting to influence your behavior.

So now that we have determined the basis for being proactive and reactive, it is likely you just decided that you might be just a wee bit reactive.

I don’t mind joking on myself to make a great point, and you can probably see this coming, but I was raised by very reactive people.  It makes for funny stories, it really does, but it makes it difficult to break out of such a cycle.  Here is where it is necessary to start though.   It is time to take off the gauntlets, and start learning your own set of skills for enacting change in your life.  After all…it is YOUR life. 

At some point in your life, it is likely that you have gotten drawn into the “I am going to have the last word” argument.  If you are someone who usually loves to have the last word, then this part will be difficult for you, but you have to try.  What can you do when every form of logic they are speaking just makes no sense, but they keep talking anyway???  <<< try not to flip out.

Here are a few tips for this situation.

  • They really just want you to come back and argue more in this situation…and nothing you say will actually change their mind.
  • Try this “I am not interested in having this debate with you…so I am going to do something more productive with my time.”
  • Stay silent and just look at them.  How often has this worked for you?  The key to your empowerment is to actually NOT have the last word…thus sending the message that there really is nothing to discuss.

When we are in the reactive state of mind, they control our reactions.  I repeat.  They are in control and usually know this by continuing to bait you. 

Here’s another one for you to think about.  You are at work and that co-worker who plucks your last nerve is spouting off at the meeting, the copy room or the lunch area.  You are minding your own business until they insert something that they claimed they did, but it was your idea first.  It could even be that PTA lady at your kid’s school, but it doesn’t matter.  They are being loud in order to get reactions from people.  They want praise and encouragement to continue this line of thinking.  How are you going to handle this?

  • Look them straight in the eye and congratulate them.  This is one way to handle it, but keep it simple.  Nothing more.
  • You have the choice to explore a different route now…and make your original idea much better.  After going down this route, then present it to your boss.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have tweaked it.
  • Enlist in the support of others if you want to make a bigger impact with your idea.  If you really want to get over this person trying to control the situation, you could even ask them to help you with how to execute this plan.  It’s all in how you phrase it.

As we learn not to be reactive, and turn more towards the proactive way of thinking, we learn not to be stuck in this victim mentality that so many people are using each and everyday.  These reactive people exhibit the following signs.

Signs of reactive thinking:

  1. Failure to accept any responsibility.  It is always someone’s fault…except for theirs.
  2. Everyone in the nearest vicinity is at fault.  Blame never gets caught in their own two hands.  It’s like the game of hot potato…and they throw that thing away before you can see it stopped on them.
  3. They rationalize their destructive habits.
  4. They focus only on the problems...never wanting to move to a solution.
  5. They might live in the past or the “what if” land.  What if things had been different??  But they aren’t.  So here you have it.

Signs of proactive thinking:

  1. The buck stops hereIt is your responsibility to get things done.
  2. You are accountable.  Your goals are clearly defined and you know what you need to do in order to reach them.
  3. You have good problem solving skills or seek out others who can help you create the skills you need in order to accomplish the change you want to see in your life.  It does not have to be business related, it can be completely personal goals.  For example: losing weight.  You have been struggling, so you seek out ways to make it happen with a plan.
  4. They are consistent.  Slow and steady really does work for keeping your eye on the change you want to create in your life.
  5. They aren’t worried about reaching out to the right people in order to succeed.  I have been running a closed group of motivated people from all over the world.  On days we need to remember that our goal is mastering our thoughts, we put in the work, ask the questions in the group, and start back at our monthly goals.  We have surrounded ourselves with like minds in order to really focus on creating this lasting change for ourselves.

In the end, being honest with yourself is best.  If you think it is time to do the work on the inside in order to get results on the outside, we would love to have you in our group.  Being reactive throughout life didn’t really yield any personal satisfaction when I was in my worst pain.  However taking control of those thoughts, and taking control of my Head|Heart|Health, has given me an entirely new outlook on life.

I went from pain of hardly being able to move, to completing 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training.  I then continued on to get certified in yoga for pain and arthritis.  I left a job that was taking a toll on my health and I learned how to heal myself naturally, and then continued on to get sports nutrition certification.  I started counseling others how to do the same and this year, was proud to announce the new online catalog that includes different options to really take back control of your life.

Using Gratitude to Move Forward in Life!

The news is depressing.  Your feed is depressing.  The world feels…well depressing right now.  It’s like a wet cloak…on a cold day.  You know you need to shrug it off to get warm, but where can you go to find warmth?

You look around to the chaos that is out there and you just don’t know where to go.  I’ll admit that I was like this for a very long time.  Then one day, I really have no idea what changed, but I decided I had enough.  I decided to say one positive quote a day to all my friends on social media.  Then I decided to blog.

If you use the search button with the drop-down of months and you go back a few years to the beginning, you will likely “read” me in a whole different way.  I was diagnosed with secondary depression after getting a bunch of invisible diseases...that had no cure.  Note, that word links to a search on the term “invisible diseases” so you can read my raw, angry, old posts. 

I never delete a blog post though…as I want you to be able to see my progression with not only my health, but my feelings.  As I started to practice focusing on the positives in my life, my life started to change.

I had been stuck, and was slowly, miraculously, getting UNSTUCK in all areas of my life.  I started being able to move again without pain…which was amazing.  I started my yoga teacher journey, which was painful in the beginning yet extraordinary in the fact that I was able to complete 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teach Training.  Me.  Me who had hardly been able to move.

I started being asked to do important work…work that I had always wanted to do like to speak in London.  I wanted to change people’s lives after learning that I could truly move forward in life. 

So what changed?

  1. Me.  I had to get to rock bottom.  It sucked there.  Quite simply put it was like hell.  But one of my favorite quotes always said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” and I believe ole’ Churchill was right.
  2. I had to tame my thoughts.  Erm mah gosh y’all.  My mind was like a mess.  A hot mess…except I was cold all the time, but you get the picture.  Thoughts create stress, and then the spiral starts.  I wasn’t sure if I was anxious or depressed.  So I did what I do best and wrote about it all to help others.
  3. I started writing more…because that’s what I do best.  I found out how therapeutic writing was and how it changes the thought patterns.  Releases stress and lets you clear your mind.  It literally became an itch in the night on nights the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep.  I would write it out.
  4. I learned to be grateful.  I am never the same person year after year, and for that I am thankful.  Gratitude in the little things was so important to me.  It helped calm the mind and turn my emotions into a point on which to focus.  The pain was no longer the focus.  The present moment was.
  5. My well-being changed.  There are still days I need reminders.  No one is perfect, okay?  But I practice this constant state of being more mindful than I was on say an off day.  Being more grateful or more appreciative.
  6. Old me got angry really fast…gratitude helped me slow down my emotions.  I am not going to pretend that the Scorpio doesn’t still have her moments; however, I use my sensitive side to tap into the world.  I feel what’s going on, like in slow motion, under the surface, and think about what I can be learning in this situation.  What can I be thankful for?  Sometimes, it’s things like “I am thankful I have yoga.”  But whatever it is, I use it in my head because maybe the other person doesn’t have this kind of support or system and really just needs my compassion at that moment.
  7. Surround yourself with what you want to become…became my mantra.  My quote.  That I use daily.  It was so important to me to be able to offer that gift to others that I recently completed my course on using gratitude to shape your life and would love it if you are interested in joining the journey.  For the E-book only, click this link.

Ultimately, we are on this earth for a short while and I believe I was put here to help others wake up to the fact that we really do have the power to say this is not how my story is going to go.  The truth is, gratitude can move you forward in life and make the unbearable things more bearable.  While increasing your level of gratitude you are actually increasing your health and wellness.  You are learning to change your self-talk and that’s a powerful thing.  I hope to see you in my group soon.  Thank you so much for reading!

gratitude

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I hate stress.

I don’t even know how to begin this post.  I am tired of being tired.  I’ll start there.  17 years.  Seventeen years.  Maybe it doesn’t sound like a long time.  I don’t know. Skin that burns in the sun, genetic blood disorder that causes organs to fail if iron levels get too high, autoimmune disease that causes food to act like tiny attackers as well as a host of other issues, virus that flared every bone in my body to pain, and then finally, the diagnosis of perpetual pain without a cure.

So tonight, my invisible disease friends, my brethren who look young, happy, normal and perfectly fine on the outside, but are dying on the inside daily, I wish you patience.  Because I know that I need it in my life and lack it.  I lack the ability to find anything remotely nice to say some days and can’t seem to help it.  Today is one of those days.  It is one of those days I wish everyone I come in contact with, I could touch like some sort of cool X-Men power and they would feel what I feel.  Everyone.

People who sound frustrated with me because of my questions don’t realize that I have to plan everything out according to my level of pain.  I have spent the last year weighing what was most important and trying to do that first.  I would like them to know how I feel on any given day.  People who ask me questions even though I have explained everything and sent them copies of things to read, yet ask me the same thing, they need to know that stresses me out.  Lastly, people who don’t have their stuff together, yet expect me to.  They stress me out.

This ridiculous rambling tonight was brought on by the letters W, T, H.

Suck it up

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Circumstances…

In life, things happen.  Good things.  Bad things.  Things beyond our control.  I want to share with you a story about circumstances lining up quite nicely for me tonight.  Many of you have been with me for a while and know of my conditions.  For those of you who don’t know, I have hereditary hemochromatosis, porphyria cutanea tarda, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  If you would like to know more, click the words.  During the last three years, what I have tried very hard to do, is survive what could possibly be yet another diagnosis.  Remember when I wrote about the tests I was going through in March of 2011?  It’s hard to believe it’s almost been three years of pain.  Each year, a different level of pain would come out.  The kind I have never, not once, even really tried to describe in this blog.  I couldn’t bring myself to write it for you.

Tonight, at my business meeting for my It Works! Global business, I was asked what my favorite product was and why.  I almost didn’t answer because it would mean admitting why.  I said New You, because I can fall into a deep sleep after taking it and barely feel the pain which kept me up before.  With possibly having fibromyalgia, and knowing I do not ever feel like I get into deep REM sleep, which is part of that disorder, plus almost every single symptom associated with this disorder, I am quite honestly a hot mess.  I know this, and share with you through my blog only to provide some hope for those of you who suffer with this kind of debilitating pain.

A lady places her business card at my place and she is part of my team.  It was the first time I met her and she is a doctor of chiropractic care.  Not just any kind though…because remember, I have been that route.  She asked me after the meeting about my conditions, and had not only heard of them, but had one of them herself.  She looked at me and said I think I can help you.  She asked a few questions and one of my other team members was there as she had previously been in chiropractic care herself.  I told her the story of the time I felt every single vertebrae in my spine.  She asked about sickness as a child, and I mentioned tubes in my ears, then mono.  They looked at each other and I could tell they were thinking the same thing, it was really cool.  She asked if she could press on a few places, and if you know me now, you know I no longer allow anyone to touch me anywhere for fear of pain, but I said yes.

My friend got chills as Dr. M said what she thought was going on and I nodded too as I had briefly researched that route, but then stopped.  It all made sense.  The coolest thing ever is that she said she wanted to write a paper about me and I believe she can connect these dots that I have been trying to connect for the last 3 years.  She seemed to know how I was feeling because she said “It’s hard when your kids want to hug you, and it hurts.”  Of course, I got teary eyed.  It is hard.  It has been hard.  But perhaps things will get easier after this.

Guidance

Tumble…

Last year was very difficult for many of my friends.  With January coming to a close, I want to say we are still keeping our renewed spirit.  I know how difficult it is to be around people who are projecting negative energy.  You use your energy to lift them up.  Unless you are like me, and go into hermit mode so as to keep the energy supplies you have left available so you don’t fall flat on your face.  I am not going to lie to you and say that 17 years of trying to keep my energy up has not drained me at times.  With each new diagnosis I face a time of “mourning”.  I go through a period of time where I feel  like each disease/illness/condition is trying to kill a tiny bit more of who I might have been.  I retreat a little bit more.

I finally decided to come back out of the “shell” I had created for myself after this last bout of pain.  When I think of my future, I no longer think of the pain.  It’s still there.  Trust me.  It’s still there.  I researched until I was blue in the face and found countless other blogs saying the exact same thing.  They lost themselves.  They gave up their dreams.  One even quit the path to her PhD.  I get it.  Some said they lost girlfriends and did not even know how to get them back.  I say to you, simply say I’m sorry.  If your friends don’t understand that you took a tumble, then they were not your true friends.  If your family doesn’t understand that your path is not theirs, then how can love come with conditions?

I am one of the luckiest people I know.  The friends who check in on me, I know you are there and I thank you.  The family who stands by me, I know this is not easy on you, but I appreciate your efforts to help me.  And most importantly, the best husband in the world.  You catch me.  So, this is my new favorite quote:

Tumble

 

 

 

“Support” groups for illness.

Many of you know that I have been in a battle with genetic illness for a while now.  Some days are better than others which is why I started “Motivational” Mondays this year.  It is not only to motivate you, oh no, it is to hold myself accountable for the advice I give.  I have a hard time doing that.  Don’t tell anyone.  Anyway, I have to take deep breaths when I encounter people who make me mad just like you do.  But last night, I jumped in a battle that was not entirely my own.

Let me tell you why.  I believe that we are all here together whether we like it or not.  You do not have to like me, but you should always show some respect when you are speaking to me or others even on the internet.  It is not an invisible wall for you to shield yourself and hide your true character.  On the contrary, that’s why I said “invisible”.  You think because you are not known and standing in front of me that you can mouth off to people and no one will stand up to you.  You are sadly mistaken my cyber-bully, no manners, wanna-be a big shot guy (random angry man, not you now).

I don’t know how you were raised, maybe in a barn, but men should be taught to respect women.  Your cussing ladies out in my “support” group was not needed even if one of them always has to have the last word.  Believe me, I know how irritating it can be when people think they are right, and perhaps they aren’t, but you sir, only called them names and provided no logical reasons.  If you noticed the long-winded rant a few weeks ago between myself and lady who has to have the last word, you will note sir that I did not cuss her out.  Not even once.  What I did instead was to use 3 articles from different journals of medicine.  I quoted my doctor’s advice, and reminded her I said this was not about other people, that this was what worked for ME.  So in conclusion, remember, this quote I posted last night:  “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

So thanks for leaving after I called you out on your ridiculous manners.  It’s sad you are much older than me and appear to have a granddaughter.  Not sure how you would feel if someone resorted to name calling of her, but try using research to back your intolerable rant next time.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”  ~Warren Buffett

Author’s note:  this was long-ago and I have since left all of these types of groups as I personally found it did not help me.  These groups actually kept me well aware of the pain, which was not what I was trying to do.

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Painful talk…

I was just asked how I stayed so positive when I write.  The truth is, I am not always positive.  I am angry.  I am in pain.  I have issues just like everybody else.  I have too many doctors and wish that one of them, just one of them, understood the implications of living with “invisible diseases” because they sure as hell aren’t invisible on the inside.  I snap at people just like you do.  The difference is, I have learned to watch for signs since I have been known to make mistakes when in pain.

I have a support system.  One that hopefully forgives me because they are the ones I snap at.  Chances are, if you are my close friend, I have done this to you.  It is because I feel safe with you.  I hope that you will forgive me when I do this and know that I don’t mean it.

I have my parents.  I get on their nerves as much as they sometimes get on mine.  I rant.  I am a Scorpio.  They later forgive me as well.  We tell jokes.  We laugh.  I like to talk to them.  Sometimes I have to remind them that just because I am telling them my problems does not mean I expect them to fix it.  I just want someone to listen.

I have had the same best-friend for a long time.  Long enough to know who I was before I was diagnosed with HH/PCT.  Long enough to know that laughter is the best medicine and I need frequent doses.

Lastly, I have the best family.  My husband and children take care of me.  Without them, I would fall apart.  No doubt.

So the truth is, I try not to talk when I am in pain, but I am just like everybody else.  I make an effort to focus on what is left once you take away my pain.  My diseases do not define me.  I have to remember that.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  ~Socrates

Building the new

Motivational Monday…”diets”

Commitment is important if you are dedicated to seeing something through.  Think about a task you had to complete, but didn’t really feel dedicated to.  Unfortunately, that is how I see things in my food allergy elimination “diet”.  It isn’t a diet, it is a way of life.  I have made some progress, but I won’t truly see results until I decide to commit myself to this process and stop giving in to what I want instead of what’s good for me.  I love food.  I am not afraid to try new food; however, not all food agrees with me now.  I have this crazy mindset that you only live once, and developing food allergies as an adult was not part of the plan.  Ha.  Anyway, I am still learning to adjust.

I am renewing my commitment to take better care of myself this week.  I am going to do the things on the list I keep “forgetting” I was going to do.  Gym buddy, that means you.  Yoga buddies are needed.  How can you help yourself stay committed to your task?  Make sticky notes.  Get a buddy.  Send a reminder to yourself.  Put it on your calendar.  Make a to-do list, and a date to get it done.  Whatever the task is at hand, do it and you will feel better once you do.  Stop ignoring it…it only makes it worse.  Trust me.

“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe.  How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model?  There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”  ~LeBron James