Over the last 18 years I figured I've spent around 3000 hours poolside.
Seriously, I did the math. My little swimmer started swim team at four years old and went year-round until she was seventeen years old. I tried to be really conservative when coming up with my figure so I didn’t even factor in swim meets, just practice.
I also didn’t add the hours spent on the soccer field sidelines with Brady, the year I suffered through cub scouts, and the two years I was a pee-wee cheer coach.
And I want to be very clear this is not a whiny post about wanting that time back for myself. No, I loved it and would do it all again…well, except that year of cub scouts. Eagle Scout moms are saints in my book. 😇
This is a post about practice.
Why is it that we believe our children need practice (soooo much practice), but we don’t allow ourselves to practice when we start new things?
I often have conversations with clients and have to remind them that starting a new routine, a new lifestyle, or a new class all takes practice. I try to have them lean into the flexibility of learning and not get ridged about rules and “doing it right,” but to allow themselves grace and time to learn and live into a new being. They nod politely and agree on the outside, but I feel the resistance. I sense them fighting what they want to be true and what they know to be true. They want to have it all mastered today. They know it will take time.
We don’t like practice.
I don’t care for practice either, if I’m being honest with you.
But here’s the “ah-ha!” moment I had recently that I hope helps you.
We practice all the time, every day.
The problem is we are practicing old habits, old thinking, old emotional loops from our past experiences.
Think about it! What do you think about most? Most of us spend literally HOURS a day replaying, reciting, and “practicing” past habits, identities, or even conversations. Maybe it was a conversation with a person that didn’t go well. Maybe that conversation was yesterday, and we’re still swirling, maybe that conversation was years ago.
I know for years I practiced telling myself I wasn’t smart. And guess what? I went around looking for proof. Not consciously, but every time I would do something “wrong” my mind was looking for that proof and would use that "proof" to solidify my belief that I was not smart. After practicing that for years I found proof every day. You always find what you're looking for.
What changed, or is changing? I realized that it was nothing more than practice in a wrong direction.
When you know you’re going a wrong direction it’s up to you, in this case meaning me, to change that direction. New destinations need new maps, new roads, new practices.
I’m spending time each day cultivating the feeling of being smart. I’m getting quiet and feeling what it feels like to be smart. I’m spending time thinking back on the markers in my life that prove to me that I can and have made smart decisions. And guess what? I’m noticing them more often. It’s also building my confidence. You make better decisions when you feel you can depend on yourself to make smart decisions.
What’s happening? My practice is making progress. It’s not making perfect and it never will - that's just a saying. I’m ok with that. I am not perfect. But I am capable of limitless progress! Oh!!!! Just made that up….love that. This is why writing is so therapeutic to me.
Let me say that again…for both of us. We are not capable of perfection. Not in a sense of perfection being something we achieve. I DO, however, believe that we are perfection…we just don’t know it or believe it, most of us.
But in the sense of achievement – I am not capable of perfection, but I am capable of LIMITLESS PROGRESS!
But guess what you've got to do to progress? You got it. You’ve got to PRACTICE! I’ve got to practice. And just like all of those hours Chloe spent pushing against the water to condition her muscles to be a great swimmer, I have to condition my mind to be a great practitioner of progress. We practice, and practice, and practice, and nothing. Then we practice, and practice, and practice, and then breakthrough. And that cycle repeats itself.
We have to begin to believe that practice always leads to better. We would tell our kids that if they had a bad practice. If your child got in the car after practice upset about their performance that day, what would we say? We’d tell them they will do better next time and assure them that they CAN do better. We would tell them that’s why it’s called practice.
So here is what I want you to do – join me in practicing. Some days practice will rock. Some days practice will suck. Both of those days practice will do the work of progress as long as you don’t stop.
What do you need to practice? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and tell me.
Click to learn more...
I had a conversation with one of my trainers yesterday that led us to a discussion about our language. Here are two language swaps you could use to help you re-frame and gain power over your health journey.
Comment below and let me know if this helps and/or if you have a word you know you need to swap. What is that word?
Yesterday I told you that I had a post for you today that changed my life. I want you to know that I'm not just saying that. If you hang on and keep reading I'm hopeful that it will change the way you're thinking about your second half too.
I need to qualify by saying, I'm not your typical fitness business owner. I like being fit, I like being and eating healthy (most of the time), but I am not obsessed with it. I no longer wish to look a certain way. I wish to FEEL a certain way. I wish to spend as little time in the doctors office as I go through life as possible but I no longer wish to spend hours a day training to impress the world or myself. That took a long time to come around to and even longer to say out loud. Because if I'm being honest I do feel judged. I know that I reflect my business. Well, fine. If you want to live a sane and healthy life I'm your girl. If you want a rock-solid bod and a desire to compete or to push your body past healthy then I'm not. Looking "healthy" and being healthy do not always come together.
I want to share with you something that rocked my world one morning and pushed me off the fence. Like, in a single moment I told myself - I will no longer spend my days having this unhealthy relationship with my body; a body that is healthy, it's capable, and it's alive.
One morning I was sitting at my desk and cleaning up my desktop. I have a photo of my family on there but you'd never have known it from the hundreds of files I needed to sort into folders. Not knowing what some of the files were I had to open them up and look at each one.
If you send me an email that hits me in some way let me warn you, I may screen-shot that thing and keep it. I usually keep things that I want to use later as a testimonial but I guess for some reason this email had hit me when it was sent and I saved it. I don't even remember saving it.
The email was sent to me over a year previous to when I opened the file to see what it was:
"I had bread this weekend 😔 and sweet tea 😔 and a coke 😔 and dessert 😳😬. I just had to admit it. I felt guilty not letting you know. I am reset and man your hubby kicked my butt this morning. It's like he knew and wanted me to pay. 😳☺️. I do really well through the week and seem to take a mini vacation on the weekends. My problem is not preplanning and packing a cooler before we leave.
It's hard to admit this setback. I realize my discipline with food is severely lacking."
I opened the file and started reading without looking to see who had sent it. My heart ached as I read this email.
I hate (and I use that word sparingly) when we do this to ourselves; guilt, shame, feeling we "lack." My heart hurts because she was feeling powerless. My heart hurt because she viewed the the workout after like a punishment. My heart hurts because we think the thing we lack is discipline when I'm telling you DISCIPLINE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM. Then I read who had sent this email to me and my heart hurt most of all because between this beautiful woman (in her early 40's I believe) sending me this email and me now reading it cancer had taken her life.
And I promise you this is NOT a post about coke and cancer or anything like that...this is not about the mechanics of nutrition.
This is about me asking US - "If we have a limited amount of time left - AND WE DO - is this sort of battle with our body the way we want to spend it? Isn't this relationship with food and our body one worth working on, worth getting over, and moving on so we can LIVE LIFE while we can? Isn't leaning into our Imperfections worth embracing?
We are entering a new decade. What is it that we could leave in this decade and not allow to move forward with us? How can we celebrate this beautiful life in our beautiful bodies and embrace their differences?
I don't know about you but spending hours a day, week, month, lifetime in battle with my body is not how I want to spend my life. I do NOT want to look back and think how I spent so much time, and mental struggle, trying to perfect my imperfections and never really lived. And don't our imperfections make us US? Don't they make us human? Dosen't having imperfections just mean we are still alive and get a chance that not everyone gets?
So on this topic of our "second halves," What needs to change for you live this portion of life in a healthy relationship with your body? What if you were to say, "I am no longer going to do anything for my body because I feel I HAVE to, I'll do it out of love because I GET to?" What would that look like to you? What is it that we could leave in this decade and not allow to move forward with us? Comment below!
If you really do struggle with this I know that my Gifts of Imperfection Study Group that starts on Monday (and is totally FREE) will help you to begin this journey. Please join us. Sign up on the welcome page of my website.
First, I want to thank you so very much for your response to my last blog post on the Space Between. I was so touched by your stories, comments, and the hardships you’ve all endured over the last few years. Hard things. The hardest things.
I always knew I was surrounded by a community of Wonder Women, and now I know for sure that I am. We are all so much stronger than we know and more powerful than ever imagined. Sometimes stronger than we want to be. And it seems that maybe I really did get a few of you thinking about how you would like to spend your second half.
I kept hearing my words back to me…you want to “kick ass in your second half” too.
Earlier this year I was struggling with my own thoughts on how I wanted to move forward over the next decade and Rob put me on the spot and asked me, “What do you want to do?” The tone in his voice was - Don’t think about it, don’t polish it, GO! What is it that sets you on fire? And quickly I responded, “I want to help women kick ass in the second half!” There you have it. It wasn’t polished. It wasn’t what I thought I should do. It was what was in there, waiting.
What that also means is this isn’t for everyone. In fact, I made a few notes to describe the women it is for…
So basically, I just described myself. Does it sound familiar?
I’d love to hear your comments. Do any of these points hit you? What would you add? What would you take away?
As you can tell I’m already working on this project and starting to change the look of this space. I’d love to have your input and thoughts.
I have a post for you tomorrow that I hope really hits home. It did for me. I found an email on my computer that I had saved and when I found it about a year later and read it, I had to change the way I looked at my body forever.
And if you haven't jumped in to our group study of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown I'd love to have you join us!! All you have to do is sign up for FREE on HERE and get your book on Amazon or wherever you choose.
Happy Hump Day!
I was never the mom to cry when school started - not even THE first day. I could never understand the tears on the first day of school, not the tears of the kids, the tears of the moms as I skipped by them back to my car. I wanted to grab those struggling mama's and say, "You know you get to come back here and pick them up at 2:00, right?"
When my oldest transitioned to middle school it happened all over again. Moms stressing out, asking me how I felt about Chloe going to middle school, looking at me intently to root out a flicker of fear...I had none. This was part of the process. They go to elementary, then middle, then high school. My thought was, I can't stop it so why not just embrace it. And I did. I feel like that helped her do the same. I wasn't stressed, she wasn't stressed, hello middle school let's do this.
Maybe that's why I was so surprised when this year hit me so hard.
I had felt something like this before. A few years ago my sister lived down the street from me. She had moved to Tennessee and not only moved close to me but only four houses away. Having her and my B.I.L and my niece and nephew that close was so great. I loved it. My built in bestie was in shouting distance. When they decided to move back to Florida, which I always knew they would, I freaked out inside. I had prepared myself for a while, knew it was coming and yet it sucked. I had dreams of me chasing her down the street. I'd wake in a panic wanting to go beg her to stay yet I knew she needed to go.
When Chloe's time to leave for college got closer the more I felt this happening all over again. It wasn't about how far she was going because she is so close I still see her every couple of weeks, it was about walking through a door that I knew would close the minute we walked though it. Time does not move backward. That is a Truth.
I had dreams where I was panicked because there was shear chaos in the dream and I couldn't see her. I would wake myself I would scream so loud for her in my dream.
Unconscious moments begging time to stand still.
What happened to the mom that skipped back to her car thankful for a few hours until I had to go back and pick her up? What happened to "well it's part of the process, embrace it." Where did that Jen go? Seriously....what the heck. This all took me by surprise.
And then there was this whole other layer that shocked me even more...as if I needed more.
I had no idea how this "season" would affect ME. Not the mom me but the me me. That part of me that is me without all the other stuff. That part that has (had) a life outside of my kids and husband and career. That part of me that sought adventure without fear, faced the world with a hopeful (albeit naive) curiosity, dreamed without limiting myself. Where did she go? Maybe some of her is here. Maybe some of the parts of her that are not here is best. As we grow things fall off that hinder our growth...pruning I guess.
But I found - find, myself doing a LOT of introspection these days. For just this moment it feels like a space between. Between, where I've been and where I'm going.
And here is what I know...that can be a beautiful space.
I recognize that I am only sad because I have had the opportunity to love something so deeply.
There are billions of people on this planet. My sisters are the two who know me best. We share history. One of our deepest desires as humans is to be known. Since we live in three different states I may not know what their current favorite song is, or the place they like to eat on Friday nights, but I know my sisters too. I know them more than any of the billions.
There is only one level of knowing more intense than sisterhood and that was revealed to me the day I had a daughter. As completely known as a person can be. Me to her and her to me. My mom to me. Even more than sisters and I would have never thought there could be more.
And here is the thing that I keep reminding myself - The best part is coming. I have so much to look forward to and I'm really excited for when the time is right for those things.
But then there is still the issue of me and my second half.
I certainly have irons in the fire. I have my business and within that some amazing people in my life. I have friends that are true friends. But I also have dreams.
The next three months I'm calling the "space between." Giving myself space to ponder, dream, breathe, and zero in on this second half of my life. What do I want it to look like? The one word that keeps coming to mind is INTENTION. I want to set an intention for this second half and let that lead my days.
If I'm being honest with you...and I am...I've had my ass kicked the last few years. Not necessarily externally but very internally. Some externally. Owning a business is great and terrible, rewarding and life-sucking, exciting and exhausting all in one day sometimes. So, while I spend the next few months working out my intention for my second half I can tell you this much. I'm tired of getting my ass kicked! I want to kick-ass in my second half! How about you?
If you've read this far, thank you. It's scary to put yourself out there but it also feels like a big exhale. Thank you for allowing that and reading along.
What about you? Are you nearing your middle half? Are you already there? Are you in the space between? I know I'm not alone so I'd love for you to comment below - here on the blog - and let me know how this hit you. Or where it hits you.
I know a lot of you who do read this have walked this with me this year - I'm so grateful for you!
Here's to the space between. ♥️
Jen Mulford is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and champion for personal freedom.