Tag Archives: self-help

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Ever ask yourself that question?

Are you still asking that question?

I am.

40ish years in, and I still have no clue what it is I’m meant to be doing when I grow up.

I’ve tried my hand at a lot of things…woodworking, yoga instruction, accounting, customer service, writing. I took courses in botany, html, photography, carpentry, English, editing, psychology, anatomy. All these varied subjects have become spokes in the wheel of my life, and I enjoyed many of them, but somewhere in the hub of that wheel is a girl still trying to get her shit together.

I envied my peers in high school who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up…a teacher, doctor, veterinarian, nurse. They had a course and a compass. Everything they did aligned with the vision they saw for themselves.

I, on the other hand, had an amorphous idea that I wanted to create something, and I wanted to be successful at it, but other than that, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Originally, I wanted to be an actress, but I decided I was too self-conscious and not nearly good-looking enough for that job.

Then I decided I would become an author, but after decades of trying different things…writing articles for newspapers, magazines, ezines, and blogs, and penning self-help books and novels…I decided I sucked at writing and needed to focus on something else.

I thought maybe I could be a photographer, but my pictures were just mediocre. I couldn’t compete with the truly talented people out there taking incredible photographs.

I’ve always been a life-long learner, taking college or university courses part-time in my efforts to discover myself, but this past September, I decided to go back to college full-time and channel my energy into the pursuit of a career in public relations.

After a full year and 12 courses under my belt, with a combined grade average of 95, I panicked. What if I couldn’t pull off a second year? What if the success of the first year was a fluke?

I began to question whether I should return to finish the diploma. Was this really what I wanted? In truth, who knows. I love a lot about PR, but was this really what I wanted to be when I grew up? Maybe. But what if it wasn’t? What if I got out into the PR world and didn’t like it? What if I’d made a terrible mistake? What if I failed?

I almost didn’t sign back up to finish my studies. The fear of failure stopped me dead in my tracks. And that’s when I took a long, hard look at myself. My lack of confidence and fear of failure had stopped me in almost every endeavour I’d chosen to pursue. The irony…I’d succeeded in everything I’d set my mind to, sometimes phenomenally. So, what on earth was going on? Where was this coming from? And how the hell could I stop it?

That’s when I realized, I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop it. At least not in a cold-turkey been-there-done-that-bought-the-t-shirt don’t-need-to-worry-about-it-again kinda way. I also recognized, for me, it didn’t matter where or when I developed this crippling self-esteem issue. Knowing how it came about in my childhood wasn’t going to help me move forward. What I needed to do was recognize when I was self-sabotaging myself now and gently redirect my focus to my successes and stop focusing on my failures (perceived failures) and all the reasons why I was convinced I sucked.

Now, to know me, to talk to me, to hang out with me, you’d have no idea I lacked confidence. I seem to carry it in spades. After all, I willingly went back to school. I changed gears mid-life stream and swam in another direction. For many, throwing caution to the wind and trying something new or reinventing one’s self is terrifying, and only the foolhardy will attempt it.

But trying something new has never scared me. In fact, I live for variety, and curiosity has always pulled me in a million directions. I’m compelled to follow the path of passionate exploration. But once I’m on that path? Once I start succeeding? Doubt and uncertainty creep in, and I pull back the reins. Or worse, I hit a snag and it seems to confirm all my lousy suspicions, and I run away screaming, grabbing the life preserver and jumping overboard before the whole thing goes to hell.

In saying all that, I have managed quiet moments of victory over my demons. After all, I did sign up to finish my diploma. I have completed four books and am working on my fifth. And my confidence in general has definitely improved over the years. But you’d think I’d be further ahead than I am at this point in my life—that all the self-awareness and growth that comes with getting older would have kicked this useless limiting belief out on its ass by now.

Unfortunately, overcoming fear and negative thinking is a long, convoluted process. It involves winning little victories, getting knocked a couple steps back, then rallying and doing it all over again. I may not have all the answers yet, but I’m in a better position now than I was twenty years ago. Wisdom truly does come as you get older. But I have much more to learn.

If you’d like to be part of my tribe, stop by and sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dEGv0r You won’t get spammed, I promise. And join me on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll make sure to pass along relevant insights as I come across them. Until then, know you’re not alone in your journey. We’re all in this life-experience together. I’ve got your back.

So, do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Have you reached your definition of ultimate success? If not, what’s holding you back?

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

Honour Your Truth

 

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Malala Yousafzai

If we don’t speak up, who will hear us? We can apply this concept globally by pointing out injustice or inequality, for example, and/or we can make this personal and contemplate all the ways in which we remain silent in our own lives.

Warning: here comes a Marissa catch phrase… ‘Life is about compromise, but we were never meant to compromise ourselves.’ (You’ll hear that one a lot.) We all have boundaries—lines we don’t want others to cross, parameters in which we feel comfortable operating within, i.e., our comfort zones. When people cross those boundaries, negative things happen. We can get hurt—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. We can suffer from regret, guilt, doubt, anger and self-recrimination.

When people cross our boundaries, how many of us speak up? When people impose their judgements and opinions on us, or belittle us and undermine our self-worth and confidence, how many of us speak up? Family members, peers, partners, co-workers, supervisors… when people we respect and trust do this, how many of us let it pass, or speak out only in our mind—imagining all the things we wish we could say?

Speaking our truth is never easy. We run the risk of alienation and rejection—something we as social creatures avoid at all costs. But what if the cost is our own happiness and self-worth? When do we draw the line? When do we speak up for ourselves? When do we say enough is enough?

Always.

No one likes confrontation and very few people handle criticism well, but if we’ve been wronged or hurt, we need to express it. No one is above the truth. Not even ourselves. Denying the injury or pretending we are okay is a serious roadblock to healing. We need to be honest with ourselves. That stomach lurch when we consider confronting an issue is what typically stops us from going further and we gloss the matter over or sweep it under the rug. This often results in frustration or resentment.

Communication is key in a healthy relationship. If we can’t speak about what’s on our mind, or bring up questions or concerns, or point out hurt or wrongdoing then we need to examine the relationship. In my post Relationships and Monkeys, I talk to the idea of getting rid of negative relationships in our lives. But before we get to that point, we should always try to have open and honest communication with the people in our lives. It’s not always easy—for either party— but it’s necessary.

I’ve been together with my husband for 27 years. That doesn’t happen without a solid foundation of communication (plus he’s cute and funny, so that doesn’t hurt either.) We’ve built a relationship on trust and mutual respect. My concerns are not more important than his and vice versa. We listen to each other and then we reflect: How can we do this better? How can we make this work for both of us? It’s a partnership. A team effort. When one person isn’t happy, it effects the entire relationship. We also have to be humble enough to admit when we’re wrong and apologize for any transgressions. Then we have to step up and correct our behaviour. This is all about compromise. But, compromising and being compromised are two very different things.

There’s no mutual respect and trust when someone compromises our boundaries. It’s controlling at worst, and insensitive at best. Stand up for yourself. Speak up for yourself. Honour your truth.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

In defense of meh

On March 29, I wrote a Facebook (FB) post exploring the qualities of being exceptional and meh. It created quite a stir. My outstanding FB community offered encouragement and I received an outpouring of virtual hugs. I was overwhelmed by the support.

I wanted to take a moment and reassure everyone and offer some insight into the inner workings of my mind. Here then is:

In defense of meh…

Deep introspective thinking can be a curse, but I find it’s also the greatest path to transformation. We need to figure out where we are right now in order to change it. Being meh isn’t a bad thing. Most people tend to shy away from questions like: “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “What’s the point of it all?” These may seem like melancholy sentiments, and sometimes they can be, brought about by low points in our lives, but even then, they are catalysts for change. I’m not at a low point, but I am a bit rudderless in my travels at the moment. I’m searching for just what it is that I need to feel that spark of passion and creativity again. Life has a way of bogging us down in minutia and sometimes we fall off the track.

This time around, I’ve fallen and landed in a place of inertia. I’m trying lots of different things, but it’s as if I’m treading water and not really going anywhere. When I’m writing books, this inertia phase is called writer’s block. For me, writer’s block occurs when I’ve taken the story or my characters in a direction they were never meant to go, a direction that doesn’t resonate with my vision for the story. Unfortunately, when you’re knee-deep in the mire of the ‘murky middle’ as it’s wanting to be called, it’s damn near impossible to figure out what’s wrong. You know something needs to be fixed, which is why you can’t write a single word more, but you have no idea what the problem is. In this state of impasse, all you can do is reflect on where your characters have been and where they’re currently at before enough time passes and you get an ‘aha’ moment and the words start flowing again because you found where the train jumped the track and you can pull it back in the direction it wants to go, rather than forcing it to bend to your will.

That’s where I’ve been this year… off track, forcing myself to move in directions I’m not sure I’m meant to go. And this imbalance had been multifaceted, spanning several areas of my life, which has created a ripple effect, driving a strong desire for change and growth. Sometimes you need enough distance to gain a little perspective. And often, there’s plenty of damn forests to try to see through to the trees. But eventually, if you keep asking the tough questions, the clouds will clear, and you’ll find some answers.

Someone asked me if I wanted to be exceptional, and while it may seem vain or politically incorrect, the answer is yes, of course I do. But how do we define exceptional? And in the same breath, how do we define success?

Every one of us will answer those questions differently. I’m exceptional when I’m following my passions, spending time with my friends and family and engaging in life. In other words, I’m exceptional when I’m happy. Happiness creates a glow—a bubbly, warm light of energy that surrounds us and embraces everyone and everything we touch. Success comes by following my passions and engaging in something that makes me happy. But success is also practical. In order for me to achieve it, I need to do all that and contribute financially to the well-being and stability of my family. So, while I’d love to create for the sake of creating, bills still have to get paid and food needs to find its way to the table.

When I ask the tough questions, I get closer to being exceptional and successful. I’m not content with anything less. Which means, I have to hunker down and find out why I’ve hit writer’s block in my own life. Fortunately, I’ve found some answers. Not all of them, mind you, but a couple gems of insight to move me slowly toward that next great thing that will set my soul on fire and ignite a passionate adventure…adding one word after another, until I build a sentence, then a paragraph, then a chapter. I’m building toward a new chapter in my life, and I’m excited as hell to see where it takes me. Thanks for coming along for the ride.  🙂  <3

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

How Do You Watch Your Children Make Mistakes

Conversations with the Goddess

Dear Goddess: When your children are fledgling adults and make choices you can see are clearly stupid, how do you find the balance between fear and anxiety over their choices and letting them make their own mistakes?
M.M.

I am the Goddess of death and rebirth, of destruction and transformation.
You stand here today, a product of your greatest mistakes and your biggest triumphs. You overcame adversity and surmounted obstacles placed in your path. You are stronger because of your experiences. You have gained wisdom and insight. You have lived and you have learned. You would not be the person you are today had you not struggled and fell. Trust that you have guided your children well, that throughout the turmoil, they will know they can turn to you. Be there, stand by their side, but let them falter. They will grow and become stronger because of it. The watching will not get easier, but hold fast to your faith that all will work itself out—that one day, despite your worries, they will forge their own paths and make you proud.

Goddess keep you,
BADB

Badb's presence

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb
Reading an excerpt from AVELYNN

You may not know this, but for almost a decade, I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. I didn’t know what they were at the time and every few months, I would find myself in a doctor’s office or emergency department with a plethora of reports to my name: blood work, CAT scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds, x-rays, EEGs, and EKGs. No one could figure out what was wrong, and never for one minute did I think my mind could be making me so violently ill.

It took a great deal of investigating and personal research about my symptoms to begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. After seven years of suffering and fearing the next attack, I finally knew what was going on. I was experiencing repetitive panic attacks. Wave after wave after wave of attacks that would last two weeks at a time, keeping me bed ridden with nausea, dizziness, pain, migraines, and even a low grade fever. My mind had taken over my body and was controlling it like a helpless marionette. But knowledge is power. Once I learned what was happening, I was determined to make it stop, determined to get my life and my body back under conscious control.

One of those interventions involved recognizing panic and anxiety the moment it started. I gave my anxiety a name: Bob. I got very good at sensing the warning signs, the little indications that Bob was going to pay me a visit, and when that happened, I would dance.

My heart would race, my hands would turn clammy, and the surging wave of panic would start to build, but instead of letting it take over, I seized the reins and turned on my stereo. I cranked up the bass and danced and jumped, turned and twirled until Bob slunk back to his hiding place.

Bob doesn’t come around much anymore. But there are occasions where I still feel anxious. Speaking in front of groups is one of them.

Last night I had to get up in front of a lovely supportive group of writers and read an excerpt from my new novel Avelynn. I’m getting better at calming the nerves, but each time I get up behind a podium, I’m reminded how much I need to keep practicing. It’s like building a muscle at the gym. The more I use it, the stronger it gets.

I talk all the time in my yoga classes. I’ll ramble on about life, wellbeing, the chakras, philosophy, or even regale the class with amusing antidotes and jokes to lighten the mood during a tough set of poses. I don’t get nervous, and I can talk for hours.

Years ago I was involved in local theatre, once even delivering a monologue twenty-six, single-spaced, typed pages long. It was a feat of memorization and iron clad balls. But I did it, in front of a room full of strangers and discriminating judges. I preformed on stage in several plays, never once feeling nervous or worried about missing a line. But then out of nowhere something changed. I blame hormones.

I had just given birth to my third beautiful son when I started having terrifying dreams of getting up on stage and forgetting my lines. Despite the fact this had never before happened, the fear seeped into my consciousness, and I had to quit the theatre. Flash forward several years, and too many panic attacks to count, and getting up to talk in front of even one or two people became challenging.

I was determined to get my anxiety under control and enrolled in Toastmasters, a wonderfully supportive group that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and lasso fear for good. I learned a lot during my time in the group. The most important? Practice makes perfect and reading out loud, in front of others, over and over again slowly desensitizes you to the fear.

I still get nervous reading, but no one else seems to notice. My hands still tremor a little, my knees still quake, but my voice is strong and confident. My relationship with public speaking is now healthy. It won’t be long before I can step back onto that stage as if it’s just another day in the yoga studio. 🙂 xo

In gratitude,

Marissa