On starting things and swearing and taking MY time

I listened to episode one of Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, yesterday.

It has taken me – literally, exactly – three months to click play. (The episode is dated 20th March.)

I knew it was going to be good. I have read several of Brene’s books (and watched her TED talks and netflix documentary) and I don’t speak lightly when I say they have contributed to changing my life. (It’s extremely rare if not impossible for any one thing to truly change our lives: it’s always the combination of many things, with one repeated pattern, which results in change.)

Because of what I’ve taken in from what she shares, I’m more comfortable with vulnerability and real honesty. (A little. Working on it.) My business is better and I lead it better. (That’s hard to say, but the team tell me it’s true and I trust them.)

Best of all, I have more tools in my toolbox than I did before. Tools for dealing with emotions, relationships, problems, fears, change, concerns, and even pandemics.

So I knew listening to her podcast would be amazing. Inspiring. Encouraging.

I knew I would like it, I knew I would be a better person for it, and I knew I wanted to listen to it.

But I didn’t listen to it until yesterday. 

It was, indeed, all those things I expected. After the episode finished, I texted one of the PF team (she’s a Brene fan too, and that’s putting it lightly), and I literally typed this: “FUCK, brene, how do you do this. How do you be so legendary and yet I don’t hate you. How do I feel like crying and am grateful for it. How do you lead well and I’m not playing the comparison game. These are my thoughts on episode one.”

Most of you know I don’t swear often. I’m not overly bothered with it in general, although I’m not a fan of the really crude ones, and I have a full stop on taking Jesus or God’s name in vain. Super short version, Jesus is important to me, He exists, and His name matters, a lot. So throwing it round casually or angrily isn’t okay by me, although I completely get that most people who do it just haven’t thought about it much. I still love you and Jesus does too. (Side note: those ‘karen’ memes have given me a tiny indication of what it means to “take someone’s name in vain”. I’m not saying I know how God feels, but…wow. So much hatred for me and they don’t even know me. Anyway.)

If I do swear, I tend to do it with people I trust. People who I know won’t judge me or be shocked or horrified or wonder if I’ve stopped being a Christian or something. And I tend to pull out the big guns when I feel really overwhelmed. Like I can’t find the words. Like there’s no words strong enough to get across how I feel.

I’ve probably sworn more during this pandemic than any other time in my life.

It’s like….what even is happening. I don’t know. I don’t have the words. This is so new and confusing. Everyone is confused. People are dying. Or are they? We can’t trust anyone. I feel this and that and the other thing. I’m doing better! I’m having a great day. This day sucks. This week sucks. WTF, 2020. Wow my business is doing so well. That’s good. Covid isn’t good but new business is good. I love helping people. Oh my word I’m so exhausted. The team are amazing. I can’t do this. I am doing this. What is even happening?

And that’s in the space of a day, or maybe five minutes.

When I went to click on the first podcast episode, I noticed it had the little “E” next to it, for “Explicit”. It almost made me laugh. Brene, the quiet calm soothing helpful encouraging honest researcher, with the explicit episode?

But I know Brene by now. I know how she talks about a “Shitty First Draft” (SFD), but also calls it a Stormy First Draft for those who want to go cautiously with swearing for the sake of their children, or for any other reason. And she did this, too, with the ‘Fucking First Time” (FFT), which you can also call the Terrible First Time (TFT) if you want.

The point she was sharing was, this is an FFT for all of us. We’ve never been through a global pandemic before. And there are a lot of other FFT’s we’ve got to work through – in our businesses and relationships and churches and feelings and all the things.

So if the podcast is so great (and it is, I highly recommend this particular episode), why did it take me three months to get to it? Why didn’t I see it had launched and go “ooooh, Brene, she’s amazing, I will have new tools for my toolbox, I’ll listen today?”

I didn’t know at the time, and I didn’t even really think about it. I just thought “that will be amazing, I will listen sometime”, and went on with my day and my life and the things I had before me.

But I thought about it this morning, and I thought about how I tend to approach things. I thought about how many years I lived with M.E. (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and how much of that was connected to emotional issues and trauma I had gone through. I thought about how when things are super hard, I pull in like a turtle first, before I start poking my head out and looking around and confirming it’s safe enough to start inching out.

Not everyone is like this. Some people power ahead, instantly. Some people go into over-work mode or over-sharing mode. Some talk it out, some go silent and say nothing. Some think a lot and some try not to think at all.

And, as I mentioned in a previous post, playing the comparison game doesn’t work. No one ever wins at that game, because we’re not supposed to match other people. We’re supposed to be the best versions of ourselves, not more like someone else we think is amazing for whatever reason.

I take time to get going on big things, particularly those which require change. Thinking differently, creating new products or apps for my business, changing churches, drawing boundaries, hard conversations… it takes me a while. I pull in a bit and think of nothing at first, then I let some of the ideas float around a little, then some of it starts to settle, then I take a little action, then I take some more, and then I consistently press on with it day after day. It’s just how I do things. And (mind blowing concept) that is okay. 

It doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect the way I am. I want to change, and I want to be okay with change. But when I realise it might take me three months to get to the starting line (and someone else was there ages ago), then I put less pressure on myself and can actually enjoy the process. Maybe next time, or for something else, it will take two months. Or two weeks. Or three days. It depends on the ‘thing’.

So I loved the podcast, and I’m glad I listened. But even more importantly, the 3 months it took me to think “Yea, I’ll listen to this today”, have taught me something too. I’ve gotten just a tiny bit more comfortable with who I actually am, and why I take time with things. Especially first things, and FFT’s.

You take YOUR time, too. Whatever that time looks like.

And we’ll all get there. In time.

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Popped into a fave local coffee shop in York this week and this was the mug they gave me. ❤️✨

Wasn’t feeling so superwomanny when I got it - this week was very full, plus period cramps and multiple migraines and my ankle being wonky and more travel than I’ve done in a while. I had intended to get coffee but the cramps were so bad I had to go for mint tea and just sit until they faded enough for me to walk again. 

At the same time, I also had an amazing time during this week with the @weare_pf Board meeting in person for the first time. Getting to know each other better as humans and sharing ideas and making plans and most of all appreciating that the weight of all the business decisions doesn’t rest solely on my shoulders. 

This is just one of your reminders that being a superwoman looks different at different times, and whether you’re striding along strongly or sitting weakly with mint tea, your superwoman status still applies. 

#justkeepgoing #superwoman #muglife #wegotthis #onedayatatime
Every single time I go sailing past this lighthouse on the mull-to-Oban ferry I think “this time I’ll just watch it and not take any pictures” 

And then something wild happens like A SAILBOAT GOES BY and of course I have to capture that, surely I haven’t taken that photo before (spoiler: I have), and then I have about seventeen lighthouse photos to add to my collection of seven thousand lighthouse photos from the last twenty years. 

But, I figure, what’s the harm anyway. It’s my photos and my memories and it brings me joy. I love the lighthouse as a visual of my journey from the mainland to the island (or a reminder I’ll be back soon). 

So, see you soon lighthouse. Thanks for standing there. 

#lismorelighthouse #eileanmusdile #lighthouse #lighthousesofinstagram #oban #ferry #calmac #isleofmull #sailaway #sailboat #scotland #travelscotland
I read. A lot. My list of “books to read” has over 100 titles listed, and every time I mention a book I’ve appreciated, I get another recommendation of a new one and the list gets longer. 

One of the books recommended to me years ago was “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”. She mentioned it had some helpful principles about how we navigate life - and whether you’re a buddhist or not, there are principles you can learn from and apply in life.

I wrote it down, forgot about it, and moved on with life. Read lots of other books.

And then when I broke my ankle, and was sitting and resting a LOT, with loads of time for reading, I went back to my list and started reconsidering some of the titles on it.

When I looked up “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”, the subtitle was “A Handbook for Happiness”, and that struck me.

Dealing with an injury is difficult. Sad. Wearying. It can be hard to find happiness and every day feels about the same. (Very Groundhog Day.)

So I bought the book, and put it by my bed. I started getting into a pattern of reading a chapter every morning with my coffee.

I thought I’d share some of the principles I appreciated and which are already helping me as I continue to navigate my life right now: 

[the full post on these is too long for an Insta post so click the link in bio or story if u want to read more!]

Thank the spoon - a spoon stirs up the mud in what had appeared to be clear water. Same with life: hard things stir up what you haven’t dealt with yet. So you thank them. “Thank you, spoon”

The Fundamental darkness (FD) - the “Survival Obsessed Self” who responds in a way based on survival but not growth

There’s a gift in the struggle - He describes it visually as “the lotus flower in the muddy pond”. You can focus on the mud, or on the flower, but they’re both there.

Nam - myo - ho - renge - kyo : The happiness soundtrack - I pulled out the core concepts of each of these words as they applied to me, and they are: 

Bloom in the struggle
Flow of life

#karensnotes #buddhainmebuddhainyou #books #reading #happysaturday 

[full note link in bio!]
The snow is swirling the wind is howling IT’S FROZEN OUT THERE 
#snowing #happyspringeveryone #inlikealion