Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leading the way

"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you're in control, they're in control."

- Tom Landry

Being a leader is sometimes something you never expected yourself to be, something you never pictured yourself doing.

I was recently nominated for a co-chair position on a council I participate in at work. This is a 3 year commitment. First year co-chair (assistant to chair), second year chair (in charge of running the entire council), and third year is advisor chair. For someone who freezes up when getting in front of people to speak I decided to take the challenge if given to me. I wrote a little something about myself and why I would be good for the position.

"Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal."

—Vince Lombardi
My Nomination Speech:
My nursing career has taken me from one end of the US to the other. Working in many different specialties and some of the finest facilities, such as John's Hopkins, to some of the worst that have put healthcare to shame. I have experienced burnout and life transformation leading me to the most passionate spot someone can be in their career and their life. My vision is to help nurses transform their own lives and find their passion and happiness again, which in the end will increase patent safety and satisfaction to its fullest. I am described by my colleagues to be hardworking, a strong leader, and driven. I continue to strive to be the best in everything I choose to do. I aspire to be the person that people look up to, to show others what is possible even when the odds are against them. This position would be a chance for me to reach out in the effort to make change and to be a more influential part of a great organization.

Then this past week I got it! I was elected as the new co-chair. What does thus mean for me? It means I will be busy for one...ok maybe busier because I think I was already busy. It means stepping out of the box outside of my comfort zone. It means growth. By doing things you are afraid you do, things you once thought you couldn't possibility do, is how you are going to succeed in giving life everything you have. Really reaching your full potential.

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others."

—Jack Welch

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Freakshow open

The Freak Show Open was my second to last competition before my injury was unmanageable and put me out of competing. It was on April 28, 2012. It was one of my best competitions as I attempted a qualifying total for nationals. Regardless of the fact that I missed my last lifts in both the snatch and the clean and jerk it was one of my best performances.

Below are the links to my lifts on facebook.
63kg Snatch
65kg Snatch Attempt

80kg Clean and Jerk
85kg Clean and Jerk Attempt

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trial and error

I have definitely found out life is about trial and error. I have learned a lot from my trials lately. My personality is not wanting to do something half way. I want to go all the way and give it everything I got. Can be a very good but bad quality depending on what you do with it. The last couple years I have been working on Olympic weightlifting and trying to qualify for nationals. This year I found myself one competition and 4kg away and my body said no more. I got extreme pain in my knees and very bad pain in my shin when squatting. The knee pain has been described to me as chondromalacia patella and the shin pain still remaining a mystery but seems to be related to tight muscles primarily the calf.

This has forced me to take a step back. To rest, reevaluate and recover. I have changed my routine to doing some lifting, conditioning, and hot yoga. To my new goals being a healthier better rounded athlete. I do love competing so I don't think that will change. Now I will do some different kinds of competitions including Olympic weightlifting when I am well enough. My plan is though not to put so much pressure on myself. Some pressure pushes you too much will stop you in your tracks.

It is proven people do better when they are having fun. So set goals, push yourself to be the best you can be but remember even if not everything is accomplished you are miles ahead of where you would of been doing absolutely nothing.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston Churchill

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Backing off

"Life's up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want."

- Marsha Sinetar

So lately my Olympic weightlifting has ran into a little speed bump. I have been slowed down by my body telling me that it needs a little extra attention. My knees have been gradually getting worse for a few months until suddenly it seems or suddenly I came out of denial I couldn't keep ignoring the signs. At first I went threw every possible stage, anger, denial, and wanting to just throw in the towel. Why don't I just quit? Well that does seem like the easiest thing to do doesn't it? When things get hard we get out. For me my exercise has become an obsession since I lost weight. Quitting hasn't really ever been an option for me even though I have given it a considerable amount of thought many times throughout my life. But now that I have come to terms with what is needed in my life right now I have been feeling a lot better. And I know my goals will still be accomplished just in a little more time then I originally pictured. I have already grown so much because of my goal and this speed bump is just another obstacle to make me stronger. There is always some good to be found in every situation.

“You take the bad with the good, Rise up through it. Live in the mist of it. It's the bad that lets you know how good the good really is. Don't let the bad leave you thinking like there ain't any good. There is, and lots of it, too. ”

― Charles Martin,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Overcoming obstacles

“Courage isn't having the strength to go on - it is going on when you don't have strength.”

― Napoleon Bonaparte

Strength is not about not being weak. How you overcome your weaknesses determines your strength. If you don't challenge yourself to the utmost you will never have to really face being weak. You will never have to really deal with obstacles.

If you have never tried to conquer your own weaknesses then you haven't really triumphed in one of the greatest obstacles in life....yourself! When you conquer yourself which is never totally conquered because there will always be a weakness. There will always be triumph and struggle as long as you step out and live life to the utmost.

You have to be weak to be strong and you have to be strong to be weak. No matter what your life, you determine how you live. The people with the greatest struggle are sometimes the happiest. Why? Because they made a choice to be happy. The don't let life determine how they act and feel. No matter what the circumstance you control how you act and feel about it. Happiness cannot come from external forces. Happiness lies within us.

In my life I have struggled and conquered. I have been happy and I have been sad. I have been strong and I have been weak. When you feel that you are alone remember this struggle is something that everybody trying to do something worth doing goes through.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

― Criss Jami

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Weightlifting and my life

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert Francis Kennedy

Weightlifting is something I probably never would of imagined myself doing at any point in my life. My life brought me to it. It brought me to it so I can continue my journey of health and happiness. To strive to be the best I can be. Weightlifting is not just about picking up the barbell. It is about creating focus, being centered and believing in yourself. The barbell gives no forgiveness. If your life is off your lifts will be off. Life is about balance. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let the goal guide you

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

― Louisa May Alcott

A goal is not always achieved. Sometimes a goal is there to make you stronger and guide you in your life. The reason goal setting is so important is because you have short term goals that are realistic that will be accomplished to give you that self satisfaction and feeling of achievement. You have your long term goals to push you to strive to be the best. Even if you don't reach that goal you have achieved so much more then if you had no goal at all. The point is about not obtaining perfection but striving for perfection and getting as close as you can in your life. Being the best you can be as an individual. It is not about being better then others its about you. This is your goal, your life, and your journey.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Living in the present

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

-  Corrie Ten Boom

When you are trying to complete a task are you totally focused in that task or are you thinking about the next task you will have to complete after this one is done?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and realized you didn't actually hear anything they said?

Have you ever gone for a drive and not remembered how you got to your destination?
The truth is things are moving faster and faster. Life is getting busier and busier. If we don't slow ourselves down life will pass before we even knew what happened.

I am sure everybody has heard of meditation and probably just thinks of it as some silly thing people do sitting up straight with their legs crossed. The truth is meditation is so much more then that. Something we all could use to find peace in a life that probably seems pretty chaotic most of the time.

Meditation is really about being present. It is about seeing all the little things around us that most of us miss on a daily basis. It is about focusing on your task at hand. It is about living without judgement and negativity.

There are so many different ways to meditate. If you just stop for a second during your busy day and focus on your breath for even just a minute. Feeling the air move in through your nose and into your chest. Feeling your chest or belly rise and fall with each breath. Really feeling how that breath affects your whole body. When you take a deep breath this activates the parasympathetic nervous system which gives you a relaxation response. Which I know almost all of us could use more of. Being stressed all the time causes disease, decreases your quality of life and happiness.

Kids actually meditate all the times but aren't really trying to and nobody thinks of it like that. Have you ever noticed for the most part how much happier a child is then an adult. They haven't developed judgements and negativity yet. When a child falls down they don't think of themselves as clumsy or compare themselves to the kid across the street saying I bet they don't do that. When they are exploring a new object, scent, or hearing something new they are not thinking about what they will be doing after that. They are totally in tune with what they are experiencing at the present moment. As an adult just imagine if you close your eyes and pick up a leaf but when you pick it up you didn't know what it was right away. As soon as we recognize the object we say oh yeah that is a leaf and we are done with it. Imagine if you didn't let yourself realize what it was you were touching and just let yourself be totally focused on how it felt without judgement. Every leaf feels different and if you just recognized it was a leaf and set it down you would miss the whole experience. This type of focusing is actually considered meditation. Focusing on the present task at the present time. Washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or taking a walk. Anything can be used as a meditation. And when you learn how to focus on the task at hand you will increase the quality of everything you try to do.

When you walk out to your car in the morning do you hear the birds chirping or are you in such a hurry that you miss it?

When someone cuts you off on the street do you make up a story about that person and why they are such a jerk? Truth is we have no idea why they cut us off. Maybe they are late for work or maybe they are on their way to the hospital for an emergency. For whatever the reason we will probably never know so when we get ourselves all upset and call them nasty names we are really only hurting and upsetting ourselves. This won't affect them at all. It will just bring negativity to our life. What if they cut you off and you just responded by saying gosh I hope everything is ok with them and their day gets better. Would that change things for you?

These are just a few things to think about to help bring greater awareness and happiness to your life. Try focusing on your breathing and seeing how it makes you feel. If your mind is cluttered with thoughts don't get angry that they won't go away just let them pass by. Just be like it is not time for you right now I am being with my breath. Another thing you can try is repeat this mantra to yourself and see how it makes you feel.

"May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I be safe and free. May I care for myself with ease and joy."

Now I know you may feel like this is a bit cheesy but remember you are doing this without judgement. You are your own best friend or your own worst enemy you make the choice. Be kind to yourself. And if life isn't going the way you want it to what can it hurt to try something new. Find what works for you whatever it is and make that part of your life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


 "In all activities of life, the secret of efficiency
lies in an ability to combine two seemingly incompatible states: 
a state of maximum activity and a state of maximum relaxation."
~  Aldous Huxley

So this week has truly been an amazing week for me. I have discovered a whole new world that I have always had access to but never really tapped into. Most people would say this mind stuff is cheesy. Well that is only said by people who haven't experienced it. We all have so much much more potential inside of us then we ever realize. You don't need a magic pill. You have the power to control your own mind and body. It is not about striving for perfection it is about accepting your imperfections. It is about letting things go. Knowing when to worry about something and when that worry is doing you no good at all.

I have attended two days of my intro to meditation class. I have also been attending a relax and restore class at source yoga. It is basically an hour an a half of stretching and meditation. What I have noticed over the past couple weeks is at the beginning of the week my mind is running all day long without me being able to find the off button. When that happens my body is tense, overloaded, stressed and not in control of myself. At the end of the week after attending my yoga courses my mind is calm and I am relieved. My body is relaxed and I feel like I have let everything go and gained control again.

I realized over the weekend the challenge of working in a fast paced environment such as the hospital. Having to deal with emergencies and stressful and depressing situations. Then I thought to myself how do you remain calm inside but still move fast on the outside. Very challenging for sure. What I have learned in all my reading and education is you have to learn how to be in control when you are not under fire and then when the time comes you will be able to gain control under any situation. On Monday I decided I was going to take a couple minutes in the morning to practice my breathing before work. I don't know if that is what made the rest of my day amazing but something happened. My mind remained calm and I remained in control. I was able to focus on what I needed to be focusing on at that moment and let the rest be gone until it was time to think about those things again. My performance at work has improved as well as my performance in the gym. Yesterday at the gym I was able to power snatch 125lbs twice which is a 15lb increase from what I have ever done. I have been struggling with that for a while then all of a sudden it seems I figured something out. I attempted to clean 200lbs but just wasn't quite there. The great part is is that it doesn't even upset me. Sure I wanted it. I wanted it bad. But I will get it. It is just another obstacle but not one that will stop me. I will break though and that is the only attitude to have. If you don't believe you will do it you won't.

Think about this statement from the book body mind mastery by Dan Millman...

"To illustrate the effect of trying too hard, imagine walking across a four-inch-wide plank of wood suspended a few inches off the ground. No problem, right? Now raise the plank ten feet over a pond filled with alligators. Suddenly you begin trying harder. You feel tense. You have the same plank but a different mental state."

Interesting how our own mind prevents us from doing what we can do isn't it?

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Team ZICO Application

My Mantra:
I have a calm mind and a strong body. 
I am a champion and greatness lies within me.

So I just finalized my application this morning to be sponsored by ZICO coconut water. What I have realized through my experience is that things never really get easy. When I was in the process of losing weight it was very hard. Now that I have been experiencing keeping it off for a few years now it is not any easier just a different kind of hard. I have to get creative to keep myself on track. I would call myself a little bit of a coconut water addict. When it comes to finding things to drink that are healthy, all natural, and low in sugar there are not very many options. Coconut water gives me a way to drink something I like without affecting my health in a negative way. So my choices of drinks on a daily basis are water (which I have to get creative with and add some cucumbers, mint leaves or fruit to), herbal tea, and coconut water multiple times throughout the day since I need a lot to keep me hydrated. Caffeine dehydrates you and for me I don't need anything helping me increase my stress so I try to keep it to a minimum. Coconut water also has a great source of electrolytes which keeps me well balanced throughout my day. Whether I get accepted to be sponsored or not this will be my routine and my life forever. Healthy is the only way. Finding sponsors is just one more way I can get out there and reach others and show them they are no different then me. Anybody can do what I am doing if they are willing to put in the work. If they pick a goal and set their mind to accomplishing it. The feeling of accomplishment keeps you wanting more. Keeps you striving to be the best in your life. Since this is the only life we have why not make it great. Don't just let it pass by you. Experience it. Live it. Enjoy it.

Here are my videos I made with my husbands help for my application. Not as perfect as I wanted to life isn't perfect. Turned out pretty good though.

Life change ZICO video

ZICO action video

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding value in your life

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

~  Khalil Gibran

So I know I don't write much in my blog. I come up with things I want to write about all the time but when I sit down to lay it all out my mind is usually not clear enough to make that happen or my perfectionist qualities come into play and I don't like anything I have written so I scrap the whole thing. Definitely not the appropriate way to go about things considering my blog is for me most importantly and it is to help others that relate to me and learn from my life experiences. Which is kind of what this blog post is about. Have you ever sat back and realized that other people see more value in your life then you? Or that other people believe in you more then you do yourself?

It can be a struggle to live life to the fullest. If you want life to be easy it can be but you won't really go anywhere or see anything. To dream dreams is the easiest thing but to live dreams can be one of the hardest things you may ever do. When something bad happens in your life you can make it worse by thinking the worst. When someone dies do you dwell over their death or celebrate their life and memories? Our bodies are controlled by our minds. The 3 lbs or so of tissue in your head controls everything. Whether you live or die.....whether your happy or sad. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Happiness is definitely a choice. If you make a mistake or something is not going your way sometimes you just have to let it go. Let it be ok. Don't try to run from your imperfection but try to learn from them. If your ok with the possibility of failure it decreases the chances of it actually happening. 

We exercise our mind and body but how often do we let our mind relax. Are you one of those people who live on the edge all the time. I learned in a class I took recently about zebra's reactions. They will be just standing around chilling and then they get chased by a lion. Just say even one of the zebra's die. After the lion is gone they slow down and say that was close and go right back to what they were doing. They don't stand around and dwell on what just happened. It is over. It turns out we need to be more like zebra's in our life. Most of the time we react to things like it is a life or death situation but in the whole scheme of things it doesn't really matter and our life is not at risk. We spend a lot of time worrying about things that we can't even do anything about which when you think of it kind of makes it pointless. Unnecessary worry. When you get stressed and anxious you are making your nervous system go out of control. We have what they call the fight or flight system which is why when our life is at risk we are able to react to it immediately without even thinking about it. But when our bodies are in fight or flight response things shut down so it can use that energy to deal with the life or death situation. So when you live life stressed and anxious all the time your body is not functioning very well because you are making your bodies nervous system react unnecessarily. This is why living with anxiety, depression, fear will cause the body to break down and not function properly. 

So then what happens when we realize we are slowly killing our self and not really living. Not enjoying a great quality of life like we could be. Well we take the necessary steps to change things. Basically one step at a time will get us there. The first step may be the hardest but after that you just keep climbing with an occasional trip but if you just get back up and start climbing again you will make it to the top. There are many different ways people gain strength and mindfulness. Some people pray, some meditate. Now what do I do. I continue to learn and seek new ways to help because yes I have one of those anxious minds. I fight negative thoughts and my mind seems to be continuously running. I have gained much better control over it and I have even experienced mindlessness. A silent mind. It is really one of the most peaceful things. I have experienced the zone in sport and am still amazed at what I can do when I am not even trying to do it. In order to keep the body and mind in balance, I get regular massages, acupuncture, and see a chiropractor. I read books and take classes. I take yoga classes and drink herbal tea. I exercise and watch my diet. All these things help to keep my body and mind in line. 

Are you in control of yourself or is yourself controlling you?

Remember positive thoughts equals positive results. There is good to be found in all life's circumstances.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Goal Setting Made Easy

"Without goals, and plans to reach them, 
you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination."  

~  Fitzhugh Dodson

So the new year has come again and we are already a month into it. Every new year you hear people set new years resolutions. I think it has almost become a joke because it seems most new years resolutions do not get achieved. So why is that? Partly because people say things like "I want to lose weight". Yes, this is a great goal but not detailed enough. A person could lose 1 lb and they have achieved their goal. That is not setting the standards very high. You want a goal that in the end you will be saying to yourself "wow, that was tough but I did it".

A goal needs to be short and sweet but to the point. You need to create multiple goals, short and long to make sure you continue on your path to success. If you just create one goal and stop that would seem to me like you are at a standstill with nothing else to try to achieve in life. Life has endless possibilities and none of us are perfect which means there is always something to work on and achieve. Why not go out with a bang and take every opportunity life has to offer?

Your goal needs to be something you really want to accomplish and are willing to put in the effort to make it happen. You can't just make a goal to make it because in the end it will be pointless. What is it you dream about? Where do you want to be in your life? What direction do you want your life to go? These are all things you should be thinking about when creating your goals. If you don't guide your life in the direction you want it to go it may end up going in a totally opposite direction. Now keep in mind our life will always take us places we don't want to be, but that is part of having ups and downs. Even when you are trying to achieve a goal it will not always be easy. There will be points where things are not going well and you will feel like you are not getting any closer to where you want to be. This is the time when you have to remember that if you get knocked down off your path, you need to jump back up again and keep moving in the direction you want to go.

The reason for having short and long term goals is to create a time limit and to help keep you motivated. When you achieve a goal, you feel proud and confident. You say to yourself with a smile "I did it". Otherwise you will feel like your goal is too far away and will not even be possible and eventually you will just give up.

We need to live life in the positive, even when negative things are happening around us. This pertains to goals also. You can't have a negative goal if you want to be successful. For example, since I compete in olympic weightlifting.....if I walk up to the bar and say "I don't want to miss this lift" my goal is to not miss but my mind will hear miss lift and that is exactly what my body will do. If I walk up and say "I wanna be smooth, fast and finish this lift" my mind is hearing all the things I need to do to make that come true. Another example may be "I don't want to gain anymore weight". Your mind will hear gain weight and will end up sending you in the opposite direction you want to go. But if you say "I want to maintain my weight". Chances are a lot higher that it will happen.

Now since I have kinda explained to you the yes's and no's of goal setting. Let's start creating our goals. I will start with mine and you can create yours.

Seven Day Goal:
I want to dedicate 5 minutes each day to rehearse my visualization of my olympic lifts.

One Month Goal:
I want to be able to visualize myself doing a successful snatch and clean and jerk.

Six Month Goal:
I want to snatch 160lbs and clean and jerk 200lbs for my one rep max.

One Year Goal:
I want to qualify for the American Open in December 2012 and the National Championship in 2013 in olympic weightlifting.

Now my goal after that in olympic weightlifting is more a dream right now then a goal because I am not close enough to it to know whether it is realistic or be able to put a time frame on it. But I know just because there are many things going against me in being a successful olympic weightlifter such as having only been doing it for a little over one year, already being 30 years old, and probably not having the perfect body type. This does not mean we can't achieve the impossible. I mean the sky's the limit, right? That being said my ultimate goal in olympic weightlifting is to make it to an international competition.

Now if you take a look at my goals and how they are set up all the smaller goals are leading me to achievement of the larger goals. Now you can have different goals with different focuses but if you have too many goals you are kinda setting yourself up for failure. So I would suggest having goals in different areas but not too many in one area. For instance I have my fitness goal of olympic weightlifting. An example of having too many fitness goals would be if I wanted to compete in an international weightlifting competition and make it to the crossfit games. Chances are not very likely I would be able to do both since these are both pretty challenging goals. But you can have a fitness goal and a work goal and I don't think that would be as unrealistic and would make you successful in different areas of your life, which is a good thing.

Now why don't you tell me your goals and we will see if anything can be improved to make you more successful?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Competition Day January 2012

Let me start this off by saying I know I haven't posted anything in quite a while. I was on a roll and then I developed a case of writers block. That is what I am going to call it anyway. I actually have no good reason for not keeping up with my blog. I sat down many times to try and write but it never seemed to come out good enough or end up like I wanted it to....this has to do with the perfectionist part of me. So in the end you could say I gave up and ended up not writing anything at all. Now this was definitely not the correct direction to go because the more we continue to do something the better we get at it. If we give up that sends our direction a standstill. Probably not a good place to be.

Now moving on to my last competition which was on January 7th, 2012. It would of been much better to write this post right after the competition but I wanted to wait until I got a hold of all of my videos since they existed. Now have I learned how to control my nerves in competition yet? Not exactly but I am making improvement which is what matters the most. I tend to be a very anxious person at times and almost uncontrollable. I wish I could say that wasn't me but we have to work with who we are and kinda tweak ourselves to be better. I was very nervous at this competition. I did try hard to get myself under control but was not quite as together as my previous competition. That being said I still made tremendous improvement.

We can start off with my snatch which I am very very happy with. You could see a huge improvement in my technique during this lift. My previous competition in October I ended my snatch with 57kg (125.4lbs). This competition I ended my snatch with 62kg (136.4lbs). That is a 5kg (11lb) jump just in my snatch which is where most of my improvement was made. Still need improvement in some areas but these videos I can watch all day.

Now moving on to where I lost it a bit. You can't underestimate the very challenging part of sitting and waiting for your turn to lift. My body starts to ache. I start to feel tired. My mind starts to deteriorate. While I waited I tried repeating to myself that I could do it. Maybe I got too comfortable and my mind and body forgot I still had 3 more lifts left. Whatever the case may be those last 3 lifts were some of the hardest lifts I have done. I went out there and missed my 1st jerk. Then I was really upset kinda doubting myself. Had to get some encouragement from my great friends and teammates and get myself ready to go back out there. I had to get really fired up. When you watch the videos you will notice I had a horribly loud scream. This is what I tend to do when I am not in control. Making loud noises are great but it should be in a controlled manner. If you don't control your body it will control you. Always more things to work on. My clean and jerk seems to look as bad in the videos as they felt but I am going to continue to learn and grow from my mistakes. We fail so we can learn how to succeed. Now this probably can't even be considered a failure but if you knew how well my clean and jerks have been in practice this was not even close to my capabilities. But guess what.... practice makes perfect and I am determined to get on the big stage and when I get there I want my best to come out.

So in the end I increased my total from 136kg (299.2lbs) to 144kg (316.8lbs) which turns out to be an 8kg (17.6lbs) improvement since October. It actually makes my overall improvement 23kg (50.6lbs) since my very first olympic lifting meet on October 2010. That is a little over a year and my improvement is not just in the weight I am lifting it is in my mind as well. I am stronger, healthier, have better technique and more determined then ever to achieve my goals.