Are you asking yourself the real questions?

RuPaul is right.

The struggle is real, and it will continue to be real.

So, I’ve started asking myself the following questions;

“What pain are you willing to sustain? What do you want to struggle for?”

These are questions created and addressed by Mark Manson.

This man actually asks the real questions and some of these questions are really hard.

The basics behind this is we often share what it is that we want.

The things we share are often about having the perfect life, but it doesn’t address what we are willing to do to get it.

You can read more about this in the blog post here, or buy his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck here.

Recently, I’ve come into a transitional phase in my life.

One where I have to address “Who am I and what do I value?”

So far I’ve been answering this question based on past experiences and expectations outside of myself.

The truth is that some of the things I want to do might seem strange.

I recently got a job as a remote customer service person.

Basically like a call center for your home.

I’m excited for this because I’ll still get to help people, even though a lot of them may be angry.

Teaching middle school, heck, even kindergarten has prepared me for this.

Now, before you get all judge-y about call center jobs let me tell you a story.

It’s about three masons, putting a building together.

All three of them are doing the same job.

The first one had the mindset of, “I’m just laying some bricks.”

The second one said, “I’m making a building.”

The third one said, “I’m building a house of God.”

The difference between the three is this; the first one saw what he was doing as a job, the second one a career, and the third one saw what he was doing as his passion.

I want to reiterate that they were all doing the same type of work.

It’s about the mindset behind the work.

Angela Duckworth covers this in the chapter on Passion from her book Grit.

When we talk about passion, we see it as something outside of what we are already doing and it comes from a place of lack.

The place we should start with is what we already do, what we like to do, and how we can use those things we like to do.

Then, we can channel them into what we already do or find other places that those things would be helpful.

So when it comes to doing this new job…

The thing that most excites me is the combination of these things while helping people understand the fine print.

If you know me, you know I read EVERYTHING.

I get particular joy reading through health plans.

If someone is struggling with anything that requires combing through the fine print, I’ll go through and help them figure out if they are justified and what they can do.

So the pain I’m willing to sustain is to help people resolve issues with medical insurance jargon.

Do I think I will be building houses of God doing this? That remains to be seen.

I’m so pumped about this, though.

That may sound strange to some people, but I’m no longer basing my life on the opinions of others.

That’s how I lost myself in the first place, and now have to struggle with questions like this in my 30’s.

Of course I’m learning that doesn’t even matter because no matter what our age we are transitioning in one way or another.

What is it that you are willing to struggle for?

Until next time.

Sincerely,

Angela

(Note: If this spoke to you or you know someone else who needs to hear that they should just let themselves enjoy the things they actually want to struggle through, give it a share. I am also not getting anything out of sharing Mark’s stuff. I just think he is asking the real questions and putting the unfiltered truth into the universe. Seriously, read his stuff. The same goes for Angela Duckworth.)

Why it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

Do you often feel like something is missing in your life?

Do you feel like because you’re a certain age you should be more put together?

Well, I’m here to tell you that not everyone has everything figured out.

If someone says they have it all figured out they are lying to you or are ignoring the fact that life is a co-creative process.

Generally, when we see people, especially on social media, we see the finished product.

I’ve noticed that even those trying to be vulnerable on social media still look like a finished product on some level.

I’m not saying I don’t do the same thing.

If I don’t do my videos live, I redo them until that strand of hair stays in place or something.

I’m not knocking it, being vulnerable is hard.

The point is this, we have more time to compare ourselves to other based on social media because we are sitting at home, and it’s time to stop.

It’s okay to not have everything figured out, don’t let the outside world try to convince you otherwise.

When we attempt to have every single thing figured out, there comes a level of rigidity and extremes.

You have your meal plan figured out for the whole month, so you’re afraid to leave your house because it will derail the whole thing.

Or you’ve decided you’re going to do factory work, work until you retire, and live off a pension until you die.

Then you’re blindsided by the fact that they are moving your work overseas or are closing down the factory.

This is true with any job, but I feel like factory workers get shafted a lot, just like farmers.

When you go through life with that rigid belief can throw you when the rug is pulled out from under you.

It’s like the parable about the dude who built his house on the rock and the dude who built his house on the sand.

The guy with the sand house was sure that it wasn’t going to rain, there would be no wind, and the sand will always be there.

If you know the story you know what happened to that guy’s house.

Another great example is from the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?”

The guy who demanded the cheese comes back and kind of sits there gets into huge trouble.

However, the people who are actively looking for the cheese don’t know where it is, but if they keep walking they’ll find out.

Read the book, the author tells it better than my poor summation of the story.

If you’re sure you have it all figured out, the rigidity of it can and will implode.

Another reason that it’s okay to not have it figured out is that it gives you the opportunity for growth.

It also gives you the space to realize that not having everything figured out is not the same as lacking something.

I’ve given this talk before about how there’s nothing to fix, there are just opportunities to grow.

Feeling terrible because Brenda from high school seems to have it figured out but you don’t is a scarcity mindset.

Coming from a place of abundance would give Brenda the grace of being fallible, and giving yourself the same grace.

Because believe me, Brenda is fallible, just like you are, just like I am.

That’s okay.

Don’t ask me why I chose Brenda. Brenda is just the first name that comes to my mind when I make up scenarios.

To summarize this whole thing, it’s okay to not have everything figured out because it allows you to be flexible, to have room for growth, to come from an abundance mindset, and to be able to participate in the co-creative process with all of us other schmucks who don’t have everything figured out either.

Until next time.

Classically,

Angela

The #1 Thing I’m Good At

Over complication and over thinking is like an art form for me.

I have over complicated things since the day I was born.

That’s not an exaggeration.

I tried to come into the world upside down.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m an entrepreneur in information overload and analysis paralysis.

In this day and age there is so much advice, so many methods, and a coach on every corner.

It can be maddening starting out.

Don’t get me wrong, mentorship and coaching are great…

If you don’t have shiny object syndrome.

Analysis paralysis is real, people.

So what do you do to combat that?

Trust yourself.

Allow yourself to mess up, get rejected, fall on your face.

There are people out there who want to help you not struggle because they’ve done it already,

And that’s fine.

But don’t let someone offering training wheels overshadow your ability to ride, fall, scrape your knee, and get back up again until you can fly.

The number one thing I’m good at is over complication and over analysis, but I think I’m going to find a new thing.

And whatever that is, it’s going to be a good one with all the scars from falling on my face trying to do it.

Until next time.

Classically,

Angela

What is the meaning of self-discipline?

Have you ever tried to start doing something new, but find yourself in a cycle of excitement and then disappointment?

If you ever feel you lack self-discipline, hold on for this series on self-discipline.

Today I’m going to cover the meaning of self-discipline.

Let me first define self-discipline by explaining what self-discipline is not.

  • It’s not punitive.

When we think of the word discipline, more often than not it has a negative connotation.

Sometimes we feel like in order to be disciplined we have to punish ourselves or make ourselves suffer in some way.

This brings me to my next point.

  • Self-discipline is not linked to your morality (or it shouldn’t be).

If you mess up and fall of the wagon you are not a bad person.

This type of thinking is actually self-sabotaging.

Whether or not you choose to eat celery doesn’t determine the type of person you are.

The amount of time you spend in the gym versus sitting on the couch is not directly linked to whether or not you are a good or bad person.

  • Self-discipline is not shaming.

This is related to the morality point because those negative thoughts you have come from a place of shame.

While negative reinforcement can work, it will only work for a short period of time.

  • It’s not just sheer will power alone.

If you hate what you are trying to be disciplined about, when the going gets tough that’s when it stops.

If you are trying to do something out of self-loathing or because you want to be like someone else, that won’t work long term either.

One of our main motivations in life is to avoid pain.

So cultivating self-discipline cannot come from a place of punishment, self-hate, shame, envy or will power.

So what IS self-discipline?

Well, I am going to start with definitions from a couple of dictionaries.

I like using official text in my analyses so bear with me here.

The Mariam-Webster dictionary defines self-discipline as correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

The Oxford Dictionary states that self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

In order to accomplish either definition of self-discipline effectively is to start from a place of self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance isn’t just accepting the sunny side of yourself, but the dark side of the moon as well.

Then a continuation from a place of self-awareness.

What do you really want?

If it’s not running, forcing yourself to be a runner isn’t going to work long term.

Especially if you don’t just dislike running, but you hate it.

It’s okay, I’ve been there. I wanted to run a marathon at one point, but I came to the realization that I can’t stand running.

I found that I don’t really care to understand pace and all of the things that go into running effectively and with intention.

When I let go of running and just started dancing (setting up the PS4 camera again), I had more fun.

The one thing I consistently did growing up was play Dance Dance Revolution with my friends or doing a belly dancing class.

Because I am aware of this, I found a sustainable way for me to do cardio and enjoy doing cardio.

For some people it’s the opposite.

The point is you have to know where you stand with what you are trying to accomplish.

I am aware that I am a dancer, not a runner and I accept that.

If the weakness you want to improve requires an action you love doing you’ll stick to it a lot better.

There is a lot more I want to cover on this topic, so catch my next point on why self-discipline is important.

Until next time.

Classically,
Angela

How I uncovered a deep dark secret about my relationship with my violin

In doing thought work around finding my life’s one true purpose or guiding principle, I actually combined a couple of things.

First I did an exercise by Warren Buffet which included writing out 25 career goals, doing some soul searching to pick the top 5 most important, and finally erasing the other 20 because they took away focus from the 5.

The next step I did was Angela Duckworth’s addition to Warren Buffet’s exercise, which was to what extent do these things have in common.

They each were interconnected with each other, and all roads I believe led back to leadership and advocacy for me, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

I’m here to talk about one specific goal: being the best at playing violin/viola.

I dug a little deeper, asking myself “why?” on repeat like a toddler.

Why do I want to be the best violinist/violist?

So I can teach it better, be sought out for gigs, and so people would take me more seriously.

“So people would take me more seriously.”

This one stung, so I asked myself “Why is that important to me?”

“Because I want to erase my sins of the past. So I can stop being that example of what not to do when professors and conductors talk about me, so I can stop blaming others for my choices, so that I can feel like I belong.”

Ouch. I had to start addressing these things like I’m my own therapist.

It led down the rabbit hole farther until I came to the following conclusion.

I place value on being the best at violin so as to erase all doubt of my ability, and the metric I measure it by is being so good it erases my mistakes and atones for hurting other people and myself with past behavior.

But it goes deeper.

My worthiness to play my instrument is based on how others perceive me. My self-worth is deeply rooted into what people think of my playing ability, especially those who have seen me at my worst.

The result of getting to this realization was that feeling of every lesson I walked into unprepared, every performance that I half assed practiced for, every glare I got from a conductor or my peers in college, every time I became more and more afraid to open my case and thus because more and more afraid of playing in front of people.

That tension in my neck, that lump in my throat, that tightness in my chest, clenching of the jaw, and a dread that goes deep down into my stomach hit me like a bus.

That desire to want to curl up and disappear.

I shed no tears, but I got a little misty.

I immediately remembered my embodied resources and breathing techniques to create space in my body and realize this is a survival response to all that grief and shame I held onto all this time in my body.

I didn’t think that my experience growing up learning to play my instrument would trigger a full on trauma response, but it did.

It’s a whole new world when you become aware of what you did and who you had to be to survive it.

As much as it sucked to go this deep, face that demon, and feel those feelings, it oddly felt freeing.

And it also will give me the opportunity to heal, and play, and get better for myself.

To let go and finally be intrinsically motivated to love my music, and my instrument. (Hopefully)

I hope that writing about this experience is helpful to you with something you are passionate about, but you basically got wrecked by your lates teens early 20’s or even if you are going through it now.

Definitely share it with someone you know who may be going through the same thing.

Until next time.

Classically yours,

Angela

What I learned about consistency (video)

In this Facebook Live, I cover what I have been learning and kind of talking about with consistency in my last two blog posts.

I did this because I know that sometimes people like to consume content in video format.

Personally, I like to engage in both, it really depends on the day.

I hope that you enjoy this video as much as I actually enjoyed making it, and I’ll see you next time.

Classically,

Angela