Classically Angela Blog

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

My Crazy Addiction to Cooking Competitions

It’s the end of the day, and I’m exhausted.

There is nothing I want to do more than to put on my comfy pants, sit in my comfy chair and decompress.

What do I do to decompress?

Watch other people losing their minds to cook things in 45 minutes or less.

That’s right. I decompress watching cooking competitions.

Who is the king of bringing us the best of the best in cooking competitions?

Food Network.

I could binge watch Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef America, Beat Bobby Flay and other until Hulu gets judge-y and asks me, “Are you still there?”

Yes, Hulu I’m still here trying to watch Alton Brown kill someone’s spirit by making them cook with golf clubs on Cutthroat Kitchen. Geez.

On occasion, I have some of these shows playing in the background while I’m cooking dinner.

Food Network has done more for me than providing quality entertainment.

Food Network has also been a great help to me with recipes.

Aside from watching the judges crush people’s spirits, I occasionally like to look for recipes from the judges on the Food Network website.

I don’t talk a lot about cooking because I don’t cook as much as I used to.

My default setting is spaghetti in meat sauce.

I will never forget that flank steak I made using a recipe from Guy Fieri though. Heaven.

Back to the competition shows, I’m usually not a back seat chef (because I’m not a chef), but…

When competitors try making certain foods with certain judges on the panel, it’s like they are actively trying to get cut from the competition.

Do not try to make a mole in 30 minutes with Aarón Sánchez on the panel.

The same with a risotto with Scott Conant is on the panel.

Those things do not cook well in under 30 minutes, just don’t do it.

They do it every time, but few do it successfully.

I give those chefs a sigh of relief and applause.

It’s usually at the detriment of something else on the plate though.

Aside from covering my face when a bright-eyes chef says, “I’m going to make risotto in 30 minutes…”

I watch carefully to learn from the chefs too.

There are certain knife skills I’ve picked up watching the chefs, from chopping vegetables to getting proper cuts on meat.

The themed episodes with butchers are my favorite ones.

No, I do not chop my food as fast as they do or as clean.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people can cut up food without chopping off a finger.

Anyway, I love cooking competitions and I’m glad Food Network keeps bringing them to us.

Just thought I’d share.

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

Reflections on Passion and Boredom

Sometimes when I’m reading I run across passages that speak to me. I share my thoughts on this one in particular.

When I read this, I paused to think about the meaning behind it.

When put in this way, it hit me different.

Kind of like a revelation that was presented to me in that moment.

It never occurred to me that when I get tired of something I’m passionate about that I might be blah somewhere else.

It’s strange because when I think about people being hurtful there is a need that’s not being met somewhere else.

Why should boredom be any different when the thing I’m bored with is something that I’m passionate about?

If I am bored, a need isn’t being met somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate for embracing boredom.

In this day and age we are so plugged in and going so fast, we forgot how to be bored and unfortunately, our children haven’t had the opportunity to sit in boredom to begin with.

It’s kind of like smartphones.

I know I lived a pretty decent life before the iPhone, so why can I not imagine life without it now?

It’s an interesting concept.

The spaces I have found that are the best places to be bored are in down time.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to let yourself be bored, especially in down time.

It requires your mind and your imagination to get to work to keep you entertained.

The spaces that you don’t want boredom to set in is in your passions, like the quote states.

That’s not to say that your passion will be easy everyday or that it will be the most interesting thing in the world everyday, but you don’t want that fire to go out.

You also don’t want to be so inundated with your passion that you don’t make time for anything else. That burns the candle faster.

The point is that in order to keep going with fire takes self-awareness.

Creating that space to be self-aware can come from meditation and journaling.

That isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but those are the ones that I know of fairly well.

So today, take a moment to think about where you are in each area of your life, and find where the fire is starting to go out.

A better description might be where the thread is starting to unravel, but either way, reflect and identify it.

Be come self-aware and honor yourself in that area so you can honor what you love by creating interest in that area. That loose thread.

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

How to Add More Consistency to Your New Habits

When trying to turn a new habit into a consistent norm, there are some hard questions you may need to ask yourself.

Consistency is what we do most often when we are comfortable.

The thing we consistently go back to is the norm. It’s our habit.

Some of these consistencies popped up with how we protected ourselves as children from childhood trauma. How we changed ourselves to please our caregivers and maintain connection.

Ironically these defense mechanisms are the reason why we may experience a lack of connection with ourselves and others.

The point is, some of the things we consistently do aren’t healthy.

“Well, how do I get to a healthier place?” you may be asking.

From my research I have some ideas about how to make changes last a little longer if not for the rest of your life.

Most of my examples are weight loss based, but this can be applicable to anything you want to change into a norm that you want to start being consistent with.

The thing about commitment to becoming more consistent is to first and foremost ask,

“Why do I want to make this change?”

Unless you’re smoking or drinking yourself into an early grave, if you are not included in any part of your answer to this question, you’re going to run into problems.

Society has set some preconceived notions on what we should change to become thinner, have more glittery hair, misty looking skin, the perfect looking home, etc.

The problem is if you want to change because you want to have more than that guy Jim who lives next door, or because of societal standards, is this change really going to make you happy?

If you want to lose weight because your boyfriend says you’re fat, that’s a terrible reason and you should probably consider changing your boyfriend not your pants size. Just saying.

Same thing for you fellas, if she’s roasting you on your wonderful dad bod and that’s the only reason you want to make a change, the change you should probably make is to someone who will appreciate you no matter your size.

If you want to lose weight and get healthy because you want to have the energy to play with your kids, that’s better because your desire is to get energy to play with your kids.

You kids could care less how much you weigh or your energy level as long as you spend quality time, but if you want to be able to join in on a game of tag, your kids will love that too.

The point is, you want to adjust the way you play with your kids by making a change for yourself.

If you want to lose weight because you can’t look at yourself in the mirror naked when you are at home by yourself, there’s a deeper issue there, one in which having a certified counselor may help you through whatever is causing that for you.

If you don’t love what you see now, you’ll keep changing the finish line and become unhealthy in the opposite direction.

If you look in the mirror and say,

“I love how I look. I love my body, and so I want to treat my temple a little better because it is awesome.”

Then that’s cool. Flex queen.

The point is you have to assess why do you want to change. Not just with weight loss, but with just about anything. Weight loss is just an easy example.

Once you have that answer, dig a little deeper and ask yourself why a couple of more times.

Channel your inner toddler, and keep asking, “Why? Why? Why?”

“I love how I look. I love my body, and so I want to treat my temple a little better because it is awesome.”

Why?

“Because I am worthy as I am now, and I also believe I deserve to strive to live my best life.”

Why?
"Because I have been hurting, and all of the hurt, anger, shame, and grief inside has caused me to defend myself and practice self-comfort in unhealthy ways. My body is a machine that has carried me through all of that, and now I want to heal those hurts. I want to show myself and my body some true love for a change. It's not about a number on a scale or a pants size, but about feeling my best and figuring out what 'feeling well' means to me."

Some deep stuff right?

As Lizzo says, whatever body type you are working towards is none of anyone’s business. Skinny doesn’t always mean healthy, despite what popular opinion says.

Good blood test results and great vitals from your doctor every year from your annual check up and your ability to do the amount of physical activity you’re willing to do is your “well.”

Annual physicals are good for you. Preventative medicine is the best medicine. Obviously I'm not a doctor, but catching things early especially when it comes to your health is better than waiting until it's too late.

If you work and office job and being ripped for the Gods is your idea of well (as long as you aren’t doing illegal steroid stuff to promote body dysmorphia), then flex my dude.

If like being a little fluffy, then work honey.

If you can’t gain any weight at all because of genetics or a medical issue, don’t let society’s commentary get you down. I just want you to know that I see you, and I think you can still flex and do you boo. Don’t let nobody tell you different.

Everybody’s body is beautiful, and the definition of “well” doesn’t look the same for everybody.

So now we have dug deeply into the “why?” and there may have been some tears shed, that is okay.

Let go of that voice that says crying makes you weak and a baby. Whoever told you that shit did more damage to you than actually letting you feel your feelings.

Let the tears out or one day it will consume you.

The next thing is that we’ve got to hit is,

“Now that I have asked myself why on a deep level, what are my preconceived notions about what I need to do to achieve what I want?”

Back to the weight loss example, if your preconceived notion is to start eating only 1200 calories tomorrow, or two almonds a day, expect to gain weight back after that crash diet is over.

If you don’t believe me, check out the statistics around yo-yo dieting.

I could write a book, I think most of us can at this point with diet culture. Looking at that book section on Amazon it almost feels like most of us probably have.

Before I continue, I am going to say that I am not a doctor, I do not have a degree in nutrition, nor am I a psychologist or counsellor. I just like to read and try stuff. Some of it is research, but WebMD is not the equivalent to the blood sweat and tears required to be an MD, so if you feel like you need to seek the advice of the MD before engaging in any lifestyle changes, please for the love of God do.

“Is my preconceived notion maintainable for the rest of my life?”

If the answer is no, you probably need to find a new notion.

The thing about maintaining consistent health and consistent wellness is that whatever you do to change your trajectory it has to be something that you can wake up every day (or at least 80% of the time), and do.

As a result of my yo-yo dieting adventures in my early 20s, I hate sweet potatoes and chicken breast on it’s own.

Eating “healthier” can taste good. I have some cook books and websites I like to use that I will talk about in a different post.

If you need to change your preconceived notion because it’s extreme, ask yourself this…

“What is one small change I can do right now, that is low risk, and I can consistently accomplish over time with minimal discomfort?”

The thing about consistency and commitment is you have to start with the smallest habit with the least amount of risk and aversion.

If that means drinking one less soda a day, or eating one more banana, do it. Do it for 30 days, see how you feel. Journal it.

You may find out that after 30 days drinking one less soda a day wasn’t so bad, then try the next thing, journal about it.

You may be thinking, “This is easy!”

Good, it should be if you take it one thing at a time.

I didn’t acquire a taste for unsweet tea overnight, believe me.

That took time, and while my other habits have gone to hell (which is why I am doing research on this topic) that is one I have been able to maintain.

If you feel that you can handle a total overhaul and do a reset, there are some great ones, but just be aware if your mindset and preconceived notions going in have to do with a number or fitting into a certain pants size you may want to address why you feel that way and start small.

Once you feel you have achieved optimal wellness and it’s maintainable for you until the day you die, (the same thing with any other habit you want to do consistently that may have nothing to do with weight loss) you must ask yourself another question and this one is going to be a doozy.

“What is the gateway food/activity/person?”

This one is going to hurt…

It’s not necessarily that you will have to give up this gateway item if you don’t want to, though it might be for the best.

It’s that when you have identified this food/activity/person you have to be real intentional about whether or not you will consume/participate, and how much.

If you don’t feel you can walk away from that situation without crapping on all of your hard work, don’t put yourself in that position.

It is going to suck… a lot.

Especially if you really love that food/activity/person, but you have to decide what’s worse, letting go of that gateway thing or letting go of everything you worked for to achieve whatever it is that you wanted to achieve.

Now, I know this may sound a little extreme, but addiction is not merely restricted to alcohol or drugs.

Sugar, binging food, binging Netflix, internet usage, playing a round of poker with your bros, charging your credit card for that one cute outfit that’s on sale, getting that one lap dance, going out with that friend that you know you’ll get arrested with by the end of the night, adopting another cat even though you already have 5 and you’re supposed to be cut off, opening social media…

We all have a gateway to a vice.

A gateway to a comfort we are trying to change because we have determined for ourselves on a deep level that we are not about that life anymore, and it’s not helping us live our best life.

Unless you live on a farm, or a large house, having more than 5 cats is not helping your cats live their best life.

I know saving all of the cats might seem like a great idea in theory, in practice it’s not always best for you or the cats.

I digress.

I hope this was helpful to you.

This isn’t necessarily the end of my thoughts and research on consistency.

I know there is a lot of stuff written on this topic, but I hope the way I put one thing or another produced an “aha” moment for you.

Until next time.

Classically,
Angela

A New Way to Think about Consistency

This may or may not be new to some, but up until my research I had the wrong idea about consistency.

This may or may not be new to some, but up until my research I had the wrong idea about consistency.

I would get mad at myself because I couldn’t consistently eat a certain way, or spread out projects to get them done in a reasonable amount of time with detail, or how I couldn’t practice consistently…

Here’s the truth about consistency…

Consistency is what we do most often when we are comfortable.

The thing we consistently go back to is the norm. It’s our habit.

If that norm for you is napping for too long in the middle of the day, as soon as you try to break that consistency, as soon as you run into trouble starting the new habit, you got back to what is comfortable.

Some of these consistencies popped up with how we protected ourselves as children from childhood trauma. How we changed ourselves to please our caregivers and maintain connection.

Some of these defense mechanisms, no matter how ineffective that they are as adults, are still our safe spaces today.

Ironically these defense mechanisms are the reason why we may experience a lack of connection with ourselves and others.

These behaviors can range from perfectionism, having not one single fleck of dust in your home or office at any given point and absolutely everything has the place it needs to go to self-numbing behaviors like eating cheetos and binge watching Netflix.

Neither one is healthy believe it or not.

Sometimes it’s okay for your house to look like people actually live there and not like a showroom, so you can take the time to enjoy the kids and the dog, or sometimes it’s okay to cry and deal with unresolved issues.

No one is judging you if that means that you cry over that bag of Cheetos.

It is okay. Just let it all go.

The point is, some of the things we consistently do aren’t healthy, and unfortunately, while wanting to become healthier is good, there’s a reason why our New Year’s Resolutions tend to fail.

Making a change is taking a step into the unknown, and the bigger the resolution the bigger the chance that you’ll be paying for that gym memberships through to June that you only used in January.

Part of stepping into the unknown is not knowing whether you will succeed or fail.

If you have consistently failed in the past, you will enter your change with mindset that you will fail, and you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Generally, speaking when we do stuff like this we are trying to prove ourselves right at every turn.

This isn’t me saying, “If you just believe in yourself a little more this time, you’ll succeed Jimmy. Just clap if you believe.”

No, blowing smoke up someone’s butt by saying if you believe hard enough without addressing the deeper mindset is going to cause money to bleed out of their wallet on that gym membership…

Or whatever your habit you are trying to change so that it becomes the norm that you do consistently.

You have to dig deep to make what you want to change into the norm.

In order to make long term change, you have to ask yourself some hard questions, which I will address in a different post.

I know there is a lot of stuff written on this topic.

Trust me, there is a lot.

However, I hope the way I put one thing or another produced an “aha” moment for you.

This isn’t the end of my research or thoughts on consistency.

This is just a start.

Until next time.

Classically,
Angela