life

Accountability helps us actualize our ideal lives.

Sleeping in a hotel this summer wasn't my rock bottom. I think most people would think it would be but it wasn't.

I stayed in a hotel for a week this past summer as I bridged the time between crashing on couches and moving into my short-term rental at the Jersey Shore. It was something I chose intentionally. After a summer spent moving around looking for where I would land and call Home, the hotel was my last stop before landing back Home in New Jersey where I'm from and where I left in 2006.

My actual rock bottom hit months later, the week after Christmas, in a fancy carriage house. It was supposed to be Home but it ended up being another stop on my path and would serve to teach me invaluable lessons about myself and my resiliency and tenacity.

I possess seemingly unshakeable resiliency. It enables me to overcome things that would stop most people in their tracks. I often think to myself how many assumptions people make about me and my life based on what they see in social media because I selectively choose what to share and when and why, not because I'm trying to hide anything but because I try to be intentional about what will actually help and inspire people. If I'm going through challenges in my own life, I've become more mindful of what to share to bring more positivity or clarity or inspiration to peoples' lives. I try not to add more doom and gloom because there's plenty out there. If I'm going through something hard and I feel discouraged or afraid, I'd rather share less of the details and more of what I did AFTER THE FACT to help people through the same thing. Just complaining into the ether doesn't really add anything to anyone's life.

And I know when my book is published, it will have plenty of room for all the stories and details that I don't share on social media because it's all designed for very short attention spans. The wisdom I have to share deserves peoples' time and attention and they make more of that when they decide to buy a book.

It's the same way with accountability. People make time for what really matters to them OR what their habits have carved into their cerebral cortexes. Habits aren't always intentional or conscious choices and the way we start to become more aware of this is by taking action to unpack what we do and think and feel and say and WHY we do it all. That's when accountability serves us to help make different decisions to get different results.

If we want to lose weight, accountability helps us stick to the choices that will help us do that.

If we want to move to a new city, accountability helps us line up phone calls and make lists of action steps to get us closer to that goal.

If we want to start a business or find a new job, accountability helps us polish our resume to send out or call former or new clients for new business.

Accountability is the thing that takes us from where we ARE to where we WANT to be.

When I sat in the fancy carriage house this past December, I realized it wasn't the right place for me. I had made decisions that got me to that place and even though I was exhausted from a long string of months spent wandering around with no home, I knew I couldn't stay in a place that didn't feel right. I knew I had to keep going and summon more courage and strength to get to where HOME felt right and good in the ways I needed. I didn't know how I'd do it but I knew staying just wasn't an option.

Accountability that I've learned from so many years being a coach helped me push through the fear and doubt and shame and fatigue and get to the end goal I wanted. And it's better than I ever could have planned and I think to myself what my life would be like right now if I had given up or hadn't applied the level of accountability I did when it felt like I had absolutely nothing left.

I wouldn't feel this blissed out and grateful. I would have settled and would be sitting in something sub-optimal.

We aren't meant to live sub-optimal lives. We are meant to live IDEAL lives and with a little elbow grease and some help in our corner, we can make that reality. I'm here to prove it, against incredible odds.

And if I can do it, I know you can, too.

Life is simply endless troubleshooting.

Life happens for us on a constant basis. We're lucky in this way until we die because it gives us endless opportunities to build our resilience from stretching and growing.

Except most people don't see life in this way at all! They see it as constantly happening TO them and not FOR them. I remember when I viewed my life the same way most of the time, but I can also tell you that it's transformed in big ways since shifting my frame of mind.

And the new frame or mindset I use is this: life is simply endless troubleshooting. No matter the circumstances, life is just choice after choice of "how am I going to fix this or change this or solve this." But most people have this whole other frame of mind that keeps them suffering endlessly. I see it really clearly with my mom pretty much every time I speak to her but I also see it all over the place on social media and listening to people.

People have this constant background narrative of "it shouldn't be like this" or "this shouldn't be happening" and life becomes this constant struggle and inconvenience instead of a series of incidents or opportunities to be solved. Once you notice it, it's hard to turn off. People come from this place of "UGH! IF ONLY this wasn't happening, my life would be going just fine," but the truth is, they'd probably still find something to complain about or be bothered by. Why? Because nothing stays the same ever and the reason for that is because the Universe is constantly growing and expanding outward. Trying to make things stay as they are, either us or another person or a job or something else, is literally fighting the way things are. It's fighting reality.

It's like trying to keep a wave upon the sand [name that tune!]. 

Have you ever tried to keep a wave on the sand? That sounds crazy, right? Think about some other analogy in nature and it's easy to realize how silly it sounds but then we try to make people, places or things or aspects of our lives stay the same when it's just not how things are.

So when cars break down in traffic or mail is delayed or appointments get changed or people die or we get fired or politicians impose bans or men and women harass each other (because they do) or any of the big and small ways that life just shifts and changes, instead of seeing these things as major inconveniences or things that shouldn't be happening, we can just see it as endless troubleshooting. 

Life is just endless things to be solved from moment to moment. It's not personal. You didn't deserve it. It's not happening TO you and it's certainly not wrong or bad. It's just the way things are.

Try using this frame or mindset for one day, ok start with the next five minutes, and see what you see!

If you dread it, why do it?

I mean, really.

Why are you doing something that doesn't make you happy?

And if you know me, I hope you're considering what the heck I've done in my life and what I've overcome to get to this point where I can ask a question that may sound trite. If you don't know me, I'll tell you some more so you get that I GET IT.

I get the anxiety and depression and insomnia and stomach issues and infertility and paranoia and weight gain or loss and chronic pain and addiction and all the other things that you're experiencing from keeping yourself somewhere or in something that isn't meant for you. I get it because I've experienced all those things (even the infertility thing--but for a different reason) multiple times in my life from keeping myself in situations that weren't meant for me from fear of changing or being healthy and happy. 

I get it. I get the concerns and fears and hesitation and ambivalence that is keeping you doing what you're doing or where you are. It kept me in jobs and relationships and situations and habits and patterns and HECK, even in a body, that wasn't really ME. 

We do what we do until we do something different. Nothing changes if nothing changes, all that stuff. Easy to say, hard to do. 

But the HARD is what you have to weigh--if the hard of choosing or the possible outcome is harder than the dread you feel right now. If the hard of what might happen, say if you ate something you consider off-limits or if you stopped working out so often or turned off the TV and went to bed earlier EVERY NIGHT or opened your heart to someone who seems great and really likes you...if those hard things would outweigh the HARD of your current state.

Because life doesn't need to be hard or feel horrible. I say this from experience.

I get the whole "I have to pay my rent and feed myself" thing. Yup. I'm right there with you. And I was there as I tried to build a business and finance my own gender transition and enter graduate school and pay off undergrad loans while I had rent to pay and food to buy and no one to rely on but ME to make it all happen. 

I get the whole "but what would people think of me" thing. Yes, I do. And you know what I realized? People think you're awesome or an asshole no matter what you're doing or not doing right now anyway. So, what do you have to lose? Your illusion of control of that? Good riddance.

I get the whole "how do I know if I'm doing the right thing" thing. HOLY HELL, how many times did I ask myself this?! I searched high and low for someone (ANYONE) to tell me the right thing to do. That person never appeared but I'll help YOU out: chances are, if you're going TOWARD something that will make you less miserable, it's right. Even if it's scary. 

I get the whole "how do I make it happen" thing. I remember sitting and trying to think something into existence. Like, if I made enough lists or sketched things out or talked about it enough, it would just happen with ease that involved no risk or fear or failure or rejection. And sometimes things DID work that easily and well. And that was great. Many times, I had to leap and see what happened, which was neither fun nor pleasant. And guess what? I'm sitting here writing this article for you, so I'm alive. I figured out how to stay alive. It's ok.

I get the whole "what if the person rejects me" thing. Listen, mere months ago I sat across the table from someone and put my heart on the line and was told, "NO" to my face. Great. Clear. Now I decide what I do next. Still alive, once again. And it's much better than dreading seeing that person or interacting with that person and fearing what will or won't happen. 

I get the whole "what if I fall flat on my face and never get up" thing. I felt that every time I tried something scary. So far, I've fallen flat on my face, but haven't not gotten up. In fact, I become stronger and more confident every time I do so.

I become a healthier, happier and MORE AWESOME version of myself. To the point that I don't dread anything and I don't do anything that doesn't make me happy---or at least with the outcome that it WILL at some point. Because even hard or scary things provide a lesson or character development, if we are wise enough to make lemonade from lemons.

And so I ask you again, if you dread it, why do it?

 

I made this so I don't have to credit anyone. 

I made this so I don't have to credit anyone.