Tag Archives: courage

No More People Pleasing & Holiday Have-Tos

nov27_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with people pleasing?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’d like to think that I am a recovering people-pleaser, meaning that I no longer run in circles striving to make everyone happy, however that’s unfortunately not the case. For as long as I can remember, I have worked to please people, but with maturity, awareness and coaching I have definitely made improvements. With that being said, today, when my step-mom began asking me questions about our visit to Texas for Christmas and when and where we planned to spend our time, I felt my breath shorten and my shoulders draw up and into my shoulders. I immediately deflected the question.

Though my parents have been divorced since I was in the second grade, everyone gets along wonderfully and our family does not put any pressure on me, I really struggle with our visits to Texas and the holidays in general because I so desperately want to see and please everyone. The idea of not equally splitting time between family and friends is a definite source of unnecessary stress.

Ironically and thankfully, today I stumbled upon a much needed and excellent article from Darling Magazine titled, “I’m Good with Whatever: The High Price of People Pleasing.” And, with the arrival of the holiday season and everyone being pulled in a myriad of directions, along with feeling confident that I am not alone in the people pleasing category, I too hope this article will inspire and encourage you to let go of the have-tos during the holidays (and beyond) and create the space for the things that bring YOU the most joy.

I’m good with whatever. This phrase has been a mantra for the majority of my life. When I am at my best, I can be adaptable, spontaneous, and free-spirited. At my worst, I am a relentless people pleaser.

In my work as a counselor, few clients come to me with the primary goal of working on their people pleasing. And yet, I see its fingerprints on the lives of nearly every woman I work with. On the surface, it often presents itself as a fog of emotional fatigue resulting from the constant work of balancing the needs, wants, and expectations of others. It fuels many struggles with depression and anxiety. It colors relationships with underlying bitterness and resentment.

At its core, people pleasing is rooted in fear. We worry about how our choices might impact or inconvenience others. Instead of asking the people in our lives for what we need and desire, we say no for them. We find ourselves settling for a role as a background character in others’ stories because we’re scared — often for good reason — to show up in our own.

My people pleasing journey began early. Like many young children of divorce, I entered elementary school with an extra dose of insecurity. To top it off, I was a super sensitive kid who did not cope well with even the mildest disapproval or casual mistake. Classrooms and playgrounds provided the perfect environment for me to hone the skill of perception management to avoid that stinging shame.

Today, my husband has most often been the recipient of my people pleasing efforts — which has only intensified since becoming parents. He works hard, is a wonderful, attentive father to our two little boys, and carries a big chunk of the household duties which keep our world functional. When he checks in with me about doing things during a morning, evening, or weekend — going for a run, meeting up with some guy friends, getting some extra work done — I almost always say yes. No problem. I’m good with whatever.

Throughout the decade we’ve been married, I’ve begun to notice a pattern. It most often begins with feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the “Have-Tos” of life. I then respond by checking out emotionally when it all just feels like too much. This typically follows with passive-aggressive behavior, complaining, and — every once in a while —rounds out with a nice, tear-filled breakdown in which I spew blame upon my poor husband.

We recently had a conversation in which I bemoaned the lack of relational connection in my life. As I processed this, I found myself saying, I would have more time for friends in my life if YOU didn’t spend all of our free time running, working, and spending time with your friends. The second these words escaped my mouth, I knew just how wrong I was. It wasn’t his fault. I was bitter that he had the courage and the forethought to ask for what he needed and wanted and I didn’t.

What I discovered was this — my knee-jerk yeses and whatevers often become excuses to not take ownership of my own life. Managing the expectations and anticipating the needs of others is a full-time job that has robbed me of a full life and meaningful relationships. It’s too high a price to pay.

I also have learned that self-care isn’t enough. While I’m all for a good bubble bath and glass of wine, I think what we people pleasers need most is a supportive shove. We need people in our lives who will cheer us on as we commit ourselves to some of those things we always say we’d do if we had more time. We need to be held accountable to making space for those dreams that perpetually remain on the back burner. The fact that you are reading these words today is the result of a handful of people who have lovingly pushed me to take a risk.

The truth is, the people in our world will gain far more from our courage to live with authenticity and purpose than they would ever receive from our mere accommodation and fear of disappointing them.

It’s time to be done with someday. It’s time for the world to stop missing out on us. Let’s make some waves today.


Action Item:
Let go of the have-tos during the holiday season (and beyond) and create the space for the things that bring you the most joy.


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Via Ferrata

sept11_2016

Point to Ponder:
What’s your Via Ferrata?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As referenced in last week’s journal, our iGnite Escape’s are always filled with unexpected, laughable and ample ah-ha moments. In addition to meeting the Rubyz, the memory that made the greatest impact during this summer’s escape to Banff, Canada was on our 6-hour, Via Ferrata climb on Mt. Norquay–7000 feet up!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Via Ferrata, you are not alone. Prior to planning our trip I was also unaware. Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron way” and is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, other fixed anchors and suspension bridges. Having rock climbed before, I didn’t feel it was as physically challenging, however while the views were spectacular, six hours of reaching, climbing, scaling, and repelling at 7000 feet high is no easy feat. In fact, at times it was so physically, mentally and emotionally daunting that many of us agreed that we were tired of feeling scared and several of us wanted to stop; however, that is when the experience became the most rich and rewarding.

As the fear and fatigue escalated, Kim, one of our guides stepped in. Gentle yet firm, she reminded us that taking long deep breaths was essential, as deep abdominal breathing allows for full oxygen exchange that lowers heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure and calms our mind. And, having practiced the deep breathing throughout our adventure, I can confirm that it does quiet the body and mind.

Next, and while this sounds ridiculously simple, she encouraged us to eat, stay hydrated and take pit stops as often as we needed. Here’s why: Snacking and keeping our blood sugar at normal levels helps reduce anxiety and increases concentration. Staying hydrated helps us stay focused and decreases brain fog, and while we climbed (it got much more difficult before it got easier), staying focused was essential. And, allowing ourselves to urinate (rather than holding it) truly caused a sense of relief and Kim needed us to be as comfortable on the mountain, because not only would that allow us to stay focused on the tasks at hand, it would keep us safe.

Kim’s final wisdom nugget that left the greatest impression on our experience was when she reminded us that whether or not we quit or kept going, a “feel good” chemical response in our bodies would occur. In the event we were to quit, we would feel safe, relieved and out of danger, therefore our body would release serotonin. On the flip side, if we finished what we started, we would experience an endorphin rush and feel a true sense of euphoria. Kim’s point was that either way, both of these responses feel good and when the next similar opportunity were to present itself, we would more than likely choose the same path. In other words, as a result of stopping before we accomplished our goals or finished what we set out to achieve, life patterns are created. To Kim’s point, this is why she was respectfully relentless and would not let us quit. She knew that if we continued to persevere, work through our fears, fatigue and even anger, the result would be empowerment and excitement, which is most certainly what we all experienced. When it was all said and done and we were celebrating over beer and wine, we unanimously agreed that we were thankful we didn’t quit and completed the climb, and as we learned in this summer’s journal Be a Novel, Keep Moving and Stay Young, many of us agreed that climbing the Via Ferrata significantly reduced our risk of Alzheimers disease and increased our neuroplasticity.

So, what’s your Via Ferrata? Is there a “thing” in your life that you are avoiding starting or finishing due to fear? If there is, I encourage you to start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing, as well as a good endorphin surge. Then, add on. Trying an iGnite class you’ve never taken is the perfect place to start, as is participating in our 12-Day Body Re-Boot that begins this upcoming Saturday.

All in all, fear is normal and without it, we’d be robots. However, what’s vital is our willingness to be a beginner and embrace challenges so that time and time again, courage can step in and we can experience life at its best.


Action Item:
Make the choice to be a beginner and embrace challenges. Start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing as well as a good endorphin surge.


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How Alli is In the Game

Battling Feelings of Inadequacy
Continued from Are You in the Game or On the Sidelines?

iGnite - Courage

Point to Ponder:
Do you find yourself comparing yourself with others?

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

To compliment my teaching classes at iGnite, I have accepted a new position at Mecca Gym & Spa, where in addition to iGnite and Backyard fitness, I have worked off and on as a fitness class instructor and personal trainer for many years, hired initially when I was pregnant with my oldest child, Laney, who is now 15. I am very excited (actually “excited” doesn’t even begin to describe it!) about this opportunity, the new direction my career in health and fitness is taking, and about going “back to work”. But I have also felt incredibly, even debilitatingly, nervous approaching the official start date. My new title is…. drumroll…. “Marketing and Communications Director.” (So important sounding right?!) And over the last few weeks of negotiations, which included writing my own job description!, while pinching myself to make sure that this “dream job” isn’t just a dream, I have come to realize that my nervousness has been due to, in large part, comparison, specifically comparison of myself to a co-worker and friend who is leaving Mecca and from whom I will be assuming many responsibilities.

One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy,” by Theodore Roosevelt, and I have been living this truth for about two weeks now as I have been learning the details of my new responsibilities and transitioning with my co-worker/friend. I have felt joy and confidence, which at times was “sucked out” of me when I have allowed thoughts to enter my head like, “She’s so creative and smart, I’ll never be able to fill her shoes.” But, in the last few days, by sharing with others my feelings of inadequacy, and more specifically admitting my feelings to the friend with whom I have been comparing myself, I have recognized my “faulty thinking” and been able to start re-channelling my nervous energy positively.

Through conversations, emails, and text exchanges, with her as well as with other friends and family, I have been reminded that not only am I qualified for this position, but I am highly and uniquely qualified; and more important, I have passion for this job! I have spent more than half my life leading fitness classes and educating others about lifestyle exercise, so it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am, and this job will be a new platform to continue teaching and sharing my passion with others.

So now, although I still feel a little queasy when I think about this new chapter in my career and in my life, my feelings of inadequacy have been replaced with eager determination to be the best “Marketing and Communications Director” I can be. And although I still feel nervous about my new job and my big fancy-pants title, it is a “good nervous” energy fueled with joy.

Action Item:
Remind yourself that comparison is the thief of joy, and ask your loved ones to remind you of your unique qualities and skills instead of comparing yours with someone else’s.

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How Cary is In The Game

iGnite - Faith Bigger than FearPoint to Ponder:

Do your fears inhibit you from trusting people and life in general?

In an effort to be vulnerable, courageous and 100% in the game, throughout the month of July the iGnite Team is going to share some of our fears (eek!!). Like all things in life, nothing is as they appear, the human experience is not unique and we all have fears. Therefore, we feel it’s important that we open the doors into our heads and hearts so that in the event you are experiencing similar fears and emotions (and we know at least one person is) we can bring you comfort, encouragement and even spark some healthy conversation. So, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy Cary’s beautiful testimony and appreciate how she’s avoiding the sidelines and playing in the game of motherhood and letting her children fly.

CaryFyfe

by Cary Fyfe

 “Have faith in him…”

My oldest son, in his quest to encourage me to step back from his younger brother’s need to blossom on his own, softly laid these words like a potion, on to my raw, motherhood anxiety. There we sat, in a sports bar, of all places, the night before this wise young man left for his first year of college. I had asked him to dinner, just him and me, so that I could frantically plant as many seeds as I could before he sailed off into his future…my motherly cherry-on-top-gift to him. He quietly tolerated my mission, and his brown eyes compassionately caressed my anxious sorrow as he listened and validated. Then, when I finally took a breath between words, he softly said this: “You are a great mother. You did everything you needed to do with and for me. Thank you. And now, I want to tell you something important. You needed to do that for me…it was necessary for me…but it is not necessary for Jack. You can step back. You can give him space to use the great skills he has….please do that, Mom…it’s okay to do that. Have faith in him.”  I stopped talking, and I began to listen…and what I heard was my own fear — fear that disguised itself as concern, as necessary in order to guarantee the survival of my children. Fear that was not…was not….true. What was true was the clarity of my oldest son, the capabilities of my youngest son, and my misguided thought that I alone could set their ships on course, for life. I treasure that warm summer night when my sage-of-a-son very gently peeled away the layers of my misguided need to control, and compassionately revealed my useless fear. And in my case, as my son taught me, my fear wasn’t something that I needed to conquer, but rather something that I needed to recognize for what it was, so that I could have the faith to allow life to happen around me, as it was supposed to happen. Falling into fear is a dance that I still do, but because Taylor brought a simple truth to life for me, I can now allow sweet faith to be a bigger part of that dance.

Action Item:

Recognize your fears for what they are. Then have faith by letting go and let life happen around you, as its supposed to.

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Member Spotlight: Lisa Wade

Ignite spotlight - Lisa WadeRoots:
I’m from outside of New York City and came to Austin 19 years ago after living in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 18 years.

Family Life:
Bob and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. He’s an artist, and we have one daughter, Rachel, who is also an artist and lives and works in Austin.

Work Life:
I’ve worked with Bob in the studio in our home for over 30 years. He does large photo works and public art sculptures (giant boots in San Antonio, the fish at Hula Hut, helmet at Shoal Creek Saloon, etc.), and I take care of everything (He doesn’t email or have an iPhone). I’ve also worked with Prolink Sports & Entertainment for 15 years as the Director of Special Projects and now am Vice President. We produce professional tennis events and music. I’ve worked events with all the top American players all over the country. I was an art critic and writer in Santa Fe, working for national publications, such as Art in America, Arts, and Rolling Stone. When I lived in New York, I worked at the American Museum of Natural History in the Anthropology Department as an archeologist and continued that work at the University of New Mexico. I’ve served on numerous boards and advisory committees for arts organizations and childrens’ charities, including Hamilton College, Austin Museum of Art, Hope Outdoor Gallery, Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Center for Child Protection. I am the founding co-chair of the Buckaroo Ball in Santa Fe and was a co-chair of the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards in Austin.

Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
As Kathleen says “You can do anything for 30 seconds!”. The wonderful thing about iGnite is that you continue to learn. It has made me mindful of different things every week. It’s about being able to see past your daily experience to find the lesson. Don’t sweat the small stuff but sweat.

Best advice given and from whom:
The best advice came from my father. When I was a little girl and we were standing at a corner in New York, he pointed to the crossing signal and told me “When it says don’t walk, walk.” I guess I’ve been doing that my whole life…stepping off the curb and taking chances.

What people might not know about me:
I can’t snap my fingers!

My favorite color is:
Green! I was captain of the green team at camp and 25 years later my daughter was too.

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Face Your Fears

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite - Face your Fears

On the heels of the 4th of July, we are embracing our freedoms that we have been given and facing our fears. Our inspiration is from the blog post from a few years back, Are You In the Game, or On the Sidelines?  We encourage you to read it again and be inspired to get in the game.

This week, and through the remainder of the month, we are crushing fear! Not only apply our Give It a Try in July theme to your iGnite classes, but implement it to your personal and professional life as well. Choose one fear you have, grab a friend for support (if you need), then commit to taking action to overcome it. And, if you are up for inspiring and encouraging others, comment here or email us at hello@igniteyourlifenow.com. We’re living in the no-fear zone and it’s going to be AWESOME!!

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Your Story Matters

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives
(Originally published July 2012)

iGnite- Share Your TestimonyPoint to Ponder:
Do you view your life experiences as opportunities to provide comfort, support and encouragement for others?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Seven wonderful women and I just flew to Asheville, North Carolina to enjoy an iGnite Escape. During the trip we experienced a delightful variety of adventures. From laughing hysterically at a Paula Dean and Julia Child skit hosted by our eclectic B&B inn keepers, to hiking to a majestic waterfall, to touring the renowned and enormous Biltmore Estate, to sipping on cocktails while overlooking the Smoky Mountains at the historic Grove Park Inn, the entire time was loads of fun! Sweet memories were made, and while all of these events and others throughout the trip were special, the real highlight for me was the newly formed and enhanced friendships.

Over the course of two days we took the opportunity to share our life stories, which was an endearing occasion that allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of one another as well as learn all of the things we had in common. It was also remarkable and inspiring to find out what the human spirit can endure and overcome, which is extraordinary! Story after story reminded me that everyone has a story, and that life is an infinite and inevitable roller coaster ride filled with exhilarating highs, steep lows, and sharp, sudden twists and turns. However, as Charles R. Swindoll reminds us, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.” Just like an oyster, who after receiving an irritating and foreign substance between it’s mantle and shell works relentlessly to cover it up, forming a pearl, we too can make the choice to embrace the hard times, learn from life’s peaks and valleys and create our own unique and enchanting strand of pearls.

Dr. Cherie Carter Scott says it perfectly in her book If Life Is a Game….These are the Rules when she says:

As you travel through your lifetime, you may encounter challenging lessons that others don’t have to face, while others spend years struggling with challenges that you don’t need to deal with. You may never know why you are blessed with a wonderful marriage, while your friends suffer through bitter arguments and painful divorces, just as you cannot be sure why you struggle financially while your peers enjoy abundance. The only thing you can count on for certain is that you will be presented with all the lessons that you specifically need to learn; whether you choose to learn from them or not is entirely up to you.

Therefore, align yourself with your own unique path by learning your individual lessons. This is one of the most difficult challenges you will face in your lifetime, as sometimes your path will lead you into a life that is radically different from others. Don’t compare your path to those around you and focus on the disparity between their lessons and yours. You need to remember that you will only be faced with lessons that you are capable of learning and are specific to your own growth. If you are able to rise to this challenge, you can unravel the mystery of your purpose and actually live it. You cease being a victim of fate or circumstance and become empowered – life no longer just “happens to you.” When you are working toward fulfilling your true purpose, you discover astonishing gifts within yourself that you may have never known you have. This process may not be easy, but the rewards are well worth the struggle.

Interestingly, life is a series of fascinating and humbling events that bind us together as humans. Every sentence in our life story is valuable — even those of heartache, challenge, mistakes and perceived failure, as they gave us the opportunity for growth, wisdom to gift to others and a unique and special life to live and share. Therefore, rather than keeping your unpleasant life events to yourself and feeling ashamed, embarrassed or fearful of judgement, flip your mindset and see your experiences as an opportunity to help someone else. There’s no doubt that life becomes increasingly more meaningful when we open the door of vulnerability and share our intimate details and even skeletons with others. Always remember that your story matters and your shiny strand of pearls can be a source of comfort and encouragement for someone else!

Action Item:
Remember that your story matters and rather than have regret or wish things would’ve turned out differently, share your life’s heartaches, challenges and victories and view them as your gift to share with others.

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