Let the criticism come. #TheRunningWriter

Let the criticism come.

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“You’re going to fail.” That’s what I heard from my college advisor one day during a meeting about me wanting to go to grad school.

That’s not what she said, but she did have some tough feedback for me when I told her I wanted to go on to get my PhD in psychology. But all I heard was that I wouldn’t get in. That I’d fail. That I wasn’t smart enough.

It’s hard to hear criticism. It hurts. But it also motivates.

A little backstory: I graduated high school with a fairly low GPA. At one point it was only 2.1.

I got into college on probation, and I think I mainly got in because the tennis coach pulled some strings.

I think it was at the end of my second year there that my advisor said I didn’t have what it took to get into grad school.

Instead of letting that knock me down, it motivated me. I worked hard, and I ended up graduating with honors.

And then I applied to grad school. Took me three tries, but I got into grad school and I graduated with honors. I didn’t go on to my PhD, but that’s ok. I probably could have if I’d wanted to, but my goals changed.

I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be scared of criticism. It’s meant to help you. Make you stronger. Had that advisor never told me I probably wasn’t grad school material, I might have just slouched through undergrad like I did high school.

Criticism isn’t bad. It can sting but it can motivate you! If you let it.

So let the criticism come.

Humble is the new sexy #TheRunningWriter

Humble is the new sexy

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There’s just something about humility that makes me smile.

I had to look up the word to see what it “officially” meant.

Humble: not proud or arrogant; modest

And that led me to look up another word.

Modest: free from ostentation or showy extravagance.

I think showy, bragging, and ostentatious people jump out to me because it feels fake. Like the person is trying to hide inadequacies or insecurities.

That makes me a little sad for two reasons: 1) they don’t love themselves and 2) they don’t trust me enough to be real with me.

We all have insecurities, struggles and inadequacies, and hiding behind showy and boisterous behaviors really isn’t hiding. We can see through it.

It’s ok to be super rich, super sexy, super athletic, super whatever, but it’s what you do with it that counts.

Focusing on other people is key to staying humble. Finding out their stories, learning about their lives. Posting pictures of other people instead of only yourself. Donating time to serving people in need.

I think we get stuck in showy when we are in the me, me, me mode, hyper-focusing on ourselves.

Shift the focus and you’ll take a step into humility.

Be true to your sorry #TheRunningWriter

Be true to your sorry.

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Sorry is an interesting word. Have you ever stopped and thought about how many times you hear sorry or say sorry in a day?

People throw what word around quite a bit. Even when they’ve done nothing wrong.

Or they say sorry for someone else doing something to us.

“Feeling regret” is what I found as a definition. So, when I do something wrong or hurt someone, and I say I’m sorry, I’m telling them I regret hurting them or I regret what I’ve done.

Awesome. But then why do I do it again and again? It kind of makes my I’m sorry watered down. Empty words. Pretty soon people aren’t really going to believe it.

Don’t let your sorry become empty. If you really are sorry for something, show it. Show it by not doing what you did again. Show it by changing your ways.

We’re not perfect, I get that. We will screw up. But hopefully not exactly the same way each time. Because were we really sorry then?

Be true to your sorry.

Widen your stance. #TheRunningWriter

Widen your stance.

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I used to be a speed skater. One evening, about five or six days before I was scheduled to go skate a big race, I was doing some speed work with a group of skaters.

Just to keep the legs fresh and feet moving fast.

So in our draft line of about six or seven people, we were clipping along-about 20 miles an hour.

Another skater came up behind me to join the line. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except that she accidentally stiff-armed me on her approach.

And I wiped out hard.

As in rolled and rolled. On the hard asphalt.

It was ugly how much skin I left on that asphalt. And after a trip to the ER–and getting treated like a burn patient–I walked out of there looking like a mummy.

My whole leg was wrapped, along with quite a bit of both of my arms and shoulder.

I’m in the exam area with the doc and I asked, “Hey. Can I still race?”

He just looked at me for a long second. He didn’t say anything, but I could see the “are you nuts?” phrase floating around that brainiac noggin of his.

Basically, since I hadn’t broken any bones, I was given the go-ahead to race.

I bet a few of you reading this are thinking I was nuts.

Yeah well, maybe I was. Because I raced. I showed up at that start line half-mummified and I raced.

And I kicked butt. Even beat the girl who stiff-armed me.

Nothing was going to keep me from my goal. Well broken bones would have, but other than broken bones, I wasn’t going to miss the adventure I‘d been working so hard for.

Yeah. It was a big obstacle. Painful, too. But we can’t let bumps in the road-or shoves in the back-knock us off our goal.

Because there are people who will—on purpose & accidentally—try and set you back. There are accidents. There are uncontrollable things that can happen that can plow you over.

Don’t let them. Plant your feet, lean forward, and widen your stance so nothing can tip you over.

If you stay balanced, there isn’t much that can knock you down.