Take a moment and think about what success means to you. Is it a finite, measurable thing? Does it have a face or a name? Is it a color? How does it show up? Is it related to a part of your body? Where does your awareness go? What emotions do you think of when you hear “Success!”? What most recent memory do you have where you felt successful or proud?
For me, success is getting 20 minutes of writing done in the morning, watching sunlight spill over the hill and hit the building across the street through the open window. It is a feeling that pops up spontaneously and suddenly, like a pounding hammer hitting a high striker all the way to the top. “Ding Ding!” Real success feels like a solid force. It stands confidently behind you, letting you know it’s got your back. “Keep going” it says. It gives you a nudge as you continue down your path day after day, or sometimes a shove when it’s time to get your ass in gear.
Feelings of success can be stirred up, coaxed, and encouraged through simple reflection. I find that I feel much more successful around my goals or whatever is going on when I sit down and reflect on it’s role in my life. This is why I am working on documenting my 27 x 27 goals month by month. The writing component has become significantly more important and has a huge influence on the goals themselves. For example, last month I felt pathetic about the list of things I was trying to accomplish everyday. However, writing about the attempt allows me to see that (1) I was taking on way too much, and (2) that what actually feels more important is reflecting about why I want to accomplish these tasks. It is the process of writing it down, and simply getting in the habit of recording more information in a straightforward way that is important to me.
Success is a feeling and it is animated in my head. It’s getting the job at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF) and feeling genuine as I jump up and down and flail my limbs. It’s being told what a valuable person I am to have at Suppenküche and my lips stretching into a smile. It’s getting hugs and high fives. The feeling of success keeps me up at night, like a 7 year old anticipating the tooth fairy. It is the kind of happiness that is persistent and contagious. It is like an ocean wave hitting me and being carried along with the flow. I swell with pride. I stop giving a shit about what others think and I want to sing and dance my way through the elation. Success feels like resolute satisfaction. It is like a breath of fresh air, a sense of clarity that says “Yes, this feels right”.
P.S. Take a moment to check out the Urban Dictionaries definitions of success, it may inspire some new perspectives and ways of looking at your own life. Or just give you a good laugh.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Yes, let us talk of many things! I am beginning the process of dismantling my 27×27. It is indeed time to dissect them in a bit more detail. Keep in mind (I’m saying this to myself), that this a process, and an emerging theme is to be patient, as well as forgiving with oneself. Ideally, with others, too. In an effort to dismantle this list, I’m going to explore each goal and reflect on which of my desired core feelings I hope to fulfill. First let me explain my core desired feelings. I did Danielle LaPorte’s worksheet from the Firestarter Sessions and currently have a list of 4 feelings that I seek in almost everything I do. They are as follows:
- Clarity: I want to feel confident and clear in all aspects of life.
- Connection: I want to feel connected in mind, body, and relationships (community).
- Creative: I want to think creatively, as well as engage in the act of creation.
- Powerful: I want to feel strong, influential, and as though I am utilizing my natural gifts.
OK, let’s tear it up.
1. Write my 12 commandments. Thanks to Gretchen Rubin and my good friend, Angie, I have 12 commandements that feel pretty amazing to me. Desired outcome: Clarity, Connection, Powerful. Wouldn’t mind framing these somewhere:
- Be Lara.
- Forgive, you do not have to forget.
- Embrace vulnerability.
- Express gratitude.
- Pursue opportunities wholeheartedly.
- Enjoy the process.
- Act how you want to feel.
- Be patient and compassionate.
- Be here now.
- If I can’t get out of it, I’ll get into it, and learn something.
- I am exactly where I need to be.
2. Take a vacation. I have not done this and it is definitely staying on the list. I read an article recently suggesting that it is best to plan vacations at the beginning of the year. That way you have something to look forward to and you make sure to set aside the time to make it happen. I am happy to say that I have a ticket to Washington booked for a friends wedding and am planning another friends bachelorette party in California. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
3. Express your feelings and record how it went. This is an effort to be honest and clear with myself and others. It’s a resolution that I am hoping will help me observe myself in difficult scenarios. I would like to have a deeper understanding of myself in conflict situations and of my reactions during sensitive conversations. I’ve only been partially successful. This is likely something that is going to come off my list and needs to be developed differently. I find I am fulfilling this is different ways, such as Interchange and writing regularly. Desired outcome: Clarity, Powerful, Connection.
4. Write 3 love letters. Valentine’s day has come and gone, thank God, but I would like to keep in the spirit of telling people that I love them and then elaborating on how incredibly awesome they are. This goal is going to be incorporated into my art projects and the desire to write more mail again. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative. When was the last time you write someone a love note? Go ahead, I dare you. Make it juicy. (#snailmail)
5. Read the Happiness Project. Done and done! Enjoyed it a lot! Desired outcome: Creative.
6. Job Applications/Interviews/New Work. Accomplished x3! Thanks to Debbie Steingesser and my guardian angel Maree, I am living and working in San Francisco. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
7. Interchange. I have attended every weekend class so far, the program ends in June. Desired outcome: Clarity, Powerful, Connection.
9. Move. Did this twice. Check and check. Desired outcome: Connection.
10. Say “Yes” Day. I don’t think I need this. I’m such a “Yay”-sayer, out there, battling Nay-sayers all day long. What the hell is a say “yes” day anyway? I think I already hate this. Desired outcome: Creative.
11. Ride the 7 Hells, I mean Hills of SF. Angie and I were going to do this, I believe we ended up drinking and doing a joy-ride instead. There’s always next year! Desired outcome: Powerful.
12. Go to a Yoga class. After not doing any yoga for a full year, I finally did a 2 week intensive with an intro pass to Fluid Yoga in the Inner Sunset. Love it. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
13. Make mail art. I already organized and hosted a mail art party and participated in the Snail Mail My Email Project. Always in the back of my mind, this goal is more based on documenting the process or finished project. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
14. Do 5 strict pull-ups. Well, shit. I guess I will have to count how many I can do already. I believe it’s 3. I’ve fallen in love with kipping pull-ups, but the goal is to do 5 strict. Hmm. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
15. Do 20 consecutive awesome push-ups. Do we sense a theme here? I can’t remember if I was just trying to come up with ideas for 27 goals or what. I actually think that these two goals are important, basic movements that will be helpful in my breakdancing career. (!!) Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
16. Plan a bike trip. This can be anything from a one-nighter to something epic. We will see. This goal goes arm-in-arm with the vacation goal. It’s important for me to have some adventure in my life, get outside, get dirty, get hungry, and see the world. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
17. Books. I want to read everything! I am not so stoked on book reviews, but I like to keep a running book list of things that I have read. I’m trying to get this online. It’s nice to be able to reflect on it. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative, Powerful.
18. Art project. I would like to complete a painting or a drawing. I would like to incorporate this with mail art. Sometimes it seems like too much pressure and then it isn’t any fun anymore. I remember talking to Angie about her goals. We came to the conclusion that if the goals aren’t fun or if we simply weren’t excited by them, then scratch that m-thr-f*cker off. Replace it with something awesome. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
19. Purge. Having moved twice, I have done a couple of rounds of getting rid of shit. There is so much more to be done. I’ve been throwing out old clothes, recycling crap papers, and generally trying to touch everything that I own and ask myself “do I need this?” Desired outcome: Clarity.
20. CrossFit and Mobility Gear. I have CrossFit Reebok Nano shoes, my new favs! I have also purchased 2 Voodoo Floss Bands, and some lacrosse balls. Next on the list? ROLLERS. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
21. A new ritual or tradition. I am borrowing this one from other people. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It may not stick with me. This year I ran five miles on a beach in Oregon and swam in the ocean on my birthday. I would like to make it tradition to do some physical activity in a beautiful place and then go swimming on September 30th every year. Desired outcome: Connection.
22. Fix my knee. One of the main motivators for me to finally take CrossFit basics last year in February was because I screwed up my knee a bit training for a marathon. I am not experiencing any pain, but there is plenty of clicking that drives me nuts. Good thing I have the SFCF crew and my mobility tools. Desired outcome: Powerful, Connection.
23. Trained someone at work. I recently helped a friend get a job at Suppenkueche. Then I got to train her! I was honored that my boss asked me to. It was a major ego boost and has made me much more confident in my job and my ability to contribute to our team. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
24. Blog my 27×27. That means at least 27 blog posts by my birthday. This is because I love working on goal setting and I love writing about it. It is becoming increasingly evident how important writing is to me and how much I value it as a tool. I do not think of myself as a strong writer, but I love the process and I love it as a form of communication. I think it’s beautiful and powerful. I figure the only way I’ll ever be even half decent is if I practice. A lot. So here I am. In the throes of my 14 day writing challenge. Desired outcome: Clarity, Connection, Creative, and Powerful.
25-27 are either none of your business or I’m simply too embarrassed and self conscious to write about them publicly at this time. In an effort to get completely out of my comfort zone this year, I am hoping that I will get drunk some night and post them regardless. Listening to BlogcastFM and attending Interchange, both lead me to think that perhaps facing those fears and sitting with intense discomfort is often the greatest learning experience you can have.
Here are a few other things that I am working on that will easily replace some of the things above (or simply be added to the list): CrossFit Open Games, CrossFit Level 1 Certification, eat a new flavor of ice cream, eat Paleo (LOVE that I thoughts of this after Ice Cream,HA!), frame some photos, fix my bicycle, watch a million mobility videos, listen to all 200 interviews on BlogcastFM, find a mentor, finish Live Your Legend packet, complete Firestarter Sessions, tour the Armory (kink.com), enjoy a classy beverage in the new kink.com bar, and get a massage.
In writing all of this, I find myself asking “what’s the point?” So I am looking up the word dismantle and here is the definition I found: to take to pieces; also: to destroy the integrity or functioning of, to strip of dress or covering.
After reading the definition,I feel like I am scrambling to piece my 27 goals together and have them all fit neatly into a box. Like a sweet package, little nugget goals. In order to push the dismantling further along I have to ask: what is the original function of my 27×27? The list is based purely on my age, so the number is a bit arbitrary. It is supposed to be a fun way for me to think of concrete things I would like to do and resolutions or habits that I would like to develop in my life. I would like to be an active and present participant in my life, I’m not interested in being passive or denying personal responsibility during my short time on Earth.
Does dismantling my list mean blowing it to smithereens? Does it mean destroying the structure? I want to strip this list naked and look at it differently. I think this means getting rid of the numbering, deciphering between goals and resolutions, and then organizing them into a sequential format where they can build on each other. Whew, this is making me sweat.
Stevo and I have discussed arranging goals into buckets. That’s cool, I like buckets. That’s what I am attempting to do with the desired outcomes, connecting each goal to a desired core feeling. This allows me to strip the numbering from the 27×27 and arrange them into categories of things that I would like to achieve in my life. How can I push this further?
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.
My obsession with goals and developing new habits is transforming into a new phase. I have been working with Stevo, sports psychologist at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF), for several weeks now. Along with other forms of counseling, this is helping me look at my personal struggles to reach certain outcomes. The sessions and goals that we have had are not what I expected, though I wasn’t sure what to expect anyway. I think everyone I talk to about having a sports psychologist says “What’s a sports psychologist? I didn’t even know that existed.” Ditto. But when Stevo showed up at SFCF, I thought “Yes! Of Course! THIS is IT!” and then I thought “No! Shit, that’s what I want to do!” He has the job and the clients that I want. Or that I think I want. A great “Aha” moment for me, but the initial sports psychology questions are relevant because I am still learning about the training psychologists receive and what someone like Stevo does on a day-to-day basis.
What is a sports psychologist? In my experience, it is someone who studies traditional psychology and then specializes in habit building and introduces a mind-body connection. This is what it looks like from the outside to me. The above link describes it a bit more succinctly. It appears to be an incredibly tricky job and working with Stevo has validated my thoughts about why this is so. During a session with a client, how do you tease out important core feelings and emotions, plus talk about overcoming barriers and creating new habits that will improve their performance and life experience? That’s a lot of ground to cover!
As I sit here, my mind feels like it is going into explosion mode. This is a feeling that I have been experiencing often lately. Mulling over how a sports psychologist tries to guide you in a particular direction and develop concrete action steps seems like a complex process. I am also experiencing this in Interchange, my counseling training program. I am becoming quite comfortable with the idea that the being is the doing and I know that it can be quite transformative. However, working with my “regular” psychologist, Tonja, and with Stevo, plus watching seasoned Interchange leaders, I know that a great counselor is a trusted guide. Someone who leads us deeper into our dark jungles, lifting tangled vines so that we can progress forward or perhaps just lighting a lantern so that we may find our own way. That’s powerful.
So how does it all come together? Stevo asks me how my day is going and then we discuss how the past week has been for me. Have I followed through on my mini goals? Am I being consistent? How did I feel on each day? What was I listening to when I performed my mobility exercises? If I missed a day, why? What were motivating factors for me to mobilize? What made it easier? What made it harder? As it turns out, guilt and accountability are great motivators for me. I am still figuring out how they function and how they manifest in my brain, but those are two themes for me to examine. Everyday I record how I have accomplished my goal, including some minor details about the context. This is the framework within which we dissect the habits that I am building.
Somehow we manage to get through all of the above and move on to larger issues. I have signed up for the CrossFit Open Games and my Level 1 Certification, I am overwhelmed by my hobbies and goal pursuits, I am feeling unfocused and self-conscious. How can I continue to work on these small steps while developing a stronger sense of self and building a career path!? Stevo tells me that if I feel like I am taking on too much, then it IS too much. Well, good, because that’s what I said. “Its too much.” Yet… (cue the Little Mermaid soundtrack) “I want MOOOOORE!” Stevo brings me back to reality with his awesome motto “Have the courage to start small.” Thanks Stevo. [Fist pound.]