Embracing Uncertainty

I’m sitting here writing this a little delayed in a parking garage of The Domain in Austin. It’s beginning to cool down and my windows are open for a breeze. Outside, the rush-hour traffic slowly rolls by. Two girls are standing nearby discussing their favorite spots in London. If you were to ask me a year ago if I saw myself in this exact moment, the answer would be no. A month ago – no. A week ago – again, no. Hell, 24 hours ago – nope! Life threw me an unseen plot twist – I ended up driving from Houston to Austin last night within an hour of receiving a phone call asking me to help the team by teaching some SoulCycle classes in the neighboring city, beginning this morning at 7AM. I have to laugh when I think of what led to me this exact point – because I saw just about none of it coming but am embracing all of it.

My day didn’t go as originally planned. But remember – we’re not sticking to the plan, we’re sticking with ourselves. Plan A, y’all. We gotta let that go. It’s a constant practice to do so – after all, Plan A is our security blanket. It’s an idea that we cling to when uncertainty finds us. “I have to make Plan A work! It’s familiar and I’m comfortable with it.” “I’ve worked so hard on Plan A, it would be a shame to let that go to waste.” “It seems like a lot of work to divert from Plan A.” 

Or how about this one: “If Plan A doesn’t work out, I don’t know what else I would do,” followed by thoughts of doubt and fear. Why is it that something as simple as a lack of new direction can stunt us from stepping into our purpose? It’s because we cling to original direction because it’s comfortable and gives us a sense of stability. There is a huge misconception out there that the more “direction” we have, the more stability we have. Let me ask you this – what is more stable than your purpose?

It’s not our job to understand everything. This is a human experience that we are a part of – that means we’re going to have to trust a lot more than we’re going to understand – that is, if we’re doing it right.

Think of it this way: You are where are you today (the present) and you have everything that has brought you to this point (the past.) Everything in your mind is extremely finite up until this moment.

Everything that is yet to come (the future) is full of infinite possibilities. We must lose our finite mindsets when thinking about infinite possibilities. Yikes – that sounds uncomfortable. It is – trust me. But it’s so necessary. We subconsciously think about the future and find ourselves in doubt, worry, and anxiety because we are trying to understand everything that is to come – but what basis do we have to understand? Only our past. 

If your brain is hurting trying to digest this, picture this: A caterpillar is meant to be a caterpillar for a short amount of time. One day, being a caterpillar just isn’t good enough anymore so he finds himself in a bit of a struggle, in a dark cocoon having no idea what’s going on. “Where am I?” “How long am I going to be in here?” “What is going to happen next?” This is the scary part – the transformation! A short while later, he emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Talk about an upgrade – not only is he majestic, but now he doesn’t have to crawl anywhere – he can fly! The caterpillar’s purpose was always to be a butterfly. Can you imagine if he would have tried to resist the transformation because he couldn’t see the big picture as a whole?

Lose the need to understand everything and begin to trust yourself. Uncertainty is not a bad thing – it is a good thing! It means you are opening yourself up to growth and opportunity – even if you can’t exactly see what that looks like just yet. It means you are defining your future with your future, instead of with your past.

Believe me, I’ve tried more times to fit a square peg into a round hole, forcing things to work – refusing to let go of a past version of myself that once fit. We need to be aware of the things in our life that “feel forced.” We force our present (and future) selves into our past because it’s familiar. Because it might feel like a failure if we abandon it. Because we’re uncertain what else is out there. But perhaps it’s not the best fit anymore…

The traffic outside is dying down and the two girls talking about London have left. I sit here about to go teach a class in a new city to fifty people I’ve never met. I have no idea what the next few moments of life are going to feel like – and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Think of the next 24 hours of your life. Can you see how everything is going to play out? Now think of the next week. Month. Year. 10 years. How much room are you willing to leave for growth?

What is one thing that you constantly battle with “not knowing?”

Why do you think it’s so hard to trust yourself versus trying to understand everything?

What feels “forced” in your life right now?

What are some small steps you can take to stop forcing these things?

My friend, Alanna, sent me this excerpt on a butterfly as I was about to publish this post – I found it to ironic not to share.

Final thought: “Embrace uncertainty – some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”

Avoid A Zombie Apocalypse

“Wow, you’re so busy!”

That’s something I hear often from people – they catch my Instagram, see my teaching schedule, or we’ve just exchanged what’s going on in our lives. Take yesterday – I woke up at 5AM, taught four workout classes, engaged in a very productive three hour business meeting, and attended an amazing charity event hosted by Accel Lifestyle benefitting The Rose Houston. I finally sat down at 11:21PM, excited to finally write this piece, because you know what – these days I’m feeling more alive than ever.

There have been many points in the past where I haven’t been “as busy,” but I was simply exhausted, coasting through life, day in and day out, living someone else’s dream. Sound familiar?

This doesn’t necessarily have to refer to your professional situation, it can also relate to societal expectations of you. Personally, I’ve stayed unsatisfied in jobs for years, helping other people build something because I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted for myself. I stayed married long after I knew it wasn’t right for me because I didn’t want to upset the dream my husband (and our families) had of us staying in a “picture-perfect happy marriage.” I’ve stayed friends with toxic people because it was easier to just ignore drama than it was to confront it.

It was emotionally and mentally exhausting! I walked around with a wounded soul that I would try to patch with temporary band-aids. My heart was bleeding for something more, but I couldn’t see a different path, so I just kept walking aimlessly down the road I was already on. I was dead inside – I was a zombie.

Have you ever felt like a zombie? Like you’re actually sleeping when you walk around in life? Don’t really care where you’re going, can’t remember how long you’ve been walking. Don’t really see an end to the road, but it doesn’t matter much anyway because you don’t really have any other options. You ever feel exhausted by the end of the day and don’t really know why?

It’s because feeling dead inside drains you. Ironic, isn’t it?

Have you ever been driving somewhere and think, “How the hell did I get here? Did I run that red light? What street did I turn on?” Or maybe you’ve been walking somewhere, zoned out and completely passed where you were going. Ever think you might be living life that way, too?

“Where did the month go?” (Followed by the realization that there’s been no change.)

“Where did the year go?” (Once again…. no change.)

“Have I really been doing this for [x amount of time?]”

“I’m never going to have time to finish this.”

“I’ll start it eventually.”

…Zombie.

Fulfillment is a practice and is not meant to happen overnight. It takes serious dedication to figuring out who you are to truly find fulfillment. Today, I’m going to share three simple things you can start right now to begin to discover a little bit more about yourself. Three things, that if continuously practiced, will help you avoid an internal Zombie Apocalypse.

Spend more time doing what feels right. Make tiny changes at first, and eventually you’ll get more comfortable making bigger changes. These small changes can look like:

Saying no to doing something if your body and mind need a break – and not feeling guilty about it.

Signing up for a new hobby you’ve been scared to try.

Forgiving someone or (eek) apologizing to someone.

Surround yourself with good people. So much of our time, thoughts, and energy can be easily wasted on emotional drama with short-sighted people. Think about it – how much time do you spend listening to people complain? How often do you catch yourself complaining to people? Ditch the emotional drama and negative thoughts. Find forward-thinkers. Forward-thinkers will not let you complain – they will help you seek a solution. If you want to envision the big picture, you have to surround yourself with like-minded people who are doing the same things you want to do. These people will:

Not let you drown in a problem, but rather help you find answers. (If you’re dwelling in a problem, they will call you out on it too!)

Build you up and support your dreams, even if they can’t exactly relate to it.

Give you honest and constructive feedback on what they know to be important to you (skill level, personal ethics, overcoming hurdles, etc.)

Practice being present. This is the most important of the three things to do. It will take consistency to really feel present in your own life. Take time each day to really figure out how you feel in a moment. Actually ask yourself, “How do I feel about what I am doing in this moment right now?” If you’re up for it, maybe ask yourself why you feel that way. Use your senses! Look around – what do things look like around you? What does the air smell like? Listen closely for all of the many sounds that get drowned out by the thoughts in our heads. This is an important one: eliminate time suckers. Time suckers can look like:

Endlessly watching TV shows or scrolling through social media.

Doing the same exact thing every day.

Worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Live in this moment. (You won’t get it back.)

It’s funny – in a past job, every Monday the management team would participate in dramatic three hour meetings that I would absolutely dread. Dread! Three hours dedicated to this every week! It was a time suck and I wasn’t fulfilled spending my time that way.

Now, I’m building a business and sit down to grind it out a few times a week with my partner, and I will catch myself looking at the clock – Holy Hell, how did three hours just fly by?! And how do I feel? ALIVE. And so excited about what I’m doing.

Remember this: If you have been wired internally with a dream, know that you have also been wired with the capability to achieve that dream. Find the things in life that will energize you instead of making you feel like you are dying a slow death every day. (Sorry to be morbid – blame it on the Halloween spirit.) Try these three simple things – and note, “simple” is not to be confused with “easy.” It will take practice and cognizant consistency.

What are some instances where you’ve felt like a zombie, just coasting through life?

What are some small changes you can make to do more of “what feels right” internally?

Who in your life is filled with drama and negativity? What steps need to be taken to reduce this effect on your mindset?

What are some things in your life that you consider to be “time sucks?” What can you do to eliminate them to feel more present?

Happy Halloween. Don’t be a zombie.

The Hug Theory: The Power of Expectation

The final sounds of the last song begin to fade, and endorphins sky-rocket as heart rates slowly taper. We step down off of our bikes and prepare to stretch. At the end of every SoulCycle class, we plant both feet on the ground and find that forward fold. We rise up as a pack, scooping up the amazing energy created in the room, and I leave the class with one last message:

“Expect good things, and they will happen.”

What’s it like to think about what we really want in life – the dreams that will truly fulfill us? If you’re like me, these ideas will begin to consume you. Suddenly, they are all you can think about. This is a good thing! Somewhere along the road, when dreams don’t happen right away, or an extra challenge gets thrown into the mix, we find ourselves not confident in our journey and begin to trick ourselves out of believing that we really want these dreams. This is not so good of a thing.

Have you ever talked yourself out of wanting a dream? I know I have before. We all have! Doubt is real, y’all! It’s easy to become overwhelmed with fear, competition, thoughts of failure, lack of confidence – the list goes on. We talk ourselves out of our dreams because, honestly, it comes down to this – it’s embarrassing, even if just to ourselves, if we end up not being able to achieve them.

We talk our dreams down so we’re not disappointed if they don’t happen.

Eh, I don’t really want this anyway.

It’s okay, I’m probably not going to get it.

I’m not qualified.

I don’t really deserve this.

I’m not good enough.

I could never do that.

That kind of thing doesn’t happen to people like me.

I’m happy enough doing exactly what I am doing.

I’m doing okay, and that’s good enough for me, right?

Wrong. There’s so much more waiting for you. You just have to be open to receiving whatever that may be. Enter: The Hug Theory.

(Bear with me here. Also – this will be way more fun if you act this out and not just visualize it – just have fun with it. Grab a friend and try this if you’ve got a buddy nearby.)

Imagine yourself standing up and walking around the room slowly. Cross your arms firmly across your chest and stay set on keeping them there. You could really use a hug at the moment, but no one is around so you don’t really see a hug in your future, so you just keep to yourself. A friend comes into the room and unexpectedly swoops in to give you a hug – but you weren’t ready for it! Your arms are still firmly crossed while your friend embraces you. Wow – this hug just got really awkward, and now you feel weird.

That’s kind of what it’s like when you talk yourself out of your dreams. You think it would be nice if your dreams were to happen, but you don’t want to get your hopes up only to end up disappointed if they don’t pan out the way you want. You walk around closed off to protect yourself from getting hurt.

Now imagine this. Here you are standing up, walking around slowly again – but this time, your arms are open wide. You can just feel that someone is going to walk in at any moment and give you a hug! That same friend swoops in and gives you a huge hug, and your arms are already open, so you embrace your friend back and you just got the best hug ever!

Wow – that sounds much nicer than the awkward weird hug in the first scenario. 

Why don’t we walk around with our arms (and minds) wide open, expecting to actually get our dreams? Just how we’re more likely to receive a good hug with our arms open ready to receive it, the same goes for our dreams! Live your life expecting to get what you believe you deserve! I mean, why not? We don’t need to justify why we want something, and we certainly don’t need to talk ourselves out of wanting something because we fear it won’t happen.

Changing your mindset to actually believing good things will happen is an ongoing practice. Catch yourself with the little things and develop a habit for when the bigger things come into your life.

If you want to have a good day, expect to have a good day.

If you think you deserve that job promotion, expect that it’s already yours for the taking.

If you are searching for a deep love in life, truly believe that it’s out there for you.

If you are seeking a life of fulfillment, know in the depths of your core that it is achievable.

Pro-tip for just about everything in life: It works better if you actually believe in it.

Expect good things, and they will happen.

What are some instances where you’ve talked yourself out of wanting something because you feared it wouldn’t happen?

How do you think that situation may have changed if you believed you deserved to get what you wanted?

Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed, I repeat a mantra out loud to myself. “Everything will work out for my good.” I say it, and I expect it. What’s a little phrase you could tell yourself when doubt and fear start to overwhelm you?

The best thing about walking around open to good things happening to you, is that you’ll be ready when amazing things you hadn’t even imagined yet come your way! Expect good things – and please, after all of this talk, follow through with your urge to give somebody a hug today! We could all use a hug at some point. I’ll see you next week.

Take The Risk

Hey y’all – your response last week was touching and heart-warming – thank you! I don’t know about you, but it felt good relate to one another and know that we’re in this together. So here we go…(grab that notebook.)

Last week, we decided that we deserve better than a “Shouldy Life,” right? We committed to taking small steps towards living a life that we actually want. Maybe you started thinking about your dreams and you felt alive and on fire, just thriving with thoughts and ideas…until a small flicker of fear appeared and grew a little bigger the more you thought about it.

PSA: This is normal! Welcome to your human experience, where nothing (that’s actually worth anything) is easy. True fulfillment will not happen overnight, and that’s okay – there’s no set timeline for your journey. Take a deep breath in…and now exhale. Loudly. Seriously – do it right now. It just feels good. Trust me.

After I realized my life’s decisions were controlled by what I thought I “should” do, I started to see things differently. I started to take the time to actually think about what I really wanted in life – I wanted to begin to define myself and discover my purpose. How does anyone even begin to do this? If this question overwhelms you and you don’t know where to begin – just start thinking about what you don’t want to define you, and go from there.

For me, I didn’t like the way I was spending my time. I was teaching a few cycling classes per week, but I was employed full-time as a dental hygienist. While I absolutely loved my co-workers and patients, I hated that I had to show up every day and sit in an office knowing I was wasting my talents and gifts. Bottom line. I knew I was designed for something more, but I didn’t know what to do or how to get there…I didn’t even really know where “there” was, to be honest! I realized I was living a life where I was coasting and didn’t like it.

But what was I going to do about it? At the time, I was in the middle of a less-than-cordial divorce, unsure of what my financial situation was going to be, having no idea where I would be living, completely clueless of how much daily expenses were going to cost me. What if I couldn’t support myself on my own? What if I was making a huge mistake by leaving two “stable” things at once – financial income and a financial partner? Honestly, I hadn’t been on my own in five years – I couldn’t even remember what living alone and supporting myself was like. Not exactly the best time to quit my job. I was lost and stopped in my tracks by “What Ifs.”

One day, in a quite serendipitous way, I ended up talking to an old friend on the phone and informed him that I was going through a divorce – something I hadn’t told very many people yet. We started talking about happiness, and unhappiness, and the way I was feeling about my marriage, my job – my life! He empathized with me and told me about a book he had recently read that changed his thinking. 2 days later, it was in my mailbox.

The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris. I read 50 pages of the book and put in my resignation the next day. It was a done deal. The book is amazing and very eye-opening in its entirety, but here was my biggest takeaway:

Tim asked me to define my best-case scenario for fulfillment. What was my dream? At the time, it was to be employed in full-time fitness, nationally training cycle instructors how to make people’s lives better through exercise and give riders the best experience possible, while writing my psychological thriller novel on the side. I would be a Master Instructor within my company, and I would publish a book that would later turn into a movie, clearly starring Ryan Reynolds.

(Hey, dream big, right? Again…my deepest self knew my desires, it was time to say them outloud! And for the record, my dreams have changed over the years, as have I – but that’s a story for another time.)

Ok, so Master Instructor, traveling, book-writing, movie with Ryan Reynolds. Tim asked me to rank this dream actually coming to fruition on a scale of 1-10. Wow – I mean, clearly this would be a 10! Can you imagine? Definitely a 10.

Then he asked what I would need to do to make this happen. Well, I would have to quit my job as full-time dental hygienist, go into teaching classes full-time to advance within the company and dedicate time towards writing my book. Great – then he asked, what’s the risk? If I did this – what would be the worst-case scenario if it didn’t go as planned? Well, I suppose I could run out of money, as I was leaving a six-figure salary to teach fitness classes, and I would have to go back to working as a dental hygienist at some point. Alright, on a scale of 1-10, how would I rank the risk? Honestly, I ranked it a 2. All of a sudden, the “What Ifs” started dimming as my 10 started shining brighter and brighter.

Ok, great – the dream is a 10, and the risk is a 2.

Why was I risking a 10 for a 2?

My mind was blown. I was never one for fast math, but those numbers just made sense to me. I was never going to feel fulfilled if I continued to not pursue my 10 out of the fear of a 2.

I chose to take the risk. My original plan has changed and evolved over and over again, and I would have never guessed I would have ended up where I am in this moment. And you know what – I’ve never been happier.

Take the risk. Don’t be bound by fear. I had fear and I had doubts – choose to use them as tools, and see them as necessary steps towards taking on something bigger than you can imagine. We’ll continue to dive more into this.

Get your notebook. Let’s do some math.

Note – my case involved my job affecting my daily fulfillment, but yours could be different! It could be a job or a relationship, it could be emotional, spiritual, or physical. I want you to think about what you really believe to be a big step towards finding fulfillment and start there. There could be many things, too! But pick one – the one you believe to be the most important – the one that pulls at your heart when you initially think about your dreams.

Describe your best-case scenario, where you be doing exactly what you want to do, feeling exactly how you want to feel. (Don’t hold back – remember, you’re just telling yourself what you already know. If you struggle with this – that’s okay! Just start thinking about it and be open to anything that might pop into your head and circle back.)

On a scale of 1-10, if achieved, how would you rank this?

What needs to happen in order for you to achieve this?

What is the risk of following these steps?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank that risk?

Why are you risking a _____ for a _____?

There’s so much more to talk about, but I want to let that sit with you. Over the next few days, just be in tune with how much you find yourself thinking about the first question. I’ll see you next week.

The World of “Shoulds”

Hey y’all! Thank you for tuning in – I am so excited about my first post! I hope to offer you some enlightenment on your journey towards feeling fulfilled to the greatest capacity on a daily basis as I offer raw takeaways from my life experiences. So let’s go! Grab a spare notebook, slap the date on a page, and maybe write down a few notes that you discover about yourself today.

Allow me to introduce myself.

I’m Meg. I’m 32, and for the first 29 years of my life, I lived in the world of “shoulds.” 

I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a middle-class family of 6, finding myself second in the lineup of 4 kids. I went to college to become a dental hygienist, got married at the age of 27, and moved to Houston, Texas for my husband’s job.

My husband and I lived in a beautiful house and we both had jobs that society deemed “successful.” We took fancy trips, drove expensive cars, and had a busy social calendar. We honestly had a picture-perfect life to anyone looking in from the outside. Nothing was missing. Until one day I realized that something was missing: ME.

I wasn’t present in my own life. I was coasting. Going through the motions. Day in, day out – wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner and watch tv, drink a bottle of wine, and go to bed. Comfortable? Sure. Sustainable? Undoubtedly, had I never woken up. I had never questioned why I made decisions. I didn’t have to – the “shoulds” had taken care of any answer I ever needed.

I should get married because all of my friends are married and I’m getting older.

I should get a job and make “x” amount of money by “x” amount of time because then I will feel successful.

I should play it safe to feel stable in life because stability will bring me happiness.

Where was I getting these ideas? I didn’t know, and the worst part was – I had never even thought to ask! How long had I been sleeping? Coasting through life without a second thought to be present for myself? How long would I continue to sleep, allowing the word “should” to dominate my future as it had my past?

I should stay in this job because it’s high paying and I’ve done this for 10 years.

I should stay married because my husband looks really good on paper and people really shouldn’t get divorced.

I should keep my dreams bottled up because they will never become a reality – they are too far-fetched.

Thank God I woke up. I started leaving the things I felt I “should” chase and started chasing the life that would actually bring me fulfillment. For the record, I quit my job and got divorced (both much easier said than done, and definitely topics on which I will be elaborating.) I now choose to fill my time empowering people through fitness.

Every day is not perfect for me. But each day I wake up feeling fulfilled and present in my own life. Let me tell you this – life moves pretty quickly when you coast, because you really don’t have to think about much. Stop sleeping, stop missing out on what you deserve in life – WAKE UP.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, grab that notebook (for real this time) and jot down a few things. (Why is it important to write thoughts down? Think: “putting them into the physical universe.” And remember – no one has to see this but you – tell yourself the truth.)

What are some things you’ve been doing because you feel like you “should” be doing them?

What dreams do you constantly find yourself thinking about?

What are some actions you are currently doing to help make these dreams a reality?

What actions do you need to take to help make these dreams a reality?

And that’s it. Leave your thoughts there. Just start thinking about them. If something new pops into your mind tomorrow, maybe add it to the thoughts you wrote down. We’ll start there – we’ll just START. 

Because I got news, y’all – this is just the beginning.

OCTOBER 1: OFFICIAL BLOG LAUNCH!

Hey guys! I am so excited to officially be launching my blog on October 1, 2019! Blog topics will focus around fulfillment, empowerment, and vulnerability and I share my thoughts and my own personal journey with y’all. (Yes, I’m a Yankee having lived in Texas for 5 years now and I say y’all.) Scroll down to the left to subscribe! If you have any topics you would like me to blog about, please drop me a note under the Contact tab. The countdown is on!

xoxo Meg

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