Leading By Example

There’s a lot of weight to this statement, and it’s a concept I believe in deeply.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but it would be wise to remember that – for all of us – those opinions are our own. Our views are colored by our own filters and experiences, and therefore highly personal perceptions, which leaves room for both accord and disagreement. It also means there is no right or wrong because our journey in life is entirely unique – what we “see” can never been seen by another in precisely the same way. 

We are also entitled to share our opinions – free speech, after all!  But (and this is very much my personal “opinion”) it is not by vehemently expressing our views, or opposing others outright, by which we can change the world. At the end of the day, our opinion isn’t what matters at all…it’s how we conduct ourselves.

Our behaviors, actions, reactions, responses, attitudes…they culminate as our “example.” We can change the world when we lead in this way, because our behaviors can – and do – affect those around us. Good, bad, and ugly! The difference in the impact an opinion will have is that a statement of what we believe is simply that… While words are powerful things, they can go in ears, and out them as quickly as they were uttered.

The other side of it is that many will nod as if to say they hear you, but move on without putting an ounce of effort in listening to anything you’ve said. Our behaviors, however, are more defined – they become concrete actions, which are (in a way) the proof in the pudding. We can say many things and behave in a way that is wholly contrary. OR, we can say many things and back that up by taking actions in alignment with those words.

A fine example can be found in observing children. We can say “you should never do X,” then do X ourselves, and watch the children following suit by taking action X. The actions are so much more meaningful than the words we use. While again I personally believe that words can be powerful things, it is important to note when a dissonance between the spoken word and the taken actions occurs, it will be the actions that are followed and believed.

For many reasons, beyond the ones I have mentioned, the quotation really hits home. We live in a world where opinions are forcibly thrust in our faces on a regular basis – it’s much harder today to escape someone’s political diatribe (even when tailoring your social media feed!), for example, than in the past. You see it almost whether you like it or not. 

As for me, though, I’m not really interested IN those opinions. I’m more concerned with attitudes, behaviors, and actions. I care more about how a person is conducting him or herself, and you better believe that it is based on those things that I will formulate my estimation of them. (I’d fully expect others to do the same and hold me to this standard.) 

The actions of others speak volumes (versus the pretty things one might say.) I know for myself that a person’s conduct (his or her “example”) will change my environment a great deal more than by what they have to say. Because again, it is the actions that are telling us all what they REALLY believe. Which of those two would you follow?

Surrounding Yourself With Good People

The people with whom you choose to spend the most time can have a huge impact on your life and well-being…

Look to those who love you for exactly who you are. For they are the ones who will have patience, respect, and understanding when you need it most….and, more importantly, at all times.

Look to those who push you to look deeply within yourself at the things that maybe no longer serve you so well – sometimes it’s hard to face ourselves alone. 

Look to those who challenge you to internally and externally step up your game. There are those who will support and encourage you, and remind you of all the “wonderful” you have to offer (and you deserve to be reminded. OFTEN!)

Look to the people who remind you that “failure” means “lesson,” and nothing more. The people who will remind you that have the strength, the courage, and the wherewithal to get up and fight…because you’ve already done it with success so many times before.

And look to those who will not only look for the bright side no matter how grim the circumstance, but who will do everything in their power to BE the “bright” when the lights go out. 

Life is full of ups and downs – when we have the right troops in our corner it’s not only easier to weather the storms, but the joys and celebrations are also multiplied many, many fold.  

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Battle Bruises

The other day my training partner and I started laughing in the middle of a mount technique – She is awesome about “staying heavy” and totally crushed me from her mount. My chest was beyond sore from class the day before and there was something ridiculously comical about the fact that I could scarcely move (not to mention remember what the heck we were doing!)  I couldn’t quite laugh without groaning from the discomfort but I think most of us in there air on the side of finding humor in the ass-kicking we give ourselves – self-imposed after all!

We kept at it – myself, I have to say, firing on less than all pistons.  I don’t like to half-ass anything but my body was just too exhausted and sore to be as optimal as I’d have liked.  Off we go into another technique and… *PiNcH!* A trap and roll gi grab produced a lovely, almost-instantaneous heart-shaped bruise on my inner arm.  Ahhh… LOVE!

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A few minutes later I managed to totally slam my elbow to the mat.  I’m not sure if it was the impact, or the additional rolling over it by another body but within seconds I knew I’d have another battle wound (really racking them up that day!)

I love being a Martial Arts practitioner and though some days are rough-and-tumble (literally!  “Throw week” is one I look forward to less than, let’s say, small joint manipulation or weapons)…it is very much par for the course.  

A training partner at Ninjutsu the other day was totally out of it – I was admittedly frustrated by the spaciness and unwillingness to at least try.  Some days your body has less power, but you can still make the (mindful!) effort.  At one point he said “don’t really do it” about the block-and-striking technique we were working on at that moment.  Now, with two damaged knees I am the FIRST person to say “go easy,” or “let’s walk through this as we learn, without going to hard.”  But the reality is…you are in a Martial Arts class!  

You aren’t going to leave completely unscathed.  That doesn’t  mean you can’t train smart – you absolutely can (frankly, that’s ALWAYS my goal.)  Still…bumps and bruises happen.  You are going to need to accept that there will be some injuries (hopefully nothing major, however, which I’ve also endured.)  Martial Arts aren’t for the faint of heart by any stretch so it is important to know what you are getting into.  For me…I love to wear my heart on my sleeve…or my biceps! 😉  

My goal is to train as intelligently as I can so my partner and I get through with just a bunch of sore muscles at most.  But…when those bumps and bruises happen, I wear them like jewelry because I’m pretty darn sure I was working hard when I got them!  (I hope tomorrow when I go to try on bridal gowns, the wedding ladies don’t cringe too much! *lol*)

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For more of my Marital Arts and Dance jazz…