TED Tuesday: Get More Sleep

Ladies, what do you think about joining me in my mission to sleep my way to the top?

And by sleeping I really do mean getting the best night’s rest possible, no strings attached.

I love this TED Talk because it glorifies one of the most wonderful things Dan and I cherish on weeknights and weekends -some quality Zz’s.

Through college, I lived off of short naps and craved those long weekends where I could shut down my brain and re-group on my sleep. I wasn’t losing sleep because I was out having a great time, I was losing sleep because my day was full of classes and practice and my part-time job.

At that point in my life I didn’t have any other time to cram in my homework other than in the ugly hours of the night. I’d force myself to stay awake by doing laundry at 1am, brewing coffee, setting an alarm for every 40 minutes, just in case I accidentally fell asleep while cramming for my next big exam. I’d hunt out the best late night coffee shops and would even become a regular at these places, occasionally scoring a cute guy’s phone number out of the deal who was the same kind of ‘crazy’ that I was.

Because I was still successful and “able to function” with this snooze schedule, I fooled myself into believing that little sleep made me highly productive. It was a poor illusion that I had where I truly believed that those who slept in on weekends, didn’t take 8am classes and didn’t have bags under their eyes were fools for all the hours they were missing out on.

No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn was my jam.

As I’ve grown older I understand and appreciate the beauty and benefit from a wonderful night’s rest. My skin looks better, my eyes are brighter, I’m enthusiastic, I’m driven and all the way around I’m an easier person to communicate with. As a Type A woman driven to make a difference in my world, sleep deprivation is my very worst enemy and Dan’s done a great job of getting me into that routine. We are in bed by 9pm most nights and still get 7-8 hours, depending on whether we decide to run or rest in the morning.

More sleep, less caffeine, better decisions and healthier outlook. It’s easy.

So thanks for the great reminder, Arianna. We could all use a better night’s rest and an opportunity to shut down our engines.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading

heart JE

TED Tuesday: Ask for Thanks

My favorite day is here, TED Talk Tuesday!

First Question: How often do you say “Thank You“?

You say it genuinely and with purpose, don’t you? You say it when people provide you a service, you say it when you receive a gift you love or don’t even like. You say it to your co-workers for giving you a hand and you probably even say thank you when your boss or someone in power gives you more work, just like I do.

You say it when your spouse or significant other does the laundry, and not only does the laundry but folds/steams your clothes and lays them neatly on the bed. (Thank you, Dan). 

Better Question: How often do you ask someone to say “Thank You” for something you’ve done?

….no, me either. And why don’t we?

I believe I’m worthy of a “thank you” for working 12 hours non-stop yesterday. My soul would benefit from a “thank you” for being a cheerleader, a motivator, a hard-worker, an innovator, a risk-taker, a leader, a voice, a heart, a scratching post – so why don’t I ask for it?

It’s not my nature to reveal myself to people and give them a view of what I need emotionally. In the video below, Laura Trice nails it on the head when she says that the reason we find it scary to ask for thanks is because someone could neglect us, they could abuse the information, or they could actually meet our need and change the way we feel. terrifying.

Ask for thanks when you do chores, ask for thanks when you go the extra mile, and make sure that you’re asking your loved ones what they need thanks for. It matters.

In today’s short and sweet TED talk, Laura takes three minutes of your time and asks you to “true your wheels” and be honest about the praise you need to hear. I recommend watching more than once.

Thank you, readers – your support means the world to me!

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: Strike a Pose

We talked a lot on Tuesday about Power Posing and I hope it got you thinking as much as it got me thinking.

This week I’ve seen people responding differently to what my non-verbal cues are saying. As a result, I’ve found myself more aware of everyone else’s weak shrunken bodies or confident upright gorilla-statures. I can smell that confidence from a mile away and my oh my isn’t. it. sexy.

Consciously standing tall and sitting upright to convince others what to think of me has caused me to reflect on what I think about myself.

I’ve always had a certain showmanship about me and am not afraid of being the center of attention. I don’t mind taking the lead, I don’t mind making a public fool of myself and as an athlete I grew to crave the spotlight. 

That person I just described is me when I’m in a large crowd, in an anonymous setting or when it really counts for making an impression.

When things get a little more personal, that picture can change… for the worse.

Let’s share a few experiences from my youth:

  • I wrote notes to teachers and emails to my parents rather than having real conversations.
  • My boyfriend from 5th to 6th grade and I only talked on AIM while at school I’d have my FRIENDS pass notes to him.
  • I couldn’t order my own food at a restaurant
  • Through my adult years, I still had anxiety ordering food at a drive-thru window.
  • I couldn’t find the courage to speak up for myself, approach new people or make new friends until they invited me to the conversation.

What it was about these closer interactions that scared me is still a mystery and what continues to give me anxiety about personal interactions remains unanswered.

Just this past Monday I led a difficult conversation at the office in the morning, then that same evening I found myself introverted and timid walking into an Apple store for a Genius Bar appointment about my iPhone camera not working. (to which Dan shakes his head and helps me through it, but can’t see what I’m so worried about)

What causes me to shine in the difficult situation and crumble in the ordinary everyday conversation? Ego I suppose.

Using the power of positive self-reinforcement through body language and visualization will really help me overcome these fears in my personal life while allowing improvement for the proud, confident and composed Jessi many see everyday.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who’s always had a little swagger in her walk and knew the right time to turn up the lights and let ’em shine.

TED Tuesday: Power Posing

Stop for a moment and look at yourself. How are you sitting, standing, walking right now? Is your back straight, is your head up? Are you folded up and looking down?

No matter what you’re doing right this moment, what you’re doing at any given moment is telling a complete story about who you are, what mood you’re in and how your day, week or life is going. Your body language communicates more non-verbally than anything would ever express coming out of your mouth. Perception is more often reality, which unfortunately is something you do not always control.

Your non-verbals (including your hand placement, arm position, the way your feet are pointed, whether you’re taking up space or making yourself small) speak an honest story about you and your confidence, personality, and the way you’re going to handle a conversation. It can impact everything from making a connection, landing a job interview or simply the way strangers may approach you.

Our non-verbals govern the way others view and perceive us, but what we explore today is whether we may be able to fool ourselves through body language to make ourselves look and feel more powerful?

Amy Cuddy in the TED Talk I’ve shared today recommends that we should be taking time out of our day to assume ‘high-power poses’ to teach our bodies to change our minds. Take two minutes out of your day as sort of a ‘power boost’ to open your arms out wide like a gorilla, spread those wings like an eagle, heck – even flaunt your gills like our Betta fish! It’s a primal instinct to assume a large and dominating stance when we want to project power and confidence, so why don’t we find it useful more often in our everyday lives?

It’s okay to feel powerful. Powerful people feel more optimistic, they take more risks, they react better to stressful situations and they give others a reason to have confidence in them as a leader.

Take 20 minutes on your lunch break (or just listen) and learn how you too can benefit from power posing.

Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it.

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

TED Tuesday: Take a Walk

Before you get settled and comfortable, I’d like to ask you to grab your mobile device and go for a walk while reading this post today. If you’re unable to read it while taking a walk, at least stand up or get moving. You don’t want to be sitting down for the next five minutes and I promise the video is short!

Today’s journey through TED wonderland tells us that the average American sits more hours a day than they sleep, and combined sitting and sleeping make up more than 2/3 of your day. I’m an avid believer in standing at my desk throughout the workday and only sitting for moments of deep concentration or when I previously would eat lunch at my desk. Not anymore, friends!

This weekend through all of the airport travel, it amazed me to see how many people sat at their departure gates waiting to get on their flights. Did they not realize that they would be sitting without a personal bubble for a few hours in the air, that they’d have no access to fresh air for duration of the flight, that this was their opportunity to stretch their legs, that sitting is killing them? Dan and I both had the itch to move around and get some airport antics underway as evidenced by our back to back photo shares all night Sunday.

I think you’ll like Nilofer’s brevity and clear call to action in today’s TED Talk.

She shares her secret and invites the rest of us to begin asking people on ‘walking meetings’ rather than the traditional meeting over coffee, drinks, lunch or in a stale fluorescent-lit conference room.

Fresh air leads to fresh ideas and a different setting can open the door to out of the box thinking. Ultimately, it can lead to better health for you, your colleagues and future generations.

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

TED Tuesday: The Power of Grit

Welcome back to the work week! I hope everyone’s weekend was relaxing and re-energizing.

The topic of today’s TED Talk is Grit. What is it?

Grit is “passion and perseverance”. Grit is continually setting goals for yourself, being self motivated, having stamina through long term goals and sticking to your future.

Talent doesn’t make you gritty, wealth doesn’t make you gritty, education doesn’t make you gritty.

What does?

Hard work, courage, confidence and trust in yourself.

I’m fortunate to have parents who instilled the idea of grit into my mind at a young age. They were entrepreneurs who worked harder than anyone I know to make a future for our family. That mindset has guided me through life and has yet to fail me.

In school I wasn’t always the most intelligent of my class but worked hard to get exceptional grades. In my final four years of softball I was challenged mentally more than I’ve ever been in my life and came out of it with a hard shell and a resilience that can’t be taught. In my current job I wasn’t ready for the pressure that would come my way, but through focus, stamina and my can’t-fail attitude I’m happier than ever.

The man I have fallen in love with has grit. When he was diagnosed with Cancer in 2008 after he’d moved to Portland he found the strength within himself to not give up, to see himself through his treatments and to continue his life as if nothing had happened. I’m proud of him and it proves his ability to face any future adversity that may come our way.

Enough about me, observe the confidence of Angela Lee Duckworth in today’s TED talk. She’s captivating, motivating and hopefully she can encourage you to find the grit somewhere deep within yourself. 

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

The Truth about Cohabitation

I alluded to sad times last year during this week and I guess I can’t really back away from writing this post now.

You’ve all given me positive feedback about the Boyfriend + Cohabitation posts for the last 20 weeks (TWENTY?) and I’m here to tell the story about our relationship before he moved in with me. A story about when I moved in with him.

Dan and I met in the summer of 2010 through an intramural softball league and didn’t exactly hit it off at first sight. He was the 3rd baseman and I was the first basewoman. Any of you who know a thing about intramural softball would know that the 3rd and 1st positions interact a lot. I say we didn’t hit it off so well because he’d always short hop me (bruises!) or air mail me (white girl can’t jump!) and I just thought he wasn’t good at ball. There wasn’t much there to kick off a conversation!

Our first memorable interaction was after our team had won first place and went out to celebrate afterward with beer and tots. He conveniently pulled up a chair next to me, cracked every joke he could to have me in stitches and even snuck his way into getting my phone number when I was sharing it with some of the ladies on my team.

From that day on, he and I hit it off easier than I’d ever gelled with a guy before. Conversation flowed seamlessly, we’d meet late for dinner and drinks and wind up closing down wherever we went, no matter how late their hours were. 10pm, 1am, on weeknights! We didn’t want to leave one another’s company until we were given the glare and the ‘you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here’ look from the bar/restaurant/pool hall’s staff.

These late nights weren’t exactly easy on me gramma likes her sleep and one day in early 2011 before an evening meet-up I stopped at Target on the way to dinner and bought a new outfit. The outfit wasn’t for the date, it was for work the next morning. I was going to stay the night. I surprised myself with this bold move, mostly because I wasn’t the girl that did that type of thing on the regular, but also because my intent wasn’t a relationship with Dan.

So, Jessi – what exactly were you trying to accomplish by staying the night with a ‘friend’ with no intention to date him?

I still can’t answer that question. There was something about Dan that brought me comfort, confidence, peace of mind and happiness. That one night staying over turned into two nights a week, turned into me bringing over clothes and buying an extra hair dryer. Then two nights a week turned into more – rearranging his closet to fit more of my things, going to ikea together to install a place where I could get ready in the mornings. Four nights a week then morphed into grocery shopping for the two of us, buying furniture together and making decisions about travel together – and yet I still wasn’t his girlfriend. Oh, so that’s where ‘cohabitation’ comes from!

It went so deep as to not having access to my full wardrobe for a year.

Spring of 2011 quickly turned into Summer of 2012, memories, dates, road trips together – and I still wasn’t claiming him as my boyfriend. I still hadn’t told my parents, friends, co-workers or loved ones that I was involved in a relationship, that I hadn’t stepped foot into my own home for months or that I was even dating someone. Someone as special as my Daniel.

If I was Dan I would have quit me a long time before that. I was a jerk.

Late Spring of 2012 Dan’s sister called him and excitedly announced that she was engaged! He was so happy for her and at the same time guilt hit me like a brick wall. Was I leading him on? Was he going to start thinking about marriage soon? Is he my forever or was he just the closest chair?

After a hard weekend conversation with my mom just a few days after she met Dan for the first time at my 24 1/2 birthday dinner, I decided that I had to end whatever it was that I was doing. During my conversation with my mom which she will still never forgive me for I didn’t confess that I’d been living with him for a year. She sensed from meeting him that we were great friends but that if I wasn’t going to date him then I needed to give him space and let him find ‘the one’.

Monday May 21st after work I let myself into his home, rolled up my sleeves and removed every last piece of evidence that I’d ever lived there. Through waterfalls of tears I raced up and down the stairs with handfuls of clothing on hangers, duffel bags full of shoes, grocery bags that carried make-up and craft supplies, the kitchen appliances…everything that I’d brought into his home and that we’d made ours. I was in such a hurry because I didn’t want his roommate to catch me and even worse for him to catch me.

I was on the road within an hour – my little car was bursting at the seams with bags and shoes, ugly cry/sweaty hair, heartbreak to the max.

I hadn’t even given him a hint that I wouldn’t be home that night.

At 6:45 I received a text message from him “What can I make us for dinner?” More tears.

I cried myself to sleep that night, I sobbed to my mom on the phone several times, I cried and cried to Dan when we met the next afternoon for lunch to talk through why I’d left. That I was really just scared, that I wasn’t his one and he wasn’t mine. Sitting there in the restaurant, there was no emotion on his face, no concern for my heartbreak, nothing but an acceptance that what we shared was over and that he wasn’t going to spend another minute chasing after my affection. I thought this was where the secret story of our time together would end.

But it didn’t.

For days and nights, sitting at my desk or over a simple conversation I’d break into tears over what I felt I’d lost. No, what I’d thrown away.

After suggesting dinners, drinks, lunch, walks in the park, everything to see him – I finally dragged him away from a workout and treated him to seeing The Avengers on a weeknight.

The drive to the theater was silent, during the movie I extended my fingers to hold his hand and instead he handed over the package of twizzlers we’d snuck into the theater. We didn’t speak much, and I felt like my window of opportunity was shrinking.

Just one mile before I was to his home and going to have what seemed to be my last face to face conversation with him, I calmly spoke.

Dan, do you trust me?”  (silly question)

“Uhhh…. ” (with that look he gives me)

Well, I’m a little crazy, but what if we start. over?

(blank stare).(frustration). “How?”

Start over! You forget me, I forget you – we forget everything we’ve ever done together and we just start. over. Right now, see –” I pull out my phone. “This is you in my phone. I’ve never deleted a single text message from you. Do you trust me?

“There’s no way to start over, Jessi. There isn’t.”

Dan! Watch me.” Swipes finger across the screen, taps the red bar. “You and everything you’ve ever been is now deleted in my phone. Now you do it too!

An uneasy Dan pulls out his phone and with less drama does the same, and away went all of the messages we’d ever shared.

I dropped him off to his home, looked him deep into his eyes and said, “you know where to find me“.

And he found me…..

Happily and instantly, we started over.

heart JE