Author Archives: Dana Shane

Give it your ALL – whether that’s IN or OUT

Some of my most satisfying and rewarding experiences in life have come from my can-do, make-it-happen, no-matter-what mentality –  topped off with a heaping dose of refusal to quit.

What some people like to refer to as “stubbornness” –  but I’d prefer to call “tenacity” –  has allowed me to finish marathons, ultra-marathons and triathlons. Compete in multi-day adventure races. Most recently, to become a finalist in a national body transformation challenge. Start my own advertising and communications company at the age of twenty-four. Start a new company (The Adventuresome Life) twenty years later. And to raise my son almost entirely on my own, as a single mother – having endured and survived the thirty-six hours of labor required to give birth to him in the first place.

In all of these instances I was what I like to call ALL IN.

What do I mean by ALL IN?

Being ALL IN requires commitment. It involves a plan, prioritization and laser focus. It’s a deep need or want to do whatever it takes. It’s fueled by a passion burning inside of you.

ALL IN can be about anything in life. It’s not just about physical accomplishments. It can apply to relationships, health, service, career, creativity, monetary gain, home, family, travel, entertainment.

Whatever the category, I’ve found the most amount of fun, excitement, joy and satisfaction when I’m ALL IN.

ALL IN is ALL GOOD – pretty much – if you know where and how you want to be ALL IN.

But that’s where things can get wonky – where the tug-of-war battle gets ugly.

When we want to have an ALL IN experience with everything in life. We want the perfect body. To be the perfect mom. To cook the perfect meals. On-time. To have the perfect family. Wear the perfect clothes. Have the perfect job. Make the perfect amount of money. Say all the right things. Do even better things. And we want it to be easy and to feel happy about it all – all of the time!

When you’re constantly beating yourself up or feeling dissatisfied for not having this, accomplishing that, feeling good enough, spending enough time here when you need to be over there – it’s time to ask yourself when, where and with whom you can be ALL IN – really.

To make it easier, it’s important to remember:

 

Tip #1 – If you’re trying to be ALL IN – you’re probably not really ALL IN.

If it doesn’t feel easy on some level – like a no-brainer – then accept whatever it is for exactly what it is. Something you make room for in your life but isn’t something that fuels you and therefore can’t have your ALL IN attention.

When I’ve been truly ALL IN in life – there wasn’t much thought or effort required in deciding to be ALL IN.

In other words, I didn’t need to be convinced.

A good rule of thumb is a quote I attribute to Marie Forleo:  “If it ain’t a HELL YEAH, then it’s a HELL NO!”

Conversely, when I’ve been ALL IN and I’ve hit bumps in the road, or things got difficult, I may have wavered or needed to recharge – but I knew I would never quit.

 

Tip #2 – Don’t expect ALL IN outcomes, when you’re only partially in.

For example, I didn’t become a finalist in a national body transformation competition by eating whatever I wanted and working out every once in a while.

It was a 90-day unwavering commitment.

I cut sugar, alcohol, and most carbs COMPLETELY. I counted every calorie, gram of fat, protein, and carb that entered my mouth. And I worked out every day – without fail. Specific workouts designed to burn fat and build muscle – sometimes two to three times per day. And I invested in the expertise of a trainer and a nutritionist to guide my efforts.

Now the challenge is over. And my health and fitness is still a huge priority for me. But my new ALL IN looks a little different now. I’m not nearly as regimented and restricted. But I do have a new plan and discipline that feels good to me, is feasible for me to implement now, and keeps me healthy and fit.

 

Tip #3 – Being ALL IN in one area of your life REQUIRES being ALL OUT in other areas.

Growing up, I was a multi-passionate kid.

I remember telling my dad one day in high school that I was frustrated. I was in dance, played basketball, ran track and cross country and was a decent student. I felt like I was OK at most things, but I wasn’t the best at anything.

At that time in my life I thought it was about competition or proving something.

But looking back now I realize it was about passion. I wasn’t giving my ALL to any one thing. I was spread out all over the place – keeping a lot of balls in the air.

There’s nothing wrong with multi-tasking and enjoying many different things. In fact, most of us – women in particular – take great pride in our ability to manage so many things at once.

But for me, I generally feel better when I have something, at any given moment, that is my ALL IN focus. It’s just a matter of deciding what that is – and therefore not allowing everything else to interrupt or overshadow it.

For instance, Michael Phelps didn’t become the decorated Olympic Champion swimmer that he is by spending a lot of time and energy playing golf. It’s not to say that he doesn’t have a unique talent, but I guarantee you he earned those gold medals with unprecedented commitment, focus, hard work and passion.

 

Tip #4 – Recognize areas where you can be ALL OUT, so that you can be ALL IN when and where you choose. Here are some helpful hints:

  • You’re choosing it out of fear rather than desire and passion.
  • It doesn’t bring you joy.
  • It doesn’t make being ALL IN easier for you.
  • It interferes with what you really want to accomplish.
  • It feels demanding and uncompromising.
  • It distracts you and you use it as an excuse to procrastinate.
  • It puts you down or reminds you that you can’t do what you really want.
  • It presents constant challenges that don’t seem necessary, supportive or purposeful.

 

It’s important to remember that being ALL IN doesn’t mean you need to have it all figured out.

And being ALL OUT doesn’t mean you have to give other things up entirely.

It just means you choose strategically and thoughtfully – the people, places, things and actions that bring you closer to what you really want.

Do you have something you’ve been putting off? Denying yourself? Half-ass attempting to accomplish? Sort of getting around to?

You ready to be ALL IN?

Me too!

For me, it’s building and growing The Adventuresome Life. My biggest dreams, desires and passions are in this company – and I’m currently only creating and sharing about ten percent of what I envision it to be.

You ready to end this game of tug-of-war?

Let’s get ALL OUT together, so we can be ALL IN exactly where we want to be.

Where can you be ALL OUT? And where are you going to apply that new found energy, time and focus to be ALL IN?

It feels sooooo good to declare it…and you just may help somebody else in the process.

In the wake of terrorist attacks, hate crimes, threats of nuclear war, and an enormous spotlight on divided beliefs and nations – it’s important to remember that we can all do our part.

And what is your part?

The same as mine. The same as hers. The same as his. The same as theirs.

It’s to remember who you really are – underneath all the conflict, drama, intimidation, fear and judgment.

And therefore, to remember those same qualities in others.

Exercise compassion.

A lot of, “I see you in me”. “I see me in you”.

It starts with taking ownership of your own actions, your own words, your own thoughts.

Let’s practice.

From the Golden Arches to the Golden Ticket

Last week I watched the move “Founder” about Ray Kroc, the man who founded McDonald’s.

“Founded”. Kind of like the phrase “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” you may have heard or repeated on your elementary school playground – as tears welled up in at least one child’s eyes.

Ouch!

The story shares how one man “improved upon” and arguably stole the brainchild and established business of the McDonald brothers in 1954 – ultimately turning it into a multi-billion dollar business.

Ray Kroc, a salesman, saw an opportunity and was willing to take big risks for big rewards. He had the know-how, the guts – some might argue, the audacity – and eventually the finances to turn the McDonald brothers’ ideas and inventions into something bigger than the original thought generators could envision or even wanted.

Despite the McDonald brothers’ resistance, Ray Kroc eventually took control of the company right out from underneath them. He wrote them a check – taking the golden arches, all of their locations and original ideas for what made McDonald’s so appealing in the first place with him.

The McDonald brothers agreed – not because they wanted to, but because they realized they could take what they could get or nothing at all.

The brothers negotiated 1% of all future earnings of the company. They never saw a dime of that money.

Their only other request was to be allowed to keep their original store in San Bernardino, California to which Kroc agreed – eventually forcing them to remove their family name from the location and later putting a McDonald’s right across the street, driving them out of business.

Many people would define this story as unfair, criminal, despicable, unjust and downright slimey.

Others might argue it’s a prime example of modern day capitalism. David and Goliath. As not only fair, but perfectly legal. Darwinism exemplified. It was proposed to me as, “It’s just the way it is”.

I can see points from all sides of the argument.

However, I personally identify more with the idea that Kroc – the man who would make billions off of the Golden Arches – could have used a healthy dose of the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Seems simple enough, right?

Then why is the Golden Rule such a difficult one to follow?

First, many people – including myself – have a natural aversion to rules being forced upon them – like a baby being fed spoonfuls of those icky green peas, spitting them back out faster than they can come in.

Secondly, just by having the opinion that Ray Kroc’s actions were calculated, crooked and cold-hearted. That he should have a dump truck of the Golden Rule shoved down his throat. I myself am officially NOT practicing the Golden Rule.

Funny, isn’t it?

You see the  Golden Rule is not really asking us to walk around being do-gooders all the time.

It’s actually asking for us to find compassion in any and all situations. Look at the person before you. Treat them as you would want to be treated or looked upon if you were in their exact position, had made their same choices, or carried out their actions – no matter what.

It’s difficult to do unto another what you would have them do unto you, when you’re preoccupied with being upset, angry, jealous, frustrated, betrayed or disgusted about what you are judging them to have done – to you or to someone else.

Judgement breeds defensiveness by nature.

Ever cuss somebody out or flip somebody off because they pulled in front of you on the interstate? Ever cuss somebody out or flip somebody off because you accidentally pulled in front of them on the interstate and they cussed you out or flipped you off? (you may need to read this twice)

We do these kind of things all of the time. With our kids. About friends and family. At work. In line at the grocery store. Across party lines. Especially with people we consider to be different from us.

Judgement is diversion. An illusion. A disguise.

It’s our ego’s way of claiming false significance and superiority in under to escape the underlying fear that we all have in common – Am I good enough? Am I worthy? Am I lovable?

It offers false pretense that we are not ALL responsible for the bigger picture. We point fingers. Shirk our personal responsibilities. Dodge ownership. As if to say – look what HE did.

We attempt to place the focus out there – on somebody or something else and all of their inadequacies – evading our own human flaws, faults and failures.

So instead of the Golden Rule, I propose a Golden Ticket.

Guaranteed entry into compassion, forgiveness and understanding, and ultimately release from our own fears.

This is a practice a friend and fellow student of The Course in Miracles shared in our last study group.

That night I happened to be trapped in a mindset that had me feeling taken advantage of, not worthy and ultimately victimized. I was sorting through my intense emotions and the judgement I was placing upon the person who I felt was responsible.

I couldn’t get past what I felt this person had done “TO ME”, in order to have compassion and understanding for the choices they felt necessary to make.

As far as I was concerned the Golden Rule could go suck a Golden Egg!

That’s when Carrie proposed replacing my judgement thoughts and statements with I AM statements.

I am the person I’m angry with. (on some level)

I have made similar choices in my own life.  (even if I can’t recall)

I am that bad attitude.

I have taken advantage of people.

I have felt entitled.

I have made that same mistake. (whatever that mistake is)

I have been ignorant, belligerent, unfair, desperate, scared, indifferent – all of which ultimately stem from fear.

I have made choices, said things and acted out from a place of fear many times in my life. So have you. So has she. And he. And they.

We are all a lot more alike than we are different – at the core of our humanness.

We just want to know that we matter.

We want to provide for and protect the ones we love.

We want to be loved – unconditionally.

We want to contribute and bring value to the world.

But we cannot have what we are not willing to give.

We are all both Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers. The “good” and the “bad”, no matter what trait you might be assigning to each party.

So rather than do unto others, you ARE others. If given their exact history, upbringing, inherited beliefs, hardships, fears, pressures – chances are you would choose and act just as they would.

Chances are, you already are in some way, shape or form.

Our willingness to practice seeing ourselves in others – and them in us – is your Golden Ticket to peace, love, compassion and understanding.

Place an I AM statement you are working with today in the comments below. And remember, you’re not alone. I am you. You are me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want PEACE?

  • PICK where

What area of your life do you feel unhappy about? Frustrated with? At a complete loss? Is there an area where you just can’t seem to solve a problem? Where you can’t find ease? Where you can’t bring what you want to fruition?

Be specific. If you have a whole list – work with one area at a time.

 

  • PLAN how

In order to achieve any goal – including peace – the key is to start with exactly where you are and work with the elements that only you can control.

What specifically are YOU doing that is allowing a lack of peace in your life having to do with your chosen subject matter or relationship? Make a list of actions/interactions you’re participating in.

Then take it a step further. What are you telling yourself that keeps you in a state of anger, unrest, sadness, frustration, desperation, fear, helplessness or disgust? This has to do with the thoughts swimming around in your head.

 

  • Make a PACT

Decide that peace in that particular area is your ultimate goal and make a pact with yourself to do whatever it takes to experience and offer peace. Make a list of the thoughts and actions that you can change. Not the thoughts and actions of others involved in any of these scenarios. But rather your own choices, behaviors, beliefs, boundaries.

Write them as “I will….” statements.

Examples:

I will allow __________ to make her own choices and learn from her own mistakes – even if that makes me feel like I’ve failed somehow.

I will walk away for at least 5 minutes in order to compose myself and gather my thoughts before responding in stressful, frustrating or heated interactions.

I will tell myself I forgive myself, every time I realize I am being judgmental…whether it is towards myself or others.

I will not blame anyone else for my current state of affairs. I will own my “failures” as well as my “successes”.

 

  • PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

I recommend choosing one thing at a time to work on. Committing to 40 days is a great way to form a habit. But maybe a week works for you. Or you want to focus on a new area everyday. Or a month at a time. Or maybe you have one major area you want to focus on for an entire year.

However you slice it, put into action that what you say you want. Practice peace. Offer it to others. Accept it for yourself.

 

  • PAY Attention

I recommend you write about your experience with the PEACE Adventure Challenge in your TAL journal. Answer all the questions above. Journal what you learn. Where you get tripped up. Notice and document when and where you feel peace naturally and when and where you attain it through new choices. And even where you lose your shit – again.

As you move through this Adventure Challenge exercise, remember PEACE option #2 from the blog: If you can’t have peace now, make peace with that.

As always, if you have questions, a story or insight please share in the comment below.

 

So you want to feel at peace, do ya?

Pathway to Peace #1: Big Blue Dog Bone

My first big lesson in acquiring peace came one day about eight years ago, lying face down on my home office floor – wailing like a toddler in a Target aisle having been denied the dollhouse of her dreams.

But rather than a dollhouse, it was real life that was causing my tantrum. More specifically, my ex-husband. Or at least that’s what I was telling myself.

(Pointing a finger elsewhere always seems to provide just enough delusion to take the edge off – temporarily.)

My marriage had ended. The divorce was final. I was living my life. He was living his. No harm, no foul. Except for one “minor” detail. After several years, any and all interactions with my ex-husband –  or lack thereof – still had power to send me into a full-blown meltdown.

I can’t remember to this day what sent me over the edge on that particular day, but I felt desperate to never feel that way again.

I called a close confidante and begged him to give me the answers to all my troubles. To tell me what to do. How could I fix this? How could I fix him? How could I learn to not care? Who could I turn to? How could I release the miserable death grip this broken and wounded relationship had on me?

Calmly and pragmatically he replied, “Ok, are you ready? I’m going to give you your answer. Maybe you should sit down.”

Already lying on the floor, I sat up at attention. My ears perked up. My sobbing ceased.

“I’m ready.”

To which he offered, “Big Blue Dog Bone.”

I sat in silence.

A.K.A. shock.

“What?”

He said it again, “Big Blue Dog Bone. That’s your answer.”

And then he started to laugh. Uncontrollably.

(HINT: It was meant to sound as ridiculous and non-sensical as it did to me… as I’m sure it does to you now)

It was his way of saying INSERT HERE. In other words, there was no specific answer. No cure-all, out there – somewhere.

There wasn’t a super hero that was going to sweep in and make it all better. My tortured mindset came from me holding on too tightly to how I thought things should be. Or should’ve been.

Peace evades us when we hold on too tightly. To an idea. An outcome. A person. A belief.

When we expect someone to say something, to do something or for something to happen so that we can finally feel happiness and be at peace – it will not come. It can’t. Outside circumstances are not where the answers lie.

My only answer was to choose peace, in that moment, and any other since.

  • Do whatever it takes for you to have peace – at all costs – above all else

Many of us say we want something or don’t want something but we’re totally unwilling to do what it takes to get it. Or to change the habits and patterns in our lives – and more importantly in our minds – that keep us from feeling joy and being at peace.

(HINT: you will know if you’re on the right track if whatever action you’re taking or allowing ACTUALLY gives you a sense of joy or peace).

If not, until you’re REALLY ready to require what it’s going to take for you to be at peace, you’re only pathway to peace is option 2.

 

Pathway to Peace #2: When All Else Fails

There’s an anonymous quote that says, “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.”

(I would add to that list: tragedy, heartache, loss, frustration, confusion and injustice.)

“Rather it means to be in the midst of all these things and still find calm in your heart.”

Our lack of peace sometimes comes from our circumstances. An unexpected or unimaginable loss. Too much change too quickly. An unwanted diagnosis. A reality too far from our expectations and hopes. Fear too close for comfort.

My second lesson in peace was one of my greatest – and hardest – life lessons to date.

It involves a friend of mine who was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, when she was pregnant with her second child. I am happy to say she delivered a healthy baby girl. She is alive and well, parenting two beautiful children.

Three years later – after she was diagnosed with a second bout and different form of cancer – doctors’ would discover she has a rare genetic mutation that puts her at an increased risk of approximately twelve different forms of cancer – several of which are terminal.

She fought – and once again won – the battle with the second form of cancer.

Currently they monitor her for cancer re-occurrence with annual surveillance and any other testing they deem necessary throughout the year – sometimes when she senses something just isn’t right.

It’s a reality she lives with on daily basis. A reality I struggle to comprehend.

One day during a “real-life” conversation about how she was doing, I asked some deep questions in an attempt to understand better, so that I might comfort and support her.

“How are you coping with all of this? With everything you’re going through? With all the physical trauma. And even more the psychological aspects? With facing the possibility of your own premature mortality? With being forced to consider the thought of your children growing up without you?”

Her profound answer changed me forever.

“There is no way to make peace with it. My only peace comes from accepting that I will never have peace with it. “

  • Make Peace With Not Having Peace (for now)

It reminds me to live each and every moment like it could be my last. Because the truth is – for all of us – it could be.

We all know that.

But most of us manage to live our lives ignoring it.

My friend’s in your face life – or mortality – experience made it impossible to ignore.

She proved to me, we don’t truly get a choice about what life hands us, but there is always an option to have peace – one way or another.

Sometimes we’re just not ready, but beating ourselves up about it just amplifies our lack of peace and acceptance.

There are things in our life we can’t really control, or we’re just not ready to own up to or are not yet capable of changing.

Be easy on yourself. Do your best. Keep envisioning what you want (peace). Keep taking steps and give thanks for exactly where you are.

I NEVER would have thought to gain peace by accepting you just can’t have it in the first place.

It gives me peace to be reminded that I have that option. I hope it does the same for you.

And I hold it in my heart, mind and soul every day that my friend will experience peace on a daily basis, keep fighting the odds and grace this earth with her presence for many years to come.

I wish the same for all of you!

What are you able to make peace with today? If even just for today. Please share below.

Start somewhere. Anywhere. Just make movement. DO something towards what you say you want.

Even the tiniest of steps will help you remember. Will motivate you to DO more. Will give you joy, strength and more clarity – in addition to that which you say you want.

Boots, Class & a Little Sass

Well, I’m back in the saddle again!

I lost my way for a bit. Became worn out and saddle sore. Got bucked off my horse. And dragged along behind for far too long. AND finally, found myself face down in the mud!

So, I decided to take the advice of a dear, long-time friend who was born and raised in Southern Oklahoma.

With the dynamic drawl of a bonified badass southern belle, she commands, “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, Girl!”.

You don’t dare argue!

Even though my blog, TheAdventuresomeLife.com, has already been in some form of development for three years now, I have found myself lost – often.

Leaving me with another point that I can’t argue – my heart and soul feel a void every time I’m not actively creating, connecting and continuing to grow it.

I can’t even give you a specific reason why. Sometimes it’s just the overwhelm of day to day life. Other times I’m placing other needs, responsibilities or priorities of my own or the needs of other people above it. I set it aside in the name of being tired, scared, or too busy.

The noose around my neck from judging myself for getting off track or losing my way – again – is enough to prevent me from moving forward. From finishing what I came here to do.

During my adventure racing experiences my teammates and I would get lost ALL THE TIME. The courses we competed on would cover many miles and all sorts of terrain, sometimes over multiple days of racing.  The only solution when we considered ourselves to be lost, was to get ourselves found by:

  • Asking for help or directions (if there was another team or race official within 20 miles of us)
  • Backtracking to where we last knew where we were and starting over again
  • Pulling out our map (if we had one), getting our wits about us, and devising a plan
  • Wondering around aimlessly until something made sense or looked familiar (My least favorite and the most time consuming – but still an option)

These same tools are accessible to us in our lives as well. The only difference between racing and everyday life is our ability to have:

  1. Acceptance. Getting lost was a given when I was racing. It was just part of the deal – to be expected.  We often forget the same holds true for life. We allow ourselves to panic or judge ourselves far too harshly.
  2. Willingness. There was no giving up in adventure racing really. Unless you wanted to sit down in a dense forest, stop paddling in the middle of a lake, or refuse to rappel down the mountain you just climbed. One way or the other, you had to find the finish line to be able to go home. Life is similar. Our willingness to keep moving is the only option we really have.

So make today THE day. Grab your boots. Or your Adidas. Or your 3-inch Jimmy Choo pumps and prepare to lasso whatever it is that you’ve been chasing, avoiding or denying yourself for far too long.

Maybe you want to finally shed a few pounds by adopting healthier lifestyle habits. Maybe you are in dire need of saying “NO” to some people or things – to stop running yourself ragged over other people’s priorities and “emergencies”. To finally find or pursue a passion you’ve been denying yourself. Open your heart back up to love. Be brave enough to go after that new job or career path. Or just allow yourself to take a breath, relax and just be.

In my case, it’s piss or get off the pot when it comes to creating, building and sharing my vision. My passion. My purpose.

TheAdventuresomeLife.com is your place to go for tips, tools and experiences that are designed to help you:

  • Gain acceptance of what is and has been
  • Bust through barriers that stand in your way
  • Tackle perceived obstacles
  • Overcome paralyzing fears
  • Set new sights and attain them
  • Realize new paths and possibilities
  • Discover solutions for your life
  • Create quality connections
  • Build confidence in making choices
  • Experience new levels of peace and understanding
  • Feel more alive right now
  • Have more fun in every aspect of your life

Life is one big Adventure!

You can SEE IT in what’s right in front of you.

You can SEEK IT beyond your current level of acceptance, perceived limitations and understanding.

Life is not about never getting on the horse, so as not to fall off.

What a snoozer that would be – Zzzzzzzz.

It’s about getting on your proverbial horse in the first place. Learning the ropes. Getting the feel. And inevitably falling off. Again. And again. And again.

The only way to keep on living is to stand up, dust yourself off, and get back on.

Wahoooo! Let’s ride!

 

There will be new things to come from TAL in the coming days, weeks and months. I’ll keep you posted. But in the meantime, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Anything from this week’s blog speak to you in particular?  Something you need to sink your spurs into? Any other topics you want to hear about? Questions for me?