All our lives we take breathing, a common respiratory function, for granted – after all, if we had to consciously take every breath, there would be no respite, the task would be all-consuming. We simply assume that there will always be oxygen in the air for us to inhale and that our bodies will just go through the motions, taking in however much we need. What if it wasn’t so easy? I suffer from Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD), an episodic condition that restricts breathing, particularly after intense exercise. Often confused with asthma for its similar symptoms, it lacks one key similarity, a cure.
I gasp, waiting for the rush of cold oxygen to fill my lungs, but that feeling never comes. My fingers start to cramp as I claw at my throat desperately trying to wrench open a pathway for air to flow through. Hands fly at me from all directions, people trying to help, but their voices are dwarfed by the raucous wheezing from my gainless attempts to breathe. One thing envelops my mind: fear. It eats me alive and ultimately, it is not VCD that I have fallen prey to, it is the fear that comes with it.
Fear, a paralyzing emotion that can grip your senses, leaving you helpless in a matter of seconds. It is fear that drives you to make split-second decisions, it’s the most primitive of sensations, and we are only human. No one is fearless, yet some have learned to control their reactions in the face of distress. This has become my reality. As a competitive swimmer, I am at risk of a VCD attack nearly every day and I am eventually presented with an ultimatum: quit the sport I love, or face the fear and continue to work hard towards my goals.
VCD has taught me a number of things, but above all, I have learned to never back down in the face of adversity. This setback did not deter me from pursuing what I was passionate about. Today, I find myself continuing to face the trials and tribulations of my condition, though I can proudly say that I never gave up. I still swim numerous times every week, starting morning training before the sun rises, and afternoon training after the sun sets. Regardless of my situation, or any other hurdle that may come my way, with the support of my friends and family, I am prepared to persevere with my life and find a way to work around it.
Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important
The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World
Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world.
That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change?
Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference.
The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life.
The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life.
This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books.
We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged. Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools.
Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…
My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.
He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.
I know better.
Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.
We’re all just trying to figure it out.
Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.
My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.
Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.
Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.
Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.
Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.
The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,
Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.
That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!
Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro,
Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.
To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!
Best move I ever made!
So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?
Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.
- Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
- Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
- Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
- Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
- Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
- Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
- Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
- Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
- Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
- Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
- Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
- Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
- Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
- Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
- Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
- Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
- Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
- Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
- Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
- Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
- Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
- Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
- Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
- Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
- Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
- Amateurs compare — Pros create.
- Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
- Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
- Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
- Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.
Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?
And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.
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