Monday, September 5, 2016

I'm that girl - an introspection

Part of my campus!

 First 2 weeks of classes done at Penn State! For being more than several hours away from my home state and embarking on a completely new, 4-year journey here in Pennsylvania, my life doesn't seem too out-of-the-ordinary. Maybe because life situations just constantly change for me, and maybe because the climate and terrain here are nearly identical to what I'm used to, I can't say.
 For those of you who don't know, I'm a 21-year-old freshman at Penn State, as of... 2.5 weeks ago! Studying Biochem and Molecular Biology (mostly gen ed for now, with a little physiology and math mixed in there), getting used to dorm life, and being surrounded by 40,000 people about my age: this is new to me! 
 Anyway, that's my update, along with a little non-rhyming word... conglomeration. A poem, perhaps? Basically saying that it's ok to be different, to be you, to think harder and stand out for the right reasons. I started thinking about whilst grocery shopping with my boyfriend, listening to your typical top-20 pop hits playing in Wal-Mart, and observing the droves of people that I've become accustomed to seeing and interacting with as of late. Just a few thoughts of mine put down on paper. 

I’m that girl
An introspection by Michaela Johnson

I’m not the kind of girl that boys write songs about
I took this pic in November '15
There’s no 21st century stereotypical beauty in my mirror
And while I have good tastes I also have respect
My body is my own and I clothe it with dignity

And while it’s true that I have a kind heart
And my tongue is laced with tact
I will not humor the choices that destroy those I love
The choices everyone else tip-toes around
I’m not that kind of girl

Some will know me as “the quiet one”
Because I refuse to take part in gossip
And idle words rob the mind of reason
And only turn the utterer to slander

It will leave me out of some circles
I’m odd; I’m “too old for my age,” you see
The one with longer shorts and shorter hair
The one “who would make a good mother;
“She’s that kind of girl”

And I guess I’d rather stay home and do laundry
Than go out and party on Friday night
Because I don’t wish to be made a fool of
And Saturday’s sun rises just as early

If you ask me for advice expect it to be practical
Expect me to put thought into a response
The response to any question asked me, really
But do not take this for any lack of wit
That’s the kind of girl I am

Some would speculate that I’ve been sheltered
That perhaps I’m afraid to try new things
And maybe I’m oblivious that I’m a little different
But abstinence does not mean ignorance

No, innocence does not make me naïve
And silence does not rid me of an opinion
Behind this face, though more naked than most
I have seen and felt more than anyone knows
Yes, I know the girl that I am

And the eyes that smile and seem to laugh
Have peered through the darkest of nights
And grown weary from coveted, yet elusive rest
And searched feverishly for light when none was found

Because all of the girl you now know to be me
Was stripped, layer by layer, from my heart
And I had to decide who I would recover to be
So my identity was forged in the flames
And so that’s the girl I am

I guess you could say that God has been good to me
Because I have been revived to a stronger state
And I have chosen to be compassionate
And I have chosen to be grateful, and gracious

Although I’m not necessarily memorable
And I doubt I’ll ever garner great attention
I choose love, and peace, and patience
And I’ll be fiercely loyal to those I choose to love
I’m that girl

I would say my independence has been tempered
On my own, and yet never alone
I’ve discovered that I’m strong
And yet not so strong to exclude others

I’ll admit I’m not unshakable, unbreakable
And sometimes… sometimes I’m a little fragile
I’m not the one to succeed in everything I wish to
I’m not the pillar of strength I want to be
No, I’m not that girl

And I’m not the one who is always put together
The one who is never sad or neglectful
So if you’re looking for super woman
I may have her hips, but I’ll never have her heart

But for everything I’m not, there’s something I am
If I’m not the prettiest, I have a good head on my shoulders
If I’m not the smartest, I’m at least determined
If I’m not perfect, I am definitely human
That’s me; I’m that girl

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I'm back! With song lyrics: Whisper in the Wilderness



 Hello, my dear blog-readers, however many or few of you there may be. I do realize that the earth has rotated quite a few times since I've last posted, and I do have a reason for that... which I will get into in a later post.
 I do feel led to post some lyrics that I've stayed up writing, because they kept on bouncing around in my head while I was trying to force myself to be sleepy. And since that rarely works, I turned little lamp on, rubbed my eyes, and started furiously scribbling in my notebook. I hope this turns out to be as good for me tomorrow morning as it was tonight.
 As the post title states, I have some lyrics for ya'll. I do just want to give a very brief background to what inspired them, and hopefully help them make sense. (Although many popular song lyrics are hopelessly ambiguous, these may seem that way at first, but with the proper context, they're really quite specific).
  I've always found 1 King 19 very interesting, and it's been the subject for some of my art (not yet posted). I'll briefly touch the story now, but I recommend you look it up on BibleGateway.com here. If you're not familiar with the preceding events of the passage, read chapter 18 too.

 The historical event took place... a long time ago, in the land of Israel. The reigning king was an evil man named Ahab, with an even more evil wife named Jezebel, and they had done a pretty thorough job in making God's chosen people completely pagan. If that wasn't bad enough, they made a point of searching out any followers of the One True God and puting them to death. The prophet at that time, Elijah, was a fearless and righteous man, carrying out God's orders, performing miracles in His Name, and letting people know what God was saying to His people. And because it's important to understand, here are just a few examples of Elijah's track record with God:
 When a famine is upon the land, God provides food for Elijah by sending bread via birds carrying it to him. 1 Kings 17
 God miraculously raises a widow's son from the dead (using Elijah). Also 1 Kings 17
 God sends fire from heaven to consume an offering after Elijah prays. The fire consumes the bull, the stones - which were drenched in water - and the wet ground around it. After such a display, the whole of Israel turns back to God! 1 Kings 18
 God gives strength to Elijah in order to out-run the King's chariots and arrive at his palace first. 1 Kings 18
 Nonetheless, Elijah fears for his life when Queen Jezebel sends word to him that she's gonna rip his head off (basically), and he flees into the wilderness, sits under a tree, and fearfully asks God to take his life. The mighty man of God is afraid and discouraged, despite all that he knows and has seen! But God revives him, by sending fresh bread and water, and telling him that He, Himself, the Lord of heaven and earth, will pass by him.
 A strong wind passes by, but God is not in the gale.
 An earthquake passes by, but God is not in the ground.
 A fire rages past, but God is not in the flames.
 Finally, a gentle whisper. God gently speaks to Elijah, and asks him why he is there.
 Elijah goes on to tell God that he's been zealous for Him, but his hard work has not payed off. Now he's the only godly man left, and even so they will surely kill him. God responds by telling him that there will yet be a godly king in the land, and that there is still work to be done. Elijah's next step is to find an assistant, which he does immediately after his Holy encounter.
 See, even doing great things for God is not assurance that we'll never become discouraged. And searching for answers in the grandiose and glorious (the big things in life), rather than the still, small voice of God, will not cultivate that deeply personal, grace-filled relationship He intends for us. Connecting with God, searching for his presence, and allowing yourself to be broken before Him - this is what the Lord wants from us! It is then that we can go on and do the great works He has in store for us to do.

 Whisper in the Wilderness


Oh the things that I have seen to make me believe
The fire from Your hand
And the prowess of Your plan
Has brought a nation's heart back to Thee

Oh the power I've observed, and from I've partaken
Been fed by wildlife
Brought man back to life
The king's own chariot I've overtaken

Although I've been Your voice of truth and praise
Through these many years
Many triumphs, many tears
I shiver in the desert so afraid

Oh oh why, my Lord, do You forsake
It is not that I don't trust
Your sovereignty and justice
But now in my weakness, speak to me of grace

The stormy wind has shattered mountains
And the earth beneath me breaks
The raging fire I have seen
But your presence I still seek
You come to me, I cover my face
You revive my soul, and show the way
When I'm all out of faith
And the memories fade
You whisper in the wilderness

_________________________________________


That is all I have for now. More to come!

(Written by Michaela Johnson. All rights reserved)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Day in the Life: Calm, Collected, and Wracked with Anxiety



 Everyone know how it feels to be stressed!
 A lot of people know how it feels to be anxious. And some know what it's like to be a walking paradox: to be a calm, collected, logical, practical, and methodical person. As well as a person with semi-severe GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (which can stem into Panic Disorder). I happen to have OCD as well, which is the first-born child of anxiety. (And what OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - actually means is a whole separate discussion.)
 Although I was pretty sure I knew what anxiety was, I asked Dictionary.com to define it for me. Of course I found the definition was a set of feelings: 1. distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. 3. Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder. Synonyms are fear, foreboding; worry, disquiet, and apprehension. Antonyms are certainty, serenity, and tranquility.
 But that wouldn't have been hard to figure out. In fact, most of us know exactly what that feels like! And I wouldn't be afraid to call some of you worry-warts. Most all feelings come from a set of beliefs held, consciously or subconsciously, which create a certain attitude, which sets the stage for exactly what you feel at a certain time. Sometimes people need to look at the facts, and then just look on the bright side. Maybe it's just my personality type (INTJ on the Meyer Briggs, if you're wondering) but I'm a huge believer in in discovering and taking control of one's own beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes, not to mention their actions. But sometimes, things can't be controlled.
 Being a matter-of-fact person, always looking for the questions and the answers, shunning touchy-feely emotions, and usually wondering why people are the way they are, I always struggled with the unrealistic fears in my head. The thoughts were not my own. They flooded in, and most of the time, I didn't know what I was afraid of. Other times, there were specific fears (although I don't know if they would count as phobias), and would flash into my frontal cortex so quickly I didn't know where it came from.
 Example: as a child, I was a free spirit, adventurous, and a bit of a dare-devil; "afraid of nothing," I would say. Running across our half-acre lot (which feels like miles, when you're 7 years old) full of grass and trees, I had a thought - a pervasive thought, which I thought everyone had, and didn't categorize as anxiety. What if there were holes underneath the grass, but I couldn't see them, because the grass covered them up? What if I were to step right into one, and twist my ankle. I wouldn't have been the first time I've twisted my ankle. In fact, I'm pretty tolerant of pain. But that thought flashed into my head that whole day, and my brain re-played the feeling of falling, twisting, excruciating pain shooting up my leg, and maybe not being able to walk. I kept running, and in a couple of days, I had passed on from that specific fear. But more would come.
 It gets worse when you get older, because everyone - including yourself - expects more of you. Driving a car? Visions of loosing control, crashing, hurting myself and others, etc. Managing a retail store? What if I forget my work shift, show up late, tell a customer the wrong thing, forget to lock the door at night, etc. Online College? Not smart enough, didn't choose the right major, fail a test, fail college and waste thousands of dollars and years of my life and people will know I'm a failure, etc.
 The thing about clinical anxiety is the sufferer knows how ludicrous of the thoughts that cripple him are. The thing about anxiety is that it it isn't something you can control.
Sarcasm at its finest


 For me, I don't think it is the circumstance or substance that scares me. I'm NOT afraid of spiders, snakes, heights, tight spaces, falling, roller coasters, scary movies, crowds, awkward questions, being poor, global warming, not looking good, dying alone, cruel or unusual deaths, speaking to large groups, trying new things, pain, or not being loved. I'm logical. I'm independent. I've already been though a lot and come out on top. I'm intelligent and analytical. And I'm scared to death!
 But is it fear, or is it something else?
 Obviously fear is the most common feeling associated with anxiety. They're almost synonyms, after all. But medical researchers are forever theorizing on what I call "cause, effect, and side-effect."
 Example: until recently, the "cause" of depression (something I also struggle with) was thought to be an imbalance of brain chemicals, namely serotonin. This conclusion was drawn because serotonin is commonly called the "feel-good" chemical, and pharmaceuticals promoting optimization of serotonin seemed to help. However, is low serotonin the cause, the effect, or a side-effect of the real cause? We still don't know, but now we know that neurogenesis (the initiation/creation of synapse connection, allowing proper nerve communication in the brain and rest of the body) in the hippocampus (part of the brain) may be why these drugs were working. Serotonin may be a side-issue. An important one, but perhaps just one of the many things effected by the "cause" of depression. Especially because low serotonin is associated with OCD, but individuals with OCD are not necessarily depressed.
 Personally, I believe anxiety is agitated by an overly active brain. For me, this is why I sometimes have anxiety that seems triggered by chaos and stress in life, and why, at times, there seems to be no trigger at all.
 That is why I believe that someone with anxiety can be calm, collected, responsible, and logical. Fear may only be a symptom, like a high fever is a symptom of many illnesses. It simply tells us that something is very wrong! Indeed, there are other symptoms. Shortness of breath, pounding heart, isolation, tingling/numbness, tremors, slurred speech, inability to concentrate, the constant "buzz" in the back of the mind, tunnel vision, cold sweats, stressful dreams, inability to sit/stand still, constantly tense muscles, insomnia, headaches/migraines. I know what all of these feel like. I've lived with them for years. Yes, I take medication. Yes, I breathe, I rest, I avoid sugar, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners/colors, and a whole host of things that can make it worse. Not, it doesn't always work.
 I'd like to break the stigma surrounding anxiety disorders. Not just GAD, OCD, Panic Disorder, and Depression, but Social Anxiety, Phobias, PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), SPD (sensory processing disorder), Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Autism (and other spectrum-related disorders), ADD and ADHD, and even Downs Syndrome. Plus all of the mental disorders that I don't know about, or wouldn't have room to list here.
 Remember that we have a lot to deal with. What is easy for you may be nearly impossible for us. That doesn't make us weak. It makes us strong! The "obvious connection" may not be correct. Depression does not mean lazy and pessimistic. Anxious does not mean delusional and spastic. Just like blonde does not mean dumb, and religious does not mean fanatical.
 A day in my life includes a lot of obstacles, but it also includes a lot of victories.


And, just because I thought this was funny... ;)


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A message from everyone with Depression: Believe Me!

A short letter by Michaela Johnson



 I don't complain.
 I take responsibility for myself.
 I can conquer, push through, ignore, or straight-up deal with a lot of gut-wrenching crap, and you'll never know. My body could be silently screaming in pain, and you'll see me smile as I open the door for you, and offer to carry your groceries to your car. I could be dead inside, apathetically watching my vitality drain from my spirit, and still go about my day as if life were made of sunshine. I don't do this to deceive you. I'm merely coping. I don't say this to garner your pity. I don't want pity. Because people have enough hurt of their own to worry about without me adding to their emotional burden.
 I'm aware that there is a prideful way of wanting to be the strong rock for everyone to lean on, while victimizing one's own self by needlessly stuffing down their own emotions. That can be sadistic and egotistical. I don't view myself as a rock. I don't need affirmation from being needed. I'm not a beacon of light. I am a person with strengths and weaknesses. And, as Robin Williams said, "I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it's like to feel absolutely worthless, and they don't want anybody else to feel like that."
 I'm not a nice person because I believe it will make up for my own struggle, or because it distracts
me, or because I think that's how I'll get into heaven. I'm naturally an optimistic, practical, ambitious, no-nonsense person with a sense of humor. I don't quit just because something is hard. I'm independent, and I'm quick to offer help. I'm not saying this to make you think much of me. It is true that a good attitude can make terrible situations more bearable - or even slightly humorous - and render daunting tasks do-able, or even enjoyable.
 Why say these things? Because it puts pain in a new perspective. Or at least it gives you a different view of mine:
 If I tell you that something hurts, it is because I've tried and tried to help myself, and I can't. And when I tried to ignore it and move on, it hurt too much to allow me that. If I tell you something is hard, it is because it's just about impossible, and for once I don't see a solution, and I'm at my whit's end, delirious with the struggling. If the small things in life get me down, then it's because I'm too exhausted by fighting the big ones. If I say I'm tired, it means I don't know how the heck I'm going to drag myself through the day, just like the hundred days before it, but for real this time. If I'm brutally honest, it either means I trust you, or I simply can't go on without falling apart just a little bit.
 I need you to believe me when I state how I feel. I'm not being melodramatic, I'm not PMSing, I'm not over-reacting. As obserd as a feeling may sound next to reality, it is my reality. I already know it is obserd, but I'm stuck inside of a sick, obserd, and dying world that only I exist in. Science shows that a medically depressed person's brain is anywhere between 90-25% active compared to a non-depressed brain. I'm alone in my head - my worst enemy - and am not given a fighting chance.
 Depression has been called "the worst cancer" because it is a slow demise of one's very spirit, until death is either inevitable, or invited as a relief from the sleepless hell. A hell that no one sees. A hell that is poo-pooed, pitied from afar, or viewed by the "strong" as an unfortunate vice of the weak.
 What would you say to someone with a mental illness? Pull it together? Think positive? Make better choices? Get help? Believe me, working harder, working smarter, working less, working alone, or working with others are not always choices one has. Everything is hard. Everything is work. Work without meaning, working without end, without reward, without a goal, without desire, without motivation, and without the strength to even carry out the task at hand. A "good attitude" will only get you so far, especially if it is your only resource, and this too under the cruel spell of depression. Believe me, I would do whatever it takes to take care of myself, to carry a job (or two), to go to school, to volunteer, to invent, to love, to take care of other people, to better myself and the world around me. I would do all these things in a heartbeat, if only I could!
 Please believe me when I say I am tired, struggling, afraid, or depressed. If you do not believe me, or treat me as if I need a nap, an attitude adjustment, a prayer for more faith, a multivitamin, or exposure to the "real world," don't expect me to waist my breath, energy, and hope on asking you again. Because I needed that breath. I needed that energy. I needed that little bit of hope and courage just to make it another day.
 I'm not asking you for advice, pity, a savior, a "get out of your brain jail free" card, or even understanding. I'm asking you to believe me. If I say I am struggling, my head is not above water, it is below, and I'm fighting my way to the surface with half a brain, half a life, and half a will to reach the top. I've made it this far. Do you still think I'm weak?



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

10 Things Depression Has Taught Me


Everything in Life is a Lesson. Sometimes those lessons are avoidable, and sometimes they're inevitable. Sometimes you can see the benefit immediately, and sometimes the reason escapes us, even if we're looking for it. While Depression is not a lesson I would wish upon anyone, (and if I could wipe it out completely, I would,) it has grown me as a person.

 Often I wonder how much farther I would have traveled in life without the bricks in my head weighing me down. Who would I be today without the burdens? But I have come to believe that I would not have traveled much farther at all; not have accomplished anything greater, though I may have accomplished more things. Why? Because I've learned the lessons the hard way. Personal experience, when we allow it to become a mentor, is the greatest teacher of all, because that is when we pay attention, and truly connect with the truth.

 While there are good days and bad days, and a lot of in-between days, these are 10 of the things Depression has taught me:
  1. Ask for Help - Even healthy people shouldn't go through life alone. Why should you and I? I've been blessed with people who care about me, but working up the courage (and energy) to admit that I couldn't do it by myself was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but one of the most necessary. Things will go on how they always have unless something changes, and I'm convinced that the significant, momentous change it takes to heal is not something I was capable of myself.
  2. I'm Weaker than I'll admit, but Stronger than I know - It takes a strong person to live life broken. It takes a stronger person to admit it and get help. After a while, it is too hard to keep picking up the pieces of a broken mind and heart. I don't know why I thought I still could, or why I insisted on doing it alone, but looking back, I'm shocked I was still able to.
  3. My Feelings don't Define Me - A friend brought this to my attention, and while I wasn't able to do anything with it at the time, it resonated in my mind. When depressed, I feel like I'm weak, lazy, irrational, impracticable, unmotivated, frustrated, broken, immobile, stuck, etc. All emotions are valid emotions, but they don't define my me. "Stuck and broken" may describe my current life, but doesn't define me as a person.
  4. There is Always Hope - Always. No matter how it feels. I don't say this because I had an amazing breakthrough and am living the dream and have no more problems. I say this because there is a future, and the future is inevitable. This fact used to scare me. Now it comforts me.
  5. Priorities - Even on my worst days, not all of me was lost; my mind was numb, but I could still think. And when little or no energy is left to utilize, you quickly find out what makes you move. And then on the better days (when you've finished picking up the pieces) you know where to start. I know I have to be careful with how many projects I take on, and just as careful with the nutrition I put into my body. While I may not be wholly functioning some days, I at least start with what I need to.
  6. God is not a Taskmaster - God likens His relationship to the Believers both as a parent, and as a marriage. A good parent loves their children no matter what, and are there to care for them when they're sick. A good marriage isn't a contract, but a relationship, "til death do us part." And the Bible doesn't demand deeds, but requests one's heart, and that leads to compliance to His guidelines. I've fallen deeply in love with my Savior, not because I can feel deeply, or perform well, but because He is a good "Father," and a good "Husband."
  7. Compassion - It is frustrating to not be able to do the things I know I should do, and to not be able to "snap out of it." From the outside, there's no apparent reason for me to be depressed. It has given me a fresh set of eyes to see the pain of others, and truly be compassionate. This doesn't excuse one's behavior, it simply validates the feeling. After all, everyone just wants to be understood, right? 
  8. Some Things Really Don't Matter - looking back over all the things I wanted to do, but didn't, I see that some things really should have been done... and some things really didn't matter. The world did not end, I didn't die, people didn't get mad, and most people didn't even know. After gaining weight, my skin breaking out, and letting extra-curricular things slide, I was a bit shocked to find out that people still liked me.
  9. I Found Out Who Cares - Some friends are needy. Some people just want you for what you're able to do for them. Some people want a good show. When you're not able to provide those things, you find out who your real friends are. But be careful: Don't push people away and then expect them to keep knocking on your door. Be open and honest to whatever extent you can. Otherwise, they may not know or understand what is going on, and why you don't feel like spending much time with them.
  10. Health is the Most Important Investment - Without my health, what do I have? Sure, I can muddle through for quite a while - it is possible - but exhausting one's resources actually makes things worse in the long-run. Self-investment is so very hard for a person who struggles just to brush their teeth or shower, but it can start with asking for help from someone you trust. It can start with adding in one vegetable a day, or turning off your devices an hour before bed. It doesn't fix everything, but it is a start. Because how can you invest in anything or anyone else if your primary investment (yourself) is depleted?
Know someone who struggles with Depression, but not sure how to relate? Read my recent post A Little Bit of Light for some insight. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Marketing your Weaknesses (and why it works)



 Gone is the day of bowing to the Almighty Professional. We've come out of the age of "Schooling = Salary", and entered into the day of the Self-made Man. We've burned out the Baby Boomer's 9-to-5, and are a-blaze with the "4-hour work week." Entrepreneurs are everywhere, and unless someone is dying or being sued, they often look for the been-there-done-that, rather than the PhD. Technique trumps Tough, and White Collar has to recons with "e-collar."

 In fact, the lower you've been, the weirder you are, and the greater odds you're up against, the more fame, success, and wealth you stand to gain.

Why?

  1. You Stand Out - who grabs your attention, the guy jogging on the sidewalk, or the guy jogging with only one leg? There are thousands of athletes, thousands of businessman, politicians, massage therapies, coaches, dog groomers, you name it. What makes you one in a thousand?
  2. People love the Underdog - Who do you cheer for, the athlete who runs a 3.5 minute mile, or the one-legged athlete who runs? The greater the pit you've climbed out of, the great the crowd that gathers to marvel at your victory.
  3. Trust in "the authorities" is seriously waning - People have doubted lawyers and politicians since the beginning. Now they're doubting professors and doctors. Next it'll be scientists and commercial farmers. The more "official" you are, the more skepticism you gather.
  4. People readily Relate to you - having a story, scar, or Achilles heel will act as a magnet to those with the same story, scar, or Achilles heel. Have a "dent?" Congrats, you're human like the rest of us.
  5. It's New and Exciting - you'd be shocked at how many people are rich and bored. Drop a couple hundred on the newest device? Sure, it looks cool. Drop a grand or two on an e-course? Yeah, it had a neat title. Drop several thousand on a vacation? Why not, never been there before.

I'd be willing to bet that employers pay more attention to how you answer to your "greatest weaknesses" than how you answer to your "greatest strengths."

Why?

Because your Weaknesses ARE your Strengths...

...if you leverage them correctly.

The ability to hone your "weaknesses" to work for you instead of against you is essential.

 Being unorganized and unfocused could be a "side-effect" of a creative mind. Instead of ignoring these less-than-desirable counterparts of your strength, use them to enhance your strength: people who are "unorganized and unfocused" are usually so focused on one thing that other things fall by the wayside; so busy puting ducks in a row in their head that their personal environment is scattered around them.
 The good news is that one can broaden their scope to include the rest of their life within the scope of their strengths... or should I say weaknesses. They're really just different sides of the same coin.

 It can be done, but it takes some innovation and creativity, and most of all, bravery. Because it's so much easier to put up a facade and hide behind everything in life that brings us face value.

Epic Examples:

Those who struggle themselves help others win
  • Gina Devee, a multi-millionaire coach and founder of Divine Living, helps other coaches get off the ground. Why? She shares her story of coaching failure: massive credit card debt, not enough in her bank account to order Dominos, and unable to find a single client in Los Angeles, even after offering her services free. All this after acquiring a master's degree in psychology, and after working in the white house. She had something to offer, but nobody took a bite. And through her story of defeat and victory, she has made a fortune helping people who were in the same exact spot she was. Her weakness? Poor business and marketing. How's that working for her now?
  • Rebel Wilson, a successful and well-known Australian Hollywood Actress, is overweight. I judge not in saying so, because she says it herself. She sings off key, too. And that's why she's brilliant. She markets her size and voice, even though socially unacceptable, and wins big because of it (pun intended). I'm not condoning an unhealthy lifestyle, nor flaunting one's body, but it just goes to show that even a perceived weakness can become a great asset.
  • Joni Eareckson Tada is a talented and well-traveled artist, Founder and CEO, author of 50+ books, radio host, and has been awarded multiple awards. She's also been interviewed on Larry King Live and ABC News Tonight. This would be a boast-worthy bio for anyone, but even more amazing for Joni because she's accomplished these things after her diving accident in 1967, when only 17 years old. This left her a quadriplegic, meaning she was confined to a wheelchair without use of her arms or legs. Unable to swim and ride horseback like she used to, and totally dependent, she even contemplated suicide. But through her literal weaknesses, she learned new skills. Placing a paint brush in between her teeth, she started to paint. And paint she did! In 1982 she married the love of her life and is still alive today!
Joni Eareckson Tada painting

My weakness {just one of them}

I get discouraged when I don't see results immediately. That is indeed a weakness, as it breeds impatience, discontent, and a quitter's attitude. Striving to find resolve, I've become a fast worker, learning efficiency and organization.

Because of this, I'm building a blog on productivity and overcoming perfectionism. Hopefully I'll integrate that into my Wellness Coaching Business (wait for the big reveal this fall)!


 So what is your "road block" to success? What is your marketing/business conundrum? Better yet, what is your "worst weakness?" How do you plan to leverage them to benefit you?