We all have the ruby slippers

Last night, I had the privilege of speaking to a chapter of New York State Women, Inc. — an organization of mostly (but exclusively) businesswomen who advocate for working women professionally, personally and politically.

One member was recognized has having 10 years of service with the group and offered an important thank you to her fellow members. You see, she said, 10 years ago, she was a different person. She wasn’t confident to speak in front of a group and her association with this group of women helped her develop the confidence, poise and ease she enjoys today throughout her life.

The others were surprised because this woman seemed like she had always been a confident, poised woman.

And indeed, she may have been. She just didn’t realize it.

So much of what we seek in our life we actually already have. It’s like the ending of The Wizard of Oz and the revelation about Dorothy’s ruby slippers. All Dorothy wanted was to go home and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, told her she had the power with her the whole time.

While there are many, many things which I don’t know and haven’t experienced, there are a few things I know for sure:

We all have the ruby slippers

To quote my man Thomas Merton, “We have what seek, it is there all the time and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.” What is it we most want? Odds are we already have it, or have the ability to create it, if only we paid attention. And maybe stopped talking for a bit.

Emphasize the positive

After you’ve completed something — a workout, a race, a presentation, a project — spend the next 24 hours only thinking of all the things you did right. Tell yourself how wonderful you are and how great your performance was. Wait until the next day (at least!) to evaluate what you could have done better. You will be in a better frame of mind to process your own critique while reinforcing all the positive, good things you created by showing up to the task in the first place.

Wait five minutes

Well, maybe not exactly five minutes. But embrace the fact that change is part of the natural state of the universe. It was perhaps one of the biggest lessons I learned from completing my Ironman. Feeling great? It will pass. Feeling like hell? Don’t worry, that will pass too. Don’t get caught up in the emotional swings of life. Learn to ride them waves instead, letting them take you to another place.

Look for the gift

In any situation, good or bad, lives something of value. It maybe a life lesson. It maybe a chance to refocus your thinking. It may be an opportunity to put your attention in a different place all together. If you ask, “what is the gift here?” you take the emphasis off what you think the world is doing to you and instead find ways the world is doing things for you.

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