The SCALE!?!

Yesterday morning, I stepped on the (dreaded) scale…I haven’t been on one since my last doctor’s appointment. I don’t typically worry about what it says, only decided to get on to gauge where I am right now so that I will know where I am going. Still, I was a little shocked at the number. It’s my highest weight since being eight months pregnant almost 14 years ago!!

I knew my clothes weren’t fitting like I wanted even though I had gone up another size but hadn’t figured the scale would throw out such a high number. Over the past few months, I have been making some slow, steady changes to include cutting back on wine during the week, smaller portions, less fast food, and more cooking at home. None of those things have made a dent in my belt notches.

I’m not throwing in the towel on any of the changes I’ve made, in fact, I’m going to double-down on cooking at home more and cutting out fast food (why has even typing that given me a hankering for an Arby’s roast beef?!). I also believe that adding in exercise will help tighten some things up and may help the scale go down.

Today, I had my blood pressure checked and it is excellent. My pulse was good as was my oxygen level. Aside from frustrations at work, my mental health is good and physically, though I’ve got some work to do, I am not falling apart. I have a supportive family, wonderful friends, and a silly, sweet boyfriend. Overall, I’ve got a lot of great things going for me.

If for some reason, re-incorporating fitness into my life and eating more of the good stuff doesn’t result in significant weight loss, it is not going to be the end of my world. I am still going to be me and that is more important than a number on a scale.

 

 

Hip Hop Cycle

The other day, I was watching my favorite tv show, Jane the Virgin which is a funny, loving, and dramatic series done in the telenovela format. I highly recommend. Brooke Shields is on the show as a character named River Fields. She wore a beautiful evening gown in the last episode I watched; I was awed by how great her arms look and how fit she looks in general!

Immediately, I went online to research what the heck her workout routine was. The article I read mentioned that she does SoulCycle and yoga. My gears started turning…I don’t know that I have SoulCycle in my area but I do know that all of the local YMCAs have cycle classes!

I have participated in cycle classes in the past, even have the clip shoes. I also had some special cycle shorts (extra padding in the saddle area – trust me, it’s worth feeling like you’re walking around in a diaper!). The shorts no longer fit so I hopped online and found an inexpensive pair of cycle capris. They arrived yesterday and I took myself to Hip Hop Cycle tonight!

Walking into the class, the energy was amazing. The instructor, Mesha, was welcoming, energetic, and positive. She also led a killer class with a fun playlist that ranged from the classics to newer songs. Of course, there was one Queen Bey song where we seriously sweated – high-geared, long, slow, standing with squats…

My clip-in shoes let me down, I could not get them to clip – it used to take me a long time before too. I’ve forgotten the trick to clip-in but my trail runners saved the day. The woman next to me even had on the same ones! My new capris were on point, stayed in place and gave that oh so necessary extra cushioning. I will admit that I had to take a few additional breaks but know that as I continue going, my strength will increase and I’ll be able to keep up.

So, thank you, Ms. Shields, for being my inspiration to get back in the cycle room! Now to get these jelly legs of mine in the shower…

Rest Day?

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my motivation and how I practiced yoga AND went on a walk! It was a win for activity. Today may be a different story. It’s raining (thank you, Mother Nature!), I’m tired, and I don’t know if I will make it to the gym due to some other commitments. Am I making excuses already? Is this going to be an early derailment?

I don’t think so. I’ve been eating well today. Drinking water, too.

A few years back, I went to see a nutritional counselor. It was a short but interesting experience. She focuses on helping her clients break out of the “diet” mindset and embrace themselves as a whole being, not in need of the fixing that the diet and fitness industries capitalize upon. I went to her because I felt broken and ashamed of myself. I had “let myself go” and couldn’t find my way back to the size 6 jeans that had felt so good. There was something wrong with me and I needed to be fixed – I had fallen hook line and sinker into the “smaller is better” life-plan but was failing to get and stay there. Like many others, I have a long and painful history with body acceptance but that’s for another time.

One of the biggest takeaways from my time with the counselor is that we need to listen to our bodies and hear what it needs. For eating, she recommended a book on intuitive eating aptly named Intuitive Eating. I ordered the book and flipped through it – it’s on my list to pick back up. But the take away was to listen to your body because it will tell you what and how much to eat. The body knows what it needs and when it had enough. I am taking that same approach to movement. It’s not that I will be a couch potato today but I feel in my body that I need rest today. Things may change later in the day but for now, this is where I am and I am okay with it.

Motivation in Full Swing

Last week, I got in four, thirty-minute walks! I didn’t know if I would make the fourth one with the extreme heat outside that made for a case of lazy-bones but a bit of irritation with my typically wonderful boyfriend gave me the added oomph to hit the trail and get my steps in. Though I was still irritated after the walk, it did give me a chance to get out of the house and reflect on what I was feeling and why. Plus, rather than stewing on the couch, I was able to stew while moving!

What I have found is that my mental health is greatly improved when I am consistently exercising. In the past, I have taken anti-depressants for my mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety. The last round was the worst. My face changed shape. I looked bloated and puffy. The most alarming though was that all of my emotions were muted. This was good for the depression and anxiety but not so much for all of the other things I was feeling. My life turned dull, I turned dull. I got off the medication and promised myself that I was never going back down that trail. Truly, I realize that there may come a time when I need to consider medication again BUT that will not be without first ensuring I am doing everything I can from an exercise, diet, counseling, and meditation stand-point.

When I got home, I was able to calmly and clearly tell him how I was feeling about his actions. He apologized. Today is a new day. I’ve let go of my irritation understanding that we all have off days and yesterday was one of his.

This morning, my motivation level was high. I got in a yoga session – thank you Yoga International for making at-home yoga feasible! Plus I went for a thirty-minute walk. A new route with some good hills. Now to pour that same motivation into getting some work done…

The Harsh Reality

It hit me like a ton of bricks – I am a middle-aged, overweight, out of shape woman. I have stopped writing, except SOPs and Work Instructions for work. I have stopped going for nature walks. These things help me to stay sane. They keep me shining and sparkling. Why have I stopped doing them?

The culprits are the usual – lack of time, lack of energy, have to do this, have to do that…

But what about me? What about my shine and sparkle?

I’ve been thinking about this for about a month and finally have put some action behind my thoughts. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that all of my fitness clothes were TOO SMALL – yikes, that is a wake-up call.  Another eye-opener? Walking 297 yards to the observation deck at Mt. Mitchell. Whoo! On the way down, I mentioned to my guy that I wanted some hiking poles to which he joked that I could put them on the wall beside my running shoes…

Thank goodness for the quick delivery of products from Amazon. My first pair of XL workout pants came in a couple of days. I pulled them on last week and completed 3 thirty-minute walks through my neighborhood. It was hot and sticky but I was out there, listening to my work-out playlist, and loving the feeling of my muscles working again. This morning, I took a deeper dive by ordering new (larger) sports bras and tops along with another pair of pants.

Other actions, checking out the offerings of my local YMCAs – my Y card has been pretty dusty…there are plenty of interesting classes including spin/cycle and yoga which are two that I’m most interested in.

As for writing, WordPress gave me a nice reminder by renewing my account for another year. Figured I had better heed the message and get back on here.

I’ve got three months before a boudoir photoshoot plus the rest of my life to live. I’m capturing my re-entry into the world of fitness here to keep myself accountable and motivated. Grab your workout gear and join me.

Kindness as Currency

By John R. Nocero, PhD, MBA, CCRP, GCP, CC, ACB & Katherine J. Pryor, MPM

There is no doubt about it, being a project manager is a tough gig! If you are a project manager or have ever thought about jumping into the field, you may have heard it described as being akin to the task of herding cats – feral cats at that. There are competing priorities amongst often disjointed teams that directly impact the budget and timelines; the project sponsor is often guilty of expanding the scope without increasing the budget or timelines; and there is the ever-present issue of project quality and risk mitigation. On top of all that, there are still people out there who do not understand the role of the project manager and foster uncertainty as to the important and positive influence a strong project manager can have on overall project outcomes.

Unfortunately, many project managers are perceived as edgy and hurried people unwilling to listen. Other complaints have been that project managers will not heed their functional lead’s advice or take direction well, and are basically not kind or pleasant people to be around. This perception is especially strong with internal team members where many team members avoid interaction with the project manager. Does it have to be so? My answer is no. Jill Lublin, international speaker and author of The Profit of Kindness agrees. In her book, she discusses that kindness is a type of currency that can be successfully used in business relationships to foster better relationships thereby increasing a company’s bottom line.

It is possible to be an effective project manager AND a pleasant person with who people enjoy working. In fact, kindness is a critical trait for a strong project manager to possess. At the end of the day, effective project management is about relationships – relationships with internal teams, sponsors, any external vendors, and all other players who may present during the project life cycle. In order to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships, one must be somewhat likeable and being kind to those around us is a way to be perceived as likeable. The old saying, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” certainly rings true in the project management realm.

Relationships with internal team members are often the most strained because it is from those internal teams that the project manager must make the magic happen. Internal teams often feel overwrought and underappreciated therefore are most likely to protest requirements and timelines. Taking time to develop mutually beneficial working relationships with internal team members yields positive project results. A relatively painless first step for project managers is to slow down and listen to what is being said by the internal team(s). From these types of interactions, there is likely beneficial insight that helps identify potential risks; provides solutions to tricky problems; or introduces time-saving options.  If none any of those, at least it was a show of respect from the project manager to internal team member(s). Everyone appreciates being heard.

Overall, it costs nothing for a project manager to be kind but the returns for relationship development with internal team members are priceless.

References

Lublin, Jill (2017). The Profit of Kindness: How to Influence Others, Establish Trust, and Build Lasting Business Relationships. The Career Press, Inc. Wayne, NJ. USA

Weinstein, Bob (2017). https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/27360/How-to-Use-Kindness-as-a-Business-Tool Retrieved 20 Aug 2017

 

Rock-Solid Silence

By John R. Nocero, PhD, MBA, CCRP, GCP, CC, ACB & Katherine J. Pryor, MPM

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a formidable global figure in entertainment and culture. His 6”5” frame and chiseled good looks non-withstanding, he has the knack of continually reinventing himself: troubled youth to college football player to WWE wrestler to today’s leading man at the box office with the Midas touch, a megawatt smile, and seemingly down-to-earth nature. He has 91.9 million followers on Instagram alone; the Hollywood Reporter recently tweeted that “Dwayne @TheRock Johnson regains No. 1 on Top Actors social media ranking” (THR, 2017).

The man knows how to continuously leads the pack. How does he do it?

There are multiple business articles dedicated to understanding “The Rock’s” ability to influence culture and create opportunities. In a 2014 Fortune magazine article, he gives six pieces of his best advice finishing with his often-quoted line “be the hardest worker in the room.” Recently, on Quora, another perspective has been explored by looking at what the author calls “The Rock’s most powerful line” in movies which he contends is SILENCE!? (Goke, 2017). Wait, what?

Goke (2014) discusses that prior to “The Rock” throwing down in a big scene, his character stops with his one-liners, looks directly at his opponents, then lays down the law. It is known he means business when crickets can be heard. Everyone knows something big is about to go down. Now, whether or not, Dwayne Johnson uses this technique is unknown; however, he’s said that he tends to “have a lot of…ideas about the character” when he is working on film or television projects (Roberts, 2014).

Therefore, it can be surmised that Dwayne Johnson puts stock in this particular technique to influence situations.

Silence is a far cry from the norm in our over-stimulated, over-headlined, over-extroverted current reality with shameless self-promotion techniques, screaming for everyone to look at you. Is building presence through silence a tactic that can be used to build influence in the world of clinical research and regulatory compliance? We say yes. By using silence, you are going against the norm; therefore, you gain a certain level of power and show an inner strength by approaching situations differently (Goke, 2017). People will take notice.

Silence creates room to listen. This is important but often taken for granted; many people think hearing is the same as listening. When we truly listen, we gain an understanding of their position which provides an advantage in situations such as audits or negotiations. If we listen to understand, then we can determine the best direction in which to proceed, whether it is to walk away or dig in further based on our own bottom line. In police movies and television shows, often detectives will throw out a guess to a suspect then grow silent. Silence makes suspect uncomfortable and the beans start spilling. The detective used silence to her advantage and learned more than she knew walking into the situation. Auditors can use this same technique to gain valuable insight that may lead to a deeper understanding of policies and procedures that will enhance the audit results.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a man who uses the power of silence to gain an advantage and assert influence, as we have seen from his use of this tactic in his blockbuster movies. We, mortal beings, can take the lessons of silence into our daily lives to gain power by going against the norm and creating a space to listen. See if talking a little less and listening a little provides you with an advantage as you go about your week.

References

Goke, Niklas (2017). How do I develop a strong presence and personality? https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-develop-a-strong-presence-and-personality/answer/Niklas-G%C3%B6ke?utm_source=Nik%27s+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e1cbc017f4-Nik%27s+Newsletter+32nd+Edition+12-8-17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3b16c08180-e1cbc017f4-255584597 retrieved 15 Aug 2017

Roberts, Daniel (2014) Fortune. The Rock’s best advice for success. https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/fortune/2014/10/30/the-rocks-best-advice-for-success/%3fsource=dam#ampshare=http://fortune.com/2014/10/30/the-rocks-best-advice-for-success/ Retrieved 17 Aug 2017

The Hollywood Reporter (2017). Thr.cm/T60G8S retrieved 15 Aug 2017