Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, episode 101: The Grind

Back at it, friends.

Like it or not, another episode is coming at you. So I hope you like it. It’s certainly not my intention for you to not like it. But I promised the’d be a’comin, so here they a’are.

In this episode, I discuss getting down to the work and putting your nose down to the grind.

I mention Do the Work by Steven Pressfield.

I also discuss how I’ve been traveling a lot lately.

I mention another Steven Pressfield concept, Resistance.

I, of course, talk about yoga. (And the magic 108 number yogis love along with sun salutations).

I get a little David Goggins-y for a minute.

I also talk about running (and of course mention my pups).

And I discuss the benefit of having ongoing conversations with yourself.

Check it out on iTunes. Subscribing and rating helps out, but you do you baby boo.

Advertisements

Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 97: Goo Goo for Goggins

My podcasting platform, though reliable for years, has been acting like a real douchebag this morning. So I apologize in advance if these show notes are published before the episode finally figures itself out. How embarrassing would that be!?

Anyhoo, this episode I focus on all things David Goggins. I talk about his book, Can’t Hurt Me and reference one of my favorite recent obsessions, Jocko.

We talk about why you might want to listen to bullies, how to properly stare at yourself in the mirror, and I say “asterisk” multiple different ways.

Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!

 

Mother-bleeping Discipline. Learn It. Love It. Get Some.

At the end of last year, I went on a discipline binge. I got introduced to Jocko Willink through some general “research” about early risers I was casually doing on YouTube (aka I was going down a productivity rabbit hole) when I saw this motivational speech by a man who looked like a freaking statue of Hercules come to life.

I started listening to more of his stuff and I was soon hooked. I bought his book on Audible, Extreme Ownership, and found it really motivating to listen to while I ran. I heard stories of modern warfare and these incredible physical feats overcome through drilling and discipline that helped me convince myself I could go one mile longer on my little fun run in paradise. I started talking about Jocko to whoever would listen. On film set I was on, it even became a joke among the cast and crew to “Get Some” (one of his favorite phrases) when you were feeling tired or low energy.

Though I had gone through plenty of phases of being an early riser before, something about reading that book and listening to that information at that time became a huge transformative step in what has been a wonderful past few months for me.

Here are the main lessons I’d like to remind you, now that we’re a few weeks into the new year and people’s motivations are likely waning.

First, discipline starts right when you wake up. You don’t judge what you’re doing as good or bad. You just do it. If you don’t want to wake up, that doesn’t matter. Discipline means you just choose to do it anyway. And when you do, it builds a tiny little muscle that can become a foundation for a much stronger muscle. Discipline isn’t some big choice you make every day. It’s not bench pressing 1,000 lbs when you walk into the weight room your first try. It’s showing up every day and slowly but surely increasing your strength and your confidence so you can eventually achieve what seems like superhuman strength. When, really, anyone could do it as long as they give the amount of work and discipline required. Don’t judge. Just do.

Well, maybe everyone can’t bench 1,000 lbs in their lifetime, but you get my point.

Oh and Jocko for sure can. I have no doubt. He probably does that as his warm up before eating an entire farm for breakfast. He’s a beast.

Secondly, there’s no point in complaining. It’s fine to get something off your chest. And it’s wonderful to be in touch with your emotions so you become aware when something isn’t serving you or when you may be in an environment where you need to make a change. But complaining doesn’t help fix anything and it wastes precious time and energy on absolutely nothing.

If you need to communicate something happened, communicate it. You don’t need to put all the judgements on top of it being good or bad. Zen philosophy would argue that nothing is inherently good or bad anyway, so the time you spent judging or complaining about some thing that happened is a total waste and doesn’t serve you at all.

If something happens to you, spending your energy complaining about it not only wastes that energy, but it can feel disempowering. Rather than realizing you have the power to do something about it, you act like you’re being productive when you whine and moan. Either you can do something about it to improve the situation for you – in which case figure out what it is and do so immediately – or you can’t – in which case you can’t so simply accept your new circumstances and figure out how to make the most of them. If something happened because of actions you took, own them. Blaming someone else or complaining about someone not stepping up again disempowers you. You are in control. You have power. You are worthy of being in control and having power over your life and how you approach the circumstances within it.

Things just happen. That’s what things do. There’s no need to waste your energy complaining. Once you accept this, you can reallocate that energy into fixing problems around you so that you can live a smoother, more productive existence. Until, of course, the next thing pops up. But deal with issues as they appear. Don’t worry about them or what might happen in the future. Understand that your current actions have repercussions down the line and everything that happens just is. It is what it is. No use in complaining about it so spend your precious short time on this earth complaining.

Jocko’s head is shaved like a monk. I don’t think that’s the look he was going for when he did it, but it’s the look I see. He’s a zen beast.

And finally*, you’re capable of so much more than you may currently believe.

I’m not sure this was a lesson that was outright stated in any of Jocko’s writing, but it’s definitely something I saw directly in his work and his stories. People who are willing to teach themselves intense discipline practices and who spend their time and energy devoted to bettering themselves and their world without complaining or blaming tend to start creating some pretty awesome lives. They slowly but surely start discovering that the world is more malleable than they may have previously thought. They begin believing that anything is possible and that they can achieve incredible new heights in their life, goals, and career simply through constant and consistent application of these efforts.

Our brains are conditioned to be a little lazy. It’s not their fault – it actually usually helps us as humans. We want to stay safe and we want to do whatever will require the least amount of output. If our brain had to exert a lot of energy in order to consistently do the involuntary actions it does to keep us alive, we wouldn’t have much brainpower left to thrive.

The second our brain wires something in as a habit or a learned trait, it becomes part of our hardwiring so that the next time we want to do it, it’s already ingrained and easier. This usually works in our favor. But when it comes to creating new habits – healthier ones to replace the old ones no longer serving us – it can get frustrating. Your brain will want to revert back to what it’s always said, thought, and done. It’s easier. Maybe at first the new habit will be easy because it’s novel and fun. But eventually, when your brain realizes it has to do some work to break the old synapses and replace them with new ones, it will rebel. It will begin to fight back to keep the old synapse alive so that it doesn’t have to do work to create the new one. That’s when you need to be aware and fight it.

A couple weeks into the new year, your motivation may be failing and you may or may not have cultivated the right mindset to have the discipline to follow through on whatever your ambitious resolutions were. And your brain is most definitely putting up a fight not to replace the old habit because that means it has to work harder than it wants to.

Fight back. Recognize what’s happening and recommit to the you you want to be. Don’t settle for the you now if it’s a you that isn’t satisfying. You don’t need some major external change to make a minor internal one that can lead to more dramatic future changes. You just need to know, and maybe sometimes be reminded, that you are capable. Resistance is natural. Choose to commit.

As a dedicated yogi, I have to throw in that it’s totally fine to listen to your body. Nobody is asking you to go to incredible extremes immediately. Even though my beloved Jocko is all about the word “extreme,” I do believe it’s totally fine if your body is telling you it cannot to listen to it. But I would encourage you to have a conversation with it. Get honest and get in tune. Is it telling you to stop because it doesn’t want to? That’s different. Is it telling you to stop because it’s scared? That’s different. Is it telling you it wants to stop because it’s not ready and you’re going to break something? In that case, listen to it and learn how to improve so you can get a little closer to your goal in the future.

Get in your own version of Beast Mode, whatever that may mean, and make Jocko proud.

Oh also sometimes I call him my best friend and life coach. He would hate that if he found that out. I’m not doing it to make him hate me, I’m simply trying to manifest someday meeting him and having a positive interaction. Shoot for the Jocko moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land among the Seals.

Now quit reading and go out and get some.

*There’s plenty more that I discovered and glean (and continue to glean!) from his book Extreme Ownership and his podcast, Jocko Podcast and his various interviews (not to mention his Ted Talk). But these are the few I boiled down for simplicity sake. Jocko says simplicity is the key to good communication (another thing you’ll learn from him!). So as part of a my tribute to him, I’m keeping this short and sweet in three simple main lessons.

 

 

Fires and Resilience

Welcome, 2019. I’m happy to see you. I always love welcoming the new year. Just like I love celebrating birthdays. As my grandpa always said, it sure beats the alternative.

I’m not going to place any judgments on 2018. It was what it was. There were all sorts of beautiful and horrifying things happening simultaneously because that’s life and it’s full of dramatic dichotomies that we have to constantly navigate.

As a resident of Southern California, 2018 sure did get me thinking a lot about fires. Mostly because there were so many incredibly destructive fires that ravaged the region leaving ashes, confusion, and sadness in their wake.

Lives and homes were lost. There’s no getting those back. And there’s no part of me that wants to at all mitigate the genuine loss so many people affected by them felt. And we, as a global community, also felt through some of our precious natural resources being forever changed.

As the last fire of the year, the Woolsey Fire, overtook some favorite ares of my beloved Malibu – an area I have always adored visiting for its relaxed vibe and natural beauty. I found myself feeling what I can only imagine lots of humans felt…powerless and overwhelmed by sadness. Even though I understand fire is sometimes natural, I felt like we’ve done so much to hurt and destroy our gorgeous planet at this point that it always feels like we might be watching a natural disaster unfold that may be the turning point to keep us from having the balanced nature we need to survive as a species.

Maybe I’m being dramatic. But there’s some science to back up my notions.

But I’ve never been a dweller. I hate dwelling. You can stew for a minute if you need. You can let off steam occasionally. I don’t have issues with being in touch with your honest emotions. But I do have issues dwelling.

Rather than dwell, I started to think about what it could mean. What could I do to help and what does it mean to watch parts of the world I love burn down?

What I could do was start genuinely giving back to this planet in small and large ways. When I can, volunteer to help clean it up. Choose more green alternatives whenever possible with every purchase I make. Not only change elements of my lifestyle but change the companies that I support to make sure they have more environmentally conscious approaches to their output.

Say what you will about veganism and vegetarianism, but if the entire human population chose to do it for a single decade, we would give our earth a much needed reprieve from global warming. Then, maybe, when we reintroduce eating meat, we could do so in a more sustainable way. Nobody is asking for you to give up your lifestyle in any way – from what you eat to what you drive to what you choose to purchase or do.

It’s simply a matter of becoming aware that our planet has limited resources and maybe small decisions you make within the confines of those resources could help out your fellow humans so that we can continue to use those resources for longer without losing or ruining the ability to have them forever.

So there’s that. There’s small choices and lifestyle changes that could be made.

But even in embracing those and slowly weaving them into every day life, it doesn’t change the fact that, for at least a while longer, the earth will be mad at us and enacting a number of natural disasters as a result of our own manipulation of its resources. Maybe I shouldn’t say mad. That means that somehow we’ve angered it and it’s personifying something that, though I love referring to it as Mother Earth, it doesn’t need to have an human emotion attached. It’s simply reacting to years of human actions that have, at least so far, gone relatively unchecked. And, of course, none of this changes the fact that fires burned down people’s homes, livelihoods, and took lives.

That’s where it’s time to get a bit more philosophical about what it means. It’s easy – and easier to keep your heart stone and your emotions on an island away from everyone else – to say it means nothing. Nothing means anything and we’re all just feathers in the wind attempting to survive until our time floating around is done. But, at least for me, down that way lies madness. So I refuse to accept it.

Instead, I like to think of how to make it a positive thing. No, what happened isn’t inherently positive. And no, I don’t wish fire upon anyone so they can find the “meaning” behind it. But for fellow feathers still floating in the wind, I choose to see a beautiful symbolism behind the fires. There’s a chance to completely rebuild from the ground up. The old ways have been razed and it’s time we choose to rebuild them with a new perspective in mind.

I heard about these large trees who sprout seeds that often die because the roots of the trees they come from are too large and the forests they’d be sprouting in are too shaded from the massive trees. But if there’s a fire, those seeds not only survive, but need the fire to be planted into the ground. So the tree basically ensures its own survival from a fire.

Some brush needs fire in order for it to clear the old and grow new seedlings. Fire is natural and, at times, necessary. Knowing that, the question then become: What can we do to embrace it, learn from it, and grow into a culture that doesn’t become completely at its whim, but knows how to work with it for sustainable growth?

We get the chance not only to rebuild and to rethink, but to show resilience. Not to get all Batman on you, but we fall so that we may learn how to get back up. We’re creatures that are meant to be in movement. And movement means risk of failure and risk of falling. We’re not just risking failure when we choose to be in movement, we’re almost guaranteed it. But every time we get back up, we teach ourselves that we can. We remind ourselves that we can be strong and we can make new choices and we can learn, grow, and improve.

So, as Smokey the Bear would say, only you can prevent forest fires. Love nature and respect it. Let’s learn from our cumulative mistakes and agree to see the world for what it is – a community that is inherently interconnected with each other. Within that recognition and understanding, we may choose to help each other out by making small but meaningful decisions that will give the earth a chance to rebuild and give future generations a fighting chance of experiencing the beauty and balance that the world naturally wants to give us.

Oh, and more on bears next week…

Wonder Woman Shirt

IMG_8033 I got a new shirt. Can you guess what kind of shirt? I’ll give you a hint: It’s in the title of this blog post. Still not sure what kind? Hint #2: It’s pictured here. Still no idea? We need to work on your powers of deduction, friend.

This shirt was a gift. It was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend about goals. I told him how one of my goals this year was Wonder Woman related. He liked the concept immediately and adopted his own variation using Batman as a reference. And in order to be reminded of these goals, we bought some goodies to inspire us.

And I’ll be honest with you… it totally works.

I wore my Wonder Woman shirt for the first time yesterday. I loved it. It reminds me of the goal I set for the year. In fact, at one point during the day, I wanted to be lazy and skip an integral part of my routine that I know helps me and I needed to do. I started letting the resistance in and started letting my logic talk me out of what I knew was good for me.

Then I remembered what shirt I was wearing. And I solidly put my foot down and said, “No. We’re going. We’re doing this.”

I say “we” to myself when I hear the multiple voices trying to duke it out for control over my body’s actions. Also because I have multiple personalities.

Anyhoo, point is- I did it. Because I was reminded and inspired by one silly shirt.

So invest in silly shirts. And invest in silliness, you silly pants.

Silly.

 

4 Goods and Bads of Moving to LA

hollywood-sign-mulholland-highwayI wrote this article for Ms. in the Biz.

I’d say more about it, but I think it speaks for itself.

That is all.

Vegas Britney Motivation

I’m headed out of town with some girlfriends. We’re going to Vegas. And we’re gonna see Britneybritney vegas Spears perform there. And I’m stoked. Like, totally stoked maaaaaan.

For the past couple weeks I’ve let her be my motivation. Girl looks good. And she’s had two babies and some messed up stuff happen to her. But she stays in great shape. And has an athletic body. So it’s a shape that’s attainable for me (at my best…).

I may not look like her. But at least I look like a better version of me while trying to look more like her. But also staying true to me. Because me as her wouldn’t look good but me as me but in her-like shape would.

I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m drunk already.

Vegas, Britney, Vegas!

 

Data Diet

dataI’m going to brag for a moment. Please forgive me.

This past weekend I went to San Diego Comic Convention. And it was wonderful. And overwhelming. And I ate terrible foods and drank too much beer and had a fabulous time with friends old and new.

But one of the highlights of my trip was meeting a childhood hero of mine, Brent Spiner aka Data from Star Trek Next Generation. He was at a robotics party I went to. There was a cover charge for the party. I didn’t want to pay it. But I saw he would be there, so of course I forked it up.

And it was worth every penny.

He was kind and charming and took the time to really talk to every person who waited to see him. He didn’t just make it a photo opportunity, he made it a chance to get to know you and find out who you were. It was friggin’ delightful.

He gave me some advice. A few things, really. Most of them I’ll keep to myself because I think that’s ok to do sometimes. But he did offer me one bit of advice when it comes to being a comedic actress. He said get yourself in the best shape possible to give yourself every advantage in this career as possible. His point was essentially, if you already have a lot of things going for you (which he said I did… omg giggle giggle giggle!), it will do nothing but help you if you can be as in shape as possible. It’ll open up even more opportunities. (My friend joked with me later that “Data called you fat,” which I can understand how it may sound when I relay the story but I know that’s not at all what he meant. Or if it was, I was too many beers in to have taken it that way.)

The thing is- I completely agree with him. I talk about it sometimes in my posts. I’m in an industry that cares what you look like, so why not give yourself every advantage? Because I produce my own work, I can avoid some of the rigorous judgement. But the truth of the matter is, I want to create a career where I’m constantly producing work that people see. Which means people will see me in that work. So people will be looking at me. And I want to give them the best product possible. And the bottom line is that product should mean getting in and maintaining the best shape I possibly can.

So I told Data… I mean Brent… that I would get in great shape (right after Comic Con… because I was drinking a heavy stout beer during our chat). And I tell him about it after I did so. And he said he couldn’t wait to hear about my progress. And I giggled uncontrollably. And then we took a picture.

And I walked away promising myself I’m going on a diet starting Monday (today). And I’m calling it the Data Diet. And it might just be the most motivated I’ve ever been to get in shape in my entire life.

Thank you, Brent. Thank you, Data. Thank you, San Diego Comic Con.

I’ll keep you updated.

Talented Friends

ellen picNot to brag… but I have some really friggin talented friends.

I’m consistently blown away by the sheer level of talent that I’m constantly surrounded by. They’re not Oscar nominees like the people in the picture. But it’s only a matter of time before we all take our own selfie at our own award show we created through on our own terms. Also it’d be nice to go to the Oscars.

I have friends who I can call up and say “I wanna do this thing and I was wondering if you could make it kinda like this weird feeling but also make it not weird,” and they’re like “Yep. Totally understand your language. You got it.” I have other friends who are like, “I wanna do this incredible idea for a fun web series and wondered if you’d wanna hop on the wagon? Here’s the exciting and hilarious outline I came up with,” and I’m like, “Yep. It’s an honor. You got it.”

I know people who cam make rooms of hundreds of people laugh for a solid hour by just telling jokes. I know people who can turn their pain into entertainment and make people far away from them feel connected. I know people who turn their parking tickets into an art project as a reminder that even something negative can be turned into something entertaining. I know people who are creative and hard-working attorneys, who will go to bat all hours of the day for their client no matter what the circumstance. I know people who make a simple event like signing a contract a whole 24-hour party because they know how to get the most out of life.I know people who put their life on the line in military service because they believe in serving something bigger than themselves. I know people who can edit a story to make it even more hilarious than anything that could possibly be written or filmed. I know people who I can share an idea with and will throw out three things that will inspire and invigorate me further.

And that’s not even scratching the surface.

It’s not always easy to constantly reaffirm that choosing this life in LA, this life of entertainment, and this life of project-based long-term investments is worth it. There are tough times financially, physically, and emotionally for sure.

But it’s a whole lot easier by being constantly inspired by the incredible level of warmth and creativity and talent that surround me- both near and far. (Wherever you are...)

As for the people I don’t like who are doing well… whatever. Share some success with the rest of us…assholes.

 

If You Don’t Even Dream It…

Field of dreams…You can never achieve it.

I have a goal. It’s a little out there. Not in the general list of goals I have for myself, but just based on the reality I’m living in as I write this blog post.

I would share it with you, but I’m not ready. I already over-share, so please don’t feel slighted. I just want to keep this one pretty close to home for a while.

The seed of this goal got planted in my head from a few different outlets. And my first thought was, “Oh there’s no way I’ll be able to do that right now. Are you kidding?”

Then my second thought was, “But if I don’t think it’s possible, it will never happen. If it’s at all possible, I have to at least believe it MIGHT happen. Then who knows.”

I realize that’s a lot of thinking, but my logic basically boils down to this: It’s very possible that the goal I have in mind will not happen. Like I said, it’s out there for my situation right now. I don’t know how it could happen. I don’t see the ways in which I can make it a reality. Normally, I can at least have a plan in place to make something I want a reality. In this case, I’ve got nothing.

But as long as I believe it’s impossible, it will be. If I think it could happen, then I plant a seed somewhere in my brain (and in the universe). I start seeing connections and possibilities where I hadn’t previously. I open myself up to the possibility that this thing could happen. I maybe start moving in that direction. I start doing things I don’t even realize will make that dream a reality.

I had no idea what path I was going to take a few months ago. I had ideas and goals, but no real way to know where I would be or how I would get there. So who knows if these goals and dreams we make for the future can be reality. We have no idea where we’re going anyway, so why not make a small wish-list for the universe along the way?

It’s still possible I won’t reach it. But at least if I believe it could happen, it’s also possible I might. So I’m gonna choose to believe.  And I’ll build this small dream. And since I built it… maybe- just maybe- they will come.