Episode 1: How I Finally Stopped Complaining and Blaming

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Hi! I'm Victoria Hefty and welcome to Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. Today I want to tell you about carving out that ever elusive me time that all busy moms need, even when things don't go as planned. Stick around to learn the one formula that has dramatically shifted the way I think when I want to complain about something and learn the four things I've changed in my daily routine that allow me [00:00:30] to meditate every single morning, even with my daughter's ever-changing sleep routine.

This is the first official episode and I'm so excited to be sharing my journey with you. When I started thinking about how to format this podcast, I didn't really know how to structure it. I finally decided to focus these initial episodes around a book that I have fallen in love with called The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. Most [00:01:00] of you probably indirectly know Jack. Yes, I'm calling him Jack because we're on a first name basis. He is the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. If you're anything like me, you grew up around these books or you saw them at the bookstore. I think there are over 40 different editions of it. Anyway, he's the co-creator of that, but I didn't really know who he was until I accidentally stumbled upon a movie on Netflix called The Secret. I remember watching the movie pretty skeptically. It talks [00:01:30] a lot about this thing called the Law of Attraction, which we'll talk about in another episode, but I do remember thinking that whenever Jack spoke, I listened. I stopped and I actually listened to what he was saying.

I did my research, watched a couple of YouTube videos of him and ultimately decided to buy this book. It came highly recommended from all the reviews and all the people that I admire. I remember putting my daughter in the stroller. I took a nice long walk to the bookstore and I bought a copy of The Success Principles. I also bought a copy of a [00:02:00] journal to document my thoughts as I read the book. In a nutshell, the description on the book states that the timeless principles featured will, and I quote, "teach you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose and realize all your ambitions." I was like, this is perfect. These are all the things that I need in my life right now.

This podcast is going to focus on some of the challenges and successes I've actually encountered trying to incorporate [00:02:30] these success principles into my daily life. I'll spend each episode highlighting the struggles and try to offer some reflection and advice based on my experience as a busy work at home mom. I'm going to get the ball rolling and focus on the very first principle, which is take a hundred percent responsibility for your life. A basic overview is that if I want to be very successful in life, I, Victoria, will have to give up blaming and complaining and take total [00:03:00] responsibility for my life, both the good and the bad. As I'm reading this chapter, all I can think about is that I bought this book to push me, but this is kind of an aggressive start. I was hoping there would be a feel-good warm up before I got to the tough love sort of thing, but no.

However, there was a formula a few pages later that I have, even in the short amount of time, has helped me to fundamentally change the way I think. You can find articles about this online, but basically, the formula [00:03:30] is, event plus response equals outcome. E plus R equals O. What does that actually mean? It means that if I don't like the outcomes that I'm getting, I have two choices. One, I can blame the event for my lack of results or two, I can change my responses to the event until I get the outcome I want.

At first, I didn't really see how powerful this formula was until I actually had to apply it to an experience that almost all moms can relate to. [00:04:00] What happened? Well, as I was reading, I realized that one of the very few things I complain about, because I don't think I'm a complainer, other people may disagree, but in general, I don't complain a lot about things. I do often complain to friends that I'm waking up exhausted in the morning and I don't have any me time before my daughter and husband wake up. I finally decided to stop complaining after reading this chapter and to take action.

I started waking up at five a.m. in the morning. While [00:04:30] this wasn't ideal, this early wake-up time was the most feasible option because my daughter usually sleeps until 6:30 to 7:00, so I knew I was guaranteed some quiet time. I planned to use that time to focus just on me and do the things that require peace and quiet, like pray, meditate and write in my journal. Even better, maybe I could squeeze in a short workout as well. I was pumped and ready to go, or so I thought.

The first few days, I started to go to bed around 9:30 [00:05:00] at night and I woke up at five a.m. using the bedtime alert on my iPhone. If you don't know about it, check it out. It's wonderful. I would be lying if I said I wasn't exhausted, but I was also committed to this goal. It took me a couple days to get adjusted, but after slowly crawling out of bed, I would eventually get up and use that time as I intended. I would pray, meditate, do my light workout, and again, write in my journal. Just for those who are curious, a light workout meant 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 squats. Just enough to get the blood going. [00:05:30] Most importantly, I would enjoy a hot cup of coffee that actually stayed hot as I drank it, uninterrupted. It was glorious. Again, all the moms can relate to this.

Then real life happened. In my case, this means my daughter knew something was up. It was the toddler version of FOMO. You know, fear of missing out? My daughter also started waking up at 5:00 to 5:30 a.m. Out of the blue. No explanation why except for mama was up and baby wanted in. [00:06:00] Just when I was finally embracing this new me time. I started getting really frustrated and frankly a little angry that not even waking up at five a.m. could guarantee me peace and quiet. What was the point in doing all of this?

It was then that I remembered the formula from the book. Event plus response equals outcome. I began asking myself, "Okay, how can I figure out a better response to the situation instead of just complaining and blaming my daughter?" After some trial and error, [00:06:30] I'll share four responses that ultimately worked for me.

One, I asked myself what activities can I do even if my daughter is awake? Well, I could write in my journal, I could work out and I could even do a short meditation while she was awake. Once I knew that I prioritized the two things that I could not do well while she was awake. Those two things were prayer and my favorite 20 minute guided meditation, which I'll talk about more in a future episode. I love the guided aspect because I can stay focused and not end [00:07:00] up with roaming thoughts. Anyway, once I prioritized prayer and meditation, I said that no matter what happened, I would wake up in the morning and get out of bed as soon as possible to start them. No more slowly crawling out of bed or trying to find an excuse to lay in bed a little longer, all of which were wasting precious, pre-baby wake-up minutes. This new approach allowed me to feel like I had more control of my mornings and not feel like my daughter was messing up all of my plans.

Two, I cut back and then actually [00:07:30] eventually stopped drinking wine during the week. I know, it's a little strange and a little bit shocking for people who know me, because I still love my wine and I absolutely love cocktails, but now I restrict them to the weekends. If I'm having a girl's night or a networking event during the week, I limit myself to drinking two nights a week. Why did I do this? I mean, seriously? Well, even though the early wake-up time was forcing me to go to bed earlier, I was still enjoying a glass or two of red wine at night. I didn't want to admit it, but I would often [00:08:00] wake up feeling a little groggy in the morning because of the wine. By eliminating what had become one of my favorite rewards in the evening after a long day of parenting, I was able to wake up feeling much more refreshed. Which actually meant I could quickly get out of bed and jump right into prayer and meditation, the two things I said were most important to tackle while my daughter slept.

Third, in the case that my daughter woke up at five a.m. on the dot, I would adapt, and quickly. That meant finding alternatives to my 20 minute guided meditation. [00:08:30] I searched online and in the app store and I was able to find a 10-minute version and a five-minute version of meditations that still made me feel calm and relaxed. Having these let me adapt really quickly to my daughter's mood that morning. Some days she would still, she was still tired when she woke up and just wanted to be held, which meant I could still do my 20-minute routine. Some days she was up, ready to go, which meant I really had to focus on the quick five-minute exercise. Which leads me to the last thing I changed.

Four, [00:09:00] instead of focusing on the frustration I felt when my daughter woke up, I would instead go into her room, pick her up, whisper, "I love you." Nestle her on my chest and lay down on the couch with her in the pitch dark and then I would try to meditate. I know it sounds absurd, but I realized that me time wasn't always about being perfectly seated upright, in a private room, alone. If I had to meditate with my daughter quietly snuggling on me, so be it. If I had to do a five-minute exercise with my eyes closed [00:09:30] while she ate cereal, that was okay, too. The point was that by focusing on problem-solving around her five a.m. wake-ups instead of focusing on the actual wake up time itself, I'm now getting the mental time I desperately need in the morning to start the day strong. It's not perfect, but I feel a lot better and that is what matters the most. It's not always alone, me time, but it is still most certainly for me. Learning that has been pretty wonderful.

As a side note, I'm sharing this story and this podcast, frankly, because [00:10:00] I think it's important to highlight the real-life moments behind motherhood. It's very hard for a lot of moms with young children to find an hour of peace and quiet in the morning. I want to share my not perfect but very practical approach to finding mine and it works. Lastly, I'd like to end each episode with a challenge. My challenge for you today is to pick one thing that you find yourself complaining about or one thing that you find incredibly frustrating and ask yourself, what if I focused on responding differently? [00:10:30] Said another way, what are the three to four things that you could do to respond differently to this thing or person that is frustrating you? Be really honest with yourself. It may not be easy, but honestly, if it's worth changing, it probably isn't going to be easy, but I'm guessing the rewards will be worth it.

If you're up for sharing, I would love to hear about your experience answering this question. Send a note to Victoria@activatepurpose.com. If you want show notes and links to all of the resources that I've talked about in this episode visit activatepurpose.come/ [00:11:00] episode1. Until next time.

 

 

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Activate Purpose