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By Lauri Mackey — 3 years agoYou Are a Super HeroSuper Heroes vs VillainsI am a crazy movie addict. I will just admit that now and get it out of the way. I also am admittedly an OCD organizational freakazoid. That means that not only do I love movies with super heroes, but I had shelving built on one wall around my TV to house them, separated by genre AND alphabetized within their genre. Crazy, right? (Wait until you learn about how I send my birthday cards every year) Not only do I have them organized in such a way, but I have a list on my phone called “Movies”. Within that list are movies coming out that I want to see and the date they debut, movies I want to add to my collection, and a list of VHS tapes I have left to switch over to DVD’s. I love movies!
I am a sucker for a good tear-jerker, love the action films and chick-flicks, and Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley is the one I’ve watched the most. Not only am I addicted to movies, but I believe I’m simply addicted to happy endings. I want to fly without wings, make people laugh like Lucille Ball, have magical powers like Samantha from Bewitched, be strong and have courage like Cinderella, sing like Queen Latifah, and kick ass like Lara Croft. That’s not asking too much, right?One of the things I’ve learned is that you cannot have heroes without villains. If the villains did not exist, super heroes would not be discovered or needed. The super heroes themselves might not ever know that they are super heroes because nothing challenged them to become more than they already were. In the latest Cinderella movie, her mother charged her to be strong and have courage. This was simply a dying wish of a mother to her daughter until the wicked stepmother and stepsisters entered her life to test her and try her. Wonder Woman (Linda Carter) was living an oblivious, innocent life in the Bermuda Triangle on an island paradise knowing nothing of the outside world until she took her invisible plane to the United States and discovered she could make a difference there and not let bad guys win. The Bionic Woman, Emma in Once Upon a Time, the latest Maleficent, the list goes on.
I believe so much in happy endings and in super heroes, that I’ve decided to create my own happy ending and become a super hero myself. A lofty goal you say? Mock me if you must, but I’m living the dream. No, not a dream…a reality. 20 years ago if you had told me I would grow up to be a super hero I would have laughed right out loud. Heck, even 10 years ago would have had me doubting through and through. But here I am, a living breathing super hero. Guess what? You are, too! Or can decide to be if that is your goal and that it’s what YOU want to be when you grow up.The good news is that it is never to late to decide to be a super hero. You cannot say, “I’m too old, or too worn out, or too many bad things have happened to me, or I’ve caused too many bad things to happen”. Those are just excuses that need to be kicked to the curb where they belong. Faith wins over fear if you will let it.Does being a super hero free you from ever having bad things happen to you again? NO! Superman had kryptonite and Lex Luthor. Lara Croft had the Luminoti, not to mention her own heart to worry about. Batman, The Arrow, X-Men, Wonder Woman, The Incredibles all had new villains to battle. I suppose that’s job security. Or, it is how you too can continue to learn that you are capable of more than you could ever imagine. I’ve watched The Flash get knocked down time and time again and still that dude is optimistic – how does he do that? Just when you thought you had learned every lesson, there was more of you to discover. Things you never knew you could do or imagined were possible. These villains make us stronger.So, who is your villain right now? For me, I might not have known I was even fighting a villain until the battle was over. Sometimes, I could see the villain coming from a mile away and I had to choose to run or stand up and fight. Other times it was a crime against my heart that hurt so bad I could barely breathe, or eat, or sleep. Others still were crimes brought to me unbidden, but had to be dealt with just the same.
Let me share one of my oldest villains with you. Teenage pregnancy. I don’t think any little girl sets her dream to be pregnant by the time she is 16, especially one that has a future as a super hero. While I do not have anyone to blame but myself, it is a fact that “most people end up in this situation in a misguided attempt to fulfill some pretty basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives.” (Ezra Taft Benson) If those needs are not met, we seek them in places that are unhealthy to ourselves and others. (Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that your decisions effect only you…just like positive choices leave ripple effects, so do poor choices.)My villain changed my life and the lives of those around me. I was married at 16 1/2 years of age, having my first daughter at age 17. I did not finish high school and I did not attend Prom. My love for playing on the high school basketball team was squashed and my flute would gather dust for years. I had disappointed my parents and ignored all advice from people who were trying to help me take a better path and who cared about me a great deal.My decisions led me to many more poor choices in relationships for lots of years, but as I’ve told others before, I would rather change my course than be completely derailed. Because inevitably that is what happened…I was completely derailed, lying on the floor, unable to make another decision in my life, good or bad. All of my choices had led me to the side of my bed, on my knees, praying for help. Help to loosen these chains of bad habits in the area of my love life. I asked God to let me be happy with the life I had with my three beautiful daughters as a single mom. To be content with who I had become as a woman even if my relationship woes were unsightly to say the least.And you know what? He did so much more. Not everyone believes that there is a God and I’m not out to convert you with this blog, but I want to be honest in my story-telling here. When I turned my life over to Him, instead of pushing my own agenda, things changed. He was incredibly more kind to me than I ever had been to myself. He led me and guided me to a path that led to a beautiful marriage. A safe haven to figure out how to be a super hero despite any human frailties I may have experienced in my life to date. Just like SuperMan had to go away for awhile to get things figured out and learn of his true potential, I was given the gift of another second chance.
Just over 8 years ago, I married my hero, my best friend. My heart has been healed and my capacity to love has grown. While I had earned my GED as a teenager, I wanted my high school diploma because it was something I had deprived myself of. (As a side note, don’t try this at home…it is SO MUCH EASIER to pass high school as a teenager than an adult…TRUST ME!!) I went back to adult school and the math that I hated with a passion and earned my diploma. Not only was that super, crazy kind of hard, but I took graduation pictures, attained a class ring, and even spoke at my graduation where lots of friends and family were in attendance (including my tutor I had to get to pass math!). They didn’t even have the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) when I was in high school! It seemed so unfair, but I passed! I graduated at the ripe old age of 41!Conquering a villain is an amazing feeling. After I graduated high school I felt like I could take on the world! I could do anything! Be anything! I took certificate courses online, became a Certified Holistic Health Coach, started teaching cooking classes locally. I just can’t stop! It is part of the reason I am writing this blog and pursuing a career as a public speaker. To help women realize their potential and to believe in this small, four-letter word…hope.There will be many more villains that will need their ass kicked and the only one to do it will be me because those villains are mine to fight. Whatever or whomever your latest villain is in your life, I want you to know that you can be the super hero in your life. You can have your happy ending. It will not be easy and may involve a lot of hard work. Learn to love work. Do something! If all you can do is just think it, think it. But then say it, whisper it if you need to. Then say it out loud. Now louder! Now take that first step. What action can you take to begin your journey?I believe in hope. I believe in faith. I believe in love.I believe in you. I believe in us.
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years agoI’m Not That SpecialStan Lee – “Well, you just think about it! You just sit down or walk around and probably have a big, dumb look on your face and you wonder, “What would I like to read? What kind of character would interest me?” I’m asked a lot what tips I would give to other writers. The truth is: I don’t know any tips. I can’t think of a single tip. Now I’ve been writing long enough to have met an awful lot of writers who sit down at their computer or whatever and say, “OK, now I’m going to write the story for young ladies, aged 17 to 26.” I don’t have a clue how to do that. I don’t know what other people want. So the only thing I can say when answering that question is: Please write stories that you think are great. Write to please yourself. That’s how I’ve always done it – not because I’m so desperate to please other people, but because I feel very genuinely that if I really love a story, then there must be a few other people out there who would love it, too. I’m not that special.”I took this excerpt from (believe it or not) my December’s Costco Connection monthly magazine. It is honestly one of my favorite magazines for articles and business tips! You never know where you’ll find the inspiration you are looking for and didn’t know you needed.As you know, I absolutely love movies and I have collected all of the Avengers, Captain America’s, Thor’s and now recently Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man and Stan Lee is the creator of them all! How wicked cool is that? When I saw that Costco had conducted an interview with him I was really excited to learn more about his story, but what he said above truly touched me.I write this blog not just to hear myself talk, but because I’m guessing that there are others out there like me who need a repetitive dose of positivity in their lives. I’m not that special. I write because I truly enjoy the process. I write because it feels like I’m leaving a legacy of my thoughts and way of thinking. I have looked forward every week to sitting down and putting my words in print for the world to see…unapologetically and crazy authentic.
How do you create positivity in your life?
Gumption, Bandaids, Slapstick, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat”.The first thing you need is GUMPTION. By definition, gumption means courage and confidence. This is not only faith in yourself that you are capable of hard things, but a continuous amount of courage and confidence in one’s self to accomplish the things you set out to do.The second thing is a lot of BANDAIDS. My husband and I help coach the local high school mountain bike team and I always tell the kids that it is not a matter of if you will crash, it is only a matter of when. From newbies to pros, everyone crashes. If you can accept this fact before your journey even begins and keep bandaids at the ready, it makes the falls more tolerable.The third thing is SLAPSTICK. Now this is the one that I am not as good at as the other three…I admit it. You must be able to laugh at yourself or at the situation. You need to solidly believe in horseplay. Give yourself permission to laugh and be happy. We were meant to be happy! Don’t forget that once you find that happiness to share it with others. And as James Altucher advises: If you’re having a bad day, just chalk it up to a bad day, don’t make any major decisions during that time and wait for it to pass.The fourth and last tip is to WASH, RINSE, AND REPEAT. Repetitiveness is the key to learning anything. Practice makes permanent. You must practice positivity. If you don’t even try it out you’ve already lost the battle with negativity. I promise that if you practice baby steps that you will soon be walking, running, and then sprinting with positivity.I admit that my thought process is not within the “norm” of what you may be used to hearing, but it is uniquely and authentically me. I’m guessing that a few other people might relate, love it, and be able to incorporate these steps into their lives for the good of themselves and ultimately the good of those around you.
Practice Makes PermanentIn the end, I believe that Stan Lee IS special. I believe that YOU are special. We are all unique and the only ones here on earth that can fulfill our potential to the best of our ability. My goal is to have you believe that you are capable of more than what you may think. Collect your gumption, a box of bandaids, your sense of humor and practice it over and over again!
By Lauri Mackey — 2 years ago
In April of 2015 I wrote the following article on Negative Self-Talk:
Listen to Your Best Friend
It took some practice to put this theory into motion for me, but like I always say, “if I can do it, anyone can do it!” I have issues with negative self-talk about my weight. I am not overweight, but I am hyper-conscious about my body shape. I am a grandmother after all and body parts that were once perky are now sadly stretching for the ground and have declared gravity as their best friend. As a friend of mine used to say, (who has since passed on, losing her battle with cancer), “I used to be a 36D, but now I’m just a 36Long”. Once I applied the “best friend advice” theory – it made me see myself as my Heavenly Father sees me. As a daughter of God who is beautiful. Let’s try it out, shall we?
Take the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to your own personal negative self-talk. It could be anything, but usually you are able to think about it right away because it has been your constant companion for as long as you can remember. Now I want you to imagine that you’ve graciously gifted this negative thing or idea to your best friend. She is now you. (This works great if you do this in front of your mirror). Your best friend is now telling you that she hates the shape of her body and that dimples are only cute on baby bums, and that rolls are meant to be eaten not worn. What do you tell her?
I recently did this exercise in a group of about 40 women and I had the leader of the group play the part of “best friend”. She was telling me how she was overweight and hated the way she fit in her clothes. I then asked the audience what advice should I give her? I panicked as the silence dragged on for just a little bit longer than anticipated. I worried that people would actually start giving advice on weight loss ideas, diets that never really work, to fast, or to exercise like a maniac. One woman in the front row saved me with the perfect answer: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! There have not been a lot of perfect moments in my speaking career, but this one I will always remember. She said the answer that I had written down in my notes and she said it out loud and clear: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Ladies, try it out right this second. Take that negative self-talk and hand it over to yourself as your own best friend. What advice would you give that best friend? It changed the way I view myself forever. I am beautiful. And not in some egotistical way, but truly beautiful inside and out. Why? Because that is how my Heavenly Father sees me, how my husband sees me, how my children see me, and how my best friend sees me. My best friends would all come and tell me the same thing – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Reminder of Negative Self-Talk
The Power to Change
I had two reminders this week from gals that are awesome! My friend, Allie Steele holds periodic bootcamps that run for 4 weeks, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I usually cannot attend, but this one worked in my schedule! So this last week I have sweat like crazy and walked around like I had a corncob up my butt with how sore I was on more than one occasion. But I digress…the point is that during one of the workouts I let out a jokingly, “I suck” and was immediately told by my friend and another participant in the class to not think that way! I was capable of hard things, I was strong.
I was a bit taken aback when that happened and realized that I indeed needed to change my self-talk to more positive words. And then something else happened! I was having lunch with a friend of mine from out of state, a surprise visit! She was asking about how my business was going, speaking gigs, my writing and I must have been on overwhelm because she said, “I’ve never seen you so down about your work.” What?? I’m the positivity queen! I don’t get down about my work! Hogwash!
Why was I having a poor attitude or negative self-talk? I really thought about it quite a bit and realized that I was comparing. Comparison is damaging. If I compare myself to one out of the fifteen women attending bootcamp and focus on her doing things better than I did I create negative thoughts. When I compare myself to other people who were already accomplished authors, writers, speakers, podcasters, I create negative thoughts.
How had that little bugger of negative self-talk sneak into my way of thinking? I don’t know, but it’s about to get a swift boot along with an immediate eviction notice. Now, I know that it will not be that simple, but awareness is the key. I am practicing daily mantra’s that will bring a more positive light into my life. Here’s two from Rebekah “Bex” Borucki (Check out her interview on my podcast here.) that I really like:
I say “no” when I don’t want to. I say “yes” when it feels good. I take care of myself through movement that makes me feel wonderful. I eat foods that make me feel fulfilled. I have relationships with people who love me as I am.
It is not my job to be in control. My purpose is to be at peace and to be happy with who I am in this moment, to be loved, and to inspire love.
Want to learn more? Bex has a 21-day Mantra Challenge that is Free! Just click here and enjoy more positivity in your life, a break from the negative self-talk, a relief from stress, and experience more gratitude. Listen to your self-talk this week…what is it saying?