Thursday, August 1, 2013

Team S.J.G.R. Thursday Huddle #5: MINDSET.

Strong girls who recognize the realness (and the importance of a good "mean mug.")

What's up, Team?

Forgive me for just getting around to posting our huddle. I know this is an important thing for our momentum. For me just as much as all of you.

Well. I let busy-ness get the best of me this past week. For starters, I was on the inpatient service at Grady. My kids needed to be toted hither and thither, and I had a ton of work commitments and deadlines. On top of all of that, the rain just wouldn't stop coming and seemed to pop up whenever I had a moment to get out for a run. THEN, as if the rain wasn't enough. . . .

Wait. Are you bored yet?

You should be. Because regardless of what is going on, the realness DOES NOT STOP. Risks for heart disease keep on going no matter what we are doing. And since we are Team S.J.G.R. we can acknowledge that busy-ness is nothing more than an excuse to ignore the realness.

Mmmmm hmmmm. And you know what excuses are, don't you? Oh you don't?

"Excuses are tools of the incompetent. They build monuments to nothingness and bridges to nowhere. Those who excel in them seldom excel in anything else."

I don't even known where that quote originally came from. But I do know that most people I know who pledged a sorority or fraternity either learned to recite some version of this poem or at least had it bellowed into their ear at some point.

Yeah. So enough of the excuses. We have to be accountable. And so I will do just that.

These are my confessions:

I got in only 120 minutes last week. Not 150. Two forty-five minute runs and a thirty minute one. Nope. I did not make it to the 150 minutes or more per week that have been shown to reduce my risk of heart disease and that's because I didn't make myself. I didn't make such bad choices on my plate but what I did do wrong is just as bad. I let myself get so busy that I forgot to eat. Skipped breakfast on almost all of the weekdays and kept looking up at 11am and realizing that I hadn't nourished my body. No. It wasn't some plot for weight loss. Instead it was really just evidence of very poor planning. You know what that means? It means I have to do better.

Period. End of story.

Now. See those girls in that picture above? The one in the "Boston" shirt is one of my absolute favorite medical students. Her name is Mo M. and you know what? She is a part of Team S.J.G.R. bigtime. As a matter of fact, she sent me this photo yesterday with a text telling me that because of Team S.J.G.R., she has been going even harder than ever.


Though she is young, she (and her friends) recognize that bodies do more for us when we strengthen them and nourish them appropriately. And you know? Mo is a third year medical student with a trillion perfectly acceptable excuses to not exercise or eat right that she could unleash on anyone willing to listen. But you know what? She doesn't.

Mo and her BFF with their healthy meal inspired by Team S.J.G.R.

Since I know and advise Mo, I also know that she has other things happening in her life that make her commitment to health and wellness even more mind-blowing. And you know? It's all about her mindset. Mo has an amazing mindset.

Which reminds me.

Last week I attended a conference for Jack and Jill of America. This regional conference happened to be in Atlanta, so I took advantage of the awesome programs and cool networking that came along with it. And can I say that I navigated going to these workshops in between a whole lot of other stuff? Like, for example, despite how calm I look on this picture above, I had literally just changed into a white dress in a bathroom at Grady and headed up to the hotel. Then I came back to Grady, changed in another bathroom and gave a lecture that evening to our second year residents.

What? What!

And you know? I went through all of that trouble because I wanted to go to that conference. I wish I had time to tell somebody about how many people find a way to do the things they WANT to do no matter HOW busy they are. I wish I had time to tell somebody about that--but I don't.

So. My point. Oh yeah, that. Okay, so my point has nothing to do with my Clark Kent changing jobs at all. I just thought it was cool that I survived all of that. Ha. So, no, that wasn't the point. Instead, it's about something really amazing I heard while at this conference.

(Stay with me. . .I'm going somewhere. . . .)

Jack and Jill Regional Conference -- I ran into a med school class mate!

Okay, so check it. We had this closing banquet/gala on the final evening. Everyone was dressed in their swankiest attire and the surroundings were lovely. But even more lovely than all of that was the absolutely dynamic woman who took the podium that evening as the keynote speaker.

Her name is Marcia Spiller and she heads education at a very prestigious school here in Georgia. And despite how highfalutin that school may seem to some people (which isn't the school my kids attend by the way) I imagine that a lot of those kids and their families stay grounded and focused on what matters because of this lady. In her speech, she talked about this book which she says changed her life. And that book--called "Mindset"--was the basis of the majority of her talk. 

Y'all. I came straight home, downloaded that book and am just a few pages short of being done devouring it. And let me tell you--it is SO applicable to every single person reading this. 

Here's the gist of it:

People fall into two types of mindsets--what the author calls a "fixed" mindset or the other which she calls a "growth" mindset. How we view our potential lies firmly in our mindsets. What we think we can achieve, how we interpret failure, and what we are even willing to try. It's all about our outlook on lives and level of ability. 

Our speaker talked a lot about how hard it has become for people to deal with failure due to fixed mindsets. Feeling a need to prove who they are based upon some fixed definition and crumbling when something happens that isn't commensurate with that set idea. A low score on a test becomes a scarlet letter across the chest. A criticism becomes the end of the world. 

But not those with a growth mindset. Those folks set their sights on things and go hard. They fall down but get back up again. The mouthpiece falls out but they jump up and stuff it back into their mouth again. They want to try things that might stump them or go up against people and things that might beat them. All in an effort to be better. Different. Improved. 

They embody all that this quote says:

"Becoming is better than being."

So the growth mindset folks are constantly becoming. Yeah, man.

Okay. So here's why I am sharing this with you. I think when it comes to health and wellness--and also weight management--many of us are trapped in a fixed mindset. Some of us feel like we've been dealt a certain hand that we must work with and anything to far beyond that isn't attainable.

For example:

Someone looks in the mirror and thinks, "I'm just a big girl." And that person--who happens to be seventy five to one hundred pounds overweight--never sets a goal to reach their ideal body size. The size 22 strives for a 14 as the ultimate goal. Why? Because somewhere in their head, they've been brainwashed to think any size less than that could never ever happen to them.

The same can be said about exercise goals. The wrong mindset can have you thinking that you are too weak to ever do a push up or too perpetually out of shape to ever run a mile. But that's only true if your mindset is FIXED. 

I challenge you to move into a growth mindset when it comes to your health. Let go of the fear of envisioning yourself at a healthy body mass index and stop replacing it with this crappy idea that it's impossible for YOU. It's not. It really isn't. I believe that. 

When my sister passed, I decided that I would become a runner. But before then, I had always allowed my fixed mindset to stop me. And honestly? I'm no rockstar at all. But now? I am a runner. And I have signed up for two separate ten-milers and you know what? I am going to run them. I am. Because I am a runner now. 

Look at Mo and her girls in that picture. Those girls believe that they are strong and able. They are chastening their bodies and pushing themselves to crazy physical limits because they believe that with hard work, their bodies can and will achieve magnificent things. And can't you just look at this photograph and know that they are? 

You bet they are. 

But you know? If you looked at this picture and let some fixed mindset little voice say to you things like, "Oh they're young" or "They are skinny types" or "I'm a curvy sista" -- know that is nothing more than an excuse. And we already reviewed what excuses are.

Where is your mindset when it comes to your health? Is it fixed? What are you willing to do to bust out of that thinking? Who do you love that needs you to do that so that you can be alive?

Set your sights on whatever you are willing to work for. Don't sell yourself short of the full goal because of a fixed mindset. Because when the sh*t gets real, it doesn't care about you and your decision to lie down and say "I'm good" on mile 6 of your 10 mile run. And guess what? Not even TRYING to attain your real, true healthy body goals is like doing just that.

Some weeks will be good ones. Some will be not so good. But as members of Team S.J.G.R. we won't use excuses as fences to keep us in fixed mindsets. NO we will not. We will go hard. We will fail. But we will keep trying. Trying to become. Because dammit, that is better than being.

Growth mindset. That's us, people. S.J.G.R., y'all. Let's do this, baby. We got this.

Happy super late Thursday.

Ms. Spiller showed this video at the end of her lecture--it really struck a cord with me. Maybe it will with you, too.


  1. I'm thinking the comments are not working for this post....I tried a couple of times. Let's see if it works now....Mindset is SOOOO important. I ran a marathon 12 years ago and all I did was run...sleep...and think about running for a year. You can ask my hubs....bless his heart!...ha. Anyway, I need to change my mindset starting right now! and get my butt (and mind) in gear and will start by reading this book! Right now my mindset is "I doing ok for 60" but I want it to be "I want to be exceptional for 60"! and make team SJGR proud!

  2. If I can run marathons anyone can run! Seriously... so excited for your ten milers!!


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