Confessions of a Bikini Competitor

“So when are you competing again?”

When I am asked that question my heart sinks. The voice inside sighs and quietly whispers “never” while my lips automatically form the words they have been conditioned to deliver and say “not sure, this year has been about recovering from some injuries.” As I speak those words I wonder if they could see the shame. 

You see this journey began for me mid 2018 as I approached my 42nd birthday. I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone for the 42nd year of life to honor my Mom who died when she was 42 and I was 6years old. I wondered how many dreams she may have held on to while raising my twin and I. I wondered how many goals she never attained as she waited for “the right moment”. I didn’t want to keep waiting…I was at the peak of my fitness journey and wanted to push it to the next level.

The first challenge I proposed to myself was running my first half-marathon! Up until that moment, the most I had ever run was one 5k almost a year prior…oh boy!! Signed up and started training without a clue of how to even start, what shoes to wear, what was the right form…nothing! But I started and just 4 days before my 42nd birthday I completed my first half-marathon! I remember as I ran that last mile I imagined my Mom cheering for me at the end of that mile…this was for you Mom.

Still wanting more, I decided to participate in a physique competition that Beachbody offered during their conference for their coaches. I signed up! I had about 3 months to prepare. I found a coach and I started preparing. I had NO clue what I was getting into. Workouts were intense…started my day at 3:30AM with a home workout followed by a gym workout that was carefully orchestrated by my incredible trainer Lilith. True to everyone’s description of the diet, the food choices were limited but I had sprinkled moments of cheat days (that turned into cheat meals) along the way. From April 2019 to July 11, 2019 I focused on this goal. I stepped on stage at 114lbs (started at 127) and with 13% bodyfat (started at 27%). Excited about being a part of this fitness focused community, I felt like I had found my happy place! Didn’t think I would even place but I did!! I placed 3rd in my age group and celebrated the win with a juicy burger and my family and fellow bikini competitors!! 

Now if you recall…I started this “live out loud’ challenge the year I turned 42 in a way of honoring my mom who died at age 42. Granted I don’t believe she would have stepped on a stage or run a half-marathon BUT it was my way of not “waiting for the right time” to do things. So if that was my goal, I should have been done…but I wasn’t. That journey made me want MORE. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that what I was chasing after, what I wanted to keep alive was something that was being fed ONLY by the external accolades others kept serving me. People I had never met before were coming up to me and telling me how I motivated them. I would receive messages from women I had admired that would tell me how amazing I looked and how they enjoyed following my journey. How could I give that up? I didn’t, much to my husband’s dismay. In January 2020, I started to prep again for a new competition year. Honestly, that focus on prep is what helped me survive the first year of COVID. I trained for 10m and competed in September and October of 2020, placing 3rd and 5th in the October NPC competition. However, as 2020 came to a close, I also ended up with double tennis elbow, a fragile relationship with my husband, and an unhealthy mental state of mind. 

As 2021 comes to a close I recognize that although I did LOVE the journey of prepping for competition, I should have addressed my mental health PRIOR to starting. I enjoyed the challenge, I overcame so many obstacles, it allowed me to motivate others to start their health journey…BUT it was all done on a faulty foundation. I was fueled by how OTHERS reacted to my accomplishments. So when the scale started to go up, the bodyfat started to rise…I felt like a fraud. How would all these people that had praised me and started following me react to my failure to maintain that incredible physique? How can I motivate anyone, when I can’t even stick to my own health journey? 

2021 has been a year of overcoming injuries but it has also become a year where I am starting to address my mental health and body image issues. So, when will I compete again? I don’t believe I ever will. It was an incredible experience and I loved all the people I met BUT it’s a journey that requires more than just grit. What I hope to do again is another half-marathon and then a full marathon! Bring on 2022.

Girl!!! Your Mindset Transformation is HOT!!

Well, ok…so maybe that is not what people are thinking when I post a sweaty selfie in my sports bra, but that transformation is what I continue to be the most excited about!! I know I have been harping about this for over a year but its because it is a constant battle! You would think that in this health journey the biggest battle one faces is staying away from Peanut M&Ms or a Five Guy’s burger and an order of fries…but no, we can walk away from those temptations and challenges…you can’t walk away from your mind (granted I lose my mind ever so often but that doesn’t count).

Conquer your mind

Transform your life

That has been the biggest message throughout this latest program. There were moments of defeat [literally breaking down in tears over that evil yet amazing step], moments of reflection [hey girl, you are stronger than you believe], moments of celebration [Hell ya I just crushed my numbers from last week!], but in the end it proved to be a continuing journey of self improvement from the inside-out; creating the best version of me.

As I go through my journey, I want SO much for everyone I know to feel this incredible feeling of self confidence and awareness! But here is the hard reality, I can’t make anyone want this, it has to come from them. I show up every day in the hopes that others will see that I am not superhuman, I don’t have any special powers…I am just a Mom and a wife that works fulltime but wants more for myself and my family. This health journey has created a strong foundation that allows me to continue building upon. It has opened doors I didn’t believe were possible because I didn’t believe in me!! As my mindset has started to transform…

HARD STOP!!!!!

I started writing what you just read before the GIF on February 23, 2019. Pre-pandemic and my body was not injured or recovering from injuries, I was at my best. Today, almost 3 years later, I read those words and I long for that confidence and belief in myself (and let’s keep this real, I miss that body in the pics too). Sure I am still showing up everyday BUT my confidence and comfort in my own skin is no where to be found.  So now what? 

Well, I have decided to start writing again thanks to Glennon Doyle’s podcast “We Can Do Hard Things” which has been my passenger everyday during my drive to work. I have started to see a therapist to help me work through my anxiety, body image issues, and past trauma. The daily workouts/movement is a part of my AM routine, that won’t change. However, I need to work on making that time and space NOT about the scale weight but about how empowered I feel after each workout. 

Curious, how is the version of you pre-COVID different from the version of you today? 

2017: Kicked out of the “Comfort Zone”

Uncomfortable. 

Yes…at a quick glance, “uncomfortable” is the word that sums up my 2017. I mean I freakin turned 40, I lost my job and found myself unemployed for 3 months, I didn’t get the original role I interviewed for when I finally found employment, we have a toddler, a high school kid and a college kid and did I mention I turned 40?!? And I am trying to help others take control of their health…oh…and get this blog thing going.

So why uncomfortable?

Because to start, I had a hard time facing the fact that I turned 40 (if you haven’t figured that out yet and I will be 41 a month from tomorrow). Why did it bother me, because I came in believing that I had nothing to show for it, that I should be somewhere else in my life at this point, that I should be more “successful”, have a “bigger title” in my career, that I should be BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH! Yep, that was my first lesson this year! And then it hit me…”BITCH! You ARE 40 and SO WHAT!” First and foremost my 3 kids, hubby and I are healthy! I have a wonderful husband that puts up with my crazy and supports my ideas and indecisions. We have a beautiful home and though they may be few…I have quality friendships. Oh yeah, and I rocked out a 40th birthday photo session with the one and only Photos by Lulu!

Then, as previously mentioned in my blogs, I lost my job. I had NEVER been unemployed in 23 years! I had to take my son out of daycare, I couldn’t help my husband with our bills, I sent out resumes and completed endless applications and NOTHING for 3 months! Despite my years of experience, I couldn’t get the roles I longed for…but God has a funny way of doing things and after finally becoming employed I realized that title was NOT everything and that the title should not determine the quality of my work or the effort I put into everything I do. I can make a difference no matter the title on my business card…

And yes, our 3 kids are our hearts…and are represented in every gray hair that has entered and reentered my scalp this year, but I wouldn’t change a thing…ok, I’m lying I might change one or two things, lol…but I would still keep all 3.

This year has taught me how to “grow and learn” in that uncomfortable space. It taught me that I can overcome hard times, that when I put my heart in it I can do hard things, it taught me to overcome self doubt and just put myself out there (as I do in my blogs), it’s taught me to own my faults (but yes hubby, I am still learning to master this one) and it’s taught me to believe in myself even when the results are not immediate and take time.

This year I freakin turned 40, started a new blog, started my new IG and Facebook page for my fitness journey, started a new job, kept all 3 of my kids alive and well, celebrated another wedding anniversary and started to believe in me. Yes many uncomfortable moments and maybe in the scheme of things, it doesn’t look like much success but I do believe that 2017 has set me up to KICK ASS in 2018. So if you had too many IF ONLY…THEN moments in 2017….recognize it, let it go and let’s get this 2018 PARTY STARTED!!!! It’s either “one day or DAY ONE!” What will you choose?

 

 

 

The Overlooked Transformation

On November 8th I posted my first video on my public fitness focused IG page called Sneakers.Sweat.Sacrifice. I was so scared. I may have taken about 4, 5 (or 500 but who is counting) videos prior to posting the one I did. I mean what if they saw my fat, was my acne flaring, did the move look too easy, what if no one watches, what if no one follows…so many negative “what if’s”, not one “what if” that sounded like “what if I inspire someone?”.  So despite the voices in my head telling me “you don’t have a story to tell”, “there are so many Beach Body coaches out there better than you”, “you don’t have a following”… Yes despite those voices I put myself out there. Sure my husband was the only one following me at first and no, I don’t have hundreds of people YET…but hell, it’s just been over a month, I am not giving into those voices.

You see, I DO have a story to tell. As I look back on my life, I realize that I have ALWAYS loved fitness. My fitness love began with dance. Play me a beat and my feet start moving, my hips start interpreting the sounds and my heart begins to soar. Growing up I would dance in my room, make up dances, spend hours daydreaming I was on a dance show…just enjoying the moments where I felt in control of my life. Dance kept me in “shape” growing up and as I got older I started going to the gym, but it was rarely consistent (unless I was paying a trainer, lol). As life happened, consistency would happen in spurts, I allowed outside factors to determine my fitness journey and I started making EXCUSES as to why I was not reaching my fitness goals.

As I have mentioned before in a previous blog, 2 years ago I made the decision to STOP making excuses and START moving towards my fitness goals. Fast forward to today…although I am far from the physical goals I wish to achieve, I have transformed something much greater!! My mindset. Yes, those nasty voices still try to take over my thoughts, hopes and desires…but I made the decision to ignore those voices and focus on what I can control…my health journey. I no longer feel guilty taking 30 to 60 minutes to be selfish and take care of myself because ultimately that helps me be a better Mom to my kids and wife to my husband.

My videos are far from perfect and yes you will catch the rolls in my belly, the bags under my eyes and the snap chat filter required morning face BUT that is ME (well, almost all me unless I have the snap chat filters, lol)…I am a 40 year old (almost 41) Mom, wife, full time Corporate Trainer that has chaos and toy cars in every nook and cranny of my home…but if my being real can inspire someone to change their mindset and start their health journey then let the rolls show and the filters flow! SHUT DOWN those voices and realize that YOU CAN achieve what you may deem impossible, because YOU deserve it!

 

Will that be me in the booth?

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Since my last post, I started working again in June and it’s been NON-STOP ever since. I rise at 4:10AM so that I can get my workout in and we all head out the door to daycare, school or work by 6:45AM (on good days). I usually do not surface from the sea of traffic until about 6PM. Then it’s a tag team, speed race at home. Hubby starts or finishes dinner, we swallow our dinner over a quick chat and up I go to bathe our lil one while hubby tackles the kitchen. Read lil guy a bedtime story and hope for 30 to 60min of adult time before my head hits the pillow. So why do I share this…

In September hubby and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary with a little getaway. The morning we were set to head back home we enjoyed our last breakfast at a quaint little diner in Austin, TX. As we sat waiting for our much anticipated breakfast, I observed others around us…parents playing the beg and plead game with their kids so they could eat, couples in an intimate relationship with their smart phones and employees running around to meet the demands of food deprived bellies…but there was one table that caught my heart, eyes and mind. A couple sat across the table from an elderly woman that I can only assume was the mother of one or both of the individuals before her. She sat quietly, hunched over, slowly cutting into her waffle with her fork. Her cardigan neatly pressed, her gray hair displayed her years of wisdom and her eyes seem to speak a story of loneliness. My heart sank…and she has not left me since.

Why did that image shake my inner core? Because I imagined myself there…sitting across from my kids or one of my kids and their spouse…and I wondered, what story would i have to tell at that point in my life. It scared me because I feel like in the blink of an eye i will be there and I will have more “if only, then” stories than “what I accomplished” or “what I dared to do” stories. We get so caught up in routines and demands that we push aside those “live life” moments…or at least I have. Always playing it safe because “what if I fail?” Staying in the comfort zone because “what will they think?” But when I am sitting in that booth it will be those failures at daring attempts that will make the best stories…none of “those people” that I envisioned criticizing my decisions will be there. So “What the heck am I doing?!?”

Today I signed up for a terrain 5k race that I have been hesitant about because I didn’t want to do it alone, what if I can’t get through the obstacle course, what will people think of me when they are in teams and I am solo…who the heck cares!?! So I registered for the 9:15AM race on March 17, 2018!! And then when I came on my blog site I realized that on March 17, 2017 was the day I wrote my first blog…I broke thru my excuses and I did something new.  

Our world is crazy but there are still so many adventures to be had. Try something new, get to know someone, be the good you want to see in this world, inspire, love, live…create those stories in your life that you will share one day when you are sitting in that booth. 

Getting my “freak on”!

Cinco de Mayo, when most were out getting their drink on, I was at home getting my “freak on”…wait, wait, before you get excited, it was NOT at ALL anything exotic or seductive. NOPE! It was just me, freaking out because I had received an assignment/project from my potential employer, an assignment I was NOT prepared for. I had to create a strategic plan for my “department”, highlighting what I would accomplish during my first 100 days. WHAT?!? I had NEVER created one of those things before (although it was later brought to my attention that I actually have completed a “strategic plan” before, it’s just that I called it wedding planning and life planning). As you would imagine, the smoke signals immediately started, S.O.S, SOMEONE RESCUE ME!!!! My poor husband received the brunt of my frustration when he started talking to me about KPI’s and evaluations and…I just kept hearing words. I was SO freaked out that nothing made sense and I was getting more and more flustered. My comprehension was shot, I just wanted a solution…tell ME what to do!!! But that was not going to happen, I needed to figure this out.

Luckily, hubby stayed calm and stepped on to the sidelines so that I could try to find my sense of comprehension (and my common sense all together because it was getting ugly there for a minute). Along came 4 other life savers that kept me from drowning in my own insanity. Obviously, I didn’t drown or die (as I swore I would), I survived and I conquered thanks to the many souls that didn’t give up on me…and most importantly, I didn’t give up on myself. But DAMN was it hard. It was hard because I blocked myself. I freaked out and in that instant I turned off my creativity and self-confidence.

What turned my light back on? It was something my good friend and mentor reminded me of…he reminded me to go back to my “WHY”. Why am I passionate about learning, training, and development? Once I came back to that…the rest just flowed. I remember once I completed my presentation, I went back and reviewed it and thought “WOW! I did it! and it’s good!”

My WHY

To change the lives of our employees so that they are empowered to build relationships, make decisions, and reach their professional and personal goals.

So today, I look back on that experience and I am reminded of the many times I have put myself in that zone…that very unproductive, mind paralyzing, stress inducing zone that accomplishes NOTHING! Have you been there? What caused you to get your “freak on”? When someone is going through tough times, people often say “this too shall pass”. I am here to tell you that no matter the task you have at hand…you can and you will overcome it if you don’t go to that freak out zone. Remember your WHY and don’t let it become an “IF only, then…” event in your life. Go get “IT”!!!

Today I can also happily report that I will start working again, God willing, by the end of this month. Time to inspire & empower!! 

Before the curtains close…

This past week has been quite a rollercoaster of emotions and reminders. Last week I attended the farewell service of my lil guy’s daycare teacher. Her passing was unexpected and when I found out I was in shock. She had been a part of my son’s life since he was 10 weeks old (he is 3 1/2 now). We had not seen her in over a month but I know she was waiting for him to return once I found employment. She adored him and was always so attentive and loving towards him and all her kids. She was truly an Angel on Earth. At her service, everyone that stood up to say a little something about her remembered her in the same loving and selfless light. What a beautiful legacy she left behind. I left her service with tears in my eyes but I was quickly reminded as I felt the warm light of the sun on my skin and the glare of the rays in my eyes…I AM ALIVE! As I walked to the car, I couldn’t help but wonder, what legacy will I leave behind? What have I done? Have I made lasting, loving and positive deposits into others lives?

Then this weekend my little family and I headed up to Orlando for my bonus daughter’s Open House at UCF. There we all were…hubby, our almost 14 year old, our 3 year old and our soon to be college kid. Where have the years gone? After the tour we sat over lunch and discussed all the amazing opportunities she has ahead and then looked at our calendars to realize we only have 4 more weekends like this one before she starts her first Summer semester at UCF. Here’s the down side of divorce, we have shared custody of our older kids. We have them throughout the week and every other weekend. It’s been this way since the beginning, almost 8 years, but for the first time we are facing the reality that all this will soon change. Yes, we have tried to raise our children to be independent and successful and we truly rejoice in the fact that our once lil miss has grown to a beautiful, smart, and goal-oriented young lady. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that our little family unit will be changing and our scheduled weekends together, family vacations and weekday dinner times will soon be minus 1. So again, as we drove back home, I couldn’t help but wonder, have we planted the right seeds in our children’s lives? What can we do for these last 4 weekends together that will create lasting memories? I know it’s NOT our last weekend EVER, but the reality is that as our kids grow and they go off to college and begin their own lives…things change and we as parents no longer have complete control. So now our lives revolve around the time we have left, the time we still have a LITTLE control over (yes, just a little because she is a teenager and as much as we may want to be together as a family, she prefers her friends and her boyfriend…yes that dose of reality SUCKS).

And all this shared to remind us all that life is SO short and we don’t know when our time may end and the curtains will close. When you take the time to be honest with yourself and reflect on what you have done, whose life have you positively impacted, what do you want others to remember you by…what does that heart to heart conversation sound like? As you’ve moved through the different “acts” in your life, your role as a daughter, son, sibling, spouse, parent, friend, aunt or uncle…have you enjoyed each role to the max? Have you been extraordinary or have you underperformed? Every act has a beginning and an end…before the curtain closes, how will your “performance” be remembered?

No one said it would be easy…

Monday through Friday my alarm is set for 4:10am…yes 4:10AM! However, that has not always been the case. I use to wake up around 5:30am to get the family and me ready for work and school. During the week, the routine was the same; work work work work work (in my Rihanna voice) and maybe once or twice a week I would go to the gym before work. On weekends, I would attempt to go to the gym but that was not always a priority. The problem with this “routine” was that it was NOT a routine. There was NO consistency in my workout and there definitely was no planning around what I ate. I felt very uncomfortable in my skin and frustrated that I would see no results, which led to no motivation, just excuses. People would tell me that I looked fine, ask me why I was complaining, sure I ranged from a size 4 to a size 6, so I was never obese, but I had a different vision of me and no one really got that.

One day I was talking to my mentor, complaining that I had no time to workout, “I get up at 5:30am and usually do not get home until about 6pm, I have my 1year old that doesn’t stop, my teenagers that don’t help, I don’t know how to fit the fitness into my life and be consistent.” And of course he brings me back to reality by reminding me that I am just lining up my excuses. He asked me, “what is a consistent workout routine supposed to look like?” You see, I was thinking about it all as something that needed to fit neatly into this box labeled “LIFE” when in reality I needed to stomp on that box and JUST DO IT (like Nike). Work life was not going anywhere, my kids were not going to change, traffic wasn’t going to give me back time and there was NO magic pill that was going to give me the body I longed for. So I had a decision to make…continue in my “routine” or make shit happen!

A friend of mine had become a Beachbody Coach and she would often approach me about joining her. Of course I knew about the Beachbody programs but I didn’t have the money to do that (another excuse). The reality was, I obviously did not want “IT” enough. Well, after much back and forth, hubby and I decided to take the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge and do something about our health. We started the journey July 19, 2015 with no excuses! Yep that’s me at the start…

We worked out in the evening after our little guy went to bed (30 minute kick butt workout at home). I prepared all of our meals and snacks according to the meal plan (portion control was key, but we had the containers that helped). We stuck to the plan for 21 days, even though the last 7 days included our family vacation in Orlando with our kids and the amusement parks. For that week we prepared our wraps and snacks on the go instead of eating fast food, we worked out in the hotel and skipped all the indulging food we would have devoured on any other occasion. Those 21 days of commitment were evident on the 22nd day and thus our journey continued…

Though my journey is far from perfect and I am trying to get back to the results I first had, I have accepted that this is a journey. Sometimes it will be fun, other times it will require a big kick in the butt to stay on track, and sometimes I will be run over by the band wagon…BUT I no longer lead with excuses and I became a Beachbody coach (click for My Beachbody site) myself. Sure, I spend a good 3hours during the weekend preparing meals for hubby and I for the week, I workout 5 to 7 days out of the week but it usually does not take more than 40min, and yes I still indulge in my peanut m&m’s when life calls for it. No one said it would be easy…but how bad do you really want “IT”? What ever that “IT” may be for you…STOP WITH THE EXCUSES, enjoy the journey. And yes, even though I am still not working, my alarm still is set for 4:10am so that I can continue motivating my hubby and myself and setting an example for our kids. What excuses have you given up? What results have you gained?

Chase the dream!

Over the weekend my husband and I took our little human to the movies to see Boss Baby. We sat in our seats with popcorn and treats in hand and settled in for the coming attractions. There was one particular coming attraction that caught my eye. It was about a little girl and boy that lived an orphanage and they decide to leave and follow their dreams. As I watched the trailer for the movie my eyes filled with tears…when did I stop chasing my dreams? In that minute or so of the coming attractions for that movie (Leap) my soul seemed to drift away into the realm of possibilities that I have tucked away into the corner of fear and daydreams. My heart sunk…how can I dare encourage my kids to dream big and follow those dreams when I am not leading (or leaping) by example?

The funny thing is that when I am in my role of “training and development professional” I am willing, able, and often itching to take those LEAPS of faith to create the perfect environment for my learners. I relish in the whole process of planning my activities, gathering information about my participants, setting up the classroom or the virtual training with unexpected visuals and resources, and just giving them my all. Oh it’s SO much fun to see my learners grow, hear their stories, and know that even though they came in dragging feet (yes, many have admitted to it), they are leaving with enthusiasm and knowledge they never expected. It’s my passion and it’s a role I am quite confident in (even though I still get VERY nervous before each class/workshop). How many of you can relate? Air high five to you!!! However, when I am in the role of ME…I am a bit lost…what?!? I have been playing the role of “me” for 40 years, 2 months, 3 days and counting. I should have this down packed, but I don’t. You see, I have developed this method called “EXCUSES” that keeps me from taking those leaps (opportunities to Learn Explore Ascertain Prosper Shine). Although, I must say that thanks to my mentor…Jim AKA Mr. Energy AKA No Excuses…whenever I hear that excuse coming on, his voice pops in my head and reminds me…THAT’S AN EXCUSE. Sometimes I listen, but sometimes I let fear take over. 

So here we are again in the “If Only…Then…” crossroad. I am 40 years old and not getting any younger. The years are flying by and each moment lived is a moment we will never get back. If only I could duplicate that passion I have in the classroom into my LIFE, then I can stop dreaming and start DOING!! What dreams do you have? When will you stop the excuses and take those L.E.A.P.S of faith?

When did we stop asking WHY?

When I became a parent for the first time almost 14 years ago, my first son skipped the terrible two’s and the never ending “why” stage. WHEW!!! I was spared BIG TIME! (Or so I thought…I am getting ALL of the teenager stages, I guess they call that “balance”). Speaking of balance, I now have a 3 year old and he has followed the stereotypical toddler stages roadmap to THE T! We are currently knee deep in the “WHY?” stage. I mean heavily in that stage. EVERY sentence out of his adorable little mouth either begins with a WHY or ends with a WHY. Some of his questions are easy to respond to, but others just leave me at a loss. “Momma, why does the truck have so many tires?” “Momma, why did the people leave that there?” “Why does fluffy (our dog) have toys?” “Why is it raining?” “Momma, why is there poop coming out of my butt?” “Momma, where are those cars going? Why?” By the end of that walk or drive with my all too inquisitive toddler I am out of words and responses and clinching to…”because Momma said so” or “I don’t know”.

Yesterday, as I tucked my lil guy in bed, read a book and answered about 7 more WHY questions…I started to wonder, when did we stop asking “WHY”? When did we ultimately stop asking questions? There is SO much coming at us every single day and in so many different forms…texts, phones, emails, meetings, kids, spouses, house duties, television, work, social life, AHHHHH!! It’s no wonder we have the tendency to go into auto-pilot mode, just get things done and keep on moving so we can get to the next “thing”. What would happen if we stopped and asked “why”? Why do we need that meeting? Why are we maintaining the status quo? Why don’t we consider this instead? Why didn’t this opportunity/relationship work out? Did we stop asking because well, we are adults, we are suppose to have the answers? Or did we stop asking because we are afraid of the response?

It is NO secret that communication is the foundation of ANY relationship. The importance of asking questions, questions that make an impact and unravel the doubts and often misdirection we create in our heads is KEY in building that foundation. As a training and development professional I have had the opportunity to facilitate many communication trainings and have observed even the most experienced executives struggle with asking questions. It’s a skill, a skill that goes hand in hand with listening…the Mom and Pop of COMMUNICATION. When we are confronted with a situation that requires us to dig deeper and ask high impact questions, very often we take the route of sticking to surface questions, safe questions, questions that we know we can answer should roles be reversed. WHY? There is so much more we can learn if we just stop and ask WHY?

So granted, while my toddler has his “why” questioning skill mastered, he still has ways to go with his listening skills (as does every member in my household, including myself). However, this little human has reminded me that I need to stop more often, turn off the auto-pilot mode and ask questions. Who knows, I may learn something new. So, the next time you are thrown a new project, task, or assignment and you are not clear…ASK QUESTIONS. What do you have to lose? Better yet, what can you gain? If only we asked more questions, then…