Category Archive: Inspiration

Jun 03

Alpha Maiden for the Month of June

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

 

My friend, Jordan, hosts a site designed to inspire, support, and empower women. She puts it this way:

 

Alpha Maiden‘s Mission is to empower women to become physically strong, mentally tough and to develop the skills and tactics to stay safe.

 

Jordan asked me to be her Alpha Maiden for the month of June.  I was humbled, and flattered. I accepted immediately but then (as I typically do) I began analyzing everything.  AM I an Alpha Maiden?  What does that really mean?  It took me a week to drill through everything and write something on the paper.  When she published the bio, she said,

 

l am so excited and honored to announce the Alpha Maiden of June.  She is one of the strongest (in mind and body) women I know!  From riding choppers to practicing Krav Maga and being a business owner too – she’s about much more than what we see at first glance.

 

I love that!  We ALL are so much more than we appear at first glance.  We all have a back story; it’s just that not everyone knows (and not everyone is entitled to know) that story.  Several of my friends and I, after having bared our souls to one another, have asked, “What if, instead of meeting people, we met their stories?”  What if we were able to know what someone had been through?  What their life experiences were?  I think we would have very different relationships!  We would be more kind and compassionate to others.

 

I am sharing, here, what I wrote for Alpha Maiden both to create a permanent record for myself but also to reach as many people as possible.  To teach.  To help.  To inspire if possible.

​To be honest, I’ve had a difficult time with the title “Alpha Maiden”.

Am I one?  If so, why?  What makes me so?

Oh, there are the “obvious” things I suppose.
Those things on the surface that people like to look at.
The accomplishments.
The list.

Between 45 and 52, I’ve competed on the figure stage several times. I finished my master’s degree:  was certified as a holistic health & fitness coach, in nutrition from two different agencies, and as a mindset specialist. I’m closing in on a 300-pound deadlift and I will have that by the end of this year.

I am managing two very successful consulting businesses and spending a couple hundred days each year on the road.  I published two books and started practicing Krav Maga. I have been a military spouse for over 22 years; a military mom for 15.  Neither is a job for the weak. I’ve kissed my husband and both of my children as they headed off to war. I cried, at some point, every day they were gone.
​I have a lump in my throat just typing that.


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I continue to ride my dirtbike and chopper.  I’ve flown half-way around the world to scuba dive.  I did a 26.2 mile ruck, wearing combat boots, and carrying a 52 pound pack.  I am smarter, stronger, more physically fit, and more confident than I have ever been in my life. I am a grandmother to 5.

To be sure, it’s a decent list with some pretty bad ass accomplishments in a relatively short period of time.

None of these define “alpha ” for me, personally, though.  It has to be more than that.  ​


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I am a survivor.  

From the time I was 6 months old until I was 26, I was physically, sexually, and emotional abused. I was told routinely that I brought such things upon myself; that they were my fault.  At times I believed it.

They really weren’t my fault, though.
I know that now.

I kept quiet for too long.  I refuse to be quiet any longer and let other women feel like they are the “cause of their abuse”.  I won’t let them think it’s “their fault,” they “deserve it,” that they are “alone” or “the only one”.

They aren’t.
I’m not.

This has happened to many women.  It’s happening now.  Maybe to your sister, mother, or friends.  Maybe to you.

It’s a discussion we need to be willing to have.  

If someone else can use my voice as a beacon, I provide it.  There is hope.  I’m here.

I am a warrior.

I have been a warrior from the beginning (a name my sister gave me) and I carry this shield with pride.  My battle has frequently been for others.  I have, quite literally, taken the hit to save someone else.  I was the person who broke the cycle of abuse at home, not because of what happened to me but because it had started to happen to my sister.  I was a single mom for a few years after finally getting out of a physically abusive relationship.  We lived on welfare and food-stamps.  I remember one time when my son and I had nothing but a 50-pound bag of potatoes to eat.  I fought, not for myself but to make a better life for my children.

I have struggled with self-confidence and shame my entire life. I struggle to feel good enough – in my skin, in my head, in this world – to feel like I’m “worth it”…even still, sometimes.

I refuse to accept limits, though, and it doesn’t matter if those are placed by someone else or self-imposed.  I was afraid of public speaking; now that’s what I do for a living.  I’m afraid of heights, so I climb.

If anyone else can use my strength as an example, I offer it. I’m here.

I am an Alpha Maiden 

because at no time, have I ever considered myself a victim. I refuse that label and the limitations it would imply.  I went through some stuff but even when life was horrible, I knew somewhere deep in my soul that I would get out. I didn’t know how but I knew I would.  I vividly remember laying on a grassy hill when I was 12 or 13, dreaming with my eyes open, that everything would be okay…and it is.

Remembering where I came from, and that many are still in that place; I am obsessively passionate about living every single second of life and about coaching others on possibility.  I’ll try just about anything but I don’t just want to learn.
I want to teach.  It’s at my core.  When I learned to scuba dive, I continued until I was a Dive Master, certified to teach others.  I’ve taught basket-weaving, human resources, conflict management, leadership, scrapbooking, retirement & financial planning, and even taught a couple of people to drive motorcycles.

Family & FIT
is an online community where I teach people how to embrace life by setting an example through mindset, sustainable nutrition, and movement. In that order.


Mostly mindset is a tagline I frequently use. #MostlyMindset

Mindset really does matter most.  Mindset, more than physical strength and toughness is what makes me an Alpha Maiden.  It was mindset that allowed me to survive the situations I’ve been in.  Mindset that kept me going.  Mindset that refused the title of “victim”.  Mindset that drives me to share with others.

Let me be clear, mindset isn’t a bunch of meaningless affirmations.  It isn’t perpetual optimism.  It’s not “being happy all the time”.  Mindset isn’t feeling one thing but telling ourselves we should feel something else.  It is about doing the best we can, with what we have available (time, money, strength, fortitude, energy) at the time.

Mindset is realizing we are in control.  

I couldn’t stop people from hurting me when I was a child.  I could escape into the safe recesses of my mind, though.  I could make myself physically tough so the abuse wouldn’t hurt as much when it did come.  I could hide.  I could plan.  ​I could wait.  I could, eventually, speak.

We are stronger, smarter and more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Mindset matters most.

If anyone can refer to my mindset as their inspiration, I give it freely. I’m here.

-Debbie

 

 

May 14

Mother’s Day: It’s Not About Me

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch

My husband and I were talking about Mother’s Day, on the plane, yesterday.

It generally makes me sad. I can’t talk to my mom because it puts her at risk when I do. Domestic abuse is a very real and immensely complicated thing. Please don’t judge, or give advice. You have no right; and neither do I at this point. Please don’t say, “she should just leave.” It’s not that easy. She has. Multiple times.  It breaks my heart but I remember, vividly, how much it broke her mother’s heart.

 

 

That’s not my point.

 

My point is, I don’t think Mother’s Day is about me.

It’s about her.

It’s about MY mom. It’s about YOURS.

I don’t think I should feel guilty that I have children, that they are healthy; nor that they themselves have decided to have, and are able to have, offspring. I’m not a selfish person but I don’t think the day was created to make those who can’t (or don’t want to……….no, not everyone wants to be a parent. Surprise!) have children, feel “less than”.

 

 

 

 

I can’t imagine a life without my children;

I wouldn’t be alive without my mom – and a whole string of moms before her.


Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate OUR mothers.
Birth or otherwise.

 

This is not just my opinion. In at least one version of the historical start to Mother’s Day, it was created by a woman who did not have children, herself. Like so many things, it wasn’t about cards, flowers, or gifts. It wasn’t about commercialism. It was about care.

 

It is a day to celebrate the woman who gave birth to us, or raised us, or took the roll of our mother. It is about the woman / women in our lives who made a difference.

Your mother may not be with you any longer; and you may miss her very much. When I’m gone, I hope the day is not sad for my children. I hope they view it as a day to remember me, even more often than they normally do.

 

I hope they get together and reminisce about all of the memories we made and that they will know, without one single question, how very much I loved them. I hope they’re happy we shared some life together.

 

 

 

 

 

You may adore your mother, or despise her. You may blame her for all of your shortcomings; or praise her for a hand in your accomplishments. She may not have done what you think she should have as a mother, or even a person. Or perhaps she was amazing and you strive to be exactly like her.

 

Maybe you mothered her more than she did you.

 

But she IS your mother.

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe today we take 24 hours off from judging other women for the way they mother? Maybe we say, “She’s doing the best she can with what she has (money, time, emotional ability, background, energy, etc).

Happy Mother’s Day.

Apr 15

Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend Day 1

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

 

I’m in Kirkland, Washington at the Girls Gone Strong event: Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend. I try to attend one personal and one professional development event each year. I love to teach but, equally, I love to learn.
 
It’s been incredible:
  • Seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
  • Listening and learning about health & fitness from some of the best in the industry.
  • Being surrounded by about 175 strong, inclusionary women of all ages, size, color, and ethnicity.
 Day one was full day of amazing presentations.
 
We started off with Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez, digging into the “Isms” of fitness.  She reminded us that not everyone has access to whole foods or a safe, encouraging place where they can exercise. We looked at how women’s fitness has changed from 2013 through today.  Here’s a challenge for you – do a Google search for images of “fit women”.  I did and here’s the first two pages of what came up.
 
Notice anything odd?  There’s not a whole lot of diversity there, huh?  We don’t all “fit the mold”.  We’re not all white women with six pack abs and long torsos ranging from ages 20 – (maybe) 40.  We don’t all hang out in sports bras and short shorts.  
We – fit women – are different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’m a grandmother of five!
Here’s another challenge, while you’re Googling.  Type in “healthy women” images.  That’s got to be more representative, right?  You tell me.  Here are the first two pages.
Hmmm…..
The first session was followed up by Melody Schoenfeld.  This 5 foot tall powerhouse (who tears phone books and license plates with her bare hands!) helped us learn how to – quite literally – tear into preconceived notions.  “So much of what we look like and what we do is because it’s expected.  I used to scour Seventeen magazine.  I would look at the pictures and think, if only I could be pretty like her.  If I had her smile, her height, the six pack abs…life would be perfect.  I would be happy.”
With Melody’s instruction, we tore magazines promising to help us “lift our bottoms” “hide our tummies” and “make our boobs more perky” all within two glorious (and “easy”) weeks…  to shreds.
Dr. Kara Mohr presented on mindset, motivation and habit change; three of my all-time favorite topics!  She shared the fact (fact) that thoughts drive our feelings ==> feelings drive our behaviors ==> and behaviors drive our results. The problem is we rarely take the time to identify the thoughts  that are ultimately leading to our behavior.  What is the internal story we’re playing in our heads?  For me, personally, this is so incredibly important.  I’m my own worst critic.  I frequently think “I can’t do this” “I’m not good at that”.  If I stop there, without questioning the story, I feel like this thing is out of my control.  “If I’m not good at this, there’s nothing I can do about it.  That’s just the way it is……”  Which, I KNOW – when I take the time to really examine the thought – is BS.  I’m not good at it yet…..
I wasn’t good at teaching, the first dozen times I did it.  I wasn’t good at pull-ups until I practiced long enough to get better.  I wasn’t good at running, until I focused on doing it.  Mindset matters!!!!  If it’s too hard for you to change the story at first, try changing the behavior.  Consistently and routinely do the new thing – whether you feel like it or not; whether you’re motivated or not.
Repeat after me:  “Motivation doesn’t come first.  Action comes first.  Motivation is the result of action.”
After lunch, it was on to hands-on movement sessions.  My first workshop was with Jennifer Vogelgesang Blake.  I have a huge girl crush on her so this was awesome!!  We learned how to become stronger at pull-ups because, in case you didn’t already know, the idea that women don’t have enough upper body strength to do pull-ups is simply NOT true.  They’re hard!  They require practice!  How do you get stronger at pull-ups before you’re strong enough to do pull-ups?
  • We started with diaphragmatic breathing (aka belly breathing) and, holy cow, I need to work on this!!!!  A lot.
  • Kettlebell arm bars were next.  These can improve mobility and rotary capacity through the thoracic spine.  Strongfirst calls them, “the single best shoulder mobility and stability drill you can practice”.
  • Tension is key for max exercises so we worked on a variety of plank (tailbone tucked; pulling elbows toward toes, and toes toward elbows) and push up (lowering slowly, raising quickly) exercises.
  • From there, it was on to hollow body holds with a piece of PVC pipe.

As much as I hated to leave JVB’s session, my next workshop was high intensity interval training with Elisabeth Akinwale.

Whew!  Mountain climbers, burpees, squats, and v-ups, oh my.  It was fantastic!!  What are the benefits of HIIT?  It’s quick (so you’re less likely to get bored), can improve your endurance, and 15 minutes of high intensity interval training can burn some major calories!  High intensity means moving quickly, it doesn’t mean moving frantically.  It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone but it’s not the same as “no pain, no gain”.  In fact, the quality of movement (your form) is very important because we can’t be fit if we don’t have a basic level of health and wellness.

 

We actually get a lot, mentally and physically, by pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone.  We have to be willing to embrace being uncomfortable and know that that is what’s going to make us better.”

 Dr. Helen Kollias wrapped up the first day, with a presentation entitled, “Why Calorie Counting is Flawed.”  How about these facts (yup, again, facts….)?  
  • The FDA allows a +/- 20% inaccuracy on food labels!!  First, it’s difficult to get people to look at nutritional labels; but even when we do, there’s no guarantee they’re accurate.  If an item lists at 250 calories, it could be as low as 200 and as high as 300!!!!  That’s a pretty big difference.  
  • Not only that, but how we cook our food can change the calories.
  • Ladies, there can be a 10% difference in your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses to support organ function) depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle.  It can be different if you’ve never been pregnant, during pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
  • Using your Fitbit to track trends may be helpful.  Did you exercise more today than yesterday or last week?  But…relying on it to tell you how many calories you burned doesn’t do much for you.  It has a +/-30% variability.
  • Want to burn extra calories but don’t feel like exercising?  It seems NASA did a study that shows, doing math problems can allow you to burn an extra 20 calories a day.  (lol…..)   OR
  • Get some sleep!  A single night of sleep deprivation results in a 5-20% decrease in calories burned the next day!

It seems the act of simply counting “calories in” vs “calories out” is a little more complicated than initially thought.  What should we do?  Just give up?  

Dr.Kollias recommends being mindful of our body’s messages.  She explained it this way, “When you go outside, you might look at the weather.  You grab a jacket – or you don’t.  When you get outside, you might find that you weren’t correct.  You can either go back inside and grab a heavier coat, or take your jacket off.  It’s the same with food.  Eat mostly vegetables.  Get some lean protein.  Eat when you’re hungry but check in with your body.  Are you full?  Stop eating.  The problem is that we frequently eating without thinking.”  We eat ‘because it is time to eat’ or to make ourselves ‘feel better’.  We eat because the food is on our plate.  We eat standing up, or rushing around, and barely even take time to chew our food.

****

I hope you enjoyed reading about these sessions.  I definitely enjoyed attending them!  Please let me know if you have questions or would like further information.

Jan 10

More Than Just a Body

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T. 

I’m sharing this with my daughter’s permission.  We’ve been talking a lot about goals for the coming year.

 

Professional.

Educational.  Personal.

Health – body, mind, and soul.

 

These are Jessica’s thoughts about her health goal and I couldn’t be more proud:  about her statement, her feelings, her goal, her vulnerability, her honesty.

 

“I have had comments made about my body. I’ve made comments about my body. I have a lot of days where I avoid the mirror… because I hate my body and the sight of it. Trying to put on pants that I fit into last month but don’t now makes me break down and sob.

When I’m self-loathing, it might be more helpful for me to also remember that my body’s been through a lot.

 

It’s carried twins, to term.  

It’s healed from two cesarians, a hysterectomy, and hip surgery.

It saw me through military basic training.

I’ve had an article written about me (by a stranger at a waterpark) because I was playing with my children rather than hiding in a chair under an umbrella.

I ran a 5K last year.

I was brave enough to pose for photos for my husband’s birthday. Not only did he love them. Not only is one of those pictures being used in the photographer’s calendar.

But…

 

But…

 

I felt pretty.
I liked the way I looked.
I didn’t hate my body.

 

For 2017 I’m working on more of that.

I want to change some things. I want to start exercising – so that I can feel healthy and have more energy. I want to eat better, for the same reasons.

 

I want to like myself. All of me – as I am now and as I will be in the future.

 

I refuse to wait until I’ve lost a certain amount of weight before I think ‘I’m worth it’.”

 

Wow!  How powerful is that?  How amazing would it be for us to like ourselves as we are now, even as we work toward future goals?

 

We are so much more than a body.  So much more than our accomplishments.  Multi-dimensional beings with hopes and dreams.  Let’s embrace all of that.

 

Jan 05

My Body. My Business.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

I am sharing this photo and personal message because Molly’s article spoke directly to my heart this morning.

I believe all of this.  I stand with the 10 women in the article, and the hundreds more who are coming online with #GGSFlawless

 

When I was a young girl, I was told I had “man calves” because they were so muscular. As I grew older people frequently asked me if I was a runner. I wasn’t but I liked that comment better so I always said, “yes’.
I was called “bucky beaver” at school because of a severe overbite. Kids could be mean back then – I had ice balls thrown at me, I was pushed down stairs, I was laughed at and ridiculed. In fact, that comment bothered me so much I had my upper jaw, voluntarily, broken into 5 pieces and my bottom into 2, once I was an adult. Everything was wired back together and it took months to heal.

I have permanent nerve damage in my chin because of the surgery.
My parents’ nickname for me as a kid was “beanpole” because I was slender. Since then, I’ve been called “too muscular” “too big” and “manly” more times than I can count. When I was lifting in a gym in Mississippi, I had headphones on but my battery was dead so I could actually hear everything. Two guys in the weight room were talking to one another and one said, “Don’t worry about her dude. (I was lifting more than they were) She’s not really a woman anyway.” I’ve worn long sleeve shirts and sweaters because I didn’t want anyone to see my muscular arms.

 

I’m now in my 50s and I’ve said – out loud – more than once and to more than one person, “I hate my face”. I don’t like the wrinkles. I don’t like the bags under my eyes. I don’t like the grey hair. And, I’m not alone. Last year, American women spent over $2 billion on anti aging skincare products. That doesn’t include injectables or surgery.

How about this statistic? We spend about $60 billion on fat loss products/supplements. $60 Billion!! A year.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I absolutely have physical goals! There are things I want to change/improve. I have strength, educational, and personal growth goals that I’m working on, too. I do not believe that accepting yourself, as you are right now, means settling. Not at all. It also doesn’t mean “giving up on yourself”, throwing in the towel and exclaiming, “Oh, well. This is just the way it is, I need to learn to live with it”.
It does mean being okay with the fact that you ARE right here, right now, as you work toward future goals.

Work on the things you want to work on but make sure YOU are the one who wants to work on them: that your goals aren’t being handed to you because you’re “supposed” to do xyz.
Your body is your business. Your journey is your own. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to anyone else. Work hard to be a better version of yourself…not the women in your newsfeed. Not me. Not your sister or best friend. YOU.

It’s hard!

I’ve asked the women in my private FB group, several times, to tell me what they love about their body. It’s hard for most people! Some of the ladies couldn’t think of anything at all. I’ve also asked them to tell me what they dislike about their body. They have no problem coming up with that list.

Fact is: “When we let other people define our standards and ideals, we hand our power over to them. We’re riding high when they tell us we’re beautiful. We come crashing down the moment they tell us we’re……” [insert your “too”. Too fat, too big, too skinny, too muscular, too tall/short, too lumpy, too much of this and not enough of that].

 

Time to face the mirror. You know what? This body, with all of it’s muscular parts, its dimples, moles, and scars has gotten me through some tough shit. A lot of it. Very well……..

 

I picked this picture specifically because I truly did not have one single concern about my body, my face, or anything else when my husband snapped it.
The photo was taken in March. I haven’t edited (or even cropped) it. My husband and I were on a dive boat in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. I was doing 5 or more scuba dives a day. I was in heaven!!!! I cared about having my equipment ready to go before it was time to dive. I cared about getting underwater as quickly, and as much as I could. I cared about capturing videos and pictures of the world I love so much. I cared about my dive buddy, cuttlefish, sharks, turtles, and crocodiles. I cared about eating local food, the sun, the dolphins, keeping my dive log up to date.

How my body looked did not cross my mind even once in that entire ten days.

 

if you feel comfortable, share a picture of your flawless body.

Dec 18

What Season are You In?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

img_8763

 

This picture, like the audio file, has not been edited, touched up, or filtered. They’re both just me.

The way I look (after a 90 minute hot yoga class, anyway).

The things I think about.

I’m not crazy about the fact that the banner shows only my eyes, and the wrinkles around them but – unless I’m going to continually filter photos, or wear a mask (I am not), it is what it is.  I agree with Madonna in her 2016 Woman of the Year award acceptance speech at the Billboard Women in Music event:  Society acts like aging is a sin.

“The anti-aging market is estimated to be worth $191.7 Billion US Dollars, globally by 2019.”

 

Going through some old computer files today, I found both. I recorded the audio back in January 2016. Some people get their ideas in the shower – I get mine right after a good yoga class and/or while I’m driving. My intent, a year ago, was to write a blog about the fact that we move through seasons in our lives. I wanted to write it and I wanted it to be “well thought out” “brilliantly written” “researched” “perfect”.

So I did nothing for 11 months!

 

That’s the thing with perfection. It doesn’t exist and when we refuse to move until things are perfect, we end up doing nothing. Great reminder and life lesson right there!!

 

So, today, I’m saying screw it and publishing “as is”. Perfection doesn’t exist and because I wanted to “work on this”, I did nothing with it for almost a year.

 

 

The fact that I am not the same person in my 50s I was in my 20s makes sense of course!  We’re okay with that – except when we start talking about our physical selves.

The “but I used to….” statements can consume and depress us if we fail to realize we go through seasons in life.

 

“Before I had kids, I used to…..”

“Before I got married, I used to….”

“When I was in high school/college/my 20s, I used to…..”

“Before the surgery, I used to…”

 

But those things did happen.  We’re not in the same place any more.  Why do we spend so much time trying to “get back” to what we used to be?

I refuse to let my age (any age) give me a free pass to let myself go, but I do realize I can “only” be the best 40, or 50, or 80 year old that I can be – at no point will I return to 21.

 

We’re staring a new year in a few weeks.  I don’t make resolutions but a lot of people do.

I DO set goals.  Rather than even trying to go back, I prefer to focus on going forward.  “I got married.  I had kids.  I spent 20+ years working my ass off to be successful in my chosen career.  I did put others before myself.”  Okay.  So….

 

At THIS point, right now, with this background, these injuries, this life….

At THIS starting place, what do I want to change?  Where do I want to go from here?

 

If you are ready to go forward, I’d love to work with you.  I will start extensive business travel, again, in January and my competition clients will increase at that point too but this is super important.  I am going to take on a very limited number (only 10) of new clients to being working with me on January 1st.  If you’re interested in getting more details, please email me.

Jul 09

You Can’t Change What You’re Willing to Tolerate

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch
Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.02.12 PM
I want to talk about something that’s been weighing heavily upon my mind.  Personal responsibility.
Specifically I want to talk about what we’re willing to tolerate, but also about giving ourselves (apparent) permission to just give up, and to lie to ourselves about it.

Let me begin by giving you a little background.  I sat down to write this about 2 hours ago…..

I wanted to keep it quick and simple.

PLAN A:  I tried to attach an audio file I recorded in my car a couple of months ago.  When I’m on the road, that’s typically the only place I find quiet time to think.  It said exactly what’s on my mind.  But the file was too big to attach.  ((Editor’s note – of course it is attaching just fine now, after I’ve transcribed it and moved on…the audio file is being attached about 9 HOURS after I wrote this piece.  Listen if you’d like.  Read if you’d prefer))
PLAN B:  I’ll just put it on You Tube and attach a link.  You Tube won’t let me upload it because it’s just audio.

PLAN C:  I’ll make a video.  How hard could that be?  Here I am 2 hours later, giving up.

*** NOT on the message.  Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.10.08 PM
*** NOT on my plan.
*** NOT on my goal of sending you a message.  Merely on my way for doing it.  My technique.

And  I’ve just realized, in the long run, that’s perfect!!  It makes my point perfectly!

Let me transcribe the audio file for you.
“We live our lives in seasons.  When I was a teenager, my life was an absolute disaster.  That’s not me being dramatic – it was a time of turbulence.  A broken home.  Legal battles and court hearings.  Counseling.  It was a huge mess.

IMG_4208

When I was in my 20s, after a brief stint at being “THE” party girl, I sat about trying to straighten out that mess:  part of which I had been handed and part of which I created for myself.
I also had my kids when I was in my 20s.

In my 30s I was making a name for myself.  Things had turned around.  I was married and raising my IMG_4209children.  I was letting everyone know “I’m here!  I will be the best of the best – at everything!  No matter the cost.”
I worked mega hours.  I went to school.  I volunteered.  I won numerous awards.  Throughout that entire period of time, I was incredibly active.   I could eat whatever I wanted.  I could do whatever I wanted.  I was strong and capability:  physically, emotionally, mentally.  I was on top of my “game”.
IMG_4219 IMG_4221 IMG_4222 IMG_4223  IMG_4225 IMG_4227 IMG_4229

In my 40s I really became super energized, exercised all the time and began competing.  I won several
trophies – never the big prize but I certainly did okay for myself.

Now I’m over 50 and it’s a different part of my life.  I no longer feel like I need to prove myself – physically or in the workplace.  I’m comfortable and confident in knowing who I am.  I’m no longer willing to trade days of my life for a few more dollars or a wooden plaque.
I’m still physically capable but at this point, my mid-life point, I’m looking toward the future.  I want to keep myself physically capable, and strong, and mobile throughout the rest of my life so that when I’m in my 80s I’ll still be able to get myself out of the chair or if I fall down somewhere, I’ll have the physical strength to get back up.  All of these things require different skills and different training throughout our lives.  Not just for women – but for men as well.

Our – male and female – hormones are decreasing as we’re no longer in our child bearing years.  We’re tapering off.

So we’re adding more weight to our middle and we’re finding that we’re not quite as energetic as reused to be.
We don’t have as much strength as we used to have.

At this point we have a choice.
We can decide to just sit in the chair from here on out and let life happen to us.”

We can “just” get old.  We can decay.   We can laugh when our doctors tell us to change our ways.  We can make a joke of our health, like this friend has done.
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Just because we make fun of ourselves in these situations doesn’t mean it’s a joke.  It isn’t.  Are bacon and eggs the problem?  Absolutely not!  I don’t like Waffle House but I occasionally eat both of those things.   The problem is that we’re not honest with ourselves.  Even when we’ve heard lectures (repeatedly) from our doctors, we shrug it off.  Oh well.  No need to change anything.
Could we die today?  Yes.  But it’s more likely we’re going to live to a ripe old age.  The average life expectancy in the US right now is 80 – 83.  The alternative is to decide to be the best 50 or 60 or 80 year old that you can be.  Decide to live life; to be vibrant and healthy throughout the entire thing!!!
I will not let my life end at 52.
I adore you!!  I want only for you to be healthy – to live a long life, to take care of yourself, and to be honest with yourself no matter how hard that might be.  I’m here if there’s anything I can do to help.

May 08

“I Could Never Do That” and Other Fallacies We Believe”

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

As a public speaker, I have been on the road an average of 200 days a year for the past twelve years. Unlike many business travelers, I go out into the local area.

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

I see the sites. I check out restaurants, gyms, and local parks.  I drive a motorcycle (my own and, very occasionally I’ll rent one on the road). I run in the woods and hike

Northfield, VT

Northfield, VT

mountain trails. I try new things. I go new places, even in different countries.

By myself.
 
I’ve had several people ask, “how can you be so brave?  I could never be that daring.”  The statement always surprises me. First, because I certainly don’t see any of these things as requiring bravery. I am “just” living my life. Every day that passes has passed. Imagine if I simply sat, in complete solitude, in my room, for hundreds of days every year. More than a decade of my life would have slipped away from me that way.  This mother’s day would have passed that way – with me sitting in my hotel alone.  
 

How incredibly sad.  But it won’t go that way.  It doesn’t.  I am going “out there”.  I am experiencing life, fully and with a ton of passion.  I will NOT. I refuse…. to just sit in my safe little hotel, work on my computer, and look at the world through the window.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

 
Another reason I find the question odd is that – while I do get nervous and, in fact, get scared sometimes, I do not ever want that fear to control my life. Could something happen to me? Sure.
 
Could I fall down the stairs at my hotel?
Could the plane crash?
Could I get in a car accident?
Could I simply die in my sleep?
 
Yes.
Yes to all of those things. And I have little to no control over any of it so why would I spend even a few minutes of my life worrying about them?  That (a) will not stop it from happening if that is what’s to be and (b) detracts from today, even when nothing “actually” happened.  
Linville, NC

Linville, NC

When I was a much younger woman, my sensei told me,
FEAR is False Events Appearing Real.
I believe that with every bit of my heart.  
In scary situations, I repeat it to myself.  Over and over if necessary.  
“Could this happen? Yes. Have I been afraid of this before? Yes. Has this ever happened before? No. Is it likely to happen (aka am I putting myself in an unreasonably dangerous situation)? No.”
Moab, UT

Moab, UT

For example, I have a fear of heights. Or rather – that’s what I used to call it. Now I call it a fear of falling because that’s really what it is. I’ve been on a lot of high places. Have I fallen? Only that time I jumped out of the bungee bucket……..  [THAT was brave – and also more than a little crazy]….and I intentionally did that.  

<==  This picture (and every single one that I see of Delicate Arch) makes me sad because it is one day that I didn’t dare to cross the chasm (you can’t see it in the picture because I zoomed in) and stand under the arch for a picture.  
My heart was beating too fast.  My breathing was irregular.  I was overtaken by the fear.  I turned back and – ever since – I have regretted it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get back there.  There may not be a chance for a “do-over” but if there is….I WILL go.  I WILL stand under the arch.  I WILL cross that precarious ledge on my hands and knees if I have to.  There will be no regrets next time.  
THAT is what makes me climb mountains, jump on ledges, and stand close the the edge. I want to experience life.  All of it!  I don’t want to see pictures and regret being too scared.
Salem, VA

Salem, VA

Finally, I think you sell yourself short when you say, “I could never”.  I think that’s a bunch of crap, but I hear it frequently.
“I could never find the time to eat right”
“I could never make the time to exercise”
“I could never spend the time taking care of myself”
“I could never be so daring”
“I could never do……that…..”
Hot air balloon (yup...afraid of heights!) Woodstock, VA

Hot air balloon (yup…afraid of heights!) Woodstock, VA

How does it make you feel when you say those words out loud?  
Does it empower you or make you feel less than?  
How is it that other people are doing it but you “can’t”?
Where is the thought coming from?
Is it left over from your childhood?  From a bad experience?  From something in your past?
What (or rather who – and you already know the answer if you’re honest) is limiting you NOW?
“I could never” is a thought.  It’s not a factual reality.
I guess maybe that’s how I am “so daring”.  I don’t think, “I could never”.
I think “I have never, but…”
[To be clear, there are, of course, some things outside of my realm of possibility.  At this point, I cannot be a professional MMA fighter (but I could train).  I cannot fly a plane (but I could take lessons).  I cannot be in the Olympics (but I can participate in the sports I love).  I’m talking about the every day things in our lives.  The things that many people are doing.  The things that you could do if you just gave yourself one tiny little bit of encouragement.]

“I could never” though is a story and it may be on perpetual repeat in your head.

In the woods, alone, outside Concord, NH

In the woods, alone, outside Concord, NH

What if you heard the thought though, and instead you asked, “why not?”
What if you asked, “Why do I think I can’t do it?  What would it take for me to accomplish this?”
What if you yelled back,
Oh ya?  Watch this!
Or
I haven’t done it yet but I am willing to learn, and give it a try.
You’ve done things in the past you didn’t think you could do.
We all have.
You’ve given yourself a chance to try.
Sometimes you’ve even surprised yourself.
How did THAT make you feel?
The typical answer is something along the lines of “strong” “amazing” “empowered”.
Let’s have more of that!!!!
  • Try something new this week.
  • One thing.
  • One thing that may make your heart beat a little faster.
  • One thing that might scare you just a little.  Do it any way.
And share that experience with me.  Please!!!
<3 <3

Apr 05

Foreboding Joy

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

Have you ever experienced foreboding joy?  You know, that sense when everything is going great, you had better watch out.  You can’t let yourself feel too happy.  You need to be prepared and on guard.  Things are too good.  Something bad is about to happen at any moment.

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I first heard the term in my on-going Brene Brown, Strong Rising, mindset course.  Twenty years prior to this class, I remember experiencing foreboding joy.  I didn’t know what it was called at the time.  We had left Maine for the first time and were living in Texas.  Brent was going to school, the kids were enrolled in day camp, and I had nothing to do for the first time in my life.  It was unsettling.  We had family game nights each evening.  We laughed, played, and simply enjoyed each other’s company.  We shared stories of cacti and scorpions.  We wore trash bags to a rodeo in the a thundershower.  We ate ice cream, frequently; watched small planes fly, and learned that running to the oil well you could see might mean you’d be running for ten miles.  Life was fantastic!!!

 

I worried, constantly.  Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.24.38 PM

I knew something bad was going to happen.  I didn’t know what or when but things were too good.  Something bad always happened.  I pushed the thoughts away until they started manifesting themselves as nightmares while I slept.

Over the years, I’ve really worked on eliminating this.  It does nothing for me – worry or not, what is going to  happen is going to happen.  By worrying when nothing was happening, I was not allowing myself to feel joy in the moment.  Little by little, I’ve gotten better but, sometimes I still have to consciously think about it.

 

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This was the case as we headed to vacation.  This trip had been planned for a decade.  We were super excited!  We’ve both dove around 300 dives.  But….on the flight from Fiji to Guadalcanal, I thought, “I’m excited but also quite anxious.  I feel worried and nervous – not about anything in particular.  Just overall.”  I talked to Brent about it and he reassured me everything would be fine but said he felt the foreboding joy too.  Neither of us could quite put our finger on it.  It got worse for Brent through the first day of diving.  Once I got in the water, it got much better for me.  By day two, it was gone.

 

The trip was positively amazing and I’m so glad we didn’t spend any more time allowing worry to steal our happiness in the moment.

Travel Log:  Day  4  Guadalcanal

Map

The van picked us up from the airport and our guide, Leonard, his teeth stained red from betel juice, gushed about his homeland.  The Solomon Islands is an island nation located in the southwest Pacific, 1,500 miles west of Fiji and 1,200 miles northeast of Australia.

 

Airport

Leonard shared bits and pieces of information as we drove from Honiara to the dive boat, and beamed as he told us how proud “everyone” was of their tiny rugby team making the World cup.  I noticed trash, the price of gas ($6.57 / liter) ramshackle buildings, and people, every where.  The city of Honiara did not seem like a place I would care to spend much time and it must have showed on my face because, again, Brent reassured me.  “I’m sure you’re wondering what I got you into.  Don’t worry.”

 

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I wasn’t worried but I WAS trying to take everything in!  This is a 3rd world country where people are merely trying to survive.  I wondered how many tribes lived here, what it was like during WWII, and what the people’s life expectancy is currently (the answer is 67).  It is important to note that as time went on, we were told by multiple people not to judge the SIs by Honiara.  It is not indicative of the small island villages.  After having visited several of the villages, myself, I whole-heartedly agree!

Bilikiki

We arrived at the dock and were shuttled to the dive boat (mv Bilikiki – a 125 ft long ship with 24 ft beam and 10 ensuite cabins) where we met Chaba (originally from Hungary) and his wife Daniella (originally from Venezuela); dive masters and managers of the Bilikiki for the past four years.  There was just enough time to settle in and unpack before we left the harbor at 1830.

 

We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have been joined by:

Group photo

  • The original owner, Rick – who bought this sunken boat from the government years ago, and restored it, with no business plan and no aspirations to “get rich”.  He had never even heard of The Solomon Islands and was merely following his passion and dream “to scuba dive”.
  • The current owner, Sam – who, although he doesn’t have Rick’s incredible story, is carrying on his legacy for both a passion in diving and in helping the people of these islands.
  • Two couples from Denver – one of whom sold their house, put everything they own into a 10 x 10 storage unit and have been “homeless” living everywhere from Japan to England, Africa, to the US for the past five years – and loving it!
  • A 65 year old apple farmer and his wife – who started their business with a small vegetable stand beside the road and now employ close to 100 people in one of the biggest orchards in upstate NY.  Both jump out of helicopters to go skiing!  Dennis had only completed his open water certification before coming on this trip.  He was OVER-THE-MOON excited every single dive!!!  It made me very happy.
  • A 72 year old gentleman from Long Beach who takes two to three of these trips each year, and had amazing stories to share.
  • A mysterious guy from Phoenix, who never would answer the question “what do you do?”
  • A lady from the Australia prosecutor’s office who has been stationed on Guadalcanal since the Solomon’s civil war in the early 2000s.  She told us the most prevalent crimes are domestic violence and given the small population, per capita, murder.
  • A couple from Los Angeles and a young couple from Mexico.

Meeting people like this was icing on the cake.  I loved their passion; the stories of success for “just” following a personal dream; and the shared experiences.  I felt it ignite my own passion….for life.

Tomorrow, we dive.

Mar 03

Morning Cup of Coffee: Move Forward

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

Morning cup of coffee, with a side of mindset.

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks.  The crown jewel in my collection.  I have two :-)

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks. The crown jewel in my collection. I have two 🙂

 

STOP.

 

STOP.

 

STOP.

 

 

 

 

Stop trying to find something to worry about, or be unhappy about! I’m not preaching the, “Be happy, be positive, never think bad thoughts” mantra. I’m preaching the, “You’re specifically seeking out something you can be unhappy about, and you need to stop it” mantra.

Here’s an example. I had a gentleman in one of my classes not too long ago. He said, “You know, back in 1990, I made a choice to opt out of this program, and instead, go over to that one.” He asked, “Do you think that was a mistake? Did I mess up?”

My response was, “To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter. It was an irrevocable decision. You cannot go back to 1990 and change your mind, and you can’t do anything about the choice you made back then, today.”

He pressed, “But did I make a mistake?”

I continued to say, “It doesn’t matter. The decision was made. The die was cast. What if you did make a mistake? Can you go back and change it? Can you do anything today to change it? ”

“No, ……”

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I’m not kidding, it went all like this for most of the day. Not continually, but every time he talked to me, he started by asking this question. At one point he even said, “Since you’re not giving me an answer, that tells me I DID make a bad choice.”

I never said any such thing. He was creating a problem.

Now, I ask YOU, just like I did him.
Why are you obsessing about “this”?
Why do you want to know if you “messed up” at some point in the past?
You are here.
Today.
Now.
At this moment.
Make your decisions from here and look forward.

Your past brought you here, yes. Some bad decisions may have been made, yes. What of it?

He, and I would argue, you, want to know if you made a mistake solely so that you can beat yourself up over it. So you can feel “bad”. So you can be miserable because you “messed up”.

STOP it.

That is all <3

Enjoy your coffee. Enjoy your day – this day, this moment, this decision.

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