Finding Dory

Back in March I attended a really magical retreat with the AMAZING Tiffany Josephs. It was in Santa Barbara and we had an absolute blast. I got to run for hours along the beach every day and Tiffany crafted a really fun, refreshing, intuitive retreat for us complete with scavenger hunts, photo shoots, and cake by the ocean…..

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On the final night of the retreat we did the coolest exercise. I don’t want to share all of Tiffanies secrets but this cat needs out of the bag. We got in a circle (9 of us), got our journals, and opened to a blank page. Tiffany instructed us to make a scribble on our page. Like a 3 second scribble, whatever felt right. Then we passed our journals to the right. So now we each have the scribble from the person to our left. Our instructions were to add what was needed to the scribble. Whatever felt right. And we had very little time, maybe 30 seconds or so, before we had to pass it along. The journals traveled all around the circle, getting additions and being worked on from each lady, and 9 passes later you had your journal back, but you could barely recognize your scribble! It had turned into a masterpiece, an oracle of sorts.

Tiffany explained to us that on that page was something special, a message, from the universe. And we went around the circle and each shared what we saw in our drawing. I would never share this, after all you don’t share journal pages, but this is all too good, and I have to.

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So, mine was hilarious. My original scribble is in purple. I literally sat there and just laughed at it for a good long while. And then you are sorta trying to figure out what the heck it all is? I saw a fox in there, one who is stressed! But happy too, and smoking some pot which I have never done. That bird I thought had some male genitals, but I might have read into that and it’s just his tail feather. Is that an aardvark in the corner, and then there is all this business with “what if” and Nemo, and Finding Dory in the bottom. I concluded at the time that the universe would like for me to lighten the heck up and have a little more fun.

Tiffany told us to pull this back out in a few weeks or months and have another look, that things in here would make more sense as time went on.

Fast forward to the next morning when I went for my 2 hour run. I was listening to Pandora the whole time and thought it was hilarious because the whole run every single advertisement it played to me was for the movie Finding Dory. I thought it was so strange because that was on my page from the night before. I was totally having one of those crazy universe moments thinking “No way…crazy”

As I traveled home from the retreat on Mothers Day all I could think about was how much California and the Central Coast is in my blood. I grew up in California. I lived the first 10 years of my life in a little town called Tehachapi that is in the valley. When I was 10 we moved to a little town outside of Morro Bay called Los Osos. Morro Bay sits at the front of the bay, and has a giant rock, and Los Osos sits at the back of the bay. When I was 15 my family moved to San Jose, CA during the week of my Easter break from my sophomore year of high school. I cried most of the trip. It was a very sad day to move from one of the most gorgeous places on the planet to the city of San Jose where my graduating class had more kids than the entire high school I came from. I made my way in San Jose until I graduated and went to college at UC San Diego (not the party school….but the nerdy school in La Jolla). After UCSD I moved to Colorado.

I called Troy while I was sitting in the airport coming home from Santa Barbara and asked if we could move. Well, I kinda begged him to move. And I cried too, the whole way home in fact. We discussed it and although he works from home, he wasn’t sure if they would be okay with this sort of move. Also, he wasn’t okay with it. Annie likes her school and we live in a sweet location, he’s lived in Colorado all his life.

And I had to respect that.

Fast forward a couple months and I went to IM Texas to coach our 5 athletes who raced (phenomenally) and when I looked at the forecast for Colorado on my way home it was going to rain all week. So when I got to the airport I changed my flight to San Diego. My friend Ang was hanging there for a few days and I had a place to stay. On the way home from San Diego I met the most amazing man who was my uber driver. We had an insane 15 minutes and he really opened up my mind to A LOT of things. The main thing I received from him was that there are different levels to this life. The physical level, the mental level. He straight up told me I have those two down pat. But I’m stuck on the heart level. And he was right. We still keep in touch. He sent me this quote and I used a picture on San Diego for the background:

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I came home from San Diego really alive and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ang on the ocean, watching sunsets every night and shopping at the farmers market together. I brought moving up again with Troy and he knew I was still pretty serious. We talked about it, but life was so crazy. So we couched the idea.

Last Sunday was Fathers day. Troy loves Chinese Food, it’s like his absolute favorite. So I researched where we could find the best Dim Sum in Denver. By the way, that would be Star Kitchen, super authentic and super yummy. We went to Dim Sum that morning and were having a great day together as a family. After our bellies were full I asked what he wanted to do and Troy said that he wanted to go see Finding Dory. Now, a little about my wonderful husband. He loves movies in the theatre. Like LOVES. He pretty much watches everything when it comes out. He and Annie go a lot and it’s hard to go to a movie with Troy because he’s already seen it. Well, it was opening weekend for Finding Dory so none of us had been. Off we went (PS I  love that Troy will go see literally ANY movie with me, RomCom, Comedy, Drama, doesn’t matter, he’s game).

So we are sitting in the theatre and watching and all of the sudden Dory is trying to find her family, she’s trying to go home. But get this, where is home?

MORRO BAY, CA

The town of 10,000 people that I grew up in. The town that I left my heart in when I left at age 15. The only town I come back to with that deep sigh when I visit. That town.

And all of the sudden my picture from the retreat is flooding back to me, and how it said “Why not?” and “Finding Dory”

 

I look at Troy with eyes like saucers and I’m mouthing to him “We have to move”

Then I’m texting, he’s two seats away but I’m flipping out…and darn autocorrect….

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The whole movie I pretty much flipped out. I felt deep in my heart that we had to move.

After we got out of the movie we had a long chat and I told Troy: It’s time, I’m ready, I want to go. I’m ready to go, can we please go?

And he got it. At a deep level, one that makes me cry when I type this, my husband understood that we had to give it a shot. He’s lived here his whole life and I respect and honor that, but I have been given so many signs to follow my heart and I know where my heart is, I just know.

He called work first thing Monday morning. They approved the move. It was a non issue. All this time, and it was a non issue.

We hired a real estate agent Monday night (one message off to my childhood bestie Lauren who lives there and she put us in touch with a phenomenal agent).

We put in an offer on a house on Tuesday morning. We found out we didn’t get that house on Friday morning.

Thursday night I was searching craigslist and found a place that wasn’t on our list of prospects (there are only 4 houses on the market in our price range in Los Osos and Morro Bay). I searched a little more and found out it was under contract. I emailed our agent and asked her to look into it. Friday she called us and said that it’s under contract, the sellers agent said the contract was going to be cancelled and we could put in an offer. We wrote a cover letter explaining how much we love Los Osos, described our family, and bid 40K over asking. This house was much nicer than the first house we put an offer on. It has much more space, the location is better, and it has a tiny view of the water. They countered our offer with a technicality and no increase in price, and as of yesterday we are under contract on the perfect little house that we haven’t even seen. But the way all of this is going, I know it will be fine. I just know.

Meanwhile we prepped our house for sale over the last few days, with the plans to put it on the market this Tuesday. Yesterday our neighbor said he would like to buy it and would have an offer to us on Monday.

It’s been one week since we made the decision and pretty much all the big decisions and questions have been hammered out. It’s truly been a downhill flow sort of situation.

Next weekend is the 4th of July and I cancelled my plans to race Vineman and instead we are headed to Los Osos to review the inspection and check out our new house….and it’s tiny bay view, and it’s big beautiful balcony that faces the ocean.

I can not explain fully how much my heart is exploding with YAY. I feel so lucky that Troy works from home and I built Rising Tide to be movable. I can’t believe all the signs and how easy every thing came together. I feel a little sense of pride that I followed the signs, I followed my heart and because of that, things have flowed!

Oh and Annie, the best part. She’s super excited. Happy to go, excited for the adventure. She’s an amazing kiddo.

Move date looks to be the beginning of August. No final date just yet, but definitely before Annie starts 5th grade.

Overwhelm….and the 90 Day Year


Looking for Todds 90DY videos and don’t want to scroll (links at bottom too)?

OW vs WOW Video  –  90 Day Engine Video  –  8 Phase Plan video  –  His field reports page


I had a melt down. In my therapists office.

Usually I arrive on time, ready to do some head work, explore my feelings, etc. But this Monday I walked in, sat down, and cried for about 50 minutes. The last 15 months I have had this interesting relationship with the concept of “overwhelm”. Everyone says starting a business is hard, that you will work a lot, and they are right. But it’s uncommon for people to really get down and nitty gritty with what happens when you have had too much. Well, let me tell you. For me, it starts with zero productivity. I will sit there just staring at things. My eyes glaze over, and then I feel anxiety or like my body is humming. I described it the other day as the bottom of a square. Then the waterworks. Tears, lots of tears. And picking fights with people, and reclusiveness, and a huge feeling of aloneness.

So, as I explore my relationship with overwhelm I start to see some trends, thank you therapy. First off, and thanks to my amazing soul sister and bizznass mentor Katie Den Ouden, she straight up told me my overwhelm is what I say I feel when I feel like shit and I don’t know why. When there is too much and I’m stuck and I can’t figure it all out…I call that overwhelm. It’s a placeholder for deeper under the surface crapola.

So, what’s under there….

1st – The first is my perfectionist gene.

This is a gene that we work on a lot in therapy. I grew up thinking that if I got perfect grades, ran fast, and was the daughter all my parents friends wished they had, that nobody would find fault with me. Nobody could criticize or put me down. Do you know me, have you met me? I’m nice as shit. I really am. I have like a huge page full of testimonials to prove it. And I care deeply about people. But to be honest, there is inner nice (me sometimes), and there is nice due to the fear of people seeing you as “not nice” (or as an elitist….a huge hot button for me). They are two different things. One is a hustle for approval (I call her the nice-hustler), the other is integrity (inner nice).

Of course when I’m nice or in nice-hustler mode, I still get criticism, and that can really feed the perfectionist in me. To this day, when I get feedback and criticism I respond in one of two ways….I let it go with compassion (inner nice girl coming out) or I tell myself I need to be more perfect (nice-hustler mode). And the truth is, all that feedback and criticism is actually kinda bull shit.

“Feedback and criticism doesn’t tell you about you, it tells you about the person giving the feedback”  -Tara Mohr

(PS This quote works for positive feedback too…it’s not really about me, more about what the person giving the praise values, you can read more in Taras book: Playing Big)

So I know all this in my noggin’, but when when I’m stressed it’s like my autopilot turns on, and I go right there, the hustle for nice comes out. Remember how sometimes the car just drives itself home when you are headed to Target…. like that!

When I have many things on my plate (as we all do) but I don’t move them off my plate because I am trying to man-handle the results (wrestle a large bear….the Revenant comes to mind) then OVERWHELM is the answer.

to move past it…. I have to repeat over and over

  1. “Punt that shit” <— a quote from my assistant which means ask others to do stuff for you, get tasks off your plate. Because the deep inner me values people and their contributions. The minute I hand something off to someone else I tend to love what they do with it. I love people, I love how they make things their own.

  2. “Perfect is the enemy of good”  <— truth bomb… repeat… repeat… repeat

2nd – Under there is my big fatty FEAR friend.

Ahh, I hate my darn fear friend. Here’s what my fear friend likes to scream “YOU ARE YOUR RESULTS” and he looks like this:

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(When I was little I called this guy the CREDIBLE hulk…..haha, makes me laugh every time)

I’m wicked afraid of failure. I think we all are to some extent, in our own way, kinda hard-wired for it, ya know? My major fear around failure is that of abandonment. I’m afraid if I don’t train my coach won’t want to work with me, if I fail as a coach my athletes will leave, if I fail as a business women both my athletes and my assistant coaches will leave, if I fail as a wife my husband will leave, or if I fail as a parent my daughter will leave me. Abandonment is a big one with me and so often when I am screaming “OVERWHELM” the deeper thing under the surface is that I think if I don’t do everything on my to do list I will let people down, and they will leave me. I attach results to relationships. And again, my brain knows thats dumb. My brain knows that relationships are built on how you treat people, your integrity, your ability to relate, etc. But as stress creeps up, and I want to let go of half the tasks in my life, and the first thing my brain screams is “The people…they will leave.”

The result is that in times of overwhelm I often neglect myself, feel like a slave to business, slave to training, slave to household chores, slave to others. Thank you big fatty FEAR friend.

(asshole)

To move past it….this is what I gotta throw down:

  1. “You are responsible for your results, but you are not them”  <— I remind myself I am responsible, I have power in this situation, they are not me, they are outcomes.

  2. “Put your oxygen mask on first” <— people can read self sacrifice on you in 2 seconds flat. We teach people how to treat us. bottom line.

3rd – I let my systems wall get breeched.

We all have systems in life. Routines, systems, trends, whatever… For a long time I was a self proclaimed hater of habit. Bleh. But what I have come to understand is that you have to be a hater of habit when you are in the mode of attending to everyone else’s needs before your own. They say business is the fastest path to self discovery, and it’s true, I’ve learned more about myself in the last 15 months than I had in eight years of triathlon. I realized very quickly that I needed systems in place to run a successful business, I learned that in month 3. I never even thought that way about the rest of my life because I spent it being an integral part of other peoples efficient systems. So I researched some systems, I picked one, and I threw myself head first into it.

In comes Todd Herman and the 90 day year.

I put his systems in place in my business, and then my training and home life got wrapped into it as well. Overwhelm comes up when I think  I’m good enough to leave the system. If I simply wake up, meditate, eat, plan my day, block and tackle, prioritize tasks, do the hard stuff first, and run on 90 day year cycle I have set up for myself via the 90DY, I chug chug chug away at life, training, business, etc. and overwhelm isn’t a part of my life. When my systems get breeched…  I get overwhelmed and then #1 and #2 start directing the lifetime mini-series. “Sonja…overwhelmed to death…. my life as a Lifetime movie”

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Todd is in the middle of his big June launch. He’s actually sharing so much of his content that I had to pay to see a year ago. I can’t imagine what he’s creating for us after the doors close, since he has already made public so much of what contributes to my current systems. Excite. If you want to watch, here:

OW vs WOW Video

90 Day Engine Video

8 Phase Plan video

His field reports page

I run my life, training, business, etc on 90 day cycles now. I even put together the most BADASS planner for myself to help. Todd’s work on “context switching” is one of the most rockin’ business educational pieces I have ever received. In July I head to New York City to work in a small group with Todd for 24 hours. It’s a different kind of endurance event!

So, what landed me crying in my therapist on Monday? I had let my systems go for a few days, was winging it, and running after all the little to dos in life. I was letting the finer details scream at my perfectionist gene and I was contemplating dropping out of my races this year because I don’t have time to train 25-30 hours a week any more. Seems silly when I write it, but when my fear and perfectionist minds are barking their heads off AND I ditch my systems, this is what results. At the end of that session we had quieted the perfection brain, it was already lighting up with things that I needed to punt and hadn’t. My fear brain was reminded of the very recent talk with Coach Muddy and how our relationship is more than coach athlete at this point. He’s a father figure, and a mentor whom I can lean on regardless of training hours.

And I came home, logged in to Trello (I heart you Trello) reprioritized my control panel (death to the to do list….I work with a control panel these days) and I got the heck on with things.

It’s not about the falling down, we are all falling down often, it’s about having the quickest and most efficient method to get back up. The fall is inevitable, but learning how to limit the time you are laying on the floor…that’s the secret sauce…