In certain areas in life, I have been a clutch player. For those of you who don't know sports, a clutch player is a player who comes through when the team needs it most, either with a spectacular defensive play, a hit that drives in the winning run, or any amazing play that secures a win for the team.
Ever since I played baseball as a girl, I saw the value of the clutch, and I made it my goal to be able to come through when my team needed me most.
This is why I am choosing to teach communication. I have read in about a billion places that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. While I love public speaking, that is not where my expertise lies. My expertise lies in one-on-one communication when it matters. When does it matter, you might ask?
I have a golden ticket which for much of my life, I saw as a curse. You see, I was raised by therapists. From the time I could understand language, I understood that my parents were analyzing my every move. From the time I could speak, they were forcing me to analyze my words, thoughts and actions to such a degree that I became overly-comfortable with sharing too much.
While this has been a source of embarrassment for several of my significant others and hundreds of friends over the years, it has also been a source of power for me. I am comfortable talking about almost anything.
When I find myself in a stressful situation, I can communicate. I communicate because I have practiced and because I know what is waiting for me on the other side of uncomfortable conversations; confidence, improved relationships and a deeper understanding of yourself and those you struggle with.
I would never call this easy. But, I do think that most of what keeps people in almost any situation from working better together is their reticence to talk to each other, due to fear of being exposed or vulnerable. It can feel impossible to be vulnerable when you feel threatened by someone, but very often, that is what is needed to create or improve trust. This is why good communication is so rare. Not many people practice vulnerability.
In addition to my early childhood training in analysis and communication, I have also had the unique opportunity to get a lot of training in different communication techniques from people other than my parents. I have taken multitudes of classes, workshops, conferences, all of them touting some kind of bulletproof strategic communication that will get you whatever you want in life. Unfortunately, the communication strategies are often formulaic and missing the most important element for improving communication skills: Practice.
The thing about communication is that you have to own it. You can't really take on someone else's idea of what good communication is because it feels false. It doesn't feel personal, and whatever else communication is, it should always be personal. Michael Jordan always practiced as Michael Jordan, not Larry Bird. Jordan never would have attained the success he did if he had been practicing to copy another player. Every great clutch player has made it personal through practice.
That is why clutch players are clutch. They have practiced that play in their way millions of times. They have spent thousands of hours in batting cages, entire afternoons trying to hit one shot from the three-point circle, every waking moment practicing small skills so that in a high-stakes situation, they perform flawlessly. Their practice is relentless.
Because of all of the practice, the moment does not rule the clutch player. The clutch player rules the moment.
This is how I can help you. I can help you be a clutch communicator. I can teach you to be comfortable enough in your own skin so that you will be able to express yourself thoughtfully and confidently in almost any stressful situation, at any moment.
I will help you communicate from your heart, not mine. You will learn to express your thoughts in your way, and with practice, you will be able to do this whenever the need arises.
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This week I read an epic interview with one of my heroes, Bill Murray. No, he and I did not read the interview together, the interview was about him, smartass.
In the interview, Bill Murray outlines specifically what it takes to be Bill Murray. It was really quite wonderful. I highly suggest you read it.
At the end of the interview, he gives this bit of advice: Remember that you are you and that nobody else is.
"So you’re the only one that’s you, and we get confused sometimes—or I do, I think everyone does—you try to compete. You think, Dammit, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people; I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard."
At the end he states:
"So what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is."
Fucking Bill Murray. Eloquent as fuck and still my hero after all of these years.
I have read this sentiment before in different forms and phrases, that I am home when I am acting with integrity, when I am expressing myself without shame, guilt or fear. I am most myself when I am not worried about what other people are doing, thinking or feeling about my actions.
When I can be myself without the self-consciousness that is brought on by self-doubt, I am in love, and I need little else.
I can also rely on life testing me. Life is always coming up with opportunities for me to choose between standing for myself or caving. Life presents event after event where I must choose me, or, not me. For a long time, I never chose me. I was depressed, angry, and I didn't know myself. But after years of this, I got fed up and started slowly but surely to choose me. It was incredibly painful and terrifying during these initial events, but after the dust had settled and I was left standing, the rush of release and joy overwhelmed me.
It is no easy feat to be me. Just as I know it is no easy feat to be you. We are all caught in a world that seems to push us to be otherwise, and that is why, when others appear to be imitating me, I get a bit anxious. I feel a bit claustrophobic. But then I remember, it has taken 44 long years of work to come to stand in these shoes, to sit on this chair, to lie in this bed. Ain't nobody gonna take all that from me in a week, in a month, or even a year.
I am the only valuable possession I own, and the only way to lose that is to give it away. There is no way someone can steal it from me without my permission, and that in itself brings me comfort and reminds me to choose wisely every time I have the opportunity.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you have the opportunity to be you, go ahead and do that. Be the you-iest you that you can be. There is no greater comfort, no greater pleasure than feeling the skin that surrounds you, the bones that support you, the laugh that bubbles within you.
Be unapologetic. Be bold. Be you.
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For the last three weeks, I have been writing about Picking Up Dudes, but there was an underlying theme to each post. Each week, I gave you tools to handle your fear. Fear affects me in every area of my life, but I know that whenever I feel fear, I have a choice.
Fear motivates me in the worst ways because it is frequently illogical. Fear is an energy that eats me up and makes me do things without thinking. Fear is the destroyer. Fear keeps me from life.
So every time I feel fear, I stop. I breathe, then I figure out how I can choose love instead. Sound trite? Ridiculous? That is your fear talking. I know. My fear screams at me that when I choose to open up to people, when I choose courage, I am weak. Fear says that battle is the best thing. That the fight is prudent. That my anger is justified. That the hard thing is to struggle.
But it is not. The fight? The struggle? They are lazy. They are easy, seductive.
Love is the hardest thing you can do. And it gets harder and harder to choose the more you act on your fears. It is not just about Hitting on Dudes. As I stated in my blog, it is about Hitting on Life.
Quotes by Kurt Vonnegut about love and creativity have a special potency for me because he was so fractured. He broke the hearts of the people closest to him. He was difficult to live with. He was not the best parent in the world. But he worked towards love. He understood the importance of kindness. He knew that the world could make you hard because he struggled with that himself.
Looking into your shit and loving yourself because of it, not in spite of it is pivotal. There is a lot about me that is not awesome. Not perfect. Not cool. But it is part of me, and I embrace it. I embrace it because denying it will blow it up. Denying it will also make it tough for me to accept the shit in others. I don't want to go through life judging, hating and being intolerant. As my twin brother has said to me time and again, "Don't hate Sara. It's unbecoming."
The world is not a perfect place. It will beat you down. It will take your hope. It will make you resentful. But if you can love in the face of it, in the face of the pain and the sorrow, then you can do anything. It is easy to love when you are happy, when things are going well, but how practiced are you at loving in the shit? How good are you at smiling at the man who just hit you in the face?
This is how I measure myself. I have to. I am too hard on myself otherwise. I am the destroyer of my own hope, my own joy, and I have to meet my destroyer with love. It is the only way to manage her. It is the only way to hope.
It is the only way to love.
You can see the world as a place that will beat you down. You can see it as an environment of bitterness. You can also see it as a place in which to practice, a place in which you have the opportunity to hone your ability to love in any situation.
In my last newsletter, I talked about viewing people as opportunities. In truth, that is what the world is; the opportunity to love, over and over again. Love yourself, love your friends, love your enemies. Love people who are vastly different from you. Love people who don't love you.
I challenge you to this task. Love in the face of fear, in the face of hate, in the face of your destroyer. The world transforms with each of your efforts. You will see.
Didja like this? Share it! Like it on FB. Tweet it out, and Tweet it proud. Or, as always, I invite you to comment. Ever been the person who loved your destroyer? Loved that little one inside who tempted you to burn your shit down? Let me know. I would love to hear about it.
It is finally here. The moment you have all been waiting for. The post where in you are informed exactly how to pick up a dude. You have learned about Mindset, you have learned about Preparation. Now, Execution is the name of the game. And the game is on.
Every person must take on their own personal style, one which reflects their values, beliefs, and perspective. But no line works as well as, "Hey baby, I got a van."
Just kidding. Well, not really. That line has actually worked for me every time. Not that I have a van. But the point of this tip, and it is not at all ground breaking, is that laughter opens people up. Surprise someone with a ridiculous pick up line and your work is half done. Really.
If you are a man hitting on a woman, this particular line might come off as creepy, but I will tell you, try to make a dude laugh, and even if you fail, you will win respect. That is because you are risking, and everyone knows that risk takes real chutzpah.
Don't worry. This is not my simplistic and underwhelming theme for Execution. It is an example of the real answer to every question. The real subtext to every text you send. It is about Other Stuff. It is about how you get to YES.
So, there you are, you have the mindset, you have prepared, you are feeling great. You see a guy next to you at the bar, in the grocery line, or at Starbuck's and something about him whispers, "hottie". Suddenly all of that preparation goes out the door, followed almost immediately by your mindset. You start to sweat. You feel nauseous. You have completely lost your ability to form coherent sentences. You are cursing my name for having gotten you into this position.
First of all, remember, you are a woman, and you have the power. Soak that in for a moment. It is the truth. There are not many places in life where women hold the power, but this, my dearest, sweetest reader, is one of them. Let's say it together: "I am a woman and I have the power." Women have the power in this arena for several reasons:
Now that we are in agreement that you have the power, you might be asking, how do I wield this power without hurting people? How can I possibly handle the great responsibility that comes with this great power?
As the 80s band .38 Special once famously sang, "hold on loosely, but don't let go." Yes, it is all about letting go. It is all about allowing room for whatever is going to happen, to happen. It is easy to hope for a certain outcome when you are hitting on a dude, but it is best to let your expectations go before you begin this process. I will give you an example from my own life.
Recently, I went out to get a beer, alone. I was wearing my super cute power skirt, my awesome rain boots (because wearing boots is part of how I prepare), and a baseball cap. Basically, I set myself up to be a dude magnet. I went to a nearby bottleshop and bar, where lots of dudes hang out all the time. I got a beer and went and stood next to a dude who was also clearly alone.
I could tell by his in-house monogrammed beer stein that he was a regular and would want to talk about beer. So I stood next to him, taking pics of my beer, and just waited for him to ask me what I was drinking. I waited less than three minutes. At the five minute mark, I was going to ask him what he was drinking.
I had no idea of what would happen. I figured, at the very least, I would learn about beer. But I was basically just opening myself up to the possibility of meeting a new person. As Anne tells Lydia in the great movie The Fisher King, "Ya gotta ease up. Conversations have a life of their own." This is a truth that pays off every time when hitting on dudes. My biggest goal when hitting on a dude, well, actually when speaking to anyone, is to make them feel like they are the most interesting creature on earth. Every god damned word that falls from their lips is a miracle.
I am there to learn. I am there to take note of another being inhabiting this incredible world. I am there to find the magic in that person, to be curious, to be enlightened. Please do not misunderstand. This is not a false front. I am not pretending to be interested. I am putting myself in a position to appreciate another human being. I am there to consider a perspective different from my own, to get a different take on the human experience.
I knew I could ask him to come home with me not because I felt like he was interested enough in me, but because I knew that I was interested enough in him. We had to this point in the evening had a delightful conversation about music, beer, and women. He had proven himself to be a thoughtful, charming young man. I was not concerned with, "does he like me? does he think I'm pretty?" No. I was interested in if I liked him enough, if I thought his hands looked strong. If his smile was genuine.
That is the definition of embracing your power and the key to Picking up Dudes. Considering if someone is right for you, not hoping you are right for someone. Appreciating yourself, understanding your unique and wonderful traits, and truly knowing your value is what will help you choose well. Looking for greatness in others, for qualities that will enrich your life, for admirable qualities that impress you. Those are the people you choose.
Waiting for someone to choose you, to ask you, hoping that that person will be right for you is leaving too much up to fate. Take control of your destiny by valuing yourself enough to start picking up dudes. With every new person you meet, your world grows and your life expands. You have a much richer existence and you have a breadth of experiences that will help you choose more wisely for yourself.
So go out and find people. Start having conversations. Open yourself up to possibility. Let go of the "happily ever after" mindset and become the curious and interested person you are. You will find that Picking up Dudes is not only great for picking up dudes, but it is also a great way to stand in awe of the world in which you live. To breathe in the depth and the breadth of life, to stand and righteously take in all the world has to offer, that is an existence worthy of you.
Execution is all about approach. It is all about setting up the proper dynamic for yourself. It is all about understanding that first and foremost, the dude has to be right for you.
I challenge you to go out into the world and start talking to people. Become interested in the world. Find out what makes other people tick. Have conversations that may or may not lead to you getting a date.
The whole reason we are here is to connect with each other, and not doing this is depriving yourself of one of the best things about human existence. Picking up Dudes is just an extension of that. Go. Do it.
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