Marathons: Training, Running, Finishing

March 11, 2008 at 7:07 pm (DiscoverULife, Lifecoaching) ()

By Heba Alshareef 

Four days, thirty hours, and fifty thousand words.  That was the challenge that I signed up for this past weekend.  Held in my local library, the novel marathon is a chance for writers to take their one page outlines and produce a publishable work in a limited amount of time.

Putting the R in SMART

If you are a DiscoverULife member, you already know the value of the SMART way of goal setting.  If you are not, well, what are you waiting for?

SMART is an acronym used when setting goals.

The S stands for Specific, so instead of:  I want to get fit, say I’m going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7 am. 
The M stands for measurable, meaning that the goal must have a solid criteria for measuring when you’ve attained it.  Ex.  I will know that I am fit when I can run up 5 flights of stairs without feeling winded, or taking a break in between. 
The A stands for attainable, meaning that unless I have the means to get to that gym at 7 am on the specified days, I will not achieve my goal. 
And the T stands for Time-bound, meaning that you need to set a day for the goal to be realized.  So, you tell yourself, I will test that 5 flights of stairs five weeks from now. 

What about the R? 

Well, that stands for realistic, but DiscoverULife coaches strongly dislike that one.  We much prefer, slightly unrealistic.  When a goal is realistic, it’s really not too much fun, it doesn’t challenge us enough.  When it is slightly unrealistic, it provides enough excitement to egg us on.  And when we actually accomplish that slightly unrealistic goal, it gives us a boost in confidence that will have us soaring to our destination all the more quicker. 

Consequently, when all the achievers in the world get things done in a certain amount of time, DiscoverU members get things done in 1/6 of the time.  Instead of memorizing 6 juzu in 6 years, they have the capacity to do it in 1 year.  Instead of making 10k in 6 months, they have the goal setting capabilities to do it in 1 month.  The list goes on and on.

What slightly unrealistic goal can you come up with right now?
Consider Abdullah. 
He didn’t share it with anyone, but he’d long dreamt of running a 10K marathon.  One day, during one of his DiscoverU slightly unrealistic moments, he said to himself, ‘it is time’. 

He found out that a local charity was sponsoring one, but it was only 6 weeks away.  Now, most marathon training schedules recommend at least 10 weeks of training, and Abdullah, although not a complete slob, was getting too comfortable in his walking shoes.  He took a second, thought it was too late, rationalized to himself that he could register in advance for next year’s marathon.  But then it hit him,

he’d been telling himself the same thing for the past 6 years and he had done nothing about it. 

It wasn’t too late to actually register, so he seized the opportunity and made his slightly unrealistic decision. 

He bought a new pair of running shoes, and for the next six weeks, he trained fast and furious.  He finished that marathon, and he’s done so much more since then.  His goals are always challenging, and his results are way more satisfying!

Exciting, isn’t it?

And so there I was, proving the theory to myself.   Holed up in the silent study room on the library’s first floor, surviving on coffee and more coffee, I completed that 50, 000 words.  I cried when Zeynep (my lead female character) said goodbye to her brother Tarek who was about to run from his Kurdish homeland over the mountains into Turkey.  I laughed when Ahmed, her little son, spills the milk over his baby brother’s head.  And best of all, 4 days later, my publishable piece is at a place I wouldn’t have dreamed possible.  Well, maybe in my slightly unrealistic dreams.

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Harmful Labels and Chocolate Chip Cookies

February 27, 2008 at 4:00 pm (All, DiscoverULife, Lifecoaching)

Harmful Labels and Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Heba Alshareef

“Dummy!”  It’s the favorite new word of my two year old.  She says it all the time, with no regard to decorum or awareness of place.  It’s “dummy” to her brother who says he is too busy to play with her, “dummy” to the senior gentleman who smiles at her in the grocery check-out line, “dummy” to the stroller harness that prevents her from running around like a mad child, “dummy” to me when I refuse to give her yet another cookie.

It’s not a nice word, I know, and please don’t ask me where she learned it.

Not nice words have the remarkable ability to become labels, and labels can become harmful.  How many times have you heard these ones?“She’s the clown.”  “He’s the trouble-maker.”  “I’m lazy.”   “You’re heartless!”   

Try to think of people that you know or care about and inevitably, the labels you’ve placed in relation to them will come up as well.  Who is the “good?” The “bad?” The “ugly?”   

Who are you?  What are you?
Labels can be extremely harmful in that they confine people to boxes that must contain any other tendencies not in accordance to the markers that describe their natures.  So, for example, can the girl who is seen by everyone to be the ‘class clown’ ever cry and take a dramatic turn?  She will struggle to push down any feelings of disappointment because ‘it isn’t who she is.’  Just imagine how stifling the box she is in can become.

The label that got you here won’t get you to where you want to goWhat progress will we ever make if we keep calling ourselves “lazy”?  We’ll get to know our couches very well, but is that the life you really want for yourself or for anyone else you care about whom you’ve affixed the same label to?

Allah SWT says in Surah Al Hujuraat:  “O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.”

Labels should be left for food items and clothing brands.  Still, it is human nature to generalize and labels can shape who we are, they live with us and have the power to live on after us.  Consider the Prophet Muhammad SAW, known in his life time and until this day as “Al Amin”, the trustworthy.   

Activity: What will your label legacy look like?
1. Turn to a new page in your journal.
2. Write down the old labels you’ve given yourself.
3. Rip it out and burn it and do it with a vengeance!
4. Repeat step 1.
5. Write down your new labels. 

Wear the label.    Live the label.    Be the label.   Own the label. 
As for me, I don’t want to be a “dummy”, so I’m off to give my two year old that chocolate chip cookie.  I know she’s going to say, “Mama nice,” when I do.  And bribing my way to a new label, well…hey, as long as it’s a good one, I’ll take it.

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