Do What You Can…Today

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IMG 72631   Do What You Can…Today

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What is Daily Glow?

Graduation Fears

The Silly Things We Say

Do What You Can…Today

I’ve talked a lot about finding happiness within ourselves and with our careers, and to this day, it remains one of the topics I am emailed about the most. I really didn’t realize just how many people struggled with these things until I talked about my own experiences. Opening up to others was one of the reasons that I was able to work through many issues in my life. Who knows where I would be right now, had I not let myself feel vulnerable.

It is isolating when you are going through a tough time on your own. I always felt like there was something wrong with me for feeling unhappy with myself and circumstances and I was ashamed to even talk about it with my friends and family for fear that they would think I was a failure. I remember sitting in one of my very first graduate classes, thinking ‘What am I doing here?’

I bottled everything up inside and I put on a happy face, but little did I know this was the worst thing I could have done. For many years, I convinced myself that I was not worthy of happiness because my problems were my own ‘fault’.

But today, I’m so over the whole perfectionism thing. Really…I’m over it.

We all struggle. Many of us struggle with accepting ourselves, finding a happy weight, deciding what to take in school, paying the bills, relationships, health problems, when to start a family, career satisfaction, and balancing everything in between. No one walked away from me when I finally confessed that I struggled with an eating disorder (they knew all along, anyways) or when I quit my job and I hit an all-time low in my life. If anyone did, they probably weren’t worth it in the first place.

How did I cope during tough moments?

The most important factor for me was talking about it…not only to friends and family, but to a counselor. I also used to display my favourite inspiring quotes in my offices. I would tape them on my computer screen or tack them to the wall. I was known as the quote girl by my friends. ;)

For the two years I was a grad student, I had this quote taped to my office wall:

IMG 21141   Do What You Can…Today

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

As someone who struggles with anxiety, I tend to worry about the future too much. This quote helps me to live in the moment as much as I can. It also teaches me that every day may not present the ‘perfect’ circumstances or opportunities, but we can still work with what we’ve got each day and make the best of it.

I CAN’T…

1) Predict the future

2) Control other people’s actions, thoughts, or feelings

3) Determine the outcome of my choices

 

However, I CAN…

1) Learn from yesterday

2) Take action today (no matter how small)

3) Plan for the future (even if the plans ultimately do not work out!)

4) Challenge myself, but never expect perfection.

5) Ask for help.

6) Eat chocolate.

 

Plans are great, but the greatest teacher is experience. Don’t beat yourself up for decisions that you make that may not work out because with everything you try out, you are that much closer to finding something that works for you.

Have you ever done something you thought was a huge ‘mistake’ and it turned out to be a valuable lesson in your life… or even life-changing?

What positive action can you make today to help an area of struggle in your life?

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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny eats nutella from a spoon February 9, 2011

i have first comment!
this is EXACTLY what i needed to read today. thank you angela.

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Ali @ Ali on the Run February 9, 2011

I think this is my favorite post of yours…ever! It’s so true: we’re SO hard on ourselves all the time and struggle to be perfectionists. I admire your take on worrying and thinking about the future. I’m not there with you yet — I beat myself up more than I probably should — but I’m happy you wrote about this and already look forward to re-reading the post. Thanks for sharing!

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Gen February 9, 2011

I’m definitely with you on the anxiety thing!
This was a great post!!!!!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 9, 2011

Some days I felt that my parents’ taking us to live in the Middle East was a big mistake, but I’m so grateful for it now – it’s totally shaped my outlook on life and on the world in general. I think it’s so important to acknowledge that there are so many things we can’t control, but we CAN control the way we see the world, and our thoughts. I try to start my days as positive as possible, because I think doing so certainly has an impact on how the day turns out. Great post once again Ange. I love the Daily Glow!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} February 9, 2011

I used to live my life thinking about the next step. What life was going to be like when _____ happened. (Fill in the blank…) Now I have learned to enjoy life as I am living it and appreciate where I am at right now. When I thought (or worried) too much about the future, I wasn’t really living in my today.

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Ashley @ Taste for Healthy February 9, 2011

Great post Angela! :) You are so inspiring, as always.

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Laurab @FoodSnobSTL February 9, 2011

I appreciate your honesty with what you write. Sometimes, i get frustrated at the rosey world that most bloggers seem to live in. life is hard, for everyone, and sometimes I get discouraged in the blog world when it seems like peoples biggest problems are book deals and finding time to train for races. i am sure everyone has difficult points and things going on, they just choose not to share. So, I appreciate the real-ness you bring to the blog community.

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kristy @ kristyruns.com February 9, 2011

I’ve learned that everything always works out. Always. That definitely brings me peace. :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 9, 2011

Thank you for sharing so openly and freely, Angela! I think many of us are caught up in perfectionism, anxiety, worry and just an over-achiever mentality. I know I am guilty of this. not as much now as I was before becoming a mother (that is the great equalizer, so to speak…it has helped me LET GO of so much of that) but it’s all a work in progress.

So glad you have all these wonderful insights and that you have shared them. A thing for me that was a huge mistake but soooo valuable was buying a house in Phoenix b/c I could afford one there (cannot in San Diego). I wanted to own a home at all costs so left my friends and beloved San Diego for Phx, just to own. And realized I hated it. Wanted to move back like 2 weeks after we closed on it. And after 9 mos, we did move back. Took a huge!!! beating financially but it showed me that I’d rather rent in a place I love than own in a place I don’t.

Wonderful post, Angela!
:)

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is February 9, 2011

I absolutely love this and really needed it today. Thanks Ange!

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Brenda Fisher February 9, 2011

I would have to go down a pretty long list of friends to find one that is actually in a career that required the degree they received from college. Most have all switched gears after college or not that long after. Before I became a stay at home Mom, I was in a position of hiring people. What their degree was in was not as important to me, just that they had a degree. I felt that the discipline, use of time management, being able to complete papers and tasks on time were all important things that college teaches us.

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 9, 2011

I always try to remember that each small decision and action adds up to my overall life. I have to put my energy into things that I want to help bring to me the life I desire. But at the same time remember I don’t control it all either.

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Shanna February 9, 2011

So poignant and true….

I fear I may have some big changes coming my way and I need to just embrace them because they may put me on track for more happiness than I ever could imagine!

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Jennifer @ keepitsimplefoods.com February 9, 2011

Love this post. It’s nice to know we all struggle with the similar issues, the challenges of being a human being on this earth. I love the quote above. It’s always good to remember what you can’t control. All you can do is your very best and then let go.

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Ashley February 9, 2011

This is exactly what I needed to read today. I too struggle with anxiety- and it’s been terrible lately because when I get stressed, I get horrible cases of insomnia. So much in my life right now seems to be out of control– and I too have spent too many years thinking I didn’t deserve any happiness because I always felt scared to share my own fears and problems. And the hardest part is that we can’t predict the future! And I hate it. I can’t control if people get upset with me. So thank you for sharing your own fears, problems– and thank you for the inspiration to help us also share. I’m ready to just be happy for a change– I had a horrible year of career changes and scares last year– and now I’m finally in a place where it may just be coming together. Thanks:)

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Lauren February 9, 2011

I’ve learned from experience that plans don’t always workout, and change will happen, so I have to go with the change. It may not make me happy that moment, but I can adjust, and sometimes, new opportunities come out of those changes or plans that don’t work. Right now, I’m trying to figure out the last year of classes I need, and what I want to do after I graduate.

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit February 9, 2011

I totally agree with you – vulnerability is a huge step to healing and getting to know yourself. I too struggled with the same challenges, it wasn’t until I allowed people in [as scary as that is...ah!] that I really allowed myself to heal. It’s hard to look for others for support.

Struggle for me is always brought on by my anxiety. When I feel my anxiety is getting the best of me I step back for a moment and check myself before I wreck myself. If that doesn’t work, I keep my iPod on hand with Snatam Kaur music. Not for everyone, but really gets me to calm down.

I’m just loving your Daily Glows Angela!

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Eates-a-Lot February 9, 2011

I loved this. Right on. That too is one of my favorite quotes.
I did the same thing.. I got married and divorce.. during the beginning of the divorce I thought I made the biggest mistake.. Looking back. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Today I am the person I want to be, doing the things I want to do…

I’m so content in life it’s sickening. One of my favorite things to tell me is.. ‘ you can’t control others, only your reaction.’ when you finally realize that… the world becomes such a beautiful place.
Every monday (sometimes Tuesday) I post Weekly Words To Inspire.. Check em out… It’s like my virtural office wall!

Great post!

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Christina February 9, 2011

Great post Angela! I think it’s so scary to face change sometimes that we’d rather just sulk in our own misery because we feel “we did it to ourselves” or “we asked for it” or “isn’t this what I always wanted?”. I used to ask myself this all the time but now I try to make changes. Instead of putting a negative spin on things I use the power of positivity to move forward. you know what, I’m not working at the job I thought I would as a kid but then again, I’m not an astronaut either! I can’t beat myself up for things that I’ve done, like you said experience is the best teacher.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 9, 2011

When the Husband and I took a hiatus when we were dating (for about a year and a half), everyone told me it was horrible, that we shouldn’t have done that. However, I learned so much about myself during that 1.5 years and really found myself. I knew that if we were ment to be together, we would be – and look at us now! We’re married!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 9, 2011

Eric and I also took a break when we were dating. In 2003, we split up for about 4 months and we both grew a lot during that time. If it’s meant to be it will be!

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Baking 'n' Books February 9, 2011

You do not know how much I needed this today.

You don’t even know.

I almost quit. Almost.

I can’t promise I won’t tomorrow or 2 days from now. I don’t know where I’ll end up or how I can do it. I don’t know.

I know that I have no choice right now.

So I’ll just do what I can one day at a time.

And pray.

Thank you beyond what you can even possibly imagine.

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Baking 'n' Books February 9, 2011

Oh and also – beside the obvious #6, I really like the one “no matter how small” – that’s something I really need to focus on .

And not beating yourself up….that’s what kills me. Regrets and second-guessing are terrible. Mostly because of what I think and what others will say or think about it.

But thinking about that gets you nowhere!

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Sharon February 9, 2011

God has a way of giving me what I need and today I needed to read this post. Thank you Angela for the gentle nudge.

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megan @ blackberries for jam February 9, 2011

This was beautiful. I also struggled through disappointment with my career. I was a lawyer, which I had always thought would be a golden ticket to happiness and success, but I utterly hated it and immensely regretted my decision to go to law school. I spent six years in the profession only to pay off my student loans and I felt like my soul was being sucked away. I have a wonderfully supportive and loving husband who helped me through those difficult times, and I was fortunate enough to quit my job about six months ago. I have no clue what the future holds for me, but I’ve never felt more free and happy in my life. Like you, I found my glow, I do what I can every day, and I am forever grateful for new beginnings.

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Andrea B. @ Vegvacious February 9, 2011

What a great post Angela! I also experience anxiety and worry about what might happen….& usually the things I worry about the most end up turning out just fine! My husband is much better about living in the moment—I am trying to learn from him and appreciate each day as it is handed to me. It’s nice to know we all have our struggles but there is a place (your blog!) where we can share and inspire one another. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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salah@myhealthiestlifestyle February 9, 2011

this is such a beautiful post! i couldn’t agree with you more on everything!!!

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CathyK February 9, 2011

just – thank you, angela. this post today means so much.
it really speaks to my heart, and i just thank you.
(hug!)

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AGS February 9, 2011

I still periodically (well, frequently) get down on myself. One thing I realized is that I very quickly forget about the good (in whatever state that may be), and focus on the incomplete. That’s me — and that’s OK because I love always focusing on the next great thing — it really motivates me and makes me happy. But it can also drag me down. Way down.

One area that I’ve struggled with, has be achieving my private pilot’s license. Never mind that I doubled my salary in the last 2 years. Never mind I’m pregnant, bought a house, rented the condo, helped my mother-in-law with breast cancer, started a business on the side. . . etc., etc. I didn’t nail one thing I was really passionate about. And it sucks. And I’m embarrassed. I hate announcing to the world that I’m off to do something, and then not achieve it.

BUT, this week I changed my mind. I LOVE aviation. Why should I hang my head in shame that I didn’t get something done — I bought a plane and started a rental business (both incredibly difficult things to do with a highly federally-regulated capital asset). That’s pretty amazing. So, I opened up my flight training blog, and changed the focus — I determined I would simply write posts about what I *was* doing. I even uploaded posts which I didn’t feel were quite “complete”. So what? They are up. I feel great. And, not surprisingly, I feel that much more motivation to continue my flight lessons.

“Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements, and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end result of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.”
~ Eric Hoffer

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Alli February 9, 2011

Hi Angela, I think you would enjoy Martha Beck’s recent article in ‘O Magazine’, 20 Most Important Questions to ask yourself every day. She touches on those things that in our busy lives we quickly forget to ask ourselves when ‘life’ takes over. Hope you enjoy!- Alli

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 9, 2011

Thanks for the tip :) My grammie actually got me an Oprah mag subscription for Xmas so I will look forward to the article.

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Heather Griffith February 9, 2011

Sometimes I feel like finding your blog was one of those ‘meant to be’ moments in my life. I have found inspiration from you I have never found anywhere else, because you force me to look at myself first, when it has always been my last priority to even consider giving myself credit.

Thank you,
Heather Griffith

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 9, 2011

Thanks Heather :)

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Jill February 9, 2011

I used to always tell myself to just “do the best I can!” But as a perfectionist, that’s a tough motto to live by! One day my mom said, “how about you just aim to do the best you can…given the circumstances?” Suddenly that just made so much sense to me. I always think of that whenever I start to beat myself up about something that I could have done better on. Yeah, I could have done better on that assignment if I wasn’t working two jobs, or if I didn’t just have my heartbroken, or whatever else, but I did the best I could with what I had :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 9, 2011

I love that…it really clicks with me to!

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Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty February 9, 2011

Great post. The answer to your question: absolutely!!! But I would never change a thing and sometimes things that I thought were mistakes, were actually the best thing that ever happened to me.
I sometimes take too much personal responsibility for my life……it’s good to remember that I can’t control everything.

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Kimberly @ Im Not Done February 9, 2011

I also struggle a lot with anxiety. Lately the main sources have been 1) unfufilling career, which I am heavily invested in and 2) the pressure to start a family.

It’s so helpful just to hear that other people struggle with the same things!

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felicia February 9, 2011

This is such a wonderful post. Thank you…

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Kat February 9, 2011

I love reading these sort of posts you write! Ever since I discovered the blog about a week ago, I have tried to become more positive and hopeful about my situation. I try to tell myself not to look at someone who graduated with me and is successful at our mutual degree and be jealous. I tell myself(and try to believe) that those are the cards dealt to her and she is one of the lucky ones, but it has nothing to do with my life and should not affect how I shape my life, my life is blessed in many other ways, and I should not over look them.
I am afraid I may get laid off from my job soon and I am just wondering when. A part of me thinks it will be a great open door that I should run through, while the other part of me wonders how I will manage without money and if I will return back to that state of sadness I felt after graduation? It frightens me. I have admitted to myself recently that this job is a crutch only holding me up and I seriously need to take the leap of faith and let go. I just doubt myself too much.
But I hope that continuing to read these posts and trying to keep my head high and thinking positive, I can get where I truly want to go.
I am just glad that it is so easy to share here. I don’t feel like my friends want to hear me vent or cry about how I feel. And I really don’t like that feeling…. But this blog has really made me think about what I deserve and how to move forward from here.

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 9, 2011

This is such a wonderful post Angela – you really do have such a lovely way with words :)

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Katie February 9, 2011

Great post! So many of your posts are great reminders to me of why I chose to make the career change that I did. I should really try to develop some of these self-reflection skills! Glad to know that your journey has taken you to a place where you are happy; its encouraging to those of us still in the middle of ours!

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Jenna February 9, 2011

Such a great post! I think no matter where you are in your life (happy or not), you can still relate to this post. Really enjoyed it!

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Tegan February 9, 2011

Angela, your posts always make my day a better place.
I’m currently struggling through a Masters program right now, I’ve moved away from home to live with my partner, my parents have moved to the states and all my friends are off in different places. It’s been a tough time. I’ve been following your blog for the past few months and reading about your challenges and how you have overcome them certainly gives me strength during these days when I find myself reading endless amounts of theory that I really could care less about. Your Daily Glow posts are also awesome at helping me find a ray of sunshine in what so often appears to be a cloudy sky, and your delicious recipes make me feel great as I struggle to learn how to be a healthy vegetarian/wannabe vegan.
Thank you for sharing your struggles, it is indeed important to just talk.
All the best,

Tegan

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Baking 'n' Books February 9, 2011

Do you plan to continue with your program Tegan – are you happy with it?

That’s what I wonder sometimes…how do you know if you just need to push through or realize it’s not right?

I asked myself that a year into my program and was told just to push through.
That was a huge mistake.

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Clare @ Fitting It All In February 9, 2011

One of my greatest learning experiences was not being offered a full time position after a summer internship. I was devastated and in tears for days. But really, it was a blessing in disguise. I hated the internship, but felt like I had to love it. I would have taken the job because it was the appropriate thing to do, not because it was what was best for me. I only hated being told no, and now I’ve realized I need to take the time to evaluate what I truly want!

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Denise February 9, 2011

Thank you Angela, Thank you! I appreciate your honesty and I recognize it so much. The smile on my face, everything is always “perfect” and not wanting to share my struggles. I’m getting better each day, one of the most important things recovery has taught me. I’m thankful for this post, because it reminds me of this important subject. Some other things:
1. I loved point 6, chocolate makes everything better;)
2. if you visit Europe again, please let me know!
3. You rock and you can be so proud of yourself! You really inspire so many people…

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