December 30th, 2011
Happy (almost) New Year ! So how are you feeling? Are you ready for a new you in 2012? January 1st will be here soon and you know that means – pow, in an instant your life will be better. You will now have the discipline to meet all your goals for the first time ever. It is time for the new you to emerge, as the old you – well, don’t get me started. I often wonder why I sometimes feel a little out of sorts right before January 1st, but when I actually take the time to reflect on all the media messaging over the past week (right after the last ad hits encouraging me to spend all my money on holiday gifts) it is no wonder that this time of year can bring on internal conflict. On the one hand there are all these great images of family, fun and festivities and then BAM – right away we are being told, we are not thin enough, smart enough, BUT come January 1st your life will change as you are now going to be a NEW YOU. Not improved you, different you, you with a more positive outlook on life – no this is time for a completley NEW you.
I am sitting here on December 30th, just 24 hours shy of New Year and the normal internal dialog that I seem to have this time every year is rearing its head. I am happy to admit it is not nearly as strong a voice as in past years, and so in turn I have to believe that maybe I am beginning to actually practice what I encourage others to do. That is to live a life filled with gratitude and compassion. And for me the challenge has been compassion for myself. “Hi my name is Petra Kolber and I am a recovering perfectionist” In years past I have spent way too much time beating myself up for things that I may have not done “perfectly” but what I have lived to understand is that perfection is boring, and a rather ridiculous goal to have. These days I live to “do the best I can and to not look back” Do my absolute best, my 150% best, complete the task at hand and then move on. I think I can honestly say that I have managed to do that a little better in 2011 than in years past. For that I say thank you.
In turn I am so blessed to be with an incredible partner Michael Port who challanges me to truly live a life where I think bigger about who I am and my place in this world. A year or so before I actually met Michael in person I had read his book The Think Big Manifesto, which resonated deeply with me. It was all about thinking bigger, living bigger and leaving the world a better place. I try to live like this on a daily basis but this also means living fearlessly. Not the type of fearless where you put your life, or the life of others in danger, but the type of fearless where you challenge your ego on a daily basis and make choices that are going to push you to expand your capacity and threshold for fear and the willingness to fail. So I do remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have bumped into him as I was stepping off an elevator in Miami a few years back One floor higher, or one minute later, this chapter of my life may have been a very different story.For that I say to Michael and to the universal law of timing – thank you.
My definition of failure has changed dramatically over 2011 and for that I am very grateful. Today my definition of failure is if in my later years I am living with the “what if” disease. Meaning what if I lived my life making safe choices and in turn left myself asking, What if I had tried that project ? What if I had moved across country? What if I had offered opportunities to others who are better suited for that project? What if I had attached my name to start up companies who are trying to do things differently? etc. Right now as I sit here I can honestly say that in 2011 I have no “what ifs” For that I say thank you.
I also sit here knowing that there is definitely room for growth in many areas of my life. Patience with those I love. Not taking anything personally. Taking the time to take care of myself physically. Turning off the computer after 5pm (OK 6pm) Being fully present in every moment, to name a few. However this does not mean a new me, it just means expanding my thoughts on what is possible and then putting the action behind those steps to create an even more amazing life. So how about we resolve to not limit our self by resolutions but to expand our potential for living by encouraging each other to move beyond the fear. Fear less, love more. Fear less, live more. Fear less be more. Lets drop the cycle of fear and regret and shift into the process of fearless living. As the author Guy Finley reminds us “What’s needed is a whole new way to ask life what we really want-to live from an unshakable self that cannot be made to act against itself, or anyone else. Your true self is the unshakable ground over which all “waves” of thoughts and feelings both move and break.” For that reminder I say thank you.
I want to close my 2011 by thanking you. Thank you for your support in my work, my workouts and my ramblings May you move into 2012 knowing that you truly are remarkable. Together let’s embrace 2012 and all the opportunities is will give us to learn more, grow more, love more. Let this be the year where you give wings to your dreams, put the wind of action beneath them and soar.
September 13th, 2011
Hmmm. so do you ever get one of those days when you wake up and just feel a little blue? Not lie under the covers, eat bon bons all day and go through a box of Kleenex blue, just a little out of sorts. One of those mornings when you feel a little “lost” and your sense of purpose and vision feels challenged.
Well I had one of those mornings today. Man I really get mad at myself when I wake up “knowing” that I am blessed but “feeling” out of sorts. Nothing triggered it (well OK maybe the hormones-but I don’t think so) but I knew it was either going to be a day in the doldrums or a change of direction was needed to shift Petra into her well known peppy self.
On a daily basis people ask me if I ever get mad or sad or the such. On stage, in class and around the people I meet in my career I am 100% my authentic self. What you see on stage is what you see off stage. BUT I always remember something I heard at my very first workshop that I went to over 20 years ago. The workshop was being held at The Molly Fox Studio and was being led by the always incredible Lynne Brick. I took something home that day, that I still repeat in all my workshops, “No-one is paying to see your bad day”
That is a statement I think of every day. I honestly can say that every time I have taught at a convention, in a class and whether it be to 5 or 500, I leave my day and my story at the door. However what can one do when that alarm goes off and we wake up feeling a little down.
Petra’s Tips For a One to One Pep Rally
1. Acknowledge what you are feeling. If you try and push the feelings away without sitting with them for a moment, you will not be able to move through them.
2. Give yourself 5 minutes to feel blue and wallow
3. OK – Time is up.
4. Put on your favorite song – I tell you it is impossible to feel blue when you have a red hot tune playing. Some of my all time blue buster favorites are:
Lovely Day – Bill Withers
Move Like Jagger – Maroon 5
September – Earth Wind and Fire
Tightrope – Janelle Monae
Love on Top – Beyonce
Hey Soul Sister – Train
You and Me – Dave Matthews Band – for a super charge – watch the live version from VH1 - tell me you did not get the biggest smile on your beautiful face at 2.55
5. Know that you are not alone. There is a difference to being alone and feeling lonely. It is OK to have ups and downs. If life is even keel – status quo – while you may miss the lows, you will also miss celebrating and savoring the sweet highs of life.
6. Try not to numb the blues with food, pills or the like. We have become so used to medicating our feelings that on the days we have a natural shift in our mood we automatically reach for something to push it away (back to step 1) HOWEVER there is a difference between feeling a little out of sorts to taking action under guidance if your fears or blues are making your world smaller.
7. Change your surroundings. Move into a diferent room (not the kitchen) or get out of the house for a 5 minute walk.
8. Look at something beautiful. A flower, a picture of your family, your best friend, a picture of you on vacation.
9. Sit with your pet.
10. Listen to Dave Matthews again.
11. Get up and MOVE. I am a huge believer that if used wisely – exercise is one of the best ways to get out of our heads and into our bodies. One of the fastest way I know to shake the blues off is to dance them away.
12. Reach out to someone who needs help – it will remind us of how lucky we are, even on the down days.
13. Remember to ask yourself “Will this matter a year from now?” As well written by Richard Carlson in the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
Then as I said in a previous post – remind yourself that when the “to do” lists feel overwhelming and the commitments seem too many – flip the switch. Instead of telling yourself that today is a day you “have” to do all these things, remind yourself that today is the day you “get” to do all these things.
Have at it, and have a FABULOUS day.
September 6th, 2011
It feels like the first day of school is happening tomorrow. After a long hiatus from teaching on a weekly schedule (due to a coast to coast move, coupled with a busier than normal convention and travel schedule) Wednesday morning at 9am at Equinox I return to the place where my career began, the group ex room.
It amazes me and also thrills me, that I still get so nervous to stand in front of a group of people that I do not yet know. They still have to learn how charming I can be, how much I really care about them . Tomorrow I go into that class as the new kid on the block. As I pack my bag with my favorite CD’s and my Ipod Touch ready to hit it with slamming songs and moves, I also am packing my ego. What happens if they don’t care for my style? If they do not get my sense of humor (I am British after all) and perhaps their idea of a top 40 hit is very different to mine. Hey we can argue the best way to do a squat all day, but if the music is not to your liking it could be hello and goodbye. Just so you are prepared, I have been known to throw a little Katy Perry into the mix but it is always followed up by some Maroon 5.
So I got to thinking. If I am this nervous with over 20 years of teaching under my belt and leg warmers. And with 15 of those years being in studios across the country and around the globe, how on earth must someone feel when they come into a gym or a class for the first time? HELLO – wake up call.
I am going to share an absolute truth with you right now. The FIRST thing that I felt when I saw my name on the schedule was PANIC. This panic is over a thought that I had. The thought being that I should be in better shape than I currently am, to walk into that room as the new kid. Yes I know it’s ridiculous, but to justify my insanity, I have been so busy consulting on a big project and traveling so much, that my regular fitness routine has gotten put on the side for the past three months. Craziness aside, if I am questioning how fit I “feel” to be able to walk into a gym for the first time where no one knows me, how on earth must the average customer feel.
So as I sit with this new realization of just how far removed we may be as an industry to the feelings and fears of the average consumer, I have a renewed respect for my audience. A respect that I give to those students who have known me from my classes in NYC circa 2000, to those new peeps I am excited to meet tomorrow, but perhaps more importantly those students who I have YET to meet.
If you are someone, or if you know of someone who has still to take those steps towards living a healthier lifestyle, and especially if you are anywhere near Greenwich Avenue NYC on Wednesdays, I am waiting for you. I am here with an open hand to say, together we can do this. No judgements, no expectations, just a space where together we can learn from each other. I can show you ways to keep your workouts safe, effective and interesting and you can teach me how to speak a language that you understand. Together we can talk about your needs and desires, so that I can be sure to adapt my workouts. This way YOU always leave feeling successful. IMAGINE that together we can do great things.
Are you ready? Drop me a note at Petra@petrakolber.com – see you soon.
September 2nd, 2011
Those of you who know me, also know that I am not a huge fan of numbers. The numbers game can be a tricky one. For many of us it can represent the scale, the size of our jeans and often times that rolls over into the size (or lack of) our self esteem.
However there is one place where I LOVE the numbers game, and that is in our community and how we interact with those around us. The greater the number of people in our circle, whether it be in relation to family, work, health or hobbies, the more opportunities we have to learn, share and in turn expand and grow. When it comes to moving through life and living up to our potential, it is much more fun and also oftentimes easier if we reach out, engage with, and connect to those around us.
Today’s list is inspired by my incredible boyfriend Michael Port who is one of the most generous people I know when it comes to reaching out to help others reach their potential. He also is never afraid to say “I don’t know” and then reach out to someone who does.
Getting Connected and Jump Starting Your Fall
1. Never be afraid to ask The Why, The Where or The How. I think many of us believe that our questions may be silly, or we should know the answer. When was the last time your child asked for more information about a book, or something that you said? Probably 5 minutes ago. When did we begin to think that asking for help made us “less than” Never forget there is never such thing as a stupid question – well I am sure you can think of a couple - but you get my drift. And if you are around people who postion themselves in a way that makes you feel that your questions are “silly” my guess is that they are the ones who are afraid of not knowing the answer. And you may want to consider what role they play when it comes to your sense of self.
2. Reach Out and Touch ……. Can you tell Diana Ross is playing on Pandora. Is there a person or group of people who you have been wanting to get to know on a deeper level, and for whatever reason have not reached out to? It could be someone you see in your regular yoga class, a new neighbour who just moved in, someone at work who inspires you, or a group that meets on a regular basis. What is the worst thing that could happen if you reached out to them to see if they would want to grab a cup of coffee with you? We talk about the power of community on a daily basis. But what is so sad, is that our communities are online and not in life. We can spend 60 minutes on Facebook but not take 30 minutes to connect with someone face to face.
3. Share Your Knowledge – Freely and without expectations of anything in return. When is the last time someone may have reached out to you for help? If it was in an area that had to do with work and sharing knowledge that could help them move up and out in their career – did you have a fleeting moment of thinking ”Well if I share what I know, well then maybe they will ……………………” and we can all fill in those blanks. Knowledge is not something to be owned – it is not something to hold onto and covet. Knowledge is only useful if it enables an action to take place, whether that action in your own life of in the life of others. Knowledge without action = just a bunch of words in our head.
Action Steps To Getting Connected.
1. Make a list of 5 people you would like to connect with on a deeper level.
2. Once a month reach out to one of those people – if you don’t have their contact info – check Facebook !
3. Be specific in the area of help that you need. Be prepared in your questions and be mindful of their time.
4. If they step up and spend time helping you – even for 5 minutes, send a Thank you note. The note should be hand written, sent via snail mail and with NO business card inside.
5. Once a month set aside 4 hours of your time (1 hour a week) to help someone else reach their potential. This help should come with no strings attached and no sense of expectations.
As Rodney Williams said, “Every day you have the opportunity to learn and experience some-thing and some-one new. Seize the opportunity. Learn and experience everything you can, and use it to change the world.”
September 1st, 2011
As I woke up this morning and walked outside I quickly realized that summer was softly beginning to say goodbye and the cooler days of fall were upon us. September rolls around, bringing with it new commitments of school, family and more to do lists than ever.
I am one who falls into the trap of lists. These lists often lead to a sense of accomplishment or disappointment depending on how many checks I have at the end of the day. Here is the thing, up until last month that list was in my head! So you can only guess how successful I was.Here are some things that I have learnt from my own humble experience, and ways I have managed to control expectations while limiting disappointments as I reach for even greater dreams.
7 Tips for Super Sensational September.
1. Get Organized – That cannot happen in your head. Get out the pen and paper and every morning spend 5 minutes writing down your daily action list.
2. Make Yourself a Priority – Yes you heard me. You have to take care of you. Write down the one thing that you need to do today to make yourself feel at your most vibrant and powerful. Now put that at the TOP of your list.
3. Short and Sweet – Limit your list to 5 action items. There is nothing stopping you from making another afternoon list once you blast through your morning.
4. Gratitude – After each item is taken care of, take a moment to let yourself appreciate the work you just did to move that item on your list from a note to a check mark.
5. Relevancy - Make your list relevant to actions that you can to today. Actions that have the ability to affect your future. Any step that relies on another person to help make that action step move from a thought to a reality can be put on a “connector list” – I will talk about that in my next Blog. (I promise it will be before the end of this month:)
6. You’re Amazing – OK that does not have much to do with the list, but thought now is a good time to remind you.
7. FLIP THE SWITCH – as you look at the next item on your list, flip the switch from thinking that these are things that you HAVE to do – to these are things that you GET to do!
Here is to a Super Sensational September.
August 30th, 2011
They say that the first step with anything if often the most difficult. For me, one of the most challenging steps is navigating the world of social media on an ongoing basis. As you can see by the date of my previous post, Blogs and tweets have been a sore spot for me. I do enjoy Facebook and realized that the main reason for this is that I have an understanding of how it works. In addition I also get instant feedback in the form of “likes” ( I delete the others:) and “comments from my friends”. But the main reason I enjoy FB is because I understand it and there is zero overwhelm. For me Twitter seems a little sterile and Blogging, while I love to write, I still am overwhelmed by this new (although not really that new) culture, that kind of left me behind. So I got to thinking that I am sure that is just the way many of you feel when it comes to exercise, to working out or to that thing you have been told that you need to do by your doctor. When we may know of the benefits, it can be challenging to take the steps we need to take for our health (or in my case to connect with my peeps on a regular basis) when we cannot “feel” or see that instant feedback. Put that on top of the incredible overwhelm of noise, in the terms of constant opinions, videos, downloads, uploads, tweets, posts, magazines, television and the such – no wonder so many of us are at stand still.
So I am making a commitment out loud to show up here on a regular basis, to perhaps give you some encouragement, some feedback, or some small tips that may make that strange and confusing world seem a little more warm and fuzzy. While they say the first steps are often the hardest, these will be some steps we can take together that will reap huge rewards.
Let’s Go for it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 1st, 2010
Yes I know it has been a long, long time since I last dropped in. I am really working on getting more in touch with this type of communication and connection. Hopefully you will see an improvement in the time lapses in between my posts. However I think this was worth waiting for.
Together with Yes Fitness Music and Lolo, I have created an app for the iphone and ipod touch (second generation or higher) that is PITCH CONTROL in the palm of your hands. We released it just over 2 weeks ago, and within the first three days of being launched, Tempo Magic Pro was listed in the Top 20 paid for music applications. How cool is that?
To see how the app works click on the link Tempo Magic Pro. I hope you are excited as I am about this incredible tool that will enhance your workouts. Whether you run, walk, dance or step for your exercise and whether you are an instructor, coach or fitness enthusiast, this app will help you stay motivated and inspired every step of the way.
April 27th, 2010
So this post is by me:) This morning my sister had to be up for some work related e mails back in the US. So we were up around 5am. I have to say that as of today, ZERO jet lag – yipee. Anyway camera in hand I decided to head over to the Sydney Opera House. Our hotel is only about 5 minutes away and the weather was already perfect.
I think if I was to reinvent myself it would be as a photographer. Taking pictures is almost like a meditation for me. It places me completely in the present moment and moves me out of my head and into my heart. I walked around Circular Quay and over to the Sydney Opera House. As I was walking up to this majestic piece of architecture I was struck by the calm and quiet of the morning and also thrilled that I would be able to get pictures of this masterpiece with not one tourist (which would also include me) in the picture. After taking several shots I turned the corner to head up into the Botanical Gardens only to be stopped in my tracks by the most breathtaking sunrise. It was so so beautiful that it did two things. It reminded me of the power and magic of the moment and also of just how amazing my life is and has been. I have been so fortunate to have traveled pretty much all over the world, both for work and for pleasure. I think that traveling is one of life’s gifts. Being able to visit a different part of the world enables us to perhaps visit parts of ourselves that we may have forgotten about. I have found that many of my life “realizations” have happened away from home and on the road.
Even though we all live in different parts of the world, we all long to belong, even though we speak different languages we all desire to be heard and on one side of the world as the sun is rising, our hearts beat as one as the sun is setting around the globe. Together we take collective breaths,and together we exhale. Together we can do magic.
This morning I was reminded of the magnificence of life and just how truly blessed I am. Thank you universe for the gift of my friends, my career, my health and my life journey that is only getting better and better with every step I take.
April 27th, 2010
G’day mate. This Blog was written by my dear sister Jennie. We will be sharing the Blog during the trip down under. I will write at the top of each entry who wrote each Blog at the beginning of each new post. I hope you enjoy hearing about our adventures.
So, we land on Sunday morning at 6.00 am and it has a very surreal sense. I know I am in Sydney but somehow my brain is still thinking—Now what happened to Saturday again? So, we hop in a cab and quickly learn it is ANZAC day a HUGE holiday of enormous proportion, more on that later. So we get to the hotel and Petra’s fine hunting skills spots a Starbuck cup, with cheetah like speed she intercepts the human vessel carrying the equivalent, at this point, of the holy grail and ask the critical question. “Where did you get that?” This was an intuitive gentleman and sensing the impending danger to his hand holding the coffee, he quickly responded with “Just on the corner, you make a right out the door and it’s just there to the left.“ So, crisis averted, we completed check in and headed to the first room, anyone that knows my sister knows what comes next! It was actually a huge victory had that day with only one room change being required. Now, I’m not going to deny if I had been on my own I would have done the exact same thing but when your with my sister you just know it’s going to happen so no effort needed from me. To explain we are staying in the Marriot Circular Quay with views of either Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge. What was our view? A conglomeration of unknown buildings at this point under a grey sky, now city views in New York are great because from every angle there is a landmark building, Sydney not so much. So, one phone call later, a very friendly bell hop moved us and our luggage to a room on the 27th floor with a wonderful view of the Opera House, oh yes one small detail and extra $50 AUD a night but that’s a no brainer. Given the pending threat of jet lag, we decide to get out of the room as quickly as possible. I grab every guide book published by Frommers this century and we head to Starbucks. Just as we walk through the door someone grabbed the Primo table which had just been vacated, I scan the room and all that is left is the worst seat in the house, a communal bench next to the fixings table, but we needed to rest our legs, so Petra heads for the coffees and I go and grab the seats, we are a well oiled machine in this department. Now, usual coffee house stuff happens, nothing of note for about the next 10 minutes. Me I am plotting the attack strategy we always use for each city—Pick the things you really want to do slot them into days and then your trip is a no brainer Petra doing her best to fain interest, this is her equivalent of the room change for me, I really like the results, would do it myself but have no need because I have a sister with this particular expertise. As I am diligently trying to figure out where the zoo which you can have a picture taken with a Koala is, my sisters choice, she is texting America. Now, in normal American unlimited texting world the next question doesn’t really seem a logical thing to be wondering about at 9.30 am half way around the world, however my sister has purchased a 50 text plan for this trip so every text counts. With this in mind she looks at me and asks,
“How many words can you put in a text?”
I answer “It’s 160 characters.”
Petra now looks at me and asks, “Why do you know that?” Momentary pause as she interprets the look on my face, “ Does everybody just know that?”
I say, “I think everyone just knows that,” I turn to the gentleman on my left and say, “you knew that right?”
“Yes” he answered, “but I thought it was 140.”
Then he starts explaining to my sister how it doesn’t matter IPhone to IPhone as it will stay as a single text. Oh yes how true in IPhone world but I would like to see that argument being used to AT&T! Anyway, in the mean time I am checking my inferior Blackberry and pull up my SMS and it does have 1/160 so I show him and he goes,
“Oh you’re one of those.”
Silent rant inside Jennie’s head, yes, I am one of those always curious people who if in doubt have to check so I will have the right answer next time. Hence, why I knew it was 160 characters!!!! And I know your thinking I just always have little Miss have to be right which is a little true so that stings. But, out of my mouth comes the Get out of Jail Free card, “Maybe there are different formats.” I mean we are in Australia after all and things could be different!
Now, at this juncture my sister rapidly leaves the table. For what reason we are not going to discuss here but me and the mystery man are left chatting.
Anyway, turns out he is in Sydney as backing vocals for Tears for Fears. “Would you like to go tonight?” he asked. I immediately say “Yes” then realize I better check with Petra as our original plans had been an early dinner at the Rocks and then bed by 9! She sits down and I say,
“This gentleman,” turn to the left “what is your name by the way? “Michael” he said. “Michael is here touring with Tears For Fears and has invited us to the concert tonight.”
Without hesitation my sister says, “Yes.” And that is how we ended up at Tears for Fears and also backstage after!
Huge thank you to Michael Wainwright the man with amazing vocal cords, you must all go check him out on You Tube and then head to itunes and buy his songs. What a kind gesture to offer two strangers you had only just met the chance of a life time because they are women of a certain age that would know who “Tears for Fears” are and look trendy enough still to have been fans of theirs back in 19xx.
April 20th, 2010
So I am almost 72 hours away from driving to LAX to meet my sister. It is on trips like this that my many miles of flying and weekends away from home (almost) seem like a fair trade. Thanks to my free miles I am managing to fly my sister and upgrade myself to first class on Delta. Which basically means I get to sleep lying down!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I honestly could not care less about the food, the movies or the free slippers, but give me a flat bed – yes you heard it – FLAT – completely horizontal – well I am in heaven.
I still have a few (very important) things to do before I leave. Number one is watching the Madonna tribute episode of Glee tonight:) Many of you are aware of my slight obsession with this show. I was trying to pinpoint what it was that “sang” to me, so to “speak” I think it is the sheer joy one feels when watching this show and of course the memories it brings back to anyone who was in musical theater. This show captures those memorable moments that we all have had growing up. Some amazingly joyous and some incredibly painful. How I survived my teenage years without too much baggage I am still not sure (those around me may not feel the same way)
I am also using this particular post to test my photo uploads. One of my passions is photography. To me a picture can speak a 1000 words and so I am hoping to upload many pictures during my trip down under. Let’s see if it works.
In gratitude always, Petra