What’s your tell?

TahoeYesterday, while it was blazing hot at home, my husband and I headed up to Truckee for the afternoon to hang out with my folks. It’s beautiful up there 100% of the time and yesterday was no exception. We headed to Lake Tahoe for an afternoon cocktail cruise. Perfect way to spend the afternoon. The water was about as smooth as Tahoe can be. But that hasn’t always been the case.

We’ve been out on the lake times where we were just trying to stay ahead of a storm. Having gone out on a summer day when it was clear and then had a storm come in. The water gets choppy, the clouds roll in, the wind kicks up. All signs that this sea sickness prone girl does not want to be on the water. If we ignore those signs, we’re in for a rough ride.

I was thinking the other day about those signs in my life that tell me I’m in for a rough ride. Every Saturday I have coffee with a girlfriend and we were talking about this a few weeks ago. By choice, I try not to use profanity. But I’m not gonna lie, there are times when it slips out. Rarely audibly, but in my head. I was telling her about that and she said the same thing happens to her and called it her tell. She knows when she’s getting stressed or out of sorts when she starts to use profanity. Usually, the worst I hear out of her is “coconuts,” it’s a catch all. I love it, if I’m being honest.

That concept stuck with me. We all have tells. In poker, it’ll kill your bluff. But it life? In life we often ignore them. And we shouldn’t. Those tells, the red flag warnings, they tell us that we’re off kilter, there’s something in our life that is causing misalignment with who we are, who we aspire to be.

For me, yes, there’s the in my head cursing – but honestly, I try to keep that to a minimum – mostly though it’s my body. My body speaks to me. It tells me and shows me when I’m out of alignment. I have some wonky health challenges and most of them are provoked by stress. I’m not making that up. I see it externally in the form of exhaustion, amongst other things, constant exhaustion.

In reality, it’s proven that our bodies are the best indication of what’s really going on in our lives. We hold past hurts, emotions, stress, anxieties in our body. And those things can cause a wide range of health problems. Our body is the tell.

So why don’t I listen? In my opinion…because our brains make us think we can handle it. Our brains tell us to ignore the symptoms, whether it’s challenges with our body, or any other “tell” we have that we’re out of alignment. In the moment, it’s rare that we take the time to pause and contemplate why we’re seeing the signs that we do. But we should.

And we should not only pay attention, but actually do something about it. Look at what is causing the dissonance, the rumbling, the tell. Maybe we’re engaged in activities that rub up on our values. Or we have situations in our life that are chipping away at us every day, where we’re having to do some heavy lifting to keep the peace. Whatever it is, take steps to create a different situation so that you can bring yourself back in alignment.

That’s not always easy. I find that talking to someone about it helps…a lot! That can be coffee talk, it could be a coach – like me, it could be a trusted advisor, or a therapist – depending on what you’re going through. It requires being open to taking a hard look – and being honest with yourself. For me, I know when I’m not living my authentic life, I start to see signs. What I need to do, what you need to do may be different, but I think it comes back to being authentic. Knowing who I am, who I want to be – who God calls me to be – and taking steps to be there.

So today, I invite you to think about your tell, your red flag warning. If there’s something in your life that’s out of alignment, you’re likely already calling it out, in your actions or in your body. Once you see it, what are you going to do it about it? That’s up to you but do something. I know you’re brave my friends, and you’re worth it.


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