Activation Energy – A Personal Pep Talk

Part of my word-of-the-year includes the concept of activating. To SOAR, you need to take that first step, that leap of faith, that jump into the unknown.   I am finding it hard to activate some long-held to-do activities.

This blog is a personal pep talk on discovering why I can’t take that first step, and then figuring how to implement more activation energy.

First, I have reviewed that these activity ideas fit my values and they are in areas of interest.   Why do I hesitate to purchase the Groupon for the activity (the one I’ve got high on my bucket list) so long that it’s no longer on sale? Or wait so long to sign up for the class (another bucket list item, and this time with friends!) that it’s sold out?  Or the sale date on that expensive trip I want to take passes? (And then say I won’t book it because it’s too expensive!)  Why do I put off searching on Meet-up for like minded folks and plan some no/low-charge activities in things of interest like bird watching?  Yes, I just keep putting off things I am interested in trying even when the opportunity is there!

Second,  I looked at what could be diminishing my activation energy?  What is holding me back; why am I not just doing it?

Is it just too many options? Do I have analysis paralysis because there are so many things I could do? And yet there is also nothing that I feel really passionate about. Too much – maybe. Interested in – yes. Passionate – no.  So, this is a little bit of the why.

Is it my Inner Voice screaming fear of failure? Will doing (and failing at) this activity prove that I am, in fact, an Imposter, not competent, not good enough, not worthy. The voice that says “It is better not to try than to prove to the world that I’m not good enough”. I think THIS IS IT!  I think I am afraid of failure.  Afraid of not meeting expectations. Afraid of being proven not good enough.

Does knowing the big issue help? Can I change the self-limiting thought?  Can I boost  activation energy to getting things started if I recognize the fear?

For years I’ve called myself a latent adventurer.   I often struggled with doing adventurous things by myself. Possibly because of fear of failure, I planned things to death. I believe I always had to find that high activation energy to get things planned and done.   Taken that big breath (and intense planning) before the leap into the unknown.  Yet, I have done some amazing things in my life. I wondered if looking back at a personal highlight reel of my life experiences would help me activate more activities moving forward.


  • I’ve walked on the Great Wall of China, dined alone in a sidewalk café in Paris, stood in the center of Red Square, been to a desert oasis dinner in the Mideast, stood on the Equator, visited all 50 US states, and gone on an African safari.
  • I’ve jet-skied, zip-lined, taken up yoga & zumba, done a hot air balloon ride, and learned SUP — all after turning age 50.
  • On most foods-you-should-eat-before-you-die lists, I’m usually hitting 80-90%. (I’m a foodie, what can I say!)
  • I’ve sailed up the New England Coast, hiked in multiple National Parks, and coached Junior Olympic volleyball (at 5’2” and not a natural athlete).
  • I had a 30+ year career with a well-known MegaCorp, rising in a technical area where few women were successful.

Basically, I’ve done some amazing things and NOT FAILED.

I need to give myself permission to try something new. To possibly fail, but to more probably succeed. And I need to be OK with the attempt. I need to change the tapes in my head.


Moving forward this year, I will push towards an activation mindset by continuing to build a foundation of self-care & self-discovery with daily healthy lifestyle choices. And then, I will push to soar even higher with new activities building on some basic goal setting skills. It’s time to get going on setting up the attic office, exercising daily, and cooking more often. I need to pick one of the things I’ve always wanted to do and just try it – take that glass blowing class, get involved in birding, explore jewelry making, find a local book club. And then pick another.


My Daily, Healthy Lifestyle Choices:

  • Eat healthy, nutrient rich foods – schedule shopping trips to buy the right foods, plan to cook more.
  • Move every day – yoga, walk, Zumba.
  • Comfort myself with coziness – warm throws, sitting in the sun, reading novels, crosswords, reading blogs – these are part of self-care and should not be viewed as wasted time.
  • Use journaling to continue introspection for mindfulness – practice positivity, find joy in each day, have an attitude of gratitude, use affirmations.
  • Connect with others – keep scheduling the walk & talks, dinner dates, fun with friends, time with Tim.
  • Get outside in nature – walk outside, bike, hike.
  • Continue to write. It’s the area I know I experience flow – a key sign of passion.


Push to Soar – Life by design, not default:

  • More affirmations – I am living an active, vibrant lifestyle that embodies the interests I love and expresses the person I want to be.
  • Break down the tasks into achievable steps with realistic goals & put them on the calendar.
    • Plan 1-2 mini-adventures a month. Look at Meet-up for a spring birding event!
    • Just order the next Groupon of interest!  Don’t think – just order it.
    • Shop for fresh fruit every other week and plan to cook once a week.
  • Reward mini-milestones, the effort, the journey, and not just the endpoint
    • Set up the attic office to create new spaces for hobbies – and then buy a new impractical ottoman for the space!


I need to change my self-limiting belief to activate the activities I want in my retirement lifestyle.  What’s stopping you from soaring to your heart’s content?


Picture Credit: created with picture from

21 thoughts on “Activation Energy – A Personal Pep Talk

  1. In most cases, I don’t have an activation problem. For example, in December of 2016, I decided that I had had enough of our current bedroom configuration. I immediately called a designer/architect we know and by March 2017, we had a remodeled master suite. This past fall, I decided that Jackie and I needed to take that New England trip we had always talked about, so I called a travel planner we know and our accommodations are all set. I have come to firmly believe that you will regret more the things you don’t do than the things you choose to do (given the usual provisos that the things you choose are moral, ethical and not financially ruinous of course). That helps me not to hesitate.

    Most of what keeps me from getting a lot done in my areas of interest is that I have too many areas of interest! I attribute a lot of it to my ENFP nature. I am like you in that I am not really passionate about anything in particular (though I probably come close on wine appreciation). However, my interest is piqued by many things [music (making and listening), cooking, building/making (of many kinds), reading, travel, word games, etc.] so I have a hard time focusing on any one of them for any length of time. I suppose maybe that’s not terrible as long as I don’t beat myself up for not getting things done so quickly.

    As a chemist, I am very familiar with the concept of activation energy. It is the barrier that must be overcome in order for a reaction to take place. Sometimes that barrier is small and easy to surmount. Other times, the activation energy is massive. In many of these cases, chemists design catalysts to effectively lower (by providing a new reaction pathway) that activation energy and allow the reaction to take place in a much more facile manner. Perhaps you need to find your “catalyst”. Think about trying on my assertion that you will regret more the things you don’t do than the things you choose to do. Maybe that will help. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m working on finding my own version of catalyst. (You totally get the analogy.) It’s what my word of the year is …giving me a daily boost as far as mental stimulation/ daily assertion. To SOAR, you need to activate! It’s helping – I’ve booked more activities to explore in the last few weeks than I have in the last year. Little steps, but good ones.


  2. Hi, Pat – I agree with the others — you have accomplished so many truly amazing things. I liked your pep-talk and look forward to reading your activities and adventures ahead. Congratulations on booking the April Food Event. That’s awesome!


  3. Hey Pat, I hear your frustration. As our synchronous lives would have it, I just finished reading a book about this very topic. and will now move it way up on my list of future blog topics. I’ll write about it next Thursday.
    In the meantime, I hope you enjoy glass blowing.I did it on my 50th birthday and loved it. It was a bit intimidating – that oven is HOT and the rod feels a bit heavy and unwieldy occasionally – but then that’s why we are doing these things, right Pat? So we can SOAR. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, Now you have me awaiting your next post! What a teaser campaign.

      I’ve found my personal pep talk has been helpful. I’ve also booked us into a foodie event in April (one I’ve looked at for probably 4 years now!). I’ll need to re-read my own blog every couple of weeks to keep me activating!


  4. Pat you have accomplished a ton of things (so many more than me!) I think recognizing the areas that we are too scared to tackle is the first step in moving forward. Sometimes we need to give ourself permission to not do it all – maybe just pick one or two things at a time to make it less daunting. I’m looking forward to watching what you achieve throughout the year – you’ll be inspiring the rest of us! Thanks so much for linking up with us at #MLSTL – I’ve shared this on my SM and hope you enjoy commenting on and sharing some of the other bloggers’ posts. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, Stop the comparison right now! I’m know for sure there are things about you that I (and others) admire! Your social media savvy is one… I attempted to share a post from MSTL and am not at all sure it worked… the first week I couldn’t even link my post… I have a dismal capability for social media!

      Thanks for the reminder to just pick one of two things…. and I am trying to be be choosy.


  5. You’ve done a lot and I’m sure you have many more adventures in your future. I often have a hard time pulling the trigger (buying tickets, booking hotels, making reservations) too, but I don’t think it’s fear of failing… for me it’s more just procrastination. Believe me, I’ve missed more that my share of deals by putting things off.

    Good for you for booking your glass blowing class! I hope you have as much fun as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have done some amazing things, Pat. I can relate to the overthinking part and hesitating to pull the trigger. Good on you for buying the Groupon and calling to book it! Sometimes you have to allow yourself to be a beginner. You can’t get good at some things if you’re not willing to be bad at them first. Who knows, you might find a new passion or make a new friend. Thanks for being willing to share your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Pat what an amazing adventure your life has been so far and thank you for reminding me that I too have visited many places and done achieved things – like running my first marathon at 55 years old. Since I retired I felt lost and so firstly I started the blog which too over my life! Lately, I’ve incorporated the daily rituals that you have mentioned and I realise that I don’t need to overload myself with goals anymore. That is hard because I’m a goal setter and push myself to achieve. I am in the midst of writing a post about being spontaneous. My husband and I are usually cautious but have booked a holiday to Japan in October and a long weekend away to Adelaide. Something on the spur of the moment. Not like us at all but I tell you it brings a buzz. I’m sure you SOAR and I totally agree about breaking goals down into little steps. Each step is a victory and a step closer to you taking off! Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration with us at Midlife Share the Love party and have a great week! #MSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, I’ve enjoyed looking at a few new folks at the MSTL but realize I also follow so many of the women already! So many inspiring women out there. Like you, I am a gaol setter and planner. Spontaneity is a challenge… I’m looking forward to your post for inspiration. (And it was a blast to look back a bit and think about what I have achieved. )


  8. There seems to be a trend to quieter adventures in your lifestyle choices – focus on nutrition; move with yoga & walks; connect with others & nature; comforting self-care activities; journaling & mindfulness. To everything there is a season…Give thanks for the zip lining & jungle adventures. Are you “shoulding” on yourself thinking that adventure comes in a physical package only? A sage colleague once told me – When you don’t know what to do, do nothing. Think. The answer will come, then do it. I think we misinterpret inactivity, rest or surrender as giving up. Taking a break from “training” or activity may feel like a step backward, but it can create an opportunity for personal growth so that we move forward in ways we could not imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful insight and I will definitely be thinking on it! I kinda feel like I’m too much in the thinking mode and I want my new “me” to be active, out & about, and having mini-adventures. Not should, but my personal happy place. When I have days that are about that, I end up smiling more. I have come to realize that the big adventures are few and far between, but mini-adventures are something I can do more regularly and are more about trying new things that I’ve been wanting to try. I just bought a class pass for glassblowing and booked a foodie event to attend in April. Small things… but both have been on my to-do lists for over 2 years! My personal pep talk helped.


  9. Holy crap, Pat…You’ve done a LOT of very cool stuff!!! I don’t know what the circumstances were that enabled you to take all of your previous adventures, but just because you are retired doesn’t mean you should stop doing cool stuff!!! You obviously have a go-getter spirit. It’s just temporarily cluttered with some feelings of self-doubt. So I’m counting on you to just Book It ( or Buy It) or whatever – and then I’m counting on you to let us all know what fascinating adventure you’ve jumped into next. Yep, we’re holding you accountable (we’re nice that way). Go get ’em, girl! ~ Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lynn – a bunch was eight years of international travel with work. I didn’t take much time (no multi-day tag ons of personal time) because I was a workaholic, but you can’t be in Moscow and not go stand in Red Square! So, I bought the glass blowing groupon this week and called to book it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s