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Stephanie Jones

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How do you make big decisions? I don't know about you, but I look at my current goals and priorities, make a pros and cons list, and finally, I consult my board of directors. 

My board of directors is a group of individuals I go to for their opinion, advice, input, and expertise related to helping me make decisions. 

Back in May, I shared with you an influencer who reached out about helping him write his book. I reached out to my BOD and everyone, but one person said, "Yes! Go for it!"

I have to decide, but they usually bring up questions I hadn't considered and provide a different perspective. 

Do you have a board of directors? If so, fantastic! If not, make a list of people with whom you value their opinion and insight, reach out to them, and ask if they'd be on your BOD. If they say yes, next time a big decision comes your way, reach out to your BOD for input and support!

Having this group of individuals makes my decision-making more thoughtful, and I look at decisions from more angles than in the past.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

For the past several months, a friend and I have met to check-in and hold each other accountable for a collaborative book project. 

Last month we got so excited about the project we set a goal to launch the book by the New Year.

Over the past month, as I worked on two other new books (which you can pre-order now!), Thank You Notes to God, a prayer & gratitude journal, and Giving Gal, my first children's book, I knew our deadline was too aggressive.

Both books have hit hiccups with design and printing. If these same issues arose with this new project, I have not allowed any wiggle room in our plan, hence setting us up for failure.  

Yesterday I met with my friend, and he brought up the timeline. Whew! What a relief! We both had the same doubts. I'm grateful we were honest with ourselves and each other.

As we chatted through the project, we realized we wouldn't deliver the best product for the reader if we stuck with our quick timeline. Adding several extra months gives us more time to tighten the writing, add resources, and ensure the book is excellent, not just good.

I'm not one to often recommend delaying a goal, but there are times when it is okay. 

  1. The original target deadline was unrealistic.
  2. Progress is being made. The delay isn't because you haven't put in the work.
  3. The delay makes the project, trip, product, etc., better. 
  4. A goal/project with a more pressing deadline pops up. Sometimes we have to be willing to adjust and be flexible.
  5. Life happens, and you are not physically capable (safely) of completing your goal. For example, getting bit by a spider and then getting an infection delayed all my physical goals for 2021. They pushed to 2022. 

There is no time like the present to evaluate your goals for the year. Do any need adjusting? If so, don't get down about the change; remind yourself you are setting yourself up for success. 

Blessings,
Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

Bring on the heat, humidity, and the long sunshiny days of summer!

At the beginning of each season, I like to look ahead to the next three months and ask what can I only do during summer? What fun activities do I want to do over the next three months? We need to ensure balance the busyness of everyday life with activities that fill up our cup and give us energy. 

These questions ensure we are not just going through the motions. They can help us take advantage of our time, stay focused, and maybe embark on a few new adventures. 

I challenge you to look at the next three months (July-August-September) and ask yourself:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What do I want to see and experience?
  3. Where do I want to go?
  4. Who do I want to spend time with and soak in the long days of summer?

For me, I want to tool around Lake Geneva with my hubby, go on an adventure in Georgia with new friends, take a solo trip for my birthday, continue weekly runs at the park and popping in on the farmer's market, and enjoy a day or two at the Dunes, sitting at the beach relaxing.

What is on your list?

Blessings,
Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

I always have a book with me. If I'm waiting in the doctor's office or at the salon getting my hair colored, I have a book in hand or on my kindle, flipping as many pages as I can.

I can almost guarantee the conversation I'm going to have with those I encounter. "I'd love to read more, but I don't have time."

Here's the thought that flows through my mind, but usually not out of my mouth. They have time; they just aren't taking the time to read. Therefore, reading is not a priority in their life. 

Sixteen days ago, I decided to embark on a physical challenge that would require me to work out for 90 minutes every day for 75 days. 

Since my spider bite, I tried desperately to get back into shape, but I often didn't feel well enough to work out. As a result, 30-45 minutes had been my max.

I'm slowly coming out of that fog and regaining my strength. What better way to get back on track than to follow a program. This program isn't just focused on working out; it made me double my water intake and eat healthy with no cheat meals or sugar for the same 75 days.

The food and water I could handle. But how in the world would I find 60-90 minutes every day?

My schedule is filled with a non-negotiable morning routine, a demanding day job, and five book projects. And there are those pesky chores, eating meals, and continuing to make spending quality time with my hubby a priority.

But guess what? A small miracle has occurred. For 16 days, I have created more time in each day. 

Before I go to bed or after I wake up in the morning, I write down my schedule, find any gaps of time, and insert my workout(s), totaling 90 minutes. I've been amazed how with a little planning and focus, I've been able to create an extra 90 minutes.  

We all have the same 24-hours in a day, but what I realized is, I must have been wasting at least 90 minutes of those.

So ask yourself, what have I wanted to do or what goal have I been putting off due to time?

Ask yourself how much time you need to find each day or week to progress on this goal. 

Pick a timeframe, like 75 days, and commit to yourself, no excuses, to make your goal a priority. 

If you stick with it, you'll be amazed at the progress you'll see. 

I'd love to hear what you are committing to working on.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

This morning as I brushed my teeth, the phrase, "When God moves, do you?" popped into my head.

Excellent question!

Last week an influencer contacted me about working on a collaborative project. Yikes! I've never done what they want me to do. Out of fear, the unknown, lack of ability, it would have been easy for me to say, "Thanks for thinking I could tackle this project, but no thanks."

But in our conversation, I felt God moving. So I tentatively committed but then spent the weekend in prayer, consulting with trusted advisors, and researching. 

As I read through a book on the topic, fear turned to excitement. And then the writer said, "It's a gift."

Tears welled up in my eyes; God gave me the answer I needed to move forward through that one-word gift. 

Gift is my word. I love it. It's a word I live by every day. I'm a daily gift giver!

Don't get me wrong; I still have doubts. And to date, this will be the biggest project I've embarked upon, but as my husband so eloquently stated, "Stephanie, this is one of those moments you don't want to look back on and wonder what would have happened if you would have taken on this project. Have no regrets."

I knew I married that guy for a reason! He's a man of few words, but when he speaks, I better listen, as it's going to be good. 

So today, friend, if you see God moving in your life, but what he has laid at your feet seems too big and too scary, go to Him in prayer and take the first step of faith. What I've discovered over and over again is that when God moves, and then I move, a whole new world I never could have dreamed for myself opens up. But He requires our obedience and trust. As the old hymnal by John H. Sammis goes, "Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

Friends, what a wild ride I have been on since being bit by a brown recluse. For those of you who do not know, they are venomous spider, with no anti-venom available for treatment. I got an infection, and since then have been struggling with side effect after side effect from the various antibiotics I have had to take.

This past weekend I was scheduled to deliver three keynotes at a women's retreat. I am grateful to share that by the grace of God, I walked onto the stage and shared what God laid on my heart. 

Getting to the stage was not easy. The event team totally understood if I wanted to back out. But I remained focused on the goal. 

So how did I get across the finish line of accomplishing my goal to speak at the retreat when most of the time I felt miserable?

  1. I focused on the opportunity and the impact. It's been a year since I've been live on a stage. I had prepared quite a bit prior to the spider bite, and I didn't want to forgo such a great opportunity. 
  2. When I felt well, I didn't waste that time. In the pockets of time that I felt good, I used the time to continue to prep, work on my notes, and slides. 
  3. I gave myself grace. I knew that how I prepared for this event wasn't as extensive as I had prepared for other live speaking engagements. I did the best I could, with the energy I had, and showed myself grace in the moments I got disappointed with the lack of preparation. 
  4. Think short term. I focused on one talk at a time, instead of thinking of three talks together. Breaking our goals down in bite size goals, gives us quick wins, to then move onto the next goal. 
  5. Fake it. I truly felt incredible on Friday night for my first keynote. By Saturday, I wasn't feeling so hot. I'm not a fan of faking it but sometimes we have to put on a smile, muster up some energy, and go out and shine. I paid for it later, and slept until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, but the goal had been accomplished!

There are various reasons we may struggle with our goals but as long as we keep battling for them, we are never out of the fight.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

Friends, if you don't follow me on social media, you missed that I spent the better part of last week in the hospital. I share all the details on my latest podcast episode, check it out.

But while in the hospital, as I tried not to focus on all that was going on with my body, I focused on ways I could give to those that were serving me. 

Next time you are going through a tough time, here are four ways you can give:

1) Show grace towards those who serve you. I had an EMT that blew not one, but two veins while he tried to get the IV in my arm. He brought in a nurse, and she blew a third vein. Both were extremely frustrated with themselves. I decided instead of adding insult to injury, literally, I would show them grace. 

2) Share gratitude with everyone. From the lady that mopped my floor and cleaned the toilet, to the nurse, the guy who delivered my meals, to the doctor, I asked everyone their name, asked them about their day, and showed my gratitude. If they came in my room ten times, I thanked them each time for the job they were doing. 

3) Pray for those around you. The lady in the room next to me often cried out in pain and for help. When she yelled, I said a prayer for her. I prayed for the doctors and nurses responding to her that they could help ease her pain.

4) Make an unlikely friend by striking up a conversation. I cannot tell you how easy it is to make a connection with someone by just asking them their name. This simple question, led to more in-depth conversations, and for those who were around daily, we developed an unlikely friendship during my stay. 

I am still dealing with health issues. If you are the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers. 

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

Happy Spring! Oh, what a wonderful time of the year. The dead, bare branches, are popping with sprouts of color. In a few short weeks, we will not recognize our surroundings. 

At the beginning of each season, I like to look ahead over the next three months and ask what can I only do during this season of the year? Or what fun activities do I want to do over the next three months? We always need to make sure we balance the busyness of everyday life with activities that fill up our cup and give us energy. 

These questions ensure we are not just going through the motions. They can help us take advantage of our time, stay focused, and maybe embark on a few new adventures. 

I challenge you to look at the next three months and ask yourself:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What do I want to see and experience?
  3. Where do I want to go?
  4. Who do I want to spend time with and soak in the beauty spring has to offer?

For me, I want to go hiking at four state parks, have a mini-book club with a friend, watch some of my favorite athletes play baseball, start bike riding on trails, run a few of 5ks, attend a fundraiser for a police memorial, and celebrate a couple of birthdays.

What is on your list?

Blessings,
Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

Can you believe the first quarter of the year is over? Three months down and nine to go before we begin another new year.

Now is a fabulous time to reflect on the year and decide if we are moving in the right direction. It is never too late to course-correct.

Here are five questions of reflection:

  1. Is there one change I could make in the morning that would improve my day?
    Maybe it is getting up 15 minutes earlier to sit in the quiet. Or what about reaching for your Bible first versus the phone. For me, I started drinking a glass of water before my first cup of coffee. It feels like a small win as I tackle staying hydrated each day.
  1. How did I give to myself?
    Oh, this could be a tough one. Are you looking back and do not remember any time you spent on yourself? I know for me, I usually get a monthly massage, but they fell off my radar. Massage helps me in so many ways. Guess what I am doing today? Scheduling a massage! What do you need to book on your calendar for you?
  1. Did I stick to my budget?
    You might say, "Stephanie, I don't even have a budget!" No worries, review your expenses from January-March, look at your incoming income. Do they match? Can you save? Are there areas you need to cut back? I recommend the budget exercise monthly, but each quarter is good if you do not have time for monthly. Something is better than nothing.
  1. What goals did I set in January? Am I on track? If not, why? And what step do I need to take to get back on track? If yes, yippee! What do I need to do to keep the momentum?
    My physical goals are half and half. I have been physically working towards them, but I haven't signed up for any of the events. Registration is a priority for me in April!
  1. What am I grateful for over the past couple of months?
    Gratitude is always a great tool to reset our mindset and attitude. Let us begin a new month with an attitude of gratitude!

Let me know, did you like this exercise? Was it helpful? Would you like me to create a couple of pages you can download and fill out?

Here's to a fabulous second quarter!

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

The more women I talk to about their goals, the more I realize we all struggle with the same challenges. 

Mindset. 

Change. 

Distractions.

Time.

Confidence.

And the list goes on.

I have created a no filter video series live from the trail, where I share tips, tricks, how-tos, and insight into how you can finally do what you have always wanted to do.

Friends, this is no makeup. No soft white lights. Just me, my iPhone, and sharing what God lays on my heart, as I am huffing and puffing on my trails. 

I believe God laid a calling on each of our hearts, but often we feel alone and do not think others are struggling like we are.

That's a lie.

I know it looks like I am accomplishing a lot of goals. I am, but every single one only happens because I keep fighting my way through the constant mental battle and obstacles that come my way. 

I keep moving and tackling my struggles because I know God has given me this grand life for a purpose. 

I also do this for YOU

I want nothing more than to help you get organized, lose weight so you can play with your children/grandchildren, pay off debt, write your story and share it through a blog or a book, start a nonprofit to impact your community, take a class, grow a garden, or learn to love yourself a little more. 

That's my WHY, friends.

That is why one day, I hit record and decided to start this series. I want to empower you to take a little time for yourself so that you have no regrets when you get to the end of your life. No saying, "I wish I would have done...(fill in the blank)."

So lace up your hiking boots, grab your walking stick, and hit the trails with me. Hiking isn't easy. There are thorns, holes, stumps, fallen trees, but there is so much beauty around every curve. So much joy. Come on this journey with me, and let us accomplish our goals together and get to giving your best life!

Check out the first four videos, with new videos dropping weekly!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”