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This past weekend I celebrated 12 years at Cisco (the big tech company, not food). I took time to reflect on how I got there, and at the end of the day, one pivotal decision, led me down the path of where I am today.

At the time when the opportunity opened, each day I found myself velcroing a bulletproof vest around my chest and holstering a gun on my side. My days as a police officer seem so far away, almost like they never happened.

I wasn't seeking a new job or career. I'd spent seven years chasing down the dream of being a police officer.  But sometimes God opens a door at unexpected times.  

I remember making a pros and cons list. So many fears swirled in my head about leaving the comforts of law enforcement to go work in an industry where I had zero experience. 

Doubts and fear crept in and just as I was on the verge of closing the door, I had a heart to heart conversation with my shift partner.  Long story short, I realized the fear and doubt I felt, had nothing to do with the new job. I was overwhelmed with the thought of letting down my current employer. What would people think of me? How disappointed would they be that they invested a lot of time and money into my training and I chose to walk away.

This revelation was powerful. At the end of the day, I need to follow the path I thought God was leading me down and do what was best, in the long run, for my family. 

I took a step of faith, and after thirteen interviews, I landed a new job. Was it the right decision, only time would tell, but after twelve years, I can now look back and say with 100% certainty, God had a plan. But it required me moving forward into an uncharted territory. 

I wonder where my life would be if I hadn't taken that step of faith? Only God knows. 

Is there an opportunity that you are facing, but the step of faith seems scary? Is there a door that has opened, but you are hesitant to walk through? Here's my suggestion, don't focus on the what-ifs and the twelve steps ahead. Focus on getting through the first door and keep moving through the doors as long as they stay open. Pray, and seek God's will for your life and he'll lead you to unexpected places, you never dreamed of or could have imagined.

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"

Has COVID-19 affected your summer vacation plans? I know it did mine. The first of June I should have spent the weekend trekking a part of the Appalachian trail with my sister and a friend. Plans were cancelled and disappointment sank in.

Weeks later, my sister messaged me about having a girl's weekend at my house. Sounded fun, and the weekend she suggested happened to be a weekend my hubby would be out of town for a guy's weekend. What perfect timing?!

We scheduled a couple of hikes, but as the weekend drew near, the weather forecasted 90-degree temperatures with high humidity. We discussed rescheduling for when the temperature would be lower.

As we chatted, we realized, with crazy weekend schedules, we'd delay our gathering until November. Who wanted to wait until November for a girl's weekend? Not me!

We agreed, that even if we couldn't hike, we could still hang out, chill, and eat good food. Our weekend stayed on the calendar.

Do you know what happened? We ended up getting in two amazing hikes. We laughed, got lost, and sweat so much we probably all dropped a couple of pounds...bonus!

We soaked in the hot tub, had a glass of wine, nibbled on chocolate, gathered around the table and ate good food, and we even sat in the quiet reading books. Despite several hurdles, we made our girls weekend happen.

Friends, COVID-19 is affecting our lives in so many ways, but it doesn't have to cancel all our plans. We just need to make a few adjustments and move forward with what we can do.

I can tell you one thing for certain, being with family and friends was good medicine, healing for the soul, and a gift we all gave to ourselves. You deserve an adventure! 

What adventure will you take this summer?

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"

Fear is a liar.  I have a shirt displaying these words and some days I believe the quote and others, well, I'd rather curl up in a ball and hide under the covers. 

On March 2, 2019, I walked through a door, onto a stage with a spotlight focused on yours truly.  It's the most terrifying stage I'd been on in all my life.  

I'm a professional speaker and the weeks leading up to this event, TEDxCalvin, I'd spoken to hundreds of people from a women's retreat, a church service, and a women's giving circle but there was one big difference.

With the three events, I mentioned I had notes. I don't read from them, but they are a guide to keep me on track, and within the timeframe, I'd been given.  

TEDxCalvin, there were no notes, no PowerPoint, just my memory. 

I'd spent months and months rehearsing. Sometimes I recited the talk perfectly, and other times I blanked. I mean to the point I couldn't remember anything. No words flowed from my mouth.  

Blanking was my biggest fear.  

What would I do if I started my talk and all of a sudden, poof, my talk was gone.  I'd make an incredible fool of myself in front of hundreds of people.  Strangers. 

Do you want to know what happened? I confidently walked out onto that stage and gave a flawless performance.  I'd done something that I almost let fear kill.  Speaking on the TEDx stage was a big dream of mine.  It's a hurdle I needed to jump to grow as a speaker and expand my audience.  

Why do I share all of this?  Because I know there is something you want to do. Right now with the pandemic fear is floating around everywhere. Some for good reason, and other for not.

What's your TEDx? What's the thing you've been putting off that's going to take your personal or professional life to the next level?  

Author and pastor Chris Hodges writes, "Courage is the condition of your heart that allows you to believe you'll succeed without knowing how you'll succeed."

When I applied for a TEDx talk, I didn't know how I was going to succeed.  I honestly didn't think about the stage.  I just had the courage to apply.  

Applying wasn't scary.  Well, okay, maybe a little.  But if I didn't apply, I'd never be able to speak on the stage.  

I'm guessing that's how your BIG dream is.  The end result is scary; that's why you haven't taken steps to pursue it.  But usually, the first step and sometimes the subsequent steps aren't that bad.  

The worst part of TEDx was the final step, but I knew I'd put in the hard work. I'd left nothing to chance. I put in hours of hours of rehearsals.  I had lots of people praying for me. I truly prayed and believed that God had given me the opportunity, that he'd laid a path for me and all I had to do was walk through the door.  Have a little faith and trust that everything was going to be okay.  

And you know what, if I would have completely bombed on the stage, I'd at least gone down having the courage to succeed instead of wondering if I had what it took to grace the stage, constantly living in regret, wondering if my speaking career was staying steady because I hadn't been a daring woman to take a leap of courage.  

My friend, you only have one life to live. Will you live in fear or courage? The choice is yours. Choose wisely. 

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"

These are challenging times, and I'm not going to gloss over the fact we all are dealing with unprecedented times. I'm grateful that I've worked from home since 2008, so my daily life really hasn't changed. It's gotten busier.

But for many, maybe even you, they are going a bit stir crazy. Over the past week, I've stumbled upon various activities that might help you and your family to keep your body and mind active and healthy.

  1. Want to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone is giving away free lessons for students. Maybe it's an activity for you and your child can do together.
  2. Spending more time on the couch than you'd like? Beach Body is offering 14 days for free. This program could help jump start moving your body and getting on a healthy food plan. This is one I'm seriously looking at taking advantage of. 
  3. You know I can't have a list of activities and not include giving!  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has these notes that you can print, fill-out and leave at your neighbors' door. Let's all get through this together!
  4. Scholastic, oh does that word take me back in time. I loved their book fairs!  If you have kiddos at home, they have great free resources to keep children reading, thinking and growing.
  5. Ever want to go to an Ivy League School? It's never really been on my list, but I just might have to add it after reading about the Science of Wellbeing course at Yale. It started on March 29th, but I think you can still sign up. If not, check out another free course from Coursera.
  6. Put up Christmas lights. I don't know about you but twinkling lights always make me feel better. Maybe decorate the tree for Easter or spring! See how others are spreading cheer through their lights.
  7. Have you always wanted to watch a Broadway Musical?  If so, Broadway HD is offering a 7-Day free trial. Just remember to cancel so you don't get charged. My favorite musicals: Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. The music is spectacular!
  8. Are you a fan of the arts? Travel and Leisure have compiled a wonderful list of Museums around the world that are offering virtual tours. Which museum will you visit?
  9. Got a young girl in your household? Cisco Networking Academy is offering free Girl Power Tech courses. I'd love the take the entrepreneur class!

Check back with me and let me know what activities you enjoyed!

Stay healthy,

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”

P.S. I'm not affiliated with any of these programs. They've just come across my path over the past week and I thought one or more of the offers might be helpful to my friends and followers. 

Quarantined.

Never had it on my dream list but now it seems like an adventure I should add and then check off in a couple of weeks.

Over and over this past week I've heard God whisper, "Don't waste this time."

For me, much hasn't changed during the week because I've worked from home since 2008.

And I'm grateful that my job has continued, when many jobs are uncertain, on hold, or lost.

If you know me personally or have followed me for any amount of time, you know I don't waste much time.

Outside of my corporate gig, I write books, speak, life coach, read a lot of books, set and work on goals, love to organize, and find ways each day to give and make a difference.

Over the years, people have stated the following to me,

"I'm jealous you read so much. I'd love to but don't have the time."

"I'd love to clean out my closets and cabinets and donate the items I don't use or wear, but I don't have time."

"When do you find time to write? I'd love to write a book, but I don't have time."

Well friends, for many of us, time is all we have right now.

Our excuses of "I'm too busy," is gone.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

If you really want to get organized, find ways to give, write a book or read one, now's the time.

My bookshelves are overflowing with books I've read. Many I've donated to Little Free Libraries, but others I've been clinging onto in hopes of "someday" giving them away to my online community.

Well someday for me has come.

Over the next weeks and months, I'm going to give away some of my book collection on Facebook. Follow-me if you aren't so you can get in on possibly getting free books!

There are many ways we can look at this time of uncertainty, right now I'm choosing to look at it as an opportunity to do the tasks I've been wanting to do. What about you?

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"


It's Christmas Eve and I'm shutting down for the remainder of the year. I hope you are also.

I recently attended Oolapalooza, in Las Vegas. In short, it was a goal setting experience for 2020. The event was challenging, fun and stretched me outside of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. 

In 2020, I'll be brining you a new program to help you with your goals, work through challenges and accelerate creating and living the life you want to live. 

One of the most meaningful exercises I participated in was the "Year in Review."  

Grab a warm drink, find a quiet place and take a moment between now and December 31st to reflect on 2019 and answer these questions. Feel free to share with me any revelations you had during this process.

  1. The three best things that happened to me in 2019.
  2. My three fondest memories in 2019.
  3. The three "not so hot" memories of 2019.  (I want you to write them down, and if you are struggling with something that happened in 2019, make a goal to move forward in 2020. 2019 is in the past. Focus on the present and your future!)
  4. Three goals I accomplished in 2019.
  5. Three goals I missed in 2019. (Maybe jot down why you missed these goals.)
  6. The greatest lessons I learned from my "not so hot" and missed goals.
  7. The three most influential people in my life in 2019 (note if they are good influences or bad).
  8. What one thing would you do differently in 2019?
  9. What word best describes your year in review?

I hope you found this exercise helpful. I look forward to serving you in 2020. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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, I'm so excited to share with you that my fellow authors and friends, Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett are holding a FREE Platinum Faith Conference.

Dates and times: Tuesday, Nov 12 – Thursday, Nov 14 starting at 7 PM Eastern each night

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The event will also take place on that website and details will be emailed to registrants. There will be a live chat happening each night during the playing of our interviews. 

CLICK HERE to Join the Facebook Group

The Facebook Group is where there will be engagement, discussion, and guest speaker giveaways. 

For the main event, Bethany and Michelle have created six special gift boxes they are giving away live – two each evening. You will need to be present to win.

Schedule lineup: 

Each interview runs between 28 – 32 minutes – ish – and in-between each interview will be a short-short "commercial break." 

Tuesday, Nov 12

  • Cheryl Pullins
  • Erica Wiggenhorn
  • Laine Craft
  • Nakia Kelley

Wednesday, Nov 13

  • Stephanie Jones
  • Ammie Bouwman
  • Lacey Buchanan
  • Victoria Duerstock

Thursday, Nov 14

  • Jane Rubietta
  • Wendy Fitzgerald
  • Tiphany Adams
  • Patty Wyatt

I hope you will join my friends and me for a wonderful event that will fill up your cup.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"

Do you have a goal you've been working on, but you've haven't made progress in a while? Or maybe it's not a goal, but you feel stuck where you are in life.

Over the past couple of years, as I work with coaching clients, I've discovered that many times, excuses are what is holding my client back.

For example, several months ago, I met with a client and she shared a goal she'd been working on for years. But every time the opportunity became available to move forward, something tragic always happened, or so she made it sound that way.  

As I listened, I realized, one of two things, either she didn't want her dream as bad as she said she did or two, she created excuses so if she did take a step forward, she didn't have to face the possibility of rejection.  

The latter is quite common.  

We don't even show up, for if we show up, we may fail. But if we don't show up, there is no disappointment and we can, in fact, continue to lie to ourselves, about why we aren't progressing like we think we should.

One powerful way to move forward is to be brave enough to step over an excuse. But how do we do that?

First, we must be real with ourselves.  I'll give you an example. I'm training for a Disney running challenge. In February, in three days, I'll compete in a 5k, 10k and marathon.  If I want to enjoy the races, I need to train.

I have a training schedule printed and so far, I have been sticking to the plan. But on Saturday, excuses started to bubble up to the surface, to skip my training run.  

Excuse #1: I spent longer at the post office than I intended. My run would have to be shortened from thirty to twenty minutes. Since I can't run the amount of time I wanted to run, I should just go home. EXCUSE!

Identifying the excuse is the half the battle. If we don't recognize when we are making excuses, we can't move forward on our goal or becoming unstuck.  Ask yourself, is what I'm telling myself an excuse or is it a fact?

I knew questioning the time was an excuse. Twenty minutes is better than zero minutes.  Move forward.

I drove to the park and when I got out of the car, the wind sliced through my long-sleeved shirt.  It's not that cold out here I told myself and I started to run. I didn't even give the wind time to make an internal debate, I just got moving.

But guess what happened? Moving didn't help. As I ran, I pulled up the weather app on my phone and the temperature felt like 37 degrees and the winds were 20 mph.  I thought, "I should go back to the car, it's too cold out here." Excuse #2!

Yes, it was cold, and the wind gusted around me, but I was already out on the trail, and I've ran in colder weather.  I talked myself into continuing my run. All I had to do was make it another ten minutes. I'd survived the first ten minutes, I could survive the last. 

Do you know what happened, it got windier and I just kept plugging along? And I didn't just run twenty minutes, I ran thirty minutes, completed my original workout and when I got home, was still able to stay on the schedule I had planned for the remainder of the day.

Guess how I felt when I returned home? FABULOUS!!!

Guess how I would have felt if I would have gone home after my trip to the post office? Guilty, disappointed, a little overwhelmed that I was off my training schedule, and dinner out wouldn't have been as enjoyable as now I wasn't too concern about the mash potatoes I consumed.

Do you know what else battling through excuses helps use accomplish? Our mindset starts to change, and our confidence grows. You see, the next time it's thirty-seven degrees outside, and not windy, I can tell myself, "Stephanie remember the day you ran thirty minutes, in the same temperature, but the wind was blowing 20 mph? This run will be a walk in the park."

Also, identifying and working through our excuses gets us one step closer to accomplishing our goal or becoming unstuck. The more running workouts I accomplish, the easier running the 5k, 10k, and half marathon are going to be.

What's the excuse you've been using that is stopping you from living the life you were meant to live? Take the power step to move past your excuse and get to tackling the goal you've wanted to pursue.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"


Do you get overwhelmed thinking about all you have to do in the upcoming week, month, or even the remainder of the year? I know I do.

I wear myself out scrolling through my calendar and looking at all my upcoming travel, events, and projects. And in the past, this is where I'd shut down. Instead of spending my time wisely and take actions to ensure I'm prepared and meet deadlines, I'd plop my butt in a chair and veg out–numbing my feelings with sugar. 

Repeatedly, I've seen people give up on amazing opportunities because looking at the end, and then thinking about all the work it would take to get there seemed like an impossible mountain to climb.

Speaking of mountains, have you ever climbed one? Several years ago, my mom and I skidded down Sleeping Bear Dunes in the sand, only to get to the bottom, and look and up and be nearly paralyzed at the climb ahead.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, is in the top ten for number of rescues at a National Park, and at the top, there's a sign that states, "Enjoy the view from here. Don't risk injury and rescue fees by going down-or the two hours it may take to climb back up!"

Why do so many people quit, when just moments earlier they were excited to climb the mammoth dune? 

Because anytime we discover something new and shiny, we get a burst of energy that gets us started. But as we start to climb, muscles ache and it's painful. What we originally thought was going to be fun, has been littered with hurdles one didn't expect.

That's how the dune was for me. Instead of looking up at all I had to climb, I put my head down and took one step at a time. And in under thirty minutes, I'd reached the top.

If you are looking at the week, month, or year ahead, and you are wondering, how will I ever get everything done?

Take these steps:

  1. Make a list of all you must do. 
  2. Prioritize what needs to get done today. 
  3. Remove frivolous time wasters. 
  4. And start on one item, completing that task and moving on to the next.  
  5. Once that day is over, start all over. 

I've lived by this method for years and it's how I work a full time job, write books, speak around the country, coach clients, and yes, take time for myself to have a little fun!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"

I'm a sugaraholic. Is that even a word? If not, add it to the Webster's dictionary, as I know many people that would join in me a Sugaraholic Anonymous group.  Three weeks ago, my friend Kelsey texted me and asked if I wanted to give up sugar with her. Initially I said no, because I was headed to San Jose for a Coaching Summit. I knew they'd have yummy sweets and I didn't want to miss out. But I slept on the request and the next morning I woke up and realized, I'm always going to have travels. I'm booked out traveling and attending events until mid-November and then the holiday season begins. The next day, I sent her a text, "I'm in!"  

It's been three weeks with no refined sugar, I'm still eating a fruit or two each day, but otherwise, no chocolate, cupcakes, pie or cheesecake. Boo!  Within days, my aches and pains cleaned up. Here I am three weeks later, and I'm sleeping better, more energy, no cravings, and I've lost five pounds. 

If you are struggling with sugar, join me in cutting the sugar, and start the path to a healthier life.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

“The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”