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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"

Do you remember the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg? It was a big hit several years ago. All the rave. I thought I would pull it off the shelf for International Women's Day. 

Here are five takeaways from the book:

  1. "Career progression often depends upon taking risks and advocating for oneself." 

My question to you, are you taking risks at work and advocating for yourself?

  1. "I believe that all of us - men and women - should acknowledge good fortune and thank the people who have helped us. No one accomplishes anything alone." 

Who has helped you in your career? Who can you thank?

  1. "An internal report at Hewlett-Packard revealed that women only apply for open jobs if they think they meet 100% of the criteria listed. Men apply if they think they meet 60% of the requirements." 

Women, next time you see a job opening that interests you, go for it! Even if you do not meet all the requirements. 🙂

  1. "One study showed that women who found mentors through formal programs were 50% more likely to be promoted than women who found mentors on their own." 

Do you have a mentor?

  1. "Done is better than perfect."  

I couldn't agree more! What are you holding back from releasing out into the world because it's not perfect? Wrap a bow around that project and send it out my friend!

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"

Two years ago, today I keynoted a women's giving circle event.

All the women in the room had one mission, to give back to nonprofits in their community.

I miss speaking.

As I type this, I should be keynoting a women's retreat, but it got canceled due to weather.

I could look at…

  • what I do not have right now.
  • the money I am losing in my business.
  • the opportunity to meet and connect with others in person. (FYI, Referrals are the number one way I book speaking gigs.)
  • the drop in books sales, as I sell lots of books at events.

Yet I am making the choice to look at the opportunities to work on because I have the "extra" time.

There are several fun projects in the works that only came about because I was not speaking.

If you are doubting where you are in life, or life does not look like what you've had planned, don't worry, God knows exactly what He is doing. His timing is always perfect.

I am reminded of His timing by reading Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

With gratitude,

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”

What's the snow situation where you live? I know for me, an inch here, an inch there has accumulated to a foot with other areas nearly two feet.

This weekend I slid into my snowshoes and hit the trail. When I'm out on the trail, my mind declutters, and thoughts, ideas, and motivation flow freely.  

Sometimes I'll make a couple of quick notes and then be on my way. This weekend I felt led to record my thoughts. I ended up making four recordings. 

This week begins my trail series. Enjoy the stories, lessons, and scenery.

With gratitude,

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"

Finish, it is my word of the year for 2021.  I don't know about you, but I begin a lot of projects. A LOT! I get a good idea, dump the energy I have into it that is propelled by the excitement of the idea, the vision of the impact, and then as the work gets difficult, I fizzle out, put the project on a shelf, and bounce to the next project.

I have found over the years, having one word to focus my efforts, has been incredibly helpful. The year I picked Intentional, I no longer told friends, "Hey let's get together sometime" but instead said, "Hey let's pull out our calendar and figure out when we can get together."  

See the difference? 

Practicing being intentional for a year, changed my mindset, which carried on throughout the year.

What is your word for the year?  

Do you need to focus?

What about being more grateful?

Or being discipline with positive habits?

Whatever word you choose, write it down and post it where you will see it daily. Let that word push you into giving your best life.

Speaking of giving your best life, that is the title of my podcast, and we will be creating our content and transforming our facebook group to focus on ways we can give our best life, in giving to others (and ourselves), gratitude, and goals.

Click here to subscribe to our podcast and click here to join our facebook group to stay on track with your goals, focused on giving and practicing gratitude.

Here's to a fabulous 2021!

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 fall! I used to say fall was my favorite time of the year, but my opinion has evolved. I  have come to welcome all the seasons, as they not only bring changes in temperatures and colors, but new adventures. 

Each season I like to look into the future of the next three months and ask, what can I only do during this season of the year? It's a great question to ponder. The question helps us to not just move through another three months of life with no direction, but helps us stay focused, have fun, and maybe embark on a few new adventures. 

I challenge you to look at the next three months and ask yourself, what you want to do, what do you want to see and experience, where do you want to go, and who do you want to spend time with and soak in the beauty fall offers us.

For me, I'll be attending a family fall day at my parents, hosting a girls weekend, fall decorating, buying homemade apple cinnamon donuts for me to eat and give away from Anderson's Winery, visiting an apple orchard, and live in a tree house. Yes, you read that correctly, a tree house!

What's 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 can't believe I did it. This past week I did something I've never done before. I took an entire week off work, ten days straight if you count weekends, for no reason at all!

I wasn't traveling to the Caribbean, or jet-setting around the country. Nope. I stayed home the entire time and I think only left my house once or twice. 

Friends, the time off was glorious, minus the poison ivy and my back almost going out. 

I don't know about you, but my burnout meter was flashing bright red. I needed to step away from my day job to fill up my cup. Even though I spent most of the time kayaking, organizing, reading, writing, and working on my business, the work around the house, that I love, gave my brain a break from the stresses of my day job. A change of pace of not having to hop from virtual meeting to virtual meeting.

If you feel your burnout meter creeping dangerously to the top, make yourself a priority and check out of the office for a couple of days. I can assure you; the work will be there when you return.

Send me a check in, let me know how you are doing. I'd love to hear from 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”

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"