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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
The three best things that happened to me in 2019.
My three fondest memories in 2019.
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!)
Three goals I accomplished in 2019.
Three goals I missed in 2019. (Maybe jot down why you missed these goals.)
The greatest lessons I learned from my "not so hot" and missed goals.
The three most influential people in my life in 2019 (note if they are good influences or bad).
What one thing would you do differently in 2019?
What word best describes your year in review?
I hope you found this exercise helpful. I look forward to serving you in 2020.