Category Archives: success
Embracing courage seems so simple in the life of a child.
It’s a little second grader asking a new friend to play with her at recess, risking the chance she’ll say no.
It’s jumping off that first little diving board into the arms of a swimming instructor.
It’s putting their arms out to catch that ball just thrown to them.
I am convinced that courage is the key element in a life well-lived. I’m also convinced that admitting that we’re lacking courage is a profoundly difficult thing for adults to do. Because it’s so easy to just continue our day-to-day lives without any examination of our dreams and the courage it takes to pursue it.
Mid-life, I think, is an interesting time to take on the concept of courage. Typically, this season of life brings about reflection about what has been accomplished and a contemplation of how to make the most impact on others for the remainder of our life. To be willing to “jump off that diving board” into the unknown takes a lot of courage, because honestly, there’s a lot at stake. But, perhaps, there’s even more at stake, if you don’t embrace the courage and jump.
For me, it’s a matter of being being at a point where I’ve found success, but knowing that there’s something more that utilizes my talents in a way that benefits others even more.
I am hearing a whisper about what that is.
I’ve tried to deny it.
I’ve tried to ignore it.
And, I’ve tried to say it wasn’t true.
But, the whisper remains.
Why? Because it takes courage to respond to a whisper that alters the direction of your life. It’s not what was in “the plan.” It’s not how I defined success before. But, it is the truth.
So, my first step in applying courage to this whisper is writing it down. Because then, it becomes real. For me, writing it down, makes it actionable.
Could I easily go on and continue to find success in my current path? Of course I could. That’s just who I am. Progress will always be a part of my life.
But, I’m not going for progress any more. I’m going for impact. I’m searching for passion. I’m looking to be the best me I can be, even if it’s a me I didn’t plan for.
If you hear a whisper, I encourage you to listen. Write it down. Let it blossom. Because that is a life well lived.
I am the writer of my life.
I have choice in my setting.
I choose the home I live in, based on my values of living debt free and close to family.That means I am choosing to not live in my dream home yet.
I choose my place of refueling–outside, in the solitude and quietness of the morning.
I choose the place where my talents benefit others. For now, that is a school setting, and specifically in a classroom so that dialogue about students can take place with teachers.
I choose the characters written in my story.
I choose my significant other who I will walk through life with. I choose him daily because of who he is. I choose him in the good times and bad.
I choose to bring children into our life. I choose to make our son one of the most important people we pour into.
I choose my mentors, both face-to-face and the ones found in books and virtually. That means being proactive about contacting mentors of my past. And pursuing mentors of my present.
I choose my friends, who add value, joy and connectedness in my life.
I choose my mastermind, a group of ladies who hold me accountable and celebrate my successes.
Within the pages of my book is the plot of my life, constantly being reaped in the small habits that I partake in.
Sure, I didn’t choose my very beginning, the family I was reared in or their values. But, I did choose to allow them to impact me in a positive way or not to allow them to impact me in a negative way.
I chose to study hard, work hard and be my own person in my K-12 education and athletics.
I choose to exercise on a consistent basis.
I choose gratitude in the small moments of the day.
I choose to lead myself and thus lead others.
I choose to see the beauty in the pain.
I choose to see the beauty in others and in myself.
I chose humbleness and confidence.
I choose courage to be honest with myself.
I choose grace.
I choose to believe that I have significance that is special and unique and will lead to the climax of my story.
I am the writer of my life…and look at the degree of choice I have in it all.
“Life is change. Growth is optional.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark
This was one of the quotes I put in my senior autobiography our high school English teacher asked us to write. I’ve always used this belief as a foundation on which to build my life.
As I was reflecting today over the last 4-5 years, and particularly this last year, I am amazed at the opportunities for growth that came about in my life because of technological advances in our society.
I’ve wondered why mentors came in an out of my life and honestly, it has bothered me at times. With the lack of parental presence in my life, I learned to become independent at a young age. I was able to find mentors through athletics and my work.
As my life took a different path, I had to fill my yearning for wisdom and perspective elsewhere.
Books were the next logical progression. These writers were my mentors, so to speak. Books like Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Traveler’s Gift, Quiet and Awakening the Sleeping Giant (among many others) became guides for my life.
Then, technology advancements brought me podcasts (ie, Michael Hyatt, Dan Miller, Andy Andrews, Entreleadership, Chris LoCurto). From these podcasts I can get daily inspirations and perspective from those who have walked paths I haven’t yet walked, but will. They provide answers from people who are passionate about helping others.
It was a podcast that led me to the doors in Franklin, TN where my life would be significantly changed as I took part in Chris LoCurto’s LifePlan event.
And, Twitter allows me to connect (on some level) to others who have a story and a message that provides further perspective. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are days that the tweets I see coming from people like Joel Fortner, Chris LoCurto and Bruce Van Horn are exactly what I need to “hear” to wake me up. See this post for some of those tweets.
And recently blogs posts from Matt Ham have played a role in my life.
And, all this technology has given me the opportunity to have short conversations with people who can add value to my life. People I never would have been able to connect with before.
We are all connected more than we ever have been before. One person’a journey can now significantly impact another’s journey. Of course, we had that before technology, but the opportunities for it now are only limited by those that don’t engage.
And, you don’t have to be an established coach or thought leader with a tribe. You just have to have a message a story or a yearning to choose growth. We all struggle. We all have the opportunity to overcome. We all have a story. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity to overcome.
Connect, because we are all stronger by sharing our message and gaining perspective through our own life and the lives of others.
I encourage you to click on one of the resources in this post or seek out your own. These are just ones that have impacted me.
Find someone who has a message that resonates with you and connect, engage, learn and grow. Or, even consider sharing your own story. Don’t discount the power your story can have on someone else’s life.
“Don’t worry about step 2 or step 222, worry about step 1. What is the next right thing you feel like you’re supposed to do?” ~ Matt Ham
One of my key strengths is listening. Typically, it’s in regard to conversation, but today it’s in regard to listening to one’s life. When I first read about listening to your life in Jeff Goins’s book The Art of Work, it really stood out to me. I instantly knew that’s what I needed to do.
What does it mean to listen to your life? That’s a question that could be a post in itself, but for today, it specifically means listening to those statements, oftentimes singular, but powerful statements, that are said to you that could profoundly change your life.
The statement above about focusing on just the next step is one of those statements.
The summer has brought a lot of contemplation about the future. So much so that I consistently awake in the middle of the night. I’ve never been one to do this. I wake with nothing specific on my mind, which causes me confusion as to why I keep awakening. I do think it’s in regard to the future, the enormity of it, what I want and need it to be, the possibilities that exist and the actions I need to take.
Thoughts like that can be both invigorating, but overwhelming. Thoughts like this:
1) I want a marriage that is solid, strong and one that builds each of us up so much that we can them help one another, our kids and others.
2) I want to significant impact others so that they can live their best life.
3) I want to seize every moment with my son because I know the moment he is little is brief and precious.
4) I want to give all that I need to, all that I’m supposed to, before I die.
Though I think it’s important to take on those thoughts, it can cause us to lose sight of the next five minutes.
Here’s what I believe: If we apply this concept every day, all these small moments will lead to those big moments in life we want to accomplish. In fact, I would argue, it’s those small moments we need to celebrate because that’s when the change happens. That’s when we affect lives. That’s when we live our best life.
So, on my list of my “next five minutes” today, I have:
1) Awake early so that I can have reflection and refuel time.
2) Write this post.
3) Eat a breakfast this is a good balance of protein and fiber.
4) Have a focused and intense work session tonight to prepare for delivering professional development next week.
5) Proactively make the interactions with my husband in a way that shows that I cherish him. Choose not to let the stress of being the wife of a business owner negatively effect me.
6) Be 100% present.
7) Choose patience, love, and light-heartedness as I interact with my son. Know that it’s not the amount of time I get with him, but the quality of the time I do.
What will you do with your next five minutes today?
One of the biggest revelations I had during LifePlan was that I got my self worth from achievement. What I’ve realized now is I have to figure out what achievement means to me.
The previous post, Defining Achievement, Part 1, began my journey in defining what achievement means to me.
I had an idea swirling around in my head for part 2. There were two parts to it:
1) Achievement isn’t what society/culture tells me it is.
2). My definition of achievement in the past may have worked for me, but it doesn’t have to be my definition now.
I re-listened to Christy Wright’s video message about life balance. I heard something there….something that’s leading me to my definition.
She described what she believed “life balance” to be:
1. Being 100% present
2. Living from your values
3. Living a life that is reflective of what matters to you
One of the most powerful statements she said: Put your time, money and energy in the places that matter to you, because trying to keep up with the demands others have for you will lead to inconsistencies in your life. Then, you’ll be frustrated and bitter.
How many of us do that? I know I did in my yearning for achievement. I felt such a pressure to do more, give more, work hours after hours at the expense of my health, my family and my values.
So, I’ve learned to say no this summer. In all honesty, are there times I still feel guilty? Sure. Because I’m in a transition of living in a way where I allowed culture to determine what and how much I should do; And now, I am deciding. That’s a big jump. Don’t get me wrong though. I allowed that to happen. I’m not pointing my fingers at others, but I do think this is a challenging aspect to our culture, especially if you are someone driven to succeed in work life. I’m also not saying you don’t have to work hard; work ethic is one of my top values. (I would venture to say I’ve worked more this summer than others. I’m just saying I proactively decide the amount of work I do and where I devote my energies. The result: I am happier.
So, in an attempt to further define achievement, could I say this? Achievement is not jumping from accomplishment to accomplishment. It is not letting guilt get to me because I choose to say no to some aspect of my life and yes to another. Achievement is me being true to myself, living by my values and life purpose (as was outlined in LifePlan). It is being present where ever I am. (Something I struggled with a bit in LifePlan–I was overly concerned with the time and making progress during the event. So many times, my LifePlan facilitator said: “The only thing that matters is the conversation right now.”)
Achievement is living a life that is reflective of what matters to me. I wasn’t doing that FULLY prior to LifePlan.
Part of the beauty of children is what they teach us.
I received a text from my husband this morning with a picture of construction equipment. He explained how enthralled our three-year-old was and how he could have watched all day. In the next text, he admitted he soaked in the moment as well and had “fun” himself.
Children see the “small” moments in life and simply rejoice in them.
Can we, as adults, do the same thing?
As I think about living my best life, there’s all kinds of things I want to do, all kinds of people I want to impact. I’m on a journey that has ups and downs and lessons along the way. But, what happens when I get too focused on that journey is this: I miss the small stuff. Those moments that are oftentimes so quick that we just skim over. And when I do that, I have less gratitude. As Matt Ham has said before:
“It’s not the circumstances which drive our gratitude; it’s our gratitude which in turn drive the circumstances.”
Are you discouraged by where you’re at? Are you not discouraged, but simply wish you were farther along? Are you just stressed? Do you feel stuck? Choose gratitude then circumstances will improve. You’ll bask in the simple moments and have a much healthier perspective of the big picture.
What small moment will you rejoice in today?
How long would you work to make your dream come true?
I loved this question discussed in Dan Miller’s podcast “A Positive Mind Repels a Negative Life.”
Three very important questions were asked that made me think.
1. If you had to work towards your dream for one year, would you do it?
2. If you had to work towards your dream for five years, would you do it?
3. If you had to work towards your dream for 10 years, would you do it?
But, what really caused me to pause was when Dan shared this: Let’s say it takes 10 years and you’re 3o now. That means by the time you’re 40, you could be living your dream. Those 10 years, will go by fast.
And, what I thought in my head after that was this: “There is STILL so much life to be lived after 40. So many lives I could impact.”
What I’m currently navigating is this question: How do I balance patience in making my dream come true and tenacity to make it real sooner than later? What’s the right balance? How many sacrifices are appropriate? I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m lovin’ the journey!
What’s your dream? How long would you work towards it? How important is it, especially when you consider “a life well lived.”
“Why not get a coach in the area? Do you really need to travel to Franklin, TN?”
I had to answer this question for myself and for others when contemplating LifePlan.
Surely, there was an experienced and effective life coach in Kansas City, right?
Sure, there was. So, why’d I take the leap? Why choose to travel nine hours to do a two-day event with Chris LoCurto’s company?
For me, there was a history there. I had followed Chris’s work on Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership podcast. When he left and started his own business, it was with no hesitation that I continued following his journey and listening to his new podcast.
The podcast made a difference in my life. He was, in a way, my virtual mentor, my refueling, my encouragement to become the person I was aiming to become.
And, I knew Chris believed in what he did as he spoke with such conviction, such passion and such truth. I just believed.
I reached out and inquired information on their site and had a conversation with Joel, who would later facilitate my LifePlan. In that first conversation with Joel, he picked up my DISC personality style (high S) quickly. (Check out this podcast on the DISC. It’s powerful!) Joel was able to communicate with me in a way that was effective. I tend to shut down a bit with the high D personality profile and need a calm, steady and reflective conversation when I’m contemplating personal growth. Joel provided this in the conversation prior to LifePlan and during LifePlan. How these guys pick up your personality profile quickly is not something you’ll get from every coach.
For me, another biggie was Chris had experience. I wanted someone who was good….no, I want someone that was freakin’ incredible at coaching. I was, after all, making a big investment in many ways. There’s no settling for me on this topic.
And the third biggie, was the conversation prior to LifePlan. In one conversation, Joel not only helped me through a career struggle in a short sixty minutes, but also modeled for me how he would conduct himself during LifePlan….and that’s with grace, patience, and perspective….while knowing when to push and when to not. I guarantee you, a random coach in KC would not have done that for me.
If I could give you any advice, I would just say fill out the form on Chris’s website and just have that initial conversation with them. Then decide, as that conversation is so telling.
And, just know, they change lives. Everyday, these guys change lives.
“I want a life well lived.”
I said that multiple times in LifePlan.
I’ve always intellectually known that this meant success in multiple areas: career, family, personal, health, spiritual, etc.
My introverted tendencies and introspective personality has allowed me to grow in all those areas. However, my focus has weighed heavily in career. (Partly due to my root system).
It wasn’t until after LifePlan that I am truly living out A Life Well Lived, with a focus on all areas of my life. Refocusing on health, parenting, being a wife and spiritual life has brought me such peace, focus and motivation. It just feels right. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to work hard (work ethic is one of my core values) in my career, but it just won’t be at the expense of the rest of my life.
But, what has taught me this lesson just as much is some of the conversations I’ve had with others when talking about LifePlan. I found the responses I got from others interesting as I shared with them that I was going to do LifePlan. It was as if they didn’t know how to respond. And, honestly, part of me hesitated to share, because most people don’t do things like this….because that’s not our culture.
Our current societal paradigm has us spending, on average, a cost of $30,000 and $120,000 for a master’s degree. We do this because this is what the “successful” people do, right? We do it so we can “move ahead.” While I’m not here to dispute the advantages of a master’s degree (I have one, too), I do believe a paradigm shift is in order if we really consider what a life well lived means.
Why do we hesitate to spend money in other areas of self-improvement? (And, that’s me included. I flip-flopped on the decision to do LifePlan for months). Why do we hesitate to invest in even $100 for a few sessions with a marriage counselor? Why do we hesitate to improve our emotional intelligence so that we can be a better model of that for our kids? Why do we pause when considering spending money that will bring perspective to our spiritual life? Because when we’re on our deathbed: surely our thoughts would be filled with our loved ones and our spiritual beliefs.
LifePlan is an investment, an emotional investment. A life investment. A financial investment. But don’t let our current societal paradigm on the topic stop you from taking this leap and changing your life forever. Because, the cost of LifePlan is nothing compared to a master’s degree.
And I’m here to tell you, LifePlan has far outweighed the impact on my life as compared to my master’s degree.
This paradigm shift is one that came alive for me in LifePlan. As Matt Ham says, your whole life matters.
For me, courage is supreme of all core values.
I can’t speak to any other time in history, but in our current society, it’s paramount because so much in our society says we should do “x” often times at the expense of what is best for us.
After listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast entitled “How to Achieve More by Sleeping More,” I began to write a post about sleep, particularly since there was one night I didn’t get much sleep this week and my mental, emotional and physical health didn’t even compare to the rest of the week. I wrote the post, then thought, “the message here is bigger than sleep. The message is about courage.”
As Hyatt talks about in the podcast, I hear conversations almost daily of people talking….really bragging about their lack of sleep, as if it’s a badge of honor. People even say to them “You’re amazing! I couldn’t go on four hours of sleep.”
Let’s have courage in the face of this cultural acceptance of lack of sleep and instead look at those who are disciplined with their sleep and thus more productive and happier and say to them “You’re amazing. I can do that, too.”
Does this take courage? Sure it does, because it’s going against the norm, the cultural norm.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not on a pedestal here. I am the wife of someone who owns their own business. I have a three-year-old son. And, I work full time as well. I don’t always get my sleep.
And, there will be seasons in your life where it’s necessary that you go without sleep. The goal is to not make that your norm.
Following LifePlan, I made it more of a priority and it has opened up doors like crazy. I am able to maintain emotional stability when things get stressful at home. I am able to exercise more effectively. I am able to be a more productive worker. And, I am happier.
A sobering fact was shared in Hyatt’s podcast. A research study showed that people who only got 6 hours of sleep for two weeks, functioned at the same level of impairment as someone who is legally drunk.
“We act like sleep is a luxury or an indulgence. As a result, sacrificing sleep in the name of productivity has become routine. But the opposite is true. Cheating our sleep is like maxing out our credit cards. There’s a benefit now (at least it feels like it), but the bill always comes due in the form of decreased health and mental ability.”
Have courage. Be different. Take care of yourself. Watch your achievement soar and, more importantly, your health and relationships be given the priority they deserve.