Category Archives: Inspirational Thinking

On Lists + Running + The Importance of Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Photo Credit: American River CrossFit

I cleaned out a bunch of crap in my office this weekend. The fun never stops, eh? Much of what I did involved fascinating things like filing bills and receipts and finding the actual homes for things that had started to pile up on my desk, but in the midst of all of it I found a bunch of To-Do Lists.

Here is my philosophy on To-Do Lists: Sometimes just the act of making one is way more helpful than completing the items on it. I am a person who regularly needs to dump her brain on paper in order to be able to relax, so as you may guess I have To-Do Lists everywhere, all the time. I mean, mostly I’m organized about the important stuff, but sometimes I make lists of “Big Ideas” or “Dreams for the Future” or “Things to Look Into” and then I scribble furiously, exhale deeply and then leave it on my desk only to have it get covered up with evidence of trips to Costco, Love Notes from our Utilities company, and other sundry items.

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I woke up yesterday morning and, as I always do while still half asleep, grabbed my phone to check out the Workout of the Day at my gym. “Run a 5k” was all it said, and thus the fate of my afternoon was sealed. Happy Monday! You are going to run 3.1 miles today. Ok. Now just 10 more minutes of sleep, please. HIT THE SNOOZE.

I actually didn’t think too much of it, which in itself is pretty awesome, but I did have a recurring thought throughout the day of: “Man, life will be so great when I’m a faster runner.” Which is stupid for a multitude of reasons, but most notably these:

A. Dude, life is already ‘so great’, dummy.

and

B. Well, B is a little bit longer.

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And for that we need to go back to my random To-Do List that I found this weekend. You see it was filled with a long list of stuff that I was incredibly anxious about a month ago. I wrote it down because all of it felt overwhelming — things that needed to get done, things I could be preparing for, things I should have done months ago, things to do to prepare for The Apocolypse lest I get eaten by zombies…you know those lists, right?

So I made it to calm my nerves, promptly wanted to pass out over the sheer length of it, made a plan about a few things, but mostly just let it all go. Honestly, I never thought of that list again. But Saturday when I unearthed it, I realized that every single item on it could be crossed off.

EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

They had all gotten completed in some haphazard manner over the last month. I didn’t have a particular strategy for getting everything done, or a plan for efficiency, or a comforting micro-managing presence over it, and yet it all got done. LIKE BY OSMOSIS…ok not really. But still. Done! And honestly, here is the reason why: I try and make a regular habit of showing up at life most of the time.

I try and spend my days being productive, having goals, putting in effort, yada yada yada. And I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again — a lot can happen if you just Show Up and Try Hard. Like seriously. A Lot. These two elements are so powerful, yet so overlooked. An entire To-Do List, actually, can get OWNED without it really even being on the radar if you commit to showing up to life and giving your effort.

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So the run yesterday. Did I show up? Yep. It wasn’t even an option. I workout on Mondays, this would be no different. Did I try my best? Despite my negative speed related self-talk, HELL YEAH I tried my best. And did I end up owning it? Weeeeeeeeeeeell, I don’t know if I would go that far. But I did read a funny article prior to heading out for my run that said something to the effect of “The best running technique you can employ if you want to improve is by just putting one foot in front of the other.”

I totally took that advice. 🙂

I did the best absolute job I could do yesterday, and while a part of me still thinks “hmm…I could probably be running faster” there is another part of me that says “Dude, you ran that 5k 10 minutes faster than you did 2 years ago, without really trying.” Call that a freaking victory already.

I would like to be a faster runner though. But right now I have no Be A Faster Runner Strategy. But I’m not sure I need one really because despite the fact that I’m not really working on it at all, it is still happening. Maybe it isn’t happening at the rate I would like it to, but slowly and surely my trajectory is improving. And this is happening not only in running, but IN LIFE. And while I think it’s awesome to have goals (duh) and to dream of big things, there has been a lot of progress made just because I show up and put one foot in front of the other. This simple act moves the needle of life a lot more than we give it credit for.

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So yesterday I did not PR my 5k or show the world that I was an Olympic! Caliber! Runner! Nope. I did none of that. But yesterday I went to work, kicked ass, took names, drove to the gym, warmed up, fought with my sweaty arm to get the god damn neoprene case for my iPhone on it, stuck my headphones in my ear and headed out into the heat of the day and ran 3.1 miles LIKE A BOSS. And that is PROGRESS. Great progress, actually, and I have seen no evidence that makes me think this won’t continue.

Of course I often I think about my lists and my goals and my running and my life. I think about better ways to do things and hacks I could make to my diet or my fitness or my sleep or whatever and I write them down. Because I am a little bit of a crazy person and all of that makes my brain feel better. Exercised, as it were. But sometimes — well sometimes progress doesn’t come from thinking about working on speed, or strategizing about how to better managing life, or pushing efficiencies. Sometimes the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to show up and just keep running. To put in your headphones and focus your breathing and to push yourself just the tiniest little bit. Because even though every moment will not be your Personal Record, all of those small victories eventually add up. In the end, most big changes are just the sum of a million small unrecognizable little changes, right? Eventually over time, one foot in front of the other becomes quite the distance covered when you turn around and look back.

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On Fear and Action

Thanks for all of your supportive comments on my last two posts. One of the trends through the comments was the suggestion that I was being “brave” by putting it all out there. While I appreciate the recognition, I don’t feel like I am a particularly brave person. Generally, I just go about my business (loudly, to the dismay of some) and try and learn while I’m doing it.

(Coincidentally the motto of the college that I dropped out of was “Learn By Doing,” so hey — those two years weren’t a total waste. :))

Anyway, the point is I’m not patting myself of the back for how brave I am on a daily basis. But it did remind me of this great quote I came across c/o Cassie Boorn on Monday that made me realize that this is exactly how I operate:

“I am afraid too. I am frightened all the time, but I do not let the fears determine my behavior. How I act and whether or not I am afraid are two separate things in my process. I think questions such as, is this doable, reasonable, and morally sound? What are the consequences going to be when I do this? I know I will make some people mad but can I actually achieve something positive? If I think I can be effective, I allow myself to feel afraid.

The problem is when people act because they are afraid. These two things need to be separated. It is okay to feel uncomfortable. If you are going to create anything worthy, you are going to feel uncomfortable and other people are going to make you feel uncomfortable, and that has to be accepted as part of life. If you want to feel safe all the time, you will never be able to do anything.”

-Sarah Schulman interviewed by Carlos Motto for We Who Feel Differently.

I find, that for me, one of the only things that actually help alleviate my fears is taking self-directed action. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to get started on something when you are scared, but often times getting started actually makes the fear go away. When you take no self-directed action you are just standing there, stroking fear’s ego.

So I sat down and thought: what do I do about that fear when I am trying to separate it from action? And as Schulman suggests above, I think asking questions helps. When I’m feeling particularly vulnerable I find these questions tend to clarify where my energy is being tied up:

Has someone before me done this?
Will someone after me do this?
What is the worst thing that could happen?
If the worst case scenario happened, what would I do?

And usually by then I have talked myself out of using my fear as a crutch to avoid action.  Of course it’s always nice to hear the encouraging words of others, but I think that should be the icing on the cake, not the filling.

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So let me ask you…is fear holding you back from anything fabulous?

Is there anything you can do about it today?

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On Cynicism and Saying Yes

I love Januarys and Mondays. I love fresh starts and do-overs. Aptly, I love this time of year when graduates get to celebrate the closing of one chapter and the start of another. The emotional space between an end and a beginning is powerful.

(Why has no one learned how to bottle that yet? It could certainly solve this energy crisis we’ve got going on.)

One of my favorite things about this time of year are the snippets here and there that pop up from commencement speeches. No matter who gives them, they are always full of little nuggets of inspiration that I wish I would have absorbed when I was emerging into the real world. Dorky habit confession: I sometimes watch good ones on You Tube when I’m feeling in a rut and pretend like I’m 21 and yearning for knowledge.

Here is a portion from one I think is particularly awesome:

Now will saying “yes” get you in trouble at times? Will saying “yes” lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will. But don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”

– Stephen Colbert commencement address at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, 2006

Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but is the farthest thing from it.

Cynics don’t learn anything.

Cynicism is a self imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.

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Yesterday I read another “Healthy Living Blogger” discounting Paleo as a fad diet. Don’t worry, this time I didn’t feel quite so ragey. In fact, it didn’t even really make me upset. Call it a fad, what do I care? Stripes are a fad too, but it doesn’t change the fact that I look cute when I wear them. HOLLA! 🙂

I think my lack of rage comes from the fact that I know what I am doing is right for me because I am making progress. And it is still bringing me joy. I am following my own heart and mind and not letting the negativity of others confuse me.

Oh and also: I found this picture back in the archives the other day and when I showed Garrett he said to me “Dude, I think the aspect ratio is off in that picture.”

Sorry buddy, the aspect ratio was totally normal.

But luckily the aspect ratio of our current lifestyle is slightly more flattering. And improving each day! Sometimes it’s hard to recognize progress, but I’ll tell you what, this picture fills me hope that maybe those people who talk about getting better with age really are on to something!

As I get older, I try and let the cynicism around me — at work, in life, and on the internet — roll off my back. It’s a discipline, but it is discipline worth practicing. And it’s worth it because we all have things want to try. I’m not one to tell you that you should try the the things I try, because I HATE being told what to do. But the truth is, we all have secret desires that we wish we had the courage to pursue. Every last one of us. But desires and reality don’t always overlap.

So I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I will say this:

Maybe you want to train for marathon. Maybe you want to try out a CrossFit gym. Maybe you want to change the way you eat. Maybe you want to pursue that dream you had when YOU were 21 and graduating college. Hell, maybe you just want to wear a belt.

JUST FRICKIN DO IT.

Because the clock is ticking, you all. The days are coming fast and furious whether we like it or not. Many of life’s pursuits take courage and sometimes that can be hard to find amongst the daily trials of life and the sounds of cynicism. So today I just wanted to try and be one little voice trying shouting louder than the rest.

What do you want to change in your life? Because it can be done. Someone before you has done it and someone after you is going to do it again. So really, what are you waiting for?

FORGET THE CYNICS AND JUST SAY YES.

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Playing The “Glad Game”

I’m learning how to do a new position at my job. You know how that goes, there is an undercurrent of stress while you learn new routines and flows and plenty of time to pull your hair out thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing.” So that’s my baseline these days, which is fine, it won’t be forever. The rest of my life is calm and nothing crazy is going on (HA!) but it hasn’t been too hard to manage.

Until today.

I felt a little out of whack when I got up for work this morning. I had a long day yesterday that ended with a frozen margarita and way too many tortilla chips and salsa (Man! I’m struggling with a clean diet lately) so I’m sure that had something to do with it. But then I spilled my cup of coffee all over the floor. Then I was thinking how happy I was that it was Thursday and that I am off of work on Friday, and NEWSFLASH: it’s only Wednesday. Buzzkill.

I got to work and had a minor computer setback that made me want to bang my head against the wall and I had trouble with a task that should have been really simple, but instead was a giant, hot and time consuming mess that didn’t resolve itself at all. And then I had to go run a meeting.

On the way to this meeting I was feeling really sorry for myself and what looked to be my impending Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Day. It was 9:20 am and a week’s worth of stuff had gone wrong already so I was thinking about how I was going to tell everyone in the room that I was having a bad day and that I didn’t really want to be there and OHMYGOD I WAS SICK OF MY EXCUSES BEFORE THEY EVEN LEFT MY BRAIN.

Growing up my mom, a life long Hayley Mills fan, loved the Disney movie Pollyanna. She did her best to make me love it too but unfortunately I’ve never really been a Pollyanna kind of gal. Even as a child I sort of rolled my eyes at that type of unbridled optimism, and I rolled my eyes even harder when I’d be in a sad mood and my mom would say “Let’s play The Glad Game!” Do you know this game? If you feel sad, you just list all of the things you are glad about and it just makes it all go away.

Oh, Pollyanna, LIFE IS NOT THAT SIMPLE.

So obnoxious sounding, right? Except that on my way to that meeting I stopped and gave myself a little bathroom pep talk and damn it if I didn’t just stand there and list all of the awesome things I am grateful for today. And you guys? IT WORKED. Polly — frickin — Anna worked. And I walked into that meeting and smiled. And I walked out and felt accomplished and no one had to listen to my bad attitude. And all of a sudden, the entire tone of my day has changed. I had a great conversation catching up with a coworker, a friend asked me if I wanted to go out to lunch, I got a nice message from Garrett on my voicemail when I got back to my desk, and it feels like a fresh start.

Since it’s so close to Mother’s Day I had to share this for my mom’s sake. You win, Mom. The Glad Game worked, okay? But more immediately…has your day started off on the wrong foot? Quick, tell me three things you’re glad about right now! See what happens. Play The Glad Game. You know you want to…

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On Easter Weekend + Epiphanies

You’d be pleased to know that Operation: Have A Relaxing Weekend went off without a hitch!

Friday night we enjoyed a rainbow colored dinner and a bottle of wine while playing our New Favorite Game, like dorks. Since we both had Saturday morning off (which doesn’t always happen) we stayed up late. Ok, and maybe we opened a second bottle of wine.


Is that a heart in your wine glass or are you just happy to see me?

Saturday morning we slept in a bit and then headed over to open gym at American River CrossFit to do a workout that had looked particularly heinous this week. Our gym has an A and B track of workouts. Since we are currently doing the A workouts, and since we like torture, we decided to do this workout that had been programmed for the B track:

8 Rounds For Time (YIKES!)
10 Burpees
15 Jumping Lunges
20 Double Unders
25 yards of Shuttle Sprints

About 30 minutes later the aftermath looked was a sweat angel of fairly epic proportions:

Is it just me or does the outline of my body remind you of the old 80s kid’s game Cootie?

It was a GREAT workout, albeit a sweaty one. Afterward we headed over to Old Navy because I got a hot tip on some adorable workout tank tops that were on sale for $14. I’m going to workout in them this week and if they are as awesome as they are cute, I’ll let you know!

When I walked in to Old Navy, sitting right in the front of the store was the dress that I had been eyeing and tweeting about all week. In the size I wanted! (Or at least the size I thought I wanted, you never can tell with Old Navy!)

Luckily it fit, so obviously I had to buy it. Adults need Easter Dresses too, right? (And Easter shoes!)

photo

Saturday night was another night in and I toyed with a new recipe for Paleo Chocolate Chip cookies as a treat. OHEEEEEMGEEEE you guys, they were super delicious!

Last night's dessert: Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies + Coconut Almond Milk. DELICIOUS!

Especially with a little shot of Coconut Almond Milk on the side — the treat of all treats! I’ll post the recipe later this afternoon because it was totally worth sharing!

Sunday morning we headed out to my mom’s for Easter Brunch, which is a family tradition no matter where you are or who you are with. Every year on Easter we eat eggs benedict, period. No questions asked. The end. You drink some Bloody Marys, you discuss how damn good the Hollandaise is at home vs. in restaurants, you cook together and most importantly you enjoy the day!


And this year was no different! And it was because everything went just according to tradition, that I had a major epiphany that I thought I’d share.

You see, 2 years ago we were celebrating Easter this exact same way up at my aunt’s house. Like I said, it’s TRADITION! We were making Eggs Benny, laughing in the kitchen and hanging out all together. It was April 2010 and it was right around that time that I had first heard of this crazy way of eating called Paleo. I was reading a lot of Bodies in Motivation (right before I started writing over there) and a number of people had hopped on this bandwagon of Ancestral Eating (Paleo/Primal/Whatever) and I thought to myself “THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS.” I distinctly remember eating eggs benedict and thinking why would I ever even consider giving up bread? Or these traditions? Or these awesome moments with my family to “eat like a caveman?” It all just sounded so stupid and I had a smug little laugh to myself.

Here is a picture of Garrett and I from that day:

Here mom, a non off center self portrait.

Here is a picture of us from yesterday:

Sadly, we are still sort of awkwardly un-photogenic. 🙂

But along with that, we are 140 lbs lighter between the two of us, we are almost 2 years entrenched into a fitness routine that we enjoy together 3-5 days a week, and we are the healthiest we’ve been, um…well, EVER. Do you know what we also did right after this picture? We ate eggs benedict, we enjoyed some bread, and we participated in family traditions that we have been participating in together for the last 7 years of our relationship. Easter still looks exactly the same, even though we’re Paleo.

There are many moments in life that still look EXACTLY the same, despite the fact that our diet only includes lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. When you say that out loud to people (or when you read about it on the internet like I did years ago) it sounds pretty extreme. But in practice, it’s actually only an accumulation of small tweaks here and there and that we stick to 80-90% of the time. I thought to myself yesterday: I am so glad we stopped letting the “fear of missing out on food related events” be the excuse we used that kept us from trying something new.

The point here is not that you MUST try Paleo (ok, well maybe I want you to try it a little bit…haha!) But more importantly, what I do want to encourage is that if you are putting off making a change in your health because of Fear of Missing Out — take the plunge and try something different if your health is an area of life that you think needs a little work! It can be so hard to make a change, and sometimes it seems like we are hard wired to hold on to an excuse like that as a crutch — and why sabotage yourself like that?

For me the best change I ever made was going Paleo. But for a long time I let my fear of being a person on a “Special Diet” keep me from giving it a try. But I’m not a person with a “Special Diet.” And you won’t be either. I’m just a person who eats what I want, when I want, but I have chosen the Paleo Framework to be my compass. Two years ago I didn’t even have a compass, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was lost. This Easter, I was consciously deviating from my normal course. I enjoyed bread (gasp!) and muffins from a box (shocker!) and drank stiff drinks with abandon. The difference was I knew exactly where I stood…and more importantly, I knew exactly how to get back on course.

And I wanted to share that for those of you who consider making a change. It can be scary to chart a new course or deviate from the route that your friends are going down. But if you are letting the fear of change, the fear that things would be too extreme, or the fear that you would miss out too much hold you back — I just wanted to let you know that the view over here is just as awesome so GO FOR IT ALREADY!

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Discomfort and The Oboe Principle

I heard a little gem of wisdom the other day that made me laugh and it started a thought train that I felt the need to share. I spent last week in a 3-day long sales seminar, and if I could emphasize any word from this sentence it would be the word LONG. It was a LONG week, that last one, and I’m sure you are sick of hearing about it as much as I was sick of living it, but it was during this seminar (a seminar where the expression Always Be Closing was used multiple times un-ironically :::sigh:::) that one of the instructors told a story about her son who plays the oboe. One day he was complaining to his music teacher that playing the oboe was so hard, and whyyyyyyyyyyyy, why was it so hard? And the teacher replied, “If it wasn’t hard, the wrong kind of people would be playing it.” And it just made me chuckle. Apparently the oboe has a Natural Selection process.
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I followed up that long week by inviting a group of strangers over to my house on Saturday to ask me questions. Questions that I would have to answer on camera. While trying to look natural. Easy peasy, right?
Just an average Saturday afternoon "acting natural" in front of a film crew. NBD.
HA! My awkwardness knows no bounds.

The backstory of this film is right here, but I want to tell you why I did it, because I hope that you know that the genesis behind participating had nothing to do with how fabulous I think I look on camera. Is there anything more nerve-racking than picking out an outfit to wear when you are being filmed? GAH! I would submit, no. I AM NO RACHEL ZOE!

Anyway, I did it because the thought of speaking on camera about Paleo and CrossFit (and how they have both changed my life) like, for OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE (OMG!) made me feel super uncomfortable. And as much as I hate to be uncomfortable, I’ve found that most often, doing things that make me feel uncomfortable generally get me closer to my goals. Life is weird that way. Comfortable is easy. I like comfortable, and the act of keeping myself comfortable is a part of my major routine. But every once in a while if you want to grow, I think you have to push.

T.S. Eliot sums up this philosophy so much better:

I know I post this quote here a lot, but it is such a good reminder to always find your edge (to borrow a yoga term) — It’s in the edge that you find your progress.
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So that was Saturday. Then on Sunday we got up at an ungodly hour and took a road trip down to the bay area to watch our first CrossFit competiton: The Nor Cal 40s.

The event was for athletes 40 and over, and we went out to support some of the rock stars from our box who were competing, and I can’t tell you how inspired I was when we left. (Okay okay, I also left feeling tired — sympathy tired clearly, as the most work I did yesterday was pouring a mimosa– and having a serious craving for In-n-Out Burger. But both of those feelings were easily overcome.) I actually left yesterday having some clarity about why I love CrossFit so much. And it totally has to do with discomfort and The Oboe Principle.

You always hear about how competitive CrossFit is — your times are monitored, your number of reps are tracked, the workouts have benchmarks. Sometimes when people hear about CrossFit they say the competitive atmosphere wouldn’t appeal to them. They don’t want to compare themselves to these super fit people, that doesn’t motivate them. But the thing is, CrossFit has nothing to do with comparing to others. In fact, it is about pushing YOURSELF to your limits — whatever those limits are. It’s about finding your own personal PRs, not beating the PRs of others. And all of the athletes I watched yesterday were doing just that — pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and giving it their own personal best! Every person out there, no matter how they ended up finishing was an inspiration because they had the guts to try.

I understand that people think CrossFit sounds hard, but honestly, its elements aren’t any harder to do than that treadmill or that yoga class. What it requires, however, is a commitment to feeling uncomfortable most of the time in the name of bettering yourself. And the truth is, that does not appeal to all people. I’m not making a judgment about it being good or bad, so please don’t take it like that — CrossFit isn’t for everyone, full stop. I get that. But yesterday I left that event thinking, THIS. THIS is actually the exact reason why I love it. I love the butterflies and the rush of adrenaline. I love the fear and I love the success. I love to truly push myself to the edge and support others who are doing the same. Those are my people.

And Yes, it gets hard. But if it wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it. And if everyone was doing it, then it wouldn’t cause discomfort. It would be a comfortable thing that I could motivate myself to do regularly. But I left yesterday feeling more inspired than ever. I left feeling excited about finding that next thing that I want to do that would make me feel uncomfortable. I left ready to push my limits and reach toward my own edge. And tired as I am from a long, busy weekend, I can’t wait to get back in the box tonight. I think TS Eliot would have been a CrossFitter. Or maybe he would have played the oboe. Either way he is a champion of pushing yourself and that — is totally something I can get behind.

What are you going to do this week to push yourself? Can you find something small that will make you step out of your comfort zone?

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Personal Mission Statement

A number of people have linked to this Gala Darling post recently about creating your own Personal Mission Statement. It’s kind of a gem, so I can see why it resonated. It certainly shines some light on some areas of focus between where I am and where I want to be.

I thought I would post my answers to some of her questions not only as a benchmark for myself this year, but perhaps as inspiration for you in case you are one of those people who loves a good questionnaire.

Answer the prompts in bold and see what goals it highlights for you.

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I am at my best in the morning. Right after the first few sips of coffee when the day is so full of potential. I am at my best right after a workout, when I have physically challenged myself and survived. I am at my best when my creativity is seen as an attribute, and when I can speak my mind openly.

I am at my worst when talking on the phone (Gah, so awkward!) I am at my worst when I am in a rush, put too much on my plate and don’t respect my own boundaries. I am at my worst when I don’t balance connecting with others and time alone.

What do I really love to do at work?
I love to diagnose problems and find solutions. I love to help people reach their goals. I love to show others efficiencies. I love to teach people that THEY CAN DO IT!

What do I really love to do in my personal life?
I love to digest. Reading, thinking, eating, writing, creating — all favorites! I love to feel pushed in my personal life. I love to set goals and see progress.

My natural talents & gifts include being full of ideas. I am an idea powerhouse. I am full to the brim with inspiration 24 hours a day. I am also very open. I’m an open book! This means I will share all that inspiration I’ve got brewing, along with too many personal stories that you probably weren’t interested in hearing in the first place. (Hey, everything can’t be a gift!) I don’t have any being vulnerable, and in turn that has helped me learn a lot of life lessons. While sometimes painful, it’s been a huge gift.

If I had unlimited time & resources & knew I could not fail, what would I choose to do? Follow through on every entrepreneurial endeavor I have ever thought up. All while balancing my family which would include a football team worth of children. 🙂 All of whom I’d home school. (BAHAHHAHA One can dream, right?)

My life’s journey is unfolding just the way it should.

What would people say about you on your 80th birthday? She was a wild card, but she sure did suck the marrow out of life.

What do I consider to be my biggest future contribution to the most important people in my life? I hope that I will be a great daughter, wife and parent first. Then I hope I can create a business my children will benefit from.

What are your values? I value honesty and authenticity almost above anything else, really. Only good things come from both of those.

What is most important to you? My family, my friends, my health and my capacity to wake up every day and control how I react to life.

What are some goals you’d like to achieve this year? I have a few.

What kind of image do you hope to project? Is it similar or dissimilar to the image you’re projecting right now? I hope to project an authentic image. This sounds cheese-ball, but to me it means having the confidence to honor who I really am despite others’ opinions, admit when I’m wrong, and act out of love. I’m not sure whether I project that right now, but I want to get there.

What are your roles in life? Are you happy with them?
My first role right now is caretaker of myself. I can’t be a good partner, employee, or dreamer if I am not spending some serious time caring for my own needs. Second is my role as a supportive partner to Garrett. So far this has been one of the most fulfilling roles I have ever had. Third is my role as a dreamer. (A dreamer? What the heck does that mean?) It means I am 33 and (in theory) I have my entire life ahead of me. But I have reached that age where I am starting to become more aware of the limits of time with respect to my goals. I think now, more than ever, it is important for me to dream big and get to working on some action plans. I don’t think every season of life requires long To-Do lists, but right now I have nothing but time and ideas!

I don’t think I have ever been happier in any role than I am right now in these three. But I have a lot of work yet to do!

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If you answer these questions, leave me a link. If nothing else it was a good exercise to get my brain planning!

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On Creativity + Work

I saw this on Amy Tangerine this morning (re-posted from this original source) and it really spoke to me.

Day to day I work in the insurance industry, and sometimes I forget that my passion for creativity and communication can overflow everywhere if I want it to. I just have to let it. I think sometimes, as creative folks, we can let our passions get a little stifled in the day to day. I thought this was a good reminder that creativity isn’t sitting down completing a project. Creativity is something you can express in your every day life — whether it is through what you wear, how you interact with others, the projects you scheme for the future. It’s an overarching lifestyle, not a singular expression.

I feel like chewing on that this week. YUM!

Also this post on Long Work vs. Hard Work from Lemon and Raspberry. An excerpt:

Long work is working in a call center. Being there *in case* the calls come through. LONG work is the data entry, the cleaning every night after the store closes, the weekly grocery shopping for your boss. The mindless tediousness.

Hard work is writing a blog, every day, for weeks on end, building the audience that can little by little by very little help build your income. HARD work is solving your clients’ problems, working on the prototype of a new product, photographing that wedding with your own unique vision. The draining but still invigorating creativity.

I started some exciting freelance work last week. Garrett and I also fleshed out an idea we have long had for a business together. Both of those things have my brain all atwitter! But all of that plus my day job, plus blogging, plus working out, plus being (somewhat) social, plus cooking and eating and sleeping and grocery shopping and BREATHING. Oh my god, the breathing! So time consuming! 🙂 It has felt like A LOT over the past few weeks. But also? It has felt AWESOME! Because despite the generalized fear of it, Hard Work Feels Good. Reading that came at the perfect time.


source

 

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6 Pieces of Simple Wisdom

With Respect To All My Goals

With Respect to My Professional Goals

With Respect to My Weight Loss Goals

With Respect to My Financial Goals

2012 is going to be for
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN.

Sources of inspiration can be found listed individually here.

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Pins of Wisdom

Either you are totally obsessed with Pinterest or you are sick of hearing about it.  I think it’s kind of polarizing, you know, like cilantro.

I happen to be loving on it (speaking of, follow me so I can follow you!) because there is just such a  diversity of stimulus out there:  recipes! gorgeous photos! fashion inspiration! home decor ideas!  I mean you name it, and someone has pinned it. I love the fact that it is such a visual medium: I can just stare at awesome things and then every once in a while click, and it’s tagged in an online bookmarking system FOREVER. Victory.

One of the boards I made for myself is Words of Wisdom (or maybe that board came pre-assigned and I added to it, who knows?) but I have thoroughly enjoyed adding to it and here are a few favorites:

(All images cited here)

What is not to love about that kind of internet time suck, right?

I also enjoy the fact that the more stuff you pin the more your own personal style becomes super obvious. I started pinning home decor ideas that I enjoyed because I feel like I have NO SENSE OF STYLE when it comes to decorating, but when you look at the board — HELLO color trends! Obviously I do have a style that I’m attracted too.

Plus now I have a place to put all the haircuts I am too scared to try in real life. And of course, a very easy way to show Garrett the kind of engagement rings I think about…you know, in my dreams! (Yeah, you can bet I sent him the link to that board. haha!)

Anyway, since it’s Thursday I thought we all might need a little inspiration to get us through until Friday.

Enjoy!

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