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August 2013 Archive

action makes it real

One of my favorite quotes of all time from Ralph Marston, is “Thought makes things possible, action makes them real.” I believe so wholeheartedly in this idea; that there is a huge divide between THINKING and DOING.

There is a part of us that can really internally STRUGGLE on the journey between an idea and it’s action. Some of us are naturally doers, but can struggle with getting the right information to move on the decision. Some of us are naturally thinkers, and can struggle with moving forward on an idea with complete confidence.

There are 2 answers to the question if an idea/thought is right for us:

1. NO.

If things are wrong, we usually feel a gut reaction AGAINST them. They are the type of things that usually have a negative consequence as a result (even if the consequence is not RIGHT away, but in the long run). It’s usually easier to spot when things are 100% wrong. It just feels icky and brings you down. Sometimes it sounds good on paper, but it’s a NO because it’s on your “I’m saying NO to” list – it doesn’t fit in with your motivations/goals/hopes for your ideal life, or for the future.

2. YES.

When things are right – we might IMMEDIATELY have a fearful reaction. That makes a yes answer SO hard to get to sometimes. But remember what we identified about fear? We learned that it holds us back, and that we should be courageous in the face of fear. Pay attention if the YES brings fear. Imagine yourself NOT afraid of it – what decision you would make then? Say to yourself, “If I was NOT afraid of this, would I say YES?” When your gut is feeling a big YES, but you’re not sure how it’s possible or going to happen, it’s a YES. That’s how the biggest YES starts.

2b. NOT YET. I put this under YES, because truly it is a YES. I feel like although NOT YET exists, people use NOT YET as an excuse for their fear. If the NOT YET is NOT because of fear, then it should still be a CALL TO ACTION to get to the YES. What are the steps you DO need to act upon now to get to this YES? NOT YET is not a passive response.

So now that you have your YES? Now what?

YOU WALK. You take the smallest step forward. YOU DO. You break that HUGE yes down in to baby steps if you have to. YOU START.

I want to encourage you today, with every ounce of my soul, don’t wait any longer to start your yes. MAKE IT REAL.

a full bucket

My daughter Aven just turned 2.5 years old. Watching her grow is THE most amazing thing I’ve EVER witnessed. I LOVE seeing her change and grow, especially the growth of her mind. Her decisions, her emotions, her thought processes; get more and more complex every day. One thing Aven has always been fond of is collecting things. She loves to make a container out of anything that has space, and collect things inside. She loves to collect rocks, coins, shells, blocks – really anything that is collectible. She will stuff purses, bags, boxes full of silly things and carry them around with her like treasures.

The other day, Aven was carrying around a plastic bucket. She was filling it with her favorite toys, and she kept seeing new things she wanted to add to her bucket. Pretty soon, it was overflowing, and when she’d walk with it, things would fall out. She would get totally frustrated and try to stuff them in, only to have other toys fall out. I told her, “No sweetie, your bucket is full, you’ll have to leave some things there, it doesn’t all fit.” She wouldn’t listen to me (surprise, surprise), and would try with great frustration to GET IT ALL IN HER BUCKET. She wasted time, got frustrated, and ended up giving up – she kicked over the bucket and stomped off (what a 2 year old right?). She just couldn’t let go of a few things in order to move forward. She was too focused on wanting it ALL in the bucket.

What are you trying to squeeze into your bucket, and it’s just overflowing? Are you not able to move forward because you’re too busy messing with your overflowing bucket? We all have a bucket – a capacity. We all have a limited number of things that can go into it.

Even though our bucket is overflowing… WE STILL see new and fun things we want to ADD to our bucket. Are you unwilling to remove things from your bucket, for the sake of the new things that go in? What do you have to say NO to in order to say YES to something else?

What if what’s in your bucket is heavy, burdensome, or depressing? Maybe your bucket is full of CRAP that you don’t love. Wouldn’t it be amazing to empty out that bucket, so that it can be full of the things that LIGHT you UP?

Today I want to encourage you to take stock of what’s in your bucket. What’s in your life, that doesn’t NEED to be. What can you LET GO OF, to make room for those things that bring you REAL joy?

Happy Friday! Wishing you a relaxing weekend with JOY-FILLED buckets! xo!

a spirit of power, love, and discipline
Spirit of Power, Love and Discipline

Fear is a helluva thing isn’t it? Think about just how POWERFUL it can be. It can make people do pretty much anything – and yet at the same time – can make people NOT do pretty much anything. It is both a burden, and a defense mechanism. Everyone has it – yet it doesn’t really exist. It only has power, when you give it power. Crazy, really.

I have come to regard fear in my life as being USEFUL. However uncomfortable, unpleasant, and unwanted as it is, I just can’t deny that it is incredibly useful most of the time. The times that I have been the most afraid of doing something, I’ve known I was ON to something.

It’s those times when I’ve stepped completely out of my comfort zone into the unknown (a.k.a the SCARIEST place you can possibly be) that I actually see the miracles happen. Conquering fear is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (if rainbows were scary, of course). I’ve never been more afraid in my life than when I had my surgery to remove my carotid artery tumor. Yet, if I could go back in time, and have the choice to go through this or not, I would ALWAYS choose to go through it. It was in my darkest hour, that I saw the brightest light. I will forever be (wonderfully) changed by that experience, and I would NEVER choose to take it back.

Do you all feel me here? Can you think of that time that you were scared stupid of something, pushed through it anyway, and came out victorious? You came out fresh, fulfilled, more full of life than ever before? And yet, when fear creeps back in again, we head straight back to doubt. And sometimes we let the fear take over. What if, during those times, we use our past victories to REMIND us of the truth we knew then? What if we use them to empower us to take the first step? What if instead of focusing on the doubt and negative, we really focus on the MIRACLE brewing on the other side of fear? What if we did this EVERY time we are afraid?

Thinking about fear reminded me of the verse 2 Timothy 1:7, that says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

I thought, does this mean we aren’t supposed to be afraid at all? So I looked into it a bit more.

Another translation I have says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

So instead of FEAR, they used the term TIMIDITY. I looked at other versions, and they used other similar words like FEARFULNESS and COWARDICE. This says something about COURAGE in the face of fear. Having POWER, LOVE, DISCIPLINE and SELF-CONTROL, a SOUND MIND in the face of fear. So, it’s not a question of IF fear comes into play, but WHEN it does.

Remember those times when you thought all hope was lost, but it wasn’t? Remember how amazing it felt to be strong, confident, and in control? Think about the times where you ‘felt the fear and did it anyway’ like my lovely friend Lara Casey would say. If you’d like, make an actual list of these victories. USE these as ammunition to gain the confidence to fight the fear the next time it arises. Whenever I’m afraid, I think about my story; about my diagnosis, my surgery, my recovery. Honestly, I’m afraid of a lot of things… so I have a TON of these stories of victory to think on; my MIRACLES at the end of the roads PAVED in fear. I have PROOF that conquering the fear was WORTH IT. I meditate on the amazing people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the love I’ve experienced – all as a result of pushing through the fear and doing it anyway.

Is there something you’ve dream about doing, or starting, but you’re afraid? I’d love to encourage you today to step out of timidity. To have a spirit of COURAGE and of POWER – you’ve done it before. Use that courage to do that thing that you’re afraid of, and make it AWESOME.

starting with the smallest spark

You can’t help but to have noticed a HUGE shift in commerce, entrepreneurship and small businesses in the last few years. With the social media booms and customer-service-is-king mantras being sung from the mountaintops, more and more people are choosing to start a business on the side (outside of their full-time gig), or from home. And let me tell you, it is seriously AWESOME. I couldn’t be more excited for this shift in thinking, because it ultimately means, now more than ever, people are able to really seek out their dreams. What once was a ton of red tape, marketing and networking this, SBA and business loans that, has become easier, quicker and more accessible than ever before. I am thrilled to work with these small businesses every day, and it absolutely sets my heart aflame to see people doing what they were PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO. Hallelujah.

When I started my business back in 2008, the economy was in rough shape. Tiny sparks of the small biz revolution were beginning to ignite. Our communities started to come together to give the “little” guy a chance. I didn’t start my business because of a lay off; I still had a cushy position at a design studio. I started it as a side cash businesses to pay for our wedding – basically a hobby that made me some money. Let me back up a bit – I NEVER envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. I remember telling my husband explicitly that I would NEVER own my own business. I thought it was too much work, and I would never make enough money. My American dream was to work for a huge, successful design agency, with acclaim and prestige. So when my business started getting serious and celebrating successes and growth, instead of my dream to just WORK at a big company, I’d build one. I thought in order for it to be successful, I had to be big. I’d have a big lofty office, downtown, with a lot of employees.

But, you know what’s missing from that picture? Pretty much everything that I’ve now come to cherish so very much. Freedom, personal connection, fulfillment, making a difference. The things that I love SO much in my life today, would have been missing from that picturesque life I’d planned for myself.

While working towards my dreams of building a big design company, I suddenly realized something. I LOVED BEING SMALL. I loved the freedom it gave me. I loved making my own schedule, and having time during the day to run errands. I loved making my own decisions and developing my brand from the ground up. (I didn’t love the accounting – but I’ll save that for another discussion.) I loved KNOWING my clients, and my clients knowing me. I realized if I had that big studio, I’d be shackled to another 9-5, and I’d still be working for someone else – my business.

After this realization, I went immediately to my website and changed all the WE’s and US’s to ME and I. About ME. Contact ME. I believe in this. Yes, it’s just me. No, I don’t have a customer service department – it’s just ME (now I do have a team, but at that time I didn’t.) There was such freedom in that, and letting it be okay to just be myself. I could write the manual on my business, I could run it the way I wanted to run it, I could have my freedom and set my own prices. I could infuse emotion and love into my business. I could make things PERSONAL again.

I want to encourage you today, if you’re ashamed or not sure about being small, to EMBRACE your small, and wear it proudly. In coming posts, we’ll talk about developing a team to help out if you need it. But for now, let’s just be okay with being small. SMALL IS ENOUGH. SMALL IS AWESOME. SMALL is going to ROCK THE SOCKS OFF OF THEM.

It all starts with a small spark.