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September 2013 Archive

change is essential

Change can be awesome and change can be terrifying. If you’re like me, it’s almost always the terrifying kind. This week I’ve thought a lot about positive growth and change. As I mentioned before, my daughter started preschool and is having a rough time, but let’s be honest at who’s REALLY having the rough time with it – ME. I have even gone as far to say I HATE preschool. I hate that the drop-offs are so hard, but really I hate being so alone without her. I miss her so much during the day.

But, I know it’s just that GROWING PAIN STAGE that smacks you in the face, in the beginning of a cycle of change. That period of time when you start second guessing your decision, when you have knots in your stomach, when you wish things would just go back to normal. When every ounce of your body is resisting, but your mind tells you it’s the right thing to do.

I love the other side of change, when the tide begins to shift and there is the downhill swing and the hard work pays off. I keep reminding myself of the rainbow at the end, that I know is there. It makes it all worth it.

Change is essential for growth. Change is essential for getting BETTER. The first step to change is figuring out WHAT needs to be changed. Sometimes we put our blinders on to something that desperately needs to be changed, just because we are afraid to change it.

Since I run a small business, it’s easy for me to use that as example. Let’s say you want to make more money. You’ll need to take a hard look at what you’re currently doing – by that I mean – what you’re currently doing WRONG. What needs to change for you to make more money? Are you spending too much extra money? Are you under-charging? Do you need to diversify your revenue stream so that it’s not feast or famine? Figure out the problem first, and that’s the next step to finding your solution.

Maybe you want to make your business operations more streamlined. Do you spend too much time procrastinating? Do you not have a tight enough schedule? Are you always running behind? Do your clients not respect your boundaries? What’s wrong with this picture that’s causing this bad outcome for you?

I’d like to encourage you today to take a hard look at some area in your life, that you’d like to improve. Make a list of things you’d like to improve on. It’s the first step to making a change. You don’t even need to take action yet – since that’s the biggest piece. Let’s just do a baby step today and identify those areas in which change needs to come.

Happy weekend everyone!

when bad things happen to good people

I took a little moment of silence yesterday here on the Design Life Project. I’ve been blogging every weekday for a month straight, and yesterday I decided to be quiet. Yesterday I spent a lot of the day thinking about how to balance life, work, and the in between, in the times of tragedy and turmoil. Honestly, I don’t believe that there is a real “balance” that can be had in that moment. I think it’s like getting a direct hit from a cannonball to your hull, and you just start to sink. You will take on water, no matter what you do in that moment.

Tragedies deserve tears. They deserve sadness. They deserve for us to pause everything and to think on only that. They are unfair, they are unjust. They happen to lots of people who just don’t deserve it. Our hearts break, because we were made to have compassion, and to care.

The thing is with tragedy, is it doesn’t happen to just one type of people – it happens to the good people, the bad people… any people. To deal with tragedy, is to be human. As long as we are alive on this Earth, we will deal with pain, and with suffering. It is the ugly side to life here on Earth.

So, when tragedy strikes, we are inescapably thrown off course, off balance. Now what?

Now we move. Now we do. Now we love. Now we live. Now we laugh. Now we play. Now we smile.

We give the tragedy its stage time, and then we move forward. We understand that sadness and pain is only temporary and we glide into our new normal. We survive. We stretch towards the sunshine and stretch out our petals. We get ready for a new dawn. We see beauty again. We begin to feel joy again. We begin to smell the roses and we begin to live again. We begin to heal.

I believe that balance starts to come back, when we start to heal. When we let ourselves let go and start again. We dust ourselves off and have hope and joy for the future.

“Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5

Grow, flowers. Grow.

meeting with yourself

This and last week have been a bit crazier than usual. My daughter just started preschool, and is having a rough time with it. She also brought home a sickness that both of us get to share. Combo that with our busy season at Love-Inspired, and things are going all topsy-turvy on me.

I have been hearing a message over and over lately, it’s nothing new, but it keeps repeating in my world. I’m hearing that people wish they could slow down, take a break, or have some time for self-care.

It got me thinking, when was the last time I took some ME time? It’s been awhile. I’m not sure even what one does on ME time. I had to Google it. I found some suggestions, that I really like. I decided this week I’m going to schedule in some ME time. I’m going to block out 2 hours of this week, somewhere, turn off my phone and emails, and head to a movie by myself. Okay, I wrote it down, so hold me accountable!

Self-care is essential to a balanced life. We all KNOW it. But do we live it? When was the last time you SLOWED down and took some time? Maybe it’s a date with your boyfriend or husband. Maybe it’s a trip to the mall (or if you’re me – to Target) to shop. Maybe it’s coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile.

I know it’s inconvenient. I know it’s hard to schedule – but DO it anyways. At least once a month. Don’t you think you deserve to slow down at least ONE day out of the month for a couple hours?

Let’s do it together. Go to your Calendar, pretend it’s a meeting, and schedule some YOU time, “MEETING WITH ME.”

sharpening your focus

Sharpeningphoto credit

Today, on a Monday, I’d love to talk about sharpening your focus. Mondays are always my busiest days, and need the most focus possible (which can be pretty hard to do, when you’re coming off of a weekend full of fun).

When we give things focus, we get the most done, to the best of our ability. When we lack focus, it makes us feel pulled in a million directions. It’s important when we’re busy, or overwhelmed, to try our best to focus. Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally, so I have some tricks that I use.

There are four ways that we can easily improve our focus right away. Heck, even implementing one of these will help you improve your focus! Here’s my cheat sheet to getting better focus when things get blurry.

1. Give FOCUS Priority.

Make the goal of FOCUSING in, #1. Let go of your other pressures, or at least ease up on them for now. Maybe let go of knowing the latest gossip. Let go of being RIGHT in your inbox as the email comes in. Let go of the pressure to be perfect. Just let being FOCUSED be your number one goal for right now. Give it the respect it deserves and give it your attention.

2. One thing at a time.

The other day I posted an instagram, saying “Let go of anxiety as a lifestyle, or exhaustion as a badge of honor.” I’d like to add a third thing – let go of MULTITASKING as a secret to success. Multitasking in it’s simplest form is fine, but nowadays multitasking has gotten completely out of hand. Now multitasking is actually a surefire way to make sure you get almost NOTHING done. Focus in on getting one thing done at a time, and then knock out the next. Kinda like the snowball effect for tasks.

3. Write it down; make a list.

There is crazy power in pen and ink. I suppose you could use the computer too, but honestly a piece of paper works the best for me. I don’t have to scramble to find it, or find the file to check it off. I also love that I can see all the things I’ve gotten done that day to really feel accomplished. Another perk to writing it down, is getting those thoughts out of your head. Getting your to-dos on paper gets them out of your head, and clears up room in there for you to be able to really focus on the PRESENT.

4. Give things their space.

Respect your tasks, and give them the time they deserve. Stop trying to work at break-neck speed. At first, give your tasks 1.5-2x the time you THINK they will need. Under-promise and over-deliver to yourself. Give yourself breathing room. You’ll have the time to fully relax into what you’re working on, and you know you’ll have plenty of time to get it done, without worrying about the next thing on your list. If you finish early, it’s time to go out and do something for yourself. Everyone wins!

Today I’d love to encourage you to try out one, or all four of these things, one day this week. Let me know how you feel that day! Probably super productive, and fresh! Woo hoo!


These are some basic steps. We’ll be going into more detail on how to customize and best execute your focus in the Design Life Project e-course. Registration is now open, and this is the LAST week for EARLY-BIRD rate. There are limited spots to keep the experience personal, and we actually only have a few seats left. Go grab your spot!

making connections

Today I’m keeping it short and sweet. I want to talk about human connection through social media. I’d love for you to watch this video, if you haven’t already seen it. It’s beautifully animated on top of a powerful message.

I couldn’t believe how much this hit home for me. It is so true. We often watch other’s “highlight reel” and compare them to our own. It’s not a fair comparison to make. I’m also a huge fan of sharing positive news, so I don’t think complaining and showing the ugly is necessarily the answer too.

I think instead of the edited and fake, we share TRIUMPH. I think we show COURAGE when things went wrong. I think we show the fear, and do it ANYWAY. I think we share our circumstances, and what we LEARNED from them. I think we show HOPE. I think we show LOVE against ALL odds.

  • I would love to encourage you today to show some TRUTH in your social media feeds. Tell someone what you’re struggling with – but show them that you have HOPE about it. Tag your share with #designlifeproject. I’d love to hear from you.

I think if we can show the true colors, but show hope and faith instead – that we will finally make real connections online again.

Happy Weekend!

being perfect

I planned on discussing a different topic today, but I decided to address something that has been on my mind instead.

I want to tell you, openly and wholeheartedly, that I am NOT perfect.

I never have been perfect, and I never will be. I do NOT have it all together. I think a lot of times when someone decides to teach a course on something, or decides to be a speaker on a topic, that there is a pressure to be perfect in that subject. But all of us fall short of perfection (Romans 3:23).

I decided to share my journey with you all – in the quest to continue my own balance. I have found such a joy in sharing with you all. However – I am not perfectly balanced, and I don’t think I’ll ever be – but I have LEARNED what it takes to create some balance. And that’s why I share it with you. I was forced into a situation, where I had to get my butt in gear. I see now that so many people struggle with this same overwhelm, and I want to help with my past and continuing experience.

So then, it’s not about being PERFECT. It’s about learning and being a BETTER person because of your failures.

It’s about working smarter and not harder. It’s about filling your days with things you love and the people you love to work with, and letting go of those things you don’t. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about letting go of worry, of doubt, of fear, when you aren’t perfect. It’s about being OKAY with the fact – even embracing – that we aren’t perfect. It’s about the beauty in imperfection, in vulnerability. It’s about being real with each other.

Yes, I’m a busy person. But yes – I do have TIME for the Design Life Project – because it’s important to me. It’s my passion project. I find the time and I make it work, because it fills up my heart with joy. I stay up longer or wake up earlier and I MAKE the time. This is important to me, and more importantly, this has been put on MY HEART to do – so I will obey.

I’m on this journey too. I just wanted you all to know how grateful I am for each and every one of you. I am so thankful to have you on board with me. Thank you for your supportive emails, comments and messages. Thank you for telling me that what I’m doing here, and in my business, makes a difference to you. To the naysayers, thank you for reminding me what I’m saying NO to – so that I can truly fill up my days with more joy.

I want to close with an encouragement, as usual. I’d love to encourage you today to be at peace with your imperfection. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to mess up. What’s more important is that we are joyful and we DO IT ANYWAY.

spending your time wisely – the plan

Let me know if this sounds familiar. Your time is never spent “well enough”.

When you are working, you feel guilty that you’re not spending enough time with your family, or friends… and you feel like you’re constantly missing out on fun things because you have to work.

But then, when you ARE with family or friends, you’re thinking about that client that is pleading for your help right now. Maybe they are emailing you on a Saturday with a crisis. Or maybe they are texting you in the evening after hours (or maybe you don’t even have office hours -you are like 7-11 to your clients). Maybe you’re behind, and you feel like you don’t deserve “free time” when you “owe” clients things.

The answer to feeling you are in the right place, at the right time, is developing a plan, and being ABLE to stick to it.

Developing a plan is essential to designing your ideal day. You need to know where you are heading, a roadmap to get there, and a compass to make sure you’re still on track. Having a plan gives you permission to be doing what you are doing, with no regrets.

There is a power in writing things down, and getting them out of your head, and in print. The components to a plan that make them awesome, are essential to your ideal day success. Even if your plan is to do nothing that day, and relax… You will be able to fully relax because you planned for it, and everything else has its place.

Sounds easy enough, we need a plan. So why then, is developing a schedule, and sticking to it, so impossible?

Sometimes having a plan is scary. It’s scary because you have something that you need to adhere to, no matter what life throws at you. And that is really tough. Life throws us curve balls on a regular basis. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are the 3 things keeping you from developing or following a plan:

  • Plans can unravel when things go differently.
  • Plans don’t allow for emotion, feelings, inspiration and motivation.
  • Plans are hard to create in advance when things are always changing or are varied.

Sound familiar? That’s because I have been there. And I finally found what works. The answer is, YOU PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED. You plan for the unraveling. You plan for yourself to be un-inspired when you go to work on something. You plan for there being 5 emails of someone needing something right now, when you first check your email. You plan for things to be changing weekly, daily and even hourly. You face the reality that things aren’t ever perfect, and you plan around them, knowing that they will be there.

I want to be totally clear – this is different from a back-up plan. A back-up in plan is in place for IF something goes wrong. What I’m suggesting is a plan for the unexpected WHEN it goes wrong. You assume it will be there (because it will) and there are no freak outs involved. You knew it was coming, so you scheduled it in. You are working on what you need to be working on (putting out a fire) and it won’t affect the rest of your day, or the rest of your schedule.

I’d love to encourage you today to start writing things down and giving them space. Need to take a trip to Disneyland with the family? Block out your schedule and write it down. Tell your clients in advance that you’ll be out of the office, put up an office message, and GO be with your people. Schedule that time to relax and REALLY be present while you’re there. You will quite literally have NO other place to be.