Never, Ever Consider Quitting

stay focused“Always stay focused, keep moving forward, and never, ever consider quitting.” I cut this quote out of USANA‘s quarterly magazine several years ago and taped it to the edge of my computer monitor. I don’t even remember how long ago or who said these inspiring words. The small piece of paper has endured new computers and a cross-country move. The words are a timeless reminder for those moments and seasons when my dreams are out of focus, I am stuck, and I feel like quitting.

Always stay focused. Focus is not always the problem, but the object of my focus can either move me closer or lead me further from my goals and dream. I must keep my goal in focus. I write down goals down – 30, 60, and 90 day goals which each point toward my larger six month and one year goals. Every goal is in alignment so that I stay focused on the path that leads to my dreams.

Keep moving forward. The only way to create momentum is to move, and the most difficult place to move from is a stationary position. It is like a large train sitting still on the tracks. It takes a large amount of force and energy to get the train in motion; however, once it starts moving and picking up speed it moves with very little force. I am noticing the same thing with my business. I am my own boss and it is up to me to get in motion. I get the ball rolling by picking up the phone, initiating a conversation, or responding to a need. These are also the things I choose to keep doing so that I can maintain momentum and encourage others.

Never, ever consider quitting. Take quit out of the vocabulary. I can honestly say that the only people I have seen fail in my line of work are the people who quit and the people who continually consider quitting. Let me illustrate with a non-business illustration:

Shortly after our engagement in 1996.

Shortly after our engagement in 1996.

During our college dating years. Probably 1993.

During our college dating years. Probably 1993.

Many of you know that Joe and I dated for a long time before we were married (17 years ago!). During our first 2 years of college (after dating 2+ years in high school) we dated “off and on.” I couldn’t even tell you why we broke up so much except for the fact that I allowed uncertainty to stay in my mind. This may sound silly, but I remember during the fall of my sophomore year of college recognizing my flakiness and making a decision that if Joe and I ever got back together that it would be for good. We were dating again within a few months and stayed together until we were married three years later. And in our marriage relationship divorce is off the table because we will never, ever consider quitting!

The achievement of my dreams demands that I “always stay focused, keep moving forward, and never, ever consider quitting.” Where are you with your dreams? Which of these areas is keeping you from getting where you want to go?

The journey isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Be Extraordinary!

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Optimism is a Choice Part 2/2

Positively Optimistic

To read part I of this series, click here.

I have gained awareness about my negativity and, because of that awareness, I no longer want to walk that path. Now what? Ephesians 4:28-32 in the Bible says that the person who steals must stop stealing, but it doesn’t end there. It goes on to say, “rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands. . ” And, similarly, if you are going to stop unwholesome talk from coming out of your mouth, the idea is not to stop talking completely, but to choose words that benefit and build up the listener. The same is true of negativity. When I made a decision to stop being negative, that negativity needed a replacement. I wanted to insert joy in my life, but trying harder wasn’t enough.

48  cloudsSurface change is only temporary, so to dig deep and truly change it was necessary to make core changes. The initial awareness was a big factor, followed by some lessons I learned and poured over in the book The 4:8 Principle. This book is based on the verse Philippians 4:8 which encourages us to choose which things we think about. It was the study and application of the principles in this book that brought about lasting change.

A couple of sentences that contributed to my changed outlook from Tommy Newberry’s book, The 4:8 Principle:

“Start programming your mind by first disciplining your mouth.”

Changing my language is a relatively simple and very practicle way to reprogram a negative mindset. Try this little exercise: Next time someone asks you how you are doing, respond with “I’m great!” or “Doing fantastic! Thanks for asking.” This may seem silly, especially when you aren’t “feeling” it, but please give it a try and see what happens. You may just surprise yourself. My husband, Joe, has a great illustration of this. You can read his story here.

“You will always feel what you dwell on.”

Creating financial abundance in my business has been wonderful, but it hasn’t always felt wonderful. While creating this financial freedom we were also facing enormous amounts of debt that had accumulated from hospital bills, sewer problems in our home, etc. When I dwell on enormous amounts of debt it doesn’t matter how many dollars go into the bank account each Friday; I only feel the burden of debt. If I want to feel abundant, then I must dwell on abundance.

You can starve negative emotions by tuning in to the big picture.”

This is what I call a heavy dose of perspective. I think about how busy, stressed, and overwhelmed I felt at times in high school. Relationships and homework were all-consuming. Everything was a big deal. Then I went to college. I could not believe how busy, stressed and overwhelmed those high schoolers acted. They had no idea what life was really like! The reality is that college gave me some experience and perspective. Sometimes I need to step outside my current situation (and negative emotions) and see life from a bigger vantage point. The big picture helps me release negative emotions and see the positive, potential, and promise of my situation.

Does your negativity need to be replaced? What steps will you take to begin this life-changing process? I would love to hear about your journey.

Change is not easy, but it is always worth it!
Be Extraordinary!

Optimism is a Choice . . . Really? part 1/2

Once upon a time I considered myself a natural pessimist. After a while, I decided that didn’t carry such a nice ring so I called myself a realist. My assumption was that optimists were just the people that were born naturally positive. You know those people? The positive people that always see the glass half full and believe things will always turn out ok. I am married to one such person, and too often he was right and things did turn out ok even when it looked like they wouldn’t. That is maddening to those of us who are naturally pessimistic — um, I mean realists.

I’m not sure when the aha came for me, but one day I realized that I, too – a naturally born realist – could CHOOSE to be positively optimistic. What? I have a choice even in this? Wow! But how?

Sunset in Frankfort, Michigan.

Sunset in Frankfort, Michigan.

The first key is awareness. I chose to step out of the denial that said I was born that way and had no choice in the matter. When I was no longer in denial, I could see the reality of my attitude – it stunk! Awareness stings. I realized I wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t right. I became aware that I needed things to turn out poorly so I could be right about my belief that things often turn out poorly. (That sounds terrible as I write it!)

I also became aware that my negativity was contagious. Have you ever noticed that negativity breeds more negativity which breeds more negativity which can turn the focus of your entire day? It is so easy to allow the negativity of others to create negativity in the outlook of your day. Just look through Facebook. Negative people read negative posts, comment on those posts then post their own negative posts. Then those people get in cars, shop in stores, engage their families and carry that negativity all over this world. It sounds dramatic because it is.

In my next post I will share some practical action steps that helped me see and choose to live on the positive side of the street where extraordinary people live. Until then, how about some negativity awareness? Are you breeding negativity – on Facebook, in your family, in your workplace, at the grocery store, behind the wheel? What excuses are you making for that negativity? Awareness is the first key.

Be Extraordinary!

Celebrate!

Resolutions, goals and dreams are written out in living color. Action plans are in place and accountability is established. Choices that lead to the accomplishment of 2014 goals are in process. If you have not yet taken any of these steps please read and take action on part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this New Year blog series before continuing.

celebrate

There is one more crucial step to successfully accomplishing resolutions, goals and dreams this year: Celebration!

Celebration at the end of the journey? Yes!
Celebration throughout the journey? YES!

If I accomplish something that I have really worked hard for, that seems like the appropriate time to celebrate, and it is. But there is also great value in celebrating the small things along the journey. I believe that celebrating along the way is crucial to success! This is a tough one for me. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to celebrate, but there always is.

I recently had an opportunity to think about this. We had interesting (to say the least!) airline travel this past week. Joe had spoken at a youth winter camp over the weekend and was set to fly home Sunday evening. Sunday’s flight was canceled. He tried again on Monday to no avail. Tuesday he was actually bumped out of his buckled airplane seat for another night away. Ouch! That one hurt. All I wanted was for Joe to get home. To top things off, the kids (who had already been on a three week Christmas vacation) were home from school Monday and Tuesday because of wind-chills below zero. So, not only were they still home from school, but they could not even go outside. And beyond that, I was sick.

Winter beauty out our back window.

Winter beauty out our back window.

I really wanted things to go back to normal – Joe home, kids at school, me healthy. In my mind, if  all of those things  could happen (I would have been thrilled to just have Joe home) I could celebrate! Having them would be so sweet, but there was something that could make having all of these things even sweeter.

What is it that makes a sweet victory even sweeter? Celebrating the small things along the way.

A long face, pity party, or being downright angry while waiting for what I really want, would actually rob joy from the victory. So I chose to be thankful and celebrate progress. Joe made it from Iowa to Chicago – celebrate! I felt a little better Tuesday than I did Monday – celebrate! The kids had an extra few days to recover from jet lag – celebrate! The snow was beautiful – celebrate! Our family was safe even though we were apart – celebrate! There were so many things to celebrate, even though complete “victory” was not yet guaranteed. And when I received the message that Joe was actually on a plane headed home, the celebration increased and was oh so sweet. I felt no regret for the previous days. I knew I had given my best and was thankful throughout the process.

How can you celebrate your journey? What small victories can you celebrate along the way? Choose to see the joy, success and progress as you move confidently in the direction of your dreams!

The journey is often tough, but is always worth it!
Be Extraordinary!

Choices…choices…choices…

This is Part 3 of a 4-part blog series about the New Year I am doing with my husband Joe.

Thanks for reading and sharing in the journey.

Be Extraordinary!

The Overboard life

Ultimately, every change you want tot make in your life, no matter how “big” or “small,” boils down to every individual choice you make. My wife loves this saying: “How you do anything, is how you do every thing.” In other words, the way you approach the little things in life is how you will approach the big things in life. And this is never more true than when it comes to how we create change.

Reset goodness

In 2014 I’m eager to shed a few pounds and get back in shape. My new job is pretty stationary and I’ve reclaimed some bad habits around eating too much, working out too little, and generally not taking very good care of myself. The result has been some weight gain, a loss of energy and even my sleep has been affected. For all the great events and changes of 2013, my overall health has…

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2014 in Living Color

Resolve

How many times have you set the same resolution? Maybe you don’t call it a “resolution”, but you know what I’m talking about. We all have that goal, dream or resolution that always eludes us. We say, “this is the year, or month, or day that everything will change!” Maybe you reflect on the past year and realize, in one area or another, that you are in the same place you were last year at this time. Or, perhaps, you’ve had a wake-up as Alfred Nobel did (story featured in yesterday’s post).

If you relate to being stuck or feel like your life is going in circles and fear that you will continue to end up in the same place over and over, then it is time to write a different story. My friend in business, Melissa, often reminds people that “your past does not define your future”. The story of 2013 does not have to be the story of 2014. Just like Alfred Nobel, you too can choose something different.

Here are three steps that I am using to help write a different story in my life and hopefully they will help you write the story you dream of too!

1) Know your commitment and commit to the process. One of my resolves for 2014 is to be healthy and release weight. If healthy is the story I want to create then I better be committed and know clearly the process I am committed to. I will not arrive at healthy without making choices that reflect my commitment. Some of these choices are putting healthy food in my mouth; stocking the fridge with healthy, whole foods; filling my purse and car with shakes and bars for those times I am on the run; exercising regularly; and communicating with my accountability partners. I know what it takes to be healthy, but in order to really achieve healthy I must commit to the process.

Color changes everything2) Paint your story in living color. Tony, my business and life coach, is a master of painting life pictures. When he describes living in financial freedom, for example, it comes to life and I can visualize, feel, smell, and touch each piece as if I am actually living financially free. That kind of clarity is necessary if we are going to pursue dreams. We must be able to see our story in clear, living color. This can be done by writing your story as it looks on December 31, 2014. When you get to the end of this year what will you have accomplished? Write it in specific, detailed, living color.

3) Be accountable. I avoided accountability for many years because I convinced myself that it showed weakness to need help. I didn’t want to bother others with my journey, but I also realized that my journey didn’t go where I wanted it to without accountability. The dreams that elude me are ones that require changing my actions and my choices and that is where accountability comes in. For me, the idea of the end goal is exciting and inspiring, but a few days or weeks into the daily habits my excitement wanes and slowly my choices return to “normal”. Accountability is key in order to maintain the changes until they become my new normal. (Joe will share more on choices in the next post.)

What story do you want to write for 2014? Take time before Part Three on Thursday to write out your story from the perspective of December 31, 2014.

The road to our dreams is not easy, but it is always worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

This is part 2 of a 4-part blog about the New Year. My husband and I are tag-teaming to create these special blogs, so be sure to read part 1 here, if you missed it. Part 3 will be at http://www.overboardministries.wordpress.com on Thursday, and part 4 will be back here on Friday.

Will you make a better story in 2014?

This is part 1 of a 4-part blog series Joe and I are doing this week. Thanks for reading.
Happy New Year!

The Overboard life

What do you know about Alfred Nobel?

During the mid-1800s Alfred Nobel was a boomologist*. He is widely believed to have been the man responsible for creating TNT and he invented technologies with significant military application. He was a wealthy, scientific man with a good reputation and an engaging career. And above all, he was a man of peace. In fact, Alfred’s core belief about dynamite was that it would “create peace faster than [our] congress.” He believed that if both armies could annihilate each other instantly (through the use of massive explosives), armies and militaries would become obsolete.

dynamite

One morning he read something that few people ever have the opportunity to read: he read his own obituary. You see, his brother had passed away, but French news outlets (apparently news outlets struggled for reliability even in the late 1800’s!) reported that it was Alfred that had passed away. The…

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