4 Reasons to Work on YOU!

4 reasonsPersonal development is an absolute necessity to live an extraordinary life. My first real experience with this type of learning (besides life events) was in 2007 when I attended a weekend, experiential, personal growth and development seminar. Since then I have attended many more seminars and trainings. I have also read and listened to books to enhance my personal growth and learning.

The method of gaining knowledge is not as important as the consistency of learning and the application of the knowledge. I attend seminars, submit myself to one-on-one coaching, and read/listen to books that force me to see where I currently am and challenge me to live out more of my potential.

There are many benefits of taking the time and spending the money to learn more in this area of personal development. Remember that the benefits will only be experienced by taking action, making changes, and being held accountable to help the changes stick long-term.

Encouragement
Discouragement comes in life. Shocking, right? I am amazed at how many times my area of frustration in business or parenting is addressed in the books I am reading. It is encouraging to find a solution and to discover that I’m not the only one who has experienced the same struggle. Personal development is a great way to combat discouragement.

Challenge
The books I read, coaching I receive, seminars I attend are not just fluffy, feel-good, rah-rah times of encouragement. I am challenged – challenged to look honestly at MY behavior and choices. (Remember this is personal development.) If you are not being challenged then you may want to change what you are reading or listening to.

Growth
This is where the learning meets real life. Am I going to take the challenge I received and do something about it? It is in the process of living out our awareness (challenges) that I experience real growth. I change! Change is difficult and this is where accountability comes in. Not many people have the sheer will-power to make big changes stick. I am thankful for my husband, coach, and others who hold my feet to the fire so I can grow, change, and live a truly extraordinary life.

Impact
This, to me, is the exciting and rewarding part of personal development. During and after difficult periods of growth and change, I have the opportunity to take what I have learned and impact others. Many talk about wanting to change the world but don’t know how. I think the best way to change to the world is to first change ourselves – one lesson, one habit, one challenge at a time.

The cost of living an extraordinary life is often high, but always worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

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Waiting for Tomorrow . . or Not!

photoEvery day.
Every week.
Every month.
Every year. . . until it is complete.

Are you that committed to your big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs)?
Most of us fit better with Mandisa’s song, Waiting for Tomorrow.
“Maybe tomorrow I’ll start over
Maybe tomorrow I will finally change my ways
Said the same thing yesterday
Don’t know why I’m so afraid.”

Often it feels easier to make plans for tomorrow than to live out those plans today regardless of the results we may see immediately. Who doesn’t want big results with little effort? The most successful people appear to be sitting there while money, friends, and accolades are poured into their laps. But at a closer glance, most successful people have daily habits (that they follow) which over time produce results.

Jordan Kemper is one of the most successful young men in the company I work with. His success appears to come so easily and I think it does–now. I heard Jordan share about the struggles he faced in the first year of his business. Nothing came easy and it didn’t look like success would come at all. What did Jordan do? He kept working. He did what he knew was right. He didn’t take short-cuts. He worked his butt off and followed the wisdom of his mentors. Daily. Weekly. Monthly . . . until success came and kept coming!

We can create that too if we are willing to pay the price up front.

Are you willing to pay the price of working daily for your goals and dreams? Are you willing to work at that relationship, that pile of debt, that book you’ve been meaning to write, that business venture daily, weekly, and monthly until you see the results you desire?

It isn’t always easy, but paying the price up front is always worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

The Big Move: One Year Later

move collageOur family made the cross-country move from Oregon to Michigan one year ago this week. Reflecting on this past year I have a few thoughts and lessons I have learned along the way.

1 Grieve the Losses
Leaving is sometimes difficult and it’s ok to admit it. One loss I had to grieve in our move was the kids’ bilingual immersion school and the ethnic diversity of our town. That loss was hard for me and I just had to let myself be sad about it.

connecting2 Embrace the New Life
I have seen people move to a new church, school, or town and everything in their life is constantly about where they used to live. They may even keep their dentist and hairdresser that is over an hour (or a state) away! On the flip-side, I have a friend who has moved her family to multiple states and I always see her embracing their new location quickly. I’m sure there is a time of grieving, but she doesn’t live there.

zip line3 Laugh and Have Fun
Finding the good, the laughter, and the fun is a good thing in life and an extra good thing when experiencing big change. The book of Proverbs says that laughter is a good medicine, and it is so true. A good laugh, some fun playing a game around the table, or a fun new tradition goes a long way in moving past the grief and loss.

4 Try Something New
In our new location there are many new things to try and enjoy. We have taken full advantage of the snow (like Buddy the Elf) in our new home tubing, walking, sliding, building forts, etc. We’ve visited new restaurants and created new traditions. This adds to the fun and has helped our family embrace our new life.

sharing the load5 Connect to the Community
Every community – church, camp, or town – has its own uniqueness. There are festivals, events, and local restaurants that help in connecting to a new community. In our new Village where we live (about 25 minutes outside the “big” town) we have become well-acquainted with the two local restaurants and the last-minute-stop-and-shop Lake Ann Grocery, aka LAG. By doing simple things (eating and shopping) within our community we feel connected.

building friendship6 Build a Relationship
I have changed schools, towns, homes, and states a number of times in my life and it is easy to keep relationships at arm’s length. When I do this I truly miss out on an opportunity to meet some wonderful people. I also miss out on an opportunity to serve others. The pain of moving away from close relationships is real and difficult, but never having those relationships in the first place is an even greater loss.

7 Enjoy the Moment
Be here. Be present. Don’t let the seasons – snow, rain, sunshine, and storms – pass without your awareness. There is beauty, wonder, laughter, tears, joy, and pain to be experienced. Be with those moments. The life we have on this earth is short and to live extraordinary is to be an active part of each day.

I would love to have you share a lesson from your journey in the comment box below. You can also read Joe’s (my husband and extraordinary companion on this journey) perspective by clicking here.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

Whenever a commitment is made to remove something from our lives, it is important to find a positive alternative. I made the decision to remove sweets, treats, candy, and soda from my life beginning back on February 20, 2014. The cravings for candy bars, soda, and sugary treats are lessening for which I am very grateful! As part of this health journey, it is fun to find healthy treats that fit within the boundaries of my commitment.

I do not know the origination of the “No Bake Energy Bite” recipe. (If you do, please send me the info). The recipe was passed along through a friend on Facebook. Many good recipes have made their appearance on social media platforms. I hope you will enjoy this one and pass it along so others can enjoy it too!

Dry Ingredients - Oats and Flax

Dry Ingredients – Oats and Flax

A delicious combo - honey and peanut butter

A delicious combo – honey and peanut butter

Recipe:
1 cup slow cooked oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

No need to bake. Simply refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy. It may be helpful to store them in an air-tight container so they don’t disappear too quickly!

Replacing old habits to keep us in line with our commitments is an important step to success on this extraordinary journey called life.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen Recipes:
Green Smoothies
Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites
Nut Butter Muffins

Farewell Moomers, Paper Piles, and Candy Crush (Part II)

After many years playing yo-yo, I am finally saying “ENOUGH!” I want the goals – the life of my dreams – more than I want to stay in my yo-yo comfort zone. (Read about my “yo-yo” here.)

The first step in crushing the yo-yo is to determine what is holding you back.
As I shared in part I, the top three things currently holding me back the most are sugar, paper piles, and iPad games. My commitment to these three is keeping my goals and dreams at arm’s length month after month and year after year. Acknowledging what holds me back makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose. I am choosing to engage these top three in battle — and I will win.

Yes, I say with confidence, “I will win!” How do I know I will win? Because I am burning the boats like Hernan Cortes in 1519. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the commander scuttled his ships so that his men would have to conquer or die. There was literally no going back. In the same way, I am not giving myself an out or a return pass to my former life. I am creating my future by making a decision, creating boundaries, and setting up strong accountability. Come back to my next blog post where I will discuss the hard-core accountability necessary to ensure success.

The Three Boats I Am Burning:

ice cream mmm#1 Sugar
I am breaking up with sugar for good. It does not serve me – mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I have toyed with this breakup many times, but enough is finally enough.

“What does this mean?” you ask.
No sweets, desserts, soda, candy or sugary treats.

“When will you eat these delicious treats again?” you ask.
I won’t. Yes, I have considered the plethora of sugary opportunities that will come my way. No, this was not a light or easy decision.

#2 Paper Piles
I am done making excuses about the mounds of paper on my desk, the kitchen counter, bookshelf, and any other flat surface in the house. I am done watching my stress increase with the increasing mounds.

“How will you eliminate all of this paper?” you ask.
I will set a timer for fifteen minutes and work on these piles every day I am home.

“How will you keep these paper piles from returning?” you ask.
Fifteen minutes a day. This is my new habit for life. Yes, for life.

candy crush#3 iPad Games
I went 100 days without iPad games last fall and was amazed at how much I did not miss them. I will enjoy using this newly acquired time blogging, reading, crocheting, playing a game, connecting with my family, and working on my business to build our future and our fortune.

What is holding you back from living the life of your dreams? What are you willing to say “farewell” to for good?

Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Moomers, Paper Piles, and Candy Crush (Part I)

I am a yo-yo. Not a silly, goofy girl (although some have seen that side of me). I am a yo-yo goal-getter. I’m on, then off, then on again. I’m on health kicks and business runs and then I’m not. This is very problematic when it comes to achieving big goals. The short goals (30 days or less) are not so bad, but some of the things I want for my life and business as well as dreams that Joe and I have together are bigger than a 30-day challenge or even a 100-day challenge!

After many years playing yo-yo, I am finally saying “ENOUGH!” I want the goals – the life of my dreams – more than I want to stay in my yo-yo comfort zone.

How do you stop the yo-yo?

Determine what is holding you back.
When you look at your goals and dreams, what is that one (or two or three) constant that keeps showing up and robbing you of those dreams? If you are like me, at least one of these answers will come to your mind without any hesitation.
Most of us know what our Achilles heel is in life. And, if you’re like me, you won’t want to speak that answer out loud. Why? Because acknowledging what holds me back now makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose.

Maybe you can relate to one of the three biggies that are holding me back:
moomers open#1 Moomers
Moomers has been voted the best ice cream in America by Good Morning America and I would have to agree – it’s amazing! Moomers is not actually holding me back, but represents one of my biggest struggles – sugar! I love sweets! When I consume sweets . . . I eat too much, I crave more sugar, I have less energy, I gain weight, I am moody (more than usual), etc. Sweets do not serve me.

paper piles#2 Paper Piles
These paper piles include bills, junk mail, important mail, receipts, forms for the kids. Paper piles are overtaking my desk, kitchen counter, table, bookshelf, and any other available flat surface. Seeing the piles causes me stress. I don’t work well in the chaos; phone numbers are misplaced; important documents are missing and we don’t even know it. Do I need to continue? I think you get the point. All of these things cause me stress and I am not very productive in the midst of them.

ipad apps#3 Candy Crush
I enjoy Candy Crush along with a lot of other games for my iPad. I like the challenge. If I am honest, these games contribute more to wasting my time than building my mental muscles. When I choose to play one of these games I am often avoiding other things that need to be done. I play longer than I intend to, meaning that I stay up later or don’t accomplish important tasks. “Just one more time.” I’ve said that more times than I can count – to myself and my family.

So, there they are. Three things that are holding me back from living the life of my dreams. What are yours? Can you identify one, two, or three? Are you willing to name them “out loud” in the comment box below?

Identification is good, but there is more. Part II is coming.

Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

The Wonder of Winter

It is snowing today . . and it is beautiful. The snow brings back wonderful memories of my childhood days in Wenatchee, Washington. I remember building snow forts, sledding down the hills behind our house, laying in the snow between sledding runs, catching flakes on my tongue, measuring the snow with a ruler (and occasionally a yard stick), stomping snow off my pants and boots, wet pant legs, snow pants and mittens before recess, and the need for hot chocolate.

This is my first winter living in the woods of northern Michigan (aka the top of the mitten). We lived in the mild Willamette Valley since the kids were born and very rarely experienced more than one or two inches of snow at a time and even had years when we didn’t see any snow at all. I have enjoyed watching my kids experience winter as I remember it as a child. I love watching their wonder, joy, anticipation, and imagination as they experience winter in a new way.

I hope you will enjoy this post filled with photos of my children enjoying the wonder of a snowy winter. May it warm your heart, bring laughter and joy, and encourage you to see wonder in the people and world around you (snow, rain or shine).

Unknown Tati snowman Tati ice caves Celina sled Celina 14 BJ snow Bj Cj first MI winter Aj tubing AJ snow caves AJ Celina tubing AJ BJ snowman

Seeing the wonder in our world does not always come natural or easy, but it is definitely worth it.

Be Extraordinary!