Do You Inspire Others?

Extraordinary kidsOne night the kids and I were hanging out in the living room. I was on the couch with Celina snuggled on my lap. She is 8 years old, but I think she will always find a way to snuggle on my lap! BJ was in the chair working on a drawing and AJ was standing near us. I don’t remember exactly what he was doing, but probably tossing a ball in the air as he is often found with a ball in his hands.

The topic of conversation moved to BJ and her desire to be a fashion designer. She loves fashion, style, and music. AJ asked her a question or two and BJ’s response indicated that her belief about the fashion designing dreams were mere fantasies – she didn’t really believe they could become reality. AJ jumped on this disbelief quickly and reminded her of her passion, talent, and skills. He said in a number of words and number of ways, “You can do it!”

At this moment Celina piped in with a statement that added fuel to the energy building in the room. She said,

“AJ, you always say stuff that makes us feel like our dreams can come true.”

AJ quoteIn the hour that followed papers were pulled out, drafts of ideas were made, and brainstorm lists were created. BJ created outfit designs. Celina had a list of her dreams consisting of a big red barn, farmhouse, and all the animals that we would find there. AJ has plenty of dreams of his own. He plans to be a wise and godly business man – first with USANA and then owning his own store by the time he is 30.

The greatest thing about all of this was the belief that I saw well up in each child. There was great excitement, energy, and bonding between the kids. They were helping each other and even discussing how each one would help the other in the achievement of their dreams.

Without even realizing it, AJ showed leadership that night. He inspired greatness in his younger sisters. He uncovered and stoked their belief.

When you are in the room, what do you inspire in others? What conversations are created because of your questions? Is there energy, positivity, and belief in your presense? I think we all can learn a valuable lesson about the extraordinary life from AJ’s example – I know that I can!

Be Extraordinary!

The Chicken or The Egg?

chickenOReggIn 2010 my husband, Joe, began the official journey of writing his first book. He was writing for a daily devotional site and one particular week he wrote a series on the life of Joseph. The readers gave tremendous feedback and wanted to read and learn more. This was the inspiration Joe needed to get his dream of writing a book off the ground.

So, what came first – the inspiration or the writing?

Think about the question this way: What if Joe had simply been waiting for inspiration (the right thoughts, ideas, audience, a publishing company to offer him a book deal)? Would the book be written?

I venture to say that he would not have been writing for the devotional site in the first place if he was waiting for inspiration, waiting for the invite, waiting for the phone call, or waiting for the eager audience to emerge.

The writing came first.

ProjectJosephWriting daily was just the beginning. This daily habit and desire to share with others caused Joe to pursue writing for the daily devotional site. He was not invited. Well, it was a very loose invitation and it required initial action on Joe’s part. After several months of writing, the devotional series on Joseph emerged and was ultimately the catalyst for putting those initial thoughts into the pages of a book. Project Joseph is an amazing tool for dealing with past pain and gaining a new, life-changing perspective.

Are you waiting for inspiration before you take action on your dreams? What action do you need to take or what habit must become part of your daily life so that you are in a place where inspiration can appear.

When inspiration comes, will you be ready to receive and act on it? I hope so!

Be Extraordinary!

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!

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!

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.

Life on Purpose

PurposeMy life purpose is to enrich the lives of others through compassion, generosity, and extraordinary living. When is the last time you sat down and considered the purpose and direction of your life, business, health or family? Having a specific purpose in any endeavor gives parameters and direction to all the little choices connected to that endeavor. So often I am caught up with the daily grind that I don’t take time to really consider whether I am even on the path that leads toward my goals and dreams. In the chaos and mundane routines, it is easy to lose site of  these goals and dreams.

This weekend I took a much-needed night away to refocus, and strategize the direction of my business. (I am so thankful for a spouse who sees the value of this time and even made sure it happened!) In a few short hours I recalled and clarified what I do: I am a coach. I teach people how to earn full-time income while working part-time from home. That seems rather simple and also sounds a little over-kill to take a night away to get this kind of amazing clarity.

This clarity arrived in the first hour, but the hours since then have been just as crucial. I mapped out how everything I tried to do to build my business now has a purpose and focus. If I post on Facebook or any other form of social media, and I hope to see a direct impact in my business then I better know where I’m headed. There is no way for anyone to follow me if I do not know where I am going. This is true for any goal in life, business, health, or family.

What is your purpose? for your life? for your family? for your future? for your health? for your business? What area of your life could use some serious consideration about the direction and path you will take?

Be Extraordinary!

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Blog if I Want To

birthday-cake-hd-widescreen-images-I had a birthday on Sunday. It was met with a great morning at church, a beautiful dinner prepared by my family, an iTunes gift card, hand-crafted cards by the kids and a trip to the movie theater for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Joy, laughter, family time, secret plans and birthday candles all make birthdays fun and memorable.

This birthday has also brought about a lot of reflection over this past year. Honestly, I don’t know that I am where I thought I would be. Will you take a little stroll back in time to September 29, 2012?

On my 40th birthday I was enjoying the warm breezes, sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets of Maui, Hawaii. Joe and I had spent 4 days visiting a ministry we were considering being a part of on the island Molokai. 2500 miles in the opposite direction of our home in Salem, Oregon was another ministry opportunity at Lake Ann Camp where we were set to interview just one week later. Another event pending on the horizon was my kidney donation surgery set for October 23.

So many unknowns. So many questions. So many what-ifs.

In spite of these looming unknowns, my hopes and dreams for my 40th year of life included getting in the best physical and financial shape of my life. I wanted it (I still want, and am working for it), and I thought that on my 41st birthday I would have it.

The physical, mental and emotional toll of moving our family across the country, starting a brand new ministry, entering a new market (for my business), living in a new culture, recovering from kidney donation surgery, recovering from hernia surgery 9 months later was far greater than I could ever have anticipated. It’s the funny thing about the extraordinary life: Saying yes to it is easy, but actually walking the path is a great challenge.

Would I trade it? No way! The rewards of the challenging path are far too great. I don’t always see that in the circumstances around me, but I know its truth, because I’ve come through other valleys of this extraordinary journey called life.

Will you still choose extraordinary even when a detour comes your way? Will you persevere and persist in making it to the other side? I hope so because it’s only from the other side that we are able to have perspective and see how extraordinary the journey actually was.

I don’t know what my 41st year will hold, but I do know this…the journey will be worth it.

Be Extraordinary!