15 Minutes

I am convinced that most issues and attitudes can be changed in a mere fifteen minutes. They won’t necessarily be completely resolved, but radically changed.

1515 minutes.

For example, imagine your kitchen is a disaster and the sink is piled with dishes. We also have a corner of our kitchen counter that is often stacked with mail, school papers, books, and today there is a pair of binoculars. When I look at the kitchen it can seem overwhelming — it seems like it would take an hour to get it back in shape.

15 minutes.

Here is where fifteen minutes comes in to save the day. Set a timer (thank you Fly Lady) for fifteen minutes, pick something (i.e. dishes, counter, or table), crank up some tunes, and get busy. This isn’t even about hurrying, but work on the kitchen for the full fifteen minutes. Every time I do this I am blown away by how quickly things turn around. Usually I easily finish within the timed fifteen minutes. Often I accomplish more — recycling out, garbage out, dishwasher started, etc.

15 minutes.

I have seen this same thing work with other areas of the house, my work time (working at home requires self-motivation that is sometimes lacking), solving a problem, and even my attitude.

timer15 minutes.

One area of my home that requires fifteen minutes of consistent attention is paper and clutter. I gave this one the first fifteen and then realized it would serve me and my family to give those papers fifteen minutes of each day. You can read about this decision in Moomers, Candy Crush, and Paper Piles.

15 minutes.

It’s not much, but fifteen minutes a day could improve your marriage, change your financial situation, clean up your clutter, put dinner on the table, flowers in the vase, veggies in the garden, artwork on the walls, and much much more.

15 minutes.

What area of your life could use a fifteen minute turn-around? Is there something that is in desperate need of fifteen minutes of your attention? The journey of an extraordinary life can begin with just fifteen minutes.

Be Extraordinary!

I’m a liar.

This is such a humble blog post to be read and pondered without judgement. Living an extraordinary life demands that we live a life of honesty, humility, and integrity. Are you willing to admit your short-comings and make necessary changes to live that kind of life? If you are, then you are ready to live the extraordinary life.

Be Extraordinary!

The Overboard life

Just over one year ago, Lance Armstrong admitted, on national television, that he had been doping his blood and using illegal drugs to enhance his ability as a world-class cyclist. Winner of 7 Tour de France races after he conquered cancer, Lance was an icon to millions of cancer patients and he gave hope to everyone who had great odds to overcome. And he was a liar.

He lied to people for over a decade. He denied using drugs. He swore that he never doped. He threw teammates under the bus who were calling him out and he looked people right in the eye and said, “I’m the real deal.” I believed him, and I was one of the many who defended him when the evidence was mounting. (Read my post, “I Believed Lance”)

Lance ArmstrongToday, Lance is a man who has been humbled. Over half of his assets…

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Hope Springs Anew

bootsCan you think of a season of life or even a moment when you experienced hope? On Sunday, as I was pulling out of church, I noticed the golf course across the street. I haven’t noticed the golf course in about five months due to the feet and feet of snow covering the greens. Now, all around town, much of the snow has melted and we even have glimmers of brown grass, but on this particular Sunday I saw something different.

It was not just the fact that I saw grass on the golf course, but that grass was green! Green grass coupled with the warm sunshine pouring through my window gave me an instant surge of hope. Hope of spring. Hope of summer. Hope of warm days, outdoor runs, trips to the lake, reading a book on my deck, BBQ’s, bike riding, and so much more. All of this “hope” burst forth inside me when I saw that beautiful green.

Hope amazes me!

That internal excitement and anticipation did not remain inside. It overflowed into my conversation with the kids in the car. It came out in the smiles I shared as we went to the library and then on to the grocery store. My energy was increased. I didn’t take the usual Sunday afternoon nap. I wrote a blog, helped with homework, did some cooking, and took a late afternoon walk. My day was different.

Hope is beautiful, energizing, and contagious. And I wonder, how can I infuse the energy of hope into each day? How can I, in one moment, shift my mental and emotional state when the golf green is not on my horizon?

What is your “golf green?” What infuses hope into your day and into your life? Please share so that we may learn from each other and impact our world with a fresh dose of hope.

Be Extraordinary!

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!

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!

AJ’s No Candy No Soda Challenge part 2

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AJ received a candy care package from his friend Isaac the day after he completed the challenge.

Picking up where we left off in the last blog, I wanted to take the time to interview AJ and get his direct perspective on his No Candy No Pop Challenge. For starters he informed me that he would rather I call it “soda” than “pop” and therefore the name change on this blog. 🙂

Traci: What was the challenge from your perspective?

AJ: To go a full year without candy or soda.

Traci: Define candy.

AJ: Anything you would get on Halloween.

Traci: What was your first thought when you were presented with the challenge?

AJ: I thought it was impossible.

Traci: It took you two days to make the decision . . what made you change your mind about it being impossible?

AJ: Another person did it meaning it must be possible, so I decided to give it a try.

Traci: Why did you take this challenge on?

AJ: 1) The reward. ($365, all or nothing)
2) To show myself that I could do it. It’s not impossible.

Traci: How were you able to accomplish this challenge?

AJ: 1) I kept repeating the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
2) Support from family and friends.
3) Saying “I am choosing” instead of “I have to”. It was my choice. I could end it whenever I wanted.

Traci: What challenges did you face along the way?

AJ: 1) We moved to Michigan, on a camp, where they have pop and candy. It was tempting especially during my week of camp.
2) Right before it ended – I really wanted to be done.
3) Friends and family would forget and offer candy and soda. It felt like they were doing it on purpose to taunt me.

Traci: How did you handle these challenges?

AJ: I knew I wasn’t going to back out anytime during the challenge so I just kind of stepped through them.

Traci: Would you do this challenge again? Why?

AJ: (A moment of pause). Yes. Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn’t be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.

AJ is a pretty wise 12-year-old.
What challenge or challenges have you been putting off? What new challenge are you willing to step into that will move you in the direction of your dreams and goals?
1) Choose your challenge.
2) Clearly define the parameters.
3) Enroll family and friends as your support team.
4) Give yourself a reason or set a reward that will motivate you along the way.

Will it be worth it? According to AJ it is worth it.

Be Extraordinary!

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Except When You Don’t

I have found a lot of wisdom in the pages of Dr. Suess, including this quote from Oh The Places You’ll Go. This book was given to me when I got on the plane for my first year of college over 20 years ago. I have referenced this book many times over the years and this section seems very fitting today.

“Except when you don’t.

Because sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups and Hang-ups

can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.

And your gang will fly on.

You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch

with an unpleasant bump.

And the chances are, then,dr-seussplaces

that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,

you’re not in for much fun.

Un-slumping yourself

is not easily done.”

I have not yet found it within myself to embrace slumps. I want to be energized, excited, and extraordinary every moment of every day. . . but then life has a lot of ordinary moments too. Today’s thoughts are not necessarily about avoiding slumps altogether, but about how to get out of them more quickly. If you don’t want to face any slumps or obstacles in your life then I suggest you don’t go for the extraordinary – stay in your safe, comfort zone – and you will live a much simpler (and I think, far less rewarding) life.

How to shorten the “except when you don’t” times:

1) Kick the Victim Mindset to the Curb. The victim mindset is about blaming your life and your problems on anything and everything.

2) Embrace the Empowered Mindset. The empowered mindset is about owning the fact that you have chosen what you have in your life, and owning your response to the things you can’t control.

  • Your financial situation – own your part (the things you chose to buy, money you chose to spend, house you chose to purchase).
  • Your kids who are causing you grief – own your part (you chose to have those kids, or at least made choices that caused you to have those kids).
  • Your problems with your boss or co-workers – own it (you choose to work there – yes! you choose to work there).

WOW! Those are convicting. I will address these in a future blog because victim/empowered has been a huge lesson for me!

3) Accountability. Who do you have in your life that will lovingly tell you the truth? Who do you have in your life that cares more about the big picture of your life than the comfort you may experience for a moment?

Be Extraordinary!