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!

Just a Little Bit More

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that my desire and passion is to live an extraordinary life. An extraordinary life is not simply made up of extraordinary events – although that is part of it – but is a life lived out in daily obedience. My obedience is a response to the voice, promptings, and intuitions of God. This means obedience to crazy-big decisions (i.e. donating a kidney!) AND also to the small things (i.e. taking that extra moment to look my child in the eyes!)

In light of this desire, I have been challenged this week by my business and life coach, Tony, and through the book by Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect. I realize that my “extraordinary” life has become safe and complacent. I have been giving the bare minimum. A truly extraordinary life requires something extra, something more, than the average person is willing to give.

Just a little bit moreImagine what would happen if in each task we take on today we did just a little bit more.

Business: Instead of making ten calls, make eleven.

Finance: Instead of putting $50 in the savings account, put $55.

Parenting: Instead of the 30 second “close your eyes and go to sleep” speech, give five intentional snuggling and listening moments at bedtime.

Marriage: Instead of greeting spouses with a quick kiss and “how was your day?”, greet with a full seven second kiss followed by an embrace.

Health: Instead of the regular 30 minutes on the treadmill, push an extra two minutes at the fastest pace.

These ideas may seem small, but what would happen if we embraced just a little bit more over time? This is what Darren Hardy calls “the compound effect.” Our choices compound over time, whether negative or positive. And extraordinary does not come about because of a one-time decision; it comes about through the compounded results of little choices each day.

Where can you step up to live extraordinary in your life? What little choices will you make that over time will make all the difference? This is the crazy thing about extraordinary living: making one extra sales call or spending two extra minutes on the treadmill don’t seem that extraordinary, but the results of those actions and that mindset creates an extraordinary life.

It is not always easy, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Green Smoothie

Smoothie #1

Smoothie #1

I love green. It’s my favorite color. I love to wear green and I love to see green in the grass and trees in the summer. There are so many beautiful shades of green. I even like to eat green foods – celery, cucumbers, broccoli and spinach. In spite of all of this love for green I have never wanted to drink a green smoothie. Actually, I may have wanted to but couldn’t get past the thought of it tasting like wheat grass. I know some of you love that, but I have a limit in eating things that taste too much like the earth. Personal problem, I know.

Smoothie #2

Smoothie #2

I decided to get over my fear and brave the green smoothie. I was very pleasantly surprised, in fact, a little shocked. Since my first green smoothie adventure I have tried a few varieties of the beautiful green drink. If you have not yet ventured into the world of green this is a great (and pretty tame) way to do it. If you are a green smoothie expert, please share your recipes below, on my Facebook page, or on my Pinterest Smoothie board.

I have included several “Traci Tested” recipes to get you started.

Smoothie #3

Smoothie #3

Very Green Smoothie #1 (this was the first recipe I tried)
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– Half an avocado
– One cup frozen strawberries
– Half a banana
– 1 cup water

Super Berry Green Smoothie #2
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– One scoop Vanilla Nutrimeal
– Two scoops Orange Cream Nutrimeal
– Half cup Bolthouse Farms Berries + carrot
– Half cup water
– Five ice cubes

Smoothie #4

Smoothie #4

Apple Blueberry Green Smoothie #3 (made by my sister-in-law, Naomi)
– Large handful baby spinach
– One cup blueberries
– Half an apple
– Ice
– Water

Chocolate Green Smoothie #4
– 3 scoops USANA Chocolate Nutrimeal
– Large handful spinach
– Ice
– Water

The green smoothie world is a great, healthy adventure!

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!

30 Day Strong Ab Challenge

1234767_10201086160730462_232045701_nI love goal-setting and challenges. It can be difficult to stay the course over the long haul, therefore, I find it more motivating to set up small, short-term challenges that are in alignment with my bigger goals. Other important factors in accomplishing goals are accountability, camaraderie and fun.

Setting goals and being challenged is part of living an extraordinary life. Without goals, I would just do the things that I FEEL like doing and I would end up having what I already, comfortably, have (not my dreams!).

In line with all of these things, and with the final 30 days of my 90 day challenge approaching, I’ve enlisted the help of my friend and business teammate Lisa to set up a 30 Day Strong Ab Challenge. My hope is that you will want to join us – accountability, camaraderie, fun and prizes – in the quest for bigger goals and dreams in the area of health and fitness.

Here are the details for the upcoming challenge.
Date: October 1 – 30
The Strong Ab Challenge was created for the purpose of accountability, camaraderie, and fun while releasing inches around the waist, building Strong Abs and earning prizes!

Requirements to qualify for prizes:

1) Order 3 bags of USANA Nutrimeal and 2 boxes of Protein Snack Bars.
** Replace one meal with a Nutrimeal Shake each day
** Replace one snack with a Protein Snack Bar each day
** Purchases must be made through Lisa, www.lconnaghan.usana.com or Traci,www.traci.usana.com
(current USANA associates contact Traci for participation requirements)

2) Complete daily Ab Challenge
** Even if you are unable to complete the entire Challenge for the day, push yourself to do as much as possible. You are worth it!
** Print a copy of the Ab Challenge from photos

3) Post 5 or more times each week on the Strong Ab Challenge Facebook page.

4) Post your favorite plank pose photo on the Strong Ab Challenge Facebook page.
** This can be done any time during the Challenge.

5) Have fun!

PRIZES:
– Bag of Nutrimeal Shake Mix
– Box of Protein Snack Bars
** Number of prizes awarded will depend on number of participants. Winners must meet the above mentioned requirements in order to qualify for prizes.

Even if you are not looking to have the strongest abs, I hope you will join in the Strong Ab Challenge. This type of challenge brings out opportunities for growth in many areas of life (perseverance, character, healthy habits, positive example to others, belief in yourself) if you are on a quest to live extraordinary. My goal in this is not simply to have extraordinary abs (although that would be nice), but to develop extraordinary character and to encourage myself and others to live an extraordinary life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! Will you join me?

Be Extraordinary!