Imagine The Possibilities

Can you imagine the impact you would have by taking your heart’s BEST work up one notch? You are already having an amazing impact on the people and world around you, think of the possibilities!

Imagine…

  • Having move energy and passion to be more intentional as you love and care for the people closest to you.
  • Having more energy and passion to be more intentional as you share your gifts and talents doing the work that makes your heart happy.
  • Having more energy and passion to be more intentional as you spend time with others who you can empower and receive that empowerment back in return.

You can do all of these things, but a few things may have to be adjusted to make them a reality.

You will have to take care of yourself like you never have before. I mentioned in past blog posts and our Facebook group that I was dedicating 2019 to take my mental and physical health up a notch. In order to do this, I needed to dig into the reason behind some unresolved symptoms I was having after completely changing my diet 5 years ago. Last Wednesday I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and it completely took the wind out of my sails for the past four days. Today I woke up and I knew deep down that I want to have more energy and passion in my life. My diagnosis is a stepping stone to move me towards having that energy and passion to do my heart’s BEST work. My diagnosis requires me to take my self care up one notch. Sometimes the steps we know we need to take are overwhelming, but it is never an  option if we want something better tomorrow than what we have today.

You will have to disqualify the “works” that are not a part of your heart’s BEST work. What are the things on your calendar that do not fall into your heart’s BEST work? Are there things that you spend your time on that could be replaced with other BEST things? This decision is individual to you. I personally know a number of ladies who spend time sitting with their significant other as they watch TV. There have been times when all of us have said to ourselves “I could be doing so many other things right now”, but prioritizing time with those we love is a part of our heart’s BEST work. Sometimes sitting around and watching TV does not qualify as our heart’s BEST work, only you can decide. I’m confident that we all have something in our  lives, if we really look close, that can be disqualified to allow time for something that is our BEST. It’s the only way we can take our heart’s BEST work up a notch.

You will have to decide what part of your heart’s BEST work you are going to take up a notch at this point in time. My heart’s BEST work involves my relationship with God, my relationships with my husband, family and friends. It involves encouraging others to be their BEST, and taking care of myself so I can do the same. It can be overwhelming to try to take all of these BEST things up a notch all at once. Decide today what one, or maybe two, BEST things you are ready to take up a notch. Ask yourself, what is one right decision I can make today to take those areas up a notch?

Don’t go at it alone! There is energy and strength in living out our heart’s BEST work with others. Taking our heart’s BEST work up a notch has its ups and downs. It is not only essential to have someone beside you during these times, but it is so much more fun. I have found that I laugh so much more when I am with the ladies in my life. We gain POWER when we are with others who EMPOWER us! Don’t do it alone. Carve out time to surround yourself with amazing people. It is a difference maker!

You are building on your already amazing life. You need extra energy from your self care and extra time carved out of your schedule. 2019 is the time to take the idea of living better and change it into the actions and passion to live better. Are you ready to take your heart’s BEST work up one notch?

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Settling Is No Fun

In preparation for launching my Facebook Group, I read the book Tribes by Seth Goden. In it he stated that “Settling is not fun.”1 Which I agree with whole heartedly. Just a few sentences later, he mentions “competing priorities” as a possible culprit for settling. Hmmm, that’s an interesting topic to dive into! How can we deal with competing priorities, especially when they are both high on our priority list?

Back in October, I changed up my workout routine. I started at a new gym, with new class options. I started out going to one class a week, desperately wanted to add more, but I suddenly found two high priority items pulling at me for my time and attention. Both of them were part of what I consider to be my Heart’s BEST Work. My family and my self care. I did not want to settle, but how was I going to work through these competing top priorities?

The first thing I did was review my priorities and how they were reflected on my calendar. I knew what was most important to me in life, so I needed to make sure those most important things were really getting my time and attention, not other less important things.

Second, since I had to find a way to juggle these two really important things, I took my time to make decisions. I was tempted to give up quickly and settle with the reality that one night at the gym was just going to have to be enough. I just could not settle for that. 2018 was a very “blah” year for me with regards to my physical health. I wanted new and better for 2019. The answers came by thinking things through over time and with determination.

Next, I had to be open to changing old routines. I love routines! Once I find something that works, I stick with it FOREVER (I wish)! As I looked at my options to fit in these most important things, I initially did not want to budge on changing up some of my well formed routines. It actually took the gentle nudge/suggestion of someone at the gym to make me even consider changing things up. I did and guess what, I have a new routine!

I decided to reduce my time with one priority in order to add it to another. I cherish the time I have at home with my husband and puppy, but something had to give in order for me to find time to add in my desired gym time. Neglecting my family was not an option, but finding a compromise was. Now, I workout on Saturday mornings when John (and Pebbles) love to sleep in. They hardly know I am gone. Some nights John and I eat dinner a little later, and the nights I workout, we have less “hang out” time. John does not love waiting at times, but he truly does support me, so we have found a compromise. Now my time is shared among these two priorities.

We have to guard and prioritize our Heart’s BEST Work, but know that even when priorities compete for our time, there is a way to come out the other side and not settle.

1 S. Godin, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. (Portfolio/Pengiun 2008), 78

Where Do You Want To Go?

If you have read my posts for any time at all, you know that I talk alot about baby steps. Taking one small step at a time to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided to do away with “baby steps” and trade it in for a new 2019 model. I think you are going to like it!

The first week in January, I sat across the table at lunch with a wonderful woman. We talked about changes in her family life and how her parents and in-laws were going to need more assistance and support in the upcoming year. She also talked about the fact that she knew that in order to take care of them, she was going to have to take care of herself. As she talked, she downplayed the baby steps she was taking, like they weren’t significant enough. She then switched gears and said “I’ve made some decisions. I’ve decided to ________ and I decided to _______ and those things are really working right now.” It dawned on me that all baby steps are, is one right decision at a time. Brilliant!

I don’t think it is possible for me to eliminate the words “baby steps” out of my vocabulary completely, because they have been my friends for so long. I do absolutely love the idea of all of us making one right decision at a time, here is why:

  • Making one right decision at a time is a great way to get unstuck if you feel as though you are “stuck” today.
  • Making one right decision at a time means every single moment is an opportunity for another right decision.
  • Making one right decision at a time creates movement and positive momentum.
  • Making one right decision at a time is personal to you. You are unique and amazing! You get to decide what right decision is best for you.

Like it or not, the decisions we make are moving us somewhere. We just want more of them to move us in the direction we know is right for our lives.

Right now I am making some right decisions regarding my health. I have made big changes in my diet, exercise and stress management over the past five years, but it is time for me to do better. I have some unresolved symptoms that have been lingering. I want them to get better. In addition, I have read more and more about the health of my brain and how my thinking contributes to good (or bad) health. These are areas I am devoting the entire year to, and that can feel overwhelming. I have to remind myself, as I remind you, I will keep moving in the right direction making one right decision at a time.

You wanna know what? You are already making right decisions everyday! You are already on the right track. Sometimes all we need to do is focus those right decisions in a particular direction. So the questions we all have to ask ourselves is “Where do you want to go in life? What do you want to do? How do you want to feel? What do I want the end of 2019 to look like? Once you have decided on where you want to go, you already know what to do.

We are going to continue the conversation this week out on our Facebook group. We would love to hear about what you are working towards and the right decisions you have made. If you don’t quite know where to start, we will see if someone in the group has been there too, and what they did to get started. You are also more than welcome to hang out and see what others are saying. Let’s spread our great ideas, those that have worked and those that have not!

Here’s to making one right decision at a time to get us to where we want to go!…Together!

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Let’s Meet Up

Ladies, It is so much fun to live life with you! Even though we are spread across the globe, we have a shared passion. We find strength as we come together to have fun, encourage each other and make our piece of the world a better place. Together!

I see an amazing future for you and me! One where we:

  • Invest in Self Care, replenishing our strength and vitality allowing us to…
  • Invest in our heart’s BEST work, disqualifying many of the “good” works presented to us…
  • Investing in one right decision at a time, one after another…
  • Contributing to those around us to make our piece of the world a better place!

Picture yourself there!

That is a life worth living! That is a life worth fighting for! That is a life that changes the rules!

  • I see a future of ENERGIZED moms, business owners, Girl Scout leaders, care givers, wives and daughters!
  • I see them tapped into what makes their heart sing!
  • I see them so in love with their heart’s work that they do not allow other things to sway them from it!
  • I see women asking themselves “What right decision can I make next to keep my energy tanks filled and fill other’s tanks as well?”
  • I see you, me and women across each country ENERGIZED to do our heart’s work.

Wow, that’s a world I want to live in…but I need help! I don’t know exactly how to make that happen! It scares me a little, overwhelms me a lot!

We don’t have to do it alone, we should not! There is a wealth of knowledge in you and the women around you. We have all worked on self care, for example. We have struggled, we have learned, and have found some success. Lets learn from each other. Lets share stories of our challenges and successes. I want to live out this ENERGIZED life with you and with other ENERGIZED women! Our ENERGY is contagious!

Here are two ways we can do this:

  • Find a women (or two or three) in your life who wants to live ENERGIZED and focused on her Heart’s Work. Spend time together. It might be grabbing coffee, walking over lunch, or a weekly phone call across miles. Have fun, share your ups, downs and how you want to move forward. Life is so much more fun when shared with another ENERGIZED women! Sharing life with dear friends and encouraging each other is priceless! Do you have that person in your life right now? If not, keep moving forward in positive ways and keep an eye out for neighbors, co-workers, fellow church attenders, etc. that you might enjoy spending time with. Invite them to grab coffee and get to know them. You never know, your new found friendship might be just the fun and encouragement both of you need.
  • I know amazing women spread from the west coast to the east coast who have the same shared passion. I wish I could have a week long gathering to allow all of you to meet and hear each other’s insights and stories. Wow! Wouldn’t that be fun? Instead of one concentrated week of fun and encouragement, I have set up a venue for you to get to know each other, share stories, ask questions and ENERGIZE each other all year long! It’s a brand new Facebook Group set up just for you and other Amazing Women!

Below is the link for our brand new group. Let’s meet each other out there. We want to hear about your heart’s work, about the right decisions you are making in your life, about what is working for you, what has not worked, your challenges and your greatest victories! We can’t wait to see you out there!

Here’s to our Shared Passion, living ENERGIZED, investing in our Heart’s Work, making the next right decision, contributing to others and our world, and doing it TOGETHER!

Click here for our Facebook Group (Carving Out Time, Together)


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Finish? We Are Just Getting Started!

I believe in always learning something new and gaining new perspectives. The way I love to learn is to read books. When I come across good material, I love to share it with others. I love to talk about it to see what others think about it. This last fall, I attended a Leadership Conference called “Catalyst” in Atlanta, Georgia. I went into the conference tired and drained. As each speaker shared their message I slowly found my energy tank filling. On the second day Jon Acuff came on stage and before I knew it he had me belly laughing. He is a hoot, but along with that he has a very inspiring message (backed up by research). I bought his book Finish – Give Yourself The Gift Of Done and loved it so much I wanted to review it for you at the beginning of this new year.

“According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. Every January, people start with hope and hype, believing that this will be the New Year that does indeed deliver a New You. But though 100 percent start, only 8 percent finish. Statistically you’ve got the same shot at getting into Julliard to become a ballerina as you do at finishing your goals.”1

Wow, that puts things into perspective! The question is then, how do we finish? Here is one big insight I walked away with:

“The less that people aim for perfect, the more productive they become.”2

I have come to realize that I am a perfectionist in a lot of areas of my life. If you are too, anything less is not acceptable. Jon lays out a really good argument that our desire for perfectionism could be what is actually holding us back from reaching our goals. Chapter number one is titled “The Day After Perfect”. Here is a snippet  that makes me giggle but is painfully true, too.

“While exercising, I decided to “get serious.” I remembered that in Timothy Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Body, he recommends a simple breakfast of eggs, black beans, spinach, cumin, and salsa. When my family sees me rooting around the cupboards for black beans, they all groan. “Oh no, here we go again.” They know that the next twelve days in a row I am going to eat beans. Why only twelve? Because on Day 13 I’m going to get too busy, have a meeting, or be on a business trip without my traveling beans. Upon missing one day, I will quit the whole endeavor. Once the streak is broken, I can’t pick it back up. My record is no longer perfect so I quit altogether.”3

Holy Cow! I can relate! The thing that comes to my mind with this is that working on a goal is hard work. We don’t think about it in those terms, but working towards anything good takes a lot of effort. When I hit “the day after perfect” my momentum stops and I realize how tired I am. I really have a hard time getting going again.

All of us start the new year with energy and great ambition. We want to reach our goals and increase the percentage of successful resolutions.

The rest of the book gives great tips on how to move forward successfully. As I read it, I kept thinking “I want to share this with others. This is very helpful stuff!” If you are looking for a helpful and practical book that will make you giggle at times and move you towards achieving your goals, this is a book I recommend.

Here’s to looking back on 2019 and saying “I moved forward on my goals and dreams!”

How about you? What is it about the day after perfect that stops you in your tracks? Leave your answer on Facebook, Linkedin, or right here in my blog. Me and other amazing women need to hear from you. It’s great to know we are in this together. Let’s not do this alone!

If you haven’t had a chance yet, click below to subscribe to my blog. I will send it directly to you each week!

1 J. Acuff, Finish: Give Yourself The Gift Of Done. (Portfolio/Pengium 2017), 2-3.

2 Ibid. 4.

3 Ibid. 8-9.

Gain Energy & Focus…At The Right Speed

I don’t think there is one of us that would say “no” to more energy and focus, especially coming off of the Holiday Season. Energy and focus can feel in short supply as we rush through life from one commitment to the other. How is it possible to gain more?

A few years back, I started to realize something about myself. When I got up in the morning, took my time getting ready and did not feel rushed, my day went a lot smoother. I would remember to bring the lunch I had packed the night before, I would remember to stop by the dry cleaner to drop off our clothes, and I arrived at work focused and ready to work. Then I had multiple days where the opposite was the case. For some reason or the other, someone, or something, rushed me out the door. In the process I immediately felt stressed, drove right past all of the errands I was supposed to run and felt the life draining out of me before the day even got started. I like life to be slow!

Some of you may resonate with my desire for a slow life, but many of you love a much faster pace and are ready for me to get on with this post so you can jump to your next project. “You are taking way too long, Jen!” You know who you are! Hee, Hee! Then there are many of you somewhere in between.

Do you know that each of us has a Personal Speed Limit? We do, and you know what happens when we live our life within our speed limit? We feel ALIVE! We feel energized! We feel more focused! How then do we figure out and live in our Personal Speed Limit?

  1. Start to pay attention. Recognize the days you feel drained and ask yourself why. Enjoy the days that you feel great, but don’t let them end before reflecting back on why it was so great.
  2. Start to document your findings. In our busy lives, if we don’t capture our thoughts, they will be gone like the wind. I love to journal, but use whatever means you desire. Documenting your experiences in this area will help you to see patterns that will point you towards your Personal Speed Limit.
  3. Start to experiment. One day my husband and I were driving out to lunch and he commented that “life’s one big experiment!” It is so very true. As you start to discover different things about your Personal Speed Limit, try to add more of those into your day. The opposite is true too, try to stop working at a speed that is not right for you. See how things change.
  4. Consider Others Personal Speed Limits. I think it is a great thing to serve others. One way to do that is to recognize other’s Personal Speed Limit and step into their “zone” for a while. Another option when bringing multiple Speed Limits together, is to give everyone the freedom to go at their own pace. This plays out well in my friends group bike rides. Everyone goes at their own pace, and meets up at the end to celebrate together.
  5. Live as much within your Personal Speed Limit so that you can feel energized, not drained. Feel Focused not forgetful. Feel fully alive so that you can live your best life!

Here’s to focusing on what is most important to us with a ton of energy, focus and life!

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You Can Do It…Differently

I don’t know about you, but I want to focus on the Most Important Things in my life in 2019. That seems like an obvious goal, but it is not always the reality we are pulled into. We all have very busy schedules, more obligations than we can meet, and only 24 hours in a day. If we want to improve the way we live and what gets our focus in the next year, we may have to do things differently.

First of all, do you know what is Most Important to you? I think you have a pretty good idea of what should be on the top of your list. Have you ever written it down though? Writing down this list actually helps us think through it a little bit deeper. I have provided a free resource at the end of this blog to help you out. Let’s do things a little different in 2019 and actually write down our Most Important List.

Second, compare your Most Important List to your calendar. Does your calendar reflect what you have determined to be Most Important to you? The greatest gift we can give is that of our time. Do you need to do things a little differently and add more of the items on your Most Important List to your calendar in 2019?

Lastly, we have two options in 2019, to say “yes” or to say “no”. Those are your two options. Something will get your time and attention, and something will not. You are in the driver’s seat. When you are asked to add something to your life in 2019, will you say yes to the Most Important things, or set them aside for good but less important things?

On December 31, 2019 it is my heart’s desire that we all look back on this amazing year and know, without a doubt,  that we focused on the Most Important People and Things in our lives. Here’s to trying things differently in 2019 to live our BEST!

Free Resource to help!

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When Everything Else is Stripped Away, What is Most Important to You?

I hope this blog post finds you and your family well, but I also know that life is not perfect, even here in December. The television commercials display the perfect happy family, perfect romance and the perfect gift under the tree, which is a brand new car! Hee, Hee! I asked my husband, the other night, how many people actually get a new car for Christmas? I am thrilled for you, if you are one of those people! When we strip all of the “stuff” away, I ask you “What are the things that are most important to you?”

The reason this question is so important this time of year, is that we have the desire for the Holidays to look a certain way. We desire quality time with family. We desire to catch up with friends that are only in town this time of year. We desire to keep God as the focus of the season. How is it that we get to the end of another year and feel a little sad because another Holiday Season flew past and is gone?

I know one of the biggest things that gets me off track each year, are the expectations of others. It is great that so many people want us to be a part of their event, but we have a choice, fill our time with what others want us to do, or fill our time with what is most important to us. I, by no means, want us to be disrespectful to others, I simply don’t want us to fill our time with expectations of others and miss out on what is most important to us, again.

While you are driving home within the next day, since that might be the only quiet time you have in your day, think about who and what is most important to you. Ask yourself if you have prioritized quality time with them this Holiday Season. Think about the obligations and expectations that you have agreed to that might keep you from your most important people and things.

Decide to have an amazing Holiday Season. It’s up to you. Someone is going to get your time and someone will not. You get to decide who those people are.

I wish you the absolute best Christmas and New Year!

Jen

A Very Important Question to Answer

Why? can be one of the most frustrating questions to hear if it comes from the sweet, little precious mouth of a three year old. Three year olds are curious about so many things, but I also believe that they learn quickly that constantly asking “why?” gets on the nerves of those around them, so they employ the question even more. As annoying as it can be, the questions “why?” is actually a very important one that gets lost in the busyness of our day to day life. The treasures we can find when answering that questions can be priceless.

It is my heart’s desire for us to live an amazing life, whatever that looks like for each of us. I don’t know about you, but I am always needing to make tweaks and adjustments in my life. Being a good wife, daughter of an amazing eighty-four year old mom, working full time, trying to eat healthy, exercise, stay on track with our budget, staying connected with family and friends, and focusing on my relationship with God is just the start of my list, and I know yours, too. Just when we think we have it all “balanced” something starts to slip. Adjustment have to be made.

What is an adjustment that you would like to make in your life right now? With the Holiday Season, I think we all have the desire to slow life down a little bit. I think we all have the desire to focus on those people who are most important to us. What one adjustment would you like to make in your life?

Now here comes the all important question to answer! WHY? Why do you want to make that adjustment in your life?

I could fill this blog post with a ton of insights on how to answer this question, but I will save that for another post. Instead of spending the next five minutes reading a long blog post, I want you to take the next five minutes and tap into your heart. In the area that you want to make a change:

  • What is it about it that makes you sad or breaks your heart?
  • What is it about it that excites you?
  • What is it about it that makes you a little scared, makes you feel immediately drained?
  • What is it about it that gets you pumped with excitement?

Answer these questions, then allow them to guide you into answering the question “why do I want to make the adjustment in your life right now?” Allow the answer to guide you in the direction you feel you need to go.

The adjustment you need to make may be big or small, but regardless, you can take one, two or three baby steps in the right direction today.

You are amazing and want to do amazing things! Here is to taking some time to think, tapping into your heart, answering important questions, and moving forward one small step at a time!

Have a great week!


Add the Habit of Subtraction!

We are in the midst of a very fun and festive time of year. It is a time to enjoy parties with co-workers and see family and friends that we don’t get to see every day. We get to go shopping to try to find just the right gift for the people we care about. Some very enjoyable things are added to our calendars this time of year, but one thing we rarely consider is subtraction.

Just recently, I spent time talking to an amazing women who’s schedule had become crazy busy. She had a family member who was dealing with some health issues, and therefore, was very dependent on her. She had to add many things to her schedule for a few months and she was starting to feel the stress. We talked about this idea of subtracting something during this time to alleviate some of the pressure she was feeling. When she gave herself permission to subtract, she felt immediate relief.

Life is always demanding more of us, wouldn’t you agree? It is rare that someone says to you “you have done so much, I want to give you a break from doing more.” That statement almost made me laugh out loud! No, the opposite is true. More than likely, if you have been successful in an area of your life, people are more than likely to ask you to do more, and more, and more, not less. While that is a nice complement to your hard work and abilities, there has to be a point where we stop adding. We all want to live a great life, and we have all been in that place where we were so busy that life was far from great.

I want to not only give you permission to start subtracting things out of your schedule, I want to tell you that it is right and healthy. Just as we accept more responsibility when asked, my heart for all of us is to get in the habit of saying “I have agreed to add, now what am I going to subtract?” It would be even better to get into the habit of subtracting before we commit to something new. To say to ourselves “In order for me to take on this new project, what will I need to subtract to allow myself to continue to live a great life?”

During the holidays we do not think twice about adding more, it’s the hustle and bustle of December right? Yes, it is. I encourage you to take a few minutes to look at your calendar and ask yourself where there are a few places you can subtract. Can you take off a half day from work? Can you postpone an evening meeting, giving yourself and everyone else involved a break? Can you block off a “snow day” one of your weekends allowing you and your family to have time together? Whatever it is, an amazing habit to add to your life is to learn how to subtract.

Here’s to trying our best to live a great life, adding amazing things, and subtracting the others!