The Detox is Ova!

Back in September, I wrote a post about a new beginning I was going to start. This included: getting a bodacious bod, being more focused on my productivity, and resting more. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

As promised, I am providing you with an update on how this 30-day “cleanse” went down. Continue reading

Dare Me

Yesterday, I put up this status on Facebook:
Random fact: If you dare me to do something, I will almost always accept the challenge. #amIcrazy

My friend Jody Berkey called my bluff:
Okay, here’s my dare for you. Organize a group and participate in an upcoming Spartan Race. She attached the following video.

Jody Berkey, I accept your challenge.

Okay, obviously this is nowhere near the intensity of a real race. But Jody… you have me thinking… ;)

Your Story: Kimanzi Constable

Note from Alana: My friend Joe Lalonde introduced me to Kimanzi at the WordCamp conference I attended in August. When Kimanzi shared his story, I was amazed, motivated and encouraged. So much so, that I just had to share it with you! Thank you for sharing your Story, Kimanzi. I heard it at a time I needed it most.

Existing Is Not Enough Anymore
shared by Kimanzi Constable

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to scream, cry, and then go back to bed? For twelve years this is how I felt everyday! Ok, maybe not everyday but the last few years have become worse and worse.

Here’s the problem I faced: I have no college degree and special skills. So how could I move onto to something better? Continue reading

Your Story: Gary & Laurie Pokorny

Note from Alana: Laurie and I were coworkers prior to their big move. I remember hearing of their dream to pick up and start over in a new place. At the time, a small part of me thought, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” I am so inspired by their courage and faith, I wanted to share it with you!

We Sold Everything for the Dream
shared by Gary and Laurie Pokorny

The American Dream. How is it defined? Webster’s definition: an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity; also: the prosperity or life that is the realization of this ideal. Some say it’s the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American; a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the United States. Well for us, the American Dream was pursuing a passion or calling that was haunting us for 10 years. It was going against the traditional path. It was taking a risk and a huge leap of faith. Continue reading

Your Story: Michael Good

How I Quit My Job
shared by Michael Good

On December 30, 2011, I went to my last day of work as I knew it. I was quitting my job to launch a business with my wife, Claudia. Just three months prior, our first child was born and Claudia had cut her hours way back to stay home with our son. Our total monthly business income at the time I quit: $140.

A little background

At the time I quit my job, we had been married for 8 years. I had recently turned 30. We had been living a pretty dull existence up to this point, a life scripted by society’s expectations.

Michael and Claudia

I was extremely unhappy at work, but felt trapped. I didn’t know what else to do, so indecision caused me to remain in my awful work environment for years.

However, a new wind was blowing much needed courage into the hearts of my wife and I with the fast approaching birth of our first child. Continue reading

You Suck Booty

You suck booty. We’ve all heard it. The words come in assorted forms and from various sources, but it all means the same thing: You suck.

The other day, I heard these words in the form of an inner voice. I am currently an Interior Designer, working part-time for a local construction company in Grand Rapids, MI. I am the sole designer, so I experience the positives and the negatives of working alone. Positive: I get the final say on the design. The negative: I lack colleagues with whom I can collaborate to create the best designs for the client. Everything comes from one perspective, and it’s mine.

16 Shades of White

I was assigned a project where I was to meet with an established business (and previous client) to help him select new paint colors for the exterior of his building. All cards on the table, selecting paint colors is one of my weakest and least favorite areas of design. You’d think with so many colors to choose from, it would be easy. But, did you realize there are at least 16 shades of white? And that is only in one fan deck, from one company! I digress. Needless to say, I was feeling anxious coming in to this meeting. I pulled into the parking lot and slowly gathered my things. I took my time looking at the building and surveying the project before walking in to meet with the client. We met. He was cordial and essentially said, “I know my type of business, but I am not artistic. This is why I need you, the professional, to help me figure this out.” The professional? Yes, I suppose that is what I am.

After a brief meeting inside, I exited the building and was left alone to figure out which colors would work best – and that’s when the voices kicked in:

Continue reading

I Thought I Wanted Balance – Part 3

(This post is part 3 of 3 in a series called “I Thought I Wanted Balance”)

You will be surprised by the peace and fullness you experience as you begin to practice this new way of life.

Benefits for Living an Imbalanced Life.
1). You’ll save a lot of your time. Activities that don’t help you create these strong-moments will drop further down your list of priorities. Many will fall off completely.
2). You’ll free yourself from manic perfectionism. With your focus on creating a few specific moments in each aspect of your life, you are freed from trying in vain to do everything well.
3). You’ll feel more purposeful. You are now targeting something specific, rather than being yanked around by everyone else’s demands.
4). You’ll wind up being able to do more for others. Though you begin by focusing on what you need, your strong-moments will generate the strength you need to handle everyone else in your life.
5). Your life will come to feel more balanced. It won’t actually be balanced – you won’t be devoting the same amount of either time or attention to each domain of your life. But it will feel more balanced because each part of your life will now be giving you energy – all around strength.

I thought I wanted balance in my life, but it turns out, I am really looking for fulfillment.

I Thought I Wanted Balance – Part 2

(This post is part 2 of 3 in a series called “I Thought I Wanted Balance”. The below excerpt is from chapter 9 in Marcus Buckingham’s book, Find Your Strongest Life).

How to Intentionally Imbalance Your Life.

First – Identify at least two strong-moments in each domain of your life (work, family, marriage, faith, friends, service, health, etc.) and write them down. These are moments/experiences in your life that left you feeling energized, confident & alive.
Second – Do your best to find at least two strong-moments for each domain. It is okay if you come up with more than two, but it is vitally important that you come up with at least two strong-moments for each area of your life.
Third – Once you have identified these moments, be deliberate about creating them. This can be as straight forward as putting them in your planner so that you can prioritize and look forward to them. Or you could create a ritual that becomes part of the structure of your week. Or you could make a commitment to your spouse or to a friend so that they then hold you accountable for making these moments happen.
Fourth – Investigate them. View each strong-moment from a new angle, or a new perspective. When you discover something novel in a strong-moment, you’ll find not only that it’s easier to keep paying attention to it, but also that the novelty itself is its own reward. “I’ve never noticed that before,” you’ll think. Or “I hadn’t realized that…” and your discovery will delight you.
Finally – Celebrate them. The full meaning of ‘celebrate’ is to hold up something so that it can be honored. So if you talk about the moment with others, you are celebrating it. If you come up with new ways to make it special, you are celebrating it. If you capture it with a photograph, a blog, or a diary, you are celebrating it. If all you do is make yourself conscious of the moment as it happens, you are celebrating it.

On the flip side, if you can’t find any strong-moments in a particular domain of your life, your choices become more limited. Marcus first encourages one to continue to search for strong-moments, no matter how small or insignificant they are.

Now, here comes the part of imbalance. If you cannot find a strong-moment, you must find a workable way to diminish, even cut out entirely, this part of your life. This may seem socially unacceptable, verging on the impossible – “How could I stop playing with my kids? Shouldn’t all mothers love playing with her kids?” – but, if you truly cannot find any aspect that strengthens you, you need to face up to this truth and deal with it. In the above example, this doesn’t mean you stop hanging out with your kids. It means you confess to yourself that you are not the kind of mom who loves to get down on all fours and play endless car-racing-crash games with your three-year-old’s Tonka trucks. Instead, you draft your spouse or some other goofy family member to do this, while you get your mom-kicks from other sorts of moments – organizing fabulous play dates, or listening and soothing when your child’s feeling most vulnerable.

Personal Application.
A strong-moment for me is when I am discussing personality styles with another individual. I am energized the moment they realize, ‘Wow! You mean I’m not the only one who thinks this way or struggles with this particular thing in my relationships? There’s actually others out there, just like me?” I get pumped when I can be a catalyst to help others realize they are not alone… and when a person listens and applies what they learn and experiences a positive result – whoah! That just kicks me into a whole new gear of excitement! This high, this energy is what is described as a strong-moment. As we begin to tilt our life – imbalance our life – toward these strong-moments, we will begin to experience more fulfillment. We will feel energized instead of drained from trying to spread our lives too thin and trying to make sure that everyone around us gets an equal piece of us.

Warning: As Marcus mentions above, if you do this, some of your decisions may not be considered socially acceptable – it is likely you could experience disgust, outrage or rejection from your colleagues, your friends, or your family. People may not understand you. I’m sure I’m even getting a few raised eyebrows by merely suggesting to consider living life this way. ;) But let me ask, is the risk worth it to you? If you could feel more vitality because you are willing to risk what others may say about you, is it worth it to you?

If you do the above things, you’ll notice that all sorts of good things will start to happen – Stop by tomorrow to see the benefits that will emerge as you begin to Imbalance Your Life.

I Thought I Wanted Balance – Part 1

(This post is part 1 of 3 in a series called, “I Thought I Wanted Balance”)

I used to think I wanted balance in my life – balance between work, free time, relationships, fitness… me time… That was until I read Marcus Buckingham’s approach on balance in his book, Find Your Strongest Life. Here, he describes balance as “a firm foundation, a sense of being in control in your life, and when you find it you are poised to move.” So, why wouldn’t I want this?

Well, because Marcus then goes on to explain “… and yet, you are not moving. Any movement implies a tilt, a tipping, a reaching toward something. Balance is the opposite of movement. When you are balanced, you are stationary, holding your breath, trying not to let any sudden twitch or jerk pull you too far one way or the other. You are at a standstill.”

Wow. This is the last thing I want in my life. I’ve been at a standstill for years. I am ready for movement!

Marcus suggests to instead, strive for fullness. “You don’t have five different selves that you can keep separate. You have one life. One mind. One heart. One cup, if you will. Your challenge is not to separate one cup from another, erect boundaries between each, and then somehow balance them all. Your challenge is to move your life, tilt your life, intentionally imbalance your life toward those few specific moments that will fill your one cup”. These moments are called strong moments and you can learn more about them here.

I want this in my life. I want to experience fullness. I want to feel like I am making a bigger difference in the lives of those around me and I want to feel alive. I am beginning to put into practice Marcus’ steps for creating Imbalance and already feel more fulfilled.

Stop by tomorrow to learn more about the steps to Imbalance your life.

This post was inspired by reader, Kate Rehmus, during our topic entry contest.

Synchronicity

Synchronicity (n): an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated.

The past couple months I have been feeling overwhelmed with life. I’ve mentioned before that I am a seven on the Enneagram. Sevens “constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go”. I’m filled with ideas for people I want to connect or projects and businesses I want to start. Sometimes I feel like I am on the verge of break down because I never… slow… down.

I’ve been searching for answers to some pretty big questions and seem to change my mind daily on what direction I am going to move or which project will get my attention first. I’ve often asked myself: How can I slow down enough to have a complete thought and experience some clarity? Then… last week I experienced Synchronicity.

Weds – met with a friend who felt her mind was always full of thoughts. She was looking for peace and a moment when her brain wasn’t on overdrive. I mentioned to her the practice of Morning Pages and how when I exercised doing them this winter, I experienced incredible clarity and found that I was better able to problem solve. It was essentially a “brain dump” to get the gunk out of the brain first thing in the morning. I recommended she give it a try.

Thurs – My friend Claudia posted about how journaling first thing in the morning helped her to untangle her thoughts. I responded to her post asking if she was referring to Morning Pages and that I had told a friend the previous day about how they help to clear your brain.

Fri – Josh and I were having a discussion and he randomly mentioned, “Maybe you should try doing Morning Pages again. Those seemed to really help you.” He and I hadn’t discussed my Morning Pages in months.

WHAT?

This is synchronicity.

I am going to begin Morning Pages again. I know this is going to provide clarity and I anticipate having my eyes opened to the root issues of problems I consistently face.

(Click here to see a video on how to do Morning Pages.)

How about you? Have you ever tried a practice like Morning Pages? Would you consider trying for the next two weeks to see what clarity and freedom you experience?