The Things I Learned (or Reaffirmed) in 2015

Every year at the end of the year, I like reflecting on what happened and where we were a year ago. This year, by all standards, is one for the books. I think we experienced more change in our daily lives this year than the last 5 years combined (and it feels great!) I've heard the quote, "Change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle and beautiful at the end." I used to shy away from change; now, I know the beautiful things that can come from it. And while it sometimes still feels scary, I've learned that when I follow my heart, everything turns out right. So, upon this reflection, here is a compilation of things I learned (or reaffirmed) in 2015:

  • If you build it, they will come. Everything starts out as an idea, a hope or a dream. Jake likes to say "Rome wasn't built in a day" and it applies on so many levels. If there's something on your heart that you've wanted to create, but aren't sure how to do it, just start somewhere.
  • Email is like, really, really antiquated. This year was the first time it started to feel like snail mail! Some days go by and I realize I've barely checked it (and don't even ask me about the 111 unread messages and 689 total messages in my inbox! This used to drive me crazy and still does, if I think about it for too long.) That said, if you need me immediately I recommend calling, texting, or private messaging me on FB.
  • I CAN leave my babies on an international flight for 8 days and survive. Panic might ensue upon leaving, but parents need date days (and date weeks) too. A little apart time is good for parents and kids alike, and makes us more present and thankful when we reunite.
  • Sometimes you need a break from a really good thing to know that you miss it. Like blogging, knitting, scrapbooking, or golf.  (And some of these things I promise I will get back into in 2016!)
  • Drafting Wide Receivers in the first couple rounds can turn out majorly in your favor (is it just me or do they get hurt less often than Running Backs? My team was so healthy this year!)
  • The day after a 1-day cellular cleanse feels really REALLY good. You don't have to take my word for it; try for yourself!
  • What you focus on expands. If you focus on what's going wrong, those things will continue to go wrong. If you focus on what's going well and your vision for the future, you will be more likely to make it happen. 
  • If you love your body, your body will love you back. This is true in the way you move it, the way you feed it, and the way you talk about it.
  • The more you give, the more you will receive in return. Giving does not create vacancy; instead, it creates abundance. Give with no expectation, and you will feel more full in life, and watch beautiful things manifest themselves.
  • Saying "no" to something is actually saying "yes" to something else. Use your "no's" and your "yeses" wisely.
  • I quite honestly need a waterproof white board in my shower to write down my thoughts (isn’t that where everyone has their best ideas?!)
  • 95% of the people in your life really do want to see you happy and successful. Good people are everywhere. That other 5%? Do. Not. Even. Worry.
  • A wireless printer is totally worth it.
  • My least favorite part of work these days is packing for business trips. Packing, and unpacking. Does anyone have any tips to make this more bearable?
  • The universe is always trying to tell you something. You may not always understand it at the moment, but listen closely to the signs. Trust in the spirit that guides you and the greater process. You're going to feel so much more at peace.
  • Love wins. It is easy to feel sad or scared when things are dark, but in the end, love wins. It always does.

#BabyKate = 1

My most beautiful little girl (as a mama of 2 girls, you know what I mean). You are 1 year old. It sounds sappy but I honestly can't believe it's been a year. And I want to stop time sometimes, but I also can't wait to see you grow and develop and learn new things during this second year of life. It can only get better, right?!

At 1 year old- Baby Kate, you:

  • Wear 12-18 month clothes. You are long and lean!
  • Wear size 3 diapers, but if we are out you can also wear size 4 like your sis ;)
  • Love most foods- you are not picky! Your favorites are: banana, cooked carrots, yogurt, cheese, chicken and turkey, and apples.
  • Have a newfound love for sucking on wet washcloths! It's pretty funny, but after I wipe you down you want to hold onto the washcloth and suck on it. I always have to get you a brand new clean one to do this.
  • Sleep pretty well, but still wake up most nights 1 time. Overall, you sleep 7:30pm-7am with 1 wake up.
  • Don't like the car seat for anything! You are so angry when you see it, you start fussing when I open your car door to put you in.
  • Love water and milk from your sippy cups
  • Love your big sister Kennedy. You watch her and try to do what she does, and you love playing with her. She's pretty good at playing with you too :)
  • Aren't ready to give up nursing (that's okay with me too)
  • Love the bath! Sometimes you take a bath with your sister. I have to be on very diligent watch - to make sure she doesn't pull you into the water. You do like to blow bubbles and splash
  • LOVE swimming at the pool! You splash all around and also like to practice floating on your back and tummy, as well as "jumping" in
  • You just started taking a few steps unassisted! (about 12.5 months) You can do 6-10, but you don't do this every day. Most of the time you crawl but your favorite is when we will walk with you, letting you walk between our legs while we hold your hands. 
  • You want to do everything by yourself! You get frustrated you can't do everything that Kennedy can, which I am guessing is a little sister trait. 
  • You have an obsession with shoes! You always want to hold shoes and show them to us and say "szhhhhh..." for shoe. It was one of your first words.
  • Other first words were "hi" (you say it emphatically while waving), up, mama, dada, and pup. You also lick and smack your lips when you are thirsty and want water.
  • You sign "all done" but haven't really caught on to "more" yet. I am not sure you ever will, I think you'll be saying it soon.
  • You have the biggest brightest smile and most beautiful huge brown eyes. You light up a room with your soul.

The below picture says it all. You are sweet, sassy, determined, spunky and starting to really grow into a strong personality. The first year you were quite agreeable and hardly made a fuss. This year so far I've noticed a strong desire to make your wants and needs known - and it's so fun to see. We love you to the moon and back!

When Your Little One is One

Just over a year ago, I became a mama again. It was a snowy spring day, and her daddy rushed me to the hospital around midnight. We were the only patients in the new Mother Baby Center in the middle of the night, and we were thrilled. She came one day before her due date. 

Over the past year, I've watched this little sister grow and develop into her own personality - a very sweet, happy, engaging personality. She wants to connect; she wants to play. When she cries, her big sister rushes up to her and says, "It's okay, I'm right here, it's okay." It seems to calm her sometimes, and make her laugh other times. She thinks her big sister is hilarious (we all do, really). 

I used to say she was sweet and serene even when she was in my belly. Over the past year I believe she fulfilled that prophecy, although lately I've been wondering if it was all just part of her newborn/baby year. As an early toddler, there is a little more spice involved. She knows how to fuss when we put her in the carseat (she hates it at first), she shows disgust when we close the computer or take away something she shouldn't be holding. She also HATES having her face and hands wiped after eating a messy meal. My 24-7 calm girl is no more. 

I do feel it's important to not expect our children to become exactly what we had thought from the beginning - we want growth and development and that won't happen if we give them labels at birth and continue to reinforce these labels throughout their childhood. 

However, I would love a few more moments of my baby as a baby. A few more of those sweet neck nuzzles, when she flops her head on my chest and goes to sleep. I would like to hold her tiny hand, with her fingers wrapped around mine, and I would like a few more mid-afternoon naps together, with her cuddled up next to my belly. I would like a few more rounds of peek-a-boo and "soooo big!" before she thinks these games are too simple. When your little one is one it's easy to feel that a year has flown by, and wonder how we will ever stop time and cherish the next 3, or 5, or 10, or 20? 

I have recently built a new schedule for my days where I spend a lot more time with my little one and her big sister- and it's been a way for me to really focus on the little things, the connection, the small games and huge developments. 

Some may be wondering if the little one will always be a little one, or maybe a middle one, but that is yet to be determined. All I know now is how different this next year will be, and how my time with these two and their daddy isn't something to be taken for granted. So, you can find us this spring and summer taking walks to the park, jumping in the bouncy house, grabbing tight to little fingers, trying new foods, and exploring the great big beautiful world together.

3 years and some change

3 years ago, right now, I had an almost 1 week old baby. It is so crazy to think about the difference in my life in that time.  

My life then consisted of many new things-- holding up a tiny head, waking every 2 hours, breastfeeding, diaper changing, all things that required a lot of effort every single time. I read somewhere then about the process of becoming a mother- how it doesn't feel like it just overnight, but how with time, with each flower picked, with thousands of diapers being changed and midnight feedings and butts being patted and cries being soothed, the evolution to mother happens. 

And now, 3 years later, it has clearly happened.  

With her ringlet curls and high-pitched voice and strong negotiations, her hops and skips and jumps and overall zest for life, the harder times really do fade away. They say they must fade away, or how would we possibly have more than one?!  

Lately I have been extremely blessed and fortunate to have so much undivided time with my girls. Kennedy has responded noticeably, extremely well to this change. We play things together and talk, and here you can see she's joining me on my foam roller when I was stretching out my back. All nuzzled in <3

3 years ago I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into - was this going to be fun? Exhausting? Worth it? What I've learned is that absolutely I'll never know until I try-- and isn't that what life is, after all? A series of discoveries and trying and learning along the way? I use to think I would one day 'make it' , meaning when I got there , I would just... Stop? I am not sure what there would have given me other than some form of security and finality. Even in my most stressful days, I just knew there was more to the journey than I was allowing myself to experience. The destination is alluring but it seems to always be there, ready to distract us from the joy along the way.

So tonight I celebrate 3 years and some change-- the change is about 6.5 days, but it's also a lifetime of learning, of infinite hugs, butt pats, songs in her bed, hops, skips, jumps, and a realization that true change can enhance our lives in ways we had never before imagined. 


Lean In To Life

2013 was the year of Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In," which sparked all sorts of positive and negative comments, actions, followers and critics around the world. She certainly did a good job getting the conversation started and I applaud her for it. In 2014, I spent a lot of time thinking about leaning in, and what it means for me. In 2015, I resolve to lean in to life.

Leaning in to life -- I've decided that this is a beautiful thing. This means leaning in to new ideas, to hope. It means leaning in to the things that provide abundance and life, the idea that we get more by giving more. Leaning in to life means being a good person, a positive light who others want to spend time with because of how they feel when they are around them.

Leaning in to life means being hands free and less distracted when I'm with my beautiful husband and children, or anyone I'm spending time with, for that matter. It means keeping plans and goals centered around experience rather than things, because leaning in to life means making memories. 

Leaning in to life means getting up early and spending quiet time meditating, deep breathing, setting intentions for the day. It means learning about the world around me with an open mind -- there are so many people and things I have yet to meet and learn about, and it's about going in without any preconceived notions, taking a look around, trusting instincts and asking "What if?" 

Leaning in to life is also about being silly. My 2-year-old is awesome at doing something and then saying, "I'm just being silly, Mama." And it just lightens the mood! Laugh more, judge less. Leaning in to life = letting down my hair and laughing at myself along the way.

Leaning in to life is about taking risks. The kind of risks that make my heart palpitate and my palms sweat. It's about trying something new that I'm not good at and being okay asking for help. "I'll admit that I'm not the best at this, but can you help me?" That is a powerful thing. It's about realizing that at the end of the day there are more regrets of what is left undone than what is already done

I have over a decade of my career under my belt and I am proud of my accomplishments, the things I have learned and challenges I've overcome. I have gratitude for the multiple facets of life I get to lean into, professional and otherwise. Leaning in to life is expressing gratitude, deep gratitude every day for everything we have. Leaning in to life is ensuring that when we look back, we are glad we did it, every little bit of it, even though there were bumps along the way (Remember, those bumps build our character.)

I hope this idea rings true with you and helps you think about what you want to accomplish in 2015. It doesn't have to be difficult if you follow what is on your mind and what your heart is already telling you to do. 

😊 - feeling thankful.

Wow wow wow. There is so much to be thankful for this year. I never felt strongly about Thanksgiving growing up, but over the years have learned that GRATITUDE is really where it's at. When you are grateful, truly affirming the things you have in life, the universe somehow knows to deliver more. This year, in no particular order, I am grateful for:

-Williston Fitness Center which provides an entirely family recreational and fitness experience

-Friends in other states who inspire me daily in their own life and businesses like Julie Coughlin and Crystal Lynn

-Taylor Swift music which makes me feel like I really am 22 again

-The concept of fitting work into the pockets of your life, not the other way around

-The concept of residual income, or as I like to call it, freedom income  

-My iPhone 6 ;) 

-Unconventional living which in our case means Auntie Natalie lives with us, which honestly only in America do we think is different

-Little girls who warm my heart, make me laugh, and fill me up with life and love every single day

-My loving and supportive husband who provides unwavering support and excitement for any crazy idea I have, and wakes up with the girls 6.5 out of 7 days a week :/ 

 -Family time every single day; the ability to be done with opposite schedules when Jake was able to quit bar tending

-An open mind. I truly believe to give and get everything you want in life you need to have an open mind about the way the world works... Because the only "truths" are the ones we create for ourselves.

-Naptime. Whether it means a quiet reprieve from tending to babies or a nap for myself, I am really thankful for the institution of naptime. 

-My parents' new motor home. It provided us a wild camping trip his summer and will provide many more Wires family memories in the years to come.

-The beautiful Grama Geri Jaunty. Jake lost his first grandparent this year, and Heaven received a true gift. She taught us so much about family, community, love, life, laughing at ourselves and making memories. 

-My growing business and growing team- amazing men and women who inspire me daily and push me to focus on teaching others to live their best possible life.

 -My second turkey meal which always traditionally happens right before bedtime, so I can slip off into tryptophan dreamland.

-A full tummy, and the fact that my family will always have full tummies. I realize not every family can say this and it's definitely something I will never take for granted.  

Xoxo <3

A New Meaning for Halloween

I've never actually been a fan of Halloween. As a kid it was fun and exciting for obvious reasons, candy and parties and costumes. But I also never really understood the purpose of this sort of silly holiday. Yes, I should maybe just roll with the punches and embrace a purposeless holiday based purely on fun. But it just never clicked. Further, I've always gotten scared easily and never found horror movies, creepy noises or haunted houses entertaining.

Last night I happened upon this newfound reason for enjoying Halloween. It was great to dress up the girls and head out without much of a plan, knowing we wanted to do a little trick-or-treating but nothing too crazy with a 2.5 and 6 month old out on the "coldest Halloween in 8 years." We started next door and then drove to our good friends' house a few blocks away, and ended up working our way back to our house. What I found that was really neat was this feeling of neighborhood and COMMUNITY that I haven't felt since I was a kid, if ever. 

These days it's very common to go about our days without even knowing our next door neighbors, let alone everyone else on the street. I don't know what it is - and it probably depends on the neighborhood, but I've found that we get so caught up in the daily grind that we often come and go from our house with blinders on. Last night we met a lot of the people who live near us and as we walked up and down the streets, I felt really safe. 

I felt proud and happy that we are raising our little girls in our neighborhood, and that the people who live around us are genuinely nice and doing the best that they can like we are. I also noticed that sometimes a brisk walk in the cold with your family is exactly what I need - to get out and look right and left instead of just constantly pushing ahead. 

Life is about more than looking back (nostalgically, or even worse, with regret). Life is about more than looking straight ahead (at our hopes, or even worse, our fears). Life is also very much about looking sideways and opening our eyes to what is around us, the people walking parallel through life but walking their own path, the people who have so much to give and the people who may find healing in a simple connection.

Who would have thought this silly meaningless holiday would give me deeper thoughts this year? I didn't see it coming but I'm always happy to have a chance to think differently.

Dollars and Sense, and Potential Realized

I'm currently reading a book by T Harv Eker called "The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" and at first when I started this book, I felt a little bit guilty, like gosh, who am I to be reading about millionaire minds? I come from a modest upbringing, one that I am happy to have had, with so many stories to remember and smile about. I lived in a variety of homes as a kid, homes where my sister and I were able to create our own fun out of dances to Amy Grant, paper bag hats, forts and trees with climbing branches and games and all sorts of imagination. So while I feel connected to "The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," I feel equally connected to "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne, a book about giving kids time and space and quiet and clutter-free environments to grow up in, explore, gain confidence and become their best unique self. 

I do believe that the world today is far too cluttered. I see it in everything, from the bazillion ways I can order a latte to the back-to-back schedules we create for our toddlers, hoping they will excel at many things at a very young age. I also believe that wanting to build a financial nest egg and increase net worth does not mean a person wants to live a flashy, status-filled life. The day I admitted to myself that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and build a solid financial foundation for my family was a very freeing moment -- it was the moment I discovered what gives me peace. I think at the end of the day we are all striving for peace, or more specifically, total wellness in a variety of categories. One of these happens to be financial wellness. Another happens to be mental wellness, which for me includes time freedom to do as I please and little to no stress about providing for my family for the next few decades.

In "The Have It All Woman," Susan Sly talks about wellness coming from three distinct things: wellness in relationships, physical health, and financial health. If one of these three is not well, there is work to be done. For many of us, more than one of these could use improvement.

My dreams have shifted lately from getting out of student loan debt to being able to give back. The more I think about living a purpose-driven life, the more I think about helping people in a variety of ways, primarily through connectedness, wellness, and realizing one's true potential to give back in a way that is meaningful to them. I wrote about Maslow's hierarchy of needs a couple years ago in my other blog (Exactly As It Should Be) and at the time, it was related to self-actualization as a new mother. Self-actualization is defined as, "the full realization of one's potential." I continue to think about how to be self-actualized both personally and professionally. Lately things have been on my heart in new ways, ways I can give back to things that matter to me. If done correctly, money can support us in achieving time freedom and the freedom to give back. Ideas have been floating around in my head, such as setting up a series of lactation locations around the Twin Cities for nursing mamas to hang out (super lacking today, IMO), creating scholarships for students to attend my alma mater with certain focuses on entrepreneurship, study abroad, Latin America, etc., providing funds to programs for early childhood education, teaching real-life readiness workshops to students entering the workforce after college, and simply looking at ways to improve the well-being of children in other ways I have not yet thought about.

Those are just my ideas. They will probably morph and change a little. But this is what I challenge you. If you have stopped dreaming, start challenging yourself to understand WHY. If you are just going through the motions instead of listening to what makes your heart soar, consider making a change. Ask yourself the harder questions because if you attack the hardest one, the questions begin to get easier.

Money is just a vehicle. As Will Smith said, "Money and success don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there." I like how he puts it, because it's helped me think bigger and broader about success and happiness, and most importantly what I want this life to be about.

Remove the Mask

By now, some of you think I'm a little crazy. If you know me, you know I have a decent-paying, steady income at a steady company. I also have tons of tenure at this company and could really ride out the next 30 years and ease my way into retirement. 

However, I don't choose the safe route. It is so crazy, because I'm growing my business and building my team which is absolutely positively in contrast to the safe route. BUT-- what I am finding, what I am learning, and what I am sure of - is that it is a whole lot more rewarding. 

I just attending training for my business from 6-10pm on a Friday. Seriously, do you think I'm crazy now? Who attends training on a Friday night when they have little girls to get up with early the next morning? Oh, and who is actually FIRED UP because of this training? 

Maybe there's something to this (not-so-secret) secret after all.

In fact, my steady income could get me through the rest of my life in a fairly easy way. However, I find that with my steady income comes a cost-- a cost of time (LOTS OF TIME) away from my family, stress related to finances, projects, deliverables, pre-determined goals and noise. Lots and lots of noise. It also comes with a cost of wearing a mask.

I literally used to wake up trying to tow the line. I have always been a rule follower - an old friend used to call me "The Perfect Student." But also within me is a serious idealist, status quo challenger, dreamer, and out-of-the-box thinker. I am a learner but also a do-er. 

And I have grown more and more accustomed to hiding behind "the mask" to fit in over the past decade -- something that just doesn't suit me well anymore.

"The people who care least about the approval of others are the people who get the most of it." 

Think about that statement for a minute; it's so true! I know it's true because I watch it in my husband every single day. He honestly can count on one hand the people whose opinions matter to him. Yet time and time again, everywhere I go, people are asking about him, wondering when he's coming, wishing he was there. 

So, as a recovering crowd pleaser, line walker, and acceptance seeker, I share my wish for you: that in level of importance, you place happiness above acceptance, that you place authenticity above fitting in, that you place self-worth and self-joy above perfection. No one is looking at you to be perfect except yourself. (PS-- I have a loooong ways to go on perfectionism.)

Now I am heading to sleep and I'm fired up, excited for what's to come! I hope you can say the same. :)

Shout It from the Rooftops

This is an absolutely true story:

One year and two days ago, I found myself walking into church with my 18 month old on a cold Wednesday night. It was 9/11, the days were getting shorter, and I was in need of a change. My husband was working nights and weekends as a bar tender, and I was finding myself further and further away from living the life I had pictured when I was a little girl, the life I had worked so hard for through school and in the last decade of my career. I was just going through the motions. I was going to bed Sunday night, running around all day at work, rushing to get home to my baby girl, spending a couple hours with her, putting her to bed and then getting up again the next day to do it all over again. So that night in church, a kind new friend offered to watch my daughter in the nursery, and for the first time in years, I went to the church service on my own and literally prayed for some sort of answer.

I was searching for a solution. And literally, I was running ideas all through my head. Should I go back to school? Should we pinch pennies so I can stay at home with my (soon to be) 2 girls? Is this stress worth it? Am I living each day to the fullest, or am I becoming more focused on the paycheck than I would like to be? And why on earth am I waking up in tears a couple nights a week, struggling to go back to sleep?

A girl from high school had been posting on Facebook about staying at home with her four kids, and I found myself drawn to the vision she was casting. She talked about health, nutrition, and also about freedom. I kept showing my husband her posts and he encouraged I just reach out to her to learn more. So I did, and exactly one year ago today, we sat over coffee for a few hours.

What I learned was so interesting. I asked a million questions, and I was certainly not walking in blindly; I had done my research. What was she doing? How was she doing it, and most importantly, WHY was she doing it?

When we left coffee, things started to clear up for me. I wasn't sure exactly how, but I knew I had to take that leap of faith and give it a shot. I knew she had come into my life at exactly the time I needed her to, and I knew that if I didn't try, I'd never know the answer. Could I also create this home-based business which would not only give me the freedom to choose, but also the freedom to pay off student loans, relieve my husband from his weekend bar tending schedule, and help us build the life of our dreams? The risk of saying no seemed much bigger than the risk of saying yes.

So, I flew to Phoenix by myself 3 weeks later, roomed with someone I just met, learned all about this opportunity and vehicle to help others achieve health and freedom, and never looked back. As I reflect on this past year, so many astounding things jump out at me, lessons I will take with me always:

  • Things are not always as they seem. Do I look like I have it all together? Most of the time, yes. Do I always feel that way? Most of the time, no. Others who read this and know me may be surprised to hear about my struggles. But GUESS WHAT: the only normal people are the people you don't know. Every single person has hopes, dreams, worries and fears. 
  • Every single person craves connection. So many people walk through life with their blinders on, because they simply don't think they are worthy or that others will care. We've become accustomed to simply going through the motions every single day. There's a reason we call it the "real world." It's not always easy. And there's also a reason Facebook has 1.23 Billion active users (that is like 17% of the world, and consider how many people don't have computer or are under the age of 12). People crave connection. Facebook gives us a form of connection from the comfort of our home on a Friday night, and it's also not as scary because we can hide behind the monitor.
  • Happiness does not come from being the smartest, richest, or most successful. Happiness comes from within, from a feeling of contentment and completeness. Happiness comes from living out your purpose and designing your days as you choose. Everyone deserves to feel this exhilarating, freeing form of happiness.
  • If something isn't working, change it! I found myself saying, I don't know everything about this new adventure I'm starting, but I know what I've been doing isn't working, so time to switch gears and try something else.
  • We each own finding our happiness. I've met people from all over the world this year, people from all walks of life. My mom raised us to believe that we control our emotions, and in the truly happy people I've observed this year, I've noticed one common thread: they all believe that they are ultimately responsible for creating their happiness. People in complete dire situations have turned it around. It is never too late.
  • Taking quiet time to meditate, practice yoga, exercise, or be silent is such a healthy practice. There have literally been years where I haven't had a moment of quiet from morning until bedtime. So much of it is just noise: morning radio shows, background music, gossip and chatter with co-workers, phone calls in the car, reality television. We all have 24 hours to spend in a day. Choose how you spend them wisely.

When you find something that works, that you know can work for so many others who are in similar situations, you want to literally SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! It's really that simple. This website was born out of the idea that a life full of passion is absolutely worth every effort. Achievement is nothing if it is not also coupled with joy. My hope is that these words and ideas spark something in you to assess what's going on with you, ask the tough questions, look deep inside yourself, and admit if something needs to change. And if it does, I URGE you to find it. xoxo

Sometimes You Just Have to Write It Out

I've absolutely had this blog on my mind lately… and at the same time I have been experiencing some major writer's block. Not because of lack of things to write about, but more because all of the things swirling around in my head that can't seem to get organized. So today, I'll just write out what's on my heart:

  • Instead of working on creating a living, try working on creating a LIFE. The more reliant I am on receiving a paycheck, the more I realize that I am not fulfilled by my daily actions. If I am just waiting for payday, the quality of the time in between suffers. As Daniel Pink addresses in Drive, the three things that humans are motivated by are autonomy, mastery and purpose. I run these through my head every single week, and I think we all crave these three, though we each probably identify with one more than the others. For me, it's autonomy. I am time sensitive and need to feel control over how I spend my days and my time. So, I'm putting the need for paycheck to the side and focusing on what it is that I should actually be doing with my time to design my life.
  • Make room in your life for the things you want to happen. Literally create physical space -- we've been working on this by purging unused items, cleaning out closets, and rearranging to make things more appealing when new things come into our life. Also create mental space: Jake quit his job this summer because even though we loved the extra bar tending money, we needed to make space for the things we want in our future. Bar tending was not sustainable from a family time perspective, so we needed to say goodbye to it -- and guess what? My business income skyrocketed and more than replaced bar tending income once we made space for it in our lives.
  • Dream big, and make goals. Write them down. It's proven that goals that are written down are more often reached than goals that are just thought about or talked about. I'm working on updating my vision board this week and will share it with you after it's complete.
  • Someday I want to write a book. Considering my current state of writer's block, this is a daunting task, but at the same time I figure once I get going, the words will flow. I have to trust my instincts and follow my heart. My head has a million reasons why the things I want to accomplish can't happen, but my heart knows that this simply isn't the case. Someone wise recently said, "Those who hang out in the heart earn the most money." I happen to believe she's exactly right.

It's All in the Experience

Today at work we had to share 2 objects that represent us and have them guess whose they are. One of my objects is pictured below-- it's a wooden box that is whitewashed and painted with the words shown below. This box is a reminder for me that I am an "experience person" -- the things I work hard for in life are experiences, much more often than things. 

Yes, I want a comfortable house and nice staple items, but I really don't love spending money on lots of new things. I would rather spend my money on memories, time with my family, things I will look back on and be thankful I did during this life. 

Tonight was my husband's last night bar tending in 4 years. For the last 4 years (2 of which we've had children), he's been going to the bar 3-5 nights a week, making great tips, but drastically cutting into our time together. Because I work days, we've been able to avoid childcare for the past couple years, but now that my business has grown, we're at a comfortable point where he was able to quit his bar tending job. 

We are so thankful for this job, and yes we could have pushed our schedules so he could stay, but for us, it's all in the experience. We want to make evening memories with our kids going out for buffalo wings and ice cream. We want to take long walks, go to the zoo, run through sprinklers, make bedtime a long, drawn-out ordeal with books, cuddles, rocking, and goodnight kisses. We needed this time back as a family, and now we have it.

As I build my business and grow my team, and I look at the culture of what we're creating, it's not about fancy cars and big titles. It's about taking this VEHICLE which is changing lives in so many ways (health + wealth) and using this VEHICLE as a way to get more experiences out of life.

The sad truth is, roughly 76% of Americans think about quitting their jobs every single day. Everyone has a story; couples are in debt, people in their 60s are nowhere close to retirement, some families would love to save for a trip to Disney World but never see that happening since they live paycheck to paycheck. Then there are families in dual-income households who maybe have cushy salaries but are unable to be around for their kids' soccer practice, nightly family dinners, or even simple things like creating a tradition of family movie night. Our society is getting stretched so thin from a time standpoint that it feels a lot of times like the choice is time or money, but never both. 

I choose both. I believe both can be achieved by digging deep, having an open mind and a giving heart, and finding the right vehicle. Our team is growing and we are absolutely using the right vehicle to make more experiences for more families each and every day.


To Be Serious

I've had my moments in life, my ultra-serious moments. I've been called intense more times than I'd like to admit. I am a recovering perfectionist and someone who is learning more every day about the importance of keeping things light. 

Over the past decade of my professional life I've found myself wanting to please everyone, and through this process I've gotten into the habit of taking myself too seriously. Yes - there are moments where professionalism is completely appropriate and important, but at the end of the day we need to also remember that this is our one chance at life, our one chance to enjoy and have fun and take risks, and laugh it off. 

My husband is a pro at this. His quote below should probably read, "Life is too important to take nothing seriously." But, that is where we balance each other out and where I've also found that this approach is refreshing. People gravitate towards him. People want permission to be less serious. People want to feel good and accepted and have fun more than they want to be critiqued, questioned, and judged. At the end of the day, life is about perspective and learning and improving. We won't remember who was right or wrong, or if a situation went off without a hitch; we'll remember the moments and the things that made us smile. 

Next time you're feeling anxious, concerned, and like everything has to go perfectly, ask yourself: is this one of those critical moments? What will happen if things don't go according to plan? Can I make light of the situation? 

So now I'm focused on not living #thisseriouslife, but in fact living #thisredlife because when I'm old and tired and look back on my days, I'll be happy with how I spent them, smiling, laughing, and enjoying as many moments as possible.

Laying My Heart Online

I am officially launching my website today. And in some ways, it feels nerve wracking! When I was watching The Voice a couple years ago, I vividly remember Adam Levine applauding one of the ladies who took a lot of risks on her song choices. He said, "I love that you take risks, because I am the same way; if I don't take risks, I don't feel alive" (or something to that effect). I find myself thinking about this on a regular basis because I have often played it safe but also believe that at my core, I want to take risks professionally, and to live a life of passion means putting your heart on the line to reap the benefits of vulnerability. 

So, here I am, with 43 minutes left to hit "Publish" on this site and my Facebook page, which links to my Instagram, my Twitter, my Pinterest and all other social things related to ThisRedLife. It is time! It feels a little risky, but that alive feeling is so great, isn't it?


What If You Fly?

I've always had a fear of failure. I will admit I was a math whiz and bookworm growing up, and pushed myself to get straight As. This is not necessarily something I'd brag about, because it also meant that I became so accustomed to success that I defined myself by it. I'd get accolades for my hard work, and then I'd be nervous that those accolades would go away and people would think less of me if I failed. So, over time I stopped taking risks and focused solely on perfection and success. I started putting myself in situations where I knew I would succeed, simply for that rush of success.

Starting a business absolutely goes against the "safe route" that I had become accustomed, and I knew that I'd be taking a leap of faith and putting my heart on the line from the beginning. Thoughts when through my head, "What will people think of me?" "What if I fail?" "Will they have at me?" "How will I face them if one day I have to walk away from my business with my tail between my legs?" 

On and on and on and on...

My business is going really well, and the successes could not be sweeter. But, I still find that I have to push myself each week to get outside my comfort zone. Last week was no different, except that it was the deadline for me to hit THE highest rank in our company. On Monday, my mentor called me and said, "Let's do this." I won't go through details, but I was less than 50% to my goal. I was wavering at the moment on if it could be done. We got off the phone and I spent the next 30 minutes going through options in my head, and finally I wrote her back. "I have it all mapped out," I said. I knew in my heart I was going to do this.

I also listened to a podcast that reminded me I had about 100 hours to my deadline. 100 hours to be legendary. So, I put this at the forefront of my mind and went to work.

I went to bed Thursday night confident that I would meet my goal the next day, and I officially met it with about 6 hours of breathing room. The point is, though, that if I wouldn't have believed in myself earlier in the week, if I wouldn't have taken that risk and put all fears of failure aside, I wouldn't be sitting here today with this new title and newfound success in my business. 

What if I failed? Sure - it would have been tough to swallow. But another line keeps running through my head on repeat: "You'll never know if you never try." This makes me want to build outrageous goals and reach them and then make even more outrageous goals and reach them! Life is too short to take everything too seriously. If I wouldn't have met my goal? Well, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. I could have tried again another time.

But instead, I took a leap of faith… and I flew.

This is me, racing to my goals. My husband and girls got me a special sweatband, which make the race that much sweeter. :)

This is me, racing to my goals. My husband and girls got me a special sweatband, which make the race that much sweeter. :)

20 Hours of Bliss

I just attended a 2+ day training with the company I'm partnering with to change lives. Letmetellyou -- it was unreal. I went to a similar training last year when I first took a leap of faith on this journey, and once again I am blown away by possibility. So many good pieces of information that apply to health and wellness and greatness in life. Things like: 

  • Your success will match the average success of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people!
  • The law of attraction -- we bring into our life exactly what we think about and what we need. Visualize it to make it happen.
  • Operate from your "why" -- your burning desire to create the life of your dreams. If you are fully grounded in why you are doing something, you will have much more success than if you're just going through the motions. Start with the "why".
  • So many people operate out of a place of fear, or of lack. Operate out of abundance and love, and these things will come into your life.
  • This whole world was created by people just like us. When you understand this fact, you start to realize the possibilities and contribution you can make to improve the world. (this is an idea by Steve Jobs)

Overall I'm so happy by the MOMENTUM building within my team and the greatness of things to come. If you haven't checked it out yet, ask us. The best is yet to come!!!

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Growing up, I remember the night before Valleyfair (our local amusement park) every summer. My parents would take us once a year, and I could hardly sleep because I was so excited. We'd get up around 6am, pack lunches, slather on sunscreen, hop in the car and drive 1 hour to a full day of unlimited roller coasters, water rides, and sun. I could seriously make myself sick from going on ride after ride after ride.

Tonight feels a bit similar, but in a different way. In an adult way, but I very much feel like a kid again. Tomorrow is the first day of a 3-day adventure in business -- the kind of business where dreams are made. Tomorrow, over 1200 entrepreneurs + guests will gather to hear about our company and how we are literally changing lives through health + wealth. Tomorrow, people with similar ideas about how to live life to the fullest will get together and share stories, learn from each other, and develop and stretch themselves. "We are the dreamers of the dreams. Take a chance on your dreams."

I'm putting this out there to impress upon you what living a red life is all about. It's not magic; it doesn't require a certain personality or background. It requires a true desire to think outside the box, bleed optimism and realize that life should be lived to the fullest. A belief that at the end of the day, we design how we live. No one else will hand us our wishes and dreams and goals; we need to make them happen. So, tomorrow I'm going into that candy store with the biggest smile on my face, an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a huge heart of gratitude.