3 Ways to Change Our World

Changing the world starts within and it starts with us. When we start with changing our inner world, that empowers us to change the world around us. There is so much outside of ourselves that we can't control, which is why I believe it is so important to start within. 

Today, I want to share with you 3 Challenges along with 3 Opportunities for how we can start to RISE, SHOW UP and be the leaders that the world needs us to be. 

 

Challenge #1 - We Are Distracted

With so much trying to get our attention all the time, it is hard to truly be present with ourselves and with others. We are always thinking of the to-do list, the phone calls we need to make, the emails we need to send and I believe that can lead to never truly being anywhere. I think this can also lead to burnout, overwhelm, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). 

Opportunity #1 - Be Present 

The invitation is to slow down, put down the phone and just connect with the people around you. Technology serves a huge role in our life and it is not bad - we just need to stop letting it control us. I am guilty of bringing my phone with me everywhere and checking Facebook and email WAY TOO OFTEN. It is a part of our lives, but I think we need to stop letting it be such a HUGE part as it keeps us from truly being present and in the moment. I invite you - the next time you sit down to dinner or a meal with friends or family - to put the phone away and ask about their day, their life and just listen. I invite you to take a walk (without your phone) in the woods or in nature somewhere and reconnect with yourself and the world around you. I believe that in order to do our best work in the world and make the biggest difference, it starts with being present. 

Challenge #2 - We Feel Disconnected

We are more connected than we have ever been and yet many people feel the LEAST connected to themselves, others, their communities and the world around them. We are social animals and yet we live in a world that thrives on individual achievements. We feel alone in our struggles, yet so many of them are similar. I believe that this disconnection with ourselves gets in the way from us really being able to tune in and tap into our innate gifts that we have to share with the world around us. 

Opportunity #2 - Connect! 

The first invitation is to connect with yourself. Start a morning practice, write in your journal, KNOW yourself and what you are good at so that you can use your incredible gift to help heal the world. Secondly, invite someone in your life out for coffee or tea and get to know them. Better yet, go take a walk outside together. We tend to have 3 types of people in our lives: Mates, Mentees and Mentors. Mates: There is always someone who gets us. Mentees: There is always someone who we can help. Mentors: There is always someone who can help us. Ideally you are spending a third of your time with each type. Connection is the ultimate key to our ability to thrive in our world. 

Challenge #3 - We Are Discontent

We live in a world of "never enough". No matter where we are in life, there is a feeling that we will never be enough or have enough or are enough. We have access to more knowledge, people and opportunities that ever before in history and yet many people are walking around unhappy and unfulfilled

Opportunity #3 - Give Back

I believe that we are all (in our own way) seeking meaning and fulfillment in our lives and I think that comes from giving back in some way. I think that many people wait for big, grandiose moments to make a difference when small ones surround us everyday (all the time). Where in your life can you give back in some way with either your time or your money? 

Change starts with us. 

I hope that some of these ideas gave you some things to consider. Maybe you can relate to some of them better than others. I am curious to hear from you about which ones resonated with you and if you have other thoughts or insights to add! 

 

 

 

What Get's You STOKED!?

When I think about this movement that I want to create, build, design, facilitate and lead, it makes me want to know what it is that get's people STOKED!?

So... I thought I would start by answering that question for myself... 

Things that get me STOKED: 

 

1. Spending time with people who are kicking ass at life

I am a HUGE believer in the idea that, "You are the average of five people you spend the most time with." When I hang out with people who inspire me, that gets me STOKED to keep moving forward and creating my own version of success. Who are people in your life that inspire you to be the BEST version of yourself? 

2. Doing things that I LOVE

It is essential to build my schedule that also includes doing things that I LOVE to do. Those things include exercising and being active, spending time outside, riding bikes, trail running, drinking beer with friends, going on adventures, hiking, and sailing! Doing things that you LOVE to do can energize you and give you the fuel you need day by day and week by week. What are the things that YOU love to do? 

3. Making a Difference

Every time I have the opportunity to present, facilitate or coach gets me STOKED! I love being able to connect with people, and help them overcome their limiting beliefs, re-ignite their passion and re-connect with their purpose. We are all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for! We all have the power to help others in some way, even if it's small! Where can you make a difference for someone this week?

These are my Top 3?  What are the things that really MOVE you? That speak to you... that get you STOKED?  Let's meet up over at Your Stoked Life to bring you into the discussion!

 

 

Birthday Lessons for Your STOKED Life

Do you ever have those moments where you can't believe that this is your life (in a good way). Where you zoom out in the moment while it is happening and know that this is a moment you are going to remember forever? That is how I felt at so many moments this weekend and that is why I LOVE getting away and creating amazing experiences in epically beautiful places. THAT is my jam! It is those moments and those experiences that no one can take away and that last forever. 

Lesson #1: Experiences Over Things 

In a world full of consumerism and the ongoing desire to buy more to be more, I believe that experiences trump gifts. Buying things does not fill us up, it fills a void. It leaves us craving and consuming and always wanting more, never truly feeling satisfied with what we do have. There was a study that was done where 3 people were given a $20 bill. Person A was told to buy something for themselves, Person B was told to buy something for someone and Person C was told to do something with someone. After their purchase, they measured their level of happiness about their decision and overwhelmingly the people who had an experience with someone else were happier and more satisfied than those who bought things. Next time you have a birthday coming up or are celebrating someone else, I encourage you to consider creating an experience rather than giving a gift.

Lesson #2: Create the Life You Want

No one planned my birthday getaway weekend extravaganza for me and no one will plan your life for you. You are the captain of your ship, the author of your story and only YOU get to create it, design it and MAKE IT HAPPEN. There were times that I didn't want to deal with the planning and logistics that it takes to pull off people getting to the ferry boat and arranging rides and figuring out who is cooking what meal, but if I didn't, then it's likely not going to happen. What do you want to happen in your life? What one action can you take to make that a reality? Small actions everyday can make a HUGE difference in setting you on your path to creating success on your own terms. 

Lesson #3: Let People Love You 

Most people hate compliments. We tend to be really uncomfortable with any sort of praise or positive accolades from others, yet when we hear negative or "constructive feedback" we let that in and can allow it to destroy us. What is we reversed the formula? Let positive messages in and were able to let the constructive feedback in only enough to let it support and serve us, rather than bring us down. Sometimes people don't want to "throw their own party" so to speak and are uncomfortable being the center of attention. I get it (kind of) but I would encourage you to get curious about that. What about it makes you uncomfortable? People in your life LOVE you want to celebrate you. Let them love you. 

I hope these three life lessons from my birthday weekend adventure extravaganza helps you enjoy the journey to creating Your STOKED Life. I would love to hear from you on what your favorite lesson was and one thing you are grateful for! 

If Summit Could Speak: My Daily Routine Secrets from My Dog

So many people ask about my mom’s routine… how does she stay stoked?  What’s she do each day to stay ultra-positive?  I’ll let you in on a few of her tips & tricks to ensure each day is mega-motivating…

Do you like early mornings? I love them! My mom wakes up before the sun most days… like a dream, I tell ya!

Well, if we’re being honest, she doesn’t bounce out of bed with the first alarm, but she’s up and at em’ after a few 5-minute snoozes! Contrary to belief, she does NOT bounce out of bed with her arms in the air saying, “HEY WORLD! I AM READY FOR THIS DAY!” At least not out loud. But the fact is, she takes that first step early… to ensure she has enough time to start her day off right.

Sometimes, she is good and does her morning miracle routine on the couch with the twinkle lights on… and sometimes she doesn’t. I haven’t quite figured out the rhyme or reason for this, but she seems to know exactly what she needs each day… and no matter what, she jumps into her gym clothes - the ones she laid out the night before - and heads to the gym for a sweat session.

After what feels like a lifetime (though she tells me it’s only an hour, she comes home from her workout usually very hungry (sometimes HANGRY, but don’t tell her that) and makes coffee and a green smoothie.  I’ve noticed recently she’s kind of into these smoothie bowls lately.  Once her blood sugar levels have evened out, it’s time to hit the shower and then begin work for the day.

My mom has a pretty cool job, most days.  Work days often include hanging out with me on the couch, checking and responding to emails, making coaching calls and following up with speaking leads, and just speaking her language with her tribe. I know she gets bored and lonely at home, so sometimes I’ll do a little dance, or get a bit anxious so she’ll load us both up and take work on the road.  Sometimes we walk to the Co-op bakery, her favorite place to work and my favorite place to bask in the sun (when it is out). It’s not a bad gig for me, to be honest.

What I learn most about from her is that while we have to let our bodies and minds decide what’s best for us each day, starting your day with purpose and intention, is always going to lead to a productive day.  She isn’t perfectly rigid in her schedule, but she knows conquering one day at a time - with an eye on your goal, is the quickest way to introduce positive habits into your life!

What’s the general routine you try to follow daily?  What motivates you to keep it?  What other habits disrupt your daily routine?  Let’s discuss it in our Facebook Group!

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe!

This past weekend I attended a conference called the World Domination Summit. It's hard to even call it a conference, it is really an epic experience with remarkable people from around the world. This was the third time I attended this event and every year I am blown away by the community, camaraderie, and connections that happen as a result of showing up in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. I know that one of the biggest factors to my success is that I've chosen to surround myself with people who inspire me on the daily. These people lead from their heart, they do work that they love, and they aren't afraid to dream big.

That type of energy is contagious.

WDS Workshop - Activate Your Purpose: How to Turn Inspiration Into Action

WDS Workshop - Activate Your Purpose: How to Turn Inspiration Into Action

I believe that community has the biggest impact on our level of success. The people in your life will either help to support your goals and dreams or they won't. It is so important to surround yourself with the people who do. The energy of this event is about dreaming bigger and going for it even if you are scared and think you might fail. And that's why you need community. You need those people to pick you up if you fall down and to cheer you on when those voices of self-doubt creep in.

There's a quote that I love that says, "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with."

WDS Crew at the closing party

WDS Crew at the closing party

So my question for you is who are you spending time with? Are they people that elevate you, that fill you up, or are they people that deplete you? I invite you to actually make a list of the 5 people you spend the most time with and take a look and see if they're filling you up or if they're taking energy away from you.

YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE.

What is the energy that you are putting out there into the world? Be the type of person that you want to surround yourself with. What would it look like for you to show up authentically wanting to connect with others by being interested in the, their story and how you can help them? The reason I spend so much of my time, energy and money to attend events, conferences and retreats like the World Domination Summit is to surround myself with like-minded people who are playing that bigger game in life and want to show up to support me living out my big audacious dreams and goals.

It is so freaking inspiring to be around that type of energy.

When you meet people who are doing work that they love, who are living a life that they love, you start to believe that it's possible. The first time I attended this event was two years ago. I started meeting remarkable people from around the world who were living life on their own terms. They weren't bound to a desk at a corporate job or doing work that they didn't care about. They were creating businesses with soul, they were leading their life from their heart, and they were sharing their unique gifts with the world. 

When you surround yourself with that type of energy, you start to believe that anything is possible. And that's a big reason why I'm creating this program next year called the Year of YES! The YES stands for, Your Empowered Success. We will start the year by asking a simple but essential question, "What does success mean to you?" One year from now, where will you be? Who will you be? What will be present in your life? How will you feel? Then from that place of knowing where you want to go, we will work together in community to cultivate the courage, confidence, conviction and clarity to be EMPOWERED to move towards your vision of success every day for an entire year. The question that really guides this whole experience is,

"What would be possible if the people around you refused to let you fail?"

This program is going to be EPIC and is designed for 20 BRAVE, BOLD, BRILLIANT women who are ready to take a stand for who they are in the world and say YES to their life in a HUGE way! I could not be more stoked for this experience to begin.

There are 17 spots left in the program and if you are interested click here to schedule a time for us to connect and talk more about the program and how it could serve you in your life right now. 

I also have a few spots left in the Soul on Fire Women's Backpacking Retreat that is coming up Sept. 2nd-5th - feel free to check out this page for more info or email me back if you want to participate in this EPIC backcountry experience. 

 

3 Lessons That Will Change Your Life

This past weekend I attend a life-changing event called International Tribe Design in British Columbia. To get there, I had to cross international boarders, get onto a ferryboat at Horseshoe Bay, then continue to drive to a private marina and get on another boat that would take us 40 min. north in the Sechelt Inlet to the Wilderness Resort & Retreat. It was quite the adventure just getting there. When we arrived, we were greeted with mimosas and a few people taking a polar plunge off the dock. I knew from the moment we arrived something magical was about to take place. There were many things that happened during the course of the 5 days and 4 nights we were there, probably more than I can explain with words. My goal here is to do my best to share what I learned from the experience in hopes that you can apply some of these lessons to your own life.

 

Lesson #1 - The Art of Receiving 

My first lesson was learning the art of receiving. As someone who enjoys facilitating, leading, coaching, teaching, training and giving a lot, it was so amazing to receive the experience with open arms, to engage deeply in the journey and trusting that there was no destination to get to. All there was was the moment. There was no schedule, agenda or itinerary of activities. The only thing we were responsible for was to show up at the next time at the next place ready and open to receive. In our culture of trying, doing and striving it was so refreshing to just be present. As someone who admittedly loves being in control and having a plan, it was a challenge at first. Having the desire to know what's coming next, it was easy for me to fall back into that need to know. What is happening? What should we wear? What do we need to bring? I realized that this idea of surrendering to the experience WAS the experience. Letting go was the point, there was no destination to get to, just a willingness to open and receive. I stepped back into my "real life" from that experience and I found myself actually feeling different. I felt more grounded, more present, more connected and I felt myself showing up and truly trusting myself. How would that feel? To just relax, to be present, to be open and willing to receiving more in your life? There is always an ebb and a flow to life and in our world of striving and trying, I invite you into a space of knowing and trusting yourself to receive all that life has to offer you. 

 

Lesson #2 - The Power of Perspective

One of the guest speakers at the event was Yarrow Willard who is an incredible Herbalist and lover of the natural world. His workshop taught us about the power of perspective. There were two perspectives we got to play with and explore. The first was Eagle Eyes... you see something, you want it and you go after it, you might run people over, you might trip because you aren't looking at the ground, but you are committed and determined to getting what you are focused on. This is typically the way that our world works. Choose something to achieve and go after it... we are very focused on the destination, success and accomplishment. The other way of seeing the world was using Fox Eyes, which is about slowing down, enhancing your perspective, seeing and hearing more. We spent our time walking slowly, listening deeply and taking in the surroundings of the beautiful place we were in. How often do we let ourselves slow down? Breathe? Listen? Be present to what is happening all around us? What would you see and here if you practiced slowing down and taking more in?

 

Lesson #3 - Raw, Real & Radical Authentic Communication

Our first exercise when we arrived was each taking a turn standing in front of everyone with this prompt... "What I don't want you to know about me is... (for 1 min. & 15 sec.) followed by "I am amazing at..." (for 15 sec.). No introductions with your name, where you are from or what you do... just got straight to the point of being real and shining a light on the dark places so that we could connect and grow from a place of raw, real and radical authenticity. So often we hide the parts of ourselves that we don't want other people to see. We cover up, hold back, don't speak our truth because we are worried about what others think of us and we are worried about being rejected. We think that if people saw the "real me" they might not like what they see. This can lead to inauthentic connections instead of building and creating real, honest and brave relationships. We all have things we don't want others to see, but what is that was out in the open for all to see, what if there was no hiding and instead full on unconditional love? What would you do if you weren't worried about what others thought? What if you were completely true to yourself? What would be possible with that type of courage and confidence!? 

So, there it is! Three of my big takeaways from an experience that is honestly hard to describe or put into words. This retreat was completely transformational and I am STOKED to bring what I have learned to the work that I do with my clients one-on-one and in group settings. 

Sending you love and light! 

Marli

PS - I would love for you spend some time with you in person at my next seminar on How to Activate Your Purpose & Elevate Your Life on Thursday July 28th in Bellingham, WA

 

Do You Really Believe in Yourself?

Why is this so hard? This whole believing in yourself thing? Believing that you are enough? That you are worth it? That you are amazing and whole and naturally creative and resourceful? 

Self-doubt and second-guessing myself are the two biggest things that get in my way... sometimes on the daily... especially when I am doing something outside of my comfort zone, something that is demanding that I really show up. Most people probably think I have no fears or doubts, and I JUST GO FOR IT! but the truth is, I get in my own way all the freaking time. 

I doubt what I have to say is valuable, I question if what I am delivering is enough, I second-guess what to title this newsletter (every newsletter), what to name my next workshop and what activities to do during a leadership program. HERE IS THE THING... I have these thoughts, doubts and fears, but I DO IT ANYWAY!

Here is a quotes that really resonated with me this week (as a recovering perfectionist)...

Here is the thing - courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the ability to be scared and do it anyway. Confidence isn't something you are born with, it is something you develop over time by doing things that are a little scary and realizing that you are way more capable than you give yourself credit for.

I know what my kryptonite is (self-doubt and second-guessing) and I have systems in place to help me move through that: a supportive partner, amazing coaches (yes I have two coaches), an incredible community and my greater commitment to making a difference rather than letter those limiting beliefs win.

Steps to Believing in Yourself MORE! 
1. Be Aware of Your Limiting Beliefs - we all have them - it's okay :) 
2. Acknowledge Them - stop making yourself wrong for thinking those things
3. Take Action - DO SOMETHING - Action Cures FEAR! 

My questions for you today are: What would you do if you really believed in yourself? How would you show up? AND What support do you need to ROCK IT OUT!

As always, I would LOVE to hear from you! Just reply to this messageletting me know where you are feeling stuck and I will respond right away to support you in helping you believe in yourself more so you can go after what you REALLY want in life! 

YOU GOT THIS!

Marli

PS - If you live in Bellingham, there are a few more spots left in the 3 Keys to Getting Out of Your Own Damn Way Workshop coming up on Tuesday June 28th from 7-9pm! Register by tomorrow (Friday) and get a $5 discount using the promo code: earlybird

Mini Pep Talks!

I recently started to create and share a mini pep talk every Wednesday on Facebook and it has been a blast!  I wanted to come up with a fun way to share a positive message with the people in my life and so far it seems to be working.  I am having fun doing them and people seem to get something out of them - which is the goal!  

Every Wednesday I wake up, take my dog to the park with my coffee and I think to myself - what do I want to share with the world?  What can I say that might make a positive impact on someone's day or week or life?  I try not to think about it for too long, then I get out my phone and record a 1-2 min. unscripted video of whatever message is resonating with me that day.  I will begin to post these onto my website for easy access so you can refer back to them when you need a little boost of inspiration.  

Thank you all for your continued support as I create content and put it out into the world!  Feel free to share any messages that may resonate with you so that we can all work towards making the world a better place!  

Lives Launched!

An epic journey of self-discovery

I returned last week from this life-changing program in the mountains to my friends and phone calls, all asking me one question, "So... How was Life Launch!?"  

My response: It was more incredible than I could have even imagined.  

The young people who showed up to this experience blew me away with their heart, passion, and drive to make a meaningful contribution to the world. They all intentionally chose to spend time in the beautiful mountains of the North Cascades, figuring out who they really are, where they want to go and how they are going to get there.    

The first afternoon we gathered in a circle and they shared what had brought them to Life Launch and what they hoped to get out of the experience. All of them listening intently, nodding at each others responses, and reflecting on their own journey. I was touched by the courage of each participant to recognize and seize this space where they would be heard, could relate to others, and could talk about how they were feeling. With great care and intention, we were able to reframe the unknown landscapes that lay ahead of them.

We spent the evening telling life stories and sharing the significant moments that have impacted our lives. We sat around candle lights, ready to dive deep, be vulnerable with each other and share the raw, unfiltered version of themselves with those who chose to share this experience with them. The simple power of story telling and listening was so evident in the bonds that started to form so soon after their arrival. 

Each day began with a different morning practice, to help them find fun and creative ways to incorporate movement and mindfulness into their lives back home. We started with yoga and setting intentions for the day, followed by a morning dance to embrace our aliveness, and on the final morning we took the PLUNGE together in the cold water of Diablo Lake. Each evening closed with a circle to wrap up our day sharing our thorn, rose, and bud (challenge, highlight and what we are looking forward to). Starting and ending each day on purpose powerfully impacts the way we approach our lives and the world around us. These practices reminded participants that they don't have to wait for their perfect job or their perfect life to start creating their own daily routines and rituals to bring meaning and purpose to their lives.

Daily workshops and outdoor activities brought a cohesive sense of engagement in the process of learning and built a solid community of belonging and trust. The flow of the experience was to first help them get clear about who they are: the strengths, gifts and values that they can bring to the world and really own that. Then we talked about their passions and they created their own unique purpose statement, which they read out loud to each other boldly and confidently. We spent the second evening talking about their "Best Life" and they interviewed each other and created vision boards to represent their goals, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The final full day began with a hike in the woods talking about their own unique definition of success. Then we spent the afternoon going over things like resumes, cover letters, Linkedin and talked about creative ways to network like a pro: the how to actually get a job part :) 

The last night of the program, we talked about fear and permission. They confronted their fears by writing, on a piece of wood, all of the fears that were in their way, holding them back from their true capabilities. As they were writing, tears flowed; fears they haven't acknowledged or addressed were being written down for the first time. Then, they had the chance to stand in front of the group and read their fears out loud, one by one. Once they were done, I asked, "What is on the other side of your fear?" They said things, like "My life!", "Happiness and Freedom" and other powerful things that I can't remember right now, because I was so caught up in the moment with emotion. Then, they broke through the boards and their fears. The room was electric. Waves of pure emotion swept through the room and once everyone had broken their board, a dance party ensued. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. 

During the four days, we laughed together, cried, talked, shared stories and dove deeper than most people do in a lifetime to ask the big questions like, What am I meant to do with my life? What is the greatest contribution I can make to the world?  What does success mean for me? Together, we created the space to reflect and engage in the process of building and creating a meaningful life. I will be forever grateful for those who decided to take the journey with me. And the good news is that it doesn't end now. As a commitment to helping them launch into the next chapter of their life with confidence, courage and clarity, I will be spending the next two months coaching them as they make waves, make art, and make the world more beautiful. 

It was an honor to witness their journey and their process of becoming more confident in who they are and what they have to offer the world and I can't wait to see what they do with that they have learned. Now, it is all about integrating what they have learned into their lives so they can go out there and launch their lives!  

What's next for me and Life Launch?  MORE!!  I am working on a plan to provide this experience for more people in more ways, if you have ANY ideas or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear from you as I continue to launch my own journey of creating experiences that move and inspire people to find their passion, discover their purpose realize their potential!

Thank you as always for your continued support and encouragement as I make my way on my own journey. 

Stop Trying to be Perfect (Learn to be Present Instead)

This message is for me as much as it is for you.  I tend to refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist, because it is true.  I have a desire for greatness, insanely high expectations of myself and the tendency to stress out about delivering a workshop that isn't "good enough".  

Perfection is the enemy of progress.

If I had a dollar for every time I didn't publish a blog post because I didn't think it was good enough or for every time I didn't submit a workshop for a conference or make that phone call to a potential client because I didn't know exactly what to say, I would be, well, not rich, but you get the point! 

What I am realizing is that perfection holds me back from really going for it, from trusting myself and from the opportunity to learn through trial and error, which is really the only way to get better at something.  The first time a baby starts to walk, they don't do it perfectly, and even though they fall down, they get right back up.  I know that I want to be a better writer, but that isn't going to happen unless I actually do it.  I also need to learn to just be present to where I am at right now and enjoy the continual journey of improving.    

My new mantra recently to pick me up when I am noticing myself spiral down the perfection staircase is: 

PRESENCE OVER PERFECTION

I am learning that it is more important to just be present with people rather than having to show up an be perfect.  When delivering a workshop, it is more important for me to be really present with those that showed up rather than it having to be "perfect".  There are people I know who want to be the perfect teacher, advisor, mentor, parent, friend, etc.  And by all means, strive for greatness in the work that you do and in who you are, but remember to let go of the perfection and learn to be present with yourself and the people around you. This is truly the greatest gift you can give others. The presence of yourself and your time.  Presence is about being real with people, showing your messiness, communicating my passion and authenticity. 

People won't like you because you are perfect, they will like you because you are REAL! 

The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect all the time is a tiring mask to wear.  I encourage you to take off the mask and just be present with the people in your life.  When we practice being authentic, rather that being perfect, we allow the other person to be real as well and to share their insecurities and imperfections.   This is what builds the beautiful, genuine, and meaningful relationships we are all looking for. 

Where in your life can you let go of being perfect and learn to be present?  

 

STEP UP YOUR GAME IN 2015

Hey There!  I know it's been a while since I have posted on this thing - but I am feeling the energy of 2015 pulling me forward and I am wanting to STEP UP MY GAME in 2015.  Which means, writing more, speaking more and coaching more in order to help people create and live a life that they are passionate about!

Every year when January 1st rolls around, many people, including myself feel compelled to write down some New Year’s resolutions - Interestingly enough (though no surprising) two weeks from that day, on January 15th, is when 95% of people who set new year’s resolutions quit. They stop going to the gym where they signed up for a membership, or they stop doing their morning yoga practice or let go of that diet they started. Most people don’t even make a resolution anymore because of that.  

The question is - what is it that even makes us want to make a new years resolution?  I believe it is because there is something inside of us that wants to make ourselves better. We have a desire to grow, evolve, and improve. This is part of being human.  When the new year comes around it can been seen as a fresh start.  

THE QUESTION IS, WHAT DOES IT REALLY TAKE TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN?  

More often than not, people who fail to keep their resolutions blame it on their lack of willpower.  In studies, they found, that most people say if they just had more self-determination they would have overcome any obstacles and achieved their goals.  Here is the thing, I don’t believe it is willpower that truly gets us to where we want to go.  I think it has to do with creating a vision that is compelling enough to pull us forward - to get us out of bed every morning and put running shoes on, instead of hitting snooze once again. 

It seems as though people want to make all these CHANGES in our life, but the thing is, is change is automatic - it happens no matter what - whether we want it to or not.  Progress though, is not automatic and takes effort and consistency.  Progress is moving forward.  

Most people’s new years resolutions frankly are uninspiring - “Lose Weight”, “Go to the Gym”, “Eat Healthier” - First of all - these are all pretty vague and secondly, they don’t inspire ACTION, which is the key to progress.  We hope that something will happen, but we aren't invested enough to actually make it happen - because IT DOESN'T INSPIRE us to take the action that is required to make that happen.  

There are a few key things that you can do that can really change the game for you that will help you make 2015 the best year yet!  

#1 - DEFINE A COMPELLING VISION THAT INSPIRES YOU  

The question here is - WHAT IS IT THAT YOU REALLY WANT?

Most people fail at achieving their New Year’s resolution because it is uninspiring.  We are told to set “SMART” Goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timebound.  This is great and can work for some things, but here is the thing - we are driven by emotion and if we aren’t emotionally fueled and inspired to achieve our goals, we will give up too easily.  

I will give you an example of a SMART Goal - “I want to lose 10 lbs. by March 1st” - it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound - Here is the problem that I see - IT DOESN’T INSPIRE me.  This is not something that would propel me forward - it is just something else to check off a list.  

When I think about WHY I want that though, then things start to get a bit deeper.  Why do I want to lose 10 lbs? - I want to FEEL alive and vibrant.  I want to be full of energy so that I can give back to the world in a more powerful way. I want to look and feel strong in my body so that I can do all the things I love to do, like climb mountains and ski like a boss.  I want to be able to go on long trail runs with my awesome roommate and my dog.  Here is the thing - losing 10 lbs. doesn’t really motivate me - but being in the best shape of my life, feeling full of energy and strong in my body does. The more I can really visualize and picture that in my head, the more likely I am going to be to actually DO something about it.  

VISION MUST BE SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN SEE - THAT IS WHY IT IS CALLED A VISION.  MAKE IT AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE - WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE, SOUND LIKE, FEEL LIKE??

The more I can really visualize and picture that in my head, the more likely I am going to be to actually DO something about it.  IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING THAT IS COMPELLING ENOUGH - YOU WILL FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.   

The more clear you can visualize it - the more you will be pulled toward the vision.  Pure willpower doesn’t work - but having something pull you forward into the future does.  This is about knowing where you want to go.  Having a destination - something to move towards.  Get totally focused on WHAT MATTERS TO YOU because wherever focus goes energy goes. 

“The best way to predict your future is to CREATE it and design what you want it to look like right now.”  

 

#2 - KNOW WHY THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

WHAT IS YOUR WHY?  What are the reasons why you want this vision to be true?  This is where our emotions come in. We make decisions from an emotional place and if you don’t have strong enough reasons why your vision is important to you, then it will be easy to give up.  This is about getting really clear on why this is important to you.  

The more clear you are on your why - the more driven you will be to TAKE ACTION - which is the key to progress, moving forward and making things happen.  

 

#3 - CREATE DAILY RITUALS THAT PROPEL YOU

A RITUAL IS AN ACTION YOU DO CONSISTENTLY.  What are the daily rituals that are going  to help you make that vision a reality?   This is about training yourself to follow through and doing little things each day to create momentum.  It is important to celebrate the small victories.

Create an environment that pulls you forward - that sets yourself up for success.  If you want to run in the morning, have your shoes and clothes laid out the night before.  If you want to do yoga and write before you go to work - then have your yoga mat laid out with your journal close by.  Make it easier to take on those new rituals that you want to establish.  

 

#4 - RAISE YOUR STANDARDS 

If you are going to have lasting change in anything that you do - RAISE YOUR STANDARDS.  The most successful people in the world just have higher standards than others.  We tend to be okay with being okay and settle for mediocrity.  

If you are feeling like 2015 is the year for you to STEP UP YOUR GAME - then the key is to RAISE YOUR STANDARDS.   

So many people chose a new year’s resolution that they SHOULD do - “I should lose more weight”, “I should exercise in the morning”, if it is a should, it isn’t going to work!  

The key here is, is to get your shoulds to become musts, that way your brain will find a way to make it happen.

Raising your standards happens when a SHOULD becomes a MUST - it just becomes something that you do and it becomes part of your identity.

Human beings follow through on who they believe they are - Who do you want to become in 2015? 

1.     Create A Vision That Inspires You

2.     Know Why that is important to you

3.     Develop your Daily Rituals

4.     Raise Your Standards

 

THE STEP UP YOUR GAME IN 2015 LIVE WORKSHOP!  

Maybe all of this sounds like too much or is sounds overwhelming to do on your own - don't worry - I got your back!  I am hosting a live workshop here in Bellingham, WA on Thursday, January 15th to help you re-define what it is that you really want for 2015 and create a game plan for you to get there.  

This interactive workshop will include a workbook and a follow-up coaching call with me to check in on your progress to and to eliminate any obstacles that might be in your way.  

If you want to make 2015 awesome - join me on Thursday night, January 15th from 7-9pm for a night of inspiration and action! 

Place is yet to be determined - STAY TUNED!    

 

 

 

It's only just begun...

The Talk

Yesterday I had the honor and the privilege of speaking to over 400 high school students for Anti-Bullying month about how to be kinder to themselves and each other in order to create a community of kindness, love and respect.  

I spoke about learning to love yourself, having people in your life that you can talk to and trust, including others by saying hi, choosing kindness everyday and to focus on your goals and dreams when things get hard.  I told them that when you do all of these things, you are more able to stand up for what you believe in and stand up for each other.

I am so grateful for Alisa Weddle and Sue Robinson from Nooksack Valley High School who gave me a chance yesterday to speak to their students, who believed in me and knew that I could do this. They never doubted me, not even for a moment, even when at times I doubted myself.  

 

Lessons & Reflections

I have been reflecting a lot on the talk that I gave yesterday - which was my first time delivering that content to the largest audience I have ever spoken in front of yet.  Many people have been asking me - "How was it?" or "How did it go?" 

Here is the simple answer - IT WAS AMAZING and hard AND POWERFUL and scary AND INCREDIBLE!

It was all the things! 

I have spent months preparing for this talk.  Thinking about it, brainstorming, writing it all down, re-writing, outlining, practicing in my living room with friends, getting a high school friend to design graphics for the slides and the handouts, and the most important - TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HECK TO SAY!

I kept thinking - okay - I have 45 minutes to connect with these students, get them to like me, so that they will listen to me, share a powerful message that they will hopefully connect with and relate to, have tools to walk way with and be inspired to actually go out and make positive change in their school - WHEW!  That is quite the list of things to cover in 45 min!  

During the writing/prep process, I kept asking myself questions like, "What is it that I really want them to know? to feel? to walk away with?" "How can I communicate with them in a way that will help them to care about this stuff?"  "How do I learn to be more funny and less cheesy?"  So many questions!

Could it have been better - YES, of course it could have - but the important thing is that I was proud of myself for going beyond my fears and following my heart and my dream of inspiring young people to be more awesome to themselves and to each other.  To treat each other with kindness and love and respect.  To say hi to each other, include each other and most importantly, to be kind.  

Putting this talk together and delivering it yesterday was a practice in trusting myself, my knowledge, my passion, my words, my ability to inspire and let it all hang out.  To put it all out there in the hopes that it might in fact change one persons life.  

Because, really that is the whole point of all of this craziness.  To speak truth into someone's heart and someone's mind and to leave them moved, inspired and empowered to make positive changes in their life, in their families, their schools, their communities and eventually the world.  And, while I might not be able to change the world (yet), I know that I can change someone else's world or at least make a positive impact.  If that happened for even only one person yesterday - then in my mind - it was a success. 

 

What's Next? 

The goal is to give more talks to more students with a combo of inspiration and action!  I am on the lookout for more opportunities to inspire students to create communities of kindness and give them the tools in order to do that.  I have a million other ideas too (of course)... develop school curriculum to go along with the talk, lesson plans, video pep talks, online mentoring programs for students, leadership training programs... the list goes on and on.  This is only just the beginning and I am excited to see where it goes from here.  I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas you have as well in the comments below! 

Also, if you know of any high schools who may be looking for a Youth Speaker to bring some inspiration and action to their school, feel free to send them to my booking inquiry form on my website.  

I am so grateful to everyone out there for all your love and support and encouragement.  I could not have done this without you.  

 

Plant Seeds. Water Them. See What Grows.

One of my favorite things is planting a whole bunch of seeds in my garden every spring, watering them, and seeing what grows.  Gardening to me is a bit like an experiment.  I don't plan much, I just plant lots of different little seedlings, I water them, and then I hope for the best.  

Of course, the soil must be prepped and be ready receive the roots for the seeds to gain the nutrients they need to grow into something edible and delicious.  Speaking of delicious, I love carrots from the garden, but even though I really enjoy them, I wouldn't want to plant my whole garden with carrot seeds. I also love tomatoes, but I really like kale and spaghetti squash and sugar snap peas too... you get the point.  I like variety.  And I think a lot of people do, which is interesting, because we are often asked from an early age this question, you may have heard it before, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  

You mean I only get to pick ONE thing?  I want ALL THE THINGS.  

For anyone who knows me, I like to do a lot of things - I like to play guitar, piano and ukulele.  I love to play ultimate frisbee and trail run in the woods with my pup.  I like to cook good food for people, have spontaneous dance parties and hike in the mountains and ride my bike and eat brunch and set up my hammock near the ocean... ALL THE THINGS.  I want to do ALL OF THEM.

Asking me what I want to be when I grow up is like allowing me to just pick ONE of those things that I like to do and do that forever...and well... that sounds really boring and I don't like being bored.

This is what I am discovering is true for me in my career right now as I continue to explore what is next for me.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and getting to advise college students and help them navigate the complicated and sometimes overwhelming world of college, but I have this desire to make a bigger impact in the world.  Sometimes it has felt hard to know how I am going to do that. I have asked myself lots of questions like, What is my "niche"?  Who am I serving?  What is it that I REALLY want to do?  Or as Scott Dinsmore would say, "What is the work you can't not do?"

There are just so many things that I want to do and it feels hard to choose just one... But I am realizing that maybe I don't have to... at least not right now. 

So, over the past six months or so I have been planting LOTS of different seeds...

Youth Speaker seeds, Life Coach seeds, Workshop Facilitator seeds, Retreat Leader seeds and I have been watering them by reading books and blogs, going to conferences, talking with people and finding the confidence to take a lot of IMPERFECT ACTION to begin to build some momentum.  

Here is a snap shot of the seeds and how they have grown over the past few months...

A year ago I probably didn't even know that people got paid to be a "Youth Speaker".  When I discovered that I could actually get paid to inspire students, I began to put in a lot of time, money and energy into finding ways to make this a reality.  After months of watering this seed, this coming Tuesday, I am going to speak to my largest audience yet of 400 high schoolers - and get paid for it!  Seriously!?  That is amazing :)  I will let you know in next week's post how it goes - so stay tuned.  

Around the same time, I thought it would be cool to start doing some life coaching for people, since my friends and others seemed to come to me often for advice. Just this past month, I signed on my first coaching client who I am thrilled to be doing some incredible work with.  If you are interested in finding out more about coaching with me - let me know - my ultimate goal is helping you CREATE AND LIVE A LIFE THAT YOU REALLY LOVE.  

For a while, I have been talking about putting on a retreat for women and this past summer, I co-led a Women's Wilderness Retreat in the North Cascades called Peak Connection and am planning to take that forward and expand on that platform around creating spaces and places that allow us to be our best selves.  

AND on top of all of that, I co-convened a regional conference, developed a brand new weekend-long program for first-generation freshmen at Western and have facilitated a handful of workshops on active listening and growth mindset.  

WHEW!  The seeds are planted, and they are now starting to grow.  Sometimes, it feels like it takes a long time from when you plant the seeds until the time you get to eat those delicious vegetables and then all of a sudden you don't know what to do with all the food you have to eat.  

I wonder what would happen if we started to look at our careers in this way, especially for those of us who are trying to figure out our "next". Instead of making big giant leaps from one career to the next, begin to plant some seeds based on what you are interested in and curious about.  Experiment with your ideas before going back to grad school for another 2 or 3 years... maybe you will figure out what it is that you really want to do... or maybe you will even find that you can in fact do ALL THE THINGS.   

Plant Your Seeds.  Water Them.  See What Grows.  

 

 

 

Creating & Living a Life you LOVE

A couple weeks ago, I started a journey I'm calling the "100 People Project".  The main idea is to have 100 conversations with 100 people about creating and living a life that they love.  The goal being to gain some insight into the successes and challenges that people have in being able to create and live at life that they really LOVE.  I know that this might be overly cheesy for some folks, so if you are lactose intolerant, you might want to stop reading and just continue watching netflix.  For those sharp cheddar lovers out there, or even if you like brie or gouda, you should probably read on :)  

So far, there have been interesting insights and themes that have come up in the conversations I have had.  One big noticeable theme was around the idea of success. When I asked people what their definition of success is, no one started by talking about their job or career.  They talked about being able to spend time doing the things that they love, being around the people they care about, making a contribution to those around them.  Interesting stuff, considering the definition of success that we are told early on in life looks a little bit like this equation:  well-paying job + nice house + fancy car = success.  

I believe that there is a new generation that is re-defining success around creating and living a life that they love, not just "getting by" with a decent job they "don't mind going to", to buy things that they don't have time to use but to really be intentional with the way in with they are designing their life on purpose.    

I was at an incredible conference this summer called the World Domination Summit and one of the presenters, Michael Hyatt gave a talk describing three ways to go through life.  

1. The Drifting Life - A life where you just happen to end up somewhere with no real plan or intention. This looks like just getting swept up in the current of life.  "Oops, here I am" 

2. The Driven Life - This is an over-correction to the drifting life life where the focus is on achieving all of those "markers of success" before anyone else does and being "driven" towards that end goal without really enjoying the process along the way 

There is a third option: 

3. The Designed Life - This is all about living life on purpose, rather than on accident.  THIS is about creating a living a life that you love based on your values and what you care about.  In this way of living, he encouraged us to reflect on these three questions: 

  1. How do I want to be remembered? 
    • "Become the architect of the memories that others will have of you"
    • This is about creating and shaping your legacy 
  2. What is important to me?
    • "You can do anything you want, just not everything you want"
    • This is about consciously choosing your priorities 
  3. What single brave decision do I need to make today?  
    • "It's not about not being scared, it's about being scared and doing it anyway"
    • This is about taking action

How are you doing with what you've been given?  Are you drifting? Are you driven? OR are you designing your life?

The final question I have for you is:  If not now - when?  

 

I want to end by saying that as much as this is all about creating and designing your life, it is also about ENJOYING your life, right now, just as it is and to begin from a place of gratitude for what you do have. Instead of constant living in the space that life is going to be so much better when... happens.  We can learn to cultivate gratitude for the life that we do have and begin from there to create, design and build a life that you love.  

Through the conversations I have I hope to find meaningful ways of sharing these insights with the world through a book, workshops, a talk, online resources so that you too can have the tools you need to live your life by design.   I am grateful to the people who have let me into their lives so far and I look forward for more conversations as I move through this process.

BE A PART OF IT!  If you are interested in being a part of the 100 People Project and talking to me more about how to create a live a life you love end me an email at marliwilliamsconsulting@gmail.com with days & times you are available to schedule a 30 min. phone call and we will make it happen!  

INSPIRATION STATION NEWSLETTER - Click here to sign-up to receive weekly doses of inspiration from yours truly!!

 

 

How to Get Out of Your Own Way

I recently began the journey of exploring entrepreneurship in order to create, design and implement a business where I can use my skills, gifts and talents to have a positive impact on the world.  

This is scary stuff - This whole “owning our strengths” and “making a difference” thing. Questions like, “What if I’m not good enough?”  “What if I fail?”  “What if I am not ____________ enough?” come up. You name it.

It can be confronting to go after what you really want.  

So many people say find your passion and follow your heart (people like me) and I realize that starting out on a new path can be intimidating and vulnerable.  There is a lot of self-doubt and insecurity that go along with putting your hopes and dreams out there. Many times I have asked myself, “who am I to be doing this work?” There are a lot of other people out there who are doing the same thing, and they are probably doing it better than me, so what's the point?

The point is I want more and I know that I can do more and be more.  

I realize that all that stands in the way of where I am now and my future is me.  Sure I can sit around and make excuses for all the external reasons and circumstances on why I am not where I want to be, but if I can own that it is up to me to make it happen then I can begin to see what is stopping me and holding me back.  I am sure that I am not the only one who has felt this way.

So, what is it that gets in our way when we want to get going?  When we want to create more value in the world?  When we want to take that next step?  When we REALLY want to go for it but don't?

Two Words - Fear and Failure

NOT FAILURE ITSELF

NOT FAILURE ITSELF

And here is the thing, "The fear of failure is actually worse than failure itself."  My new friend David shared these words of wisdom with me a week ago and it is sooo true!

The FEAR of failure is actually worse than failure itself.  Once we fail then we can get back up and try again.  From the entrepreneurial blogs I have read and conferences I have attended recently, I heard it said over and over, "FAIL OFTEN" because the more things you try, the more you will figure out what works.

This is interesting since we live in a culture that is terrified of failure, of messing up and making mistakes.  Yet - this is what we MUST do in order to really find our niche, our truest voice, our best stories. This is the key to finding our greatest purpose in life.  It is in our failures or “opportunities for growth” (if you would like to call them that) that we truly learn the most.  

“Clarity will not come from thinking about it - clarity comes from being about it and taking action.” (Thank you Josh Shipp) Taking action helps us get clear about who we are, what we want to do with our lives, what we are passionate about and yet most of us are sitting at home watching cat videos on YouTube hoping that the pizza delivery guy is going to knock on the door and tell us our life purpose.  We have to get out there and start trying things.  

But we don’t.  Because we are scared.  Scared of why might happen if we try. 

It isn't failure that holds us back - it is the fear that does because we are terrified of the unknown.  As creatures of habit, we want to be comfortable and stepping outside of our comfort zones can be scary and intimidating.  So, we stay quiet, we hide, we curl up under a blanket and watch Netflix eating bon-bons instead of going out into the world because who knows what could happen out there?!

Our fear of failure along with the negative self-talk we endure is sabotaging our inner genius, our creative spirit and our ability to share our greatest gifts with the world.  

"I'm not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, funny enough....yada, yada, yada" that voice could go on for hours and days and it is IN OUR WAY!  

So, what is the counter message, the counter argument that we can create in order to quiet that inner critic?  

Here is what I say, "Thanks for sharing, but I have some important work to do."

When I begin to hear those messages, one thing that I do is reassure myself that those messages are NOT WHO I AM - they are just one story in my head that I am making up, AND if I am making that story up - then that means I get to create a NEW story for my life.   

“I AM smart enough, talented enough, good enough to go for it.” AND I will fall down and make mistakes along the way.  That is how we learn and grow and get better.  No one got good at ANYTHING by sitting around waiting for the world to happen to them. They went out there and got after it and that is my call to action you you.  

What is it that you REALLY want?  What are you waiting for?  Go out there and make as many mistakes as you can and LEARN from them. Let got of that inner critic and let your damn light shine!  

Everyday I battle my inner critic and everyday is an opportunity to choose a new story. One thing that has helped me on this journey is surrounding myself with people who see my strengths, gifts and talents so that they can remind me when I forget to believe in myself, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do.  As we all work towards creating more meaning and purpose in our lives remember this: 

"You are not what happens to you, you are what you choose to become."  

I HOPE YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME SOMETHING GREAT!

3 Keys to Creating Experiences That Move & Inspire

This past weekend was the the culmination of months of hard work to pull off a regional conference focused on Experiential Education.  About 100 educators from around the Pacific Northwest gathered together to STRETCH, CONNECT, & REFLECT on the shifts that are taking place in education, in their communities, their organizations and in the world.  

The theme of the event was SHIFT HAPPENS - New People, New Energy, New Direction. Throughout the conference planning there were a lot of "shifts" that happened and even during the event, we had to be flexible, make adjustments and "roll with the punches" so to speak.  

The feedback we received from people who attended was that it was "the best conference I have ever been to" and "this experience was exactly what I needed." and "this conference exceeded my expectations and wildest dreams" - maybe not the last part - but we are sure that it rocked people's worlds :)

Reflecting on this experience, I wanted to get to the essence of why people felt this way and what the key ingredients were to creating a conference that was truly inspiring, eye-opening and life-changing.  

Here they are: 

KEY #1 - Be a Good Host

Have you ever showed up to an event, workshop or conference and immediately didn't feel welcomed or that you were in the right place?  This happens all the time and it doesn't need to. Hosting a conference or an event is like welcoming people into your home - into this experience you have created and designed for them.  Treat it as such - shake their hands, look into their eyes, say hi, and tell them you have been waiting for them.  This can make all the difference for people.  

Welcome everyone at the door - make sure that people know you are glad they are there and that they have made the right choice to come.  Janey and I made it very clear how happy we were to see every single person who was there and I think this helped to create a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who decided to attend.  

There is a lot that people are giving up and leaving behind in order to attend any event, no matter the length and helping them feel as though they have made the right choice to be there helps them to be present to the full experience and get the most out of it. 


KEY #2 - FOCUS on the  Participant Experience 

During the planning of this event, my partner in crime, Janey Chang and I focused a lot of our energy and attention on the participant experience.  The difference between reading a book on the topics presented at a conference and going to one are the PEOPLE - being in the same room with others who are passionate and engaged in their profession, career, craft, whatever it may be and learning with them - connecting with them.  

Many people I talk to dislike the concept of "networking" - but what about "community building"?  This is what it is really about.  It is about not feeling alone, meeting other people who are "doing the work" and who you can learn along side with.  They KEY here for event planners is to CREATE INTENTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES for people to CONNECT with each other. They may or may not do this on their own and it is essential to help people feel a sense of belonging to this new "tribe" they are a part of.  

On Friday night of the conference, we decided to create an experience where everyone would get an opportunity to meet and greet every single person that was in the room and share their "gifts" with each other - the things that they are bringing to the conference experience to share with others - passion, energy, humility, smiles, whatever it is - we all have something to give. While this took quite a long time and it was hard to get people to stop talking (which is a good thing), it was an AWESOME experience for people to really connect with each other right off the bat. This built a sense of belonging, community and an overall sense of feeling welcomed which created the space for people to engage with each other in more meaningful ways throughout the rest of the weekend.  


KEY #3 - BRING IT!  

Bring your passion, your energy, and your enthusiasm to your event.  Energy is CONTAGIOUS and what you put out there is going to permeate the entire conference experience.  Although there was a lot going on to deal with an respond to, we made sure to stay positive and keep the energy level up throughout the whole time.  

Surprise & delight your audience - this one is from Chris Guillebeau.  We wanted people to walk away feeling moved and empowered - so we wanted to surprise people with an awe-inspiring opening ceremony with Swil Kanim and an incredible performance by the New Wilderness Project.  On the last day as the conference came to an end, we put together a meaningful closing ceremony complete with music and a walking reflective meditation.  

Throughout the weekend we BROUGHT IT - 110% with our passion, energy, enthusiasm and... 

OUR SECRET SAUCE...

For anyone that was there this past weekend, they will tell you that it was a POWERFUL experience, because of our secret special sauce which was INTENTION.  This is a word that has been coming up for me a lot in the past few months.  With planning events, workshops or programs it can be easy to get lost in the details and to spend all your time on that.  What was different or us in planning this weekend-long experience was our INTENTION - which was to build and create community, to leave people feeling moved and inspired and ready to take action to make "SHIFT HAPPEN" in their communities and organizations.  

We know that all of those things happened because of those key ingredients plus some secret sauce and I know if you take these ideas into planning your next event, workshop, program or conference that it will make a huge difference for you as an organizer and those who choose to attend.  

So, go out there, make shift happen and create experiences that move and inspire others!  

The MOST Essential Ingredient to Following Your Passion

As I make my way towards following my passion and putting my ideas out there into the world, I have realized one of the MOST if not THE MOST important ingredient in following your heart:

 

Surround yourself with people who see the best in you, who say YES! to your crazy ideas and who believe that what you want to do really is possible.  

Last night at a friend's birthday party, my good friend Steve who I hand't seen in a while asked what I have been up to.  I mentioned that I am working on starting up my own educational training, speaking and facilitation gig in hopes of inspiring the next generation of students and educators.  He said, "out of all the people I know that could do that and be successful, it is you!"  That felt so good to hear!  I have heard similar things from my other friends as well, which has helped create the momentum I need in order to continue moving forward. 

Putting our passions and ideas out into the world is scary, but it is probably the MOST important thing to do, even if you don't have complete clarity on what it is you want to do.  Because let's be honest, I am still trying to figure that out.  But I am talking with others about it and every time get more and more clear about what direction I want to go in and move towards. 

I honestly don't know how all of this is going to play out or if I am going to succeed, but the more I share all my crazy ideas (I have a least 10/day) with people who say, "YES! Definitely - You NEED to do this!" or "Of course you are going to do great and be successful - it is just who you are!" the more I believe in myself that it really is possible and to keep going in the face of all the fear and doubt that I have about making this happen - for real.  

The self-doubt is real and it can definitely weigh me down, which is why it is ESSENTIAL for me to talk to people that I know are going to say YES! and cheer me on.  There are going to be people in your life that you share your wild ideas with who may want to make sure that you think about all the "realistic" things. They might question you and ask whether or not it is really possible. And yes, those people are important too because it is important to get feedback and input (and to think about how it is all going to work in reality, not just in my over glorified dream world) but in the beginning - find those YES people - nurture those connections - go on walks in the woods - sit down for tea - have them over for brunch - talk - share - and be open to their support because these are the people who help us make our dreams come true.  

I am so grateful for the people in my life over the past few months who keep saying YES and encouraging me to follow my heart and my passion - they are the fuel for my fire and I am STOKED for this next adventure.  

What are you passionate about?  What are your crazy ideas?  Have you told anyone?  Find those YES people in your life, talk about your dreams, brainstorm with your friends, build on your ideas, be curious about what is next and go for it.  It takes courage to follow your heart AND a lot of people that are on your side cheering you on.  

Go get 'em tiger!