How to Renew Your Mind & Change Your Life

Just 30 minutes a day. That’s all it takes. Influencers like Jim Rohn & Tony Robbins will tell you the same thing.

So, 30 minutes of what?

How to Renew Your Mind ... and Change Your Life | Life, Unleashed

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Growing up, I was extremely insecure and timid. I felt unliked and unimportant, and had a very “glass half-empty” outlook on life.

Everything in life seemed to be against me. I was always waiting for that other shoe to drop, so-to-speak.

And yet…

My mom had always encouraged my siblings and I to read. She took us to the bookstore & bought us books. And, we often saw her, Dad –and even Grandma– reading.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was unable to work, due to an injury, so I spent a lot of time reading. And, over the next ten years, as a stay-at-home-mom, I ended up reading more and more, as a way to pass the time.

In 2005, however, things started to shift. Instead of constantly reading fiction, I was now seeking out more and more nonfiction — at that time, mainly health & fitness books. Next, I was reading more Christian Living. Then, books on business, and success, and entrepreneurship, and personal development. Until, one day, I realized that I hardly read fiction at all, any more!

A SHIFT…

Ever since I began reading more nonfiction, there has been a shift in my life. I am no longer negative and seeing life as “out to get me”. I don’t blame others, or circumstances, for how my life is turning out but, instead, I accept responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead me to this point.

I’ve begun to submerge myself in positive messages, and to surround myself with people and words that lift me up and give me hope.

I now look at life very optimistically (despite less-than-ideal circumstances), and have an “anything is possible!” mindset.

What changed?

THE KEY

I honestly have to credit the books I read, plus the YouTube videos, and various pages I follow on Facebook that keep me constantly immersed in positive messages. And, obviously, I can’t go without giving credit to God, because I also prayed and asked Him to renew my mindset. He is faithful. ♥

In Network Marketing, we are encouraged to do at least thirty minutes of personal development each day.

Personal Development: the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge, and improving personal skills.

I believe this is for several reasons:

IT CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Like I’ve mentioned, I went from being very negative and woe-is-me, to having a completely shifted view, or outlook, on life. I am now an optimist!

IT SHOWS YOU WHAT IS POSSIBLE

Before I started to read about others’ lives, and how they went from difficult starts to raving success, I had only my own circumstances (and that of those around me) to look to for an example of what might be possible. Since no one in my circle was all that influential, my expectations were pretty limited.

However, in reading these others’ success stories, I began to see how “small” I’d been thinking, and my ideas for what I could achieve began to expand.

Marianne Williamson quoteIT FORCES YOU TO LEVEL UP

When you surround yourself with those who are optimistic, positive, and driven — even if it’s only by following these people via social media, and/or reading their books, or watching their videos — you can’t help but be inspired to think differently. And, when you think differently, you then act differently.

You can continue to “play small”, but it won’t feel right. You will have an inner restlessness, drawing you towards becoming more, because you’ve now seen that more is possible!

IT CHANGES WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH

When you begin to shift your mindset away from the negative, towards a more optimistic view, you’ll find it really hard to continue to spend any great amount of time with those who are still stuck in that negative thinking. As such, you will begin to seek out, and spend time with (again, perhaps only virtually), others who think positively, and are actively working on themselves and their lives.

IT PUSHES YOU TO PURSUE A BETTER LIFE

When you know better, you can do better. When you know more, you want more.

No longer will you be content to settle for what’s ordinary or expected. Instead, you will believe there’s so much more that is possible, and you will actively pursue that for your life.

And, not only will you want more for yourself, but you will also want to pass it on… to tell others, “Hey! You’ve got to try this!” (just like I’m doing with this post!)

When you’ve experienced something that changes your life in such a big way, you can’t help but tell others about it!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Let me strongly encourage you to give this a try. Like I said, all it takes is just thirty minutes a day, and you will start to notice a shift in your life. If you’re not big on reading, try listening to audio books (my friend, Sarah, never liked to read… but, after she got into network marketing, she decided to listen to books on CD… and from there, she started buying & actually reading physical books!).

You can also watch videos on YouTube, listen to podcasts, watch webinars… there are a lot of options.

And, if you don’t feel you can fit in 30 minutes all at once, try starting with just 10 minutes per day. Then, work your way up to 20 minutes… and, again, work your way up, from there, to 30 minutes. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

The key is to ignore your excuses, and just start. Find what works for you.

Need some ideas of who to follow? Check out the list I’ve created just for you on my Library page!

Personal Development | Life, Unleashed

Know Thyself

Have you ever taken those quizzes (on BuzzFeed, etc.) that tend to circulate around Facebook, promising to reveal certain aspects of your personality or character? Most of them are pure fluff. However… if you take enough of them, you begin to see patterns.

Know Thyself | Life, Unleashed

Being the “personality junkie” that I am, I can’t resist taking these silly quizzes. I’ve taken quite a number of them, actually, saving the results I get from each in a file on my computer. There seems to be at least a little bit of truth that can come out of them, to be honest.

For example, one thing I hadn’t noticed about myself, until I saw the same result pop up from multiple quizzes, is that I’m quite diplomatic.

{ DIPLOMATIC (adj.): having or showing the ability
to deal with people politely (Merriam-Webster);
tactful ability to avoid offending others or hurting their feelings,
especially in situations where this ability is important (Dictionary.com). }

This is very true of me, though. So, no wonder it came through in the quizzes!

WHERE TO BEGIN

One of my favorite tools is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). While I know there’s a lot of controversy out there regarding the validity of this profiling, I still feel that it’s one of the most accurate I’ve come across.

Through taking the free test at 16Personalities.com, I learned that I am primarily an INFP (60%), but that I’m also about 40% ENFP (an ambivert is someone who is both extraverted and introverted). Some aspects of each fit me better, yet other aspects don’t seem to fit me at all. Therefore…

A WORD OF CAUTION

I fully believe that no one test is going to be able to peg us 100%, spot-on. Reason being, we are all unique and complex individuals.

However, that being said, I think these are still highly valuable tools with which you can start getting to know yourself better!

WHY SELF-AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT

I believe that it’s important to take the time to be more self-aware, as it can help you to be better able to find what works best for you — whether that’s in your relationships, your health, your work, your hobbies, etc.

For example, by knowing that I lean heavily toward the introverted side, I know that I’m going to have to ensure that I get enough time alone to recharge, especially during busy seasons, like the week between Christmas and New Years. My hubby still doesn’t understand why I cannot do 4 days straight of back-to-back family gatherings in a row. But it’s true… I get seriously worn out and irritable, and I need time alone, in quiet, to just do my own thing, and not have to be “on”. It’s like a rechargeable battery: I need to be “put on the charger” to build back up my internal juices before I’m ready to go again!

Image result for quote + know thyself

Another example is regarding work.

Several years ago, I had just gotten out of a job that was all kinds of wrong for me, and was desperate to avoid landing in a similar position with my next place of employment. So, I sat down and made two lists: the parts of previous jobs that I had enjoyed (as well as some job “wishlist” items), and the parts of those former positions that I absolutely hated and didn’t wish to repeat. Then I took these lists into consideration while reading job descriptions in my hunt for work.

Because of this, my next position ended up being far better than anything I’d had up until that point. And I believe it’s very much thanks to my willingness to take the time to sit down and reflect on what does & does not work for me.

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT SELF

The most important part of yourself, if you’re a follower of Jesus, is your identity in Christ. By having accepted God’s gift of salvation (an eternity with Him, in heaven), you are now a daughter (or son) of the Most High God! And this changes everything.

This part of yourself is where you find your strength, power, and confidence. God in you is the source of all these things you cannot access on your own. You have the same power in you that raised Christ from the dead — how amazing is that?

Knowing who you are in Him — that He lives through you — is hugely powerful! A true game-changer! For me, it’s given me a confidence that I have never before had, and it’s increased my self-esteem exponentially. As such, I’m far stronger, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, than I’ve ever been, and that affects all other aspects of my life.

GETTING STARTED

There are a lot of ways you can get to know yourself better. To start, I highly recommend finding out your MBTI (here). Once you’ve got that, it will serve as a good foundation from which to judge everything else.

I also really encourage you to start a journal. Write down what you learn about yourself, and how you feel about those discoveries! You’ll be able to catch patterns, over time, and as you understand yourself better, it will help you improve all aspects of your life!

To help you out, here are a few of my other favorite resources for becoming more self-aware:

JUST FOR FUN…

Leave your MBTI results in the comments, below! I’d love to know what you found out!

Becoming Intentional: What Do You Really Want?

Do you know what you really want from life? I don’t just mean materially. I mean, do you know what you are working towards? Or, are you drifting through life, letting circumstances take you where they will?

Do you know that you have a choice in the matter?

It can be really frustrating to feel aimless and out of control. I think a lot of us tend to forget that we can choose our path.

Wouldn’t you rather know where you’d like to go, and then have a plan for getting there? I know I would.

What Do You Really Want? Becoming intentional about your life | Life, Unleashed

Of course, this obviously doesn’t mean you can’t adjust things as you go along. Life is unpredictable, so we have to adjust, really. We have to remain flexible. And, feelings and preferences change over time, as well. So, where you end up may not be what you hope for, right now, in this season of life.

And yet, it is still worth creating a plan and being intentional about your direction in life. It helps you to feel more in control, and to find more fulfillment. Instead of drifting, now you are living with purpose to your days.

For myself, I would like to reach the following goals in my life:

  • Shrink down to a healthier weight
  • Live a more active and healthy lifestyle
  • Earn enough money from self-employment to live financially secure
  • Make an impact on others’ lives through my work
  • Buy property & have my dream-house built (the one I designed, myself)
  • Continue to grow, both spiritually and professionally
  • Lead a teen girls’ Bible study group
  • Travel… see more of the world
  • Support my favorite charities (Kiva, Mercy House Global, Room to Read)

Having this list, and knowing what I would really love to accomplish, helps me to know what steps I need to take in order to achieve those goals.

For example, in my health pursuits, I already know –from trial & error– that intuitive eating is the best method for me. But, in addition to that, I’ve also come to realize that my dependence on processed foods is no longer working for me (if it ever did!), because I am developing more and more health issues. I’m beginning to see how much truth there is in what they say about your body needing nutrients, not just calories (in other words, our choice of food matters, even more than how often or how much we eat).

I was super excited, recently, to find a blog called, “Hello, Nutritarian!“, which is based off of the principles found in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books (“Eat to Live; “The End of Dieting“).* This blog provides recipes and guidance on how to eat a cleaner, more whole-foods based diet. And that’s just what I know I need.

Also in regards to my health, I came across a gal, last week, who was once where I am at (size 18, currently), but who went on to win a figure competition (which is not something I am aiming for!), and to maintain a completely transformed lifestyle. She is now active every day, eating healthy/clean, and she’s changing others’ lives by paying-it-forward as a healthy living coach (same company I’m with).

This gal’s total life transformation really inspires me — especially since I’m currently at the same weight she started at. If she can do it, I know that I can achieve similar things. It takes a decision —that I am no longer willing to put up with my poor health habits– and making a full commitment to myself and to the better life that I know is possible!

The great thing about all of these health goals, for me, is that I am in a position to help others change their lives… just by being an example for them to follow. By committing to a healthier lifestyle for myself, I have a chance to allow others to watch me and to see that they, too, can have the success they seek (you can, as well!). We are all in it together! And, because this is my work, I earn my living from helping others transform their lives. So, that also ties into my goal of becoming financially secure.

Related: Kickstart Your Health sessions

I believe we all have what it takes to achieve our goals. But, we first need to be aware that we have a choice in the direction our lives are going to go, and then we have to know what it is we want so that we can make a plan, and make a decision to go after it. We need to commit to doing whatever is necessary. It won’t be easy — it’s going to demand hard work and sacrifices — but I know that it’ll be worth it.

Here’s to living your life on purpose!

 

Be a Beginner

So often, I want to rush ahead, rather than taking things slow. Do you do this, too?

While I know that good things take time, and that, by going slowly, what we’re working on is more likely to last, I also get sucked in by our “instant gratification” culture, and want to have the results — right now!

Be a Beginner | Life, Unleashed

I have been in business for myself (working from home) since late 2013. So, you might think that I am seeing good success now, four-and-a-half years later (I am still working from home, after all!). But, no. I’m not yet successful — or not according to the generally accepted standards of “success”, anyway.

However, I also have not failed.

These past four years have been full of twists and turns, trying things and rejecting things, then trying something else. I had to learn a few things through the process:

(1) I had to learn how to actually do business, online, as an entrepreneur (learning the techy bits, sales & marketing, and all of the rest). 

(2) I had to discover what does, and does not, work for me — which business model, and which products or services, were the best fit. In other words, what I am good at that also meets others’ needs.

Finally, sometime last year (2017), I was able to get to that “Aha!” point, and know with almost pure certainty what I am meant to be doing, and who I am meant to serve. It has taken a lot of tears, frustration, and journaling, as well as many random coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs. Yet, through it all, I finally feel confident that I am on the path that was meant for me.

But, here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that I have that knowledge of what I’m to do, and who I’m to help — coupled with the fact that I have been at this for four years — I sometimes fall into the trap of expecting everything to just easily work out, from here on forward. I forget that, really, I’m only just beginning in this newfound role.

Because I’ve had so many stops and starts, I don’t feel like a “beginner” any more… I feel like I should be succeeding by now.

Yet, as I was journaling, the other morning, getting all frustrated over the fact that I am having to start my email list over from scratch (among other things), I was reminded that, in this particular business model, I am only just starting out. As such, it’s going to take time — and patience — to build things up to the point where I do have a following, and I do have products to offer.

Right now, as a beginner, I need to go about patiently laying the foundations — creating content, building relationships with people, etc. And as I do these things consistently (which is key), I will see my business continue to grow. For now, however, slow and steady progress is the goal.

{For those who are wondering, my newfound role is as an Infopreneur and healthy living trainer. I create information products that help women design a life that sets them free; and I also train women to remember who they are, and then get their minds & bodies strong & fit for fulfilling their kingdom purposes}.

What It Means to Live Free

I think it’s safe to say that every human being longs for freedom — some probably more than others.

For those of us over here in the West, we enjoy a lot of freedoms. And yet, we often let ourselves get into bondage.

What do I mean?

What it means to live free | Life, Unleashed

I guess I’m thinking mainly along the lines of mindset. We get “stuck” in certain ways of thinking, which leads to feeling stuck in certain behaviors… and we end up not feeling so “free”.

So, what does it mean to “live free”? When you read my site’s tagline (Dream Big … Live Free), what comes to mind?

Living free might look different to different people, as we all see things through the lens of our own circumstances, etc. For me, though, living free looks like this:

• It is taking ownership of your God-given identity, personality, and CHOICES.

• It is letting go of being controlled by others’ expectations of you… and the “shoulds” that try to run your life.

• It is letting go of mediocre, aimless living (life where you’re existing, rather than thriving).

• It is freedom of choice.

• It is finding what works for you, in all areas of your life.

• It is pursuing your purpose, regardless of how crazy it might seem to those around you.

• It is feelings of victory, boldness, and the confidence that comes from knowing who you really are.

• It is a soul-deep knowing that you are meant for more.

• It is living authentically true –without apology– to who God created you to be.

• It is intentionally designing your life’s path, in cooperation with God, embracing His plan for you, and learning to live in the freedom that that brings!

BE FREE • BE YOU • DREAM BIG

So, what does “living free” look like to you?

Finding Your “Why”

When is the last time you tried to change a habit? How did you do? Were you successful?

A lot of people do okay for a little while, but then things come up, and they find themselves reverting back to their old ways.

Finding Your Why | Life, Unleashed

In the past, you might have been told, and/or believed that you just needed some stronger willpower. Nowadays, however, it’s coming to light that that’s maybe not the case.

Instead, a better method is to find your “why”.

Your why is the soul-deep reason behind the changes you’re wanting to make.

In her book, “F.I.T. 10 Steps To Your Faith Inspired Transformation“, Kim Dolan Leto recommends that your “why” be rooted in one of three areas: relational, medical, or spiritual. The reason for this is that these are areas most closely tied to our core values. As such, our why — our reason for wanting to change — will be super-strong, and will have its roots deep enough to keep us motivated and moving forward, even when life tries to throw us curve balls, and derail our plans.

To give you an example, my own “why” is two-fold: spiritual and medical. First, I want to be able to live life to the fullest, and I can’t do that if I’m unable to get my butt off the couch. Second, I’m tired of feeling like a “victim” in my life, and am aiming to build up my strength, physically. I started with going to the gym. Now, I’m turning my focus to eating better, and to continuing my strength-training from home.

Life has definitely tried to mess with my plans, several times in the past year. But remembering my reasons for making these changes has helped me to continue. Thinking of my “why” re-lights that deep, inner fire to change my life for the better.

So, give some thought to this. See if you can find a soul-deep reason for the changes that you want to make. Make sure that this reason really touches something at the core of you, as then it will be deeply-rooted, and nothing will be able to stop you from reaching your goals.

Unfollowing

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when a friend or family member suddenly gets on a health-kick, and starts putting their running log and/or sweaty selfies all over Facebook? You think to yourself, “Well, gee, good for you… but I don’t want to see that!” So {click}… you unfollow them.

Unfollowing | Life, Unleashed

Five years ago, I did just that — I’d unfollow anyone who was working on bettering themselves and sharing their progress on social media. Why? Because it reminded me of how much I, myself, wasn’t doing in my own life. It highlighted the truth and my weaknesses, and that made me uncomfortable. So, it was easier to unfollow these people than it was to face my own issues.

Something funny happened, though. Much as I no longer followed these people, the “seed” had already been planted. While I didn’t see the connection, in the midst of things, I did go on to work on my own issues — my own health, and mindset — and got to a place where I was ready to seek out those who could push me. Now, instead of being repelled, I was being drawn to those who were working on bettering themselves because they inspired me to want more for myself.

In April 2016, I’d done a lot of work on renewing my mindset, and was ready to get my body healthy, too. So, I signed myself up for a gym membership. I told myself, “Enough is enough” — I was done being a “victim” in my life, and was ready to become the strong, confident, healthy woman I knew I was created to be.

At the same time, an acquaintance of mine –Sarah– had also been struggling to get healthy, and had made the decision to do something about it. She shared on Facebook about how she’d chosen to sign up as a health coach, so that she’d have the built-in accountability of being an example to others, and to have the possibility of making a bit of side income while doing so.

Over the course of the following year, I continued to go to the gym 2x/week to work on building up my strength, and Sarah worked out at home, using her online fitness workouts. I didn’t lose much weight (since I was still overeating how I’d always done), and Sarah was steadily dropping pounds and inches (since she’d also started clean eating, along with her workouts).

As of April 2017, Sarah had built a team of others who were now also working out and eating better consistently, and she was earning a decent amount of income from this part-time business (despite the fact that she’s a mom of 3 who was working full-time, and going to school full-time, all while managing her household!). She’d dropped 30+ pounds, too! I couldn’t just sit by any longer. If she could do it, so could I… so I became a coach, too!

Sarah’s transformation

Honestly, I’m two months in, as of this writing, but I love it! The other coaches are all so positive and upbeat, and the company’s leaders are heart-centered business people, focused on ending the trend of obesity, through helping people live healthier, more fulfilling lives. There’s a service mindset that runs throughout the entire organization, and I am proud to be a part of this.

Wanna know something funny, though? Sarah likes to tell the story of how she, herself, at one point, had unfollowed her friend, Rosa — who later became the person that inspired Sarah to become a coach! It took three years of following (and unfollowing) Rosa, for Sarah to finally be ready to make the decision to invest in her health. The seed had been planted, though.

I believe we all have to go through our own process of working on our mindset and the other inner demons that hold us back. We all have the ability to transform our lives… but we have to believe that it’s possible, and we have to find the method that works best for us.

I thought I could do it on my own. I was wrong. I needed the accountability, just as much as anyone else.

Now I’m working on paying it forward, while I continue to work on myself.

And you can do the same!

The Best Version of You

What would the best version of you — and your life — look like? Have you ever given that any serious thought?

Becoming the Best Version of You | Life, Unleashed

Most of us have at least one area of our lives that we would like to change (if not many). Consider the following areas:

  1. health
  2. relationships (love)
  3. work
  4. spirituality
  5. finances
  6. leisure
  7. shelter
  8. friends/family

What is ONE thing you’d like to change (or, upgrade) in just one of those areas? Better yet, what is one change you’d like to make in each of those areas, in order to get you closer to what you feel is the “best version” of yourself and your life?

My own list looks something like this:

  • Health: Delete 70 lbs (’cause I don’t plan on getting those excess pounds back!)
  • Relationship: Have more patience
  • Work: Be more consistent
  • Spirituality: Take time out, daily, to chat with the Lord
  • Finances: Build up savings, so that we have security
  • Leisure: Travel, and go out on dates more often
  • Shelter: Move to a bigger house (we’ve outgrown this one)
  • Friends/Family: Reach out, keep in touch more, be more involved

Does thinking about all of those changes make you feel overwhelmed? It does for me! Thankfully, though, I’m learning that it is actually better not to make all of those changes all at once! Sure, I’d love to change it all in one go so that I can more quickly attain that “best me”. The problem is, when we try to do too much at once, we overwhelm ourselves, and we give up. Then we stew over it for a while, before deciding we still really want to change… and the cycle repeats.

There’s a better way.

Think about which area of your life, if you were to change it, would have the greatest impact on your well-being, overall… taking care of this one thing would make it easier, later on, to handle the changes in the other areas of your life.

For example, let’s say you choose health. Now, what is one tiny change you could make in your health — something so small that you’d barely notice the change — that you could do consistently? Maybe it’s doing some stretches every morning while waiting for your coffee to brew. You add that in, and practice it for a month. At the end of the month, you just stretch every morning, without even thinking about it — it has become part of your routine. BUT… you also start to notice that you’ve felt a bit more flexible, and have a tiny bit less pain… which, in turn, has enabled you to get a little more done most days than you used to. Hmm… And, all because you made one teensy, positive change to your health!

Darren Hardy calls this “The Compound Effect” (it’s also known as “kaizen” — practicing small, consistent efforts, over time, to get big results).

To continue our example: Now it’s month two… you pick a second area, or thing, to work on… maybe it’s your work. Again, you’re going to find one tiny, almost unnoticeable thing that you can change that –with consistent practice, over time– could produce some big results. Maybe you choose to, every morning, decide on the top three things that will have the best results for the day, and you focus on getting just those three things done. You write them down, determined to keep it to just three things — the most critical things. Then you work at those things first, before anything else you do that day, and without distraction.

At the end of month two, you’re thriving in your work, having accomplished more in the past four weeks than you did in the past year overall, and you’re still feeling good at the end of each work day, because you’re still stretching every morning (your habit from month one). And, you’re not as overwhelmed by all the undone tasks that used to loom over you from your habit of putting more on your to-do list than was realistically possible.

Now you’re on a roll!

Hunter S Thompson quote | Life, UnleashedSo, in month three, you pick another tiny change to focus on. And, at the end of the year, you have built 12 new, positive habits, your life looks radically different than it did 12 months ago, and your spirits are lifted because you are finally making progress in your life (toward living your ideal/best life) instead of constantly self-sabotaging, and getting stuck in a cycle of frustration and overwhelm. Whoohoo!

See, it is completely possible to change your life — just not all at once.

And, of course, it always helps to have someone who can hold you accountable to these changes you’re making… someone to turn to when you’re having a rough day, and finding it tempting to revert back to your old patterns. An accountability partner can encourage you, and remind you of why you wanted to make these changes in the first place. They can help you see past the bad day, and shine a light through the darkness.

Part of what I do, as a healthy living coach and mentor, is provide you with that accountability. I can email you once a week (or, on whatever schedule works best for you), to ask how things are going, and help you to keep moving forward. If that sounds like something you need, shoot me an email, and we’ll go over the details.

Life is too short for us to put off living our BEST life. It’s never too late to start making changes… you just have to be willing to take that first step. And I can help. ;)

Like Little Children

Why so serious?” – The Joker (The Dark Knight 2)

Do you ever let yourself relax enough to feel like a kid, again? Do you splash in puddles, or do you complain every time it rains? Do you ever run away from your significant other, sing-songing, “You can’t catch me!“, or are you too worried about what others might think?

Like Little Children | Life, Unleashed

As adults, for whatever reason, we seem to lose our ability to play. Instead, life becomes serious, and we worry about keeping up appearances.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says that, in order to get into heaven, we need to become like little children {note: He doesn’t say become children, but become like little children}. And what I believe He’s getting at, here, is that we need a renewed sense of awe & wonder.

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous sunset, and marveled at God’s artistic talent? I like to think of the sky as His great big canvas, and the sunsets as His works of art displayed for us to gush over!

Have you ever laid outside at night and watched the stars, and felt overwhelmed by the wonders of how deep and wide the universe actually is? It’s so mind-boggling, because our tiny, finite minds can’t even begin to grasp its size!

When is the last time you sat down and did some finger-painting — just got all-out messy, without a care?

I honestly think that part of why we suffer from so much stress and anxiety is because we spend most of our time worrying, and not nearly enough time playing.

Dr. Stuart Brown has a book called, “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul“, in which he actually makes a scientific case about this… about how, when adults bring PLAY back into their lives, their health improves, their relationships improve, and more!

For me, incorporating “play” looks like taking time to color in my sketchbook, or getting creative with fingerpaints, or splashing in puddles after it rains, or climbing trees in my backyard, or rolling down the hill at the park with my kids.

Worried about grass stains, or ruining your clothes? Who cares?! Does a stain really matter in the grand scheme of things? Isn’t enjoying your LIFE far more important? Personally, I’d rather have ruined clothing and a carefree, relaxed spirit — a life full of joy! — than a pristine appearance, any day.

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How can YOU add more play to your life? What inspires awe and wonder for you?

Hiding

Remember playing “Hide-and-Go-Seek” as a kid? My favorite part was finding the best hiding place: As an introvert, it was even more fun, because it meant I got to be alone for a longer time before the “seeker” found me!

Hiding | Life, Unleashed

Until recently, I didn’t realize it, but I’ve still been “hiding”. And, as an online entrepreneur, that’s not exactly the best practice… you actually want people to find you.

Some of the ways I’ve been hiding include:

  • not writing and publishing blog posts
  • not following my friends’ posts on Facebook
  • not commenting on others’ Facebook posts
  • not promoting my services everywhere I can

Part of the reason for all of this “hiding”, I believe, lies in the fact that showing up requires vulnerability and courage. I’ve been far too much of a perfectionist, as well — for example, I usually feel like, if I can’t get my posts to come out as “perfect” as I picture them in my head, then it’s pointless to even write them. Obviously, that’s completely false, but that’s basically how my mind works.

Thankfully, I have come across something that’s helped me to shift my perspective on this, and I’m finally working past these obstacles that have been tripping me up.

In his recently published book, “Authentic Content Marketing“, George Kao shares his three (3) stages of content creation. Stage One involves creating a ton of posts and such, without putting in too much effort. Then you publish that content — with zero expectations about how it will be received (I know… crazy, right?). George’s second stage is to go back through all of your ‘stage one’ content, after about a month, and look to see which posts got the most (if any) engagement from your ideal audience. Then you take that content, and re-do it, adding even more value to it, and you publish it again (either in the same format on a different platform, or vice versa). Later, you take the best of that ‘stage two’ content, and compile it into some kind of infoproduct (be it an eBook, eCourse, or something else)… that’s Stage Three.

That concept of pushing out a ton of content that you neither slave over creating, nor stress over its outcome, that was truly “revolutionary” to me … a mindset shift. George even went on to say that our job is to publish our message… and it’s our audience’s job (not ours!) to determine which content is worthwhile. Too often, though, we — as creators — are biased, and think that most of what we publish is awesome. We’re too close to it to be objective.

Anyway. All of that is helping me to step past my perfectionism and fears, and to just start showing up — no more hiding.

Two other things are helping me to move forward, as well.

The first being that I need to practice what I preach — if I want those I work with (via mentoring, etc.) to be vulnerable and courageous, then I need to be modelling that, myself. I need to become the best version of myself, in order to be able to genuinely encourage others to do the same.

And lastly, letting my fears keep me from sharing my message is not helping anyone! It doesn’t help me, but it also keeps my message from helping those whom I’m meant to serve!

So, that’s it. I’m done hiding. No longer am I going to let my fear or perfectionism keep me and my content locked away. Playing small serves no one. I have a message to share, and it can no longer be held back.

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Tell me… How have YOU been hiding? What could you do to become more visible?