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?

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.

………………

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.

……………………….

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