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Why Authors & Writers Make Great Network Marketers

Why Authors & Writers Make Great Network Marketers

What do you think of when you hear the term “network marketing“? Does it make you skeptical? Do you envision pyramid schemes?

Well, did you know that it’s actually a legitimate business model endorsed by people like Sir Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffett, and even President Donald Trump?

alifeunleashed.com

Today, I’d like to provide you with a little more insight into what this model is about, but also why I believe that writers make great Network Marketers!

But first, a quick story…

For the past decade, or so, I have had the feeling that God would like me to become a Writer. I’ve fought against this, though (Jonah, anyone?) because I don’t like to write (or, so I’ve kept telling myself and others … journaling, yes; writing, no).

When I decided to join a network marketing company in April 2017, I thought I was off the hook, as far as writing goes.

One reason why I thought this was because it truly feels like everything in my life has led me here, to this point, with this particular company. My new role utilizes so many of my talents, skills, and passions, and over & over again, I keep finding that things I’d come across or researched for my previous business ideas are now fitting perfectly into my new business model! As such, it almost feels like this is what I was born to do.

As I’ve been studying how to be a better network marketing professional, I keep hearing the same message repeated in various places: “Facts tell, stories sell.” Apparently, to do this job well requires that you develop your copywriting skills. If you can weave a story about where you’ve been, where you are currently at, how the company’s products fit into your life and benefit you, as well as where you see yourself, moving forward, then you can be a great network marketer!

Of course, God’s got to be sitting back, chuckling to Himself, saying, “I’ll make a writer out of her, yet!” (so much for me thinking I’d “escaped”, huh?). God has such a great sense of humor!

WHAT IS NETWORK MARKETING?

According to Entrepreneur.com:

“Network Marketing is a type of business opportunity that is very popular with people looking for part-time, flexible businesses. Some of the best-known companies in America, including Avon, Mary-Kay Cosmetics, and Tupperware, fall under the Network Marketing umbrella.” {read more…}

Personally, I think it’s a great fit for anyone who has dreamed of starting their own business, but isn’t necessarily keen on learning about (or acquiring) the usual nitty-gritty bits, like distribution, marketing campaigns, hiring employees, etc. With the Network Marketing model, you are a “recommender” of products for the company you join. And the company itself deals with things like shipments, marketing campaigns, distribution, warehousing, inventory, etc.

And the awesome thing about the company that I chose to partner with is that there’s zero inventory that you have to purchase and keep on hand. There are products you’ll want to buy so that you can give your honest recommendations of them, sure. But you aren’t forking out a huge amount of money up front, with the hopes that you’ll sell off all of the stuff you bought.

{Still skeptical? Read, watch, and learn more, HERE.}

HOW CAN AUTHORS & WRITERS BENEFIT FROM THE NETWORK MARKETING MODEL?

Here are just a few of the ways…

(1) WORK FROM HOME, PART- (OR FULL-) TIME

Writing tends to be a solitary profession, one that a lot of authors do from the comforts of home. So, what better way to add extra income to your work-at-home pursuits than with something else that you can do from home?

For those who say they need human interaction, that’s okay, too! The beauty of network marketing is that it can be done from anywhere you have access to a Wi-Fi connection. Or, you can hit up people in your local area, and then direct them to your website.

(2) NO TECHNICAL SKILLS REQUIRED

Yes, I just mentioned directing people to your website. But another perk of network marketing is that most companies will now give you a website that’s already all set up for you, and you just pay a small fee per month (with my company, it’s $15 USD per month — which is a lot cheaper than you’d normally pay for your own website set-up and hosting, not to mention you’d still have the hassles of having to pay a designer or set it all up yourself!).

(Note: You will need to use social media, but mainly Facebook and maybe one other. I find most authors are already on social media for their book’s reach, so this isn’t really an issue, in my opinion).

(3) USE YOUR WRITING SKILLS & EXPAND YOUR REACH

As I already mentioned, to be good at Network Marketing almost requires you to be a good writer (or, at least, to build up your writing skills). The better you are at using your words to persuade people [not in a sleazy way, but in the sense of helping to educate them on a better method], the bigger reach you’ll have.

As a side benefit, I really believe that your readership for your books will grow alongside your network marketing business, as those you are being introduced to you via the products you’re promoting will also check you out and, in the process, learn more about your writing. Win-win!

(4) MINIMAL TIME COMMITMENT

We all wish there were more hours in the day. The great thing about network marketing — at least in the company I’m in — is that all of the “vital tasks” that are required for you to succeed can be completed in just one hour a day!  Many of the most successful network marketers are actually very busy people. They built their businesses either around their young children’s schedules, or around their full-time jobs.

What other job can you find that lets you set your own schedule, work part-time hours, be with your family more, and yet still have the opportunity to build a company that has the potential for financial freedom, time freedom, and more? Wouldn’t you love to change your family’s legacy?

(5) RADICAL INCOME OPPORTUNITY WHILE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OTHERS’ LIVES

One of the things I love best about the company I’m partnered with is that I have the chance to help others transform their lives for the better. And the more people that I serve, the greater opportunity I have to become financially secure, myself. My own family benefits from me helping others to become better versions of themselves.

The caveat I need to add here is that –as with most businesses– your income will be a direct reflection of the work you are putting in. “You reap what you sow“. No income level is guaranteed. This is not some get-rich-quick scheme… it will take time and dedicated effort. However, the possibilities are there. It all depends on what you’re willing to put into it.

Again though, the beauty of it is that, the more you focus on serving the people you come into contact with through your network marketing business, the more likely it is that your income will also grow, and will far exceed what you may have ever imagined was possible for you.

(6) “SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING”…

…according to multiple articles, including this one by the Globe & Mail. And writing is definitely a profession where one tends to sit for several hours at a time. As such, we could all use more movement in our lives. After all, our bodies were designed to move!

I, personally, chose to partner with a health & fitness company — despite  having never been “athletic” in my entire life — because I, myself, needed the motivation and accountability to move more, and to take better care of myself … to be a better steward of the life & body God’s given me.

Does this mean I have to become some “health nut” that exercises 7 days a week, and never eats another cheeseburger with fries? Absolutely not! Even our company’s CEO suggests that you find a workout schedule that best suits your lifestyle! And, as far as eating goes, I’m a huge fan of mindful (or intuitive) eating — listening to our bodies’ natural, God-given cues of “hunger” and “satisfaction”, and eating what we love in accordance with those cues (I teach more about this in my free community on Facebook, and you’re welcome to join us!).

So, which of these benefits most appeals to you?

Do you have any questions? Feel free to message me and ask. I’d be happy to answer. (You can also read some of the common objections, here).

Hopefully I’ve helped you to see some of the possibilities that are available to you through this business model of network marketing! IMHO, it really is the “best kept secret” in the world of entrepreneurship!

 

How Can I Be a Health Coach?

How Can I Be a Health Coach?

I don’t look like a “health coach”… I barely act like a health coach (yet). So, why do I call myself a Health Coach? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?

Life, Unleashed - Health Coach

These are the thoughts that run through my head. But, to answer all of the above…

(1) I deeply care about the health & well-being of others, and want to help them (you!), learn what I have learned –and am still learning– about eating, exercise, and mental health

(2) I am a Health Coach because I am actively working on improving my own health and well-being, while I work to “pay-it-forward” and help you to improve yours.

The way I see it, I’m walking this path ALONGSIDE those I’m helping, fully able to relate to and understand where you are at.

I can sympathize with my clients, because I have (& have had) the same kinds of struggles.

However, I have also learned a lot about how to overcome the challenges and obstacles that get in the way of us becoming our healthiest & best selves, and I am passionate about teaching these things to those who are willing to join me (while I continue to practice these things, myself!).

So, yes… I am a Health Coach. I help women (and men, if any choose), to become & own who they were created to be, through health, faith, and fun, by working together to design a plan that is simple & unique to them.

Wanna join me?

Refusing Average

Refusing Average

I’m not great at consistency. I admit that. But I am definitely working on improving that.

I’ve also never been one that’s comfortable with sharing about my day to day life with everyone — mostly because it just feels boring… too “normal” or “average”.

But you know what? My everyday is UNIQUE to me … and that’s what makes it something that has the potential to be interesting to others. We all love stories, right? We enjoy knowing we aren’t alone … that there are others out there who live “normal” lives, too.

However, I refuse to let my life be “AVERAGE”. For far too long, I’ve settled for just that … even though, deep within, I’ve had the fire to take my life to a totally different level!

I have this vision of an adventurous life … one where I’m living with curiosity, and awe, and wonder … treating each day as the GIFT that it truly is. I want more than just “average” … I want FUN! I want ADVENTURE! I want to live with creativity and boldness and persistence!

So I’m working on coming out of my shell … I’m working on leveling up the various aspects of my life. And I’d be happy to have you join me, if you want! I believe it’s available to all of us … this adventurous life. Don’t settle, people… God gave us this great, big planet full of amazing things to see and do … and people to get to know and interact with!

Let’s make the most of our time here!

Hunter S Thompson quote | Life, Unleashed

Embracing the Struggle

Embracing the Struggle

I was listening to the morning conversation on 98.7 AMP radio, and they were having a mock court session. On one side, two of them believed it’d be great to live in a Virtual Reality (VR) world — a “Matrix” of sorts. The other side disagreed. And their argument was as follows:

If you are able to escape to a VR world, to change the things around you that you don’t like, you aren’t able to develop any empathy. You need to FACE your struggles, head-on, in order to grow!

And, I have to agree.

Embracing the Struggle | Life, Unleashed

There was a time when I’d have wanted to be able to escape to an alternate reality — one where I liked the people around me, and could alter things to suit my own desires.

As I have grown and gone through some hard experiences, however, I have come to appreciate the beauty of the struggle. Honestly, the things I’ve gone through have shaped who I have become — and am still becoming.

I used to want to go back and undo a lot of the things I did. Maturity & time, though, have taught me to appreciate the lessons I was given through those things.

Of course, no one is appreciative of their struggles as they are going through them! It’s human nature –our default– to want to AVOID pain and struggle.

But like the butterfly who must struggle to break free of its cocoon in order to strengthen its wings, we, too, need to go through hard things in order to learn and to grow in character.

// “Without struggle, there can be no progress.” ~ Frederick Douglass //

Struggles also — as the radio hosts shared — help us to be empathetic; to be able to relate to others who are struggling, and to be able to say, “Hey, I’ve been there. I get it.” Our trials and our pain can become purposeful when they help us find compassion for our fellow human beings.

So, learn to embrace the hard times. Know that they’re only temporary, and that — if you’ll let them — they can make you stronger, and better able to help those who are going through similar things.

// “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” ~ Kelly Clarkson //

A Sneak Peak: Into My Journal (02/17/2017)

A Sneak Peak: Into My Journal (02/17/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (2) | Life Unleashed

This past week, I’ve been researching “giving yourself permission to succeed” (and to earn money), and it has been really insightful. I so often subconsciously wait for “permission” before I move forward. And mostly, it’s because I am afraid of making the wrong choice — of having to start over again. I hate doing something “for nothing”.

Though, really, there are 2 truths here:

1) It’s not really “for nothing” if I’ve learned something from it (for example, this isn’t the way for me)

2) Failure and making mistakes are a part of success and moving forward in life! The choice is either (a) play small, never risking anything in order to avoid all mistakes — but then dealing with the end-of-life regrets (and never truly LIVING), or (b) taking the leaps of faith, trying and testing and tweaking and learning, and continuing to move forward, having experienced this thing called “LIFE” and all it has to offer — and being able to say, at the end, “WHOOHOO! What a ride!

So the choice is obvious. I need to stop being ruled by my fears, and just go out and live… accepting whatever results may come from my choices.


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Battling For Freedom

Battling For Freedom

It was raining. A dismal, grey day in February. It made me want to curl up on the couch and ignore my priorities. I had things to do, but the Dark Side (how I refer to the devil & his minions, lately) was fighting hard to keep me down.

I’m sure you have had days like these, yourself.

And, as my newly acquired accountability partner, Anna, likes to say, the struggle is real.

Battling For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

I am thanking God for Anna, though! I’d complained to her about how I was feeling, and I tried to make excuses for why I wasn’t going to get things done. But she wouldn’t let me succumb to the Dark Side — she told me that I needed to “do it anyway” (just GO!), and that I’d feel better afterward.

I kept arguing with the Dark Side, in my mind. I was still making justifications, even after talking to Anna. But, I’ve been here before. I have fought this battle countless times, in the past year, especially, as I have been building the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis. And, each time I’ve made myself “do it anyway”, I have felt better afterward…and I’ve been able to do a little victory dance, as I’ve dealt one more blow to the enemy!

So in the end, yes, I did go to the gym, and I did get my errands run. Score: Jenn – 1, Dark Side – 0 … for the win!

For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

John 10:10 tells us about the Dark Side. It says that the enemy (the “thief”) “comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy“. He is out to KILL our dreams, to STEAL our freedom, and to DESTROY our future! And, he does it one poisonous thought at a time.

That is why we’re instructed (in 2 Corinthians 10:5) to “TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE”, and make our thoughts submit to Jesus’ ways. The battle truly does begin in our minds!

It is not easy, by any means. But then, that’s why it’s called a “battle”, right? We have to fight back against the Dark Side! Our default setting is to do what is easiest, and what feels comfortable in the moment. We’re suckers for pleasure. But that is exactly what the enemy wants — to get us comfortable so that we will forget that we’re in a war.

My goal is to level up my life, and to take back the years that the enemy has already stolen from me. And, if I have to do that one thought at a time, so be it! Like with getting myself to the gym … some days, I really have to fight my thoughts HARD! But, I usually end up telling myself that I can just do 20 minutes of cardio (on the treadmill). By the time I’m there and warming up, though, I always decide that I “may as well” do the rest of my workout. So, I win. It’s always that FIRST step that’s the hardest. And, like I read in someone else’s post, the other day, that first step is actually… SURRENDER. I know — it sounds counter-intuitive, right? Surrendering –not to the Dark Side, but to God’s will for my life– is how I win, because Jesus already fought the battle and won the victory for us! So all we have to do is CHOOSE to surrender to Him. By choosing to go against the Dark Side, by choosing to take our thoughts captive, and by choosing to fight for the abundant life and foregoing the “easy” path, we are choosing to accept Jesus’ victory, and to stand with Him against the enemy! So yes, surrender to God is how we win against the Dark Side.

This is war, friends. But we’re already victors! So, stand strong, and show the Dark Side that you won’t be falling for its schemes!

 


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Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Do you have an alter-ego — a vision in your mind of who you would like to become? Maybe you’ve made attempts to change and become that person by making lists of what you need to do to change into that version of yourself. But, what if there was a better way? What if, instead, you focused on the who, rather than the what?

Who Do You Want To Be? | Life, Unleashed

I came across this fantastic quote, yesterday:

Darren Hardy quote

Powerful stuff. And, it ties right in with what James Clear says about identity-based habits.

Nia, at SipBlack.net, also wrote about these identity-based habits. She says:

“You need to become the kind of person who can reach those lofty goals. Be committed to embodying that individual. Then stop thinking like you, and start thinking like that other person… Create someone, if you must… If you won’t get it together, then become someone who will.”

Nia also writes:

“Reinventing yourself makes you aware of the sheer power of the mind… you can become anyone you want, do anything you want.”

So many times we try to begin with deciding to change our actions. And, while this might work for a time, many of us find ourselves falling back into the same old patterns.

Taking on a new persona, however, is based on a mindset shift… and this, truly, is key to any lasting change.

I think it’s important to remember here, that what is changing is what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. You aren’t necessarily changing your fundamental beliefs or values.

For example, my own alter-ego is someone who still holds to Christian beliefs, and values Freedom & Authenticity. However, this “better me” is someone who:

  • follows a daily schedule
  • obeys God without hesitation
  • eats wholesome, nutritious food 90% of the time
  • is capable of defending herself, if need be
  • is confident and secure in who she is
  • etc.

Basically, she excels where I often find myself lacking. In acting as though I am this other persona, I am just acting in the way I would truly prefer to be acting, anyway. In so doing, I’m leveling up!

So, if you could reinvent yourself, who would you become? What does this better version of you look like? Feel free to comment below!

On Nerds and Nourishment

On Nerds and Nourishment

Have you heard of Nerd Fitness? I talked about it a bit, when I reviewed the founder, Steve Kamb’s, book, “Level Up Your Life“. Recently, Steve and his NF team have created a new add-on program called, “Rising Heroes“, which is story-driven. And I’m even more enthralled!

On Nerds & Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

When I first discovered Steve’s Nerd Fitness site (via his book), I immediately connected to his concept of “The Rebellion“. And, after reading the book, I created my very own avatar named Ember-Leigh.

Now, I’ve never been a “gamer”, so some of the concepts in NF go a bit over my head (I had to ask my 18 yr old son what a “boss battle” was. LOL). However, I’m just “nerd” enough that I love watching Marvel movies & the DC comics ones, as well as shows like “The Flash” and other action-adventure films, so I’m able to understand the general idea behind “Game Theory“. And, of course, being a Writer means I love all things “story”… so, creating a “world” for my alter-ego/avatar came somewhat easily.

So far, this is the story I’ve created for my avatar, Ember-Leigh:

To my people, I am princess Ember-Leigh, a WARRIOR in the King’s army. Currently, I am in an enemy prison camp — I was tricked & drugged, then taken captive by the Resistance.

While imprisoned, I am secretly training, and preparing strategies to overthrow the Enemy & his Resistance once I’m free.

I am writing “letters” to my people [in the from of blog posts], encouraging them and training them, in hopes that they will side with me as my Allies in the battle we all know is coming. We must be prepared — physically, mentally, and spiritually!

I’ve had an Ally here, behind enemy lines, who has been delivering my messages to my brother, the Prince, as well as the letters to my people. The Prince is working, behind the scenes, to prepare for my rescue. He says He has a plan, so I am counting on Him!

To help you understand where I’m going with all of that, here’s a little key:

• the King = God

• the Prince = Jesus

• the Enemy & Resistance = Satan & his minions
(as well as anyone who would thwart me)

• “prison” = current circumstances

• “rescue” = God’s plan to redeem my circumstances

I also view my avatar, Ember-Leigh, as being a mix of the following other characters:

  • Marvel’s Black Widow (for her figure, strength, & agility)
  • Marvel’s Hawkeye (for his laser-focus & archery skills)
  • the guy from “Limitless” (for his super-brain, thanks to NZT)
  • DC’s Elektra (for her skills, confidence, & strength)

Lastly, I borrowed my avatar’s name, somewhat, from one of my favorite television series’, “The Shannara Chronicles“. The main character is Princess Amberle… whose name I borrowed and changed to Ember-Leigh, as “ember” makes me think of sparks & fire (“Leigh” was added, as “Ember”, alone, didn’t give the right “feel”).

Fun, right?

While I haven’t joined the “Rising Heroes” program (yet), due to lack of funds, I’m seriously considering doing so. My gym membership contract is done at the end of March 2017, so I’m debating whether I will renew that, or sign up for Rising Heroes and create my own at-home routines. The biggest thing holding me back, at the moment, is the question, “Will I stick with the workouts, if I quit the gym?

It used to be that I could do okay with my at-home workouts for a while, but then I’d revert to my laziness & excuses, again. Of course, that was before I had a mindset shift, and before I joined the gym. Having the gym membership has helped, as I can’t afford to be spending money on something I’m not using, and I have liked being in the atmosphere where others are also working on their health — I enjoy being around others who share similar goals.

So yeah, the idea of doing my workouts alone, at home, makes me worry that I won’t stick with it.

You could always rejoin the gym,” you say. But no, that’s not necessarily true. To re-join (if I quit when my contract is up) will have me paying the sign-up fee, again, which is $100, and, I don’t always have that kind of money. So, that’s a risk I’d be taking if I give up my gym membership.

However, I wonder if the “fun” aspect of “Rising Heroes” would be enough to keep me motivated? In their program, when you complete the daily “missions”, you earn points that help out the faction you’ve been placed in, and that, in turn, helps to move the story forward. So, in essence, you don’t want to let your team (your “faction”) down!

I guess, in the end run, I won’t know if this will be enough, or if I’ll stick with things, unless I try it, right? It’s a risk I’ll just have to take, if I want to find out!

nourishment | Life, Unleashed

On a similar note, I’ve been thinking about my goals for this year — one of which is to lose release my excess weight, and another which is to eat healthier, less processed foods. And I keep coming across this concept: To think about how you relate to food, and to question (and renew) your mindset in regards to eating.

Now, if you’ve looked around this site at all, you know that MINDSET is a key concept here… it’s one of the four foundational principles {mindset, choices, perspective, & daily practices}. So, of course, this question (above) jumped out at me, with my thoughts of changing my eating habits.

After writing out the negative ways in which I relate to food (eg. eating out of boredom; reaching for “comfort foods” of Coca-Cola & chocolate), I decided to make another list based on NOURISHMENT, as that’s what I want food to be, for me. Here’s what I came up with (keeping in mind that I’m focusing on real, whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, when considering what foods are “nourishing”):

True Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

(and yep, I made it into an image so that you can print a copy, or save it to Pinterest!)

I will break each of these things down in more detail in my next post. But for now, this is what I will be choosing to concentrate on, in regards to my eating, in 2017.

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedDo you do better working out with others (eg. at the gym), or alone? OR, if you don’t yet make the time to workout, what’s holding you back?

ALSO: I’d love to hear your thoughts on my “True Nourishment” list!

Looking Ahead to…2017

Looking Ahead to…2017

Every year, between September and December, I start thinking about the year to come, and all that I would like to accomplish (just like everyone else on the planet, I’m sure).

I used to start making my list of New Years’ Resolutions — which basically consisted of the same things I’d had on my list the previous year (and probably the year before that, too), but hadn’t managed to follow through with. A few years back, however, I gave up on making “resolutions” for the new year.

Looking Ahead to 2017 | Life, Unleashed

Instead, I took up the practice of choosing a single word to guide me throughout the year; a focus-word… something I feel God wants me to base the coming year’s decisions around.

In past years, I’ve had these as my “one word”:

  • 2014 – “FREE
  • 2015 – “CHOOSE
  • 2016 – “GREATER

For 2017, my word is “BECOME“… as in, who am I working towards becoming?

I read a quote, recently — more of a question, really — that said something to the effect of this:

If you could choose ONE word to sum up how you want to feel for the rest of your life, what would it be?

(That’s heavy, I know!) Personally, I believe that feelings are fickle and they’ll change. But, if I had to choose one word to describe who I wanted to become, or how I’d like to live out the rest of my life, then I would choose the word, “STRONG“.

For far too much of my life, I’ve been playing the “victim” — blaming everything and everyone around me for how my life has turned out, thus far.

What I am finally coming to realize, however, is that the only one who can change the direction of my life {other than God, of course}, is me. I am solely responsible for how my life turns out; God gave me free will. And, He also gave me the responsibility of being a good steward of the time, energy, and resources He’s blessed me with.

All that being said, the woman I desire to become is STRONG — not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as well. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity, but {a spirit} of POWER, love, and self-discipline“. He calls us “MORE THAN conquerors“! And He says that we can “do ALL THINGS” through Jesus, whose strength we rely and lean on. God promises to fight our battles for us, if we’ll surrender them to Him. But, what does it take to be able to surrender? It takes STRENGTH… and courage, and willingness, and knowing God well enough to entrust the battle to Him, knowing that He isn’t going to let us down.

#oneword365-2017 | Life, UnleashedSo, for 2017, I have been pondering which goals I’ll set for myself, in order to become that strong, confident woman that I know God is calling me (and has created me) to be.

However, I am also re-thinking the concept of goals, now, too, thanks to an article I read via James Clear’s website. In it, he talks about Goals vs. Systems. And his main point was this: It’s better to create systems that you use on a regular (or daily) basis, and focus on those, rather than just setting goals and looking to attain them. Why? Well, what happens once you reach your goal? You’ve completed what you set out to do, and now you have to set yet another goal. You’re always in pursuit… always chasing something. Once you hit your goal, you can also experience a sort of let-down… Sure, it’s great to have accomplished something — but, now what? Your systems, on the other hand, don’t stop just because you reach a certain point.

Take weight loss, for example. We all know, or have heard, that weight loss is not about hitting some goal, but that it’s all about making lifestyle changes that will help you lose the weight and maintain that loss. So you can think of “systems” as those lifestyle changes you’re putting into practice, day in and day out, in order to lose the excess weight, but also to maintain that loss and become healthier, overall. Make sense?

So, here is how this would look for me, taking my goals for 2017, and creating “systems” for each:

GOAL: Read at least 1 fiction book (for pleasure), and 1 nonfiction book (for study), each month.

SYSTEM: Shut off my computer by 8 p.m. every night, so that I can have 1-2 hours for reading, before bed.

GOAL: Be able to do 25 consecutive push-ups, and 25 consecutive pull-ups, and be able to do a 3-mile walk.

SYSTEM: Do strength-training exercises at the gym 2x/week, focusing on my “push” and “pull” muscles, as well as my core. And do once-a-week cardio for 45-60 minutes, to build up my endurance and be able to do that 3-mile walk.

GOAL: Release the excess weight, and reach my ideal size (I have about 60-65 lbs to get rid of).

SYSTEM: Practice mindfulness at every meal, listening for my hunger & satisfaction cues; be careful not to eat unless my stomach is empty and I need to refuel; use visual cues and reminders, if necessary.

GOAL: Reduce our processed-food intake, and eat more real, whole, and healthy foods.

SYSTEM: Plan out each week’s menu on the weekends (Saturdays), and grocery-shop accordingly; do meal-prep on Sunday afternoons to make it easier throughout the week to stick to my plan; and try 1-2 new, healthier recipes each week, to build up our repertoire.

{Note: I have other goals/systems for 2017, as well, but for the sake of time, I’m not sharing them all in this post}.

Basically, creating “systems” is just asking yourself what goals you hope to achieve (or who you would like to become), then figuring out what steps you can take — what you can practice on a daily basis — in order to take you toward those results.

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HAVE YOU EVER IMPLEMENTED SYSTEMS INTO YOUR REGULAR ROUTINES IN ORDER TO REACH NEW GOALS? DO YOU STILL SET NEW YEARS’ RESOLUTIONS? HAVE YOU CHOSEN ONE GUIDING WORD FOR YOUR YEAR AND, IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

Lessons From a Sea Sponge

Lessons From a Sea Sponge

I’ve always referred to myself as a “sponge” when it comes to learning things. Reason being, I tend to soak up a lot of information on an almost constant basis.

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I love to learn! In fact, while researching some things for this post, I also learned some things about sponges that I didn’t know before! For example:

  • Once cut, a sea sponge will re-grow within a few years, often to become bigger & healthier than it was originally.
  • Sea sponges have a life span of a few months to 20+ years.
  • Even the tiniest fragments of the original sponge can be used to regenerate & grow new sponges.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of regulating the amount of water that flows through their bodies by the constriction of various openings.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of drawing in and out 20,000 times their own volume of water in a single 24-hour period.
  • Sponges survive by anchoring themselves permanently to other solid objects on the ocean floor (eg. coral, rocks, shell beds, etc).
  • Sea Sponges are composed perfectly for their environment by means of the hole-ridden structures, and could not survive without their unique design.
  • While sea sponges are technically “animals,” for all practical purposes, they grow, reproduce, and survive as plants

And, also…

sea-sponges | Life, Unleashed

Fascinating, right? At least, I thought so.

Originally, this post was going to be about using what you’ve learned. I tend to consume so much information in one sitting, sometimes, that it’s almost impossible to put any of it into practice {Input is one of my StrengthsFinder “top 5”, after all}. For example, I can get on a site like JamesClear.com (which I absolutely LOVE), and follow the links, reading article, after article, after article — because it’s all so good! But, even though I agree with what he’s written, and think, “Man, these are amazing & simple ideas — I should implement this stuff!“, I have already consumed so much that I get overwhelmed with where to start, and then choose what is easiest… which is doing nothing at all; meaning all of the information I consumed is practically useless. After all, if we don’t practice what we learn, then what’s the point?

But, in researching sponges, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to our Christian walk. So, here are a few lessons I believe we can learn from the Sea Sponge:

PERMANENTLY ANCHORED

The Sea Sponges permanently anchor themselves to the ocean floor by attaching to something that doesn’t move. This is how they survive. Likewise, God is our unmoving and unchanging “anchor”. When we attach ourselves to Him, He becomes our unshakeable hope, and the way that we can stay grounded, despite the turmoil in our lives.

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm & secure.
 — Hebrews 6:19 

 

SELF-REGULATING

Sea Sponges regulate the amount of water that moves in and out of their bodies. In similar fashion, we need to monitor what we put into us, whether that’s food, or information. Too much of anything is not good for us. As evidenced by my own information overload, it’s more helpful to consume things in moderate or bite-sized amounts, and then use that up, or practice it for a while, first, before taking in more. That way, our intake is actually useful and doesn’t go to waste (or to waist!).

BETTER THAN BEFORE

God likes to prune us, removing anything that doesn’t help us live the life He has planned for us. This pruning can often be painful. But, like the Sea Sponge after being harvested, we, too, can then grow to be “bigger” (with a deeper, stronger faith and character) and healthier than before.

UNIQUELY DESIGNED

The Sea Sponge’s unique design — with all of its pores and adjoining channels — helps it to be able to survive and grow.

For example, look at its hard outer layer and soft interior. We, God’s children, aren’t called to be timid, but to be strong & courageous, bold, shrewd, and discerning! This is our “outer layer”. At the same time, we are called to be quiet & gentle, kind and compassionate, and innocent as doves … our hearts are to be soft, and not “hardened” with unbelief.

But, the most important aspect of the Sponge’s design is its ability to let massive amounts of water flow through its body. This makes me think of Jesus, and how He describes Himself as “Living Water“. When we have this –when we have Him– we have everything we need.

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So, there you have it. Lessons from the Sea Sponge. Bet you didn’t realize you could learn something about God from something you use when you take a bath! Ha!