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

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

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.

your turn to comment | Life, Unleashed

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

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.

sponge lessons | Life, Unleashed

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.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

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!

You Always Have a Choice

There are two individuals who come to my mind when I think about choices in life. Both of these people are in a spot where they’ve been beaten down in life — their choices have gotten the better of them. This has made these individuals very pessimistic. They don’t feel that life will ever get any better… like they’ve just had bad luck, and that that luck isn’t ever likely to change.

You Always Have a Choice | Life, Unleashed

What both of these individuals fail to realize, however, is that, if they could be open to the possibilities, they could begin to see that it’s all very much about choices, mindset, perspective, and practice.

They can CHOOSE to see things differently. They can CHOOSE to work on their mindset. They can CHOOSE to work on finding a way to either (a) escape their current less-than-ideal circumstances, or (b) make their circumstances more bearable. It’s all a matter of CHOICE.

God gave each one of us free will. And it hasn’t been revoked just because we got ourselves stuck in some “mud”. We can choose to continue playing the woe-is-me “victim” and settle for the mediocre life we’re in. OR, we can choose to make changes!

It absolutely breaks my heart to see people giving up and settling for a life that is so much LESS THAN what is available for us!

Trust me, I’m not always the optimist. Goodness knows, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff in my own life that could have left me hopeless (and just about did!). Heck, I’m still dealing with circumstances that are far from ideal! But, I also know that it could be worse… and it’s not (which I thank the Lord for).

I just keep leaning on the Lord for my strength. He has given me hope to see that my current circumstances are not my final destination, and that “it can be well with my soul, even when it’s not with my circumstances”. God has used my less-than-perfect situation to teach me that life really is all about choices, mindset, perspective, and practice.

What I truly hope is that I can help others realize that only they are responsible for what their life turns out like. It’s YOUR choice. If you don’t like your life, make a change. {Start here}.

Your Choice: Victim or Victor? | Life, Unleashed

What is Mindful Eating?

Maybe you have heard the term “Mindful Eating” (aka, Intuitive Eating, or the Hunger/Satiety method) before. Or, maybe you think you can guess what it is, just from the name. Either way, I would like to give you my version of it here, today.

mindful eating | Life, Unleashed

First, though, three (3) things that mindful eating is NOT:

  • It is NOT some fancy diet
  • It is NOT anything mystical, New Age, or woo-woo
  • It is NOT another fad or trend

Mindful Eating is

  1. FREEDOM from the (confusing, conflicting, and ever-changing) diet industry.
  2. RE-LEARNING to trust your God-given internal systems that tell you when to eat, and when to stop eating.
  3. CHOOSING foods & drinks that you enjoy (rather than what you think you “should” be eating).
  4. BEING MINDFUL of what type of fuel you are choosing (eg. the best would be non-processed, or as close to natural as possible).
  5. SIMPLE — no need to count calories, avoid food groups, or feel deprived at restaurants.

IMHO, mindful eating is the best choice for eating, and for weight management. Why? Well, (1) it is how God designed our bodies to function (watch any toddler or baby — they are natural-born mindful eaters!), and (2) it works for anyone (including those with special conditions, like Diabetes, or food sensitivities, etc). You simply listen to your own body to determine when, what, and how much to eat.

After all, only YOU are the expert on you!

{Want to know more? Check out my eBook, “Mindfulness & Eating: The Journey to Health & Wellness“!}

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedHAVE YOU TRIED THE MINDFUL EATING METHOD? OR, DO YOU WANT TO, BUT STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

The Creative’s Everlasting Struggle: Dealing With Perfectionism

Do you ever have the desire to create something — whether it’s painting, drawing a picture, or writing a blog post — and you just can’t seem to express it the way you want to? This has been one of my biggest struggles in blogging.

The Creative's Struggle | Life, Unleashed

I have so many ideas of things I would love to write about… topics that set my soul on fire. I have so much I’d like to share! Yet, when I set out to write what’s on my mind, I can’t seem to get things to translate properly from my head to the page (or screen). It is extremely frustrating!

I think a lot of it comes down to perfectionism, though. Instead of just getting something out there, I feel like, if I can’t say it the way I “see” it in my head, then it’s not “good enough”, and I can’t share it at all. Sometimes (okay — quite often, truth-be-told), this fear completely disables me, and I end up doing nothing — which only adds to my frustration.

artists-struggle

One of the things I’ve discovered, recently, is that when I feel like I have to write posts for my blog (because it is a part of my business), then I am even more stricken by this “perfectionist” disease. This is a part of why, in changing websites from A Daily Rhythm to Life, Unleashed, I made the decision that — at least, for now — Life, Unleashed will not be a business but, instead, solely a blog. I had lost the joy of blogging just for blogging’s sake, and needed to get that back.

So, as of right now, I am still in the process of “recovering” (I hope) from the need to have everything I write be “perfect” in order to send it out to the world. I am learning that the only way that my writing will improve is if I give myself permission to “write poorly” for a time, and to just learn to post consistently. The more I write, the better I will get. And the better my writing gets, the less this need for perfection will haunt me.

Your turn... | Life, Unleashed Do you ever suffer from this struggle — unable to get things from your head to the page, and have them look how you “pictured” them? What do you do to overcome this?

It’s All About Perspective

This is a story that I heard many years ago, and found online recently. It highlights the value of perspective … and the fact that mindset plays a big part in the choices we make!

Perspective | Life, Unleashed

{story source}

As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

Life, Unleashed is dedicated to helping you see that –at any time– you can BREAK FREE! You are never without choices. Just like the elephants, God has given us great power … but, we have been “conditioned to believe” that we are limited in what we can do. Satan wants to keep us stuck. That’s how he “kills, steals, and destroys” our lives, and our futures. It’s time we WAKE UP and remember who we are.

Essentialism: A Review & Thoughts

I finished reading “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown*, a bit ago (thanks to seeing that one of my favorite bloggers had it on her shelf), and I’m soooo glad I checked it out! It was exactly what I needed to read.

Essentialism: A Book Review & Thoughts | Life, Unleashed

However, the book has also sent me into a bit of a questioning place, as well — which, I suppose, is the point.

The basic premise of the book is “Less, But Better“.

Essentialism is not a finite action or a single decision to live with less. Becoming an Essentialist means embracing a lifestyle to always seek out what truly matters and let go of everything else. {source}

There are a ton of great quotes and ideas throughout the book. What it comes down to, though, is what the quote says (above) — asking yourself what TRULY matters in your life, and then choosing to make trade-offs (a whole chapter of the book is dedicated to the idea of trade-offs, and it really struck a chord with me).

I’ve been researching Minimalism for a while now. In June 2015, I basically “Kon-Mari’d“ my bedroom, and it felt amazing to have done so! But, the idea of going completely “minimalist” didn’t sit right with me. I need color and variety in my life, and from the pictures I was seeing on Pinterest, I wasn’t ready to become a true (or “extreme”) Minimalist. Capsule wardrobes are not my idea of a good thing, let’s just put it that way.  But, to each her own.

Yet, when I read “Essentialism“, I realized that minimalist living isn’t so much about getting rid of things, as it is about learning to make intentional choices about what truly matters… for you, and for the lifestyle you want to live.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown | A review (adailyrhythm.com)

I also found Jennifer’s blog, “Simply & Fiercely” through Pinterest, as she has a series about how she’s become a Minimalist. And, her posts made more sense out of the whole idea for me. They reminded me that — as with anything in life — you should take the basic concept, and then modify it so that it works for your own style.

So, when I took all of this information and started to apply it to my work (my blog, basically), it actually helped clarify for me what I hadn’t been able to figure out for the past 3 years … which is what my main “niche” is supposed to be. As a multipassionate individual, I don’t like to box myself in too tightly, and so the idea of picking “just one thing” was torture for me! Recently, I’d chosen to identify myself as more of a “lifestyle blogger” — wherein, all I meant by that was that I had multiple topics I would be writing about — and this helped. But it still wasn’t quite the right fit. The categories I’d chosen didn’t seem to be “right”, just yet… some of them, yes; but not all.

One of the questions the “Essentialism” book says you should ask yourself is, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources, right now?” And, when I thought about what is that “most important thing” for me, right now (for my business, anyway), it was to be creating content. So, I started making a list of things I wanted to write about and offer… but they all seemed so scattered (I love a lot of things, after all! See, again, my “multipassionate” nature!) So I asked myself (for probably the millionth time), “What ties all of these things together?” And, I wrote down “whole life”… and then — AHA! — “Authentic Living“. And, all-of-a-sudden, I felt I had figured it out… this, intuitively, felt completely right. After all, “authenticity” is my #2 personal core value! So, it makes sense.

Thinking about my past 3 years in business (for myself / being self-employed), I realized that I keep coming back to these two concepts:

  • Being free to do what you love (and, freedom is my #1 personal core value)
  • Discovering who you truly are, & using that to build your ideal life

I love to teach, and I love personal development. As you may know, I’m a big-time nonfiction junkie. I actually prefer reading nonfiction over fiction, truthfully. I soak up knowledge like a sponge (which is just part of the “Input” part of my personality, and maybe a bit of the “Intellection” side, too — both of which I learned from reading Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“.) I long to teach others what I’ve learned through both my reading, and through my life experiences (and also, to teach what God has taught me, too!).

Being authentic | Simon Sinek quote (adailyrhythm.com)

So, that brings me to what I do here at Life, Unleashed … and why I blog about being who you were created, uniquely, to be. It’s so important to be who you are, even (maybe, especially) in business. Don’t ever hide your true self! There are people out there who need to see the real YOU.

Definitely check this book out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Passion vs. Curiosity

Follow Your Passion“. It’s a phrase we’ve heard over and over and over. Yet, recently, I was introduced to another view of this concept, thanks to author Elizabeth Gilbert. She has had a change of heart … and so have I.

passion vs curiosity (Liz Gilbert) | Life, Unleashed

 

Elizabeth Gilbert was asked to speak at one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions, a while back. Her topic was titled “Flight of the Hummingbird: The Curiosity-Driven Life“. This is the talk she gave:

And, because some of you may be more like me, preferring to read, over watching the video (though, I do still highly recommend you watch the video, if you have time … Liz is a great speaker!), I’ve transcribed the video for your convenience:

[Oprah gives intro] [Liz:] Sweeties! Sweethearts, my loves, we’re here, in so much grace… Thank you. Thank you so much.So listen, I’m here today to do something that, I have to be honest with you, that I never in a million years thought I would ever do. I am here today to speak out against passion. You heard me right: against passion.

And I know it sounds very strange and weird, but I want you to stay with me on this. Because I really believe what I have to say here, today, may bring a measure of comfort, specifically to some of you, in particular, and I’m hoping it really will.

But I have to back up for a minute, and just say, to come clean, that I am the leastlikely person in the world ever to become a committed anti-passion spokeswoman. The fact is that I have led my entire life guided by passion. Particularly in regard to my work as a writer, which is a vocation I have been chasing my entire life with a love that you could call obsessive.

I can barely even remember a time before I knew that I was going to be a writer, that I had to be a writer, that I needed to be a writer, that I was going to be a writer, no matter what it took.

I was probably like 5 or 6; I was a book-loving child. And, I remember I pieced it together, at last, that books do not just magically appear out of the ether, but that people make them. They create them, from their imaginations. And that kind of person who does that, is called a Writer. And once I had that piece of information, that was it: my destiny, from that point forward, was sealed, I made my decision. And I have never veered from that passion since.

I have to be very honest with you, because it would be disingenuous of me to play at anything else: Passion has worked for me. Passion was the thing that kept me writing in the new, early years, before anybody else except me cared about what I was doing. For a long time, I made a living as a diner waitress, and a bartender. And passion was the thing that made me come home from those long shifts, smelling like other people’s French fries, with really sore feet, after a really long day at work, and then I would take off my shoes and sit down, and go to my real work. And that real work was Writing. I did that, day after day and year after year. Even when I was getting nothing out of it, except for rejection letter, after rejection letter, after rejection letter. But I didn’t care.

I didn’t love it. No one loves being rejected. But passion — my passion for writing was so big that it made me stay in the game, even through all of the obstacles. And then, finally, I got lucky enough to become a published writer. Then, in 2006, I got reallylucky. I wrote this book called, “Eat, Pray, Love” — you remember that one? — and, it became really successful, much to my surprise. And as soon as that happened, as soon as I became successful, THIS started to happen… people started putting a microphone in my hand, and they would send me up on stage, and they would ask me to stand there and speak about how I had gotten there, and what I had learned.

And so, of course, the minute I had the opportunity to speak in public about the thing I cared about and believed in the most, what did I talk about? Passion. What else would it have been? There was no other subject, as far as I was concerned. Passion, to me, was everything. It was the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the one true path, and the only way forward. And so, in audiences across the world, I would just stand there on stage and I would say some variation of this, night after night.

“You know what you have to do, every single one of you? You have to identify your passion. You have to identify that tower of flame within you that will be your guiding, purposeful light. You have to find that thing that makes you feel like your head is on fire, that makes you feel like there’s a soul revolution going on deep inside your rib cage, that makes you feel like you would sacrifice and risk everything for that thing, that nothing else matters, that thing that you KNOW you were born to do. Then you have to get every molecule of your being, and you’ve got to funnel it directly and powerfully into that thing, that one thing, and no other thing. And you’ve got to focus on that forever, and that way, and only that way, will you succeed.”

I’d be up there on stage, and I’d be quoting Vince Lombardi, and I’d be quoting Winston Churchill, and I’d be quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, and I’d be quoting Jonathan “freakin’” Livingston Seagull, and I’d be telling people that ‘if you can dream it you can be it’, and that you’ve got to ‘jump so the net will catch you’, and ‘what would you do if you knew you could not fail’, and you guys… you know all the bumper stickers, you probably have them on your car, right?

We all know these slogans. But I did it with enormous sincerity, because I really believed it. I believed that I was doing a public service by telling people that they had to live their lives exactly the same way that I had always lived mine. I preached that, because that was my fundamental truth, that was my certainty. And then, something happened.

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