Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

The Joy of Quitting

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Yes, you read that blog title right. Sometimes it is a JOY to quit things–to just decide you will not do some things in your life anymore. Whether it’s things on your to-do list or your bucket list or maybe it’s some of your business services or social media–quitting can feel great. And oh my yes, don’t we want to quit social media sometimes?! Being a part of too many things is exhausting. I so relate to the quote above. It’s funny but for me, it’s also very true!

There are many things that most of us need to quit. And believe it or not, sometimes it’s relationships…the toxic and draining ones that only take and don’t ever fill you back up. Or maybe even ones that aren’t really taking anything from you much, but you feel guilty for not being able to give them more time. Anything that brings guilt needs to be reconsidered. And then there are all those hobbies and exercise classes and social groups and bible studies and charity boards and the PTA. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you shouldn’t be an advocate, a philanthropist, a friend or be spiritual or religious. I am just saying that it’s time to take a look at the particular groups or activities you are currently in and see if they are still the best fit for you.

But I have to tell you, quitting is one of the hardest things for me at times. It is often harder than saying no to new opportunities. As kids we were taught not to quit, right? You’ve heard all the sayings…”Don’t be a quitter”. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win”. But you know what? That is a myth, and a dangerous one at that. It is often the reason that we become overloaded, stressed out and unhappy. Because we keep adding new things, exciting things, things that seem like they will make our life better, but we don’t quit things to make room for the new. So we just cram it all in there like our days are going to magically become longer than 24 hours if we just keep stuffing more into them. Surely they will have to stretch like our stomachs do when we keep cramming food in, right? Ha! But unfortunately, our days never do.

I have learned that I have a lot of core beliefs from childhood, from my parents, from teachers, from society that are not healthy for me. It’s not that people didn’t have the best intentions when they were teaching me these ideas, it’s just that they are outdated thoughts. They don’t fit my grown up life or my goals or my health plans. They are beliefs that have become obsolete, but for some reason, we don’t get new beliefs when they stop working for us like we get newer models of cars, TVs, phones and computers. Think about it, how effective would we be if we were still using a phone or computer from 1970 or 80? Not very, right? And how many of us would look our best if we are 45 and still dressing like we are 16 or 20. Probably not many of  us. But we will continue trying to make beliefs, ideas and life lessons from our childhood or youth fit where we are today. That just doesn’t make any sense.

Not being about to quit is one of these outdated rules for me. It no longer serves me well as a core belief. I think that is true for many people including children today. When we were told not to quit, we didn’t have a schedule like a high powered CEO at age 10. But children today are expected to act and work like an adult, keep a schedule that would exhaust any grown up and they have so many choices of activities it makes their heads spin, but we still associate failure or embarrassment with quitting. So they just stay over-loaded or we let them quit, but shame them for it. Why? Why not let our kids, or us for that matter, sample something–try it on for size–and see if they/we like it? And if we don’t, then why not quit and keep looking until we find the right sport or interest or school or career or relationships that are a good fit?

As I continue on my quest this year for my 2 resolutions…1) finding more joy and 2) loving myself more, I am realizing more than ever that there are a lot of things I need to quit to be happy and healthy. And this doesn’t mean I will quit being a consultant or a designer or a mom or a wife, but there are parts of each of those things that I need to quit if I want to be the best version of me. And it doesn’t mean I will quit every group I am in or quit eating, but there are some things in my life and diet that definitely need to go if I want to feel good.

I love how Arianna Huffington says in her book Thrive that she decided just to take a bunch of pressure off of herself by simply striking a ton of things off her bucket list that she really didn’t need or want to do. She realized if they were that important to her, she would have already done them by now. What can you wipe off yours? There are several things that I am striking from my bucket list this year and a ton of things off my to-do list, and I feel great about it!

I have to remind myself that some things run their course in life and that’s ok. Some relationships come to an end and that doesn’t necessarily mean they were a failure, they just ran their course.  Some careers or business services had a great run but now it’s time to do something different with your time and resources. That’s not a bad thing. In fact its a good thing. Some exercise routines or hobbies you have tried to make stick for years need to go. They aren’t right for you or you’d be a pro at them by now.

I think back to when some of my favorite TV shows (Sex in the City, Castle, Downton Abbey) went off the air and how sad I was. But it was always better for them to go out on a high note leaving me with fond memories instead of waiting until the last possible minute, far past their prime, when they really left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth or mind. So what in your life or your business is like that? What are you tired of? What has run it’s course? What do you find yourself dreading every time you start to do it? What needs to end so you can make room for new, exciting and better offerings to your family, your friends or your customers? What should go so you can create things that are more in line with the season of life you are in right now? Again, my list is pretty long and it will take courage and guts to make changes. That’s true for us all, even when we know it’s the right thing to do, it’s hard to change.

I’m here to tell you, there is a lot freedom and a lot of JOY in quitting. Scary? Yes! Worth it? Absolutely.

If you need help deciding, read this great little book by Seth Godin called The Dip, when to quit and when to stick.  It even tells you that there are some things you should quit and quit fast! Don’t linger. And I agree. Every day you wait you are keeping yourself from more joy. And the good news is most things aren’t absolute. You can usually go back in some form or another, and maybe even a better version if you quit and regret it. So don’t let fear hold you back.

Happy Quitting, friends. I hope it brings you as much peace and JOY as it is bringing me. Think of how happy we will all be with all those weights lifted from our lives!

Joyfully yours,

 

 

 

The Joy of Juicing

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It’s week 3 of my 52 weeks of Joy and ok, I admit it. I am a total geek when it comes to Juicing. I particularly love making green juice. And I know there are many different schools of thought out there about whether juicing is good for you and if you should be drinking your calories instead of eating them. But I think each person should go with what makes them feel the best. And I am telling you that green juice makes me feel amazing and it totally brings me JOY!!

My favorite recipe is called “Sweet Greens”. I love getting it from The Juice Bar in my home town but I also make it often at home. It has 6 simple ingredients including cucumber, lemon, parsley, spinach, kale and apples. I use mostly green apples but sometimes I throw in a honey crisp for sweetness depending on the time of year. It’s best to experiment with quantities to see what you like best. The more apples of course the sweeter it is. I like a lot of lemon and cucumber which makes it taste super fresh. Kale and spinach are stronger flavors, especially kale so for some people, a little of that goes a long way. I typically make a big batch with 2-3 cucumbers, 4 green apples, 2 lemons, a large bunch of fresh kale, a handful of parsley and 2-3 handfuls of spinach.

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I also am crazy about my juicer. It’s a Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer. And you can buy one here. There is nothing more fun and satisfying than taking a big pile of beautiful veggies and within a few minutes having gorgeous green juice. Nothing on my to-do list ever has a beginning and an end in that short amount of time. I feel so accomplished and so healthy when I make and drink sweet greens.

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I love to make 2-3 days worth at a time when I juice, but if I make much more than that at once, it doesn’t taste super fresh to me. So juicing a couple of times a week works great for me. And though you may have heard horror stories about cleaning the juicer, I don’t think this one is hard at all. Especially if I clean it right away.

So if you haven’t tried green juice, I suggest you do. I know what some of you are saying…Ewww! But I never thought I could drink anything green either.  What I found is it’s so refreshing and I am so very glad I tried it. Cheers to years of JOY from green juice for you and me too!

Joyfully yours,

Tobi-Signature

 

What if?

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There have been so many years that I have created a laundry list of goals, intentions, and plans to start the new year. I’ve hit the ground running with intensity and focus. And I am not saying that I don’t have goals for the year, or at least that I will. But I am still fleshing them out, I think. I am taking my time deciding what I want for 2017. I am not putting a time limit or pesky deadline on myself. I have so many deadlines already in life, so this year I am being kind to myself. Staying peaceful and relaxed. And this cool state of mind has me wondering…

What if I only had 2 goals for this whole year, 1. Finding JOY and 2. Loving myself more? What would happen?

It’s simple, its profound. And I have a strong feeling way deep down in my gut that it might just change everything.

What do you think? Are you ready to simplify to succeed? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments.

Joyfully yours,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

52 Weeks of Joy!

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JOY. It is the word that I selected to define 2017. And I couldn’t be more excited to be on this year-long quest for joy. But let’s be honest. The journey will be a LOT harder than it seems. Its just been 2 days since I announced my word of the year and I have already had dozens of things come up that could steal my joy, increase my stress level, knock me off track and all in less than a week! I am working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. But that’s the thing about it, it takes focus and effort and lots and lots of practice to find JOY and keep our joy every day.

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I also love the idea of sharing JOY with others. And helping them find their JOY each week. I gave the book 52 Lists for Happiness to several of my clients and friends for the holidays, and there was a reason for that. I already knew that my Word of the Year would be JOY, and I wanted to start the year off right with a focus on happiness and joy for others and for myself!

I’m also continuing this theme right here on my blog every single week, all year long by introducing a new blog post every Thursday for 2017 called 52 Weeks of Joy. Each week I will  highlight something that’s bringing me joy right now, in the moment. And I hope you will join me in this practice.

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So for my very first post, I want to talk about the Joy of Family! Having just had my favorite Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve in all my 44 years, it was being with my family in our new house (with our new puppy) that made it so special. There is nothing in my life that has, or ever could, bring me joy like my family. They are the center of my universe, and the reason for everything I do. Too often in our lives, we get caught up in the “busyness” of life and forget to stop and appreciate what’s most important to us. I am putting a strong emphasis on giving my family my time and attention this year. It’s one thing to tell them they are important, and it’s a completely different thing to SHOW them.

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I’ve never been more thankful for my hard-working, rockstar husband! We’re almost 15 years into our marriage and we’re happier and more in love than ever. I am making a big effort to travel less for my work, so I can travel with him for his work. Scottsdale and New Orleans are just two spots in our upcoming travels together and we’re thinking of squeezing in a trip to Chicago too. I couldn’t be more grateful for the joy he brings to me and to my daughter! She is definitely a daddy’s girl. Yes this year is going to be a great one for us–especially when we jet off to Aruba for our 15th anniversary this Spring!

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The apple of my eye is my sweet little mini-me daughter who is getting closer than I want to admit to being a teenager – eek! She’s the sweetest and happiest person I know and brings joy to everyone she knows! I want to enjoy every minute with her in 2017 and the next few years because I know that the time will fly by and she’ll be leaving the nest before I can even imagine. It’s time to really appreciate her and our special times together and believe me, there will be a lot of those this year.

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If you know me at all, you know that one major source of joy in my life is my mom! She’s so important to me and my life. She’s the heart of our family and in many ways, she’s the heart of my business, too. She’s my creative muse and sounding board, and always gives me the best advice personally and professionally! I joke that she’s really the boss because I just couldn’t do what I do without her right at the center of it all. I often say if she quits, I quit.

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I’m really lucky to have so much JOY in my life from my family, including my dad, my brother and his wife, my niece and nephew, and the best in-laws a girl could ask for. These are blessings that I’m really counting in 2017 more than ever. I want to be sure that this is a year filled with appreciation, celebration, and joyful memories with these people who mean the world to me.

So what brings YOU joy? Who is at the center of your world? Let me know in the comments section below – and then let THEM know! We only have one life, and it should be filled with happiness!

Joyfully yours,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

My Word of the Year for 2017

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(By the way, get this fab mug here…)

Oh how I love the turn of the new year! I love nothing more than a fresh start–a new opportunity to design our lives just the way we want them to be. And for a big believer in goals, this is THE best time for setting a path to the life you want. I enjoyed time with family this weekend to relax and restore and eat my black-eyed peas. But today it’s serious goal setting time. And every good goal need a plan.

For the last five years, at the beginning of the year I’ve chosen a word to represent my intentions and goals. A word to be my guide for the next 12 months. It’s an annual ritual that I love, and that I take very seriously. Over those years I have chosen the words Discipline, Inspire, Action, Significance, and last year I chose Focus. I would say of all these, Significance was maybe my favorite because it meant looking for experiences and work that were truly meaningful. My favorite that is, until now.

I really believe what one of my favorite gurus, Dr. Wayne Dyer (who we lost in 2016) said. He said that intentions create reality. In other words what we put our minds to, becomes what we are.

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In 2016, my word was Focus. My intention was to be laser-focused mentally and emotionally on things that I wanted to achieve all year long.  Many times we as humans focus on the bad in life, or gossip, or challenges. And if what we focus on is what we become, that can be a dangerous practice, right?

Last year I wanted to have a head-down approach to my life.  I planned to forgo things that were merely good in lieu of the GREAT!  To say no to things that only seemed urgent so I could focus on what really matters. I decided to dig deep with the help of a few key advisors including my husband, in order to decide what I wanted my next few years to look like. I decided to focus on laying the ground work for the future that I want to manifest.

And though I had some HUGE successes in my design and consulting businesses and especially in my product designs last year, it was my marriage and my family that became my top priority. And oh WOW, have I ever reaped the rewards in those areas! It’s been so much fun when many of you have noticed and commented (on my social media and in person) over the last few months, about the changes you can see in my happiness. You’re right!

Relationships are like flowers, they need time and attention to bloom. And though my life seemed perfect before this year of focus, I didn’t realize that some of my relationships needed more time and attention than they were getting. As so many of you know, it is so hard to balance business and life, and for years my family has been patiently supporting my endeavors while I have tried to give them everything they needed. So 2016 was their turn to get major attention from me and I am thrilled that my family and I are truly happier than we have ever been because of it! Yes, I needed to be more connected to them too, and I was often too busy to even notice.

I also focused last year on downsizing the parts of my business that weren’t bringing in big profits or big success (like getting rid of my big brick and mortar we no longer need in lieu of a fabulous studio at home) so that I could be sure that the time I do spend on my business has the biggest payoffs with regard to fulfillment and finances. It was all part of my focus to balance work and family for the biggest rewards.

So when considering my word for 2017, I took a look back at my previous Word of the Year posts and something interesting happened. My intention to “Focus” in 2016 naturally led to my 2017 Word of the Year. In fact, if you look back at the blog post from January 2016, you’ll see the list of things I vowed to focus on…

I will forgo the good and Focus on the GREAT.

I will say no to many things that seem urgent and Focus on what matters.

I will travel less so I can Focus on my family more.

I will Focus on what I REALLY Want.

I will Focus on change.

I will Focus on what I can control.

I will Focus on what excites me.

I will Focus on being healthy.

I will Focus on finding Joy.

And what you will see is this year’s perfect word right there in the post. Because the last thing that I said I wanted to focus on was…

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That’s right, my word for 2017 is JOY! I said last year Joy would be part of what I wanted, but it was probably more of a side note, a secondary thought or at least one of several things I intended to seek.

This year it’s THE word. So what’s the difference in Joy and Happiness you ask? One definition I found said it this way…Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion. Feeling spiritually connected to a god or to people brings joy.

So my intention for this year is to let JOY shine in my life, both personally and professionally! I guess I got a taste of real happiness last year when I up-leveled my personal relationships, and now I want MORE. Joy will be the litmus test of every decision I make this year. If it doesn’t REALLY bring me JOY then it just won’t make the cut in 2017.

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But it goes deeper than that. It won’t just be the test when an opportunity arises. Joy will be the catalyst for more BIG changes this year for me and my business.

I want to make sure there is JOY in my design work. I definitely love my work but often a lot of “have tos” creep into my schedule or my projects. This year, I will go back to just taking the work that I am passionate about. And what I am most passionate about? Designing homes that support people in their goals, their intentions and their wellness. So look for some shifts in the design work I do. I am no longer willing to do work that doesn’t truly inspire me and bring me JOY. But if you want a home that makes you healthy and happy, then I may just be your designer!

I will expand on the JOY I feel when I help others through my consulting work. Many of you may not know that I don’t just work with designers, but all sorts of businesses to help with their marketing and social media, their online presence, their personal wellness and work-life balance and their overall brand. Our list of consulting clients includes all sorts of creatives types from lawyers, realtors, designers, and contractors to info product companies, telecommunication companies and financial advisors. Every type of small business can benefit from the work we do and this work brings me JOY! I will also do more personal and life consulting this year. Yes, consulting will be a big part of 2017 for me.

I find much JOY in my product designs and media partnerships and I will expand those in 2017. I can’t wait for you to see what I am up to in this area of my life. I have a few big announcements that will be coming soon.

But, most importantly, I want to focus on the JOY I have with my husband, my daughter, my family and a few close friends plus our 2 amazing pups this year. Have you seen how cute our new puppy is?!? Yes, I guess I am elated by the connection and fulfillment that my relationships brought me in 2016, so more than anything else, I want more of this in this new year.

There are turning points in all of our lives, more and more as we grow older, that cause us to stop and take stock of our lives and where we are. I’ve had some of those (a few bigs ones in 2016), and I’m sure you have, too. They remind us of what is most important to us and who we really care about in our lives. They also show us who really cares for and supports us,too. They make it clear who and what brings us JOY!

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Does that mean I’m turning my focus away from work? Not at all! Okay, well maybe some of it. I am going to travel less for work (yes, even less than last year). I am going to live less out of habit and more from intention. I plan to celebrate what I love about my job and my partnerships. I will do more of what makes me happy and less of what makes me stressed. It’s almost like I’ll be cleaning out my emotional closets and only keeping what brings me JOY. It’s sort of like Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up” but for my life.

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Life is short. It really, really is. And I am so glad that JOY will be the motivator for me in 2017 to stop “thinking about what will make me happy” and start only doing the things that will. It’s going to be a BIG push out of my comfort zone, even for a person like me who spends quite a lot of time out there on a limb. It will mean pulling the trigger on a few things I have been meaning to start and on more things I have been meaning to stop. And that’s scary stuff.

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I want more time. Free time, family time, down time. And the only way to create that kind of white space in my life is say no to a lot more and yes to a lot less. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. I plan to choose wisely.

I am going to lean into to my purpose and let go of some outdated dreams and expectations that I have been hanging on to. I am going to let go of the past and enjoy my present because being in the now is really just that, a gift.

I am so blessed, and my days of rushing towards the next gigantic achievement in some effort to make me happy are over. Because what makes us happy isn’t “out there” its an inside job. And inside is where I will cultivate the most JOY this year!

So what is YOUR intention for 2017? Can you seek more joy? We all need more happiness in our lives, but maybe it’s JOY you should really go after! No matter what you plan for the next 12 months, I truly wish you a JOYous new year!

with love and gratitude,

Tobi-Signature