Posts Tagged ‘Living your best life’

The Joy of Essentialism

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Have you ever heard the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?” Well that is what Greg McKeown is for me–a teacher. I am on my second reading of his book Essentialism. I discovered this book last year thanks to a course I was taking online by Hilary Rushford (she taught a great class on doing less by the way!) and this book changed my life.

So now that I have made some MAJOR changes over the last 9 months personally and professionally (we’ll talk about those more soon – I promise!), I decided to read it again. I knew that I would hear things that I didn’t hear the first time around because I am already in a different place thanks to my pursuit of a simpler life and my resolutions to find more joy and love myself more.

I think the biggest gift from Greg’s book is this:”If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” WOW! Talk about a litmus test for what to allow in your life! And I don’t know about you, but I think I have a harder time dealing with some of the small things like whether to go out with my girlfriends on a weeknight vs. staying home and getting a good night’s sleep than I do with big business decisions sometimes. But whether the decision is big or small, this concept makes the choice crystal clear. If you waiver at all, the answer is no. What a relief that is to me in so many ways. It stops the conversations in our heads, the guilt, the waffling. What a lot of time this one concept can save in our decision making and in our lives in general. Time that we can spend doing something truly meaningful.

Greg and I have a similar vision about people. I love to help others find their passion and purpose, live their best life, find happiness and joy in their businesses and in their homes. And I see so many people doing things because they think they “have to” but not because they want to or like to. And I have definitely felt that way at times. But the truth is this…

Very few things are essential. There are so FEW things that we really must do to be happy or profitable. This is completely in line with my mantra “Say no to the good so you can say yes to the best.” What stresses us out, overwhelms us, makes us want to escape work and life, is saying yes to all those non-essential things that we somehow can’t say no to. How many times I have heard people I am consulting with on their businesses say “Well, they aren’t my ideal client but they were a referral from a friend so I HAVE to take them on.” No you don’t! Or what about when people say “You know, I don’t want to offer that service, I don’t even like doing that, but I feel like to be in this business we have to have that service or people will not hire us.” Ok, so they don’t hire you – you don’t like working that way anyway! The list of things that I hear people doing daily that they don’t want to but “have to” is endless and if we are perfectly honest, it’s also a lie. We DON’T have to do it. We have a choice.

Oh wouldn’t life be so beautiful and people so happy if they had the courage to live a life that is true to themselves. I want this for my daughter, heck I want this for me!  I want this for my niece and nephew, my husband, my mom, my brother, my friends. I want this for our world. A life of authenticity, to truly be who and what you want to be. That would be the most refreshing and inspiring world I could possibly imagine.

I can’t say enough things about this book by Greg McKeown and how this way of thinking has changed my mindset. And it builds so beautifully on other great books I have read like Tim Ferriss’ idea in The 4 Hour Work Week of making as much money as you can in as little time as possible so you can spend the rest of your time doing what you want. Yes, that definitely fits my idea of the essentialist lifestyle and it’s a plan I am putting into place more now than ever.

I don’t know about you, but hitting mid-life made me re-think what I want for the next half of this life. And I definitely want more listening, pondering, meditating and enjoying the most important people in my life. One of the most interesting things in the book to me was discussion of priorities. The word “priorities” only became plural in America in the 1940s. Prior to that is was priority, singular, because really you can only have ONE MOST important thing. But in the ’40s, Americans started trying to do more and be more and at work we were expected to accomplish more.

And now in our lives and businesses we talk about priorities and the list could include dozens of things. DOZENS! Then we wonder why in the world we are so tired, so overworked, so confused and so ineffective all the time. This way of thinking is a sure-fire way to fail every single day. And I don’t know about you but I feel like that often. I rarely feel like I win when I go head-to-head against my to-do list.  But if we had one true priority every day, could we really hit that? I suspect we could. If we removed all the non-essentials from our to-do list, it would probably be really short.

So I want you to know the JOY I am finding in Essentialist thinking and in the quest to move closer to this way of living. It is definitely what helped me find more Joy in Quitting and I know that the more I practice the “Disciplined Pursuit of Less but Better,” the more Joy will surely come into my life and the lives of those I love. Cheers to Essentialism!

Joyfully yours,

 

 

 

The Joy of Saying No

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learning to say no

There is so much JOY in saying no sometimes, right? But conversely, saying no is often one of the hardest things we do. It is really difficult when good and exciting opportunities present themselves to you and you think “I HAVE to say yes to this”, but you know you really don’t have the bandwidth to take it on. You’ve been there, haven’t you? I know, me too!

And then sometimes even when our gut tells us we don’t want to do something, it’s still hard to say no. We feel guilty or obligated or uncomfortable in these situations, don’t we?

priorites

I have a life philosophy that says “Say no to the good so you can say YES to the great”. But sometimes in the moment you can’t tell the difference. Especially when it’s someone you love or admire or respect that is doing the asking.

I have been working with my team, my family and my therapist (yes, I have one and I think everyone should, but that’s a whole different blog post) to continue to clean out and declutter my life and my to do list. I know this is the only way to find more joy and to love myself more–which are my only 2 goals for this year.

because I am busy

But even at that, it is SOOOO hard sometimes to get rid of things or say no to new opportunities. Or for me, the hardest is probably NOT launching new ideas and endeavors because I am an idea girl, a visionary, a big thinker, a dreamer. And cutting out all of that brainstorming of new ideas is killing me in the short run. But for my long term goals, simplifying is the only way to true peace and joy.

the moment

So this week, my therapist and I came up with a great analogy or plan and I think is something to which many of you can relate, so I wanted to share it with you here. We were talking about my workaholic tendencies and my chronic over-achiever personality. And trust me, over-achiever sounds like a good thing but that’s not always the case. It can be exhausting and hard on you both mentally and physically. And we noticed that my workload was still out of balance, even with all the pruning I’ve been doing. I have “too much on my plate” as we say.  My therapist said my plate looks like a Thanksgiving feast piled to the top and over-flowing and we got a good laugh at that. But it also gave me a HUGE Ah-ha moment.

warren buffet

You see, she suggested my “plate” look healthy with 3-5 dollops of work on it TOTAL.  You can imagine a healthy plate of food with a little protein, a little carb, a lot of green veggies–you get the point. And you know what I realized? When my proverbial “plate” is overloaded like the Thanksgiving feast, so is my real plate because my personality type and habits include emotional eating or eating lots of sugar and carbs. I know for many of you stress equals an unhealthy existence for you too.

So for the first time in my life I think I really “got it” that for me an overloaded plate of commitments means weight gain, fatigue, stress, and many other unhealthy things. And this really clicked with me. In fact it sort of scared me.

super soul

So I am back to my mission of saying no to the good and saying yes to my best self. And there is so much JOY in this way of thinking and even more in the results I will be getting including more time for all the things that are most important to me and feeling healthy enough to enjoy those blessings.

Here’s to the JOY of saying no more this year and saying YES to the best version of you!

Joyfully yours,

Tobi Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Say No to the Good and Make Room for the Best

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Life is so interesting. We work hard for opportunities, for money, to reach our dreams. We set goals and kill ourselves to reach them. And even when our wants and wishes and dreams do start to happen, it’s not always what we thought it would be. Isn’t it ironic? How many times have you thought to yourself “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?” Well I’ve certainly thought that while standing at the crossroads of which amazing things in my life to say “Yes” to and which to say “No” to or maybe not No but “Not Now”.

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You may be thinking, wow, Tobi you got what you wanted and you’re not happy! But it’s not that at all. What I mean is that life has this interesting way of offering you tons of choices and opportunities and many of them are good and a few of them are Great. And you have to be able to tell the difference to craft and create and mold the life you really want. Finding Joy…that is my objective. And for me, finding joy means saying no a lot. 

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One of my all-time favorite quotes and ideas is this…”You have to say No to the Good so you can say YES to the Best!” I have been highly focused on this quote for the last few years. It’s one of my mantras when life presents so many opportunities to me. I can’t say yes to everything. Well I can, but that doesn’t equal the life I want. I’ve tried it and it only caused me to be tired or overwhelmed or overworked or unavailable when the GREAT things happened. And that’s not at all what I was looking for. My family and my health suffered when I said yes to the good.

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So today’s Secret Sauce is this…Say YES to the Best! Let that sink in. Say YES to the GREAT! Say yes to the BEST for you and say no to EVERYTHING else. This sounds simple but it’s really hard. How do you answer these questions? What is right for me? What do I want? What is my Purpose? Which is my path? How can I say No to this?

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And what I often find is that what I thought I wanted turns out to be not exactly what I wanted. It may be close, but it needs a little work. Or it may be completely wrong for me. And that doesn’t mean that I am unhappy with what I get. It’s more like this…I strive for something and work hard to achieve it and I have fun in the process or at least I learn something. And then when I get there, I have to do what I call “Measure and Adjust”. I get to decide if the path I was heading down is the right one or if I need to tweak it a bit or even do a 180 degree turn. And you know what? Nothing is wrong with that. Nothing is wrong with changing your mind when you have more information. Nothing is wrong with wishing you could travel more only to decide you want more time at home. Nothing is wrong with thinking you want a big giant business only to decide a small one fits you best. Nothing is wrong with wanting a big house and then deciding you want less to maintain and less to pay for.

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The exciting part is that we can determine our own destiny. And yes, of course there are some things we have to do for a while until we can say no to them. For example we can’t quit our jobs to start our dream jobs if we have a family to feed and no other source of income. But the best news is these choices are ours to make. And if we are going to be happy we have to go deep inside and see what we really want. And then we can start putting things into place so before long we can say no to everything that isn’t serving us, even that old “bill-paying” job that wasn’t part of our Best, because we have created a new way of living and supporting those we love that is truly right for us. Making these transitions are scary. But we have to have the guts to say NO to the good so we can say YES to the best.

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John F. Kennedy said to those that “much is given, much is required”. And I know he likely meant this from a perspective of service to others and I agree. But I think this is also profound in just thinking about what is right for each of us. When we are given many opportunities and avenues in life, there is a lot required of us to make sure we are making the right choices. There is big responsibility to be true to ourselves and those we love and those we can help. There is the huge job of picking the path that lets us live in our sweet spot and live up to our potential and use our talents and gifts and to find joy and fulfillment. WOW! No pressure, right?

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One of the biggest killers of picking the right path is FOMO. What’s FOMO you ask? It’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. Yep, there it is. That little devil sitting on our shoulder saying “But all your friends will be there” or “You’ve worked so hard for this and now you are going to change your mind” or “What if people think I’m a flake” or any other number of things that run through our heads when we know that we are saying yes to good and fun and fabulous, but it doesn’t align with what we say we really want. It isn’t the BEST. So beware of FOMO. It’s the thing that will keep your dream life just out of reach. Be patient my friends and be diligent. Say No to the good and make room for the BEST!

Here’s to wishing you the Courage in 2016 to make your life exactly what you were meant to be. Here’s to your BEST life.

xo,

Tobi-Signature
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And speaking of the best, sometimes the best for me means living life to the fullest with those I love, like baking with my daughter every chance I get. I gave you a glimpse of this beauty in my blog post yesterday. Yes, sometimes we CAN have our cake and eat it too and today’s recipe is the Best Cake Ever! My Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine about 15 years ago.

Here’s wishing you a Sweet 2016 with those you love and to Living your Best Life (while eating the BEST cake)!

Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing

  • 2 pounds (about 3) sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • Unsalted butter, for pans
  • 2 cups cake flour, (not self-rising), plus more for pans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound white chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat potatoes with 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, and mash flesh with a fork into coarse puree.
  2. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Butter two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup vegetable oil; beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the cooled sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
  3. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix into sweet potato mixture. Mix in vanilla and brandy until combined. Remove batter from mixer; fold in 1 cup macadamia nuts by hand.
  4. Evenly distribute cake batter into prepared pans, and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; cool completely, about 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, chop white chocolate into small pieces; set aside. Bring 1 cup cream to a boil; pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. When chocolate mixture has cooled, pour remaining cup cream into an electric mixer; whip on medium until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.
  7. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally, creating four layers. Spread 2/3 cup chocolate frosting on one layer, then stack next layer on top, and frost. Repeat frosting-and-stacking process until each layer is frosted. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup macadamia nuts on top of cake, and serve.

 

Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Reviewing Your Goals Daily

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Celebrate every tiny victory! (2)

Happy Saturday, Friends! And Happy 2016.

I haven’t been as great at blogging on weekends in the past several months (aka all of 2015). And I don’t like that because my posts and topics on the weekends are really some of my favorites. There’s nothing I like more than pouring a second cup of coffee and writing a post while still in my PJ’s.

So why wasn’t I blogging? Well it’s because I have been too busy working on my 4 product lines. Or I was doing client work on Saturdays because during the week I was working on product lines. Or maybe because I was designing my own home each Saturday because during the week I was working on product lines. Or another reason was I was resting on the weekend because you guessed it!  Yes, I had been working on product lines.

Ha! Can you see that there was a theme to 2015? I really put out some significant work and achievements in 2015 but that didn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.

Celebrate every tiny victory! (4)

So today on this first Saturday of 2016, I wanted to blog with a new title. I wanted to call today Saturday’s Secret Sauce. Why? Because I do a ton of reading and studying in the areas of business and self-help. I take lots of classes and courses online about business and about life. And often times in the realm of these books and courses you hear mention of “the Secret Sauce”.

What does that mean, you might ask? Well here’s a definition from one online source. “Secret Sauce is that elusive quality that makes something distinctive or special. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you know it when you see it.”

Oxford Dictionary defines it as “A special feature or technique kept secret by an organization and regarded as being the chief factor in it’s success.”

So for Saturday’s Secret Sauce, two things come to mind. First, a blog on one of the things that I think is the “Secret Sauce” to a great life. And for me that means a life of reaching my goals, cherishing family and focusing on my health. And secondly, I think this is a fun place for me to share one of my favorite recipes, because a lot of you know (maybe because you follow me on Instagram) that I LOVE to cook. My daughter loves to cook too and we are always whipping up yummy recipes sometimes from cookbooks, sometimes from Blue Apron, and sometimes old family recipes from my mom or my grandmothers and great-grandmother. So here’s a fun way for me to bring together two things I really love…self help and cooking.

Today for Saturday’s Secret Sauce I’ll keep it short and sweet (with a little savory mixed in, too!)

Celebrate every tiny victory! (3)

As I come off a week of reviewing my 2015 accomplishments and writing my goals for 2016, there is one thing that I think may be the Secret Sauce to success for me more than anything else this year and it’s this–You will achieve your goals if you 1.) Write them Down and  2.) Review Your Goals Daily if possible, and a minimum of a Weekly review.

Why do I think this is so important? Well I realized that I didn’t revisit my goals, particularly my health goals, on a regular basis last year or maybe ever really. I have always written my goals down. But I noticed I just checked in maybe once or twice over that 12 month period. And staying on top of my health and wellness was one area where I fell short last year, so I have to imagine what that area of my life might look like with daily focus.

Now just to be clear, I am lucky that I am in good health. I don’t have any major health issues or disease that I know so many people deal with. But I didn’t eat as clean as planned. I put on a few pounds that I feel better without, and I had too much sugar and my joints are screaming at me because of it.

In analyzing my year and thinking of what would have made a difference for me in reaching more of what I set out to, I realized that if I had been reviewing my goal to be healthy daily, there would have been a MUCH greater chance I would have decided to eat better or not let my exercise fall off on days I was tired or when I was traveling which are my two biggest goal killers. Often times, it’s the out of sight, out of mind scenario that keeps me from doing what I planned. I just literally don’t think about it because I’m busy. Or I let other negative thoughts creep in like–“I’m too tired” or “I don’t feel like it”  or “It’s too hard to do this when I travel” that keep me from being my best.

Celebrate every tiny victory! (5)

I am a big goal setter. I have been for years and I accomplish a lot so I think it works for me. But how do I set myself up for even more success? This year my secret sauce is going to be reviewing my goals daily. So I already have them written in a journal and also on my iPhone. And I scheduled a time in my calendar for daily review, plus I set a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget.

There is NO WAY I am letting this daily goals review discipline fall off my Calendar this year and I know I will be healthier at the end of 2016 because of it.  Thankfully, right next to my goals this year, I am writing down in my journal what excuses I might come up with to not be healthy, or not work out and if I am looking at my list daily, I will have a hard time letting my excuses keep me from my goals. I’ll likely grin to myself when I read those excuses as I was just about to use one of them and then I’ll drag my “I’m too tired self” right over to my treadmill or out to meet my Walking Buddy Brandy and we’ll make it happen in spite of my excuses.

So there is it friends. My first thought about the Secret Sauce that will make me my best this year. In the comments below, let me know if you think this might be the secret sauce for you to reach your goals this year too!

And while you are pondering my Short and Sweet advice, here’s something Savory for you to dive into to get your Veggies in this year.
mom's veggie soup

Mom’s Veggie Soup:

1 pound of Ground Beef ( I use the 95% lean version to make it healthier)

Chopped Cabbage (I buy the slaw mix at the grocery store so it’s already cut up and oh so easy!)

1 onion small diced

1 can of Rotel

1 package of Frozen Soup Veggies

1 package of Frozen Gumbo Mix Veggies

Tomato Juice (46 ounces)

Water (I just add about a cup, but you can decide the perfect consistency for you)

Sugar (about 1/4 cup but you can also use Splenda or Stevia if you prefer.)

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Brown your ground beef and drain it. Add in the cabbage and onion and cook with the drained ground beef so it starts to soften (1-2 minutes), add in all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for at least an hour. Then enjoy. I love to make a pot of this in my Staub 5 1/2 quart Cocette (it’s the perfect size and you can get yours here!) and eat it for my lunch for an entire week. Yum!

Happy Saturday, Happy Goal-setting and Happy Cooking! xo,

Tobi Signature