Posts Tagged ‘Resolutions’

My 2018 Word of the Year

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Happy 2018! It is here. A fresh start. This is the beginning of anything you want.

And I know what I want. I have been choosing a word of the year for the past 6 years, this year is #7. It’s one of my favorite New Year’s traditions and it’s instrumental in guiding my choices and path for the 12 months ahead. Over the years I have chosen the words Discipline, Inspire, Action, Significance, Focus and Joy. Each time I chose the perfect word and that’s not by accident, I go through a very thorough process to make sure I get the word just right.

This year, I am in a far different place than I have ever been. I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals in the last 19 years of owning my business and 15 years of marriage. Life is good. But staying in my comfort zone isn’t how I roll. So it’s time for some major shifts. Time to shake things up. Time to dial down on what I want. Change is super exciting to me, but also scary, which helps me know something big is happening in my life.

Maybe it’s my age. I will soon turn 46, on the downhill side of my 40’s. There is something about your 40’s and being at mid-life and having a teenager and all the other things that come with this season of life, that make you look at your world differently. I have a totally different list of what’s important to me than I did in my 20’s and 30’s.

In this season of life, my desire is no longer to make my mark, but rather to make a difference.

I am in a place of balance, a place of peace, a mindset of wellness, with a strong connection to home.  I am ready to serve and nurture and love. I am in a place of dedication to using my gifts and talents and knowledge. I am committed to making my biggest and best contribution to the world yet.

I want to focus on my company and it’s growth internally. I have spent a lot of time working to put my company on the map with social media and public speaking and getting published. Now I want to see where my business can serve people in the biggest way. Who can we help? What can we improve? How can we use our gifts, and talents and knowledge to help others live their best life? Where can we be more streamlined, more profitable, more effective? How can we simplify?

I want to focus on my family and our growth. What can we do to be our best? Who can we help more, serve more, love more? How can we focus more on what’s really important? What life lessons do we need to master this year? How much money can we save? How can we be better to each other, better to our friends, better listeners, better Christians?

I want to focus on myself and my personal growth. What areas still need improvement? What part of my life have I been ignoring? Where have I been holding myself back with fear, or lack of focus, or busy-ness?

And what word will help me stay committed to this streamlined and introspective and focused approach to 2018?  I considered connect, invest, essential, abundance, flourish, peace, balance, cultivate, contentment, mindful, aligned, renew, priority, purpose, shine, worth, value, heart and bloom. I strongly considered grace. And I knew that none of these words exactly captured what I wanted to feel this year.

Yes I am more intentional, more balanced, more simplified and more connected to my priorities than ever before. But I am not looking for a take it easy year. In fact I am looking for the opposite. I am as driven as ever to accomplish my goals this year, but my goals are just different than they’ve ever been. I needed a word that was active and aggressive and committed to the things that are most important to me which is family, health, wealth and joy. And for that reason, I chose…

My life will be different in 2018. I have spent the last 24 months downsizing my big 6000 square foot office to a home-based office, cutting my business expenses by 2/3, and increasing my profit margins by 200%. I have taken my marriage from so-so to on fire. I have gone from feeling like I had very little time for friends, to feeling so connected to more true friends than ever. I have gone from a workaholic who traveled constantly for work, to a mom and wife who is present and connected and my cup is overflowing because of it. The best thing that happened in 2017 is I overheard one of my daughter’s friends say their step-dad was a workaholic and my daughter (not knowing I was listening) said, “Oh my mom used to be one of those”. Be still my heart.

But these changes didn’t mean my business went away, it’s just more dialed in, it’s more intentional, it’s more profitable and it’s more fulfilling than ever before. I didn’t get rid of the important business stuff, I just got rid of everything else. I got rid of the distractions and the mediocre. In 2017, I looked at every potential opportunity under a microscope and the opportunity costs of each one. If it took me away from my family, there was one strike against it. If it made me a ton of money and was inspiring, I would still consider it. If the money or inspiration was marginal but it required travel, it was a no.

And you know what happened…I found that the things that make me THE most money and make THE biggest contributions to the world  can all be done from my home office between the hours of 8 and 3!! And this realization was life changing.

So now armed with my new knowledge for how to create balance, how to be a warrior protecting my schedule like my life depends on it (because it does) and a brand new way of prioritizing so that the things that really matter are where I spend my time, I am ready to THRIVE in 2018.

I will THRIVE :

as a Mom

as a Wife

as a Coach

as a Designer

as a Friend

in Health and Wellness

I am tired of just surviving. I am over barely keeping my head above water. I am done with saying yes to a whole bunch of things that may stroke my ego, but don’t really matter. You know what strokes my ego these days? Feeling rested, energized, connected, loved and helping others feel the same. It strokes my ego to THRIVE!

I believe 2018 will be a good year. In fact, I believe it will be GREAT.

In 2018 my family and I will THRIVE. What will you do?

Bring it, 2018. Let’s do this!

 

 

The Joy of White Space

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whitespace

 

Henry Kissinger once said, “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” Does that sound familiar? I am embarrassed to admit how many years of my life could have been described that exact same way. But not anymore.

I crave white space. And I am moving mountains these days to have white space in my life. It’s critical to my happiness and my mental health. It brings me joy. White space traditionally means the area on the written page or screen where there are no words or characters. It’s about leaving room on the screen or page for elements to breathe. And personal white space is leaving room to breathe in your life or your schedule.

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Winston Churchill practiced lots of white space and I think we can all agree he had a remarkable and productive life, right? He would wake up around 7:30am every day and spend most of his morning in bed (this is my favorite place to work in the morning–who am I kidding, I’d work in the bed all day! ) Here, he had breakfast, read his mail, caught up on all of the national newspapers and dictated to his secretaries.  At 11am he would get out of bed, wash and take a walk in the garden. His lunch was from 1–3:30pm most days, and was usually a full three-course meal with his family and guests. After lunch he would often work again until around 5pm. He then took a nap–a long one–at 5pm everyday for an hour and a half.  At 8pm he would have dinner—dining again with family and guests. Usually he returned to his study for another hour or so of work after dinner. I don’t know about you, but this honestly is a perfect schedule in my opinion–a beautiful mixture of rest, work, love and enjoyment–every day.

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White space is exactly that. Room for taking a nap everyday and not hiding it, or explaining it, or feeling guilty about it. White space means time with family or friends, including making spontaneous plans with them and having the freedom to make them happen. White space means alone time. And for me, some of the most important white space is work, but on whatever I want, for as long as I want. What a treat to lean into my creativity or brainstorming exactly when I want to, when the mood strikes or when the ideas come. And I believe if we use our white space as an opportunity to live in our sweet spot, to do our life’s work, to live our purpose–then a life full of white space can bring financial freedom too.

A great example of a famous lover of white space who has made a great living doing what he does best is Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week.  Here’s a peek at Tim’s typical schedule. Mondays and Fridays are generally off-limits for phone calls from Tim’s assistants, so he has the flexibility to take a long weekend on either side. How’s that for white space?  Tim also schedules very few things into his calendar period.  That way he doesn’t need to stress about multi-tasking to get things done. Tim says: “The goal is to spend as much time possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time. I don’t have to do anything in my schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.”

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We have to remember that choosing a life that is right for us, even when no one else you know is living this way, is not only ok, it’s imperative. And just because this sort of schedule (or lack of one) isn’t culturally celebrated or even accepted in America doesn’t mean that you can’t create a life full of white space perfect for you. The glorification of busy is old news. White space is the new black. And on this second week of my 52 weeks of JOY, living with white space is far from empty…it’s what fills me up!

Wishing you much more white space in your life this year!

Joyfully yours,

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Shopping Guide: New Year, New You

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I love a shiny new year! It’s so full of promise and things-to-come! That’s why it’s the perfect time of year to start something new, or to set goals and intentions. Whether it’s making a commitment to health, learning to cook something new, or deciding to keep a journal through 2017, I’ve come up with the perfect list to help you get your goals on for the new year!

Happy Shopping, and Happy New Year!

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  1. “Live Life” Faux Leather Journal– It’s a fresh start with a new year and a new you, so seize the opportunity to start journaling to track your inspiration and how you grow this year!
  2. Kate Spade New York Gold Dots Agenda– We all start out the new year saying “This is the year I will stay more organized!” Well this year, you really can with a beautiful Kate Spade agenda with trendy gold polka dots.
  3. 13” Saffiano Computer Case by Kate Spade– Staying organized can be fun and chic with this crisp linen colored leather computer case with gold hardware.
  4. Classic iPad Case– A bright Kelly green (one of my favorite colors!) leather iPad case is easy for the on-the-go student or business-minded individual!
  5. Metro Leather Strap Watch– Maybe your resolution this year is to be on time? Well you can’t do that without a stunning camel and gold watch that will match every outfit perfectly so you’ll even want to be a few minutes early.
  6. Swissmar Arosa 11-Piece Stainless Steel Fondue Set– Throughout the year, it’s easy to get too busy and lose sight of what is important. Start a new family tradition – fondue night!
  7. 32-Ounce Water Bottle– Drinking enough water is a constant struggle, so make it easier with a cute water bottle that reminds you to “Drink Up”!
  8. ‘Lunar’ Training Shoe by Nike– One of the most common resolutions is to exercise, so let’s start it off right with new training shoes!
  9. Floral-Embossed Yoga Mat, Magenta– You all know I love yoga, so I can’t wait to get back to my routine after all of the holiday festivities with a fresh yoga mat in inspiring, bright magenta!
  10. Moto Full-Length Sport Leggings– A pair of super chic biker-style quilted yoga leggings can quickly go from workout to cute outfit for lunch and errands! It’s impossible to not workout when the clothes are this cute.
  11. Mia 2 – Seabreeze Sonic Skin Cleansing System by Clarisonic– This year is all about you, and making you feel your best. Put your best face forward by cleansing every night with this compact, and easy to travel with cleansing system.
  12. Williams-Sonoma Reserve Chardonnay Wine Glasses, Set of 2– Spend more quality time with the special someone in your life over a glass of wine- whether it’s your significant other, best friend, or your bubble bath!
  13. Schwinn 870 Treadmill– Are you planning a 10K in the near future? Keep your training on track regardless of weather or scheduling restraints with an at home treadmill.
  14. ‘Alta’ Wireless Fitness Tracker– Let’s keep track of all of our fitness goals this year with a Fitbit that will track your distance, activity time, calories burned, and steps! Plus, this model will track your sleep, gently wake you up with a vibrating alarm, and remind you about your workout goals.
  15. Nest Plus 9 Cups and Bowls Set– Is your goal to cook more this year? You’ll need your kitchen to be fully stocked with all of the essentials, which are included in this convenient stacking set of measuring cups and bowls.
  16. Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer & Cookbook Set– You never knew eating healthy could taste this good! Start off the new health you with a spiralizer and cookbook set to add more vegetables into your diet while serving up some delicious creations for you and your family.

The Real Health of Your Company

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As we move into the new year, with our new list of goals and intentions (I’ll be sharing some of mine soon), let me ask you something. How is your health? I’m not talking about your financial health, I’m talking about your personal health, something that I really want you to think about as you read this blog.

If you think this is about Tobi’s “woo woo” ideas, think again. Business magazines like Forbes and Inc. are focusing on the direct correlation between healthy executives and healthy company bottom lines. Top businesses are realizing that they have to protect their #1 asset, and that is their CEO.

So what is your company’s biggest asset? That’s right – it’s YOU. How are you protecting your investment and your company?

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I promise you this job is hard when you’re healthy. When you’re tired and dragging, it is doubly hard (or likely exponentially so). It takes huge amounts of energy to travel, have client meetings, be creative, and run a business while keeping erratic hours – and then do those all over again the next day. There are so many demands of the job and company that we often put ourselves on the back burner and that doesn’t even take into account all the family and other obligations that happen when our workday is done.

Add to that the fact that technology allows us to have constant contact with our jobs and makes it difficult to unplug. That means we can end up in pretty bad shape because we have no time to replenish our energy – mental or physical.  Yes, we often end up on a hamster wheel with no stopping point in sight. Stress also compounds the problems of our inconsistent exercise and diet. And there is PLENTY of stress in our jobs, isn’t there? It takes a strong effort, especially for those of us who own our own companies, to protect our own health.

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Beyond the obvious benefits of being active and eating healthy, taking care of yourself is a sound business decision. With owning your own company comes intense pressure to succeed and to make more money. What we often forget is that the more fit we are, the better our job performance. These two things are linked – personal health absolutely influences professional performance. Let me say that again (it’s tweet-worthy)…personal health ABSOLUTELY influences professional performance!  Getting fit can help us excel at work, to be better leaders, and to perform with more energy, focus, and creativity.

What it comes down to is that the fitness of a company’s owner, leader, and CEO can determine the success of a company. Think about how costly it would be if you were out of commission for an extended time – could your company survive? Your health and your day-to-day productivity has the biggest impact on your company’s success. The ability to physically keep up with the fast pace and long hours that our industry requires is absolutely critical.

Celebrate every tiny victory! (6)

In other words, the simple benefit of being healthy and having more energy should be enough to keep anyone eating right and exercising, but if that’s not enough, remember your entire company is at stake. An unhealthy, disengaged CEO makes for an unhealthy, disengaged company.

So here is some advice as we enter this new year: You should put exercise sessions on your appointment calendars, give exercise equal billing with a client meeting! When you think you can’t afford to workout because you have to get to the office, THINK AGAIN! And you should think about how to have healthier meals on the go – maybe have someone prepare them for you, or get them ready and packed on the weekend. And while you’re at it, put a meditation app on your phone so you can settle your mind for 5 minutes every day or longer if you can commit to it. Even if it’s in your parked car outside the design center, meditation could change your life and your business. And don’t even get me started on yoga. It’s a game-changer for sure!

Remember you will be a better designer, and a better CEO, if you take care of yourself. You will be more productive and emotionally stable, and your mental, emotional and physical performance will improve. Let’s keep ourselves (and our companies) happy and productive this year! It’s my top priority for 2016. Will you join me? Let’s be the healthiest part of our companies in 2016!

xo,

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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.

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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,

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