Posts Tagged ‘Word of the Year’

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!

 

 

Join me in a month of Gratitude

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Hello lovely readers!

You may have noticed that it’s been a few months since my last post.  I have been enjoying my life more than ever before. That’s right, this isn’t a post about how busy I’ve been, its a post about how happy I’ve been.

I started 2017 with a focus on Joy and this has definitely been my most joyful year yet. From finishing my home remodel and chronicling it all in my Traditional Home column (you’ll see the big reveal in Traditional Home in the next issue), to completing my first year of having my design studio in my home, to making my family and my marriage more of a priority than ever, 2017 has been one of my favorites and I have so very much to be grateful for.

And though I have have been enjoying life instead of blogging, that doesn’t mean that blogging is a thing of the past for me. I have actually been putting the finishing touches on a new website and blog that you will see before year end. It is a major overhaul to our online presence and incorporates many exciting additions to my design and consulting businesses. The new year will bring exciting growth for my company, especially online, and 2018 will mean you can get more access to my designs and my business, life and health coaching than ever before, all right from your computer. What’s even more exciting is if you haven’t worked with me in the past because of price, my new offerings will make my consulting and coaching work more accessible than ever.  And all these changes mean even more work-life balance for me, because more of me online means I can work from anywhere and work around putting my family and my health first. How can I not be grateful for that? Plus I’ll teach you have to have more work-life balance too.

So as November kicks off today, I am kicking off a focus in my own life on gratitude for all the things that are going so right, and for all the challenges that brought learning and growth this year. I already journal every day and my November journal will be full of thanksgiving for my loves and my life. I hope you will join me in this practice as this year comes to an end. Grab yourself a pretty notebook today and start making your list. Gratitude has a way of making what we already have more than enough. And I believe it will make the holiday season full of joy like only a gratitude practice can do.

If you want a reminder to start your day full of gratitude, you can get this pretty little print here. Happy November, my dears. I hope you spend the month counting all your blessings. I’ll be counting mine too.

xo,

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Enjoy the Little Things!

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Today I am a Dance Mom. Probably not like the ones on the show I’ve heard about, ha! But today I am the mom of a dancer. Today I’m not an Interior Designer, or a Product Designer, or a Blogger, or a Baker, or a Yogi, or Business Consultant. I am just a Dance Mom.

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Yesterday life was hard. You know those days when everything you do seems like a challenge? There seemed to be a problem or a complication with just about every part of the day, and I found it really hard to focus on the good. I found it difficult to count my blessings. Which when I stepped back, was silly. I was being spoiled. My problems were so teeny, tiny in the grand scheme of life. But in the trenches they seemed enormous. They weren’t. I complained a lot. It didn’t make be feel better.

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As much as I would like to think I have it all together, many days I feel like a mess. I feel like nothing’s working. I feel like a disaster. And many of you may be thinking “Wow, if you are a disaster, Tobi, then what am I?” But you see that’s the thing. We are all disasters. And we are all perfect. All at the same time. And we all look at each other and think that we are the only ones who don’t have it all together. That we are the only mess. We are all a mess. We must embrace the mess.

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But no matter how big of a mess I am, there are days that I am a Dance Mom. Even when I don’t have time to be a Dance Mom. Even when I have a million other things that I should be doing instead of spending 10 hours out of town at a dance competition, there is absolutely NOTHING more important. Because in between goals, there is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.

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Because while I am telling myself how important a billion other things are, and how anything else is a distraction, it’s not really true. And I don’t even mean it. Or believe it. People will survive without me. Designs will wait one more day. Clients and staff can make it through the weekend. But my daughter will not dance her little heart out without me on the sidelines. She will know if I am not there. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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I think the REAL secret sauce above all other sauce is to enjoy the little things. It’s not a secret. We know this, right?  So why is it so hard to practice? Why do we make living so much harder than it has to be? Why do we keep joy at arm’s length? Why can’t we just lean into it, and relax, and drink it up? Why do we lie to ourselves about what we have time for? The truth is that we have absolutely the perfect amount of time to do what is really important to us. So it’s not a time issue, it’s a priority issue.

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Both Oxford Dictionary and the Urban Dictionary say the word that means “Calm down and relax” is Chillax. And that is my daughter’s mantra or as she calls it her “catch phrase”. In fact she deemed it her 2015 word of the year and she’s 10. Maybe it should have been mine. Obviously, she’s wise beyond her years. It’s most certainly her daily advice to me. “Chillax, Mom”. So today I will Chillax–both calm down AND relax. And I will breathe. And I will be. Just be. With her. Chillaxin’.

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Today my priority is Dance Mom. And I will be the best darn (and most Chillaxed) Dance Mom I can be. It’s funny, isn’t it? And it’s great. Life is Amazing…if we let it be.

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People are what’s important. Moments are Precious. The wise say “collect moments, not things”. That’s why they are wise. From the moment, a woman is pregnant everyone around us says, “It goes so fast!” “Soak it up.” “Time flies, they will be grown in a flash”. And before your baby is even here, you tire of hearing it. Ok already! Geez. we get it, it’s fast. But boy is it ever fast! It is so freaking fast. Ten years later seems like 10 seconds. It’s like lightening. If you blink…gone.

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I will never have this day again, so today I am a Dance Mom. And I will soak it in. I will engrave it in my memory. And I will enjoy every minute of it, because this my friends, is the Secret Sauce.

xo,

Tobi Signature