Archive for the ‘Motivational Monday’ Category

Hard Work Pays Off

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People often ask me how I’ve achieved so many of the things that I’ve done – many times they seem to be looking for some sort of “secret sauce” that will help them get to the goals they’ve set for themselves. But I can honestly tell you that there isn’t any sort of secret. It’s just hard work!

No one really wants to hear that, but it’s true. Every designer that you see achieving something right now in our industry – whether it’s a book, a licensed product line, an award, a successful shop, or a speaking engagement – has worked really hard for it. Harder than you can imagine. But the rewards can be great and, for me, fulfilling my dreams is the ultimate reward!


The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone is one of my absolute favorite books. I think I’ve read it at least 3 times and I find something different (and profound) each time. In the book, Cardone says that the only difference between success and failure is trying hard – 10 times as hard! Whatever goals you currently have for yourself, Cardone says you should multiple that by 10. Go 10 times higher than what you think you are capable of achieving. And as he says, if you stop limiting yourself, you will be surprised by what you’re truly capable of. Our targets are often too low – and that causes us to underestimate ourselves and our potential. We need to set goals 10x higher to actually reach them!


But where Cardone really strikes a chord with me is when he talks about action. Massive action! The 10x rule means that you need to take 10x MORE action than what you’re taking at this very moment. If you usually make 5 sales calls to potential clients per day, start making 50. If you have as your goal to make $100,000 this year, reset that goal to $1,000,000! And he doesn’t just mean a pie-in-the-sky, arbitrary increase in your goals, but rather a plan with specific action steps laid out to actually get to the goal that is 10 times what you were originally thinking. And yes, I can already hear you saying: “I don’t have time to make 50 calls a day.” And you know what? That’s an excuse. You do if you really want to. You do if you cut out all the things in your daily life that aren’t getting you closer to your goals.

Yes, excuses rear their ugly heads all the time. We make excuses for our families, our businesses, and ourselves. Or negative self-talk and limiting beliefs lead to excuses, which lead to failure to meet our goals. Excuses are simply a way for us to justify our lack of performance. Excuses are our way of procrastinating the hard work required to reach our goals. And yes, the hard work can be painful. Only the few who really are determined will reach their potential. As they say, if it were easy, everyone would do it. But we know that not everyone does. Do you want to be one of the very few who actually make it to their ultimate goals and dreams? Then stop making excuses and start making a plan!

Tim Notke

The more action you’re taking, the closer you will be to your success. It’s time to raise your standards. Again, stop limiting yourself – you’re capable of SO much more! What is it you’re working on right now that you can take MASSIVE action on? You have to get rid of excuses, set your sights high, and TAKE ACTION!

And be ready. This isn’t a life of leisure. You’re not going to have that 50-50 balance. You may feel like you are missing out on things. But if it’s your passion to reach your dreams, then this path is right for you. The rewards are great, but so is the hard work.

There is no such thing as “get rich quick” in this, or any other, business. And there are no shortcuts. You just have to get focused and do the work! So if you are still sitting there waiting for the shortcut, stop NOW! Commit to the hard work. Ask yourself what are you wasting time on (and you know you are). Cut that out so you can focus on the actions and activities that will you get you to your goals! Ask yourself what you should say no to so you can say YES to the things you really want in life. That means saying no to many, many more things than you say yes to.

I know you can do this IF you want it bad enough. Do you want it?

Go for it!








Motivational Monday: Change as a Way of Life

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Birthday cupcakesTomorrow is my 43rd birthday. I love birthdays! Getting older doesn’t bother me – I think it’s a privilege. I actually like myself and my life more each year. But time does fly, doesn’t it? Seems like yesterday that I was saying I was turning 40. And the day before that I was having my daughter, who will be 10 this summer.

Things change. In fact, they change every day. Or more like every second. Just yesterday at church I was reminded that every 7-10 years, our bodies and our cells completely regenerate themselves. Isn’t that interesting? Every 7 years we are a completely “new” person.

shadows with elle

Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite teachers, authors, and deep-thinkers puts it this way:

“This strange phenomenon of you being an I that continuously enters, discards, and reenters a new body has proceeded right up until this very moment.

I am currently in a 70-year-old body that’s nothing like the body I occupied 50 years ago. I remember well what that 20-year-old body I occupied looked like, what it could do, and what it knew and didn’t know, but I can’t find it anywhere – it’s simply an illusion. It is gone from this physical world, as is every body that both you and I have occupied in our lifetime. 

The physical body that you think of as you is rearranged in a pattern designed by a formless intelligence independent of your opinions. This I that you use to describe yourself isn’t the physical form that you occupy and take with you everywhere. Quantum physics states that the body you’re occupying, which is reading this paragraph right now, is completely different from the body you were in when you read the previous paragraph. Such is the nature of the physical world in which we all live.

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus put it this way several thousand years ago, and it is true today: “All things are in motion and nothing is at rest… You cannot go into the same [river] twice.” A river is a constantly changing phenomenon, as is a tree, a mountain, a goat, a human, and the physical universe including Earth. That which defines a thing, therefore, is not physical in nature; it is metaphysical. When asked “What is real?” an ancient spiritual avatar responded without hesitation, “That is real which never changes.” And since your body is in a continuous state of change, it is not real.

If you try to find that toddler body you once occupied, you realize that it is not real, since it no longer exists. Even while you were in it years ago, you couldn’t call it real, because the moment you pinpointed and defined it as real, it would be something else, something new. What you’re calling real would already have disappeared. Still, you know with all of this change taking place that there is a changeless component to who you are. The I in that toddler body hasn’t changed, it is in the body that you currently occupy. The I is your higher self, changeless and real. This higher self is who you are. When you make this discovery and consciously befriend the I you are, nothing is impossible.”


I had a big Ah Ha moment about this idea from Dr. Dyer a year or two ago watching him on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. And though I had never been bothered by age, probably because neither of my parents ever have been, this gave me a whole new understanding of myself and my life. It helped me realize even more what is important in life and why I like myself more with each passing day.

We are not our bodies. Change is inevitable. Things come and things go. But the whole point of life, I think, is living our purpose and finding joy. Both of these things I have. I am grateful for my life at 43. I am exactly where I am meant to be.

We can strive to have the perfect body only to find with time it will change – a little bigger here, a little smaller there – and not of our doing. But our bodies don’t define us, our actions do.


We can go through life striving to “reach success” but what we know and what we think success is, doesn’t exactly exist. It’s why people say “enjoy the journey” or “happiness is the journey, not the destination.” We can only base what we think success will be on what we have experienced in our past. And as the quote by Heraclitus reminds us, all the things we know are ever changing. “We can never go back to the same river twice.” Profound, isn’t it? Success likely won’t look like what we think it will.

elle and bebe california

All we have is right now. In the body we were given. All we can do is cherish each moment, because in a blink those moments will be only a memory. All we can do is find happiness and joy today. Tomorrow is a gift but not a given.


So on this eve of my 43rd year, I am cherishing moments including the moment that I am 43. Because before long, I won’t be any longer. I will age, my family will grow older, too. And it is most important to me that I imprint where we all are in this moment on my mind. I love and hold dear the moments that happen each year of my life in a special place in my heart and my mind, for I can never truly experience those exact moments again. They are special. They are unique. They are fleeting.

familyI hope you will cherish each and every moment too. They are ours alone. No one else experiences a moment or time exactly as we do. And it is ok to strive to be better, and healthier, and more accomplished each year. But only if you remember those are not the things that truly bring you joy. Joy is found in the present moment. If you cannot be content in your body, and your age, and your life…no amount of achievement will make that so.

hb TobiThanks for sharing my birthday with me friends. My birthday wish for myself and also for each of you this year is this…

I wish us enough sun to keep our attitudes bright

I wish us enough rain to appreciate the sun more

I wish us enough happiness to keep our spirits alive

I wish us enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger

I wish us enough gain to satisfy our wanting

I wish us enough loss to appreciate all that we possess

I wish us enough Hello’s to get us through our final good-bye’s.

And I wish us a life that is long and healthy, full of love and joy and a cake big enough to fit all our candles!


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P.S. Today’s photos are just a few of my most favorite experiences and moments with family and friends over the last 12 months captured on Instagram.

Motivational Monday: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

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Hello and welcome back to the real world of 2015! The holidays are over even though the football bowl games aren’t. The good news is Downton Abbey has started to counteract all that testosterone from the Holiday sporting events. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports AND Downton almost equally.


But this post isn’t about either sports or Downton, or maybe it’s actually about both. Today I want to talk to you about goals and plans for 2015 and the idea of getting out of your comfort zone. Yesterday, longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott lost his 7-year battle with cancer. Stuart was a “game changer” in the world of sports. He was only 49 years old (not much older than my brother, which puts it into perspective for me), but in his 49 years he REALLY lived. He broke new ground for ESPN. He lived his life the way he wanted to live it. He didn’t back down to criticism or push back when people didn’t understand his new way of talking about sports. He was a great father to two girls, now young ladies. He didn’t live in his comfort zone but rather, I suspect, he got comfortable pushing the envelope, or what I like to say: He got “Comfortable being Uncomfortable.”  He lived his dreams. And though his life is so much shorter than it should have been, than many of us wish it would have been because we will miss him, in his 49 years he took life by the horns. Can you say the same about your life?


This weekend I have been working  digging into my goals. It was probably more like soul-searching. I am at a crossroads of sorts. Or really more like a new beginning. I have accomplished so much that I set out to in my life. I’ve built a great design business. I’ve built a great consulting business. I have had dreamy design jobs that landed on the covers of some fabulous magazines like Traditional Home and House Beautiful. I have been part of helping to build amazing businesses for other designers, which is SO fulfilling.


I have traveled the world in the name of design and the business of design. I am now designing three product lines with more in the works. I am launching an exciting new project in just a few days that has been a dream of mine for years. And I have 2-3 other very exciting projects in the works that I will be launching in a few months. I have taken life by the horns. I have worked hard and it has paid off. But I am only 42 (ahem, 43 this month) and hopefully I have many more years in my life. Maybe even more years than I have lived already. And it’s time to shake things up a bit. It’s time to get some new goals. It’s time to decide what I REALLY want next.


I am “Comfortable being Uncomfortable.” In fact, the problem I am having right now is that I am too comfortable with all the goals facing me right now. I need some more excitement. Gosh, might I even say I am bored? Now don’t get me wrong, I am so NOT bored with the things I am working on currently. I LOVE my client projects right now including a great lake house on Lake Michigan and 2nd and 3rd homes for some of my all-time favorite clients. And do I ever LOVE the licensing deals I am working on. But I am talking beyond that. What’s next? What about the second half of 2015. And beyond that? I need some BIG new goals. I want something different. Not meaning different than design or consulting. Those are my loves. My passions. What I mean is I want to take another BIG leap into what Design and Consulting look like for me.


Last night in Downton Abbey’s season premier, times are changing. Women are starting to have an opinion – even at the dinner table (Yikes!). Women’s clothing is getting more comfortable so women can move or, shockingly, so women can work! Eek. In my life, things are changing, too. I am in my 40s. What I WANT is starting to look different than it did a few years ago. Maybe it’s because I have done a lot of the things in my life already, but I think it’s because of a bigger shift. Yes, times they are a’changing for me, too.


So when I sat down to write my goals last week, for one of the first times ever I was staring at a blank piece of paper for days. I dug deeper. I went back to one of my favorite sources of inspiration, Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. And to my surprise, I heard Danielle say things I have NEVER heard her say before and this is my third time through her process. I heard things this time that I wasn’t ready to hear before. And the main thing I heard was that I had been doing things out of OBLIGATION. Yes, I have felt obligated to do things for years. Especially in my 20s and my 30s. WOW! Have I ever felt obligated. Like I didn’t have a choice. But now I am making a shift.


I want to go after what I WANT, not what I am OBLIGATED to do. Do you hear the difference? As Danielle says, “Obligation has just a little bit of Victim rolled into it.” Obligation says things like “I have to.” I HAVE to go to that event. I HAVE to work long hours. I HAVE to see and be seen at x. I HAVE to blog.  I HAVE to do things that way because that’s how others in our industry that are successful do it. I HAVE to travel more than I want. I HAVE to. I HAVE to.


But what I realized, is that I DON’T have to. What I realized is that I can actually go after what I really DREAM about doing. And I am not sure I have allowed myself the freedom until now to think that I could REALLY do some of the things I DREAM about. I am not sure if you can see the difference, but I can feel it. I feel it in my gut and my soul. I have been going after dreams for a while. And I’ve had dream jobs and dream clients. But much of the daily approach was goal-chasing. I don’t think I have ever just relaxed and said “what do I really want and HOW would I like that to look?” Danielle suggests a new way of doing things. It’s called Conscious Choice. I CHOOSE to travel when I want to, not because I have to. I CHOOSE when I work and how I work. I CHOOSE to blog when I want to. I CHOOSE what to say yes to. Or what to say no to. There is no HAVE to.


Talk about uncomfortable!! Going after my biggest dreams yet really allowing myself to design my life around them the way I want it to be, with no obligations. Now that is scary. And liberating. And freeing. Hallelujah!


So I am going to do it. I am writing a plan for what that looks like. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies, and those of you who know how much I love goals and taking risks in business would know that butterflies don’t come around much anymore for me. I am comfortable being uncomfortable, but this new way of thinking is like an 9.9 on the Richter scale of uncomfortable for me. And I LOVE it. It’s an adrenaline rush.


And there will be people in my life who say “that all sounds good but you still have to x.” Or “that’s great but it’s too expensive, it doesn’t fit our budget.” Or “what about x, how can you go after your dreams and not do x?” But I can. And I will. And I will figure all the other stuff out like how much it costs and how to cash flow it because that is in my sweet spot.


Life is short. Stuart Scott’s family knows this. I know this. And it’s time to turn on my dreams, for real this time. It’s time to kick any victim mentality to the curb, even if I didn’t realize it was there. It’s time to get farther out of my comfort zone than ever before in the name of following my calling, living my passion, leaning into my dreams. No Victims Allowed.

Will you join me? Can you get comfortable being uncomfortable? Let’s do this!


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Motivational Monday: Get Lost

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Things move so fast. We all feel pulled in a million directions every single day, especially on Monday. Sometimes we just need a break from the news, from electronics, from life.  So why not find a beautiful place and get lost–if only for a little while? It’ll all be there when you get back.


I think this beautiful place will will do the trick. What do you think? If you could “get lost” today, where would you go?

Happy Monday! xo,

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Monday Motivation: Too Busy to Design a Life

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How’s your life going? Are the days flying by like they are for me? It’s amazing how they can get faster and faster the older we get, right?

Over the weekend I was thinking about whether all the things I am doing to fill my time are things that I love. Asking myself the question, “am I am overwhelmed with things I love in my life or am I underwhelmed with too many things that really don’t matter to me” has become my litmus test for editing my schedule when times get too busy.


But today I want to take it a step further. Because yes, it’s ok for some times in our lives to be busier than we hoped but is that ok all the time? For me this is pretty much the norm because I am a doer. I am the reason I have so much on my plate and I seriously doubt there will ever be a time when I am not doing more in a day than many people do in a week. That isn’t to say I think other people should do more. Many people would think my life is miserable. Many people would never want to move at my pace. And that is ok for both of us.


I am happy with my life the way it is. And I don’t judge others for moving at a different pace.  I love accomplishing a lot. I am driven and making big things happen is my lifeblood. But I do have to ask myself the question every few weeks whether I am getting my schedule too packed. Am I too busy going through the motions, that I don’t take time to design a life?


This means something different for everyone. In my life, as long as I’m over-the-moon about what I’m doing every day, I’m at least 50% on track. And then I have to be extra careful about falling so far into my workaholic tendencies that I forget my self-care practices and other things that are important to me like my family.


I also have to keep one foot here in the present while dipping a toe in the future. Here’s what I mean: I am a firm believer that living in the present moment is the only way to be truly happy–enjoying the journey. Breathing in the moments of joy and accomplishment help me know the little moments are ultimately the big ones. But I am a visionary by nature, so for me to design the life I want, I have to spend some time on a regular basis, “seeing” what I want my life to be 1 year from now or even 5 years from now. This helps me make a guideline or a roadmap for my life that gets me the results I want in the present and future. It’s the way I design a life I love, even while living a full day-to-day life.


There have been so many times over the last few years that my mom has said, “Things have just been so crazy lately and when things slow down I am going to …” followed by a list about relaxing or getting healthy or getting organized or having fun.  And finally after noticing how many of these conversations she and I had, I decided that our life is always going to be “so crazy.” Or at least mine is, because I design it that way. And since I am lucky enough to have her help me at work and with my family so I can do all the things I do, by default at least a part of her life is going to be this way, too.


So Mom and I stopped waiting until things “aren’t so crazy.” We even stopped saying those words. We stopped waiting to carve out time together—time to travel and have fun, time to get healthy. We just made it happen in the midst of the chaos. We stopped thinking about “when things get back to normal” and started realizing that THIS IS NORMAL.  This is the life I have made. And I must make sure that I design all the important things into this life, in and around all the exciting and busy things that I do.


So what about you? Are you too busy to design a life that you love? Are you checking things off your bucket list every year? Are you hitting marks in your health, your career and with your family that are on your goals list, in and around your daily life? And if you aren’t–what are you waiting for? There is never going to be a time to start being the person you dream of. You are never going to be less busy. You have to be that person now. Today.


There is a saying that says “We only live once,” but I prefer the version that says “We only die once, but we get to live every single day.” So let’s make the most of those days. Let’s design a life that we love. And let’s stop waiting until things slow down to design it, because if your life is like mine, those slow periods may never come.


Happy Monday, Friends. I hope you start today designing a life you love. It may be a busy Monday, but now’s as good a time as any to start really living!


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