Do It for the Health of It

The office routine
It’s Day 7 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today’s challenge is to do it for the health of it.
In February I fulfilled this fitness instructor’s fantasy and went to Red Mountain Resort in Utah to spend a few glorious days exploring Zion National Park, let my toes luxuriate in the red sand surrounding the resort, and partake in as many fitness classes as my body would allow before going on a sit down strike.
Adventures abounded from lectures to spa treatments to culinary classes to art excursions. One day after a scrumptious lunch, Bob and I decided to attend a lecture and let our food settle before heading to the Drums Alive class.
Maybe because travel opens my heart and head to new information in a way that reading it in a fitness magazine can’t, I totally  latched on to the information presented about posture and proper spinal alignment.
It seems all this texting and being glued to our electronic devices with our heads down and shoulders slumped is wreaking havoc not just on our posture but also our health. This constant state of forward head carriage can age us quicker than sitting, smoking, sunning, or any number of risky activities can.
So what can you do about it? The good news is you can reverse the effects of this habit.   Here’s a link to a video with exercises you can start doing in as little as 15 minutes a day.

Click here for exercises to correct Hunchback Posture, Kyphosis and forward head carriage.

Your body will let you know when the strain is getting to you. You’ll instinctively feel the need to stretch, to roll your shoulders, or get up and move.
Please heed the advise of your well-intentioned body. Don’t worry who catches you bending, stretching, lunging, squatting, or planking at the office. Consider yourself a trend setter or the founding member of the newly appointed wellness squad.
One of my very favorite things at work is my standing desk.  At home I have a treadmill desk. I still haven’t mastered the art of typing and walking, but when I watch videos or TED talks or Skype with friends, the treadmill is on.
There are so many ways to work in a work out without any need for expensive gym memberships, fancy clothes, or huge chunks of time.
Next time you make or take a phone call, stand up while you talk. Stretch while you reach for that file. Lunge to pick up the crumpled up paper you were hoping would make it into in the round file. Do it for the health of it.
Your body will thank you. Your energy will most likely increase. And your attitude will certainly lighten a little.
Now, for the health of it, drop and give me 15 pushups.  Sorry, once a fitness instructor, always a fitness instructor.
Leave your ideas, suggestions, or best practices in the comments below.
 
 
 
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Picture It Done

Old vintage camera
It’s Day 5 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge.
Today’s mission, should you choose to accept it, is to picture it done. It, of course, being the most insistent thing on your Get It Done 1×31 list.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the first thing about photography. You don’t need fancy equipment. If you can take a selfie, you can do today’s task.
All you need is a way to gather evidence that you can, indeed, get stuff done.
It’s easy to forget the many decisions, mistakes, educated guesses, hunches, and hallucinations that get you to the Promised Land.  How many times have you accomplished a goal and moved right on to the next one without taking a single second to savor your success?
This will not happen on my watch. Not this month. This month you will share the love!
The thing about to-do lists is that they never really get done.  You may be able to cross everything off your list on Tuesday, but by Wednesday you already have another list waiting.
So give yourself a break.  Or in this case, give yourself some proof that you are evolving and moving steadily towards your goals.  Even if they are moving targets.
Here’s what I’d like you to do.
Knowing what we now know about anthems (thanks to Day 4), feel free to turn the following statement into a little jingle along the lines of the chorus to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies song. (If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it).
 If you did it, then take a picture of it. (Sing it with me now.) Let me repeat….It being the most insistent thing on your Get It Done 1×31 list today.
This way you will have solid evidence that you have not only done what you set out to do, however small, but you’ve done it consistently.
A picture is worth a thousand doubts about your ability to get stuff done.
By the time you have taken a picture of at least 31 things you’ve done this month, you may never consider yourself as a slacker again.
Feel free to post your pictures in the comments below.
 
 
 
 

Third Time's a Charm

Glck - Symbole
Never fear, your Get Stuff Done 1 x 31 prompt is here!
Today we’re looking at the list you made on Day 1 and reviewed on Day 2 for the third time so we can chunk it down into doable deeds.
Remember on Day 1 when I said your list could include a couple “wouldn’t it be nice if...” items?
Well, despite your inability to get these items done in 15 minutes or less or even 31 days or less, there is a reason these things made your list. It’s the same reason they show up as New Year’s Resolutions every year. Against all odds, you still want to accomplish them.
Whether it’s lose 20 pounds, write a best seller, give a TED talk, start a garden, adopt a child, or donate your work clothes to Dress for Success, these things are possible.
They are, however, going to require a different strategy than the one you’ve been using for your New Year’s resolutions.
You know when someone says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,”  and they usually follow it up with, “It’s all small stuff?
Well, the secret to any big project, dream, goal, or desire is to break it down into the small stuff. You will most likely not be able to achieve this goal by August, but you can be 31 days closer to it than you were in June. It’s up to you.
You’ve heard it a hundred times.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. The journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one.  The way to get impossible stuff done is to consistently take the smallest, easiest, least intimidating task on your road to Shambala. Then, one day, without even realizing it, you’ll be leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
So, get your list and let’s break it down.
Okay…

  • How many things on your list are absolutely intimidating?
  • How many things overwhelm you just looking at them?
  • How many things excite you?
  • How many things are you looking forward to doing?
  • How many things require an elaborate plan?
  • How many things are neither dreadful nor desirable but just need to get done?
  • How many things have to do with your health and well-being?
  • How many things have to do with money?
  • How many things have to do with relationships?
  • How many things have to do with your business?
  • How many things do you honestly feel you will do?

No judgment here. I just want you to be realistic about this challenge. If you don’t think you will do it, don’t want to do it, don’t have to do it, or don’t need to do it, cross it off your list. If you have no emotional incentive to do it, you won’t.
I don’t know about you, but in my world, more stuff gets done the day before I leave for vacation or on Friday afternoons between 4:30-6pm when my staff and students have gone for the weekend than any other time. I have written more since I’ve had a 40++ hour/week job than I ever did when I set my own schedule.
As much as I rail against deadlines and structure, nothing lights a fire under my feet faster than knowing I can no longer procrastinate, the buck stops with me, and I will pay the piper for dilly-dallying.
Which is why even though you have 11 other months to get stuff done, you and I are going to get stuff that matters to us done every single day this month.
Okay. Let’s review.

  1. You’ve made your list.
  2. You’ve checked it twice and uncovered your motivation.
  3. You are going to chunk it up, break it down, and take a small step or two on the most doable action items on your list.

For example, a couple of years ago, I got my groove back, lost those 20 pounds, and now have a lot of clothes that I hope to never wear again that are taking up significant storage space. I am determined to donate these clothes to the local Dress for Success organization this month.
The logistics of laundering, labeling, and lugging these clothes to the donation site an hour away on the second Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm are a bit daunting.
But I desperately want to reclaim my storage space and I’m committed to donating these clothes to people who can use them.
The only way for me to get this done is to chunk it up.
Here’s what’s happened so far.  Day 1 I read the article about Dress for Success.  A week later I called to ask  some questions. I talked to someone who told me to email a staff member who would help me set up an appointment.  A week later I emailed that person to set up an appointment. Since appointment times are during my work day, I need drop the clothes off on the second Saturday of the month. Since that is coming up quickly, this week I need to pick out and label the first round of clothes to go. Taking all of them at once is too overwhelming since I’m not exactly sure what they will take.
Do you see how one item on your list may take all month?  Five to fifteen minutes at a time.

Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s hard.

So, what’s on your list that you need to break down?
Does it make sense now why it was important to establish your why on Day 2?  This isn’t easy stuff.  If is was, you would have done it already. Knowing your “why” will get you through the “how“.
And remember, you’ve got the support of the group.
Share your questions, suggestions, ideas, or lists in the comments below.
 
 
 
 

Making a List, Checking It Twice

To Do List transformed into New Year's resolutions
Ho, ho, no!  It’s not Christmas in July.  But it is Day 2 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today we’re building on what we did on Day 1.
I trust you made a list of stuff you’d love to get done in the next 30 days. Remember the list doesn’t necessarily have to be reality based. It can be a wish list of sorts. However, I’m guessing a few things found their way on to your list that are not only doable, but may already be done.
Being the go-getter you are, I’d be surprised if you did not immediately do one thing just to cross it off your list. For that reason alone, I’m glad you joined the challenge.
Today we’re going to take a deep dive into what our list is all about. Call it what you will, a to-do list, a bucket list, a wish list, a grocery list, a laundry list, a just following the rules lists, you name it (literally).
I’m guessing many of you made a numbered list with a column called “To Do”. Okay, so a few of you went wild and created color-coded mind map. You maybe even jotted your list down on the back of a napkin. However you designed your list is perfect-o.
iphone 6 861
What I’d like you to do now is to expand your list and add two more columns to the right with the headings“To Have” and “To Be” so you end up with a total of three columns. You may need to start over so you have enough room.
Your new list should look something like this.
iphone 6 860
 
One of my favorite quotes by Michael Hyatt is “We lose our way when we lose our why.” Today’s challenge is all about uncovering your why.
To the best of your ability, see if you can figure out what all the To Do is about. Is the reason you want to get the stuff done in Column 1 so you can have something (Column 2), be something (Column 3), or both?
Hopefully this little adventure in list making helps you get clear on why you want to get certain stuff done. When the time comes to get it done, you’ll know what’s at stake if you don’t. Maybe it’s your reputation. Maybe it’s your self-esteem. Maybe it’s world peace – or  your corner of the world. Maybe it’s the simple satisfaction of a job well done.
Whatever it is, find your motivation.
Since this may take longer than 15 minutes, you can just pick a couple of items on your list for the deep dive. Of course, if you have time, I encourage you to do them all.
If you prefer, talk this over with the friends you’ve recruited to join you in this challenge. Just remember to write down what you discuss, so you can make it happen.
Okay, have fun.  Feel free to post your encouraging words below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Write It Down, Make It Happen

Business cartoon about to do list.
“Please don’t ask me to remind you to do anything else for awhile.”

It’s Day 1 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge!

Today’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to take 5-15 minutes and make a list of what you’d like to get done in the next 30 days. Whether it is realistic or not, write it down.

Now I am not asking you to do anything on your list today. I’m just asking you to make a list. A wouldn’t-it-be-nice if … list.
The list will be your blueprint for the next month. It will give you clues as to what’s clamoring for your attention, what matters to you, what you feel obligated to, and what just might make you feel good.
These are the things that randomly roam around your consciousness and have the potential to terrorize you just when you’re about to relax and feel good about what you’ve already accomplished.
Don’t censor yourself as you make your list. Let anything and everything make an appearance on your list. It’s for your eyes only, so be generous with your desires.
Don’t worry about the details of how you can make whatever you write down happen. Just write it down.
Okay, have fun! And let me know if you have questions or, better yet, breakthroughs!

Get Stuff Done 1 x 31

 
3D render of astronaut
It’s that time of year again!
July is our Get Stuff Done 1 x 31 Challenge month.
What is the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge?” you ask.
It’s a way to slowly but surely knock out those little tasks that gnaw away at your peace of mind. It’s committing to daily micro-movements that move the action of your life along at regular clip, without getting stuck in the doldrums.
“What do I have to do?” you wonder.
I’ll post a prompt here each day. You just have to read it.  And act on it.
“Why would I do this?” you protest. “I’m already overwhelmed!”
Well, you don’t have to do it. But it’s fun. It’s free. It’s different. It only takes 5-15 minutes of your day. You’ve got support along with some built in accountability. And it feels really satisfying to get even the smallest stuff done.
Here are 7 Rules to Success for this challenge:

  1. The activity will only take between 5 -15 minutes… because who doesn’t have at least 5 minutes? (If you’re into it, feel free to spend more time.)
  2. You have to actually do it, not just think about doing it.
  3. Approach each day’s challenge with an open mind. (“Been there, done that” attitude does not lend itself to openness. Avail yourself to new twists on familiar themes.)
  4. Be present to the task at hand. Save multi-tasking for the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day.
  5. Have fun with it. Judging, criticizing, or censoring yourself – or me! – takes all the fun out of it.
  6. Post your responses, reactions, or results in the day’s comments. It’s more fun  when everyone contributes!
  7. Enlist a friend or two or twenty to join you. This will definitely boost your accountability and your popularity as leader of the pack.

The truth is you don’t get stuff done at all once. Overnight success is often years in the making. Your life moves forward decision by decision, action by action, thought by thought.
For the next 31 days, let’s move the needle on our mojo measuring devices so that by August 1, collectively we can feel as accomplished as all get out.

 

The Boys of Summer

ct-cubs-vs-pirates-20160619-022(photo credits – Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Okay, so I’m not usually so interested in the boys of summer, but I have to say if a team ever embodied the How to Get Your Groove Back method I teach, it would be the Chicago Cubs.
Ever since I was little, summers were spent either listening to the lovable losers blaring on our kitchen radio, watching them on tv, or occasionally going into Chicago for a game.
My parents are snowbirds and spend their winters in Arizona. While they love Arizona, they also want to be as close to the Cubs training camp and take in as many preseason games as possible.
As long as I can remember, it’s been the same thing. A sentiment shared by the entire MLB franchise. The Cubs will choke.  If the  Curse of the Billy Goat is to be believed, the team will never win a World Series at Wrigley Field.
But like all groovy gals, guys, teams, businesses, and best sellers, where there is a will, there is a way. In the case of the Cubs, where there is a dream and a team of outstanding people capable of making that dream come true, anything is possible.
Take Wilson Contreras for example. Last night, at this rookie’s first major-league at bat in front of 41,024 fans, he hit the first pitch 417 feet over the center-field to score a two-run homer.
I happen to be watching the game because Bob, like my parents, is a bit obsessed with the Cubs. He and my dad spent Father’s Day salmon fishing in Wisconsin. Bob had just gotten home, unloaded the car, and made it as far as the couch before collapsing.
As I cuddled up next to him he declared, “Honey, you’re watching history in the making.” I asked why. He said, “It’s this guy’s first at bat in the major leagues.
My reply was, “Doesn’t every player have a first time at bat in the majors once in his career? What makes this one so special?
It defied explanation.
Clearly the crowd knew something I didn’t. All 40,000+ of them were on their feet.
And then Contreras stepped up to the plate and in front of all those adoring fans made history.
I must admit, it was wondrous.
How many hours went into making that moment possible? How many people had supported him, encouraged him, created the circumstances that made that moment absolutely perfect?
I will never know the discipline, the training, the sacrifices, the mental toughness that made the quieting of nerves, the calling in of confidence, and the summoning of superpowers possible.
But I do know we’ve all done similar things in our own version of the big leagues.
Whether you’ve delivered a speech, signed divorce papers, buried a loved one, sent a child off to college, into the military, or walked him or her down the aisle, whether you sang karaoke at your neighborhood pub, ran for office, or stood up for yourself in front of your family or organization, I know you possess the kind of courage called for when it’s your turn to step up to the plate.
You simply need to summon it on a regular basis.
It doesn’t happen without practice.
When I was startled out of sleep this morning at 1:30 am by my dog’s disagreeable dinner choice, my thoughts drifted back to the game instead of dreamland. Suddenly I was wide awake as I replayed the emotions of watching someone do precisely what he was born to do. It was thrilling to witness what love of the game, love of the work and discipline, love of the fans, love of the players and coach, and love of team made possible.
It made me think about the following.

  • What would be possible for you if you had 40,000 fans on their feet supporting, encouraging, and believing it you?
  • What would stepping up to the plate look like for you?
  • If you hit it out of the ball park, what would that mean to you?

These questions kept the sandman away for a good two hours. Maybe they will stir something up in you as well?
I love hearing what matters to you. You may even surprise yourself when you jot dot the first thing that comes to mind in the comments below.
Batter up!

Jump In! The Water's Fine

young boy jumping into a swimming pool
Yesterday  I did something I never do.
I accompanied Bob on a business trip to Des Moines.  I am usually the one attending the meetings since I love to attend writing and coaching conferences in fabulous places across the country. Bob, not so much. So I went for moral support.
While Bob spent the day learning about the latest governmental regulations imposed on his business (which explains his reluctance), I spent the day writing and hanging out at the pool.
At 10am on a Thursday, the pool was perfect. I had the place to myself. Was I in heaven? No, Iowa.
My plan to follow up my laps with a floating meditation evaporated as soon as a mother with a newborn, a toddler, and their adoring aunties arrived.
My disappointment over forfeiting the sanctuary of sunshine, water, and wispy clouds was quickly replaced with delight as the little guy’s glee spilled over onto all of us.
Even I began hoping his mom would hurry up applying the sunscreen so he could get in the pool and we could all share the adventure with him.
Because his mom was busy setting up the scene with towels, toys, and string cheese, the auntie brigade* took over. As one auntie burped the baby, the other auntie hopped in the pool and prepared the way for the boy named Brock to fulfill his most ambitious dream of the day.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the water.
He was a vision, standing there in all his glory, complete with water wings, a swimming diaper, a confident victory stance, and a superman cap.
He looked ready.
He seemed willing.
He was perfectly able.
His auntie was ready to catch him.
I was ready to catch her.
The step was right in front of him
And….
He hesitated.
He stalled.
He refused to jump in.
What looked like an epic adventure from a distance must have seemed like an ocean of uncertainty and utter terror up close. Suddenly, he wanted no part of it.
The devoted auntie cooed encouraging words and suggested he enter the pool by a less intimidating set of steps inside. He reluctantly agreed.
Together they emerged from the mysterious passage where the indoor pool joined with the outdoor pool.  Brock was fine to be in the water for a few minutes.  Then he needed a drink.
So he got out, secured his sippy cup of milk, and from the safety of the deck, took a strategic sip every time his auntie mentioned getting back in.
I watched this all unfold as the perfect metaphor for the great adventures and creative endeavors any of us attempt.
Sure, some of us can jump right in, knowing the shock of going from one set of circumstances (like being dry, hot, safe) to an entirely different set (like being wet, cold, and having to stay afloat) will only be temporary.
Most of us can easily get ourselves fired up and ready.  But then, like Brock, freak out when faced with the enormity of our adventure. Bridled with the burden of our potential, we hesitate, procrastinate, dilly dally, drink, distract, and delay until we talk ourselves right out of the thing we’ve pledged allegiance to.
You are familiar with terror of embarking on your biggest adventures, are you not? Failure looms larger than any semblance of success.  What if you find out you  are not equal to the task or not worthy of your dreams?
But what if you find out the water is just fine?  What if you discover it’s even more magical than you imagined?  What if you discover the secret to the success of any adventure, project, or performance is that when you are present, you are absolutely okay?
If you can stay in the moment and breathe, you are more than equal to the task. If you trust that you can handle anything in the moment and not abandon yourself,  you are wonderfully worthy.
This doesn’t guarantee that the path before you will never terrify you again. It only guarantees that you are gathering the grit required to risk, to dare, to dream, to desire, and to do it over and over again.
Failure is a given at some point.  Just like paying up front and in full is usually required in the beginning. Eventually you’ll come to see the wisdom in this.
Once you’ve made a splash, jumped in, gotten wet, and lived to tell about it, you are qualified to continue on your quest. And encourage others on theirs.
So, carry on, my brave souls. And, might I suggest, you have a little fun? Because really, the water is fine. It’s even better when you join in.
 
*I read about the auntie brigade in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Committed.  She beautifully describes the auntie brigade as consisting of those of us who have chosen not to have  children but are deeply committed to being aunties to everyone in need.  Personally, I love being a part of the auntie brigade!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Adventure Begins

Bright Pink Sky with Adventure Quote
There was an unusually large crowd at the airport at 5am on Thursday morning. Although I knew it was my day to travel, I didn’t know I know it was also the day local veterans were traveling to Washington, D.C. as part of the famed Honor Flight.
Even though we were headed in different directions, we all had to get through security at roughly the same time. Consequently, I had several opportunities to practice my stress management skills as the media descended upon these war heroes and threatened to derail my imminent departure.
Having been the last one to board a plane in the past,  I knew what the walk of shame to my seat at the back of the plane felt like. I had no interest in experiencing it again.
Despite being a seasoned traveler, getting from here to there still unnerves me. There are many things I could do to become a better traveler. Pack less. Arrive early. Bring snacks. Have a travel buddy. Take sedatives. Stay home.
The very act of traveling means I surrender control of most things with the exception of my attitude. And I can only control that when I stay present and positive.
Thursday’s journey led me through fog in Iowa, snow in Denver, and rain in Texas. Someone had mistakenly taken my seat on the first flight. This set off the equivalent of a Chinese fire drill for the rest of us scrambling to find our assigned seats.
All of the iTunes purchases I had diligently transferred to “the cloud” were apparently stuck there, waiting to be downloaded, and were unavailable to me when I was literally in the clouds wanting to hear them.
Because I depend so heavily on my playlists to transport me to my calm and quiet place, this discovery was especially disconcerting. Fortunately, I had a few meditation apps on my phone and could listen to those as we lifted off and landed.
When things fail to go as expected I can get cranky or I can get creative.
About a week before I travel, present, or do anything outside my comfort zone, I start stressing out. About a day before lift off,  I’m downright difficult and berate myself for thinking the trip, the talk, or the big event was a good idea in the first place. The truth is by this point I’m terrified, so I’m a tyrant.
But once I get to the other side, I’m deeply grateful I had the courage to leap into the unknown. For instance, Austin was a damp and gloomy place when I arrived. Because I’ve lived in Texas, I know how quickly the weather can change. And let’s face it. It’s Austin – capitol, creative mecca, home to SXSW and all things techy. What’s not to love about Austin – even on a rainy day?
When my Uber driver arrived 5 minutes after I called like clockwork and charged me $10 for the usual $35 cab ride, I realized most adventures are worth the effort required to arrange them. When the hotel let me check in at noon instead of 3pm, I knew the tide was turning. When I managed to walk around town for a couple of hours and not get lost, my confidence returned.
Suddenly the sun came out and dried up all the rain so I headed to the pool. When someone came up to me and asked, “Penny?“, I knew I was not going to be friendless for four days. An old UNI alum who I hadn’t seen since the 80s was here to attend the same coaching workshop with Martha Beck and her wonderful wayfinders that I was.
When I think about the day I might have had if this were my normal Thursday, I doubt I would have had much to blog about. At 4:30pm when I wrote this and had been awake for well over 12 hours, the day’s biggest adventure hadn’t even begun.
At 6pm I met 30 new friends from across the country when we all attended Susan Hyatt’s Girlfriends Gone Wild dinner party.  No one could believe the story of the unexpected reunion with my college friend or the fact that we were both dressed similarly and wore almost identical leopard shoes.
I’m sure I’ll have much more to blog about in the next 72 hours. In the meantime, let my adventure spark one of your own.  I’m here to tell you, contrary to what fear tells you, adventures are the antidote to whatever ails you. Let them begin!

Read It & Leap

Dollarphotoclub_100543125
It’s Leap Day!
Following in Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes footsteps, this Leap Year I’ve decided to say yes to any reasonable opportunity to expand and grow, despite its power to terrify and send me into a full blown panic before, during, and after the opportunity.
For me this means doing anything that involves public scrutiny of my less than perfect performances. Whether those performances include speaking, leading, teaching, or seizing my fifteen minutes of fame, the moment I have an audience is the moment I doubt the dazzling idea that came to me in the shower and insisted I share it publicly. It’s the moment my  heart beats faster, my mouth goes dry, and  my voice gets a little shaky.
I’m determined to manage this and train my butterflies to fly in formation. I’ve pondered Eleonor Roosevelt’s suggestion to, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Because that idea instantly overwhelms me, I’ve amended it to doing one thing every month that scares me.
Because here’s what happens when I get too comfortable.  When I finally do venture out into what I call my evolutionary zone, I have to summon up every ounce of courage and grit from my previous expeditions. If it’s been more than 21 days, I’ve more than likely lost my mojo and have to start all over again.
To save time and energy, I’ve decided to just keep putting myself out there.  Instead of retreating back to the safety of base camp, I plan to keep climbing and set up temporary shelter at higher altitudes.
For example, last Friday I did something nine years in the making. I collaborated with a co-worker to present a session at our Staff Development Day. I know what you’re thinking. No big deal. You may have to do this kind of thing all the time.
The reason it was a big deal to me was because I used to train and speak to groups for a living prior to taking this job.  When I put on my college administrator hat, I put away my stand-up comedienne/trainer hat and hoped the delusions of grandeur would subside.
Watching others do what I am perfectly capable of doing or, worse, witnessing people fail to do what needs to be done, catapulted me out my comfort zone. “Be the change you seek,” means nothing unless I act on it.
For me this meant volunteering to lead the kind of session I would like to attend on Staff Development Day.  It also meant submitting a proposal a year ago to speak at Beyond Rubies, a fabulous women’s conference at Kirkwood Community College, this Thursday and Friday, March 3-4. (If you happen to be in Iowa, please join me Friday morning and learn How to Get Your Groove Back.)
I don’t do this for the money. In fact, there’s usually no compensation involved in these kinds of gigs. The payoff for me is who I become in the process of facing what feels like either a potential public execution (one that ends my career) or an evolutionary experience (one that moves me forward).
Who I become regardless of the outcome is a voracious reader, devouring anything remotely related to my topic. I become incredibly curious and open as I scout for examples to backup my theories. I become bold and daring as I try out new material on anyone who will listen, my dog and houseplants included. And I’m forced to relax and put all the things I’m preaching into practice so I align my words and actions and authentically walk my talk.
When I do that, something remarkable happens.  I become the change other people are seeking and enthusiastically share my secrets. The nerves fall away, the worry about what might come out of my mouth disappears, and I am present, having fun, and connecting with the most amazing people.
I made some rookie mistakes on Friday because it had been awhile since I had presented. I was aware of them, my co-presenter was aware of them, and maybe even my friends in the audience caught them. But no one let on. Everyone acted as if attending the last presentation on a Friday afternoon was a seamless segue into a well-deserved weekend.
This Leap Day you have an opportunity to say “yes” to new beginnings. Or you can say”no” to what needs to end.  Name and claim, tame, or reframe whatever you want to bring into being.  Then do the one thing that’s scariest of all – act on it.
Happy leaping!
I’d love to hear about your leaps in the comments below.