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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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.

 

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!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Oh, to "Bee" a SCAD Grad

SCAD
“Once a bee, always a bee.”
Not the rally cry heard at most universities focused on football and other achievements in sports or even academics, but a promise made by Paula Wallace, president of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
I graduated from a college known for producing teachers. Although I knew I was not cut out to be a teacher in the conventional sense, I’ve always been one in the unconventional sense. As an educator and academic advisor, I’m not convinced conventional education serves everyone. Especially the creatively quirky ones.
When I attended my niece’s graduation from SCAD last weekend, I realized why.  Celebrating the achievements of these eloquent writers, devoted designers, illustrious illustrators, innovative architects, visual and sound artists, advertisers, fashion merchandisers, and gamers, I instinctively knew that finding the right educational environment made this moment possible for many of them. Their dreams might not have survived a conventional approach.
Had I known about SCAD when I was considering college, surely I would have gravitated towards it. But at the time, I didn’t know such a place existed.
So I carved out a creative life on my own. Slowly. Over time. Wandering around the desert with my dog.
As Barbara Sher says, “Isolation is the dream killer.
Consequently, I can appreciate the value of a college for creative careers that focuses on creativity, community, and collaboration. I swarm to that like a bee to honey.
In this brave, new world of instant and constant connection, there really is no excuse to hide out as an artist or creative person. There is always someone, somewhere who will “get you“, who will see, understand, and be empowered by your creativity. No matter how old you happen to be.
And while art school might have been or still might be a pipe dream for many of us (because art school is expensive), where there’s a will, there is often a way. Figuring out how to get there – wherever your Promised Land may be – is part of what makes arriving so satisfying.
As the confetti fell from the ceiling and the acrobats twirled overhead, I contemplated the opportunities that await these gifted graduates. I felt inspired not just by these students but by anyone who has the courage to create.
In my world, there is a special place in heaven reserved for those who make life bearable by sharing their art and the beauty of their words, their music, or their creative visions. (There is also a special place for those who make indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and clean, safe drinking water possible.)
You don’t have to go to art school to create something meaningful, beautiful, innovative, or excellent. You don’t have to graduate from any institution to prove your value, your worth, your right to be here, and your need to contribute.
It is something to be proud of, for sure. The connections made and the experience gained from any educational experience will serve you for years to come.
But so will showing up every day not just with your degrees, portfolio, client list, and resume, but with your palpable passion, clear purpose, endless curiosity, and open heart.
Oh, to “bee” a SCAD grad would be an honor, indeed. But so is being all of who you are and not being afraid to bring that to the table over and over again.
I’d love to hear about your “graduation” – from school, from a relationship, from a job, from a place – in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You're Not Getting Older, You're Getting Better

Colorful sparkler, close-up.
It was the early seventies when I first heard a commercial for Loving Care reassure me, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” At the impressionable age of 7 or 8,  I had high hopes of getting older and better.  However, it’s taken me decades to truly appreciate the wisdom of this bit of marketing.
Contrary to popular belief, getting older does not mean stepping off a cliff into an abyss of aches and pains, memory loss and incontinence, age spots and unsightly facial hair. These things may or may not come with the territory, but they definitely don’t define what I’ve come to see as this grace period I’ve grown into.
I went begrudgingly into my forties. I was attached to being relatively young, reasonably attractive, and readily available. I feared crossing the threshold into middle age would catapult me into oblivion. I assumed I’d immediately become invisible, undesirable, and unemployable.
That was not an appealing option.
The better option was to own my throne and step into a Queendom of my own making. The world needs more Kings and Queens, grown up men and women who know who they are, understand what they have to offer, and are not afraid to contribute to the well-being of the world. Instead of depending on the world to define them, who they are defines the world.
We live in a youth-obsessed society. Letting go of the goodies surrounding princes and princesses isn’t easy. We’ve all grieved our glory days. Yet every age has its upsides. Unfortunately, we tend to focus more on the downsides the further on down the road we go.
As founder of the Midlife MacGyver Movement and an enthusiastic advocate of Getting Your Groove Back, I’m here to put a stop to all the trash talk about aging.
As I settle into my fifth decade, I’ve never felt more confident about my ability to move about the planet, share my ideas, open my mind, inhabit my body, learn from those who are different from me, relax into the unknown, and trust my ability to handle whatever happens next.
I’m living the dream, albeit a very different one than I imagined when I was half my age. If someone would have suggested to my younger self I’d be living where I’m living, doing what I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with, I wouldn’t have believed them. And yet if I connect the dots, there’s no doubt I would be here now.
I recently read an article by Ramit Sethi called Why Successful People Take 10 Years to “Succeed Overnight.”  It caught my attention in part because I’ve always joked it’s taken me 40 years to achieve overnight success. And by “success” I mean the way I measure it these days. This, too, is very different than I would have defined it even a few years ago.
Sethi talks about the underappreciated power of sequence and using the domino strategy to take one small step.  Like dominoes, that first small step is followed by a little bit bigger step and so on, creating the momentum that can ultimately move mountains, or at least very large dominoes. He explores the invisible scripts that run and often sabotage our lives, and how the treadmill of disappointment can derail us right when we’re on the verge of a breakthrough.
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll recognize where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve strayed. And if you’ve learned anything, you’ll know without a doubt, you’re not just getting older. Fortunately for all of us, you’re getting better.
Today I embark on another trip around the sun, chalking up another year to experience. Of the many things I’m grateful for, one is getting to show up in your inbox unannounced and share stuff that catches my fancy.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to do the thing that makes me feel the most alive and the most vulnerable.  Open a vein and let the words pour out.
 
 
 

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Stream of Color
A few weekends ago I got to spend an amazing weekend in Austin, Texas, participating in a Gathering of Wayfinders with Martha Beck.
I felt pulled to the event the moment I read about it. That didn’t prevent me from coming up with dozens of reasons why I shouldn’t spend the money, take the time, or trust the call of the wild that insisted I make my way to the Lone Star State.
Fortunately, reason can’t hold  a candle to instinct.
My desire was to find my tribe, those people who “get me” without explanation. As I stepped into a room filled with 500 coaches, I knew I had found them.
Conversations were immediate and intimate and none of us let the other get away with anything. We are, after all, trained to help others see what is hard for them to see in themselves.
We are also trained to know “if you spot it, you got it. Whether it’s something we love or something we loathe, we respond to what we recognize.
We won’t heal the world by fixing it. We fix the world by healing ourselves.
I watched Martha work with person after person.  She took their greatest challenges or frustrations and turned them around to find the places within themselves that were suffering the same fate.
“What should be done about it?” became, “What can I do about it?” The answer was the directive. “Start here.”
The relief of knowing I don’t have to save the world was quickly replaced by the responsibility of saving myself. The best way I know to do this is to let my freak flag fly.
It doesn’t mean putting all my outrageousness on display at all times. But it does mean trying to blend, when I was born to be different, will eventually snuff out the brilliance that begs to shine through at the oddest moments.
Flying your freak flag takes tremendous courage.
None of us want to risk the social disgrace of being outed as unusual, eccentric, strange, weird, cra-cra, or unhinged. But really, who among us isn’t? Who hasn’t had thoughts or experiences that those who know and love us advise to keep to ourselves?
I suppose what happens in Austin should stay in Austin, but what happened to me was so subtle, I could easily have missed it. I connected the dots that led me from one leap of faith to another until I found myself at the JW Marriott, cavorting with my tribe like I knew the way home all along.
The truth is, I did. And knowing that changed everything.
Try as I might to convince myself I’d been lost for years and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, that was simply not true. I cleverly sprinkled clues throughout my life to remind me where I parked the mother ship. I also managed to find my fellow trackers in the trickiest of terrains. I remembered I had superpowers just in time to activate them. And all the while I’d write and share these stories when I dared.
Then I’d forget everything and go back to blending.
But in Austin,the more I allowed myself to believe impossible things, the more likely they were to happen. The weekend was a series of synchronized connections and coincidences.  If I needed to know something, someone would tell me. If I needed to meet someone, she would show up. If I needed an Uber driver, he was already at my location. All I had to do was to suspend my disbelief, be present, open, and willing to trust.
Okay, that last line may have rolled off your tongue as easily as it flowed out my fingertips, but it’s taken me a lifetime of practice to even begin to master. Being present and open and trusting when I’m in a new city is as hard for me as not trying to blend when I’m in a small town.
But it can be done. Especially in Austin. The music, the mood, the food, the warmth, and the water will work their magic and you’ll have no choice but to surrender to it all. At least that’s what happened to me.
Of course, the real test of any trip is how I return to my regularly scheduled programming. This time instead of pretending nothing had changed, I acted as if everything had changed. When Bob picked me up at the airport, I said, “Hi, honey.  I’m home.” And then I added, “You may want to strap in. It’s going to get interesting.
Bob, being quite familiar with my freak flag, he just laughed and said, “Welcome home. I missed you.
 
 
 

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!

Back to the Future


 
Time and space have always presented a particular challenge for me. In theory I know I’ve made several trips around the sun, but depending upon the day or the circumstance, I can feel anywhere from age 9  to 90.
When I’m feeling older and wiser, I want to travel back in time to tell my younger self to stay curious and to allow the answers come in their own time.  I want to reassure her that she will find what she’s looking for in the most unlikely places and what is meant for her will not elude her.
Lately, however, my younger self wants to tell my mature self a few things. Specifically, my past self who spent the majority of her time teaching fitness classes in gyms, studios, and corporate fitness facilities wants to remind my present self how to be at home in my body.
A couple of years ago, I decided that in order to do my best work, I had to be my best self. This meant getting myself in shape – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, you name it. I was determined to get my groove back and set out to do just that.
Because I had lost my groove gradually through a series of habitual, unconscious choices over the course of a decade or two, I had to get it back through a series of intentional, deliberate actions on a daily basis.
I spent half of 2014 and all of 2015 educating myself about nutrition and how to properly nourish myself and others.  I became a certified eating psychology coach and guided a few friends through a purification process that left us all feeling fabulous.
But feelings are fleeting.  Taking it to the next level in 2016 for me is about embodying.  It’s about getting out of my head and fully inhabiting and listening to my body.
A brief glance at a photo of me in legwarmers and tights back in the day made a new approach to getting physical necessary.
I found my motivation in Erin Stutland’s  Shrink Sessions.  She has combined the words of wisdom it has taken me a lifetime to master with physical actions and movements that ground these concepts in muscle memory.
Her workouts, Soul Strolls, and meditations are incredibly empowering.  One day it occurred to me that Erin is who I wanted to be when I grew up. Or at least who I wanted to be when I was her age.
As I reflected on my early fitness career, I realized I had been very much like her.
In a surreal Back to the Future moment, I marveled at the perfection of finding this soul sister across time and space and allowing her to train me (without even knowing I exist) in the present for the future that awaits.
Listening to Erin’s mantras on my iPod as my dog and I stroll along the snow covered trail, I think about the technology and infinite intelligence that connects us and delivers perfect messages at precise moments to the people who are poised to act on them.
The kicker is we may never know the positive impact we have on each other. That’s why it’s both courageous and imperative to put our work out in the world for its own sake.
We live in incredible times and the abundance of information, education, and inspiration at our fingertips is staggering.  There are experts ready, willing, and able to guide us through any transformation we care to experience.
The amazing thing is when we look outside ourselves for help, we often get to see own brilliance mirrored back to us in others whose future or past resembles our own.  It’s easy to project greatness and success onto someone else, declaring we would never have the discipline, the talent, the chutzpah, or the support to do what they have done.  But we can’t recognize something in others we don’t also have in ourselves.
This year don’t hesitate to call on your past self, your future self, or your alter ego to help you evolve into your best self.  Then stay tuned as to who shows up to collaborate with you.
What words of wisdom might you have for your time traveling self?  Share if you dare in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 

A Suprising Practice to Boost Your Creativity

still life with vegetables isolated on brown background

It’s here!  Day 21 of my 21 Day Purification.

No matter how many times I detox, it’s always different. I continue to be amazed at what comes up for examination. I get to look at people, patterns, and projects from a different perspective and notice how each contributes to or detracts from my health and well-being.

One thing that doesn’t change is the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Don’t get me wrong.  Day 22 is going to look very much like Day 21.  If I’ve learned anything in the last 21 days, it’s that my body and brain love it when I clean up my act and eat whole, nutritious meals that I consciously plan and prepare.

Knowing this and practicing it on a daily basis are two different things. Doing the 21 Day Purification puts the practice part up front and center for enough days to become a habit. This is deceptively difficult to do. But once the habit is established, it’s easier to continue with the practice than to stop and start all over again.

The thing I look forward to the most is not watching the pounds melt off (because sometimes they don’t) but witnessing how much better my brain works and how much quicker my creativity kicks in. My increased energy level is sustainable with no slumps or spikes. I can focus easier and think clearer.

Artists are often given a wide berth in the bad behavior department.  It’s like we’ve unconsciously bought into the belief that great talent is too much for mere mortals.  So we put ourselves in an altered state and drink, drug, smoke, gamble, screw, or spend ourselves silly in order to be worthy of our creative inheritance.

The truth is the only altered state we need to be in is one of mindful presence and persistence mixed with a hint of humility. Genius will gladly guide us if we ask it to and clear some space for it to work its wonders.

A few years ago I decided that in order to do my best work, I had to be my best self. I had to feel good in the skin I was in and my brain had to be firing on all cylinders. I couldn’t do that if I was subtly or not so subtly sabotaging my own success.

If I numbed myself out with excessive sugar, overloaded on carbs, or jacked myself up on caffeine, I ended up with the kind of thoughts that lead people to believe they’re good dancers after several drinks.

The kind of consistent creativity I cultivate now comes from having my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ducks in a row.

It turns out that after years of wandering around the desert, studying with gurus, and practicing all kinds of alternative paths to crack the creative code, the surprising practice I overlooked was accessible all along. What I eat and how I nourish myself dramatically impact the quality and quantity of my creative output. Input really does equal output.

I can con myself into thinking creativity is a mysterious practice based on the whims of a capricious muse. Or I can clean myself up and invite it over for a healthy, nutritious meal, followed by a walking meeting.

**************************************

What about you?  When do you feel your best?  How do you invite creativity into your day?  Share if you dare in the comments below.

Break Up with Your Scale

Weighting scales with  measuring tape. Diet concept. 3d

It’s Day 14 of my 21-Day detox and we’re heading into the homestretch. While the daily discipline required to stay on course is intense, I’m loving the confidence that comes with cleaning out my body and mind while connecting deeply with my soul.

There are as many reasons to do a cleanse, detox, or a purification as there are people who do them. Many people, however, do them to lose weight. And if they diligently follow a particular protocol, they usually do.

Unfortunately, unless they continue with the habits put in place during the detox, the results usually aren’t sustainable. Granted, the first couple of days, no one wants to continue after Day 21. But about half way through when they start feeling better, they might consider it.  By the end of it, they may have lost all desire to go back to their pre-detox habits.

I’m all for breaking up with unhealthy habits. Because breaking up is hard to do, my first rule when detoxing is to Become a Badass. I mean this in the best possible way.

You must be kind and compassionate to yourself and others. But you must be ruthless with the terrible tales you tell yourself about your inability to stick with anything for more than a minute.

Cleansing requires considerable courage. Toxins come in many forms – from the foods we eat to the air we breathe to the people we surround ourselves with.

When I detox, I’m no longer able to tolerate toxins the way I did before. Becoming a Badass is an act of bravery. I have to let go of things I no longer need since holding on to them sabotages my health and well-being.

For example, as my first official act of Badassery, I broke up with my scale. To me it was a liar, a terrorist, a tyrant, and a thief.  I decided to no longer accept its feedback as a measure of success or failure during the detox or any time.

I refused to let the scale diminish anything I might innately know about my body, like how it feels, what it needs, how I nourish it, or how I find pleasure in it. I refused to let an ever elusive number impact my day, my mood, my perspective, or my relationship with myself or others.

I have no need to give my power over to something as fickle as a firecracker. A scale can’t measure if I feel lighter, leaner, or more confident. It can’t begin to measure how much clearer my thoughts or complexion are or how much more emotionally available and spiritually connected I am. It cannot imagine the thrill of embodying fully.

The thing is I’ve always possessed the power to expose the scale for what it is. I  trusted it more than myself when I was younger. But not anymore. I trust my body to weigh whatever it wants to when I am nourishing it well and moving it meaningfully.

As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I know the damage a scale and what it represents can have on self-worth and body image.  I’ve seen how it contributes to a multitude of eating disorders.

If you have a healthy relationship with your scale, you may not need to break up with it.  Maybe your issue is with something else. Whatever it might be, call it out.

This is necessary in order to follow my Second Rule of Badassery:  Take back your power from whoever or whatever shamed you or made you feel less than all of who you are.

I’ll leave you with these words for advice. “Never ask if anything makes your butt look big. Assume you look marvelous because YOU are marvelous. You’re a Badass, for goodness sake. 🙂

Who or what do you need to detox from this week?  I’d love for you to share if you dare in the comments below. 

Also, if you are interested in learning more about detoxing, I’m starting a new project called The Detox Diaries.  If you’d like to follow along, let me know and I’ll send you an email when the blog is ready.