It’s the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge and today “P” pitches its plan. You might possibly presume for a prolific person like Penny Plautz from Prophetstown, Plan “P” is probably my preferred plan. It packs a powerful punch and promises to pour a plethora of positivity into our peace producing project.
So many words beginning with the letter P pop into this paragraph and prompt me to play with a preponderance of profoundly pleasurable ideas that promote good cheer. It’s perplexing to pick one from the predominant pool of prized philosophies.
Although I pondered plunging ahead with poetry, prevailing wisdom prods me to publish something that may be perceived as practical yet profoundly perfect.
So today I present you with this plan.
Practice being present.Your presence is the best present you can give. Or, as I like to say, the magic of Christmas isn’t the presents, it’s being present for the magic.
I poked around on Canva and created this design for you. Permit me provide you with personal proclamations you can print out and post where your peeps and pals can put them into practice.
Here’s another positive prescription for today.
Pamper yourself with a parade of possibilities for pursuing your passion – from protesting the need to punish yourself for presumed imperfections to pulling off the phenomenal and placing yourself in a priority position. This proves you are preparing to powerfully procure your place as a prosperous player in a promising New Year.
Please leave your comments below and feel free to pen your own “P” plans and share them with the particular planet of prized people who read this blog.
photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS
I must admit.
I’m overly identifying with the Chicago Cubs this year so the spectacular four-run ninth inning rally that secured their win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night was more meaningful to me than most playoff games.
You see, early on I adopted these boys of summer as mascots for my How to Get Your Groove Back class. Jake Arrieta in particular seemed like the perfect poster guy for getting one’s groove back. He almost gave up the sport altogether when his pitching coaches couldn’t quite find his groove and released him from Baltimore.
Fortunately Chicago was able to help him find it. And then Jake was able to show the rest of the team how to find theirs. (It might have something to do with that Pilates reformer.)
After a lifetime of summers spent listening to the “lovable losers” on the radio, this summer I watched and learned from the victories and defeats of the Cubs like a vigilant den mother. And one of the things I learned is you must be present to win.
You don’t win by checking out, dwelling in the past, or projecting into the future. If the Cubs had gone into the ninth inning on Tuesday night plagued by what had transpired in the previous eight, they wouldn’t have been open to the opportunities the ninth inning presented. They clinched the series by seizing every one of them.
That takes an unflinching commitment to being in the moment. That is deceptively difficult.
Last week I spoke to a student services group about resolving to evolve. The first of four actions I asked them to take was to embody.
“What does she mean by that?” you might ask.
I mean to be fully present in the skin you are in and to be open and aware of what you are feeling and to allow your body to provide you with all kinds of information.
“Do I have a choice?” you might ask.
Yes and no. If you’re reading this, you are in a physical form that you move around to do your brain’s beckoning. You feed it, clothe it, take it to work, and allow it to rest. So in one respect, you have no choice but to embody.
But anyone who suffers from aches and pains and a general distrust or disgust of their body will tell you how preferable it is to live life from the neck up. Their choice is to check out of their bodies as often and in as many ways as possible. They might choose to medicate or obliterate with food, alcohol, drugs, or their vice of choice in order to spend as little time as possible feeling what it’s like to be in their body.
As a certified eating psychology coach and fitness instructor, I see this a lot. Most of the people I work with have a very complicated relationship with their bodies. My desire to understand this relationship is what led me to become a writer and coach.
Here’s my take-away. The present moment is all we’ve got. It’s the only time and place where we can make things happen and move forward in our lives.
This means we need to be open to receiving feedback and support from all our faculties, not just our brain. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain can be a bully.
It can have me believing all kinds of things that are just not true because it’s feeling threatened or scared. That’s why I need an entire team of truth tellers located in my heart, my belly, my back, my legs, or anywhere that might get my attention.
I do not want to be stuck in the eighth inning where I might be down 2-5 with just my brain calling the shots. I need my body on board to rally and earn a shot at the World Series.
Bob likes to remind me it’s just a game and whether my team wins or loses, my life will be the same. He may have a point. Every team and every sport have come-back stories and heroes’ journeys stories and a hundred reasons why their epic victory is destined.
But I know on the days the Cubs win my world seems a little bit brighter or more hopeful. Not just because they’ve broken a curse or done the impossible or because my Grandma would be grinning from heaven to see her Cubbies win it all, but because of how they played the game. They model for me how to be all in and present to win. That’s something I can rally around.
Who does that for you? Share if you dare in the comments below.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to declare Labor Day a national holiday, I just know I am forever grateful the idea was implemented. According to Wikipedia, some say it was Peter McGuire and others say Matthew Maguire. To me, they both sound like Midlife MacGyver. Go figure.
A well-timed holiday, like Labor Day after the first few weeks of the school year, makes me appreciate all the labor that leads up to it.
Last night, around the time I subconsciously start to stress about another work week, I relaxed into the realization that I have another day to go places and do things – even if it’s just to my deck to watch my puppy chase a hummingbird moth.
All work and no play makes me an edgy educator. I’m all for putting the petal to the metal when the project, performance, or people demand it. But I’m also a stickler for self-care and putting your own oxygen mask on first so you can assist those you set out to serve. You can’t do that if you can’t breathe.
Sometimes all you need to catch your breath is a little time off.
Other times you need full on engagement and involvement in something deeply meaningful.
The best way I know how to explain this is to share this except from David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea. David is talking with his friend, monk, and mentor, Brother David.
“Tell me about exhaustion,” I said. He looked at me with an acute, searching, compassionate ferocity for the briefest of moments, as if trying to sum up the entirety of the situation and without missing a beat, as if he had been waiting all along, to say a life-changing thing to me. He said, in the form both of a question and an assertion: “You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest?”
“The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest,” I repeated woodenly, as if I might exhaust myself completely before I reached the end of the sentence. “What is it, then?”
“The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”
He looked at me for a wholehearted moment, as if I should fill in the blanks. But I was a blank to be filled at that moment, and though I knew something pivotal had been said, I had not the wherewithal to say anything in reply. So he carried on:
“You are so tired through and through because a good half of what you do here in this organization has nothing to do with your true powers, or the place you have reached in your life. You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers. You know what that is; I don’t have to tell you.”
Six years ago I spent seven glorious days in the Lake District with David Whyte and an amazing group of individuals who had traveled from various continents to spend their mornings in quiet reflection with the great poet and their afternoons in a moving meditation, soaking in both the beauty of the place and the sacredness of the spoken word.
Having this extraordinary experience with an incredible group of people in a gorgeous location was possible because I had spent years preparing myself for precisely this kind of opportunity. Even if I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time.
No time, no energy, no money, no relationship, or no experience is ever wasted if it prepares you for your next adventure.
The next adventure for me is diving into a new project that will help me create experience products as opposed to information products and deliver them in a very real and rewarding way. You’ll be experiencing more of this in the next 8 weeks.
You can allow yourself to burn out or you can ignite the light that can only be lit from within.
Do whatever it takes to stoke that fire. Read some books. Watch some videos. Attend a workshop. Go to the mountaintop. Head to the beach. Work out. Take a nap. Nourish yourself with food, family, or friends.
What you may discover is this: the fruit of your labor is often the labor itself. And doing the work – the work that only you can do – is indeed worth celebrating.
I’d love for you to share the work you are celebrating in the comments below.
It’s Day 30 of our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to notice how rhythm plays a part in how you do things. This is a subtle but essential ingredient to be aware of in establishing the ebb and flow of your days. Not to mention your relationships with other people.
When I used to live alone and work from home, I didn’t notice rhythm much. For the most part, I moved at the pace of grace. I call it the Goldilocks gait –not too fast, not too slow. Just right.
But when the firefighter moved in, with his lightening quick reflexes and urgent call to action impulses, I became acutely aware of the tortoise and hare situation we had on our hands. I also knew that rhythm was going to get us and lead to our demise if we didn’t learn to adjust to each other’s approach to getting stuff done.
I’m not saying we’re dealing with the sloth situation in Zootopia, but I’m sure it feels that way to Bob sometimes. On the other hand, because of slow and steady progress (1×31), the tortoise did win the race in Aesops’ famous fable.
I’m the first one to admit there are times when time is of the essence. There is a need for speed. The sooner the better. Fast and furious. Now or never. Life or death.
Just rapidly writing those words stressed me out a little.
Because what I’ve learned and what Erin Stutland has incorporated in her ingenious workouts is this.
What you seek, is also seeking you. What is meant for you will not pass you. Broadcasting fear or scarcity does not bring you peace or abundance. Consequently, my motto is to act with intention and do with deliberation.
If you’re not sure what I mean, experiment. Trying pushing yourself to do things at a faster or slower speed than you normally would. Try adding more things to your schedule or taking a few items off your list. How does this make you feel? Anxious? Irritable? Accomplished?
Sometimes we need to adjust our rhythm or our pace to work effectively with a team. Sometimes we need to adjust it when we’re touring with a group, taking a family vacation, involved in a special project, or participating in a Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge.
Some days you may not even know what leads to your undoing. For me, it usually comes down to time and space. I need breathing room and I need time to just be, create, observe, marvel, write, read, learn, laugh, and process what just happened. When I over-schedule myself or allow my world to get too cluttered, I get cranky.
You’ve just given yourself the gift of 30 days to discover how you get stuff done. With just one day left in our challenge, what do you really want to get done without pushing or forcing or “shoulding” on yourself?
I’d love to hear how rhythm impacts you and what your favorite thing about this challenge has been. Share your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and don’t forget to add this to today’s playlist. 🙂
It’s Day 26 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to stop and smell the petunias. Yes, I know the saying is “stop and smell the roses.” But since my puppy Ruby is particularly fond of petunias and is teaching me so much in a very short time, especially about taking breaks, I took some creative license with the saying.
Too often we look at interruptions as productivity killers, detours, excuses for our short little spans of attention. But sometimes taking a break to get up and walk around or sit down and relax, have a spot of tea, or nourish ourselves with a healthy snack or TED talk can cause epiphanies and unexpected pleasures.
I can easily spend my workday staring at a computer screen or piles of paperwork going over the same information in the same way. But if I get up and walk around, move some tables and chairs, feed the fish, or water the plants, my energy shifts. By changing my focus for a while, the same situation looks different when I return.
One of my favorite things in my offices at work and at home is my standing desk. Because I spent most of my life as a fitness instructor, the biggest adjustment to life as a college administrator is the sedentary nature of the majority of my work.
To counteract this, I set up a makeshift standing desk where I can easily advise students and give them direct access to the information on the computer screen and hands on access to their information.
I also made sure we had a picnic table and bench outside so students and staff can get some fresh air, soak in the sun, and smell the lilies nearby when a change of scenery and perspective is needed.
I think in our hurry up and get it done world we’ve forgotten that there is a rhythm to life There is an art to savoring the steps that get us where we’re going.
Today, take 5-15 minutes to do something deeply nourishing to your soul. Maybe it’s reading that quote or poem from yesterday’s challenge (Day 25) or maybe it’s calling someone you love (Day 8) or maybe it’s arranging some flowers or fresh fruit and a bowl.
Try not to think of today’s challenge as an interruption and immediately look only for a way to return to the task at hand. Think of it as divine intervention sent to support your present predicament.
As always, I’d love for you to share your epiphanies or aha’s in the comments below.
It’s Day 25 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to find a quote, a poem, or a saying that inspires you and commit it to memory.
It can be something short like, “Fleas. Adam had em.” Or something long like the Gettysburg Address or the The Man in the Arena quote by Theodore Roosevelt that has served as the foundation for Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability and leadership.
You may already have a quote that you know by heart that has served as a beacon of light during dark times. Or you may know some famous words that have gotten you to the finish line or helped you complete your degree. Undoubtedly these encouraging words have inspired you to do what you needed to do, when you needed to do it.
Like an anthem or a playlist (see Day 4), quotes and poems transport us to a place of possibility. A place where we can do, be, or have all that we’ve been striving for.
I love to find a quote or a poem, type it up in the font that captures its essence – or find it on Pinterest– and print it out, and then put it in a place where I’ll come across it when I least expect it.
For example, I have Zen pictures and quotes scattered about my desk drawer, my sock drawer, my glove compartment, my laptop bag, my pencil case, my wallet, and my luggage. I purposefully forget where I put them so when I do come across them, I’m delighted to discover a moment of Zen.
Today I came home to find a package on my step that was held together by packing tape that declared, “You are adored.” It really didn’t matter what was in it after that. Just seeing that message on the outside made me feel adored.
Inside I found a few magnets to adorn my refrigerator. They quickly became the catalyst for today’s post. (Because I can’t write about my new puppy every day.)
Because you are getting a lot of stuff done 1×31 this month, I’ll leave you with this quote from Mike Dooley.
“The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things.”
Take 5-15 minutes today to look up a quote or poem and commit it to memory. Like knowing at least one clean joke, knowing this can make your world a brighter place.
Share your favorites in the comments below.
Don’t know any great poets? May I suggest David Whyte, Heidi Rose Robbins, Mary Oliver, Hafiz, Rumi, Derek Walcott, or Pablo Naruda? Or you could read one of Roger Housden’s Ten Poems series of books that introduce you to various poets.
It’s Day 20 of the Get Stuff Done 1 x 31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to notice where things have shifted for you in the past 3 weeks.
Sometimes it’s a subtle shift. Other times it’s the kind of shift that jolts you out of bed at 4am with the horrifying thought, “What have I done?”
What woke me at 4am this morning was the realization that by agreeing to add 8 pounds of puppy to my home, I was about to alter the course of my foreseeable future.
It also occurred to me that every time I embark on one of these challenges – whether it be a 21-day cleanse, a 40-day prosperity program, or a Get Stuff Done 1x 31 Challenge – things shift. Big and small. Just when I think nothing is happening.
There is something so convincing about showing up day after day no matter what that sooner or later, people pay attention. Once you have proven that you can deliver on your promises, the universe can’t help but meet you half-way.
You may have outrageous expectations and delusions of grandeur that if you put in a little time, you’ll get a lucky break and win big. And maybe you will.
But if Malcolm Gladwell is to be believed, you’re going to need to put in about 10,000 hours of practice before you achieve mastery.
That’s a lot of time to get discouraged.
It’s also a lot of time to learn and fall in love with the nuances of your craft.
Some things provide instant gratification. Making your bed. Checking an item off your to-do list. Doing 15 or 50 pushups, depending. Preparing a delicious meal. Resolving a conflict. Getting a haircut. Scheduling an appointment. Writing a thank you note. Giving your dog a bone.
But some things mean more because they take time. You can’t lose 20 pounds in a day, train for a marathon in a weekend, or write your thesis in an afternoon.
Fortunately, most days don’t require you go the extra mile- or 26, if you’re determined to qualify for Boston like my friend Ann, who has justifiably earned her nickname, Annspiration. But by going even the extra 1/4 mile, giving just a little bit more than you think you have in you, those miracles are more likely to manifest.
Take 5-15 minutes today to contemplate what actions you’ve taken as part of this challenge that you may not have taken if you hadn’t played along. When have you gone the extra 1/4 mile and how far has it gotten you?
I’d love to hear what you discover.
Share if you dare in the comments below or email at email@example.com.
It’s Day 18 of the Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to find the place of peace within yourself and just reside there for 5-15 minutes.
It’s hard not to be upset, frightened, disturbed, angry, or uneasy about what’s happening in the world right now – from politics to police to poverty to a plethora of man-made and natural disasters. If there wasn’t something weighing heavily on your heart, I’d wonder what world you were living in.
Using violence to end violence never seemed like a sane solution to me. Practicing peace to create peace seems infinitely smarter.
I used to call myself the Queen of Calm. Wellpower, the company my business partner and I started, was all about relieving stress, creating calm, and bringing balance back into the lives of our clients. We made audio tapes, gave a lot of talks, and traveled the country hoping to restore health and wellness to the lives of anyone who would listen.
Maybe we were ahead of our time. Wellness was not nearly the craze it is now. Or if it was, we had no way of connecting to the world of wellness the way we all can now.
But I have to wonder. Even with all these tools at our fingertips – apps that monitor our activity, blood pressure, calories, steps, and online support groups and exercise instructors available 24/7 on our phones and computers – are we any less stressed?
The simplest yet most difficult thing to do is to stop doing. Or as those who meditate like to say, “Don’t just do something…sit there!”
I know this may seem like the opposite of what I’ve been preaching for the last 18 days. But as you’ve heard me say before, doing anything from an emotionally charged place of panic or reaction is not likely to get you the results you want.
Yes, there are times when taking immediate action is called for. When it’s not, putting yourself in a self-imposed time-out can bring about world peace, at least your corner of it.
Remember your park from Day 16? Go there.
Especially when you’re chomping at the bit for revenge, retaliation, or retribution of some sort. Go there when you’re outraged, when you’ve come undone, when you want nothing more than to make someone else pay for the pain you feel.
On the other side of your primal passion, deep conviction, and unshakeable belief about any issue is someone feeling the exact opposite about the very same thing. And it could be someone you love. It usually happens in every election that the people in my family cancel out each other’s vote.
But I vote anyway. And I encourage them to do the same.
You can stand firm in your own beliefs and still allow others to stand in theirs.
We all have a right to our own opinions. But I like to believe there is a place where none of those opinions matter. I think Rumi said it best.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”
So, my friends and even my foes, peace out. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
Like Sonny had Cher, I’ve got you, babe. And I wish you peace for as long as you can possibly stand it.
It’s Day 12 of our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. In honor of the first fabulous fish to join the newly established aquarium at my home away from home, Clinton Community College Maquoketa Center, today’s challenge is to just keep swimming.
Admittedly, not every day is going to be the best day of your life. But every day can be another day in paradise, if you choose to see it that way. It certainly is for our new fish.
Yesterday these fish were just a few in a sea of plenty in a pet store. Today they swim freely in a 50 gallon tank with gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, and whozits and whatzits galore. Thingamabobs? They’ve got thingamabobs. And everything else under the sea. Okay, my tribute to The Little Mermaid ends here.
But my challenge to you is just beginning. Today I’d like you to think about where and how you are swimming along. What gadgets and gizmos do you need to get where you’re going? Who and what can help you find your voice, make your mark, meet your match, and own your throne?
We used to have a pool at my parent’s farm and I would spend every summer alternately cleaning the pool and swimming in it. I truly did have gadgets and gizmos galore to help me channel my inner Dana Torres or Diana Nyad and swim more laps each day in less time.
Sadly, the family pool is no longer around. Fortunately, the Internet is and these are the waters I swim in now. Surfing the web and casting my words out into the world to see what comes back is exhilarating.
Because what comes back is you! You, from around the globe with your glorious goals and good wishes, have joined forces with my Get Your Groove Back group and given me one walloping good reason to continue to dive into these uncharted waters.
Figuring this out together is much easier than figuring it out alone, isn’t it?
And just so you know it’s not always smooth sailing, let me share what’s kicking my butt about this challenge.
These days I spend every waking moment writing or thinking about writing, wondering how to post a video or where the photo I just downloaded is now located on my computer, mortified that I may have posted something with a glaring typo or two, unclear how to share the songs playing in my head, the books vying for my attention, or the latest blog post that rocked my world, or why I can’t seem to post anything before the day is almost over. Yada, yada, yada.
All these concerns crowd around my regular job, getting groceries, making meals, running errands, walking the dog, doing laundry, getting stuff done, and spending time with the guy who puts out fires. Even though the challenge increases the intensity of my life, it also infuses it with unprecedented urgency, meaning, and connection.
This is why it’s called a challenge. This is why it’s for a limited time. This is how we learn what we’re made of. And this is why we just keep swimming.
Here’s what Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass, has to say.
“So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.”
Somewhere around now, you might be tempted to think this was fun while it lasted but you’ve got other fish to fry (just please don’t mention this in front of the fish).
Stay the course. Just keep swimming. How you do anything is how you do everything. You quit now, you quit every time you get bored, overwhelmed, or irritated.
This is where it gets interesting. This is where the daily dares start to become healthy habits. I’m asking for 1 x 31, not 31 x 1. This is where the magic happens.
Share your fears, frustrations, breakthroughs, or epiphanies in the comments below. Or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Say hello to my little friends….
It’s Day 8 of our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today’s challenge is to connect with whoever would most love to hear from you. If you happen to be in close proximity to them, stop in and love them up.
Whether that person is your mother, your lover, your dog-sitter, or a friend in need, you never know how you might brighten that person’s day just by checking in and letting them know you are thinking of them.
Let’s face it. We’re all busy. We’re so wrapped up in our endless to do’s we can forget to take the time to talk to those who would appreciate it the most.
But when we do, people notice.
Especially when we can be present with them without the distraction of our electronic devices beeping and tweeting and seducing us into believing there is something more important than being available to who or what is in front of us.
I know you can spare 5-15 minutes today to check in with someone you’ve been meaning to thank, recommend for a job, set up on a blind date, or give your raspberry pie recipe to but haven’t quite found the time.
Today I heard from a couple of people I didn’t expect to and it totally made my day. Although I have no idea how difficult it may have been for them to contact me, I was delighted that they would take the time to track me down.
So now, I challenge you to do the same. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, “Go ahead. Make someone’s day.”
Don’t for one minute think that hearing from you would not mean the world to someone else.
I’m thrilled every single time one of you check in with me to report on your progress on the Get Stuff Done 1×31 challenge. It is so easy to believe what we do or don’t do doesn’t matter. I’m here to tell you it absolutely does.
I love this quote by Margaret Mead.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
And how do we change the world? We get stuff done, 5-15 minutes a day all month long.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go make a call.
And if you want some songs to add to your playlist to go along with today’s theme, check out these:
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
You’re Not Alone – Ben Taylor
Sail Away – David Gray
Shower the People – James Taylor