going beyond fear to faith

I’ve told you about the push I got to attend Christy Wright’s Business Boutique 3 day event in Nashville, TN in early November. Months before the trip, I wrote about that generous gift as well as many of the reasons I had NOT to go, and how I turned those into my reasons TO go:

If you know me well, you know I’m irrationally terrified of flying. I also have two very active kids to drive all over the place, two dogs to worry about, and a full-time job outside of this side-venture. It is also VERY MUCH outside my nature to accept help or gifts like this from anyone. I have a million reasons (excuses?) to turn down this most generous offer. But I have one big reason why I accepted it:

It is 100% outside of my comfort zone.

And it was. My anxiety about the trip increased exponentially as the days approached, specifically about getting on the plane and logistics of the trip, but also about details at home like which kid had practice/games when, how they were getting there, I’d be missing my son’s first hockey game of the season, etc.it will be fine

Okay. Deep breath. You can do this.

All of the flights went well from a getting-from-point-A-to-point-B standpoint. I thought I was brave… although my husband perceived it a little differently as he saw tears streaming down my face with every takeoff and landing. (I gently reminded him that being brave is not being without fear, it is pushing through your fear.) In any case, we arrived safely with all our luggage and all was well.

At the conference itself, I was inspired, energized, and motivated with practical strategies I have already started putting to use in order to serve you well. I was encouraged to step out from behind my logo and allow you to get to know me personally. I heard speakers who gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears, encouraging me to believe in this business and myself. (Seriously, if you are a woman business-owner, look into Business Boutique.) There were so many takeaways, but the quote from Christy Wright that stood out to me the most was this:

Both faith and fear require believing in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Does that hit you like it hit me? I caught my breath when I heard that one. It’s powerful! But because I wanted to justify my fears, I spent a few moments trying to think of loopholes and reasons this statement isn’t true… but I came up empty. There was no rationalizing the power out of it for me.IMG_3098 2

Pushing beyond fear in this case meant getting on a plane and leaving my day-to-day life behind in order to invest in myself, and therefore in you. I was vastly rewarded with amazing speakers and information I could immediately take back and apply to my business.

In addition to all of the practical tools I took with me from that event, I also took away a change in perspective: when fear arises and I start to doubt what I’m capable of achieving, I am going to take a deep breath and choose faith. You can too!

Just do it scared. Don’t wait. Don’t wait until you’re “ready”, or until the thing is perfect, or until you get approval from him or her… just #doitscared.

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Tell me about a time you were rewarded for pushing past fear – a time you DID IT SCARED. Or I’d love to hear what you think about the quote about fear & faith – did it hit you like it did me?

You might like this FREE downloadable wallpaper for your smartphone! I put it on my phone to remind me that I have a choice between faith and fear, no matter the situation. (If you have any trouble downloading it, just comment below with your email address and I’ll send it your way.)
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photo used in the free download is from pixabay.com user “oadtz”

cover photo credit: pixabay.com user “sasint”

a half mile short of the goal

I recently went on a trip to the Porcupine Mountains with a dear friend. We hiked to a rustic cabin (rustic = no water, no electricity, wood burning stove for heat) with everything we needed for three days loaded on our backs. This is how we celebrate turning 40, I guess.

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The trail in was lightly snow-covered. I have no idea if this is normal for the UP of Michigan in the middle of October, but it was certainly different than we had envisioned when we booked the trip 6 months earlier. The fall colors were just past-peak, but contrasted with the white of the snow and the blue of the sky, and it was nothing short of amazing. We navigated huge mud puddles, small creeks, ups and downs, tree roots, rocks, you name it, and we arrived at what was to be our home for two nights.

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photo credit: Rochelle Ament

Our plan during the second day was to hike the 4 miles to Lake of the Clouds. After breakfast, we packed up our lunch and headed out. When I say “hike”, I don’t mean a casual walk down a dirt-packed trail. This was rugged terrain, and with recent rain and snow, the hike was a challenge. We often had to navigate our own path around obstacles including ankle-deep water and thick mud. At about four miles, we reached Government Peak. We sat down for a snack and to check the map… we thought we had to be getting close. A look at the map revealed we had hiked 2.1 miles in entirely the wrong direction. A moment of silent disbelief preceded a quick conversation of what we should do next. We were already tired – arriving at Government PEAK meant we had just gone quite a ways up a steep incline. We decided that we’d head back to where we’d made the wrong turn, then start toward Lake of the Clouds and figure it out from there.

We booked it back, covering that 2.1 miles in about 45 minutes. Once we started on the right trail, we decided we were going the whole way. We arrived at Lake of the Clouds, only to find the “real” view, the one we had come for, was over a half-mile away. And it was UP. We knew that going up there would be rewarding, and the sight would be amazing, but we also knew we had a four mile hike back. We had already gone 8 miles, and adding in this extra bit (again, it was UP) would put us over 13 miles for the day. Our legs felt like logs… and not to mention the drips of rain we’d felt, the dark clouds looming, and the shortened daylight that comes with autumn.

I was torn. Although I wanted that reward, I also knew those miles back to our cabin were going to be tough. I knew we could drive up to the overlook the next day… but that did seem like the “easy” way out. It wasn’t that half-mile up that had me concerned, it was the miles after that that seemed so long, with the obstacles and steep inclines to get through. Luckily, my friend didn’t hesitate to start the trek up to the overlook saying, “Kate. We aren’t going to get a half mile from it and turn around.” Never mad but definitely annoyed, I followed. And yes, I was ultimately glad I did. Lake of the Clouds was worth the miles. Every one of them.

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We got back to the cabin before darkness began to set in, 7 hours after we had headed out. We filled our bellies with a hot meal and a little vodka (for the sore muscles, you know), and felt the effects of our achievement. As we settled in for the night, I thought about how a piece of me had wanted to quit just short of the goal. If I hadn’t had a good friend to give me that little nudge my brain was having trouble mustering, I don’t know if I would have made the hike up.

I am an independent person and internally motivated. I can often keep myself going in tough situations with positive self-talk and just pure determination. Some might say I’m stubborn. But sometimes, you need a good friend to step in and say the right thing to push you past what you thought you were capable of. It was a risk to ask our bodies to hike that extra distance – we were up against the threat of inclement weather and a time constraint in addition to our weary muscles. I am so grateful that I was on that trip with that particular friend because she is just bull-headed enough to hike on. She knew the reward was worth the risk.

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photo credit: Rochelle Ament

The next day, we woke up to around 2 inches of snow on the ground. Had we turned back and not hiked up to the overlook the day before, we would have missed that view. Sure, we could have gone back and the view with snow would have been cool, but those fall colors would have been camouflaged with white, and we would have missed the reason we took the trip.

So what did I learn? So many things… like, I’m not good at cutting up firewood, lake water doesn’t taste that bad, I can hike 13+ miles in a day, and every sound in a pitch black forest in the middle of the night sounds like a bear trying to break into your cabin.

But I also learned that stubborn, independent, determined people (like me) can have moments of weakness, and it’s essential to have people on your team that will push you beyond what you think you’re capable of.

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When has something like this happened to you – where you were hesitant to take a next step, but someone you trust pushed you forward? What did you learn about yourself? I’d love to hear your story about a risk you took because someone gave you the nudge you needed!
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create a clean slate

I love fall.

I love the gorgeous leaves, the crisp air, the crunch under my feet as I take a long hike… I love all of it. Not so much the pumpkin spice… you can keep that. I realize it’s an unpopular stance to take, but I MUCH prefer apple cider. Anyway…

I have a new reason to love it, and I’m taking a new perspective on it. After hearing of Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days Challenge, I started thinking of fall as wiping the slate clean. The world is shedding the skin of summer, preparing for the quiet repair of winter, before moving into the rebirth and renewal of spring. What if we did that with our lives too?

Let go of the idea that because we have space to grow, there must be something wrong with us right now. -Rachel Hollis

Basically, the idea of #Last90Days is to be intentional in our lives during the last three months of the year, instead of just riding it out to get to the new year before we decide to make changes. It’s easy to just coast, or even to just “survive”, as we navigate the holiday season (which seems to start earlier and earlier each year). This challenge is designed to change that and set new habits BEFORE New Year’s Resolution season. Then maybe in place of resolutions that fail after the first few weeks of the year, you’re setting goals… and the behaviors that set you up for success are already in place, so you’re more likely to achieve those goals.

So, instead of just keepin’ on keepin’ on this fall:  I am motivated to use these last 90 days intentionally. I’m going to wipe my slate clean and focus on the areas of my life that need quiet repair, so I can head into 2019 better equipped to reach my goals. I have personal goals that include changing my mindset, increasing water and decreasing sugar intake, and being more present. I have professional goals within my business that could sure use that mindset change to boost the probability of success. I’ve already seen some wins as a result of my mental shift… and I’ve already dropped the ball once (or twice) and had to remind myself that it’s ok to fail as long as you pick up and keep going.

Will you join me?

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I would love to hear if you’re going to spend the #last90days making intentional growth as well! What are your focus areas? Comment your intentions and SHARE the idea with your friends – we’re more likely to keep promises we make to ourselves if we are accountable to someone else too.

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photo cred: Pixabay.com

a push to achieve more

I know a couple who owns a local business. They are clients and friends of mine, and they live their lives in a way that shines light on all who come in contact with them. Their business is a fun one, and they make sure they operate it in a way that aligns with their personal beliefs. They give to community organizations, they smile and engage with everyone who walks in their door, and they truly live what they believe. They don’t do it because they want recognition. They do it because it’s in their hearts.

When I stopped in recently to drop off a completed project (read about that here), they said they had a “proposition” for me. Always excited for new ideas and projects, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to hear it. They “proposed” that I attend Christy Wright’s Business Boutique conference in November, and they would help fund the trip. That’s it. That was the proposition. No return favor, no quid pro quo. Just, “We want to do this for you.” This was weeks ago, and I still do not have words for how grateful I am.

If you know me well, you know I’m irrationally terrified of flying. I also have two very active kids to drive all over the place, two dogs to worry about, and a full-time job outside of this side-venture. It is also VERY MUCH outside my nature to accept help or gifts like this from anyone. I have a million reasons (excuses?) to turn down this most generous offer. But I have one big reason why I accepted it.

It is 100% outside of my comfort zone.

The whole thing: the travel, the leaving my responsibilities at home, the asking someone else to manage those responsibilities, the accepting a gift from someone, the taking a leap and investing in myself and my company in this way… all of it is beyond what is comfortable for me.

So, from my perspective, what they’re giving me is huge. They are not simply encouraging me to attend a conference to learn about entrepreneurship. They are pushing me to grow as a person; they are encouraging me to think bigger, to believe in myself and what I’m doing, and to take a risk. They’re also demonstrating what it means to live fully and completely in kindness and give to others.

Hopefully, the conference turns out to be worthwhile and I learn a ton; I’ll find that out in November. But the impact of this act of kindness has already begun.

designing a life

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I had a bit of a girls’ day. It wasn’t really intended to be, but just kind of turned into one… and in more than just the sense you might be thinking of.

We started the morning by going to get our hair cut. Our stylist has cut my hair for a little more than ten years and has provided my daughter with every trim she has ever had. She has literally watched her grow up. When we arrived and settled in to the routine, I took a moment to breathe in the scene that has played out in salons across the country forever – women laughing about husbands, cringing over tales of bad perms, lamenting our children growing up way too fast… you know what I’m talking about. I looked at my daughter indulging in the feeling of the stylist massaging her scalp, and I felt such joy in her being a part of the experience. It wasn’t the hair trim or even the heaven that is getting your hair washed; it was the transition from being a child merely getting her hair cut to a young lady being a part of the tradition of women bonding in this way.

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{it really is more than just a haircut, don’t you think?}

We made a couple of other stops – the bike shop, the library – before we grabbed a little bite to eat at my favorite coffee shop. It’s owned by a woman who used the Small Business Development Center (years before I even knew it existed) to help her get started. This woman knows me as a regular customer who really loves a hot La Dolce Vita (decaf if it’s after noon – my partying days are long over, people!), but I know her as an inspiration as well as a purveyor of really tasty caffeine. I imagine her coffee shop was just a dream at one point – something that seemed far away. And maybe she had her doubts about whether it would come to be; I don’t know… But anyway, here it is now: a staple in our community, a welcoming place to grab a cuppa with friends (or your daughter), a venue to listen to live music, and an office away from home. You can tell she makes business decisions based on what’s important to her, and you can see her message everywhere you look in the shop – from the atmosphere, to the people she hires, to the food she provides, to encouraging composting/discouraging waste. Everything is on purpose, and seems so true to who she is. I so admire it.

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{try the new Nordic Waffles; they’re Hansen approved.}

I’ve been thinking about the dots of that morning and connecting them over the days since. There was something profound there that went unnoticed by my daughter, and I was touched. These women –  and so many others – doing what they love surround my daughter. They’re just a part of her existence, providing a model of what is ahead and who she can become, no matter what she decides that will be. It is amazing that my daughter gets to grow up in a world where success for a woman means whatever SHE deems it to be, instead of the narrow definition that I held for much of my childhood. (I didn’t know what successful women did all day, but I knew it involved pencil skirts and riding the Metra train Downtown with socks and tennis shoes over tan pantyhose.) I hope she grows up knowing that success can be defined a million different ways, depending what’s in your heart and what’s important to you.

And I’m so proud to be a piece of that – modeling for her that you can go after whatever crazy dream you come up with.

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Tell me something that you’re proud to be modeling for a kid in your life! Could be a project they see you working on, a passion you let them them follow with you, or anything really! And don’t be humble–all of us have pieces of ourselves we’re happy to be passing along to the next gen! Comment below and I’ll send you a free PDF file of my “non school days rules for electronics” so you can keep those kiddos moving toward their goals (and not staring at screens. As much.) Be sure to include your email address in your comments!

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