iMoveU: Mother’s Day Launch

lady bird lake jumpAs I mentioned in a previous post, iMoveU is launching on Mother’s Day. I’m so excited I can hardly stop myself from jumping (and, if I’m being honest, I’m also a little scared, nervous, anxious, etc…). I can’t wait to surround myself with friends and family as I embark on this new journey!

If you would like to join me, please FILL OUT THIS FORM to register your family for this FREE workshop. I will send more information a few days prior to the event.

Here’s the gist:

Date: Sunday, May 11 (Mother’s Day)

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: We will start at a park in Arlington Heights (location yet to be determined) and end at Berry Yo.

Agenda:

  • 11:30-12:00: Picnic lunch and short presentation focused on the Gift of Time. Please bring a lunch for you and your family (have the hubbies plan the food- it’s Mother’s Day, you are off duty). Materials and resources will be provided for group activities and to plan your scavenger hunt through Arlington Heights.
  • 12:00-1:00: Scavenger hunt through downtown Arlington Heights. (Be sure to come dressed in comfortable clothes and walking/running shoes). Bike, walk or run as you explore the many businesses as a family. Essentially, you will spend an hour exploring places in AH that you want to learn more about as a family (For example- you could go to Runners High n Tri to find out more about upcoming races, go to the Metropolis to find a family show to attend, try a juice at Pure Juice, grab a coffee at the Dunton House, check out the Yoga schedules at Core Power or Pulsation, go to a park you’ve never visited and play, etc…)
  • 1:00: Closing “celebration” at Berry Yo

I hope you will consider joining me and my family this Mother’s Day. I firmly believe that each moment we spend together as a family is a precious gift. My hope is that iMoveU will create opportunities for my friends and family to spend more time with the ones they love the most.

With Love-

Ginny

 

 

 

 

 

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Slow Down And Enjoy The Ride

 “Slow down and enjoy life.  It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

Eddie Cantor 

My yoga instructor shared the quote above at the beginning of class last week. I’m fairly certain she was speaking directly to me. The evening before, I attended a guided meditation call led by my friend Carolyn Flyer with the same message: slow down. Prior to calling in, she had us watch a video about Slomo.

I don’t know how to go slow. I’m fairly certain I came out of the womb running. I’ve been moving at mach speed since I was born. As a little girl I was independent and fearless. I’m always in a hurry to get where I’m going, wether it’s running, working, eating, talking, driving, reading or learning. On the first day of kindergarten I demanded on walking to school alone in front  of my parents. Basically, as a 5 year old I had a restraining against them. I can just imagine my kindergarten demands ….”Fran, I said 50 yards away! Frank, is that a tear? You better lock it up!”

Just like Forrest Gump, I’ve just always “felt like running”.

I barely event taste my food, I inhale it before my husband has finished his third bite.

If there are stairs, I’ll run down them. Or better yet, I’ll take the slide.

Slowing down is hard to do, but it’s necessary. I’m realizing that I haven’t taken the time to enjoy my life’s scenery. I’ve been too busy focusing on what’s next to take in the beauty of the present moment.

It’s very difficult to slow down when you are passionate about something. You want to change the world, help people better themselves, sing kumbaya as you hug your friends and family.

So, I’m going to need you to hold me accountable. If you see me moving too fast, feel free to slap me across the face (figuratively) and remind me to enjoy the ride.

It’s not about racing towards your destination full speed ahead. Life is best lived when you enjoy the journey and take in the beautiful scenery.

I’m soaking it all up and taking time to enjoy every moment. And as far as I’m concerned, a genuine smile from a child is God’s greatest gift to a mother.

my 3 boys laughing

The Gift of Time (iMoveU Launch)

iMoveU“The first person you lead is you.

-John C. Maxwell

Let me start by saying I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends after announcing my new passion project, iMoveU. It’s nerve-racking  to put yourself out there, and I wasn’t sure what would happen after I shared the idea publicly. I was scared and nervous to share. What if people think it’s stupid? What if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m crazy? What if it fails?

For most of my professional career, I’ve been self conscious and scared to share. I only speak up if I feel comfortable, or if I’m 100% sure everyone will think my idea is brilliant. I’ve been afraid to fail. While I’ve witnessed many of my co-workers have no problems voicing their opinions or ideas, I often times sat in silence with my thoughts hoping no one would call on me.

This self doubt and fear began when I was in college. I remember calling my mom crying the semester before student teaching. I was so nervous, and I didn’t think I could do it. I had a horrible experience with my practicum teacher and she didn’t give me very good reviews. My first (and only) lesson she observed was awful. As I attempted to teach her 9th grade class, I was so nervous my voice trembled, I began to sweat, and I nearly fainted. I’m not sure what I said or did, but I’m pretty sure those 9th graders thought it was awful.

Luckily, my student teaching experience was much better. I was paired with a compassionate and veteran teacher. He let me lead from the first day of school, and by my last day there I was crying as I said goodbye to my 7th graders.

After graduating college, I began my teaching career in Atlanta, GA. I wasn’t a great teacher. I had no idea how to manage my classroom, and I was too scared to ask for help. So I sat in my room and cried almost every day after my students left.

This fear of failure, self doubt and low self-esteem has followed me my entire professional career. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I’ve been comfortable enough to share and show my true colors thanks to a few compassionate leaders. But for most of the past 15 years, I’ve let my fear get in the way. I listened to my inner voice when it told me to stay quiet, that my ideas were dumb, and that I didn’t belong there.

In my personal life, however, I’m fearless. I’m the lone nut, dancing on the dance floor like Elaine from Seinfeld. I don’t care who sees me and I don’t care what they think. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I know who I am. My family and friends love me crazy and all, and laugh with (and at) me.

So for the first time in my professional career, I’m going to be brave. If I want to lead others, I first have to lead myself. For the first time ever, I believe in myself and the impact iMoveU will have on those I love.

As much as I want to take off running full speed ahead with iMoveU, I have a far more important title: Mother. So I’m going to crawl, walk, and then run. I’m going to take the summer slow and spend time with my kids. I’m going to cherish every moment with them and give thanks for this precious gift of time. I’m going to kick some old habits that developed as a result of my fear and self-doubt. (Bad habit #1- comparing myself to other women.) I’m going to look in the mirror when I’m scared and tell myself “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gonnit, people like me!“.

Mark Your Calendar!!

On Sunday, May 11 (Mother’s Day) I will be launching iMoveU with a free 1-hour workshop for families. It will be called “The Gift of Time” and will include a mix of discussion, presentation and a scavenger hunt through downtown Arlington Heights. (Location and time information coming soon!) Any donations will be given to Our Lady of Wayside School, a community that has welcomed me and my family with open arms this past year. I invite you and your families to join me as we celebrate Mother’s Day with the ones we love.

iMoveU isn’t just about exercise and learning. It’s about helping individuals live their best life.

This past week I sketched out my tagline and logo for iMoveU (see image above). I’ll share more background on why I designed it the way I did, but for now I’ll share this: The apple core in the hand of the “i” is in memory of my late cousin Andrew who lost his battle with leukemia as a child. He was first diagnosed with cancer in kindergarten, the same age as my oldest son. I hope the work I do with iMoveU puts a smile on his face as he watches from above. While I can’t heal the hurt and the pain that my family has experienced as a result of this loss, I take comfort knowing that I grew up in the most compassionate, caring, loving, fun, loud, goofy and faithful family because we knew first hand how precious life is. Each moment we spend together as a family is a gift. My hope is that iMoveU will create opportunities for my friends and family to spend more time with the ones they love the most.

iMoveU

Be Brave. Be Better. BE HAPPY.

 

Chase Your Fears

birthday cake scareMy oldest son Michael was petrified of candles until he was almost 3 years old. You would have thought he was being held at gunpoint by an armed robber when we sang him happy birthday and showed him the cake on his second birthday. DON’T SHOOT! I’ll GIVE YOU MY TALKING ELMO! PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!

(Side note: does it make me a bad mom if, in moments like these, I grab the camera instead of calming his fear?)

Obviously now that he’s almost seven, he knows candles are fun and harmless as long as you don’t touch them when lit. He laughs every time he sees this picture and makes fun of himself for being so scared.

We all have irrational fears. And for many of us, that fear can make us do crazy things. It can keep us from doing the work we were truly meant to do.

(Please understand I’m not talking about rational fear. If someone is really holding a gun to your head, the advice below does not apply.)

We all have that inner voice. It’s constantly telling us why we shouldn’t do something, why were are not good enough, why we are not ready or why we should stay quiet. In the book Linchpin, Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain. When we feel certain feelings (stress, fear, doubt, vulnerable, anger, confusion), cortisol is released in our brain, causing us to do anything we can to run from the fear. It’s fight or flight. Instead of being honest and pushing through, we lash our or run and hide.

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls it resistance. And here’s the thing about the resistance, or the lizard brain. It lies!! Pressfield says “If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit”.

I’ve struggled with anxiety, fear and doubt my entire life. It has caused me to do crazy things.

Over the past few years I’ve found a few coping strategies that have helped me find confidence to face these fears.

1. I give the resistance (or lizard brain) a name. I call mine Newman. “Hello Newman” (I say in my very best Jerry Seinfeld voice). I acknowledge my feelings. “Oh, hey there anxiety. Nice seeing you again. NOT!”

2. I repeat my inner mantra: Let your purpose trump fear and doubt.

3. I ask myself for advice in the 3rd person. “Ginny, if your best friend was going through this, what advice would you give them?” This removes my emotions from the equation, allowing me to think rationally as if I’m looking in from the outside.

4. If the above doesn’t work,  I reach out to my support system. Sometimes I need someone to check my thinking to ensure I’m doing what is right for me and my family. Sometimes I’m trying to do something that the resistance is convincing me is right. Find someone who will give you the honest truth (not just what you want to hear) and put you in your place when you need a kick in the butt.

I’ve felt more fear and anxiety in the past 2 months than I have in my entire life. And I’ve never felt more confident to tackle it.

As Pressfield explains,“Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it”. 

Next time your lizard brain walks in your front door and lies to you, shove it out the back door. If you continue to believe it and let it stand in your way, you only have yourself to blame.

Don’t be afraid to tell your spouse how you feel. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss you aren’t happy. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before because you might look like a fool. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child about difficult topics. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends or family you need help with an addiction. Don’t be afraid to change something you don’t like about yourself, even if that means cutting people or things out of your life.

Do you remember what babies look like when they first start to walk? Their hands held out, taking a few wobbly steps, and then falling. Do you still walk like that? No, because you got back up and tried again. And again. And again. If you REALLY want to do something, and it’s for the RIGHT reasons, find the inner strength to do it.

#iMoveU

Follow The Energy

“Your purpose is to follow your passions.” -Google Images

Sounds easy enough, right? Follow our passions and it will surely lead us to a more fulfilling life.

Or will it?

Here’s the thing you need to consider before you follow your “passion”.

Sometimes hobbies are mistaken as passions. For example- I love photography, and I love learning more about how to take good pictures of my kids, capture images that will reinforce a message I’m sharing in a presentation, or help me find the right angle at which to stand so I look good without having to do the awkward duck lips or hands on my hips. Some might say I’m “passionate” about photography. But I don’t love it enough to be motivated to be good enough so people will pay me to take pictures.

I also love movie quoting. One night, during my freshman year in college, my roommate came home after a date with a guy she didn’t really like but had agreed to go out with. I thought it would be entertaining to quote Ace Ventura (Pet Detective, not When Nature Calls-a very important distinction) from beginning to end as he sat and watched in horror and shock. We didn’t see him much after that. That’s when I knew I had a gift. Although I have had aspirations to create an organization called N.M.Q.A. (National Movie Quoters Association), where members have to converse ONLY using movie quotes, again I don’t love it enough to go through the work to actually make it happen.

So here is my advice for anyone looking to change careers or figure out what they are truly meant to do.

FOLLOW THE ENERGY

Follow your energy

“Your experience of life expands with the more energy you have.” (Matthew Kelly, Off Balance)

Take a minute to think of the times in your life when you are so full of excitement, so full of energy that time seems to stand still. Those moments when you felt so alive and so at peace with what you were doing and where you were. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, a Positive Pshychologist, calls this “flow”.

Following your energy is the only way you will find the inner strength, motivation and grit to do the work that needs to be done. The research, the learning, the fear conquering, and the rejection handling.

Here are a few questions that might help you to follow your energy:

1. What are some things  (outside of your family, of course) that give you so much joy, you can’t imagine not having them in your life?

For me- exercise, humor, music and professional growth are a few. If someone told me I couldn’t exercise anymore, I couldn’t expand my mind by reading profound books, I couldn’t get my grove on as I listen to classic jams such as Warren G’s “REGULATOR!!” (I know you just yelled “Mount Up!”), or I couldn’t make people laugh by telling them about my embarrassing moment in yoga class (you’ll have to message me for that one), I would feel as though they were taking away my air. These are a MUST HAVE in my life. Think about what gives you energy. Write them down.

2.What could these things have in common?

I read an awesome article by Fast Company the other week on how to increase imagination. One of the tips was to arrange a “blind date” between 2 ideas. That’s exactly what iMoveU is!! It’s a result of me asking myself over and over, “If I were to combine exercise, personal growth and humor, what would it look like?”.

3. What is just one thing you could do that would help you increase your energy flow?

Experts say research indicates that people are much more likely to achieve their goals when they focus on one at a time. Add 3-4 goals and you are less likely to achieve any of them. (By “experts”, I mean a life coach who taught a free class I took at the YMCA several years ago. I haven’t gotten around to Googling it, so I’m going to take her word for it.)

When we spend our days going through the motions, or holding on to fear, stress, anger, anxiety and doubt, we lose energy. The more you follow what gives you energy, the more energy you will have to give to those you love. I started working on iMoveU about 2 months ago. I’ve never slept less and had more energy in my entire life. I think I required more sleep before because I had such high levels of stress in my life. I’m not saying I no longer have stress, but it’s the good kind.

5. Where can you find inspiration to help you find and sustain your energy?

I’m inspired by so many people on a daily basis. That’s why I created iMoveU. In short, iMoveU because YOU MOVE ME. I’m just here as a messenger to share with the world the amazing things I see and read.

4. How can you reframe your questions?

Several years ago I read the book Leading With Questions. It’s a goldmine of information, and it’s a must read for anyone looking to work with and influence others.

I think often times people confuse goals with results. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you ask yourself “How can I lose those 10 pounds”, you might be motivated to do it in an unhealthy way. Instead, ask yourself “How can I make clean eating and exercising irresistible?” or “How can I live a healthier lifestyle?” It might take a few failed experiments, but eventually if you keep asking the question you will find what works for you, and those 10 pounds you haven’t been able to lose for years will fall off and stay off as a result. I’ve tried just about every exercise DVD under the sun. All versions of P90X, Insanity, Focus T25, Ripped in 30, Kettlenetics, Dailey Method….the list goes on and on. I’ve found a few that are my favorite and I use those when I don’t have time to go to the gym or run outside. Sometimes my boys attempt to do them with me, making it even more rewarding.

I have a huge sweet tooth. Although the meals I eat are healthy, I can plow through a box of girl scout cookies like Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest. If  I ask myself “would you like a king size bag of skittles?”, heck yes I want to taste that rainbow! But, if I ask myself “would you like to poison your body with artificial colors and flavors such as red #40, some of which are linked to cancer?” No thanks, I’m good.

5. Do you know who you are trying to reach?

To be successful, you need to know exactly who you are trying to reach and what problem you are solving for them. I know iMoveU isn’t for everyone. I’m 100% ok with that. In the menu of life, I’m offering seared ahi tuna with a side of kale chips and quinoa. If you prefer a burger and fries, I probably don’t have what you are looking for. When I tell people about my idea, they often times ask me how I would modify it for those who don’t really exercise or don’t want to. Although I will always provide examples of modified moves (maybe you are just now choosing to exercise, maybe you just had a baby and are not in shape, or maybe you just had surgery and need to be careful with your wrist), if you don’t want to get off your butt and move, if you don’t believe you should challenge your perspectives and broaden your horizons, then iMoveU isn’t for you.

In summary, follow your sources of energy, connect the dots and see where life takes you. 

(This blog post was inspired by several creatives who have shared similar messages over the past few months, including: Amber RaeDerek Sivers, and Seth Godin.)