Energy Management

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If you were to type in the words “time management” into a Google search, you would receive 499,000,000 results. Countless books, blogs, articles and seminars have been written and built based on this concept. I’ve read and attended my fair share over the last 2 decades. There is no lack of content if you want to learn more about how to best manage your time.

We live in a culture where a crazy, busy schedule is the norm. Expected, almost. With more “to-do’s” fighting for our daily attention than ever before, it’s no wonder time management is a topic many are trying to master.

The purpose of this post is not to give you my insights on how to best manage your time. I think the bigger issue is how you manage your ENERGY.

In my last post, I talked about the idea of creating Core Habits, a concept I found in the book Off Balance by Matthew Kelly.

In his book, Kelly also tackles the issue of energy management. People, places, things, and activities all have energy. Some energize us, and some drain our energy.

Your capacity for life increases with the more energy you have. Your ability to embrace, absorb, and enjoy all the good things in this world, and your ability to respond and react to the not so good things in this word, depends upon the amount of energy you have….Knowing how to balance various activities in our life to produce the maximum flow of energy is perhaps the most important skill any of us can learn to develop…Your experience of life expands with the more energy you have.

Keeping in mind that everything has energy, take a look at your daily schedule. Are there times in the day where the negatives outnumber the positives? How can you reorganize your day to better balance the scale? (A word of caution: don’t overload your daily schedule in an attempt to add more positive energy. Ten pounds of fun will never fit into a five pound bag. Nothing empties your energy tank faster than the overwhelming feeling of being rushed.)

Is there a certain time of day where your energy goes to die? Mine is 2:30. EVERY DAY. Trying to do more energy-sucking tasks when your tank is already on “E” is no fun.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret – caffeine and/or sugar is not the answer to your empty tank. They only make matters worse in the long run.

You may also notice a certain time of day where you have a surplus of energy. Early morning is my favorite time of day. I try to schedule all of the things that require the most energy and focus first thing in the morning. If it’s not done by dinner time, chances are good I’m not going to have the energy to do it.

Here are a few strategies I use to help manage my energy flow throughout the day.  (Caffeine and sugar free!!)

    • Multi-energy-task. I know what the research says about the negative impacts of multi-tasking. But there are certain tasks that can be done with minimal cognitive effort (things you do often that don’t require much thought), and can be combined with something else. For example- if you are like me, and feel that completing necessary household chores (laundry, dishes, dusting…) sucks the very life out of you, try to schedule a phone call with your best friend, parent, or someone who fills up your energy tank every time you talk to them. Enjoy the uplifting phone date while you fold the laundry and see how much easier it becomes. Maybe you work full time and can’t seem to escape a co-worker who drains your energy tank each and every day. “Who ‘ya gonna call” to lift you up and give you the energy you need? Play your own “fight song” before or after you talk to them. Play it loud and sing along with it. It’s amazing how music can lift you up and make you feel less alone in this crazy world.
    •  Take Five: If your day does not start out on the right foot, it is highly unlikely it will end well. It is difficult to change the trajectory of your day once you set the course. What begins as a tiny snowball of negativity in the first few minutes of your day becomes an unstoppable avalanche by lunch. Not good. Spend the next week experimenting with the the BEST way to start your day. For the first five minutes- do something that gives you energy. (If you have longer than five minutes-take it!) It could be a quick exercise, quiet meditation, prayer time, reading, drawing, or planning your day. If you don’t take the initiative to run your day, your day will run you over.
    • Waffle Wednesday. Hump day often gets a bad rap. If Wednesday were a body part, it would be an armpit. A smelly, ugly, hairy (but necessary) energy sucker. Poor Wednesday. About a year ago I decided to give Wednesday an energy overhaul. Every Wednesday morning my kids wake up excited for “Waffle Wednesday”. I realize the irony of this sugar-filled energy boost. But what was once a mid-week day we all dreaded has now become one of my favorite mornings of the week. Having something to look forward to GIVES us energy. Maybe Monday is tough for you. If so- what energy giving person, place or activity can you add to prevent having another “case of the Mondays”?  case of the mondays
  • Move. I try not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. I’ve heard it said more than once, and I couldn’t agree more, “sitting is the new smoking”. (There is also plenty of research to support this claim.) Instead of sitting down for a meeting with your co-worker, try a walk-and-talk option. Then come back and write down any action items. If you have a job that requires you sit at a desk all day with minimal options to get up and walk, try doing some chair yoga moves. If you stay at home with your kids, turn on Pandora’s 80’s station and dance together in your living room. It doesn’t matter how you move your body. Just move. (Especially during the time of day when your energy is the lowest.)

Take a moment to write down your daily schedule. Identify the energy givers with a “+”, and the energy suckers with a “-“. Give yourself a 1:1 ratio in order to balance your energy scale. Set boundaries and build in opportunities to recharge your battery. If you are a chronic people pleaser, use the power of “no” more often than you are comfortable. Give yourself the space and time you need to fill up your tank, and you’ll uncover energy reserves you never knew you had.

 

 

Give Yourself The Gift of Time

DSCN1538“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can NEVER get it back.”

– Harvey Mackay (Found in the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson)

 

In my first week of iMoveU bootcamps, the presentation portion focused on “The Gift of Time”.

Here is the presentation deck

As you scroll through the Haiku Deck, you will see my notes that give context to the information on each slide.

The mission of iMoveU is to empower heart centered change in motion.

Essentially, that means I want to empower (NOT enable) you to make positive changes in your life to improve your physical, nutritional, motional and spiritual wellness. Changes that come from YOUR heart. Don’t base your changes on societal norms, peer pressure, your ego or money. Those types of changes, at least for me, have led me in the wrong direction.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it hard to listen to what’s in my heart. All of the “white noise” of the world makes it difficult to listen to our intuition. All of the noise is YELLING at us through TV, radio and social media, telling us we have to look, behave and think a certain way.

Over the past 2 months, I’ve tried to tune out the noise. I’ve given myself the Gift of Time to discover what’s in my heart. I’ve spent time reading, thinking, writing, and listening to that inner voice. I’m striving to live my best life. I still have a long way to go. Some days are better than others. My ego still likes to pop in and say hello and remind me of all the reasons why I will fail at what I’m doing. I try to ignore it, but sometimes it gets the best of me. In those moments, I rely on my family and friends to lift me up and remind me that I’m on the right path.

Here’s the thing about living your best life. What works for YOU may not work for others. What works for others may not work for YOU. The goal is to figure out what’s in YOUR heart.

Turn off the noise. Get to know yourself. What gives you energy? What brings you joy? How can you do more of those things each day? Stop going through the motions.

Give yourself The Gift of Time and see what kind of positive changes you can make in your life.

If you need help, ask for help. Find an accountability partner. If you want to be brave, if you want to get better, if you want to be HAPPY, don’t go it alone.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

DSC05699On April 17-18th, I had the honor of participating in a Choose2Matter Live event in Estherville, Iowa. Choose2Matter is a groundbreaking non-profit (co-founded by Angela Maiers and Mark Moran) that helps students find their inner genius as they identify issues that are important to them, work collaboratively with their peers to solve real-world problems, and share their ideas with the world. By simply asking “What matters most to you, and why?” and “What breaks your heart about it?”, students are empowered to follow their heartbreak.

Led by their amazing leader, superintendent Tara Paul, 1400 students from Estherville Lincoln Central Community Schools gathered together and were given the gift of time to tackle challenging issues that mattered to them. Topics ranged from sports injuries, suicide prevention, bullying, child hunger, animal cruelty, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and many more.

The event began with an engaging presentation delivered by Angela Maiers and a live Skype chat with General John Michel (Commanding General, NATO, Air Training Command). Once students were empowered with a sense of courage, they divided into groups to begin the “heartbreak mapping” process. As I walked around and observed these students, from preK-12th grade, I was blown away by their bravery and determination. I can honestly say this event has transformed me in so many ways as an educator and a learner. You can read Tara’s entire summary on HER BLOG. Here is a portion of her reflection:

“In all of our efforts to improve teaching and learning, we are failing to connect with our students at the very deepest level to move them to embrace the educational reforms that we are creating. How do we connect with our students on the very deepest and most sacred level? How do we create an educational system that is not only focused on the academics but also on the person? How do we connect to our students’ sense of empathy, compassion, and passion?”

DSC05719On the second day, I had the opportunity to sit with a high school freshman who wanted to help families dealing with PTSD. Her father, an American hero who fought for our freedom in Afghanistan, struggled to find help with his PTSD after his last tour of duty. “What breaks your heart?” I asked her. She pointed to her paper, where she had written the night before in big, bold letters “Not all wounds are visible.” As I sat with her, I listened to her story and held back tears as she told me about Paws and Effect, a non-profit based in Des Moines that raises, trains, and places service dogs with children and veterans with disabilities. She told me about the difference their dog, Saber, has made in helping her father adjust to life after war. Later in the morning, her father and Saber came in to help work on her project. It was an honor to shake his hand and thank him for his service. Watching them work together to brainstorm ways to help other families dealing with PTSD left me speechless. 

To say I’m excited to continue working with Choose2Matter is an understatement. This was more than just an event, it’s a new way of teaching and learning that focuses on empowering students to take ownership of their learning.

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, I can’t help but think about all of the amazing teachers I’ve had over the course of my life who have helped mold me into who I am today. The ones I hold dear are the ones who took the time to shower me with love and compassion. Sure, they taught me about the Reign of Terror, how to interpret Shakespeare, and how to run a sub-6 minute mile. But that pales in comparison to the lessons they taught me as they modeled how to love and care for others with your whole heart.

I would like to dedicate this post to my HS cross country coach and PE teacher Ms. A, who went above and beyond to instill in me a love of running and teamwork. And my social studies teacher Mrs. P, who sadly lost her battle with cancer a few months ago, for sharing engaging stories of our past so we could better understand our present. I smile each time I think of these compassionate women who inspired me to follow in their footsteps.

I like to think I’m a compassionate person. I think that’s why I got into the teaching profession. Even though I’m no longer in a traditional classroom, I’m still a teacher (and a learner). If you think about it, we are all teachers and learners. As you think of who and how you teach, remember that you can never go wrong when you teach from the heart. So, what’s love go to do with it you ask?

EVERYTHING.

Happy Teacher Appreciation week to all teachers near and far! May you always know how very much you are loved.

Clarity (What the heck IS iMoveU, exactly?)

love carved on a dock in Austin“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” 

― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many of my friends and family about iMoveU. I love how brutally honest they have been. Nearly everyone who has been following my journey on Facebook, Instagram, or my blog has come up to me and said “Ok, what exactly are you doing with iMoveU? It sounds really cool, but I don’t get it.”

Although it is as clear as day in my head, I can see how it is confusing to many who don’t currently rent space inside my brain.

So, here is my attempt at providing clarity with iMoveU.

Over the next few months, I will be filing the paperwork to establish iMoveU as either non-profit organization (501(c)3) or as benefit company, which is a for-profit corporation that is incorporated for a socially just purpose. I’m in the process of working through the logistics with my amazing, newly minted lawyer brother-in-law. (By the way- if you live in Atlanta and you are looking to hire the most amazing, compassionate, hard working and ethical lawyer in town, send me a message. I have the perfect person for you!)

The mission of iMoveU is to empower heart centered change in motion. What does that mean, exactly? I’m so glad you asked. iMoveU combines a mix of exercise, professional/personal growth, music, humor and nutrition all-in-one to provide transformative learning experiences. I’m passionate about all of these things, and as someone who is busy with 3 kids, I don’t want to have to go to 5 different places for 5 different things. iMoveU workshops begin with exercise (as that is what prepares our brains to learn), provides a short but powerful presentation on a specific topic (creativity, innovation, time management, clean eating, storytelling, personal branding, etc…) and ends with networking, discussion and reflection. Oh, and there will be laughter, movie quoting and embarrassing stories that help make a point. Think of it as an exercise class followed by story time, all led by your crazy cousin Ginny, who also baked a smorgasbord of healthy food options for you (no, I didn’t spit in your food. Or did I??!!).

iMoveU focused on “heart centered change” because, often times, we make decisions in life based on money, ego, anger, fear, doubt, peer pressure, or because of societal “norms”. iMoveU empowers people to make positive changes in their lives that are in line with their beliefs, values, morals and goals. It means that iMoveU will provide services for individuals, schools and organizations that help people close the gap between who they are and who they want to be. Often times in life we have a vision of the person we strive to be, but for various reasons we aren’t there. Maybe you take care of yourself physically, but you feel stuck in a job you hate and you don’t have the confidence or resources to change. Maybe you are very successful in your professional career but you aren’t sure how to live a healthier lifestyle. Maybe you feel “happy” staying at home with the most important job in the world raising your beautiful children, but feel as though something is missing and would like to better understand how you can give back to your community. Maybe you woke up one day and didn’t like the person you saw in the mirror, but you have no idea how to change. I firmly believe, with all my heart, that money should not be a barrier for those interested in living a better life. It breaks my heart when I see people going through the motions and not taking the time to better themselves because they can’t afford it or they don’t know where to start. iMoveU was established based on the belief that individuals can and will make positive changes in their lives when they believe they can, and have a support system in place to guide them through their transformation.

To better understand if you are living your best life, ask yourself a simple question. If  you went to the doctor today and received the news that you only have 3 months to live, would you continue living your life as you are now, or would you make drastic changes to your lifestyle?

Maybe you think that’s a bit dramatic and over the top. That’s fine, but for me, I want to live the rest of my life knowing that each day I wake up and gave it my all. Every day is an opportunity to give awesome and be awesome. Not everyday is going to be amazing. Trust me- I have 3 small kids, and most days it’s a rat race of “stop kicking your brother and eat your food!”, “please pick up your mess”, “no you can’t have ice cream for dinner”, “Chopper! (my 12 year old dog) Stop scooting your ass across the carpet!” and my favorite “if I have to tell you one more time to <fill in the blank>, I’m going to <fill in the blank, again>”. I know that some days (and today was one of them), I’m going to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and confused if I’m doing things the “right” way. But, I also know that every day is a gift, and I’m never guaranteed tomorrow. On April 17th, a seemingly healthy father of four from my boys’ school passed away as a result of a pulmonary embolism. A few months ago, a seemingly healthy, beautiful and compassionate college student and summer nanny for my cousin was found  in her apartment as a result of a blood clot. Although I didn’t know either one well, I sat and cried in the privacy of my own home. I cried for their families, and I cried because I feel so overwhelmingly blessed to have what I have. What if it would have been me? Does my family know how much I love them? Do the little things that upset and worry me REALLY matter? Am I doing everything I can to live my life to the fullest?

WE.ARE.NOT.GUARANTEED.TOMORROW. 

PERIOD.

Sorry for the emotional rant, but if you feel that tingle in your stomach (as I did), and you want to make changes but you don’t even know where to start, the first step is simply to say out loud that you want to change (and that you want to change for YOU, not for someone else’s love or attention). The second step is to believe you can change. The third step is to find someone or something that can help you change.

Hello there. Nice to meet you. How can iMoveU?

I have a variety of “offerings” I’m in the process of developing, some for free for those who can’t afford it, and some for a fee for businesses and schools who can afford to pay.

Here is the name and tagline:

 iMoveU

Be Brave. Be Better. BE HAPPY.

These 3 statements have tremendous meaning for me.

  • Be Brave is a tribute to Sara Bareilles and her beautiful song BRAVE. I’ve listened to that song over and over again to remind myself to be brave, say what I want to say, and follow my heart. It is REALLY hard to put yourself out there and do something new. Every time I post on my blog, Facebook or Instagram and don’t get any action on it, I begin to doubt myself. But I keep on chasing my fear. I’m going to say what I want to say. I’m going to be brave.
  • Be Better is a tribute to Seth Godin and his beautiful blog post about the difference between more and better. I’ve gobbled up most of his books, and his blog posts are succinct, concise and inspirational. I’m currently taking his Skillshare class which focuses on how to build a new business the “right” way. To paraphrase one of my favorite posts from him,

“The restaurant makes the menu longer instead of figuring out how to make even one dish worth traveling across town for. We add many slides to our presentation before figuring out how to utter a single sentence that will give the people in the room chills or make them think. We confuse variety and range with quality….Better is better than more.”

  • BE HAPPY is a tribute to Pharrell Williams and his Happy song. My 3 boys and I have danced our hearts out to that song weekly for the past few months. It has gotten me through one of the most challenging times of my life. It’s truly amazing how much music can lift you up, inspire you, and wrap you in love when you need it most. Every single time I’ve doubted myself over the past 2 months or this vision of iMoveU, that song comes on. In the car, on TV as my husband flips through the channels, or at Starbucks on a Sunday night while I’m writing and wondering if anyone will want what I have to offer. EVERY TIME.

I have a long-term business plan of what iMoveU will offer, but as I mentioned earlier, “better is better than more”. In addition to that belief, I also have 3 beautiful boys and an amazing husband who deserves my undivided love and attention. So, as much as I want to work 40+ hour weeks and change the world, I’m going to take it slow.

I decided to launch iMoveU on Mother’s Day because there is nothing else I would rather do on Mother’s Day than to spend quality time with my family and friends. Many people were confused because this “launch” doesn’t incorporate exercise as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts. That’s coming (see below). This launch is more of a promise to my family that as I embark on this new journey, I will put their needs front and center, and I won’t chase my dreams at the expense of quality time with my husband and kids. It’s more of a symbolic launch, I suppose.

So here is my version 1. Starting this summer, I’m offering 2 things FOR FREE FOR WOMEN ONLY (weather permitting, a schedule is in the works and will be shared soon):

iMoveU @ Happier Hour:

  • 2 hours in length (7:30-9:30 pm on a weeknight)
  • 3o minutes of exercise, followed by a short, 15-20 minute presentation on a specific topic
  • Discussion/networking/reflection
  • Healthy food and juice options
  • BYOB

iMoveU @ Morning Rush Hour

  • 1 hour in length (5:45-6:45 a.m. on a weekday morning, or 7:30 am on a weekend morning)
  • 30 minutes of exercise, followed by a short, 15 minute presentation on a specific topic
  • 15 minute run and rant, jog and jabber or walk and talk reflection
  • healthy breakfast and juice to-go options for purchase

The summer schedule will be based on the weather and my availability. Think of it as a moving food truck, only it’s exercise and personal growth with healthy food. I’ll put out a schedule weekly with the dates/times/locations and topics.

Some of these I will also offer an option to join via Google Hangouts so those of you who want to join but live in Texas, North Carolina, California or Iowa can still join me online! 

Also, I will be taking some summer trips to Iowa City, Des Moines, Ames/Gilbert, and possibly Atlanta, so if you live in these areas and want to help me plan a free iMoveU bootcamp LET ME KNOW!

Why am I doing this for free you ask? And how am I going to fund and sustain this financially?

Great question. That’s for another post. But trust me, I have a plan.

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.

 

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.)

 

Introducing iMoveU

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, LEAP.” 

-Cynthia Heimel

It was just over a year ago that the idea came to me. I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but I remember my inner voice suddenly take over me, screaming in my ear “You need to figure out a way to do what you love by combining your two passions: exercise and professional growth. And you need to call it iMoveU!”.

For the most part, I ignored my inner voice. I was pregnant with my third child, working full-time in a job I enjoyed, surrounded by co-workers I adore, and in grad school finishing my Master’s degree. Free time was something I had very little of. But in those fleeting moments when I was alone with my thoughts, my inner voice would remind me of what I was putting off.

It wasn’t until August, when my 3rd son was born, that I had some free time to explore the idea. With the older 2 boys in school and a newborn who loved to sleep, I had pockets of time where I started to flush out what I wanted iMoveU to be.

It’s with tremendous fear excitement that I am finally ready to share the idea with the universe and see where it goes.

Introducing iMoveU: An innovative approach to professional growth

iMoveU was developed based on research that exercise positively affects learning. By incorporating movement into the learning process, we are increasing the brain’s cognitive capacity, allowing the body and mind to work together.

iMoveU

 

WHY?

As a working mother, education enthusiast, and exercise junkie, I understand how difficult it can be to find time to take care of ourselves. I often times felt guilty taking time out of my day to exercise because it meant taking time away from my family or time away from work. However, on the days I exercise I found that (as I’m sure you all know and can relate) I’m more productive, I have more energy, and I’m just….happier.

iMoveU is dedicated to providing innovative learning experiences, allowing the mind and body to work together. By incorporating movement and exercise, we are clearing our minds and allowing the brain to absorb and process new information.

I believe that learning is a lifelong journey. Throughout my career I have continually sought out opportunities to grow professionally.

I have an insatiable thirst to explore the world I live in and my purpose within it.

As a result, I’ve sat through my fair share of workshops, seminars, webinars, classes and retreats. Some have inspired and transformed me as a learner. Others have sucked the life out of me.

I’m also a bit of an exercise junkie. I fell in love with running in middle school and haven’t looked back since. I hoard workout videos like candy, and I’ve tried everything from hot yoga to The Dailey Method. Exercise is so much more than a way to improve my health and wellness. I quickly realized that some of my best thinking comes when I’m in motion.In the book Steal Like An Artist, author Austin Kleon shares that “our bodies can tell our brains as much as our brains tell our bodies”.

I’m hoping to create learning experiences that challenge your perspectives, expand your horizons, make you laugh, get you moving, and push you to strive for better

iMoveU is my way of sharing what I have learned with others. This is a journey that is just beginning, and I am looking for friends, family and community members to help me build this into what I know it can be. If you are interested in participating, here’s how you can be involved:

  • iMoveU pilots: I’ve tested it once with 3 of my amazing friends (you know who you are- THANK YOU), and I need to test it out a few more times to improve upon what I’ve developed. If you have the space to host a session and people to test it out, I’ll do it for free. I am looking to do 5-10 pilot sessions within the next few months.If you have a small group of co-workers you think this could benefit (think of this opportunity as a new type of motivational/inspirational speech) I’d love to talk with you about how this might work with your organization. I have an entire list of topic ideas ready to go.
  • Send me your feedback: Comment on this blog post, on FB, call me or send me an email. I would love to hear your thoughts, answer your questions, and connect with anyone you think I should talk to.
  • Follow my Pinterest board: iMoveU is more than just in-person workshops and events. As an avid reader and reflective practitioner, I’ll post what I’m learning online. As I read and find inspiration, I will share it with you through a new board I created on Pinterest. Feel free to steal and use these images, just give proper credit 🙂
  • iMoveU Spring/Summer Bootcamp: Beginning in May, I’m going to offer 1 hour outdoor bootcamps. (Weather permitting of course. I’ve talked to mother nature and she has assured me this cold, dreary winter weather WILL come to an end.) These 1 hour iMoveU sessions will include a mix of strength and cardio moves, a short 15-20 minute presentation of a topic or idea (for example- creativity and innovation), and a 20 minute reflection run/walk. If you live in the Arlington Heights area and you are interested in learning more about these bootcamps, fill out this form and I’ll send you more information.

Within the next month I’ll also share my website which will explain iMoveU in more detail.

So there you have it. Who knows where this journey will lead me. It’s been terrifying and nerve-wracking to put myself out there, but the more I work on it the more my inner voice is yelling “YES!! Keep going! FINALLY!” If iMoveU helps even one person to improve themselves personally and professionally, I’ll consider it a success. And more importantly, if it inspires my 3 boys to pursue their passion and  find joy in their life’s work, I’ll know I’ve successfully modeled for them what I hope they strive for as adults.

“Look what I accomplished all by myself!” –Said no one, ever

This is hardly a solo effort. So many people have already helped me along the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support. A huge thank you to my husband for his unwavering support and encouragement in this new venture. Thank you to my parents who took care of my 3 boys for a week in Florida so I could sit on the beach and dream of what this could and should be. Thank you to my inner circle of friends and family who have taken the time to listen to my iMoveU rants, provide feedback on my website, and volunteered to be my test monkeys. Thank you in advance to those of you who I’ll be reaching out to in the coming months for help. Feel free to ignore my calls, texts and emails now that you know what I’m up to. But don’t forget I know where you live, and I have a box full of high school, college, summer vacation and wedding pictures that can easily be scanned and shared online for all to see 🙂

Introducing iMoveU, my adjacent possible.