Why It's Time to Think Differently About Purpose

A few weeks ago I was reading a post written by Sean Lowe (oh, hello former Bachelor cutie) about an interview Ellen Degeneres did with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.
After losing a fight that would strip away her undefeated status, Rousey admitted that she felt suicidal. She said seeing her boyfriend reminded her of her greater purpose in life, which is to have his babies someday. If you haven’t seen the interview, check it out here.
Lowe wrote about his hopes for Rousey to find her true identity—one that is beyond a title that rests purely on a child’s shoulders.
While I think that it is incredible that in Rousey’s lowest moment, she felt a call to something greater that inevitably helped pull her from despair, I also know that Lowe is completely on point.

When our purpose in the world is dependent on others or titles (Best UFC Fighter in the World, Mom, Manager, Wife, Writer, etc.) we end up putting an unfair amount of pressure on ourselves.    

Our purpose has to be greater than this.    
We have to have a deeper meaning in life that is not dependent on titles or other people. Sure, aspirations such as becoming a doctor, singer, teacher, mom, writer, etc. are all great.

Why does it matter? What message will you communicate through those titles or roles? What core values will drive how you live your life, with-OR-without the title/role?  When we shift gears by knowing our answers to these questions, we can tap into our greater purpose.   
This is no easy task. Growing up, I have vivid memories of wanting to be a teacher and a mom “when I grow up.” We are primed as children to think that having titles and roles equates to success and purpose in life. 
I get why we do this. As a former teacher myself, it makes absolute sense why our culture does this as it creates drive and motivation for children as they transition to adulthood.
But what happens when you can’t pass the teacher exam? Or you can’t have a baby? Or you haven’t found your soul mate? 

If your worth in the world is dependent on titles and roles, you are setting yourself for massive disappointment when things do not go as planned. 

You might think you aren’t good enough or that something’s wrong with you. And this right here is FALSE my friend. You are greater than what you have and don’t have.

You are greater than your wins and losses.

Don’t be somebody who plays life small and bases your incredible worth on a role or title. You, my friend, are greater than that.




My Top 5 Daily Mantras

A few years back I started a daily activity that has radically changed how I do my day and I want to share it with you today.

I learned it while doing morning yoga. At the end of our practice, we were encouraged by our instructor to set an intention for the day. Eventually our instructor moved locations and I immediately felt her absence. While I missed her hippie vibe (hairy armpits, included!) it was really the simple act of setting an intention for the day that I missed.

So, I decided to do my own morning yoga where I worked this little practice in!  Even though I don’t always have time for yoga, there is one thing I always have time for—and that’s setting an intention for my day. 

It’s pretty simple actually.  I take a minute to close my eyes and just say in my mind how I want to do my day.  

Here are My Top 5 daily mantras:

1. I will be present in my mind and body today.
2. I will fully give myself to others in conversations.
3. I will be loving and kind.
4. I will take good care of me today.
5. I will talk kindly to myself and others throughout the day.

When I was a super busy gal commuting back and forth for two-plus hours daily at my old job, I would do this in the car.  Other times, I would say it while drinking a cup of coffee at my desk. Today, I take a couple of minutes to stretch in the morning and set my intention then. 

How can you incorporate setting an intention into your day?

Where in your day do you have a few moments to yourself to be intentional? 

You’ll hear me say this often, but it takes around 21 days for a new habit to stick.  So, how can you make this part of your routine?  If you need to create a reminder in your phone asking you what your intention is for the day, do it.  Put a post-it note by your computer at your office.  Change your screen saver on your laptop with a quote that reminds you to set an intention. 

Do what is best for you.

3 Steps to Keep Your Calm When Your Buttons Get Pushed

Recently I attended a workshop led by my dear friend and colleague Beth Racine. She presented on the topic of effective listening to a room filled with around 50 men and women ranging in all ages.
The overall gist of her presentation was all about keeping your composure when your buttons get pushed. 

Think about the last time someone pushed your buttons.

Where were you and what was happening? How did you feel in the moment? For me, an immediate flash takes me back to last week as I was inside a home my husband and I are considering buying, when I looked outside to find an officer writing up a ticket on my car for parking on the street! How about that for a warm welcome to a new neighborhood? You can imagine the tightness I felt rise up in my chest as it took all that I had to not run out screaming like a crazy person.
Can you think of a similar moment when your buttons were pushed? Maybe it was with a colleague, significant other, family member, or a complete stranger on the street? Once you got it, hold onto it.
Our initial reaction when we are feeling frustrated is to either fight or flight. We either go into attack mode or completely shut down and walk away. This is totally normal. That’s because when we feel an immediate threat, which is sensed in our brain stems, we go into a state of survival. For me, this was that moment I looked out the window and saw the officer by my car. For the record, I decided to fight, as I swiftly headed over to the officer.
After the fight or flight response, we enter into the emotional part of the brain—the limbic system. This is where we react. [Cue the part of me that wanted to scream like a crazy person.]
Lastly, the frontal lobe, or pre-frontal cortex is our rational part of the brain. Beth described how in this part of our brains we think clearly, discern choices, access creativity and problem solve with others. As you can imagine, this is where we react with the most intention and respond in a way that helps us feel good about what we are wanting. This is precisely why after some time has passed we can more effectively react and listen.
The good news is we can access this rational part of our brains in about 6 seconds.
That’s right. Only 6 seconds! But the problem is that we are wired to fight or flight first and react in the emotional part of our brains. Both of these parts by the way, are very “self” and “me” focused. Our rational parts, however, are more “we” focused as we attempt to work with others.
So, the key here, is to create some space, roughly 6 seconds of space, to pause and react effectively. This is important as we interact with others so that we avoid jumping to conclusions, acting out of character, or creating tension so that we can maintain a calm, centered space.
I’ll leave you with my favorite take-away from the workshop on how to create this space. It’s a coaching tool Beth calls 3-2-1. 

Here’s how it works:

1. Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. 

Is it a hotness in your chest? Do you feel a tightness in your throat? Do you feel flushed in the face? Notice it because that’s the signal you are about to act a hot mess. As soon as you notice these “check engine lights” as Beth affectionately calls them, you can practice 3-2-1. 

2. In your mind, state 3 things you see, 2 things you hear, and 1 thing to say out loud.

I recommend identifying the word you will say right now to start getting in the habit of this exercise. My word is “LOVE.” It is a reminder to respond from a place of love and understanding, which I am NOT experiencing while in the fight or flight and emotional state, so that once those 6 seconds pass and I'm in my rational mind I can react more effectively.

3.Reflect and repeat! 

It is very important to get into a rhythm of reflecting on our behavior. How do you feel after engaging in an uncomfortable chat with someone? How do you feel about your behavior, or personal response? It is all information for us moving forward so we can show up with even more intention for the next encounter.
So, let’s get out there and try it. Surprise the people in your life next time by responding mindfully with some emotional control. While we can’t control how others will respond to us, we can maintain the peace on our ends and feel better about how WE respond. 

3 Tips for Getting Your Productivity On

Have you ever had one of those majorly productive days where you look back at the clock and realize the whole day has gone by and you never even took a lunch break? You rocked all those things you needed to get done. You happily head home, while checking off x, y, and z from your list.
Those days are the best. It feels great to power through the to-do’s. But if you’re anything like me, the following day is where things get interesting. You might find yourself feeling all revved up initially.

And then, the slump comes in. All that energy?? Gone. Out the door. 
I had this very experience recently and talked about it with my friend. I told her I’d been feeling a little down because I would have these super productive days, and then whoooooop, nothing. No energy. (Can you relate!?) She said something to me in that moment that I really needed to hear. What if this is all just part of how I work? That I’m somebody who has one or two super productive days a week, and the days that follow I may experience lower energy levels. If I know this moving forward, I can seize the days I’m feeling my energy peak, and plan to do my most important work during this time. Talk about a game-changer!
So, how about you? What’s your productivity like? When does your energy peak? Are you like me, and experience energy in waves, or do you find that your energy is consistently high at a certain time of the day?

Here are my top 3 tips for getting your very own productivity on:
1. Identify your own personal patterns of energy.

Start by taking inventory of your own energy levels. I recommend taking a week to do a little self-research. Log your energy levels based on your schedule. Do certain errands tire you out? Do various work tasks promote or drain your energy? Get clear on what they are.

2. Try to plan around your energy if possible. 

The purpose of planning around your energy levels is so you can be more effective at getting what you want done, DONE. Have you been wanting to work out more often? Plan to take a class on those high-energy days. Are you needing to get a project done by a certain date? Commit to doing that project first thing on the days you feel your energy peak.

3. Don’t be hard on yourself for having low productivity on your low-energy days. 

Instead, give yourself some love for having such a productive day and allow your body the rest that it needs to replenish for the next one. Try to do the things that don’t require so much thought and creativity in the meantime, while tending to the things that still have to get done, like your everyday tasks. 
Once you understand your own personal energy flow, you’ll be getting your productivity on in no time.