Category Archives: Goal-Setting

It’s Never Too Late

March5_2017 2

Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you have been putting off that you have been wanting to do?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Like me, I’m guessing that prior to last Thursday you had never heard of Orville Rogers. It wasn’t until iGnite leader, Alli Phillips, sent our team a video of Orville, at 99 years young man racing and beating his 92 year old competitor in the 60 meter sprint during the Masters Indoor Track Championship that I learned who he was. The now viral video is certainly inspiring, but on Saturday morning, while doing my mundane weekend laundry folding and listening to the national news, I saw an interview with Orville and heard his hardly mundane and impactful story.

In this 3-minute interview, Orville revealed that as a result of reading the book Aerobics by Kenneth Cooper when he was 50-years old, he began running. Incredibly, in the almost 50-years that Orville has been running, he has logged over 42 thousand miles! When asked about his workout routine, he said that 3 times a week he warms up with a lot of stretching and time on the Elliptical machine followed by slowly running 3 miles. Even more impressive are the 2, 100 meter wind sprints that he tops off his 3-miles with. In addition, he strength trains, eats fish and chicken 6 days a week, red meat 1 day, and plenty of colorful fruits and veggies. He also added that he takes a daily multivitamin and gets a physical once per year at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. When asked what gives him his spiritual edge, he said he believes in God, considers himself blessed and has a wonderful family who he plans to celebrate his 100th birthday on November 28th with after he participates in the Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championship this summer in Baton Rouge. His motto is “You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running.”

Every bit of this World War II pilot and world record holder’s story is inspiring, but the part that made the greatest impression on me was that he didn’t begin running until he was 50 years old, which is typically when people end their running routine. In addition, he sees his commitment to his health as a means of honoring his temple so that he can serve to his greatest ability. Furthermore, when he was 90 years old old he went skydiving for the first time and at 93, he went hang-gliding.

Besides the word “stud”, there’s only one other set of words that best describes Orville and that’s a fearless go-getter. That being said, I really wonder which came first–the chicken or the egg? Was Orville born eager and fearless or did his life experiences create a can-do fearlessness spirit in him? Did he become this was after surviving World War II and flying for many years as a commercial pilot? I guess we’ll never know, but I can’t help but think that environment has something to do with it, as his “go for it” attitude was a part of his daily life and it continues to be.

While some fear and hesitation is healthy, by in large, fear really ticks me off because I believe that most of it is bogus, irrational and unfortunately, grows with age. Research from the National Institute of Mental Health found that 60% of the things we fear will never come true; 90% of the things we fear are considered insignificant; and 88% of the things we fear about our health will never happen. As this relates to our daily lives, fear and not being willing to “go for it” single-handedly prevents us from trying new things, creating new relationships, exploring new careers, and therefore living the big and bold life that I believe God created us to live. Ultimately, it undermines faith and puts God in a box.

When making the bold decision to regularly put ourselves our there and go for something we’ve been putting off or have told ourselves we can’t do, it will be deliciously terrifying. However, just as passing up opportunities is addictive, so is going for it and saying “yes”!

No one knows, at least I haven’t found it in an article or heard in an interview, if Orville Rogers was nervous or hesitant to go on his first run. I assume he considered that it would be uncomfortable, probably hurt and he likely would not be able to complete the whole distance. None-the-less, his decision to go for it at 50 years old has now bloomed into him being a 99 year old You Tube sensation who is getting to share his inspiring story on television and on the internet and making the case that no matter how old we are, if we want to do something, we should go for it!


Action Item:
Pick something that you have been wanting to do, take the first step and and go for it!


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What I’ve Learned About Setting A Healthy Boundary

feb26_2017

Point to Ponder:
Is there an area in your life where you can benefit from adding a healthy boundary?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Several weeks ago I let Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and my professional coach, know that I wanted to take the week of February 20- February 24 off. My children had the week off from school for what’s called Ski Week. No, this isn’t Spring Break, as that’s not until April. Ski Week is just a random week off designed to torture parents. HA! Really, I have no idea why, but my guess is with the President’s Day holiday, families were taking extra long weekends to go to skiing and as a means to avoid losing money (from the state), the district decided it was best to extend the school year and give the students the whole week off.

All that to say, I wanted to commit the entire week to spending time, having fun and fully focusing on Durant and Malaine, something I shamefully don’t allow myself to do or give them, ever. With the exception of a Saturday or major holiday, I am a slave to my email and anything work related takes precedent. If I’m not physically working, my brain is consumed with it. I’m a work-a-holic and am horrible at setting work-related boundaries. The result is that I spend much of my time multi-tasking between the needs of my family, household and work. On the outside looking in, it might appear that I am cool, calm and collected, but on the inside, I’m a mental mess. I, like most women, am a great multi-tasker, which I think is helpful and likely a God-given gift to women. During multi-tasking moments, I often experience an adrenalin high but I also feel like I am in a constant state of intellectual frenzy. Meanwhile, taking legitimate and real time off never occurs to me. Why? Because I don’t know how to.

As I spoke to Martha about what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it, I expressed that I just wanted to just hang out with the kiddos. I wanted to give them my undivided attention and not put them on hold, like I frequently do. I also wanted to be fun, and not the crazed mom that I often become when I am striving to accomplish too many things at one time. And yet, as I discussed this with Martha, taking a full week off felt daunting because getting behind on emails and work didn’t seem worth it. Furthermore, with family and hard work being two of my core values, taking time off I felt as though I was not being a supportive team/family member to the iGnite team and family and it just feels wrong not to work!

As you are reading, you are likely seeing my own hypocrisy and wanting to shake me while screaming, “Isn’t taking the week off so you can spend time with your children/family in complete alignment with your family core value?” Of course you are right, but my deranged brain couldn’t see that. And, to exploit my hypocrisy even more, Martha reminded me that even though I always support and encourage our amazing iGnite team to take time off, (because I truly believe we all need it and are energized after a good break and extra fun) by not walking my talk I am non-verbally communicating that I really don’t expect them to take time off either. NOOOOO that’s not true, but clearly I’m being a hypocrite!

Realizing that I was being a total phony sealed the deal, so with Martha’s coaching (because I really didn’t know how to take time off), she directed me on the simple steps:
1). communicate my plans to our team, and 2) to set an email vacation reminder so when someone emailed me and I didn’t respond, they’d know that I I wasn’t ignoring them and I’d get back to them after my time off. And so, I followed Martha’s instructions and last Monday morning I began my week off. As a result, here’s what I learned:

I have very unhealthy work boundaries which are all self-induced, and even though I am deeply passionate about iGnite and it feeds every ounce of my body, mind and spirit, it is essential that I step away, just as I would advise our iGnite team and/or any mom to do from her family, despite her intense love for them.

In addition, taking the week off was the single greatest gift I could have given myself and my family–we had a blast! Because I set my email vacation reminder I didn’t feel obligated to check my email, or guilty or irresponsible for not responding. Was I perfect, no, as there were a few times when I needed to check on time-sensitive items, but I felt zero urge to check my email. All in all, I can’t give myself an A+, but I do give myself an A-. Now that I’ve officially taken time off and know how to, I’ll be able to do it better next time and the next time.

What I’ve learned in life is that I’m never alone in anything, and if I have a difficult time setting boundaries, then it’s likely that someone else does too. There’s no doubt that setting healthy boundaries around work can be tricky for anyone, but in particular for women, I think when it comes to our family, friends, volunteering, and just doing and giving to people in general (as I feel in iGnite), keeping healthy boundaries is as tricky as walking a tightrope. Honoring and keeping our personal and family-time separate and sacred, even from things such as social media, technology, television, and the plethora of activities and opportunities that vie for our attention is a real challenge, but its necessary. In the words of Susan Biali, Life Coach and Medical Doctor, she says it best in her article from Psychology Today titled, “7 Ways to Protect Your Energy & Enforce Healthy Boundaries”, you are here for a reason, and we need you to be at your best. We need you to be rested, and to have time available to do what you were put on this earth to do, no matter how big or small. You need time for you and for those you love most, in order for you to be happy and healthy and a blessing to all of us. This is really important, it isn’t selfish. Guard your life energy, it’s the most important currency you have.”


Action Item:
Establish a healthy boundary in an area in your life, and focus on it for a week. If need be, ask for guidance and find an accountability partner. At the end of your week, evaluate your progress and determine what, if anything, changed for you.


 

Love Yourself! Inspiration for Your New Year

jan15_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you love yourself as God loves you?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Since the New Year, I set a soft goal to find new and meaningful content that would not only challenge, encourage and inspire growth within myself, but that I would also want to share with you. I didn’t take formal goal action, like write it down and visualize finding this information, but instead, I set an intention. Excitingly, the intention started to bear fruit last week when iGnite’s wise and wonderful Amy Younkman shared 4 Yogic Tips to Make Your Resolutions Stick. Amy’s advice was perfect, as it was important and bite-sized holistic information that is realistic to achieve.

Then, more inspiration came again last night in the form of a text message from the always spunky, and never-met-a-bad-day or stranger, iGnite member, Lisa Wade. Lisa shared an article by Simone Talma Flowers that was featured in the Austin American Statesman. Simone is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Action of Central Texas and this spiritually-based article may be one of the greatest articles I have ever read. Simone speaks beautifully to every woman’s heart and tendencies: care giving, selfless, critical of oneself and even insecure. Most importantly though, Simone shares her experience with hearing God and His encouragement: for her (and us) to not only love others, but for her (and us) to love herself and ourselves, like He loves us all:

Selflessness is a virtue admired by many. It is an aspiration countless try to achieve. We often praise acts of selflessness, as great human achievements. Witnessing the acts, the dedication and commitment by others like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa or Gandhi, we have great admiration for a life dedicated for the advancement of others.

Selfless acts are perceived as acts of graciousness, discipline, humility and hospitality. The person who receives this grace knows how powerful an act of generosity is; and the person who is engulfed in the act of serving, knows the power of this experience, the energy, the flow, the connection to God, to source, to the universe. It is a powerful feeling of blessedness, that makes you want to continue to do even more.

Living a life of purpose, a life of selflessness in service to others, is what I aspired to. Growing up, I saw people like Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa as examples of living purposely and selflessly in this world. I appreciate people in my community who are gracious and hospitable.
Hospitality is another virtue I admire greatly and associate with selflessness. Hospitality is being welcoming, generous with an unwavering expression of love and acceptance, making sure others are taken care of. So, in a recent conversation with God, I was shocked at what He revealed.
Enjoying a few days of rest, one morning after I finished my morning prayers and meditation, I had a conversation with God.

I was in a very relaxed state, a state of stillness, in tune and conscious of everything around me. I told God how much I love this feeling of peace, well-being, love and kindness I felt for myself and my surroundings. I told God how I appreciate my purpose here in this world of loving and serving others. I love going beyond myself to serve and share love, without effort. It is as natural to me as breathing or drinking water. Yet, it is common for me to delay taking time for my needs, and neglect to give myself the luxury of pacing or caring for myself. These unhurried moments of pure blessedness were rare.

What I heard in answer from God, really shocked me. God said to me, “You are here on Earth not only to love and serve others, but to love yourself as I love you.” I wondered if it wasn’t selfish to love myself that much. God said, “No, you are here to love yourself – like I love you. Loving yourself like I love you is just as important as your other life purpose of loving and serving others. You are perfectly made, in you lives my light that can give you everything you need in this life. As you love yourself, you love others more, as you care for yourself, you care for others deeper, as you speak kind words to yourself, you speak kind words to others gentler, as you think loving thoughts of yourself, your loving thoughts of others increase.”

Living this life, loving myself is just as important and necessary as the gift of purpose in this life. So, why did it take me this long to fully realize this? I always knew love is the key, however, the extent of the love I have for myself, has limits. What God is saying to me, is that I need to remove these limits and conditions that I set for myself, and love all of me, wholeheartedly.

As I look in the mirror, I sometimes do not like all I see, especially if I see myself in comparison to others. Yet when I see and conceptualize that God’s creations are perfectly made, beautiful, whole, this gives me a different perspective, a perspective, that I am one of these creations. I am included in that: I am beautifully made.

How am I whole when I look at myself and see so much that needs fixing? Loving yourself is embracing all of you, knowing that God loves you, for who you are, and forgives you in spite of knowing what you have or have not done. God is not conditional. God forgives us, so we need to forgive ourselves. If we think we are on a wrong path, we can always try again; we can make amends. We can start over.

In my conversation with God, I realized that what I say to myself, I say to God. I love God, and I want to deepen my relationship with Him and enjoy God’s love. So I am going to speak kindly, and speak with the love that God has put in my heart.

As I live my life, selflessness, has a new meaning to me. It means I live fully, I live wholeheartedly, I live nourishing myself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically – so I have more of myself to share with others.


Action Item:
Make a list of the ways you can begin spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically nourishing yourself.


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Four Yogic Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

jan8_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you have a plan to make your New Year goals and resolutions stick?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

While the fresh start of the new year is always exciting, the pressure of being better than last year, setting new goals and resolutions can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when there is are infinite articles telling us “how to make it our best year, yet”. As a result, I have come up with my own four ‘yogic tips that help my New Years resolutions stick:

1. Satsaunga- Yoga tradition recommends satsaunga, or ‘keeping good company’.  Many of our habits are the indirect result of our social network.  Perhaps the most powerful thing we can do to change our habits are to hang out with people who have good habits and also encourage good habits in others. THIS is the biggest reason why I have chosen to be part of the iGnite team and lead iGnite Yoga and Pilates for the past eight years!

2. Create Good Habits– Rather than worry about your bad habits, pay attention to cultivating what is good for you, such as:

  • Exercise– Do something you really enjoy and feel better after doing it.
  • Be in Nature– The best medicine EVER!
  • Hydrate– Carry your iGnite water bottle with you everywhere you go and finish it as often as possible. Drink a large glass of water before each meal.
  • Eat Like a Real Person– It’s much better to eat three hearty and healthy meals each day than to be plagued by a late night snack attacks that pack on the pounds, or grazing throughout the day and never knowing what you really ate!
  • Put Your Legs up the Wall– Or find another restorative yoga pose that helps elicit the relaxation response.  Your body will say “why don’t we do this more often?!?!”
  • Go to Bed by 10:00 p.m.- Chinese medicine folks say that every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two hours.  It’s really hard to stick to good habits when you are exhausted and worn out!

3. Visualize It, Believe It!- If you are plagued by a negative thought, cultivate the opposite.  Instead of thinking “Things are not going the way I would like; I’m not getting enough done,” say with conviction “Things are unfolding exactly as they should.” Instead of thinking “I feel out of control”, tell yourself “The universe supports me.” (and believe it!)  Dream boards are a powerful way to bring exactly what you want into your life.  Every year I design a bulletin board with the people/places I want to bring into my life, and they magically imbed into my heart and life.

4. Make Room for Silence–  If a regular meditation practice seems daunting, try just a few minutes twice a day, preferably upon waking and before going to bed.  It can be your prayer time, or your time to connect to your breath.  Clear the mind and put things into perspective before going through your “to-do” or “didn’t-get-done” list.

Good luck and be on the look out for the iGnite Body Re-Boot and some great yoga workshops in Austin to help support your efforts.  There’s still time to sign up for the iGnite Renewal Retreat in San Diego at the end of this month!

Wishing you a blessed new year!


Action Item:
To get the most out of your New Year’s resolutions, keep good company, create good habits, visual and believe what you want and make room for silence.


Member Spotlight: Tammy Saxon

Tammy in boys arms horiz.- DSC_0818.JPG

Roots:
I grew up in Houston and set roots in Austin after graduating from The University of Texas in 1988.

Family Life:
I’ve been married to my husband Chuck for 28 years, and our family of six includes our oldest son Chase who is a Junior at Texas Tech University, our son Grant who is a Freshman playing lacrosse at Stevenson University in Baltimore, MD, our youngest son Reid who is a 7th grader at Canyon Vista Middle School, and our big, sweet 11 year old Golden Retriever, Harvey.

Work Life:
I earned a Finance degree from UT and worked in the finance and accounting fields until I took an early retirement to raise our family.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The most impactful lessons I have learned through iGnite are to encourage and support each other on and off the yoga mat, YOU can always make a positive impact in others’ lives, and to set your goals high because you can achieve new heights physically and emotionally every day.

I am most inspired by…
My mom is a huge inspirational influence to me because she is overflowing in generosity, strength, unconditional love, dignity and grace. She has shown me the importance of giving back and that strength and will power lead you to achieve. Her generosity shines brightly through the Golden Retriever rescue that she founded a few years ago where she has placed so many orphaned dogs into forever homes. I recently thanked my mom for building such a long table after sending her this quote that describes her so beautifully: When you have all that you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Something people may not know about me…
I love, love, love polka dots and find them almost irresistible. They are happy, positive and uplifting, and they are represented in many items sprinkled throughout my home.

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be…
Blue Bell Peppermint. Have I mentioned my love of polka dots?! Peppermint ice cream is a splash of spirited polka dots leaving a pop of confidence on your tongue preparing you to take on any challenges that your day holds. Everyone should start their day with a spoonful of Peppermint ice cream!


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Why We Should Celebrate 2016, First

jan1_2017

Point to Ponder:
Have you taken the time to say “thank you” for all that 2016 gave you?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

The night before the kids and I left San Diego to spend the holidays in Texas, I drove and walked around our neighborhood delivering Christmas goodies. Amidst the deliveries, I also contemplated my “going out of town for two and a half weeks” to-do list, which loomed heavily over my head. I also felt overwhelmed by everything that I had to get done between then and our 6:30 a.m. flight while also feeling resentful that I was living so far from my family, Christmas is no longer easy and once again I was traveling by myself with Durant (5 yrs) and Malaine (3 yrs). This is no fault of Russell’s (my husband), it’s just the nature of his job and our life.

As I drove, eager to check off items on my list, I tried numbing my to-do’s by listening to Christmas music and looking at all of the decorated houses. While my hopeful distraction did work (kind of), I still felt pretty sorry for myself until I clued into the significance of what I was doing. Unlike one year ago, I actually have friends to deliver Christmas goodies to and I have relationships with our neighbors! Having moved to San Diego last August, last year I didn’t have any friends in our neighborhood to deliver Christmas goodies too. What a difference a year makes?! I must admit, I did feel a bit like a 7th grader who was so thankful to finally have friends, but none-the-less, this was a big moment and one that I would for sure acknowledge, give thanks for and celebrate in the New Year– before going into goal and planning mode for 2017.

Two years ago, my business coach and iGnite member Martha Lynn Mangum taught me this very valuable celebration exercise. It is exactly as it sounds, which is before setting off to accomplish new goals for 2017, we must first take the time to say “thank you” to 2016 and celebrate all of the goodness and blessings from the previous year. A new year is always very exciting and it’s human nature to want to move forward rather than look back, but in this instance, it’s necessary. Really, it’s the power of gratitude and the law of attraction. The more we say “thank you”, celebrate and count our blessings, the more readily they will flow in our life.

And, if you have a terrible memory like I do and can barely remember what you ate for breakfast, remembering one whole year’s worth of celebratory material is impossible. However, because every single one of us have a smart phone, a day planner and pictures on social media, it’s a cinch to walk down 2016’s memory lane and see all of the fun, blessings, accomplishments, and successes (big and small) that occurred in our life.

To go one step further, unlike the past two years when recommending this exercise, this year I encourage you to also celebrate the painful, challenging and bitter moments (as mentioned in the quote), as they have helped shape you into who you are today, which has prepared you for what’s to come. This is also something that Martha has helped me see and do — rather than get frustrated and then dwell on situations or even people who challenge me, I’m learning to say “thank you” to them, as they are developing my character and enhancing my growth.

So, let’s do this by setting aside time to focus on all of the goodness and celebratory moments from 2016 and write them down on this simple printable. Celebrating, saying “thank you” and writing down the information is the best and most productive formula for saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming in brand new year–your blank and full of potential canvas!


Action Item:
Set aside time to focus on all of the goodness and celebratory moments from 2016 and write them down on this simple printable. Celebrating, saying “thank you” and writing down the information is the best and most productive formula for saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming in brand new year–your blank and full of potential canvas!


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How to Have Joy in 30 Days Experiment

Originally published December 2013

dec11_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with experiencing regular joy?

Dave Sunde

by Dave Sunde

I used to imagine that I was my own person; that, somehow, I didn’t care what people thought of me.

Then I graduated from junior high.

And then my idealism was trumped by reality. The reality is that the most influential component of our lives – for better and worse – is the people around us. I’d like to think my skin is thick enough to absorb let down, disappointment and rudeness. But, if I’m honest, they often have a way of shaping my attitude. I’d also like to think I’m responsive enough to be improved by another’s optimism, joy or encouragement. Sometimes, I’m able to rise above and not give in to ugly. Other times, I let myself be lifted by the infectious joy or optimism that feels temporarily foreign to me.

I want to introduce you to an experiment just in time for Christmas. It’s an experiment with ‘How to Have Joy in 30 Days’. The goal is to be intentional about recording the most uplifting, encouraging, satisfying, or life-giving encounters of each day through the Holidays. Let’s just be honest, the Holidays can bring out the best & worst. With the added cost, travel, hospitality, and seasonal extra-curriculars, we can be so easily robbed of Joy, a spirit of giving, and the celebration of what it sacred during this time of year. They don’t have to be laugh-out-loud funny moments. It could be something as simple as delayed gratification like putting off a purchase to avoid debt, having a hard conversation that deepens a relationship, anonymous gifts or favors, acts of kindness, or volunteering. They might include savored moments with children or a cherished moment with a spouse.

What I find is that my mind doesn’t naturally readily store joyful encounters for very long, so a little note-taking goes a long way. Keep a record on your phone, in a journal, or by your nightstand. Each day, take a few seconds to keep a ‘joy journal.’ As you do, watch how your awareness of joy can grow.

You can even make this a part of your dinner conversations each night with your family (I’ve even started asking my kids), asking “what was the best part of your day today?”

Gratitude can feel like a discipline, but it also keeps joy within reach. Tis’ the Season.


Action Item:
Be intentional about recording the most uplifting, encouraging, satisfying, or life-giving encounters of each day through the Holidays.


Dave Sunde is the Pastor of Mission Hills Church in Austin. A native Californian, Dave has been involved in professional non-profit and spiritual leadership for over 20 years. Dave’s passion for loving people and eloquent ability to share his love for others and life is refreshing, uplifting and inspiring. Dave has spoken at previous iGnite Retreats.


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