Category Archives: Goal-Setting

Via Ferrata


Point to Ponder:
What’s your Via Ferrata?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As referenced in last week’s journal, our iGnite Escape’s are always filled with unexpected, laughable and ample ah-ha moments. In addition to meeting the Rubyz, the memory that made the greatest impact during this summer’s escape to Banff, Canada was on our 6-hour, Via Ferrata climb on Mt. Norquay–7000 feet up!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Via Ferrata, you are not alone. Prior to planning our trip I was also unaware. Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron way” and is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, other fixed anchors and suspension bridges. Having rock climbed before, I didn’t feel it was as physically challenging, however while the views were spectacular, six hours of reaching, climbing, scaling, and repelling at 7000 feet high is no easy feat. In fact, at times it was so physically, mentally and emotionally daunting that many of us agreed that we were tired of feeling scared and several of us wanted to stop; however, that is when the experience became the most rich and rewarding.

As the fear and fatigue escalated, Kim, one of our guides stepped in. Gentle yet firm, she reminded us that taking long deep breaths was essential, as deep abdominal breathing allows for full oxygen exchange that lowers heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure and calms our mind. And, having practiced the deep breathing throughout our adventure, I can confirm that it does quiet the body and mind.

Next, and while this sounds ridiculously simple, she encouraged us to eat, stay hydrated and take pit stops as often as we needed. Here’s why: Snacking and keeping our blood sugar at normal levels helps reduce anxiety and increases concentration. Staying hydrated helps us stay focused and decreases brain fog, and while we climbed (it got much more difficult before it got easier), staying focused was essential. And, allowing ourselves to urinate (rather than holding it) truly caused a sense of relief and Kim needed us to be as comfortable on the mountain, because not only would that allow us to stay focused on the tasks at hand, it would keep us safe.

Kim’s final wisdom nugget that left the greatest impression on our experience was when she reminded us that whether or not we quit or kept going, a “feel good” chemical response in our bodies would occur. In the event we were to quit, we would feel safe, relieved and out of danger, therefore our body would release serotonin. On the flip side, if we finished what we started, we would experience an endorphin rush and feel a true sense of euphoria. Kim’s point was that either way, both of these responses feel good and when the next similar opportunity were to present itself, we would more than likely choose the same path. In other words, as a result of stopping before we accomplished our goals or finished what we set out to achieve, life patterns are created. To Kim’s point, this is why she was respectfully relentless and would not let us quit. She knew that if we continued to persevere, work through our fears, fatigue and even anger, the result would be empowerment and excitement, which is most certainly what we all experienced. When it was all said and done and we were celebrating over beer and wine, we unanimously agreed that we were thankful we didn’t quit and completed the climb, and as we learned in this summer’s journal Be a Novel, Keep Moving and Stay Young, many of us agreed that climbing the Via Ferrata significantly reduced our risk of Alzheimers disease and increased our neuroplasticity.

So, what’s your Via Ferrata? Is there a “thing” in your life that you are avoiding starting or finishing due to fear? If there is, I encourage you to start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing, as well as a good endorphin surge. Then, add on. Trying an iGnite class you’ve never taken is the perfect place to start, as is participating in our 12-Day Body Re-Boot that begins this upcoming Saturday.

All in all, fear is normal and without it, we’d be robots. However, what’s vital is our willingness to be a beginner and embrace challenges so that time and time again, courage can step in and we can experience life at its best.

Action Item:
Make the choice to be a beginner and embrace challenges. Start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing as well as a good endorphin surge.

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Be a Novice, Keep Moving & Stay Young

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part III

iGnite - June26_2016 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you practice being a beginner?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

This weekend I attended a portion of the Yoga Journal Conference in San Diego with iGnite Leader and friend, Amy Younkman. Amy leads our yoga and Power Pilates classes, has attended the Yoga Journal Conference for many years and always returns with excellent information. While we attended different classes, the one class that we took together was led by Bo Forbes and titled “Body Maps: The Road to Healthy Aging, Pain Modulation and Emotional Balance.”  Bo teaches yoga throughout the world, and, interestingly, she is also a psychologist. She is a yogi-brainiac, and she specializes in integrating yoga, mindfulness, neuroscience, psychology and movement studies and she has worked with professional sports teams, corporations, healthcare professionals worldwide. Obviously, she is a wealth of fascinating knowledge, all of which I am so eager to share with you because as Amy and I did, you are going to love it!

First, in regard to the physical aging portion of her class, what science is finding out is that unlike what we may have once thought or been told, aging is NOT what causes the loss of muscle mass or connective tissue. Instead, the loss of connective tissue and muscle mass is what causes aging! EUREKA!

As a refresher, the reason why connective tissue is important is because it connects, supports, binds, or separates all other tissues. And, muscles are necessary because muscles are the only tissue in the body that have the ability to contract and therefore move the other parts of the body. The muscular system’s second function is the maintenance of posture and body composition. Healthy connective tissue and muscle mass is what keeps us moving and physically thriving.

Next, as it relates to mental aging, emotional balance, memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression–neuroplasticity is the key. According to Dr. David Hellerstein in Psychology Today, neuroplasticity is the ongoing remodeling of brain structure (or the re-wiring of our brain map) and function that occurs throughout life. And, our day to day behavior and activity can have measurable effects on brain structure, function and health.

The key ingredient to healthy connective tissue is daily stretching and movement in every and all directions. The main ingredient for having muscle mass is strength, body weight and resistance training; and the primary ingredient for neuroplasticity is becoming an “expert beginner” and striving to participate in new movements and new experiences every day. As Bo reminded us, “The body and brain do not learn and grow from repetitive movement. Instead, they learn and grow from new experiences.” Therefore, the more we participate in life as a novice, feel incompetent and even engage in awkward and uncomfortable experiences, the healthier we are mentally and physically. BRILLIANT!

So, why is this the best and most exciting news ever?! You can access all of this goodness through iGnite! As it relates to our summer theme of staying energized, renewed and balanced, when constantly re-wiring and expanding our brain map by means of being a beginner and trying new things, the scientific proven outcome is that we are energized and experience a boost in mood. Therefore, our emotional capacity is expanded and our spirit stays uplifted!

With July 1st only a few days away, the timing of our fun summer contest to Give It a Try In July, could not be more perfect. Throughout the entire month of July, we encourage you to try all of our 28 weekly classes led by our passionate, talented and amazing Leaders. This is the ideal opportunity to re-wire your brain and body map by mixing up your exercise routine, which includes driving to new areas of town, iGniting with new members and creating new relationships.

There has never been a better time to stretch beyond your comfort zones and get good at becoming a beginner. After all, it’s in the spirit of anti-aging and health, which is TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Action Item:
Try one new thing this week.

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Sitting is the New Smoking


Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

You can be very athletically fit, but if you are SITTING ALL DAY  with minimal walking or movement, your health will most definitely suffer.

According to Dr. Mercola’s Optimal Fitness,  when you stop moving for extended periods of time, it is like telling your body to shut down and prepare for death. Sitting for more than an hour slows your metabolic rate drastically, your arterial dilation — the ability for your arteries to expand and allow more blood flow to flow through them — is reduced by 50%, with the corresponding decrease in blood flow. Your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and toxicity levels all rise, and the cellular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of your body and health SHUT DOWN.
Studies looking at life in natural agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for only about three hours a day, a baseline of a heathy amount of sitting that is a stark contrast to the nine or more hours the average American spends seated in a daily office job and then later on in front of the TV.

iGnite_PowerUp_300ppi-5SO… YOU NEED TO GET UP EVERY HOUR! You can set an alarm on your phone or computer that rings every hour to remind you to get up – maybe climb the stairs in your office or go for a walk around the block.

“Walking is not considered an exercise, but rather an essential movement that we all require,” according to Dr. Mercolas Guide to Optimal Fitness. Walking is a phenomenal maintenance activity that will allow you to stay healthy into old age. In fact, the older you get, the more important it becomes.

The good thing about walking is that it does not tear your body down too much, so it does not require recovery time like exercise can. The flip side is that walking won’t build your body up much either, even if you are taking the much-heralded 10,000 steps a day.

Another solution along with walking is a standing desk. According to Dr. Levine, a consultant with Fortune 500 companies, in every company that implements standing desks for their workers productivity increased.  Sitting for less than an hour at a time or standing at a desk has also been proven to decrease back pain!
Sitting less requires a change in thinking and being — a change in how we live. Your best solution is to stand up as much as possible, making it your goal to sit for 3 HOURS OR LESS DURING YOUR WAKING HOURS!!

Lets try this!!

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How Daily Discipline Can Set Your Summer Months Free

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite Journal - May29_2016

Point to Ponder:
Where can you exercise daily discipline so you can find greater enjoyment in your summer months?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

When I first read the quote above several years ago it struck me – I had always thought of discipline as willful containment, or reigning in, whereas freedom represented wide-open, “the sky’s the limit” possibilities. As I pondered this quote and it begin to sink in, I realized it was absolutely spot on.

Within freedom lies the ability for new discoveries and transformation. However, if freedom is not balanced with the right amount of self-discipline, there is no internal container or self-regulation process in place. We have to learn about limitations through self discipline in order to learn about (and earn) the truth about freedom. Discipline requires an intentional commitment to connect with what’s important to us. Over time, practicing daily disciplines, or acts of diligence, earns us our freedom.

For me, the discipline of meeting a best friend at 6 AM to run around the lake 2 – 3 times a week for over 20 years has certainly brought more energy, passion, peace and contentment to my days and to my life, much like an iGnite workout with friends. Every Monday, I discipline myself to do laundry (ugh!), plan dinners for the week, and spend time on my yoga mat listening to my inner advisor and preparing my yoga classes for the week. When I do these things, my family life runs smoother for the week and I enthusiastically look forward to my yoga and Pilates classes with renewed inspiration. No one can give me personal freedom; I have to earn it for myself.

While I love the looser schedules, less structure and vacation days of summer, I also realize I can’t truly enjoy “lazy days of summer” without my personal disciplines in place. In summer I loosen up on some of them, allowing more time for spontaneity and creative escapes. I find if I rise early to workout, get to bed at a reasonable hour, eat and drink in moderation and keep healthy food on hand, I am more apt to be a vital, happy and healthy person laying fertile ground for personal growth and freedom to take root.

As we enter into our summer season, I hope you will join me in creating a loose and less structured summer, while continuing to practice daily disciplines and acts of diligence as this will earn us freedom, health, happiness and even more fun.

Action Item:
Enjoy the loose and less structured summer days, however continue to practice daily disciplines and acts of diligence as this will earn you freedom, health, happiness and fun.

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Spring Cleaning 101

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…spring has arrived! Spring in Austin can mean many things – bluebonnets, patio margaritas, lake outings, and the list goes on – but for this Austinite it marks the start of spring cleaning. What January is to healthy living resolutions April is to closet organization.

Unfortunately many people are overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning when all they need is a push in the right direction and a plan to keep them on track. Keep your eye on the prize and read below for my fool proof plan. Happy organizing!

Tips to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Start and FINISH one space before moving onto the next
  • All items you set aside for donation or repair must leave your home within the next 24 hours and all items you plan to sell must leave your house within the next 72 hours.
  • Make a list of your overall goals and tape the list in a spot where you (and others!) will see it daily…this will help hold you accountable and keep you on track.
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Margaret’s trusty donation bag ready to be taken to Goodwill


Now the fun can begin. With any project like this it is always best to start at the heart of the matter, and in this case that means your closet. Begin with hanging clothes and look at every single item…every single item…in some cases this will move quickly and in others this inevitably means trying things on. Each item should fit well now (pre and post partum being the exception), be in good shape and be something that you love and makes you feel great. Clothes that are aspirational shouldn’t be allowed to shame you or take up unnecessary space. As you go along make piles for donation, sale and repair.

Goodwill is my favorite donation spot in Austin, as your donations will help fuel education and job growth, while Craigslist, Facebook sales groups and SparkleKids are my preferred way to sell home goods, clothing and kids items.
Spring cleaning 4Once you have finished giving your hanging clothes the once over, move on to folded items, shoes, purses, jewelry and other accessories. Everything that remains can now be given a proper and intentional home. But, wait! Before you can sign off on your wardrobe make sure all winter items are properly tucked away – coats and sweaters should be newly cleaned and surrounded in plastic to prevent moth damage and boots and winter bags that need some love should be taken to the cobbler. This may seem like overkill now, but I promise you will thank me in the fall!

Okay, now treat yourself to a well deserved margarita, and then apply this same method to every other closet in your home.

Thankfully this plan can be tailored for any area of your home and since it is spring cleaning this is the perfect time to tackle the nooks and crannies that normally get overlooked.


Kids clothing can get confusing since some items might need to be kept as hand me downs or keepsakes. I know it’s tempting to keep every little onesie but in this case I strongly recommend only holding onto items that will truly feel needed or special down the road. For items that are kept but no longer in use now is the time to pack them away in matching plastic bins or vacuum sealed storage bags.


Spring cleaning 6When cleaning out and organizing your kitchen and pantry don’t forget to go through your spices and infrequently used dry goods. This is also the right time to do a yearly scrub (Bar Keeper’s Friend!) on pots and pans. And of course don’t forget to wipe clean the dividers that hold your kitchen utensils and cutlery.


Bathrooms and vanities should be given the same scrutiny as all other areas…toss old make up, toiletries or any unnecessary samples that have built up over the past year.


Storage areas and garages can take on a life all their own and are often the places where unused items go to die. Make sure all lawn utensils, sporting goods and tools are both used consistently and in good working order. These are also areas where labels can be especially helpful. Once you give everything a labeled home your system will be a no-brainer to maintain.


Home offices are easily and quickly overtaken by paper. Of course there are non-negotiable paper documents which must be carefully labeled and filed. But once those have been set aside often what remains can either be digitized and stored on a cloud or found online. I love the Tiny Scanner app that allows for documents to be easily saved and emailed.

As each area of your space receives the spring cleaning treatment, make a list of needed bins or organizing tools. This step is best saved for last so you can actually see what needs to be contained, grouped or labeled.

Bravo if you have stuck to this plan and made it to the end! Not only is your entire home organized and spruced up but moving forward your whole space will be much easier to maintain. Everything is now in its place.

Special offer for iGnite readers! Margaret would like to offer $25 off your first three hours of organizing. Offer valid through August 2016.

Spring cleaning 3-1Margaret Williams is a professional organizer based in Austin, Texas. She believes if you spend the time and money to purchase something, it should be treated with purpose and respect. Our homes, no matter the size, should be intentional reflections of our best self – not just an afterthought. If you are interested in speaking with Margaret, she can be reached at or 512.656.7427.

All photography by Kady Dunlap

Something for You, and Only You

What’s Love Got to Do With It, Part IV


Point to Ponder:
When was the last time you did something for you, and only you, without guilt, obligation or anyone else in mind?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

When was the last time you did something for you, and only you, without guilt, obligation or anyone else in mind? Your answer may vary based on your season of life, your ability to say “no” or “yes” as well as whether or not you are a people-pleaser or easily give into peer pressure.

For women, making a commitment to do something specifically for you and only you, with no one else in mind, is and can be terribly complicated, conflicting and hard. Why? Because we are wired to think, care and always be in service of others, and very often it takes lengthy and agonizing steps just to do what we want to do for us, like get a haircut!

Lets face it, if you are married, have kids, and/or have a pet, it is YOU who is responsible for making sure everyone and everything get taken care of, has food, has rides, and any other arrangements that need to be made prior to you doing for you. Or, if you aren’t married, have no children or pets, very often it’s work or your daunting to-do list that trips you up and keeps you from experiencing maximum enjoyment, adventure, relaxation, education, or whatever it is you are truly wanting. Either way, too often guilt and a lack of worthiness are the culprits which cause what we want to be placed on the back burner.

For me, I’ve become terrible at neglecting my wants. I’ve forgotten about me because it takes extra effort and designated alone time to think about me. And, when I am alone the last thing on my mind is what I want. Instead, when I do get alone-time, my focus is on two things: fulfilling my work and life responsibilities (funny how you can work on both of these 24/7 and neither get any smaller and I am never making myself a responsibility). Instead, almost always my time and decisions are based on the consideration of my family or other people. I’m okay with this because my life isn’t about me only, however I have let the pendulum swing waaay to far to the other side. I’ve now reached the point of neglect, which will soon lead to resentment, lower energy and added stress, depression and poor health (it’s a scientifically proven progression).

Despite Yahoo’s turbulent landscape and massive layoffs, a few years ago I read an interesting article on their very young and ambitious CEO, Marissa Mayer. During the time of the article, not only was she the CEO, but she also had a newborn, so there’s no doubt that her life was extremely exhausting and very high-stress. While reading, what struck me the most was that she said she took a long three-day weekend every other month. When I read this my jaw dropped. My first two thoughts were envy and skepticism with some judgement thrown in. Of course she can take a three day getaway, she’s making millions and she has nannies and homes and personal assistants. But then I thought: how in the world does she have time to take a three day getaway every other month. None-the-less and very wisely, she identified that in order for her to be effective and productive in all areas of her life (at home and at Yahoo), it was essential that she have balance and allow herself to get away from time to time.

Finally, just last night I read an exceptional devotional by Glynnis Whitwer. She compared our overly busy lives to trying to fit one cup of milk in a half cup measuring cup. It’s impossible right? The result is it overflows and makes a giant mess. Well, our lives are no different. If you are like me, you try to fit way too many to-do’s, expectations, accomplishments and needs of others into your cup and the result is an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual mess. Your relationships, health, work, etc. —everything is negatively effected because you have failed to neglect your basic needs, which is to engage and participate in things that YOU and only YOU want to do.

Doing something special for yourself does not have to require money, it simply requires you loving yourself enough to make you a priority, just as you do to everyone and everything else. Your “thing” can be something as simple as a quiet, prayerful and meditative walk, reading a book, hiking, joining a Bible study or book club, taking a photography or art class, exercising more, seeing a movie once a month, have a monthly dinner with friends or significant other, or as it relates to iGnite, treating yourself to Amy’s delicious yoga workshops this Saturday or in April, joining us for our upcoming Mini-iGnite Weekend Escape to Port Aransas or splurge by joining us on our Summer Escape to Banff, Canada. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter WHAT you do for yourself. Instead, what’s most important is that you love yourself enough to identify your wants, bring them to the front burner and start taking action.

Action Item:
Love yourself enough to identify your wants, move them to the front burner and take action.

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Embracing the Pause

February is here and the enthusiasm of the holidays and New Year’s resolutions have passed — not to mention the winter doldrums are starting to set in. We are facing the daunting marathon until June and another school year complete. I must admit, at this time of year it starts to feel hard to keep momentum strong toward the change, that I may or may not have identified, is going to happen this year!

Amy Casual headshot

by Amy Chibib

Whether you are one of those hard core achievers diligently chipping away at your goals or not – we all get to a point of questioning – Can I do this and what is next? In my coaching practice I see it happen to all types, the excitement is waning and this is where “the rubber hits the road.” Reality sets in and the climb looks steep. Yet, we continue in a perpetual motion of just staying busy and moving forward. And if you aren’t getting things done, well then something must be wrong. Resonate with anyone?

I have been through different seasons in my life and often faced with this challenge by the end of February. The good news is I have learned some effective coping skills along the way and have come to see this as a powerful gift. Perhaps this is the very nudge, or ah ha! Saying STOP and pay attention. Listen to what is really going on and get connected to myself. I am a doer by nature and my go to pattern is to buck it up and keep going. That behavior has allowed me to escape the deep thinking and contemplation. Or even worse — the uncomfortableness of sitting still. What I have come to learn is that in my “busyness,” I am so disconnected I don’t even realize the impact of how I am showing up. What have I been missing? What have you been missing? While teaching Pilates recently, I realized the metaphor in the tiny movements, holding still, and breathing not only in exercise but in every aspect of our life is where we find the greatest connections and joy.

So, what’s next? How do you want to continue to move through this year and achieve the goals and/or change you seek? Why not pause, be still and evaluate your why’s – the values you hold. The values in which you make decisions on daily that are so subconscious they go unnoticed. As a coach, no matter what challenges my clients face, we start here. Just as strong companies lay this foundation of a mission and core values; this is an incredibly powerful discovery for yourself. It brings a connected sense of purpose and meaning behind the goals you have set. If you find yourself stuck in the winter doldrums, post resolution blues – I challenge you to embrace those moments. Give yourself a wink and say ok, I need to take inventory.

Below are two exercises to sort through in these times:

  • For those of us “Doer’s”, this is a challenge but I can attest it has given more clarity than I ever imagined. Give meditation 15minutes a day – No judging allowed, just notice and write down the chatter that is going on in your mind. Reflect – What is it like to just sit with your thoughts and let them go? Do you notice a pattern or theme?  What could this be telling you about your values?
  • Define your core values: Think of highs and lows you’ve experienced in your life. Write these events and ask: What is significant about these times and what values are being held? Name a value to each – themes will most likely appear. Another, way to identify your core values is consider what you can’t tolerate — what drives you nuts. These are pointing directly to tightly held values and beliefs. Use this list of sample values that might help you. Once you have identified your top 10 – bring them to life with a definition. If that value walked in your house, what would it look like? This is what makes it unique to you – Ex: Trust might be on many lists but that can look very different to each person.

Have fun with these exercises and notice the shifts in perspective toward your goals. Who do you want to BE and are you showing up authentically? I wish for each of you a year filled with a renewed balance, embracing the pause. 

Life is a dance that requires a lot of balance and just like when we are training our body – our spirit and mind need the same attention.

Amy Chibib works as a career/life transition coach in Austin, Texas.  She enjoys helping clients map out their whys and what’s next. If you are interested in learning more, she can be reached at or 512.632.9252



Create Your Best In 2016

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“The goal is not to change who you are, the goal is to become more of who you are at your best.”
-Sally Hogshead

Point to Ponder:
Are your 2016 goals, mantras and/or intentions balanced?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s been a big three weeks! We’ve celebrated the previous year, pulled 2015 weeds and reviewed and evaluated any unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business from 2015. YAY! Now we can declare our 2016 goals, mantra or intentions!

For me, the ‘clean the slate’ exercise has been very helpful, as it has done just that, it’s cleaned my slate. Rather than haphazardly write down and dive into a ridiculous amount of overwhelming goals (which I do each year and fail miserably), this year was different! Not only did this exercise provide me with critical thinking opportunities, but it allowed me the time to strategically evaluate what I actually want and need to pursue in order for me to become more of who I am at my best.

While I am continuing to determine specific goals for 2016, I have chosen a mantra and intention: “Grow” is my mantra, and my intention is: “I willingly accept and embrace each new challenge that I encounter so I can grow into and become everything God has created me to be.”

So, how about you? Do you have any goals, a mantra, or intention for 2016? If so, I encourage you to declare it by writing them down. If you have several goals, review them and determine if there is a balance of ‘doing goals’ with ‘being goals’. My guess is for most of us, our goals are lopsided with almost all ‘doing’ goals, such as: exercise three days a week, organize the garage, go to lunch with friends more, do, do, do…..

Of course there is nothing wrong with setting “doing” goals, however to have success and achieve balance (which I know we all want) we must also have ‘being’ goals too. Therefore, as you contemplate your first round of goals (b/c you can always set more), consider having a goal for each of the following categories: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. This will help create a holistic balance of ‘doing’ with ‘being’, which will be energetically significant in allowing you to have success in being your best, which I know we ALL want!

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(Goals, mantra, and/or intention postcard that will be passed out in classes this week)

Action Item:
When declaring and writing down your goals, mantras, or intentions that allow you to be your best, make it a point to be holistic in your approach. By creating goals for each category: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional, you will balance ‘doing’ with ‘being’.

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Wait, You DO Have a Choice!

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Point to Ponder:
Do you feel weighed down by unfulfilled goals, expectations and/or unfinished business?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa  Brown Springmann

If you’re like me, it was much more fun to celebrate my 2015 accomplishments, unexpected wins and everything that I am thankful for than to identify my 2015 disappointments, regrets, unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business (a.k.a. the heavy five) from last week’s journal. While it was painful to dig these up and reveal them, it was necessary to pull them to the surface, look them over and decide what I wanted to do with them, because I DO have a choice!

When the Clean the Slate exercise was first introduced to me, I was bummed to realize that I was being asked to remember “the heavy five”, however when I was told that I had a choice as to what I did with them, my attitude completely changed. I think my reaction was something like this: “Wait! You mean I have a choice as to whether or not I pursue my unfulfilled expectations, unachieved goals, undelivered communication and unfinished business? And, I don’t have to keep them on my ever growing goals and to-do list that I can’t ever seem to complete?” Brilliant!

Upon going through the exercise, it allowed me to see the significance of releasing the burden of carrying anything that is unnecessary, non-relevant, or extra, NOW! Cleaning the slate also allowed me to precisely look at my New Year with a brand new pair of high quality, smudge free, Ray-Ban glasses while also determining what is really important to me, NOW! I don’t know about you, but that was and continues to be an epiphany for me–that I ALWAYS have a choice in what I continue to pursue (or not). Either way, what’s most important is that we pull the weeds, bring them to the surface, acknowledge them and make the important decision to do something with them. It’s like clearing your conscience!

In conclusion, the clean the slate exercise reminds me of a “choice dilemma” that my older sister, Shonna, experienced many years ago. Shortly after high school she became an RN and then received her BS in nursing from the University of Texas. A few years later she decided that she wanted to get her master’s degree in exercise physiology. She was accepted into UT’s program and attended, however six months into it she became very confused. She was not enjoying her experience, she was not enjoying what she was learning and she was pretty miserable. Ultimately, she wanted to quit, but two things tripped her up: 1). Our mom and dad raised us with the value of commitment. Once we started something we finished it. There was no quitting. 2). She always envisioned herself with a master’s degree, and specifically with the “M” initial behind her name. It was a right of passage that she thought she needed in order to prove herself.

What my sister lost sight of (that I think we all can relate to) was it was her life and therefore her choice. The “never quit” philosophy that we were raised with was great, as it taught us the values of commitment and hard work (my parent’s actual goals for us), however because that was a firm rule in our house, as an adult the line for her was blurred.

After talking through it, she was able to see that saying “no” to her master’s degree was not quitting. Instead, it was the wisest decision she could make because it was saying yes to her life, now. Trying to prove herself, please our parents or please anyone besides herself would make for a devastating waste of time (and money!)! It was the best decision for her and of course my parents didn’t care one bit! They actually never cared. Their ultimate desire was and is for her to be happy and pursue her passion. She made up all of the other assumptions (dang assumptions!). Finally, because she made the best choice for her, she went on to do exactly what she really wanted to do and was really good at: nursing in the ER at Brakenridge Hospital and becoming a mother of two.

All in all, when we make a conscious choice to pull our weeds, choose to toss them or keep them based on our heart’s desire, we become aligned with our spirit and are able to do our best work, be the most effective and make the greatest impact!

Action Item:
Review and reevaluate your unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business from 2015. Acknowledge them and determine if they are complete, unfinished, and/or if you want to continue to pursue them and make them a goal for 2016. Whatever you do not want to take with you into 2016, choose to scratch it and move on.

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STOP: Pull Your Weeds!


Point to Ponder:
What weeds to you need to remove from your life in order to make your year all you hope it to be?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Springmann

In order to be our best and see our 2016 garden grow into what we want, hope and envision it to be, we first have to rid our 2015 gardens of the overgrown weeds. Similar to prepping your garden from one season to the next, in order to create space for the new and healthy vegetation to grow and blossom, the old and dead must go.

I learned this ‘Clean the Slate’ exercise from iGnite member and business coach, Martha Lynn Mangum, and much like celebrating our accomplishments, unexpected wins, successes and all that we are grateful for from 2015 (as we did last week), this exercise is part of the strategic and vital process of starting anew and getting the results we want.

Very much like pulling our 2015 garden weeds, another analogy that really resonates with me is one of a forest fire. As Darren Hardy of DarrenDaily (a daily motivational podcast), states, “A forest fire is a very powerful and important act of nature. This is how Mother Nature clears out the old to make room for the new. It removes it’s previously restricted limitations and helps reset the conditions so new life can form. While this process begins in difficulty, it gives the forest a fresh start. Soon new picturesque plant species are able to thrive since they no longer have to compete for the sun with the previously tall, dead trees that hoarded the sun. Glorious new trees are able to climb majestically to the sky because room has been made for it’s room to expand.”

Of course we have to remove physical, mental and emotional weeds in order move forward, see progress and experience the new outcomes we are hoping and working towards! And, of course we would never plant anything new and beautiful plant on top of a bed of weeds and unprepared soil… so why in the world would we set new goals and intentions before pulling our 2105 weeds first? We wouldn’t!…therefore before setting your new 2016 goals, you will need to pull the following 2015 weeds by identifying and writing down the following information:

  1. What Disappointments did you experience?
  2. Do you have any Regrets?
  3. Are there Unfulfilled Expectations lying around?
    Is there any Undelivered Communication that didn’t get dealt with? Acknowledge any communication you need to clean up with anyone. You don’t have to have an actual conversation, rather acknowledging that the communication was undelivered works to.
  4. Do you have any Unfinished Business weighing you down? This can be goals you set out to accomplish but were unable to or have not achieved.

From something as simple as still needing to organize your office, the act of placing any disappointments, regrets, unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business on paper will give your mind and spirit the capacity to evaluate exactly what you want to move forward with as well create new and fresh opportunities for yourself. Hang onto this information, especially your unfinished business because we’re going do something with it next week. It’s going to be a great year!

Action Item:
Identify and write down any dissappointments, regrets, unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business left over from 2015. This action will give your mind and spirit the capacity to evaluate exactly what you want to move forward with as well as create new and fresh opportunities for yourself.

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