Category Archives: Success

Anissa’s Story: Boxing My Way from Self-Destruction to World Champion

Roots… 
I was born in San Angelo, Texas. My family moved to Austin when I was 6, so when people ask where I’m from, I always say Austin. I’ve pretty much been here my whole life!

My parents split up when I was 8 years old, and I have two older brothers and an older sister from my dad’s previous marriage. My brothers and I are very close and hang out often.

I have never married or had any children. To be honest, I was never one of those little girls who dreamed about the perfect wedding or my knight in shining armor riding off into the sunset.  I did play with barbies and had a barbie dream house –just in my mind Barbie had bought the house and went on a lot of dates with Ken.
My favorite quote…
It would have to be “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare” by Juma Ikangaa.   I saw this quote in my early years of boxing on my coach’s wall on a yellow 3M sticky note buried in the collage chaos of boxing posters and photos. I saw it and it stuck.  I didn’t always follow it, but I understood it and I try to apply it to other goals I have and want to achieve.

The best advice I’ve ever received…
The best advice was something somebody told me when I was young. I had a crush on a cute boy who did not like me the same way. I was really upset that he only wanted to be friends, and my mentor at the time told me that just because you can’t have someone the way you want them doesn’t mean you can’t have them at all.  I think people have a tendency to get mad and try to forget about people just because they don’t feel the same way that they do.  Really, you could be throwing away a good friendship, but you’ll never know if you kick them to the curb.

My dog Rocco

My dog Rocco

For fun…
When I’m not at work, you can find me hanging out with my dog Rocco, fencing at the fencing club or hanging out with friends.  I began fencing at the Texas Fencing Academy because my body wasn’t able to keep up with boxing on a regular basis because of my injuries.

My guilty pleasures…
Pizza, burgers, wine and chocolate.

I’m looking forward to…
I’m looking forward to someday competing in fencing.  But that will be a while 🙂

Current Work Life…
I am currently a Receptionist at Sports Performance International with Dr. Ted Spears. We specialize in orthopedics and sports medicine.

MY STORY: Boxing My Way from Self-Destruction to World Champion

When I was very young, I was really shy.  When my family moved to Austin things were great until my parents starting fighting a lot and eventually split up.  From that moment on, I started acting out. I was getting into trouble in school and having angry outbursts, throwing chairs — the whole bit.  I also became very self-destructive and started cutting myself at around age eleven.  My behavior got so out of control that I was expelled from school and was sent to a mental hospital.

I was in and out of short-term facilities until I was fifteen, and then was sent to a long-term treatment hospital in Dallas.  I spent about 2 & 1/2 years there being pretty self-destructive and very suicidal. I spent a lot of time in restraints… actually, most of my stay was spent in restraints.

At the time I didn’t think anybody would understand what I was going through because I had never heard of anybody doing the kinds of things that I was doing to myself. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t ask for help. I knew it was wrong and messed up, but I couldn’t stop.

When I look back on that time, I don’t even know that person. I just don’t identify with that person anymore.  It was me…I was there…it’s just very hard to believe.

I eventually got out when I was seventeen, but my troubles didn’t stop there. My mom kicked me out, and I moved in with my father back in San Angelo. It was then and there that I made up my mind to do something with my life. I didn’t want to be angry anymore. It was killing me… literally, killing me.  That’s not to say that I still didn’t have setbacks, but I did continue to move forward.

Saved by Boxing

image2It wasn’t until I stepped into the boxing gym that I really started to heal and figure things out. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and had a lot of energy.  And even though I would be training to fight, at the same time I was also learning how to control myself and to channel all of my energy and hostility into a direction that was positive and constructive for me.

I walked into the boxing gym in January of 1993, after a hard night of partying and bringing in the New Year. I had decided that is was time to get back in shape and maybe not party so much. I could lose a few pounds as well. The previous year I had torn my ACL in my left knee in Tae kwon Do, and had pretty much partied my way through my recovery, had not made the best decisions and I wasn’t really turning into the person I wanted to be.

image5I had no idea if there would be any women in the boxing gym when I first walked in, but I was completely surprised to see Lori Lord and Amy Simmons (the owner of Austin’s famous Amy’s Ice Cream) finishing their workout. I felt comfortable right off the bat there. I walked into my future coach Richard Lord’s office, signed up and told him I wanted to compete.

In the beginning as an amateur, I couldn’t get any fights. There weren’t a lot of women fighters, especially in my weight class of junior flyweight or flyweight. Women’s fighting wasn’t really accepted and promoters didn’t want anything to do with women fighters. I can remember a lot of the fire behind my training came from wanting them to show that women could do it and we could do it well.  It was pretty frustrating back then — training so hard all the time and not being able to compete. In 1995 I actually walked into Richard Lord’s office and told him that if I didn’t get a fight soon that I was going to quit.

Well, be careful for what you ask for, because within a week Richard got a phone call from a promoter in New York who wanted to put on the very first sanctioned women’s boxing match in the state of New York.  So, off I went to New York to make my Pro debut and to be a part of the first women’s boxing match in the state of New York. I won that fight and kicked off my professional boxing career with a bang. My boxing was up and down — wins and losses, but  I eventually earned the WIBF Junior flyweight world title and retired with the WIBA flyweight world title.

image7My boxing career taught me a lot about myself and what makes me tick.  I not only learned how to use physical fitness to deal with some of my self-confidence and self-esteem issues, but also how to work through things as they come up in life.  I learned that when I’m struggling with something in my personal life, sometimes it takes completely wearing myself out in a workout and after I work out I’ll either have a solution or it just doesn’t seem like the end of the world anymore. That’s not to say that sometimes I didn’t just have to go to bed and wake up the next day and hope it would be a better day, but I guess I learned how to live life.  Things are going to happen — they’re gonna happen everyday and you’re gonna have to deal with it, because that’s life. That’s everybody’s life.

Always Moving Forward

What I have learned the most on my journey is how important fitness is.  Whether it’s just going for walks or boxing or whatever —  it’s important to keep moving.

Fencing with coach Mike at Texas Fencing Academy

Fencing with coach Mike at Texas Fencing Academy

Now, I am retired from the fighting world. I suffered a few injuries from boxing that don’t allow me to box all the time, so I have picked up fencing. It’s tough and difficult and has its similarities to boxing, but at the same time is very different.

My fencing coach Mike and I

My fencing coach Mike and I

My outlook on life is pretty positive at this point.  I’m still learning and figuring things out. I started a new sport. I’m enjoying meeting new people and really being comfortable in my own skin and feeling good about myself.  I don’t compare myself to other people — don’t do that,  it will drive you crazy!

I appreciate my life now. Even the not-so-good stuff. It’s made me who I am… and I’m good with that.

Becoming an Author

My book Boxing Shadows came out In 2009.  I wanted to help people — I didn’t want anybody to ever feel alone like I did when I was going through my self-destructive phase.

I also wanted to give people hope — hope that you can always change and that things can get better. That it just takes a lot of hard work and you having the want to get better. I went into great detail in my book about some pretty horrific things that I had done to myself, and some people have asked if I really needed to go into that much detail.  I felt that it was necessary so that whoever was reading the book could picture how bad things were, and then see that I was able to work through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to want it like you have never wanted anything in your life…and you have to do the work.

 

Using My Past Struggles to Help Others:

image6I started speaking to groups about three or four years ago.  Professor Anne Martinez’s Mexican American History class at the University of Texas studied my book, and afterwards I would come in and speak to the class.

I was nervous at first and had no idea what to expect, but there is a need for it.  Some of the students reached out to me after my talk to let me know that they could relate to my story or that they had a family member that could.

I was always worried about what people would think of me after I had told my story, but each time I hear that I have helped someone by sharing it with them, it makes it all worth it.  I would hate for someone to feel alone and think that they’re the only one in their situation, because it’s just not true. People go through many different things, whether it’s cutting, depression or suicidal thoughts — they just don’t talk about it. I’m trying to change that.

– – –

iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

Know someone who would be a great candidate for a Real Women, Real Stories feature? Email nominations to hello@igniteyourlifenow.com

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Do You Believe In You?

iGnite - You were created to do something great

Point to Ponder:
Do you realize you are here to do something great?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As I’ve written about in past journals, my favorite magazine is SUCCESS. SUCCESS provides countless stories and tips for anyone striving for personal and professional success and wanting to become better. Darren Hardy is the publisher and founding editor and he also provides a free and daily motivational message called Darren Daily, which I love. His quick, interesting and inspiring message is sent every morning via text and email. Because I’m a motivation junky and don’t think you can ever have enough positive messaging in your life, I subscribe to his service. I don’t always listen to it, but when I do, the impact is far greater than the three minutes I spend listening to it. Most recently I was inspired and encouraged by Darren’s terrific message on the power of believing in yourself.

I wish I could say that I never lack belief in my abilities, both personally and professionally, but I definitely do at times. As a whole, I would venture to say that self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence and belief in ourselves is what prevents us from getting exactly what we want in and out of life. Whether it be the career we desire, a mutually respectful and loving relationship, or simply trying something that we’ve always wanted to try, it all starts with belief in oneself.

This certainly trickles down to our children, marriages, and really all of our relationships. Where, when, and if we doubt someone’s abilities, even if we don’t speak it, has a negative energy and can be physically felt. Belief or lack of believe has infinite effects. Can you imagine if from the day you were born you heard the words, “I believe in you!” Can you imagine the compound and staggering effects!? And what if we added the words, “I believe in you and I love you? You were created to do something great!” Can.you.imagine?! To speak in terms of last week’s journal, ‘It’s Time to Turn on Your Shine’, our shine would be on all of the time!

You may be thinking, “I never tell myself I don’t believe in myself,” but do you ever tell yourself that you do believe in yourself and that you were created to do something great? The heart knows what the brain is thinking, and vice versa. We can’t hide from our doubt or disbelief.

The words “I believe in you. You were created to do something great!” cannot be heard or told enough, and we must always speak them out loud and to ourselves everyday, in every circumstance, and in all situations. Then, we should also speak those words to everyone else — our spouses, people we are in relationship with, colleagues, children, friends, family members and strangers. My mind gets blown just thinking about the progress we would make and how much happier, healthier and satisfied our lives would be if we did this on a regular basis. To believe that a divine source, whom I believe is God, not only believes in us but also created every.single.one.of.us to do something great, would forever change the negative and limiting thoughts that we can have about ourselves and others.

Small children are fearless inspirations. They will try anything and they believe they can do everything. The picture above is of my four-year-old son, Durant, at Solona Beach on his boogie board. While his boogie board is sitting on the sand and not floating on the water, he believes he is surfing. I didn’t tell him otherwise, I just cheered him on.

This child-like and child-proof sense of belief is what we can never lose and can never stop instilling in others.

Action Item:
Regardless of the lies that someone in your childhood may have told you, you must always remember that you were created for greatness. The lies were about that person, not you, and the unfortunate lies that someone once told them. Don’t let someone else’s lies define you, your future or your family’s future. Instead, let the truth — that you were created to do something great & that you were created to shine — define you and your family’s future.

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It’s Never Too Late

The Wisdom Share Continued
Living in Community, Part III

Embrace change

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself thinking it’s ‘too late’ to make something happen in your life?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While in the middle of our wisdom sharing, a dear friend of mine from out of town sent me an inspiring story about a 91 year-old women by the name of Barbara Beskind who is working her dream job in Silicon Valley. Yep, you read it correctly. She is working her dream job at 91 years old. Pretty amazing, right?!

Upon reading Barbara’s story, I had just spoken to a small group of business students and told them that as an entrepreneur I have yet to arrive, which is very frustrating because I really want to arrive! I realize that this is just life and me always wanting to be better and “get it right,” but Barbara’s words were timely and reminded me to never lose hopedream big, always persevere and that there is continual purpose and meaning behind everything that happens in our lives.  Barbara said this: “I arrived! As a ten year-old I wanted to be an inventor, but it took me 80 years.”

Scott Stump’s article about Barbara is bursting with her spry and sharp wisdom resulting from having grown up during the depression. Here, a few of Barbara’s pieces of advice I enjoyed most:

  1. Get Rid of Your Devices: “I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world. I’m as wealthy as Warren Buffett because I measure my wealth by having uninterrupted time. I have no cell phone except one to use for emergency. I have no laptop. I have no smartphone, no iPod, because I can’t see them. I have uninterrupted time to think.”
  2. Expect the unexpected: “I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle. Only when you get to be this age can you see it, and that’s the joy and the excitement of it.”
  3. Don’t let age get in your way: “Age is not a barrier to performance. Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it. Because as you age, every day you will be making changes. You will be adapting to changes in the way you have to do things whether they’re physical or they’re visual.
  4. Don’t let “old” become your identity: “Everybody has untapped resources. You just have to find them. They may be in music, they may be in childcare, they may be in volunteering at the hospital or at the library. I think with the aging, you so often lose your identity, and I think this is what IDEO gives to me, the opportunity to explore what my identity is.”

Here’s to an awesome Spring Break, living in community, sharing your life experiences & wisdom and enjoying this rich video about Barbara!

VideoOnToday

Action Item:
Embrace your life as an adventure, open to the idea that things you thought you’ll never get to do or become, are still a possibility.

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How We’re Simplifying Our Lives in 2015

Simplify

“The more you have, the more you are occupied.
The less you have, the more free you are.”
-Mother Theresa

It’s never a bad idea to simplify. But exactly how to simplify? Now that’s another story. Our team shares the small ways they are choosing to simplify their daily lives this year.

Simplify… Your Time

by Sha Klatt

Sha

On the day of my annual doctor’s check-up, I schedule my appointment for the first thing in the morning. I fast the night before so that I can also get any bloodwork done right afterwards, and then I have my mammogram scheduled for right after so I get it all done in one morning!

Cary

Cary

I do two things: I say “no, thank you!” when my PERSONAL schedule is full, and I have a fun little tool that shouts at me if I try to replace my happy time with something less happy. My tool is a colorful little schedule that I created, and it sits where I can see it, all bright and loud. It’s all self-assured and happy, so thrilled that it’s not saturated with stress…it’s like a pretty new piece of jewelry and I love it so much.

photo-373In the happy color areas of chosen activities (family, yoga, teaching, my horse, Newt) I can’t add anything else in.  It’s CLOSED. I CAN’T. Those areas are sacred and content with who they are and what’s going on in them. And the set-in-stone colors keep me from over-scheduling and getting in over my head, with no down time for me and my family at all.  So say “no, thank you” and make a pretty, colorful schedule!

Kathleen

Kathleen

I have found 2 things that save SO me much time by not having to come home and shower between every workout I teach. I LOVE my new hair straightener that plugs into my car lighter from Amazon and lavender body wipes from Amazon.  After I teach a class, in my car I take a “shower” with my lavender wipe and plug in my straightener, which heats up in 7 seconds, and straighten that ponytail dent right out.  I LOVE THESE TWO AMAZING TIME SAVERS IN MY LIFE!!!  One shower at night and SO much more time during the day smelling and looking good in 30 seconds!

Catherine

Catherine

I was once told to use the time I spend waiting for my car to fill up at the gas station to clean out my car. I have done it ever since and it makes a huge difference in the clutter in my car!  I mean, why not? I’m there waiting anyways!

Betty

Betty

Dry hair shampoo!  It takes me so long to blow dry and flat iron my hair, and on the days when I don’t sweat as much…just spray your roots and go!

Simplify… Your Home

Amy

Amy

I’ve compiled my own ‘simplify’ list with the help of Deepak Chopra…
– Reduce the clutter.
– Turn off the TV.
– Stop junk mail.
– When you bring in something new, get rid of something old.
– Get rid of all but one credit card.

Alli

Alli

Make kids’ lunches during dinner clean-up: We have a system where my kids make their own lunches for the next day immediately after our family dinner during “kitchen clean-up” (with a little help/guidance with food selection/balance from me).
…. I realized about a year ago that every evening, after I’d clean the kitchen post-dinner (no easy task when feeding a family of 7!), then help the kids finish homework and get ready for school the next day, we’d return to the kitchen to make lunches and make a huge mess again. So, making lunches right after dinner means only one evening kitchen clean-up instead of two, and also the kids often pack “dinner leftovers” and save me the work of packaging and storing what’s left of the dinner. 🙂

Simplify… Your Work Load

Neissa

Neissa

Something I was taught in professional coaching with Martha Lynn Mangum that has definitely simplified my life is: each Friday, from 11-12 I review the week that I’m wrapping up, determine what needs to translate into the following week, create a “dump list’ based on everything I need to accomplish for the following week, then I organize the upcoming week and enter it all into my calendar. This activity has single handedly allowed me to feel free throughout the weekend. My brain isn’t full of everything I need to do and I can actually enjoy my weekends much more and don’t feel distracted by my work to-do list. And, of course it’s made me much more organized, effective and efficient!

Simplify…Your Daily Habits

Amy

Amy

Do one thing at a time.
Don’t be a slave to your phone.
Get up 20 minutes earlier to set your day and not be rushed.
Go to bed earlier.
Slow down to the posted speed limit.
Make water your drink of choice.

Simplify… Your Finances

Molly

Molly

My husband and I are frugal and always save, but we’d like to be more aware of where all of our money is being spent and follow a budget that works for us. We’ve decided to simplify this “big process” by using an online course to help us categorize where it is going. The course is called Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I’m looking forward to simplifying our budget in 2015!

Simplify… Your Emotions

Amy

Amy

Steer clear of toxic energy and relationships.

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First, Celebrate!

A Road Map to Your Best Year Yet, Part I

Take the Time to Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Point to Ponder:
Did you take the time to acknowledge and celebrate all that you accomplished in 2014 or did you go straight into thinking about all that you did not accomplish and want to do in 2015?

Fill out your Celebrate 2014 page today!

Fill out your Celebrate 2014 page today!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

First, Happy New Year! If you’re like me, you always enjoy the new year because you get a do-over, or at least that’s how I feel. The fresh start is….refreshing, and had I not begun receiving professional coaching in late October with iGnite member and consultant/coach extraordinaire Martha Lynn Mangum, I would not have known or even taken the time to celebrate first, and then look at what I want to accomplish in 2015. This activity is called “Cleaning the Slate.”

What Martha has taught me is that all success, the fulfillment of goals and attaining the health, career, relationships, and life we want begins and ends with energy. So, rather than do what most high-strung Americans (like myself) do and start the new year only thinking about where I failed in 2014 and what I want to accomplish in 2015 — that’s just bad energy, the energy I first need to bring into 2015 is the energy of celebration and gratitude.

While it seems simple, the act of celebrating our successes, unexpected wins and accomplishments is not easy (at all) because we are not programmed to celebrate ourselves unless it’s an annual celebration such as a birthday or anniversary. Instead, we are trained to always look ahead, do better and see what and where improvements can be made. Ultimately, we are very rarely satisfied, and I’m speaking for myself when I say that, which has been a disturbing and humbling discovery. In fact, this is likely why I love the new year so much. I really don’t celebrate anything from 2014. Instead I celebrate a do-over. And, it’s because of this internal wiring that Martha had me rely on my 2014 calendar, so that I could actually see my accomplishments, successes and unexpected wins.

Because we all need and want 2015 to be our best year yet, I encourage you to push the pause button on setting all of your goals and first grab your 2014 calendar or photos in your Smart Phone, print the 2014 celebration PDF and begin writing down all that occurred in 2014 that you are grateful for, your accomplishments, unexpected wins and successes (you’ll have this opportunity in your iGnite classes as well). Try not to over-think or go ‘epic’ on your accomplishments. Some of my accomplishments and successes were: remaining healthy, having the resources to pay our bills, remaining married and having healthy children. Hey, whatever way you slice it, a success is a success so do not de-value your amazing life and all that you were able to overcome, coordinate, and make happen in the past year.

Finally, as I continue to read the book The ONE Thing, the one thing I am learning is how unproductive it is to multi-task. Based on studies, the book states, “There is just so much brain capacity at any one time. Divide it up and you’ll pay the price in time and effectiveness. Multi-taskers experience more life-reducing, happiness-squelching stress.” So let’s avoid trying to accomplish too many things in this first week of January and make our ONE thing to focus on our 2014 successes and all that we were grateful for in 2014. The more intentional we can be about the energy we bring into 2015, the more likely we’ll be able to create the year we want and desire!

Action Item:
Push the pause button on setting all of your goals and first grab your 2014 calendar or photos in your Smart Phone, print the 2014 celebration PDF and begin writing down all that occurred in 2014 that you are grateful for, your accomplishments, unexpected wins and successes

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Rest, Relax and Enjoy the Quiet

 

unnamed-71

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
– Eleanor Brownn

Point to Ponder:
Is your brain spinning and thinking about all there is to do and make happen in 2015?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Prior to having children, Christmas wore me out. I’ve always burned the candle at both ends to get things just right, but now that I have small children I feel completely beaten down! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I loved and am loving every minute of it, but despite feeling exhausted and knowing that I need some rest and chill time, I am still fighting the urge to go, accomplish and begin my 2015 list.

I have two conversations playing out in my head, much like in the cartoons where the devil is on one shoulder and an angel is on the other. The devil is telling me “you didn’t do enough in 2014 and you need to get your lazy rear moving because you are losing time and getting behind- 2015 is only days away and you need to do better!!” Then, the angel, of course the voice of calm and reason is saying, “rest your body, mind and spirit because there will be plenty of time to achieve. 2015 will be healthier and happier on a full tank.” Despite that real mental and spiritual battle, I know I need to let the voice of calm and reason win. And with the weather being dreary, I do feel as if it’s God’s gift, telling us to rest, relax and enjoy the quiet because it’s only a matter of time before life will get busy again and demand more from us.

So with 2015 on the horizon and the temptation to do better and more, I encourage you to join me and first take full advantage of this quiet time, while also taking the quote above and the following quote to heart: “Fatigue is the common enemy of us all — so slow down, rest up, replenish and refill.” (Jeffrey R. Holland). Then, starting next Sunday and throughout January we will provide you with several opportunities to create an intentional, meaningful and fulfilling year.  It’s going to be great, so rest up and recharge!

Action Item:
Avoid the urge to accomplish and allow your body, mind and spirit to rest, relax and rejuvenate. It’s only a matter of time before life will get busy again and demand much more of you.

Holding On vs. Letting Go

Holding On & Letting Go | iGnite Your Life

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever feel like you are chasing multiple things, and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In pursuit of advice, during the summer of 2012 I met with one of my mentors. What I gained from our time was exactly what I needed, but it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. In an effort to fulfill my personal and professional goals, he suggested I let go of leading my weekly classes, as this shift would create space for additional opportunities and allow me to be a better leader for our team, our members and the business at large. Even though this was a punch in the gut, I knew he was right and that it was the necessary next step. I loved leading classes and it was one of my passions, but my life had changed since the beginning of iGnite when I was teaching a lot. What was once a one-man show was now a nine-person team, and I had Durant, who was eighteen months old at the time. My life was very different and it was time to shift… so I did.

Interestingly but not coincidentally, six weeks later I became pregnant with Malaine (unplanned), and in an effort to iGnite more lives, six months later we launched our first corporate wellness program for Harden Healthcare, all of which I believe were direct results of letting go of previous responsibilities.

I am currently reading a book called The ONE Thing, which is going to uncover “the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.” I feel like it was written specifically for me because the first sentence, even before the Table of Contents, sent a shock wave down my spine. It was as if my son Durant shot one of his foam bullets square between my eyes. It was this Russian Proverb: “If you chase two rabbits…you will not catch either one.”

Do you ever feel like you are chasing more than one rabbit and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing? If so, you might feel like this journal was specifically written for you. While we all have a story, our experiences are not unique, which is why it is essential that we share with one another. It’s also why The ONE Thing is a New York Times bestseller. Most of us are chasing fifty rabbits, which is likely why at the end of each day we feel off-balance, exhausted and often unfulfilled.

I know we all know this, but I’m going to reiterate: we can’t be everything to everyone, and wearing too many hats and saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes our way is unhealthy and causes irritability, stress and an unintended outcome: us being less than our best. I believe that less is more, and depending on the season of life, goals and desired outcomes, we need to evaluate what we are hanging on to and ask ourselves why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, I suggest you let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do the ‘job’ to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest. ‘No’ doesn’t mean never, it just means not now. After all, who’s to say you can’t pick it up again at a later date?

I’m very visual, so the way I’ve come to peace with letting go of things is to imagine my life as a balloon. While I want my balloon to be healthy and full, I don’t want it to be so full that it’s on the verge of popping. So, in order to create more space in my balloon, I have to release some air and deflate it a bit so I can fit more inside. Long story short: If you are hanging on to too many things, it’s very likely that there is no room for more fulfilling and enjoyable things to enter. I always have to check myself and remember that I am always modeling either healthy or unhealthy behaviors to my children, and being a basket-case because my plate is too full is definitely not my intended goal or example!

Action Item:
Evaluate what things you are hanging on to and ask yourself why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do “the job” to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest.

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