Tag Archives: children

It’s Your Season, It’s Your Purpose

iGnite - living with purpose

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with defining or finding your purpose, feel confused about your life, or feel fearful that there isn’t enough time left to do what you want to do?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Since moving to San Diego, my life has drastically changed and taken a 180 degree turn. I do not yet have any friends here, and except for taking Durant and Malaine to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and tending to my iGnite responsibilities and duties from afar, I don’t have any commitments either. I won’t lie, when talking to the iGnite leaders, family, and friends and occasionally peeking at Facebook and Instagram, I experience bittersweet emotions. It stinks to be on the outside looking in, missing out and not able to take part in what I’ve created in iGnite in Austin. I have also experienced extreme withdrawals from my addictions: the “being busy addiction,” “having places to go addiction,” and the “feeling needed and wanted” addiction. There are times when my ego screams so loud that I find myself taken over with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to busy myself just so I can feel important and accomplished again. Then, finally, it dawned on me that not only was my evil ego in my way, but what I was really struggling with the most was my purpose.

With the help of Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and business coach, reminding me that our society inundates women with the destructive message that if we aren’t working 60 hours a week, involved in a million organizations, committed to regularly volunteering, acting as the home-room mom, and only taking two-weeks of maternity leave, or just tending to our own or our family’s and community’s needs, that we aren’t enough. Pu-lease! Don’t get me wrong, I believe in having a passion and purpose outside of our family, but not at the expense of jeopardizing our marriages, not being a present mom to our children and neglecting our relationships. Looking back, while living in Austin I definitely tip-toed into those zones and was drinking the toxic Kool-Aid. This is my destructive tendency, and I have to consistently check myself to make sure I am being counter-culture.

It has been a very long time since I have wondered about my purpose. While living in Austin, my family, friends and iGnite were absolutely my purpose and they kept my heart pumping fast and hard. Originally, I thought starting iGnite in San Diego would be my first purpose-filled project, but now I’m not so sure about that. For now, I’m declaring that I am on a prayerful, peaceful, intentional purpose-finding mission project. I’ve narrowed my purpose down to:

  1. Learning how to become a fully-attentive, loving and supportive wife to Russell (which is hard to admit because of my strong will, pride and independence)
  2. Appreciating this colorful and unique time I have with our preschool-age children and being a fully attentive and fun mother.
  3. Remotely supporting and leading the iGnite team, the iGnite members and our efforts to iGnite Austin and impact, inspire and empower every woman to live a healthy and purpose-filled life.
  4. Taking the time to get on my knees everyday and pray for myself, my family, my friends, iGnite and anyone I know who is in need of prayers or who I told I would pray for them. While I am a faithful person, embarrassingly my prayer life has been pathetic, and I’m tired of being lip-service only. Please let me know if and how I can pray for you. Seriously!
  5. Becoming involved with our church, The Rock, and serving the San Diego community.

I must confess that while I’m feeling content with my new purpose in San Diego, there is sooooo much I want to do in my life! For example, I want to write a book, I want to be on the speaking circuit and I want to grow iGnite so that women all over the world can iGnite in a positive and inspiring community. I wanna, wanna, wanna! And with that said, I get nervous and afraid that I am going to miss my opportunity, run out of time and miss out. But, thankfully, for the first time in my life, I found a Bible translation that I can actually understand called The Voice, and it’s teaching me about patience. Even though Adam, Pharrell, Gwen and Blake aren’t quoted in it, I have learned so much! One of the things that has been glaring is how late in life God uses people. Of course he uses children, like when He used David to defeat Goliath when David was only a teenager, but for example, Noah, Abraham, Sarai (Abraham’s wife) were waaaay past their “prime,” or what we today consider our “prime.” Granted, people back then lived longer, but by human standards, they were still considered old, and they fulfilled God’s purpose for them much later in life.

I recently watched a special on television called Try, Try Again where John Stossell chronicled the lives of great inventors and authors who not only failed before having success, but were also “past their prime” before having any success and fulfilling their purpose. Just to name a couple: Julia Child was 50 before writing her first cookbook, and Harland Sanders (a.k.a Colonel Sanders) franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 62.

All in all, I write this journal not to go off about my personal purpose journey, but rather to encourage anyone who is struggling with defining or finding their purpose, feeling confused about their life, or fearful that there isn’t enough time. For sure we all sometimes feel a sense of urgency because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but fear cannot be the reason why we do or don’t take action. Instead, remember that there is a season in life for everything and that our purpose can evolve, morph and even change. Sometimes we’re in a season of action, and other times we’re in a season of self-reflection, contemplation and quiet. Regardless of the season you find yourself in now, when you weave in prayer and intention, you will without a doubt be led down the right path and your fruit will be ripe.

Action Item:
Remember there is a season in life for everything and that your purpose can evolve, morph and change over time. Approach your season of life with prayer and intention.

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Arm Yourself with the Best

iGnite team

The iGnite team during our 2015 summer boat outing

Point to Ponder:
Are the five people you spend the most time with causing you to give up on your dreams, or do they nurture your dreams and your life?

“If we surround ourselves with people who are successful, who are forward-moving, who are positive, who are focused on producing results, who will support us, it will challenge us to be more, do more and share more. If you surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for.”
– Anthony Robbins

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It was just over nine years ago that my short, yet colorful life journey began making sense. All of the “who, why, and what for” puzzle pieces created a vivid and crystal clear picture of my purpose, which is when I created iGnite. The process wasn’t sophisticated nor predictable. Rather, it consisted of a few meetings with a dear friend and mentor at Starbucks where I revealed my heart’s desire and vision, coupled with challenging questions and critical thinking. Within a few weeks I answered his tough questions, though my business brainchild remained nameless. We both recognized that the name had to be something I loved, and that conveyed an inspirational, energetic and timeless message. As we tossed around different ideas he said, “it sounds like you want to ignite their lives!” “YES!”, I shouted. He smiled, I wrote it down, and the rest is history.

I love to share and reminisce about that story simply because of its spontaneous nature. There are also many more stories like this, all of which have provided me with unforeseeable lessons and growth opportunities over the past nine years. One of the most important pieces of advice that has provided me with the most personal and professional value, is “Be intentional with whom you surround yourself with, and arm yourself with the best.”

iGnite began the first Monday in October of 2006, and by February I had hired a professional business coach, Michelle Ewalt, who I worked with for three years. She was aware of all of my thoughts, plans, and ideas for iGnite, which for a one-woman show was a giant feat. She also knew that Russell and I wanted to have children one day, so during a meeting she suggested I spend my time determining the five, non-negotiable characteristics I wanted in an iGnite leader. I explained that I wasn’t interested in sharing this business with anyone else, simply because I couldn’t imagine another person loving and caring for our members and aligning with the vision as I did. But what she knew that I didn’t know at the time was this; “no branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain on the vine.” (John 15:4). I realize this verse has much greater meaning beyond my situation, but Michelle knew that on my own, the mission would not be fruitful. She also knew that if I wanted to see my personal goals come true, like having a family, forming a team was essential. And so, that exact day I identified and wrote down the five, non-negotiable characteristics of an iGnite team member. Within one year, the inspiring and wonderful women began appearing, and continue to, which currently make up what I think is the most beautiful, talented and special team in all of Austin and beyond. As a result, our membership is a mirror-image of our team, making up a spectacular community of love, health and kindness. The fruit is rich and we are blessed!

One of the unforeseeable lessons I learned is that in order for me to give my gift, which is the ability to personally and professionally give and be the best Neissa and pursue my dreams and passions, it can’t happen alone, and I must arm myself with the best. Per the words of the late world class track athlete Steve Prefontaine, “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I’ve decided that I don’t want to sacrifice my gift, and so with intention I not only arm myself with those who are the best at what they do (both personally and professionally), but I also arm myself with people who are better than me (personally and professionally) so I can up my game, grow, and become my best. As the late Jim Rohn says, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

This week I invite you to be intentional with me and arm yourself with the best so you don’t sacrifice your gift. And, so we can be our best, we must constantly be evaluating and asking ourselves the following questions from Jim Rohn: “Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question. Is that okay? Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”

Action Item:
Make a short list of the five characteristics of the people you want and need in your life that can help you become your best.

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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

iGnite - keep focused

Point to Ponder:
Are you a fearful person?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve always been of the mindset that children have it figured out. It stinks that we have to grow up and often times become jaded, cynical, insecure and obsess over our perceived pudgy legs and numbers on a scale. Children don’t worry about how many steps they take in a day or how many hours they spend exercising. Instead, they simply play — run, jump, spin and dance. They ride their bikes for hours, climb on the monkey bars and enjoy a high-calorie treat without feeling guilt. They stop eating when they are full, don’t talk about others, and without fear or doubt of what others think, they proudly proclaim what they want to be when they grow up, just as my five-year old nephew Cole did at his pre-school graduation when he announced that when he grew up he wanted to own a doughnut shop. Awesome!

Last week while finishing a hike and walking along the beach, I noticed a man, probably in his forties, standing alone in shin-deep water and jumping over every wave that came his way. Like a six year-old would do, each time a wave rolled in, he’d hop over it! It was the most playful, inspiring and refreshing sight. I watched him for several minutes and it was a great reminder that nature gives us everything we need to calm, invigorate and feed our body, mind and spirit. And what I loved so much about this guy was that while he was playing, he wasn’t worried or fearful about what those of us around him thought. In my opinion, the enormity and magnificence of the Pacific Ocean made his fears of what others might think insignificant, while also putting troubles and life stressors in perspective. At least that is what nature does for me. It swallows my doubt and fear and allows me to shine!

Robin Roberts, the always shining and inspiring co-anchor of Good Morning America, has a great line about doubt and fear in her book Everybody’s Got Something. She says:

“We all have doubts and fears. The thing about fear is that it only needs the tiniest space, the size of an eye of a needle, to get through and wreak havoc. Maddening, but true. So, when I was struggling in doubt, I would simply take the next small step. I would stop and think: No, life is not tied up with a beautiful bow all the time, but it’s still a gift. I’m going to tear away the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.”

What I love so much about Robin’s wisdom is that instead of running from her fear and doubt or dreading it, she sees it as a gift and looks forward to tearing into it to see what it is, just as a child would and just as Kayla Montgomery, the eighteen year old in the video below, who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis and losing feeling in her legs when she runs and when her body heats up, was determined to not only run, but win! It’s their child-like perspective that has kept them curious, eager and willing to conquer their fear, doubt, and SHINE! What a great example for all of us!

Action Item:
This week, try facing situations with the fearlessness, playfulness and confidence of a child.

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Family Fitness FUNdamentals

iGnite Exercise Playdate

by Alli Phillips M.Ed.

A child’s first and most important teachers are her/his parents, and just as daily reading to our children helps develop literacy, daily exercise teaches our children healthy living practices.  Furthermore, exercising on our own, with a group, with neighbors and friends, and especially with our children and families, demonstrates that we value our health, as well as theirs.  Weaving exercise into daily routines teaches kids that fitness is a way of life, how we live, and how we live well.

The Cross-Training Playdate class I teach for iGnite is offered for women with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and provides moms the opportunity to get out, exercise, and “play” with other moms, while their children enjoy a built-in playdate of their own.  And, women who attend this class, while enjoying an exercise fix and some “mommy-time,” are also modeling healthy habits for their children and creating for them a “fitness-lifestyle” framework.

DEVELOPING A FITNESS LIFESTYLE
Suggestions for Mommies of Young Children (and Daddies too!)

MAKE A PLAN
Based on your current level of fitness, your goals, your work schedule, and your family’s routine, devise a daily exercise plan by which you achieve the weekly totals below:

  1. 100+ minutes of aerobic conditioning 
  2. 30+ minutes of muscular endurance and strength training
  3. 30+ minutes of flexibility and balance work
  • Write your plan in your calendar. 
  • Expect the unexpected…. Having kids means “stuff” will come up and there will be days, weeks, even months when you are not able to exercise as much as you’ve planned….
  • Keep an attitude of gratitude for your current level of health and fitness and your families’, and enjoy any amount of time you have for exercise.
  • Be kind, patient, and gentle with yourself when/if you do not or cannot stick to “the plan.”   It takes time to develop a fitness-lifestyle, and even after exercise routines are established, they are ever-changing and evolving. So, plan to….
  • Make changes to your routine periodically, mindful of what from your original plan is working and what is not, and what activities and exercise modalities “enhance and improve your quality of life.”

 

BREAK IT UP. SQUEEZE IT IN.
If you do not have a ½ hour or hour block of time in your day for a large “workout meal”, try to “break it up” and “squeeze it in” with shorter bouts of exercise, “exercise snacking,” throughout the day. Actually, the fitness benefits of “exercise snacking” are equal to or greater than those of longer-duration exercise if the intensity is higher. So… no time for your regular workout class? Run the stairs in your house between sets of push-ups and squats during your baby’s morning nap; after a picnic lunch with your toddler at the park, play chase between sets of lunges and dips; and/or after dinner take a family-walk in the neighborhood followed by a game of “Yoga-Simon-Says.” What a great day of exercise!… Make that a great day, period.

playdate3 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

  • Aerobic conditioning can be as simple as a walk or bike ride with your children, to/from school, the neighborhood library, or the grocery store. Or for moms of babies, “cardio stepping” on your front porch during your infant’s morning nap is a great way to get a quick aerobic-fix.
  • Muscular endurance and strength work need be nothing more than squats and push-ups thrown into your day whenever you have the opportunity.
  • And a few simple yoga poses like down-dog, warrior I, II, III, and plank, mixed into your daily routine will improve your balance and flexibility, not to mention calm your mind and open your heart.

MAKE IT FUN
As I mentioned, parents are role models and we teach our children by example, but our children teach us too! My children have taught (and continue to teach) me how to make exercise play, and vice-versa, how to make play exercise. With older kids the opportunities for “play-based fitness” are endless; sports are an obvious way to enjoy exercise with our children; but equally fun are good-old-fashioned playground games like tag, duck-duck-goose, hop-scotch, jump-rope, and relays. Also, neighborhood-public tennis and basketball courts and tracks may be available for trike-bike-and-scooter-riding; so while the kids run, ride, and/or scoot around, mommy can do the same. Finally, for moms with babies and very young kids, squats beside a baby’s crib or a child’s bed can turn into a game of peek-a-boo, push-ups with a 2-year-old on your back can become a game of “bucking-bronco,” and yoga poses can be integrated into “tummy-time” for infants or a game of “Yoga Simon Says” for toddlers.

abs

THE FUNdamental EXERCISES
These simple exercises are ALL you need for a well-rounded fitness program.  They can be integrated easily into the daily routines of women at various stages of mommy-hood, adjusted for all levels of fitness, and tailored to personal goals. And with a little imagination, creativity, and inspiration from your children, they can also be incorporated into “play.”

Lower Body 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups

Upper Body

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Rows or Pull-ups

Core

  • Plank
  • Ab Crunches
  • Back Extensions

Flexibility & Balance

  • Yoga
  • Down Dog
  • Warrior I, II, III
  • Plank/Side-Plank
  • Twists

Cardio 

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Aerobic Stepping – on stairs, a curb, or low ledge
  • Jump Rope
  • Track, Tennis Court, or BBall Court Drills
  • Playground Circuits

plank

downward dog

…Now go play! 

alli teaching

Alli Phillips has years of experience teaching child-friendly exercise classes for moms in the Austin, Texas area, and she teaches iGnite’s Cross Training Playdate class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:45am in central Austin.

During this class, moms enjoy a cross-training opportunity while their babies, toddlers and pre-school age children enjoy the outdoors and playtime in the park. Lifting primarily body weight, this mom-specific class emphasizes functional fitness, fundamental strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and yoga-based flow. Not only does this class leave moms feeling rejuvenated and strong, but it’s a perfect time to model healthy habits and actions to our children.   All fitness levels are welcome.  View the class schedule here.

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What a Toddlers Gymnastics Class Taught Me about the Confidence-Boosting Power of ‘YES!’

Say Yes More Than No

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”  – Joseph Campbell

Point to Ponder:

Do you tend to be more of a “yes” or a “no” person?

Action Item:

Say YES whenever you can. But when you can’t, don’t settle for a “no” — instead, suggest an alternative that you can say YES to!

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

Have you ever thought about the power of the words “yes” and “no?” I never had until I co-owned a non-competitive gymnastics business several years ago. Our gymnasts ranged from toddlers to preteens, and after every class we wanted each of them to leave with a positive experience and increased self-esteem. We wanted them to run out to their parents telling them how much fun they had and how great they had done, even if the only skill they performed was to “hop like a bunny” or to kick a coach in the face while doing a cartwheel — which happened a lot.

We also noticed in our parent/tot classes that the toddlers that were told “no” more often than “yes” by mom or dad were the ones who rebelled and misbehaved more often. On the other hand, the children that were corrected in a positive way, without being told “no” had an optimal experience, with both parent and tot leaving bonded and excited, rather than irritated and defeated.

Regardless of the age or skill level of each gymnast, when a skill was performed incorrectly or the coaches caught a foot in the face, we trained ourselves to smile and say “YES, great job! Now lets try it this way…” This response always increased the child’s confidence, and their progression rate would soar. It also made our coaching experience—an adventure, really—exceptional and joyful. We left feeling just as excited and eager to come back as the children did.

I learned so much about life and relationships during that time. The children transformed my mind and spirit in monumental ways. Saying “yes” to the children—and jumping on trampolines and doing donkey kicks while yelling “hee-haw”— changed me. I saw the children as blissfully unaware of the problems of adulthood, so purely passionate for activity, new experiences, and adventure. They motivated me to be more like them: enthusiastic about life. The more I embraced their spirit, the harder I laughed, the more fun I had at work, and the more rich my life became.

This week, I encourage you to practice saying “YES” to your children, spouse, significant other, friends, etc. and to consider carefully the times you say “no.” When you do have to say “no” to a request, I urge you to follow it with an enthusiastic alternative—something you can smile about, something you can say “YES” to. I have no doubt this will take you on a wonderful adventure, and leave you and those around you more satisfied and exhilarated.

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Are You Living in the Fantasy of “One Day…”?

The Best Time is NOW

Happiness is an inside job. By exposing your fantasy, you will once and for all dispel the myth that happiness, joy and contentment live anywhere but within you.

-Debbie Ford

Have you ever thought or said, “I’ll be happy or content when__________?”  Or, have you ever heard this saying “You’re only as happy as your most unhappy child”?  I’m certainly guilty of looking ahead to see what is over the horizon and will be the first to admit that I lack contentment.  And, just the other day during an iGnite meeting we discussed the danger of putting all of our happiness eggs into or children’s basket, or anyone’s basket for that matter. If that’s the case, we’ll never get off of the nauseating and emotional roller coaster; therefore, we’ll always deny ourselves happiness, joy and contentment!  Happiness, joy and contentment are choices; and thankfully, it’s up to us to find and experience these lifelong fulfilling emotions.

I find the topics of happiness, joy and contentment especially fitting this time of year as goals, resolutions and changes are being pursued by everyone, including myself. After reading the chapter  ‘Exposing The Fantasies’ from Debbie Ford’s book The Best Year of Your Life, I was shocked and humbled.  I recognized that my reasoning behind fulfilling some of my goals is actually fantasy-driven. Check out what Debbie has to say and see if you too have any “fantasies:”

When we are waiting for one day to come in order to be happy–to experience joy, fun, passion, or success — we are living an illusion that deadens our spirits and robs us of our ability to enjoy our lives right now. There is nothing wrong with future thinking or goal setting. In fact, I believe these actions are imperative if we are to reach our full potential. But living in the fantasy of “one day….” keeps our real lives — the ones you and I are actually living — on hold. Our fantasies prevent us from taking action and making the changes that are necessary to better our lives. Fantasies come in every flavor and are often disguised as goals. They might sound like:

“When I finally get________.”     “As soon as I accomplish____________.”      “When my husband finally____________.”     “When my kids are old enough to take care of themselves, I’ll be able to____________.”     “As soon as this _________ period is over, I will diet/get in shape/take care of myself.”     “Next year I will_______, and then I’ll be able to_________.”     “I’ll be happy when I make more money, live a more balanced life, have a baby, have more time,……………….”

There’s no doubt that timing is everything and the season of our life can certainly influence our goals; however, we must be honest with ourselves and determine if we’ve chosen specific goals as an effort to “one day be happy and fulfilled,” and are postponing the pursuit of a particular goal (as well as our happiness) because we are waiting for the “perfect time.” After all, waiting for the “perfect time” is like believing in mermaids, leprechauns and unicorns. They are nice to think about — but that’s about as good as it gets.

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Point To Ponder:

Are you postponing making a change because you are waiting for the perfect time, situation or opportunity?

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Action Item:
Determine what it is that you are postponing, and break that change or goal down into small, achievable, baby steps. Soon you will see that taking action today is not as intimidating and overwhelming as you originally thought.

By Neissa

Neissa Springmann