Tag Archives: gift

Who are You Grateful for?

"We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."  -John F. Kennedy

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
-John F. Kennedy

Point to Ponder:
Who are you grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Who are you grateful for? If you are like me, I would guess that this is a fairly simple question to answer and that you could create a long list of people, however, it’s likely that these people may not hear or see the words “I am grateful for you” as much as they’d like to and as often as you feel grateful for them.

It was at this exact same time last year that we launched our “I am grateful for you”, week-long letter writing campaign, and it was nothing short of beautiful! As a result of you, our members, writing gratitude letters during classes, we mailed over three hundred notes by the Thanksgiving holiday. That was approximately 2.5 gratitude notes per person, which translates to over 600 uplifted and happy hearts — with both the sender and receiver experiencing the proven benefits of gratitude. Therefore, we are absolutely committed to making this a pre-Thanksgiving tradition! My personal goal is to crush last year’s number and aim for at least three hand-written notes per person.

iGnite is emotionally invested in your well-being and we believe that the act of expressing gratitude verbally or in a handwritten note has the power to repair relationships and transform lives. And because having healthy relationships is paramount to living a low-stress and fulfilling life, we have ordered one thousand cards and we’d love to have ZERO left over when you’re done with them! The only action required is for you to attend classes throughout this week, have at least three people in mind that you are grateful for, then fill out the notes & envelopes during designated class time. The postage and trip to the post office is on us!

Finally, there is one more thing that I encourage you to pay close attention to during and after writing your gratitude notes, and that’s how you feel. Because you will have just finished exercising and/or practicing yoga, your endorphins will be flowing and you will already be feeling great, but all gratitude research proves that the result of expressing gratitude is an increase in life-satisfaction and well-being. In fact, one fascinating and very relative study by Steve Toepfer, associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University, found that “when a study participant wrote up to three gratitude notes about something that was important to them (not a generic “thank you” for you a gift, etc) the more they improved significantly on happiness and life satisfaction. The new and potentially important finding is that depressive symptoms decreased. Even more fascinating is that by writing these letters – 15 to 20 minutes each, once a week for three weeks to different people – well-being increased significantly.”

Gratitude. We can question its power and significance, but it’s all backed up by research. The more we express it, live in it and share it, the happier, more fulfilled and healthier we are. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the cheapest and most effective fix on the market. Unlike everything else, there are no crazy side-effects — with the exception of extreme joy — and we can access it at our disposal. Now that’s what I call some serious good news!

Action Item:
Think about 3 people who you are grateful for and write them a personal “I am grateful for you” note this week!

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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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