Tag Archives: growth

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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It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine!

iGnite - let your light shine

Point to Ponder:
Are you a light to those around you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Excitingly, last Tuesday our kiddos (Durant, 4 & Malaine, 2) attended their first week of pre-school in San Diego. You. have. no. idea. how thrilled I was! Not just for me and my own sanity, but for theirs too. I was excited that we could begin establishing a routine, they could start making friends, their world was expanding beyond “mom,” and I could have a little freedom.

The pre-school they are attending is at the church we attend, The Rock, and it’s in an area near downtown called Point Loma. Like all of San Diego (including the neighborhood we live in), it’s full of a very diverse group of people. Ironically, moving to a more diverse neighborhood was actually something that my husband Russell and I considered while living in Austin before we knew we were moving to San Diego. Now, I realize that our interest was more than just coincidence — rather, it was God opening and preparing our hearts and minds for our future environment.

So, Tuesday was their first day of school and it was an exceptional day for all of us. Absolutely, my heart was a bit unsettled and nervous, but I knew it was necessary for feeling grounded, creating relationships and for our overall growth and development. Then on Thursday, after dropping them off and while filling out paperwork in the school, a heavy dose of loneliness blindsided me out of nowhere. As I I looked around, everything felt unfamiliar. I’m just gonna be honest and say it — no one looked like me (how about that “don’t judge a book by its cover” fail!?). Unlike at the Mother’s Day Out my children attended in Austin, I do not have a relationship with the director, the teachers or any of the moms here. Seriously, I was on the verge of tearing up when out of the blue a random woman walked up, noticed my Stronger TogetHER tank [that I was of course proudly wearing 🙂 ] and said, “I really like your shirt! What’s that about?” I perked up and gave her the 15 second description of iGnite, ending with “we are community-based and believe that in all aspects of life, we are stronger togerHER.” She then enthusiastically invited me to join the women’s Bible study called SHINE. Shine – wow!  What an encouraging, happy and powerful word!

That word shine made an impression on me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. By definition, the word shine means to give out a bright light. As I looked more into ‘shining,’ I was reminded of a sermon I heard by preacher Francis Chan about how a silversmith gets his best, shiniest silver through a process called “testing.” The testing process starts with raw silver in a pot and a fire that is heated to the highest possible temperature. As the silver melts, the impurities rise to the top, at which the silversmith scrapes off the impurities and continues the same process of extreme heat and scraping the impurities off until he or she has the shiniest possible piece of metal — so shiny that they can see their own reflection in it.

What I find remarkable is how this process relates to life and the hardships, stresses, losses, disappointments and discomforts that we all must experience in order to shine. That with the right attitude and perspective, those scary and seemingly ‘unfair’ experiences actually produce maturity, perseverance, faith and wisdom in us so we can shine for others. That’s the part that I was forgetting about on Thursday in my moment of self-pity. I was so consumed by my own discomfort that I was forgetting about my responsibility to shine for others. I had to step outside of myself and my self-pity in order to see the big picture.

Author Marianne Williamson says is perfectly below, suggesting that when we shine, we give others permission to shine:

“Our deepest fear isn’t that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, how are you not to be? You are here for a reason! Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson

Action Item:
If you are currently experiencing hard or stressful times, just remember, you are going through the testing process so you can shine even brighter on the other side. If you don’t have the energy or even the hope to shine, find someone that is shining and allow their shine to brighten yours.
Or, if life is feeling great and you have plenty of shine to give, in all of your interactions, conversations and even casual passings-by, make it a priority to shine. It’s our responsibility to and for others who are not shining to gain strength from our glow. So let’s shine as brightly as we can so others can be inspired and encouraged to shine as well!

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The Key to an Exciting Life

Live like someone left the gate open

“Never be afraid to try something new. Because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know.” (Unknown)

Point to Ponder:
Do you resist trying new things, feel stuck in a rut, or have a difficult time with spontaneity? Have you done anything new lately and experienced a jolt of revitalization as a result?

Action Item:
Say “yes” to trying something new this week.
Inspire others to do the same by sharing your experience on our Facebook page!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Do you ever find yourself amazed how much there is to do in our sweet, little-ol’ Austin, Texas? Seriously, Austin is no longer just the weird, hippie, home of the University of Texas Longhorns. It’s a tourist’s haven, and people actually love vacationing and visiting here because of all there is to do! Which leads me to my next question: Why in the world don’t I participate in all of the cool, creative and fun things available, such as amazing restaurants, festivals, concerts, and arts? We live in a mecca of options, yet I find myself rotating through the same and often times boring, in-my-box activities.

Of course, traffic, work and children certainly dictate my level of participation and spontaneity, however, there’s always the weekend. So, last night, after spending a few hours at our favorite summer spot — the Pease Park splash pad — the Springmann family ventured to South Congress where we grabbed a bottle of wine and a few to-go pizza’s from the very popular pizza joint, Home Slice Pizza.

You see, we’ve never eaten at Home Slice or even tried their pizza. And, we never go to South Congress, so simply driving down SoCo (I feel so hip saying that-ha!) revitalized our weekend because it was something new. As for the pizza, it was delish and the customer service was excellent. In the event you’ve been living in a cave like me, and have not tried their pizza yet, I give it five stars!

How about you? Have you done anything new lately and experienced a jolt of revitalization as a result? Or, are you in need of a revitalization re-boot and need some motivation? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In the spirit of our country’s and our own independence, we aren’t just going to celebrate our freedom on the 4th of July, rather we are going to live like the gate is open throughout ALL of July with the hope this free-spirit living will inspire us to permanently live this way. I mean really, sometimes I live like I have an electric fence around my life and I’ll get zapped if I try something new. It’s ridiculous and it’s time to make some summer waves!

According to medical doctor and author Alex Lickerman, who struggles with trying new things, he reminds us that opening our minds to new things or a new way of thinking is often frightening because by definition it’s unfamiliar. Unfamiliarity often rings the alarm bell “danger—potentially unsafe.” But if you think about it, most of the things we fear don’t actually come to pass. When faced with trying something new, here are four benefits he often reminds himself of:

  1. Trying something new often requires courage. And needing to summon courage is in itself a benefit. Once it’s released it will, like its second cousin once removed, anger, indiscriminately engulf everything in its path. How wonderful to open a flood of courage and be carried on its waves to destinations of unexpected benefit.
  2. Trying something new opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new. Entire careers, entire life paths, are carved out by people dipping their baby toes into small ponds and suddenly discovering a love for something they had no idea would capture their imaginations.
  3. Trying something new keeps you from becoming bored. Even I, the most routine-loving person I know, become bored if I’m not continually challenged in some way. And it’s not the new challenges I’m eager to take on that represent my greatest opportunities for growth, it’s the ones I’m not eager about.
  4. Trying something new forces you to grow. We don’t ever grow from taking action we’ve always taken (the growth that enabled us to be able to take it has already occurred). Growth seems to require we take new action first, whether it’s adopting a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations and leaving yourself there alone, so to speak, often forces beneficial change. A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps you humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones you currently hold dear (this happens to me all the time).

So, I invite you to join the iGnite Team in living like the gate is open. Say “yes” to trying new things that you are unsure about or you think you can’t do, even though they make you nervous.  And, when you do try something new, even if it is just a new bottle of wine, please let us know on our Facebook page (or if you don’t use Facebook, leave a comment on this post). This sharing will be a great way to inspire one another to try different things, plus, it’ll just be fun to see what everyone is doing to live like the gate is open!

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Forget the Past & Embrace the Present

Don't Look Back

“Learn from the past, set vivid detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitley

Throughout the month of February iGnite hosted several nutrition and wellness workshops followed by goal-setting workshops that supported the nutrition/wellness initiatives. Our time, as always, was rewarding and fulfilling, as anytime we have the opportunity to encourage health and offer ways to improve overall quality of life, is time well spent. Inevitably, I always have ah-ha moments and learn something new about myself and the human psyche.

As a result of the goals workshops led by Catherine, which I participated in, my ah-ha moment was how much time I spend stuck in the past. For example, when thinking about improving my health, the goal of getting additional exercise always comes to mind. Then, as I begin the process of determining how I will go about achieving this goal, I always find myself reaching into my “past pocket” and reliving my exercise life when I wasn’t pregnant, didn’t have a toddler and had fewer work responsibilities, which enabled me to exercise unlimited hours each week. This way of thinking is always frustrating, as achieving what once was a simple feat is now complicated. Therefore, there is paralysis, no action and no positive change.

My epiphany is that if I continue to try to fit a square peg into a round hole — i.e. try to fit my past life into my current life — I will never make progress. Instead, I must be honest with myself and my current life state and set practical and achievable goals, which even though they feel underachieving and even unsatisfying, it is definitely better than nothing. What once worked may no longer be applicable, and that’s okay.

Completely letting go of the past and living life for the now is very difficult, especially if the past was higher-achieving, healthier, happier or easier, which is something we’ve all experienced.  Living in the past provides no value to our current life; it sets us up for ongoing failure and frustration, deprives us from enjoying the present and gets us nowhere. Therefore, with health, happiness and continual growth and positive life change consistently being the goal, the best thing we can do with our past is learn from it, celebrate it and move onward and upward!


Point To Ponder:
What area or time of your life do you find yourself stuck in, trying to relive or wishing you could have back?


Action Item:
Identify an area in your life that you want to improve and realize that on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the greatest improvement possible), even a 1 is progress, and all steps are significant.

By Neissa

Read Neissa's bio