Tag Archives: guilt

Focus on the Truth & What Matters Most


Point to Ponder:
Are you over-committed, too busy and experiencing stress?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

To piggy back on last week’s Journal, “No More People Pleasing & Holiday Have-Tos,” I have been thinking a lot about Have-To’s deceptive twin sister, Guilt. Guilt is that nasty and wasteful emotion that takes us into a downward tailspin and negative place. Personally, I experience the most guilt when I feel like I am not doing enough. Admittedly, one of my struggles is acknowledging that I am enough (with or without doing) and when I start listening to the deceitful voice who tells me that I am not doing enough and therefore I am not enough, my first reaction is to overcompensate. I go into an unsustainable “like-me” mode and start doing things for people due to lack of confidence rather than my heart’s desire.

Over a year ago I purchased an excellent book called Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. As I recently thumbed through it, I was reminded of the power behind lie #18: “I Don’t Have Time to Do Everything I am Supposed to Do.” Interestingly, this is the #1 lie the women surveyed for this book identified with. As a result, I felt compelled to write about this because I absolutely think this is a lie that we can and should support one another in combating and overcoming. I also feel like it’s especially relevant during the holidays when we are trying to make our houses look perfect, buy the ideal gifts, send beautiful Christmas cards, and attend every party—all the while never missing a workout, tending to the ongoing needs of our family, keeping our house clean, working and or volunteering. It’s just too much!

In summary, here is what Nancy says, “More often than not, I find that women feel overwhelmed by how much they have to do, how much they feel they are supposed to do and how little time they have to do it. As a result, many women are living breathless, frazzled and discouraged lives. Ironically, we have more conveniences available to us that were unknown to women of past generations (dishwashers, washing machines, gadgets, devices, etc) yet our lives are more harried, hurried and stressed than ever before. There are probably a number of explanations, however, one reason is that we have accepted the lie that we don’t have time to do everything we are supposed to do. The fact is, we have no more or less time than any other human being who has ever lived. No one, regardless of his/her position or responsibility, has ever had more than 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year. The truth is, no woman can wear all hats effectively. Sooner or later, something (or someone) is going to suffer. Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities that God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy and fruitfulness comes from seeking to determine God’s priorities for each season of life, and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and ability to do everything that He has called us to do.”

What I find so ironic about the twenty-first century female dilemma is that every single one of us is busting our tails trying to do good and have meaningful impact for our family and community, yet our efforts often backfire because we are trying to squeeze too much into one season of life. Just as Nancy reminds us, we can’t do it all and wear all hats effectively without something breaking, such as our health, our relationships, our families, our jobs. Not only can we not do it all, but we can’t do it all alone. I feel as though we have fallen into to a sinkhole of thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The truth is that not only can we not do it all by ourselves, but we were never intended to anything alone. And so, the million dollar question is, “How do we stop our busy and possibly out of control lives? From the wise words of my business coach, friend and iGnite member, Martha Lynn Mangum, the questions that I encourage you to stop and take the time to answer is, What is uniquely mine to do?, What do I need help with? Who do I need to ask for help from?”

As you begin to answer your question, I want to remind you that you are not responsible for your family or friends’ happiness. You are only responsible for your joy and happiness, so if your joy and happiness is being compromised because you are over-committed and your life is feeling out of control, take the first and very important step by saying “no”. What will make your family the most happy is that you are not stressed and spending quality time with them. And if you find yourself afraid of disappointing someone because you need downtime and therefore need to send a regret email to the party that you have already RSVP’d for, I can’t imagine that anyone who really loves you will do anything more than applaud you for taking care of yourself. In order to stay healthy and well, we must be “selfish” and do what’s best for us.

As Dr. Riga Hancock reminds, “Stress increases your susceptibility to illnesses, physical pain and unwanted behavior through its effects on your posture, muscle tension and immune system. It leads to back pain, muscle spasms, migraine headaches, irritable bowel and ulcers. Stress also decreases your ability to fight infections like the flu. No matter how beautiful a Pinterest pin or Instagram picture makes something look, you are not required to bake one single Christmas cookie or hang one decoration to be good enough.”  So, in order to stay healthy throughout the holidays, I encourage you to keep your stress level low by only saying “yes” to who and what matters the most, ask for help, drink lots and lots of water, exercise, indulge but be sure and counter that with plenty of greens, vitamin C and protein, along with plenty of rest and washing your hands often.

In closing, as you begin decommitting to the things that are not uniquely yours to do, I encourage you to start considering an action plan for 2017. The goal to not let the whirlwind of life pick you up and and take you where it wants to take you. Instead, the goal is to land where you want to land, leaving room for spontaneity and surprise, of course! Therefore, I encourage you to start thinking about how you will intentionally celebrate 2016, while creating an intentional plan for 2017. Whether that be asking for time off from your job or from your family, it is essential that you carve out the space that will allow you the time to consider exactly what you want and desire in the next year. It would be the greatest treat to have you attend our January ‘Rise & Shine’ ReNew Year Retreat in San Diego (LaJolla). However, if that’s not a possibility, something as simple as time alone with a new journal, a cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine with your favorite music will do the trick. Not only do you need this time, but you deserve it!

Action Item:
Determine what is uniquely yours to do, and decide what you need help with who can help you. De-commit to what is not uniquely yours to do and commit to what is uniquely yours to do, as well as your health and quality time with the people and things that matter most.

You May Also Like:

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.

You May Also Like:

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.

You May Also Like:

Embrace “The Juggle”

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite - The Juggle

As the summer is coming to an end and the shift to back to school and more activity is happening, we are embracing The Juggle.  Our inspiration is from a blog post from a few years back. We encourage you to read it again and determine your priorities and goals, set some realistic expectations and practice patience in the moments when it’s not all going according to plan.

You May Also Like:

I Love Myself Enough to…

Loving Yourself & Others, Part III

“Today I will be ME-SPONSIBLE. The act of being responsible for me, for the benefit of my health, happiness and well-being”

Point to Ponder:
Do your daily decisions and actions benefit your health, happiness and well-being or are they based on doing what you “should do” or caring for the needs of others only?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Last week while having a conversation with one of our members in class she let me know that she would not be participating in our upcoming Body Re-boot. She explained that she has a lot going on in her life and she recognized that participating in our Re-boot would have the opposite effect on her: it would add stress to her life rather than reduce stress.

Even though I personally created our Re-boot and believe it’s a non-extreme and practical way to de-stress the body, mind and spirit, learn about yourself and focus on self-care for ten days, I love her “Me-sponsible” decision because she is doing what is best for her, right now.  She is being realistic about where she is in her life and that even participating in something as healthy as our re-boot would not serve her at this time and would cause stress. To me, her mindset is beautiful, healthy and is the perfect example of self-love, which is something I struggle with because I feel like “I should” always be striving to do more, be more, more…more…more!!!!

I’m working on resisting the “I shoulds” — the high expectations that I’ve created for myself and my life — and am working on accepting and embracing the Yin and Yang, which Cary so eloquently articulated in her article last week. Along those similar lines, during mine and Russell’s wedding ten years ago, the minister preached on the ebb and flow that occurs during marriage, and how important it is to go with the flow and ride the high and low waves rather than resist them or throw in the towel. The ideas of yin/yang and ebb-and-flow seem easy enough in theory, but the “I shoulds” that continuously run through my head as well as comparing myself to yesterday is the ten ton stress gorilla that sits on my back and the result is very often self-disappointment, guilt and feeling like a fraud.

When I explained this mental dilemma to my business coach and iGnite member Martha Lynn, she advised that I needed to master saying ‘yes’ to myself, which — because life doesn’t come in a predictable square box — looks different every single day, She also suggested that I begin requesting what I need, such as, let Russell know that once a week I need a 30-minute bubble bath so please take care of the children for me so I can have this time for myself. I’ve already tried and of course he said “sure”, thought my natural instinct is to take responsibility for everyone else and neglect something I need, love and want.

All and all, even though it doesn’t always feel like it, we are the captains of our ship, and with that comes great “ME-sponsibility” to listen to our body, our mind, and our spirit and love ourselves enough to know when to push, rest, indulge, focus, play, be still, say “yes” and say “no.” As referenced above, it also means asking for the things we need and want. For women, I think this is extremely challenging because we all feel immense responsibility for so many people and things, so loving ourselves and our ever-changing needs enough is very difficult, but doing so is essential and will give us the opportunity to participate in the yin, yang and ebb and flow of life, which ultimately means saying “yes” to our health, happiness and well-being and therefore being able to authentically say “yes” more often and to the people we love.

Action Item:
Be ME-SPONSIBLE and love yourself enough to be flexible in your daily actions, honor where you are and give yourself what you need to be your best.

Entering a Gossip-Free Month

Loving Yourself & Others, Part I

Speak Positively

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

Point to Ponder:
Are your conversations about others wholesome and beneficial?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Have you ever gone shopping and purchased something that was impractical, impulsive and too expensive? Then, as soon as you arrived home you hastily ripped off the tag, tossed the receipt, and fully expected “it” to make you feel happy and satisfied…but within less than 24-hours, you realized that “thing” that you are now stuck with is something you don’t want, can’t return and as a result, have buyer’s remorse?!  This is how I feel after I’ve shamefully engaged in gossip. Upon the initial engagement of gossiping, it can feel harmless and even fun, but afterwards I always have ‘gossip remorse’ and wish I could take it all back. However, the damage to my heart and to the heart of the person I’ve talked about is already done. It’s gross, nasty and immature, and makes me want to soak myself in bleach and ask for forgiveness.

As you are aware, Valentine’s Day is on February 14th.  While I think Valentine’s is sweet and I do participate in the sweetness of it, I also think it’s a silly scheme to make us spend money on superficial love items that men feel obligated to buy women. And for women who aren’t in a relationship, it’s just a depressing day. Furthermore, it’s like New Years Eve or the prom, it’s over-rated and more disappointing than fun because it’s glamorized and expectations are unrealistic and too high. I promise I’m not jaded (even though my first Valentine’s with Russell came with diamond earrings, and now I get roses because those were his mom’s favorite flower — even though I have communicated to him that they are my least favorite flower…). Instead, I’m just proposing we use the month of February for a purpose that will provide real long-term emotional and spiritual fulfillment to ourselves and others, which is loving ourselves and all people by avoiding gossip, not engaging in gossip and when in a circle of gossip, courageously suggesting that the conversation end.

In addition to the month of Valentine’s, February is also American Heart Month. Heart month is intended to raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease awareness, which remains to be the #1 killer of women. When I think of heart disease, my tendency is to think one-dimensionally: diet and exercise.  However, stress of any kind affects the whole body and heart, and there’s no doubt that gossip absolutely has an effect on two hearts: the person gossiping and the person who is being gossiped about. I love visuals, which is why I love the picture above. We may not be able to make someone change their diet or exercise, but we can choose to hold both of our hearts responsibly, with kindness and compassion.

I really do feel like Ephesians 4:29 (the verse above) advises perfectly.  Just think how good we will feel and the goodness ripple effect that will take place as a result of us not engaging in unwholesome talk, and only talking about what is useful for building others up according to their needs so that it may benefit those that are listening. This also includes people we don’t even know but like to talk about anyway — like celebrities. We’ll be counter-culture, total misfits and oh what a good month this will be!

Action Item:
Avoid all gossip and instead choose words that are useful for building others up and will benefit those that are listening.

You Might Also Like:

Daring Greatly #1: Knowing When to Say ‘No’

A huge part of leadership is knowing when to say ‘no’ to things, even when you are attracted to the task or the work.  There is no substitute for self-care on this journey we call LIFE.
– Heidi Murray

Point to Ponder:
What are you disingenuously saying ‘yes’ to?

Action Item:
Start saying ‘no’ to things that do not serve you or that you are likely to complain about afterwards. Start saying ‘yes’ to things that you truly enjoy and that allow you to be your best.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Since listening to Brené Brown at last year’s Texas Conference for Women, watching her brilliant vulnerability talk on TED.com and Oprah, and then reading her book Daring Greatly, she’s my new BFF. She of course doesn’t know me from Adam, but her authentic and transparent communication style is wonderfully appealing. Maybe I’m partial because she’s a native Texan, but that she’d admit to becoming depressed and curling up to jar of peanut butter after reading nasty comments about her TED talk is refreshing- and that was even after her insanely popular video went viral. Now that’s my kind of woman!

In my opinion, Brené’s research findings that vulnerability is the key to living a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life are both fantastic and HORRIBLE! I love the idea of being vulnerable (on my terms, in the comfort of my home and playing by my rules) but when it comes to showing weaknesses in front of others or even my family…now that’s another story. But, that’s where I am wrong. According to Brené, vulnerability is not weakness, rather it’s just the opposite. Vulnerability is being bold, courageous and confident enough to love and accept ourselves despite our flaws fears, failures and insecurities. It’s also putting ourselves “out there” in a way that might possibly result in rejection, criticism or heartache. And, vulnerability is loving ourselves so much that we’re willing to say ‘no,’ even at the expense of disappointing others…which is my Achilles heal.

From birth, I’ve been a people pleaser. Well, maybe not that long, but being the youngest of two and my parents divorcing when I was seven, developing a comedic and “yes girl” personality (making people laugh and trying to never rock the boat) became my subconscious way of dealing with uncomfortable family dymanics. This not-so-ideal characteristic plagued me until a few years ago, when I realized the root of my chronic “yes-ness.” Despite wanting to say ‘no’ to plenty of things, I was so insecure and wanted to be liked so badly that I coudn’t bare to say ‘no,’ for fear of disappointing them (a.k.a, for fear of rejection). In addition, it became clear to me that I based people’s acceptance of me on actions, rather than them simply liking me, for me. Finally, saying ‘yes’ to everything was exhausting, unhealthy, unsustainable, and disingenuous, because most of the time I didn’t want to be doing whatever it was.

Clearly, I’ve thought this whole ‘saying no thing’ through time and time again, as I am super susceptible to reverting back to my old ways (what’s comfortable). However, I am determined to live vulnerably and am convicted to the power of ‘no.’ Ironically, saying ‘no’ is liberating, confidence-buidling and actually opens doors to opportunities that are not only important to me, but give me energy and allow me to be my best. And when we are at our best, we can wholeheartedly serve others and give our greatest gifts to the world.

What do you think? Leave a comment & share your thoughts