Tag Archives: nature

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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Member Spotlight: Susan Palombo

      Susan with her sweet father

                Susan with her sweet dad

Roots:
I was born and raised in Tulsa, OK, went to UT Austin for undergraduate (Plan II), then moved to Minneapolis, MN and lived there for 30 years. We have been back in Austin for 1 year and are loving it!

Basic Family Stats:
I have been married for 32 years to John Palombo. We have three children. Nick, 26, is a middle school science teacher in St. Louis. Michael, 22, and his twin sister, Megan, graduated in May — Michael from Vanderbilt and Megan from UT Austin. Michael has moved to Austin for a job with GLG Consulting, and Megan is interviewing.

Current/Previous Occupation:
I love my career, which is helping individuals and families feel better about their path to reach their family, foundation and financial goals through our Wealth Management practice with Merrill Lynch.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
Working out with positive trainers and friends outside in the Austin sunshine with iGnite is such a fabulous experience. Working out doesn’t have to be “bootcamp with pain and suffering!”

Best advice I’ve been given:
Through his wonderful examples, my 90 year old active and healthy father has taught me so much. One particularly pertinent lesson is: Listen more, talk less.

In my free time, I like to:
Be outdoors in nature, read and get together with family and friends.

If I were a pair of shoes, I would be:
I still have my hiking boots from 5th grade, and I think I would be them. They are long-lasting and reliable, strong and functional, outdoors-loving, well-loved leather
with beautiful patina and comfortable and sturdy boots. They have traveled a lot of miles, covered a variety of terrain, scaled some altitude, grown up and matured, made some mistakes, saved my life and witnessed a lot of conversations by hundreds of bonfires. These boots have lots of energy and endurance. They have been a good friend to me. I hope that I can be that good of a friend to others.

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Enjoy the Great Outdoors

iGnite - Enjoy the Outdoors

 

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

I encourage you to watch this short video summarizing new research on the positive effects of outdoor exercise on emotional state and mental health. What I find especially interesting is the finding that not all outdoor exercise is equal in its effects on our mental/emotional health…. Supporting what most outdoor exercise enthusiasts and iGniters already know, the research indicates that exercise in natural outdoor environments has a greater effect on mood and mental-emotional health than exercise in man-made outdoor environments. Although similar in some short-term affects on physical health, exercise in nature compared to indoor or even other outdoor “city-dweller” environments, is vastly more effective in improving mental and emotional state, and therefore important for overall health in the long-term.

Living in Austin, we have so many great opportunities to workout in nature.
Here are some suggestions:

Running/Hiking:
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Bull Creek Trail
Brushy Creek Trails
River Place Preserve Trails
Walnut Creek Trails
McKinney Falls Trails
Hamilton Pool Nature Trail

Swimming or Water-Running/Treading:
Barton Springs Pool
Twin Falls on Barton Creek
Bull Creek
Hippy Hollow
Hamilton Pool

I do hope you’ll get out and enjoy the great outdoors right here in Austin! Add hiking and/or swimming in nature to your summer bucket list…It’s cheaper and more effective than therapy and medicine!

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How to Maximize Nature’s Body Benefits

maximize_natures_benefits

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Given that we are so big on exercising outdoors, here are 4 ways to maximize nature’s benefits:

  1. GET OUTSIDE! People who get outdoors have lower BMI’s (meaning they have less body fat) than those who don’t, according to a report in PLOS One. Getting outdoors also has a strong stabilizing effect on your body clock, which regulates metabolism and energy levels.
  2. MAKE QUICKY JAUNTS ALL DAY: A mere five minutes of being in fresh air can improve your mood and self-esteem, according to a study in Environmental Science and Technology. Your goal is to take a mini blue-sky break 3 to 4 times a day. Just looking at natural landscapes increases activity in the areas of the brain that control happy memories and stress reduction, found researchers from Chonnam University.
  3. LET YOURSELF FEEL CHILLY! As soon as you start to feel the cold, the weight-loss perks of outdoor time kick in!  Temperatures of 63 degrees and lower will both increase activity in brown fat (the “good” calorie-burning kind), and have been linked to reductions in total body fat, according to research from Japan and the Netherlands.
  4. EXERCISE IN FRESH AIR! Nature can motivate! When you exercise outdoors, you tend to work harder and feel more powerful than when you work out inside, a study in Psychology of Sports and Exercise reports. Your immunity gets a boost from outdoor activity, too: walking in wooded areas can even increase the function of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to research from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo.

I hope to see you this week, and if not, be sure to get outdoors!

Keep moving,
Kathleen

Source: 
Ketchiff, Mirel. “Live Healthy: Slim, Happy, Calm,” Shape.

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Enjoying the Little Things

Appreciate the Little Things in Life

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

-Robert Brault

Last Wednesday evening after our Christmas Market event, several of the vendors and I were gathering our things and making multiple trips to our cars when we stumbled upon a magical moment. As the full moon glowed and a dazzling bright planet sat to it’s left, the night sky was dark and oozed with holiday sweetness. The crisp cool air added to the charm, but then, as we continued to make our trips, we gathered outside to listen to and witness two owls hooting sweet nothings back and forth, from one chimney to another.

Sitting on top of a chimney was the silhouette of one owl, and across the street was the silhouette of the other owl who was also sitting on the chimney of a neighbor’s house. The hooting was enchanting and we all agreed that the male owl must have been courting the female owl. I also felt that at any moment Hedwig, the owl from Harry Potter, would swoop down and deliver us an invitation to Hogwarts. It was just that cool!

What I appreciate most about the courting owl encounter was it’s simplicity and spontaneity. We were all pretty tired and fairly eager to get home and have dinner when we were gifted with this magical moment. In addition, it wasn’t a huge thing, it cost nothing and it was a unique blessing from nature. (You know that anything that causes five hungry women to stop for an extended period of time must be something very special!)

If you’re like me, contentment is one of your opportunities for improvement — not a strength. I have the tendency to want more, try to “keep up with Joneses'” and covet my neighbor’s things. Our mystical owl moment reminds me to be more wise and treasure the so called “little things,” like family, friends, and nature — which are actually the big things! — for most often they are what makes life so memorable and worthwhile.

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Point To Ponder:
Do you have the tendency to place too much value on material things, a.k.a. the real “little things?”

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Action Item:
Spend time being thankful for the things that really matter in life — the daily gifts and blessings that cost nothing.

To Your Health,

Neissa

About Neissa