Tag Archives: perfection

Member Spotlight: Nancy Dacy

I grew up in Midland, Texas. I came to Austin in 1975 as a Junior in college to attend The University of Texas as a transfer from SMU. I have been here…wow…40 years.

Family Life:
I have been married to David, an Austin native, for 35 years. We met here at UT. We have 3 children: Catherine, 29, Christopher, AKA “Cricker” 28 and Alexis, 24. And as I am sure everyone knows, we have 2 grandchildren: Grayson, 3 1/2, and Madison, 4 months.

Current/Previous Occupation:
I taught Kindergarten a LONG time ago. I have done a little health coaching but primarily I have lived my adult life volunteering in many different capacities. My focus now is the Helping Hand Home for Children.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
I have gained so much from iGnite, but I think the biggest lesson is that I/we are capable of doing so much more than we think we are. We just need to take advantage of opportunities and with encouragement, all we need to do is step out of our comfort zone and give things a try. You never know until you try. As I have said, I never dreamed I would be surfing without a rope on my 60th birthday. That was 100% iGnite and Kathleen.

Best advice given and from who:
Not sure where I heard this but it has stuck with me ever since: Everyone takes responsibility for their own happiness. Happiness is a choice that comes from within. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. There are choices you can make every day to feel the effects of happiness. Choose to do something meaningful. Choose to take care of your body. Choose to be around the right people. Choose a good attitude. Choose to express gratitude. Choose to forgive. Choose to focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

In my free time…
My first choice is to be on the lake. It is truly my happy place. I love to travel – just need to do more of it. I am working on a needlepoint stocking for Madison, my granddaughter. So, more time than usual, is spent in front of a LifeTime movie stitching. Otherwise, I am with Madison and Grayson a lot.

Who is your celebrity look alike?
Well, for some reason, people are ALWAYS telling me I look like someone they know. It is really the oddest thing. But, for many years, everywhere I went (and I am truly not exaggerating), people told me I look like Cindy Brooks who used to anchor the Channel 5 news here in Austin. I had no idea who she was because I didn’t watch that channel. Finally, I did. Of course, I didn’t really see the resemblance. Many people said it was the smile. And…again, I don’t see it, but many people have told me I look like Jane Fonda. All I can picture is Monster In Law.

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Holidays Are About People, Not Perfection


Clark Griswold’s Christmas light “masterpiece”

“The greatest gift you can give others is your best you — your healthiest you.”
– Joseph J. Sweere

Point to Ponder:
Will all of my excessive spending on gifts, decorations, food, and holiday hustle and bustle add JOY, VALUE and IMPORTANT MEMORIES to my relationships?  Or will it stress me out, make me crazy and possibly even sick?

Action Item:
Use your personal health and well-being as a filter for choosing whether you take on excessive tasks, events and spending this holiday season. If you use your filter well, better relationships and more joy will no doubt follow!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s likely you’ve seen the classic holiday movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid. It’s also likely that while you may not be as extreme as Clark Griswold, your expectations for creating the “perfect” holiday dinner, party or house, and finding the “perfect” gifts, decorations, tree and so on is fairly high. How do I know? Because despite personally setting an intention to focus on family, friends and faith each year, I still without fail become the ultimate consumer and drive myself (and my family) completely crazy trying to recreate images from Martha Stewart, Pottery Barn and now Pinterest. I dive headfirst into a tailspin of unnecessary, impractical and counterproductive tasks, and my goals subconsciously shift from people to perfection.  As the pendulum swings, the result is always poor nutrition, dehydration, sleep deprivation, a decrease in exercise, an increase in crankiness, stress, and then sickness (in that exact order) — everything I want to avoid!

Here are the simplified facts about how this physiological cycle works:

  1. When we strive for perfection, our bodies, minds and spirits become stressed by the never-ending, unsatisfying and exhausting process.
  2. When we are stressed, we typically don’t get enough sleep, which causes our bodies to naturally crave high carbohydrate foods (sweets, breads, alcohol, sugary drinks, etc).
  3. This high carbohydrate diet then leads to low energy and difficulty in burning off all of the extra calories. Therefore, the excess sugar that is not burned turns to fat, resulting in weight gain around the belly.
  4. This visceral belly fat is not only depressing and a downer (further adding to the vicious cycle), but it also increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes and a wide variety of preventable illnesses and mood swings.

To avoid this process, we’ve got to stop being short-sighted and start seeing the big picture for what it really is.  If we are sincere in our belief that the holidays (and life in general) are really about people and not perfection, then we should begin making our health a top priority, because when we don’t take care of ourselves, we hurt our relationships. The stress that we unnecessarily create for ourselves causes illness and disease, restricting our quality of life and ultimately damaging our relationships.

I know I am not the only person who begins each holiday season with the plan to make it more about people and less about stuff. I’d also like to think that I am the only one who suffers from the seasonal diagnosis of “perfectionists,” however a recent Forbes study shows that I am certainly not alone, finding that the average American spends an additional $1,697 during the month of December! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Gifts: $849.50
  • Tree: $41.50
  • Cards: $32.43
  • Flora/Wreaths/Garland: $22.61
  • Food: $500.00
  • Alcohol, Wine, Spirits: $200.00
  • Decorations: $51.43

I don’t think I’m stretching to say that most of those additional expenses are going toward achieving some sort of holiday “perfection.”  So, after reviewing those extremely generous numbers and comparing them to your typical holiday spending habits, give yourself what I’d like to call a “Joy Test” by asking yourself this question:

Will all of my excessive spending on gifts, decorations, food, and holiday hustle and bustle this year add JOY, VALUE and IMPORTANT MEMORIES to my relationships? Or will it stress me out, make me crazy and possibly even sick?

Bottom line, if we allow our priorities to shift from people to perfection, our lives will become out of balance and unhealthy. Let’s stop this cycle! As we begin this holiday season and prepare for our 2014 goals, let’s make people our focus rather than perfection, and keep the gift-giving simple by giving our healthiest and best self to those around us. I have no doubt that if we succeed in that, this holiday season will be our most joy-filled, meaningful and memorable one yet.


The Pursuit of Perfection: A Social Networking Challenge


I’m doing it: posting one of the most UNflattering photos of me out there…here I am world!

Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.

Point to Ponder:
Do you strive for physical and life perfection or wish you had the body or life of someone else?

Action Item:
Be grateful for all of your God-given unique attributes and life and share your imperfections, life struggles and even embarrassing moments with others.

By Neissa Springmann

By Neissa Springmann

Have you ever ventured on Facebook to accept a quick friend request, to then look at the clock and shockingly realize a whole hour has passed?! Or maybe you found yourself looking through a friend’s pictures admiring their travel adventures, beautiful family photos and even their life… Or maybe you quite possibly experienced an ego boost after noticing that you have more followers than someone else… These are only a few of my concerns with social media and the challenge it poses for us, our children and our society at large.

When my son Durant was born I became diligent at posting his monthly albums on Facebook, as I thought it would be a great way to share our new life with friends (and because everyone else did it- a good reason, right?!?!)  Although at the  time I thought it was a good idea, I found I couldn’t keep up with the demand or justify the time it took to upload, organize and post the pictures. The other problem was that I could never just post and log out. I would get sucked into other friends’ profiles and it quickly became too much for me. Furthermore, I always felt obligated to respond to a nice comment and even hoped for one in return, which eventually stressed me out…so finally I just quit all together.

One time, I distinctly remember a friend saying that Durant was the happiest baby ever, as he smiled in every picture! I laughed and told him that my objective was to not show the many horrible pictures of him covered in spit up while screaming his head off, or the ones of me holding him while in my pajamas, with no makeup, hair everywhere and glasses on…..and it was 3:00 in the afternoon! NO WAY was I about to show the world that my newborn wasn’t always happy, I was losing my mind and my life wasn’t perfect.

I think social networking has many redeeming qualities, as I still have a personal account and iGnite has one too! It allows us to quickly connect with people and friends from around the world that we otherwise would not be able to contact, quite an extraordinary opportunity. However, I also think it is important to put on our safety goggles when using it, and always be aware of its challenges and even dangers, like judging and comparing ourselves and our lives to others.

Last week during class, Claire S. told me about a great article she read on perfection and how

our imperfections are actually a blessing, as they enable us to relate to one another.

I couldn’t agree more and I want to relate with you so badly that I’ve included one of the most unattractive and unathletic picture of myself, which is above. What’s most crazy is that I do not keep unflattering pictures of myself, so finding one that was worthy of the weekly inspiration was very difficult!

All in all, the pursuit of perfection will keep you in a vicious, unhappy and never-ending downward cycle. Perfection is impossible and despite all of the seemingly “perfect pictures” posted on Facebook, no one lives a perfect life, everyone struggles, has problems, and gets bumps and hairs in embarrassing places. Therefore, I encourage you to embrace your imperfect beautiful body and life and share it with others….and join iGnite as we start an imperfect and relatable Facebook and Life Revolution! Join us on Facebook here!


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