Tag Archives: positive

It’s Your Season, It’s Your Purpose

iGnite - living with purpose

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with defining or finding your purpose, feel confused about your life, or feel fearful that there isn’t enough time left to do what you want to do?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Since moving to San Diego, my life has drastically changed and taken a 180 degree turn. I do not yet have any friends here, and except for taking Durant and Malaine to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and tending to my iGnite responsibilities and duties from afar, I don’t have any commitments either. I won’t lie, when talking to the iGnite leaders, family, and friends and occasionally peeking at Facebook and Instagram, I experience bittersweet emotions. It stinks to be on the outside looking in, missing out and not able to take part in what I’ve created in iGnite in Austin. I have also experienced extreme withdrawals from my addictions: the “being busy addiction,” “having places to go addiction,” and the “feeling needed and wanted” addiction. There are times when my ego screams so loud that I find myself taken over with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to busy myself just so I can feel important and accomplished again. Then, finally, it dawned on me that not only was my evil ego in my way, but what I was really struggling with the most was my purpose.

With the help of Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and business coach, reminding me that our society inundates women with the destructive message that if we aren’t working 60 hours a week, involved in a million organizations, committed to regularly volunteering, acting as the home-room mom, and only taking two-weeks of maternity leave, or just tending to our own or our family’s and community’s needs, that we aren’t enough. Pu-lease! Don’t get me wrong, I believe in having a passion and purpose outside of our family, but not at the expense of jeopardizing our marriages, not being a present mom to our children and neglecting our relationships. Looking back, while living in Austin I definitely tip-toed into those zones and was drinking the toxic Kool-Aid. This is my destructive tendency, and I have to consistently check myself to make sure I am being counter-culture.

It has been a very long time since I have wondered about my purpose. While living in Austin, my family, friends and iGnite were absolutely my purpose and they kept my heart pumping fast and hard. Originally, I thought starting iGnite in San Diego would be my first purpose-filled project, but now I’m not so sure about that. For now, I’m declaring that I am on a prayerful, peaceful, intentional purpose-finding mission project. I’ve narrowed my purpose down to:

  1. Learning how to become a fully-attentive, loving and supportive wife to Russell (which is hard to admit because of my strong will, pride and independence)
  2. Appreciating this colorful and unique time I have with our preschool-age children and being a fully attentive and fun mother.
  3. Remotely supporting and leading the iGnite team, the iGnite members and our efforts to iGnite Austin and impact, inspire and empower every woman to live a healthy and purpose-filled life.
  4. Taking the time to get on my knees everyday and pray for myself, my family, my friends, iGnite and anyone I know who is in need of prayers or who I told I would pray for them. While I am a faithful person, embarrassingly my prayer life has been pathetic, and I’m tired of being lip-service only. Please let me know if and how I can pray for you. Seriously!
  5. Becoming involved with our church, The Rock, and serving the San Diego community.

I must confess that while I’m feeling content with my new purpose in San Diego, there is sooooo much I want to do in my life! For example, I want to write a book, I want to be on the speaking circuit and I want to grow iGnite so that women all over the world can iGnite in a positive and inspiring community. I wanna, wanna, wanna! And with that said, I get nervous and afraid that I am going to miss my opportunity, run out of time and miss out. But, thankfully, for the first time in my life, I found a Bible translation that I can actually understand called The Voice, and it’s teaching me about patience. Even though Adam, Pharrell, Gwen and Blake aren’t quoted in it, I have learned so much! One of the things that has been glaring is how late in life God uses people. Of course he uses children, like when He used David to defeat Goliath when David was only a teenager, but for example, Noah, Abraham, Sarai (Abraham’s wife) were waaaay past their “prime,” or what we today consider our “prime.” Granted, people back then lived longer, but by human standards, they were still considered old, and they fulfilled God’s purpose for them much later in life.

I recently watched a special on television called Try, Try Again where John Stossell chronicled the lives of great inventors and authors who not only failed before having success, but were also “past their prime” before having any success and fulfilling their purpose. Just to name a couple: Julia Child was 50 before writing her first cookbook, and Harland Sanders (a.k.a Colonel Sanders) franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 62.

All in all, I write this journal not to go off about my personal purpose journey, but rather to encourage anyone who is struggling with defining or finding their purpose, feeling confused about their life, or fearful that there isn’t enough time. For sure we all sometimes feel a sense of urgency because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but fear cannot be the reason why we do or don’t take action. Instead, remember that there is a season in life for everything and that our purpose can evolve, morph and even change. Sometimes we’re in a season of action, and other times we’re in a season of self-reflection, contemplation and quiet. Regardless of the season you find yourself in now, when you weave in prayer and intention, you will without a doubt be led down the right path and your fruit will be ripe.

Action Item:
Remember there is a season in life for everything and that your purpose can evolve, morph and change over time. Approach your season of life with prayer and intention.

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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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Member Spotlight: Amanda Schmidt

iGnite - Amanda SchmidtRoots:
I was born in Chicago but became a Texan at the age of 2 when my Dad took a teaching position in Dallas with the business school at SMU. I grew up in Dallas and graduated from Highland Park High School and then from Smith College in Northampton, MA in 1986, after which I worked in Spain for a year. I landed in Austin for law school at UT in 1987 and have lived here ever since.

Basic family stats:
I am married to Dick Schmidt, and we have 3 daughters: Samantha (sophomore at Northwestern University), Sophie (senior at Westlake High School) and Lucy (freshman at St. Stephen’s).

Current/Previous Occupation:
After law school, I got to clerk for Justice John Powers on the Austin Court of Appeals for a fantastic year after which I practiced commercial litigation for ten years, mostly at the firm Clark, Thomas here in Austin. After trying to practice a litigation practice with mom responsibilities and feeling like I wasn’t doing well at either thing, I retired when our third child, Lucy, was born. For the last 15 years I have worked as mom and participated in a variety of volunteer jobs through schools and philanthropies.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
I have learned a lot of life lessons from many of the dear women I have gotten to know in iGnite. I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to surround yourself with positive people who support you and don’t waste your precious time with people who drag you down.

Who inspires me the most and why:
My mother is a terrific role model to me and my biggest inspiration. If asked this question ten years ago, I would have picked someone more illustrious like Amelia Earhart for following her dreams and breaking accepted norms for women, but in the last few years I have come to realize what I should have known all along: my own mother lived her life the way I hope to live mine. She was a wonderful and supportive friend to many people, and she maintained an extremely positive outlook on life, living it to the fullest, even after losing her lifelong partner (my Dad) and her youngest daughter in the course of 15 months.

In my free time, I like to:
Other than work out with iGnite, I love to read, see movies, travel (especially to snow-covered mountains) and just hang out with my family.

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be:
Chocolate because it brings so much enjoyment to so many people; chocolate is a real mood booster!

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It’s Not What You Endure, It’s How You Endure It

 

iGnite - unshakeable faithiGnite Members Christie Skinner (left) and Kerrie Pennington (right) at Christie’s home while the iGnite Community helped her sort through her salvaged items on Sunday.

“Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control: your attitude, your faith, and your perspective. Choose to make the best of every situation that comes your way.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
How do you tend to react when faced with personal loss or tragedy?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As our iGnite community received word of via email this weekend, on Tuesday iGnite member Christie Skinner’s home burned. Upon learning the news, I sent Christie a text extending my sympathy, care and prayers. Honestly, I was nervous to reach out because I feared my text would be burdomsome. But, I tried putting myself in her shoes and I knew that I would appreciate friends reaching out. I didn’t expect or need a response, though what I received just minutes later blew my mind. Here is our exchange:

Neissa: “Hello Christie, Kathleen let me know about your home and I want you to know how very sorry I am. I am so thankful you all are okay. Please know that Russell and I are praying for you all and will continue to pray for you throughout the recovery process. Know that you are loved and being thought of.”

Christie: “Thanks!! It’s pretty sad but it’s just stuff!! And amazingly we are in the process of buying a little condo on Lake Austin so God’s timing is really good!!”

Neissa: “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

Christie: “You can bring me a Diet Coke on ice anytime you happen to be around.”

My initial reaction was, “Really? Did I read that correctly? How is it possible for someone to have lost so much yet have such tremendous perspective? And, she’s only asked for a Diet Coke? I can do that!”

I was briefly able to stop by Christie’s home today, Sunday, while our iGnite community helped her sort through her items. I’ve always thought that if a big project or job needs to get accomplished, the quick solution is a group of committed women. Indeed the job was getting done, and Christie’s spirit was contagious. She was positive, smiled and did what she needed to do. The entire sight was inspiring, like Christie’s faith and attitude.

I am always amazed by the events, circumstances and losses that the human spirit is able to endure. Most everyone faces some type of tragedy or difficult circumstances in their life, though what distinguishes one person from the other is not what they endure but how they endure it. The way I see it is we have choices: we can either (1) endure alone, without faith, think that life is out to get us, God is trying to punish us, give up and have a bad attitude — or, we can (2) let go of our pride, let others know how they can help us (even if it’s simply a Diet Coke on ice!), pray for unshakable faith, ask for others who have unshakeable faith to pray for us and trust in the plans that God has for us: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

While we all will not experience the tragedy of a burned home, we all will experience loss in our lives. It is for this that having an unshakable faith, never underestimating the power of prayer, surrounding ourselves with a community of people who also have unshakeable faith, and trusting in the promise of a future is crucial. There’s no doubt that life is going to shake us over and over again, but it doesn’t have to break us. Thank you, Christie for showing us this!

Action Item:
Contemplate Christie’s response to the events of the past week and be inspired by her unshakable faith and ability to accept help in such difficult circumstances.

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Member Spotlight: Sharon Wilson


Roots:

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we moved to Austin when I was 10 months old in 1963. I’ve lived in Austin for 51 years and consider myself almost a native Austinite.

Basic family stats:
I’m a single mother of three daughters. I’ve had the privilege of raising them all by myself with the help of my parents and brothers. Catherine (23) is a second year law student at SMU, Caroline (21) is in the ACCESS Program at Texas School for the Deaf, and Claire (19) is a sophomore at UT. And…if you have any single men friends, I am available and single myself right now.

iGnite - Sharon WilsonCurrent/Previous Occupation:
I worked in my family’s business for 15 years and retired when my dad sold the company in 1995. I was pregnant with my third daughter, Claire, so I became a full-time mom and part-time tennis player and volunteer. I was president of the Women’s Symphony League three years ago, and I walk and house sit dogs about 5 hours per week because I love animals and need to stay active.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
The biggest lesson that I learned through iGnite is that I can do the things that the 19-40 year olds do. I may not be able to that day, and certainly not as fast or huffing and puffing, but I can do whatever my mind decides I can do. We are all strong and capable of amazing things. We’re women — duh!

Who inspires me most:
I think I am inspired most by my daughter, Caroline. She is happy, healthy and super fun despite her multi handicaps and challenges. Because she does not hear or speak, she was never taught the concepts of: fear, judgement, unkindness, etc. She has never given up and crawled in a corner even after seizing 50-60 times per day during her childhood years. She continues to progress, learn and try. She inspires me every day. She was not in my plan of “non-typical” children, but God decided she belonged with our family, and heck yes — WE’LL TAKE HER!

Most people don’t know:
I’ve flown the Concorde. My grandmother decided I needed to go travel with her before I “tied the knot” in 1990, and we headed to Europe and North Africa on different trips. She had a life-long love of travel and the education that came with travel. At 73, she hadn’t flown the Concorde and Mach speed, so off we went!

Three words to describe myself:
Quiet, persuasive and POSITIVE!

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Creating Your Ripple Effect

Rain Drop Ripples

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.
– Unknown

Last week I had the fortunate opportunity of having dinner with a very dear friend whom I have tremendous respect for. Unfortunately, we are in different chapters of our lives, making it difficult to connect. However, when we are able to spend time with one another, our conversations are rich, candid and I inevitably leave feeling more centered, wise and filled with an uplifting breath of fresh air.

During dinner, our impromptu topic was energy — about how the energy we give is directly proportional to the energy we receive. Basically, energy out = energy in, and while I know this to be true, it reinforced that having a consistent positive attitude, avoiding gossip, negativity and treating all people with kindness, patience and love has infinite power. In fact, our attitude (positive or negative), thoughts, actions and words have a ripple effect  — like the ever expanding ripples across water when an object is dropped into it — that can either add value to or take value away from our lives and each and every life around us. Pastor Charles Swindoll says it best:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

I believe that creating the healthy and happy life of our dreams is as simple as our attitude and the ripple effect we create. What we all have to determine is whether or not our ripple effect is working for or against us.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Point To Ponder:
Is your attitude attracting positive relationships and energy or is it creating a perpetual cycle of exhausting drama?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Action Item:
Determine the areas of your life where you’d like to see improvement, then decide how you can make changes to your attitude so it creates a ripple effect of positive and life-giving energy.

To Your Health,

Neissa

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STORIES THAT INSPIRE: Attitude is Everything

An inspiring story and an incredible outlook on life: “A positive attitude is the most powerful combatant to life’s misfortunes. Everything else will take care of itself.”