Transform your body. Transform your mind.

I believe that dreams are worth pursuing.

Whether it’s becoming a best-selling author, owning your own business, or living your best body now, your dreams can become your reality.

The trick, if there is one, is acting on it.

Action Eliminates Anxiety

Two years ago, Operation Freedom was just a desperate scribble in a notebook. I never once thought I was crazy for wanting all the stuff I wrote down, I just knew I wanted it.

I wanted Change.

I wanted Freedom.

And if I worked hard enough, I knew I would earn both.

Instead of hemming and hawing like I usually would have, I just acted. I pushed myself to act as if I already had those things, and never looked back.

Inspiration starts the action. Momentum finishes it.

I don’t know about you, but I love newness and beginnings. I can start new projects all day long. What I was very aware of, though, is that I only finish half of the projects I start. And most just die after a few days or weeks. The ones I finished were done so with Herculean effort toward the end.

(I tried to trick my brain into looking at the old, forgotten projects as if it were a new project. No go. Restarting old projects didn’t have that same glow and new love like starting brand new projects. I would rather ignore it and start something new or work on a current project than revive an old project left to rot.)

Daily action was how I gained momentum on the dreams that were just scribbles in a notepad two years ago. I’m still a long way from accomplishing what is a 5-year plan, but I am already a year ahead of schedule.

I have learned to lean into any fear or anxiety I felt along the way with action. I would brain dump onto paper any of my thoughts or anxiety. I would create systems and plans from the word vomit. I would tap a trusted friend for feedback, advice, and encouragement.

Whatever I did, I didn’t stay idle. I stayed in action, and through it, gained progress, however small the steps were.

With each bit of progress, I gained confidence and belief in myself that I was going in the right direction. Every time I felt resistance, I leaned into it. Every single time, I pushed through the other side and was rewarded with deeper clarity and heightened courage to keep going for my goals.

Everyday Efforts

I noticed a theme in my journals, though. The projects I finished, I worked on nearly every day. When there weren’t long gaps, I was able to push through and finish the projects with a manic glee.

That’s when I started really embracing the idea of everyday efforts. It’s so much easier, and feels so much more rewarding, to devote little bits to a Hot Project daily than it was to return to it whenever I had a three-hour block in a day.

Not only have I been able to embrace my process, it also became the name of my new program and brand.

{It’s not quite ready to launch yet, but you can sneak peek it here: Everyday Efforts}

The 7-Day Challenge

I know how rewarding it was for me to start 2015 with a bang. So, I thought to invite anyone who wanted to join me for my planning session this year.

Starting Jan 1-Jan 7, I’ll be posting my fitness and planning tips here on the blog and on my facebook page. I would love to hear from you each day if you choose to follow along!

change-starts-with-you

Until then, enjoy your New Year’s celebrations!

xoxo

Liza

 

Why coaches are necessary

One of the most impressive things my husband has ever done was take apart his old 300ZX and put it back together again. And when I mean take apart, I mean every little nut and bolt that comprised the underbelly of his car–and what essentially made a car, a car–was all spread out on his parent’s garage floor like a jigsaw puzzle pieces. Two days later, after he fixed whatever it was he needed to fix, it was all put back together and running. Minus a handful of bolts.

All of the bits and pieces boggled my mind. (And I’m sure boggled his parents, who were hopeful to get their garage back sometime soon.) But what was most impressive was that he didn’t use any special tools. Just the same old lifts and toolbox tools he and his dad owned.

The husband isn’t just car-handy, but everything handy. He doubled the value of our house and land with all the upgrades and renovations that he installed himself. And I’m not talking the stuff you see on HGTV. I’m talking all the dirty, grimey, tedious behind-the-scenes stuff that they cut out of the shows, like installing an HVAC system, creating a proprietary whole house water filter, rebuilding an entire bathroom from the 2X4s up…all with the same simple tools that anyone else would own.

THE PROBLEM WITH TOOLS

I have access to all my husband’s tools. They’re racked neatly in my basement on industrial shelves. They make a great backdrop while I workout next to them.

Yet, I would not have the first idea how to build a car or build our house. I know their intended purpose, of course. I’ve been able to function OK following DIY manuals. But to have the vision to know what other potential the tools have and use them to fill that purpose? Uh, no.

This same kind of ambiguity plagues me when I see people or businesses selling tools. Instead of screwdrivers or wrenches, they’re selling software and automation systems for businesses. They’re all there to help the business professional and entrepreneurs create simple and intuitive processes.

But there is a missing component to many of these sales pitches and that’s the how. How do I use these products in my business? How does this fit my specific gap and need?

I’m looking at it all and I’m seeing the gap. I own and can competently use all the common business tools out there from email marketing to social media to web design. But at the moment it’s very much how I’m looking at the tools that are in my basement: I know how each tool works. I don’t know how to use them to build a house.

For that I need a house-building expert.

FIND THE RIGHT PERSON, NOT THE RIGHT TOOL

It turns out that I’ve been seeking information from the wrong side. I didn’t need the developers to tell me how to use their tools or ask them how this will help my business. I needed to ask a business professional how they used the tools in their business. What are their best practices, how do they unleash the tool’s potential?

That’s exactly how I came to realize that I needed a business coach, even though I’ve been in business for years. I know how to run a corporate business, but I’m a new entrepreneur. I have always used a system already working. I need to be able to design the actual system I need for my own business.

(This is probably the frustration people feel when they see all the food choices and workout choices available. They see it all, and have the information in front of them, but don’t know how to put it together to create a lifestyle and system that works for them. Enter Certified Personal Trainers and Coaches!)

This is also the plot twist in Tools of Titans–yes, they are awesome interviews and life stories about different successful people. It also shows you that ANYONE can become successful given the right mix of tools and drive. But the one thing they also ALL had in common (but were referred to more subtly) were mentors, coaches, and guides to make them effective. They all had someone whom they admired, who had walked the path ahead of them a bit, and helped steer them in the right direction.

Do you have a coach or mentor that you use and admire? If so, why? Or how have they impacted your life? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!

xoxo

Liza

My Word or Theme for the New Year

I have always made New Year’s Resolutions or goals. Most of the time I’d achieve several of those goals, and made significant progress toward the others. However, I always felt a sense of disappointment or a feeling like I’d missed out on an opportunity or something important.

For all my self-reflection I still felt disconnected from my life. Like I was just on auto-pilot rather than paying attention and driving. It wasn’t until I changed up my New Year Resolution ritual that I started making progress toward goals that mattered.

MY OLD RITUAL

New Year’s Resolutions give me the same peace and reassurance I would get when creating any action plans. It gives me a sense of calm and focus in the scattered white noise of “What Might Happen.”

It’s not unlike looking at a blank white page. The yawning new year of possibility. The empty blankness of a potential story.

I used to sneak off and find a quiet moment in the hubbub of New Year’s Eve, and take a moment to write down thoughts of the past year. They were stream of consciousness and unguarded and (usually) filled with a lot more self-criticism than highlights. Then, sometime after the ball dropped, I’d go to my journal again, and write down my hopes for the coming year and what I want to accomplish, which would then be translated into SMART goals.

It was all so technical and textbook and exactly what I did for my day job to achieve success.

The problem was, I wasn’t achieving success. Not my definition of it, anyway. Yet, I kept achieving my goals.

I usually just chalked it up to my usual self-critical, high achiever nature. I was dissatisfied because I was never satisfied, and I believed I wasn’t supposed to be satisfied with anything. At least, not in this life.

AWAKENING

I wasn’t completely passive over the years, and I don’t think anyone would have characterized me as such. I’ve been told that I was confident and analytical and independent, all attributes that I admire. But, most people that I interacted with at the day job (which took up 90% of my waking life) would never have called me goofy, silly, or creative, which I also felt embodied the Real Me.

I had completely embraced this role of being the Professional (which is a role that I thought I needed to be in order to drive the sales results I needed), that I ignored, ridiculed, and suppressed anything else that didn’t conform to that view of myself.

(Most of my life I was textbook INFJ. Only in the last 10ish years did I flip to an INTJ).

I was enjoying success at work. I had a wonderful relationship with my husband and we would go on these epic adventures. I had a goal to write novels, and even though they weren’t quite polished or publishable, they were still being written, so that’s a positive, right?

I was doing all the right things, so why was I still feeling like I was missing out on my life? Why did I want more?

Of course, the first thing I did was chide myself for wanting more. That was materialistic and bad. But, I knew I didn’t want to stay where I was, so the only choice was continue going up the ladder and be promoted, right?

After (too many) years of self-doubt, I finally stumbled upon thought leaders and books that have changed the way I viewed myself and my accountability toward my life. I didn’t have to be unsettled or dissatisfied with my lot in life always wanting more. The “more” that I wanted wasn’t material wealth or gain. The “more” I wanted was living a life that used up my full potential and talents.

What I had been feeling was stunted growth. I always felt on edge, like I had to do and say the right things or be a certain way. Like I was playing a bit part in the story of my own life.

I had crammed all of me in a too-tight jacket and pointy-toed heels.*

In just a couple of years, I had attained success and awards that only 1% of my peers would reach. I was set up as a mentor and coach. I was respected and sought after.

I didn’t have a concept for it at the time but looking back, I realized my soul wasn’t getting fed.

The only time I felt true joy and light was when I was creating and writing, and I ignored it or wasn’t serious about it because I needed to make the practical and responsible choice of getting an income and providing for my family.

Thankfully, I stumbled my way out of that soul-crushing job into a place where I realized that I wasn’t the problem. It was the system. I didn’t want to move up in a corporate system that wasn’t feeding my soul. And only when I removed myself from that environment, was I able to see that I wasn’t wrong to feel stifled.

It’s OK to want other things. It’s OK to want a career that doesn’t involve moving up a corporate ladder. It’s OK to choose out.

It’s OK to choose me.

And what I realized I wanted was to be in business for myself. I wanted Freedom. Around 2 years ago, on New Year’s Eve 2014, I wrote a new kind of resolution. Operation: Freedom.

MY NEW RITUAL

On New Year’s Eve 2014, I wrote myself a story. It was kind of depressing, but it was a story nonetheless complete with highs and lows and learnings. But I didn’t end it with action plans for creating a better 2015. I continued writing the story, writing it in present tense. I described all I felt and saw and did. I wrote out what I created for myself and what I was known for, and I ended it with a “can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Then, I re-read what I had written, and saw a motif. I realized that in order to accomplish what I needed to get done, I needed to be fearless in action. I couldn’t play it safe or be stuck in analysis-paralysis. Fearlessness is acting in the face of fear. I would “feel the fear, but do it anyway.”

Everything I wrote out for myself in 2015 came to be, and it felt good because they were the Big Things that mattered to me. I was making progress on the goals that fed my soul, and gave me a sense of deep satisfaction. I became debt-free, which was a huge burden lifted. Talk about Freedom! My husband and I enjoyed an anniversary trip to Maui, where we got married. I was still working a day job, but it filled my creative and business side well, not to mention, paid me more than the soul-sucking one. I made progress toward my writing goals. And I laid out a strong foundation for my business.

I wanted Freedom for 2015, and I did it by embracing the idea of Fearlessness.

For 2016, I did a similar exercise, but instead of Fearless, I chose the word Curiosity. It was a subtle difference, one that I could relate to more authentically.I loved acting fearlessly, but I also know that fear is important and signals something, so I didn’t want to quite be fearless all the time.

Besides, I was tired of acting. I’d been acting for the majority of my adult life, and I didn’t want to pretend to be something I wasn’t in my entrepreneurial endeavors.

So, Curiosity would be the fuel that pushed my boundaries in order for me to grow. Curiosity would be the guiding thought that would empower me to “try it out.”

If I ever felt that body-cringe of fear when faced with a new and different idea, I would open up, and lean into it instead. Lean into new experiences. Lean into new challenges. Lean into vulnerability.

Because I did that, I have made strides to launch my business, write new content, create a passion project, and found a coach and mentor to accelerate my success in 2017.

I know 2016 isn’t over yet, but I already know what I want 2017’s theme word to be.

Why.

The last couple of years, and the experience of over a decade, has imprinted this truth into my life: that I need to absorb what is useful and aligned with my core values and purpose. Discard anything else. I need to ask Why? before I even think of adding something else to my vision.

I already know that I can accomplish goals. My question now is: Why is that a goal in the first place? Is it aligned to the outcome I want?

Simple. Efficient. Effective.

See the difference? I think of my outcome first. Then, I design my goals to get me to that outcome.

Thank you for your time today. Maybe in the future I’ll create a challenge around creating Simple, Efficient, Effective action plans. “SEE Your Goals, clearly” or something like that. Still an idea, of course, but it has merit, for sure! 🙂

xoxo

Liza

*there’s nothing wrong with business suits and stylish shoes. I love them! But I also love sandals, Converse, being barefoot…you get the drill.

Only do X if it aligns with my Why

Most of the past decade has been driven by what I can now identify as #FOMO–Fear of Missing Out. I’m sure this is related somehow to the Fear of Success that Steven Pressfield mentions in The War of Art.

Even though I’m multi-passionate and want to Do It All, I have taken the sucker’s path and followed every whim to figure out what all the fuss is about regarding X–X being whatever project seems to be trendy or popular.

I don’t regret the rabbit trails I’ve followed, because I am extremely curious and love figuring things out.

Like, the one time years ago I was so overwhelmed with knitting curiosity that I just had to buy knitting needles, a thing of yarn that I thought looked pretty (it was but it scratchy and NOT comfortable), and a how-to guide for beginning knitters.

I learned how to knit and was on my way to a scarf in about an hour. I could have finished the scarf in another hour. Yet, it took my literally years to finish it. I worked on it maybe one line at a time.

It turns out that I love owning knit scarves and gloves, but I didn’t feel the need to knit my own outerwear. Of course when Etsy exploded on to the scene and all these knitters suddenly became successful business owners I thought, “Well, there goes a lost entrepreneurial opportunity! I could’ve opened up my own Etsy shop!”

Should I have opened a shop? Would that have made me happy? I barely finished a scarf even though I knew how to knit. I just liked learning how to knit, and once I learned, didn’t feel the need to repeat it.

I made peace with my decision because I didn’t truly love it (I barely liked doing it), and why would I go into business doing what I barely liked doing? I already had that experience with my past day jobs, I wouldn’t do this for my lifelong dream of self-employment.

That’s been my pattern with other things and hobbies and topics that I’ve stumbled upon over the years. I’m grateful for loving the feel and idea and act of learning and collecting experiences over acquiring stuff…but I wonder if the downside to all of this broad seeking is a lot of knowledge without any depth or wisdom.

Like I somehow crossed over that boundary from the land of Curiosity to Scatter and Distraction.

Could I be justifying my whims and love for All The Things and desire to Do All The Things behind this veil of being an Inveterate Fullfiller-of-Curiosity? (I have decided to make that my new job title, FYI.)

If so, what is it that I’m trying justify? What am I trying to defend or validate? And more importantly, what am I hiding from myself with my multi-passionate curiosity?

Could I really be hiding my Fear of Success under layers of wanting to Do All The Things??

The obvious answer to me is yes.

Yes because All The Things are lovely to me, but a lovely distraction.

Yes because though I love the thought and idea of All The Things, I have a pretty narrow focus on the end goal for my life: Author. Entrepreneur.

Yes because All The Things do not and have not served me in my progress toward those end goals.

(Ironically, I have ALWAYS achieved whatever tasks I focus on. Unfortunately, those tasks have at best validated the idea that whatever I focus on,  I accomplish (with great effort). At worst, it has delayed my own version of success. (This thought is the most depressing because I value time so much. This blog used to be titled “Redeeming the Time” before I just simplified it as my blog.)

So. I’m going to take my own medicine and advice and choose a lane and drive it. One lane. I am going to remember my Why, and only choose those tasks and activities that will get me to my Why. I will no longer wonder if I should be doing X, I’ll know because I will refer to my Why.

If X aligns with my Why, then I will do it. If not, I will dismiss it.

I will remember these quotes:

“Activity does not equal Productivity” + “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” (Seth Godin) = Happy Liza

I will be like Gryffindor’s sword and only take in what will make me stronger.

Something positive to end my reflection on: I did have one main constant and focus this past decade, and that was to be successful in business and drive profitable sales growth through an engaged, loyal, and motivated sales team.

I may not have a book deal yet.

I may not have had the courage or conviction to start my own business 5-7 years ago.

But, I have those things now, and I have over ten years of experience creating profit for someone else to give me the confidence I need to know that I can do it for myself.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo

Liza

 

Training for life.

“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” Archilocus

I love how in the fitness community, those who live Fitness like a lifestyle call exercise or working out, Training.

I love thinking about fitness and work outs as: “I’m training for life.”

I’m using fitness as an example, but your training, your daily habits, your discipline (which I know is the least sexy word in the dictionary, right next to phlegm and mucous) in creating action in your life…is relevant for any part of your life that’s worth pursuing: financial freedom, business savvy, writing the Great American Novel, physical prowess, …

When Life Stuff eventually happens, all that unpredictable, unexpected Stuff that makes us stumble will make us want to fall back to your comfort zone. But how quickly you wallow, how quickly you recover, how quickly you can shake it off, how quickly you are even affected by the event at all, comes down to your training and what you have allowed yourself as a baseline.

You don’t need to start big to develop discipline. In fact I enjoy small wins. The discipline of making your bed is something tangible and productive, and starts your day out with a feeling of accomplishment. Small wins or what I call everyday efforts become more like synergistic actions. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. For Harry Potter nerds out there, I think training my nervous system like Gryffindor’s sword—it only takes in what makes it stronger.

Creating action toward a meaningful habit will amount to bigger changes in yourself than just the habit itself. In creating these small wins, you are giving yourself that new neural pathway toward the habit of winning.

Sidenote: When you have the discipline to take action around something you want in your life, something changes. You become more humble, coachable, teachable—you seek out mentors you admire, you seek out a group of people where you support each other toward a higher goal and purpose. You become focused on what truly matters to you and you will want to create more of that stuff in your life.

Someone once said that “Success is not about how much time you spend doing what you love; it’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.”

I hope you fill your day with what you love, creating so much action toward what you want in your life that it blots out those things you merely tolerate or hate.

Have a great day.

xoxo

Liza