Day 2 of my 31 Days of Focus entailed me torturing myself by requiring myself to write out a list of things I want to focus towards in my life. My.entire.life.
Why did I do that? Ugh!
I’ve been pondering this question for days now. It seems too overwhelming! I have to make the decisions for my entire life in just a few days?
No not really.
I actually started reading the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. This book is really amazing in that he really gets down to super practical things to do to be more efficient. To the point of giving you scripts that you can use until things start to come more naturally to you. One thing that he asks us to do is to write out what we want to have, be and do in 6 months and 12 months time frames. After that we are supposed to reverse engineer the money it would take to accomplish each goal. What a relief!! I realized that I need to actually set smaller short-term goals so that they are attainable and don’t incite so much anxiety that I could dope up a rhino on the cortisol.
I noticed that my main goals really revolved around paying off debt and writing more. We are currently living with a family member in order to recover from that night and get back on our feet. This weekend my husband and I sat down and decided that we are going to “do this thing”. We are going to live like no one else in order to live like no one else as Dave Ramsey would say. To tell you the truth I’m scared out of my mind! I’m not the lady who goes around trying to clip coupons, or find the best deals for everything to save money. I would rather just go buy what I need at a store than order it online at a discounted price. I’m nervous about the changes that I will have to make and the new relationship with money that I will have to establish. But in the end…I know that we have an opportunity to change our family’s future if we can be focused. There are also other things that I would like to accomplish in terms of my entrepreneurial goals. One thing that I picked up at The Influence Conference this year was to take the time out and make a business plan. I kind of fell into what what I was doing here at The Inspired Cafe as well as Sweatpants & High Heels. When I started I didn’t see it as a business venture. But 6 years later…I think this could become a viable business if I stay focused!
Here are some things I’m working on implementing in my day to create more focus (really remove distractions):
- Read scripture every morning and night as well as one devotional from my Jesus Calling Calendar
- I changed my work schedule so I could have 1-2 days free during the week.
- I’m currently working on cleaning out my email addresses. Afterwards I will delete one account so that I only have 1 personal account and one business account. I’ve also spent time unsubscribing to a ton of newsletters I no longer read.
- Next I would like to try and delete extra google, google plus and youtube accounts. I know that this is going to be a huge challenge because I DON’T UNDERSTAND google! This way I can streamline my online accounts. If I’m feeling sassy I might delete some extra facebook groups as well.
- I also have been trying to reduce my daily interruptions. This is a challenge but doable. I have to fight that guilt-ridden voice that pops up when I don’t answer the phone.
- I am also working to create sense of cohesion with my websites so that someone can find out everything about me at one place. This was suggested to me by my mother (she hasn’t steered me wrong, yet).
What are some ways that you could remove distractions and thus create more focus for your daily life?
A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to attend The Influence Conference hosted by The Influence Network. I had been waiting an entire year to attend. Last year I didn’t have the funds but I made sure to have enough this year!
The Influence conference was started by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connelly to bring like-minded creative women together to build a community of individuals who want to use their online work for Christ. I was so stoked because I really felt like I had found my place on the web!
There were so many things that I took away from the workshops and sessions that really helped me to get focused and identify what was holding me down especially this past year. I felt like I walked out 100 lbs lighter and 100 more times focused!
I was able to attend with my good friend Candace who you will hopefully be hearing more from in the near future as she prepares to launch her very own blog! (I’m super excited for this blog surrounding the topic of creativity, community and education!)
So here were my top take aways from the conference:
1. Who’s kingdom are you building?
- Jess Connelly gave a convicting talk after she shared how God said to her “I hate your kingdom”. At first I was like “What are you building, girlfriend?” and “Why would God say that to you?” After a few minutes of hearing her heart I started asking myself “What am I building?” At the end of the day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. At the end of the day souls are being battled for. At the end of the day whatever we build will crumble and what He builds will be eternal. So are we building His kingdom or our own?
2. Who’s approval are you seeking?
- Sammy Rhodes, a twitter comedian and pastor spoke about his journey of climbing the ranks of twitter, being invited to sit with celebrities, and having over a hundred thousand twitter followers… to being attacked by the comedy community and becoming the butt of many jokes. He shared how his need for approval took over his life and caused him to act in ways that was damaging to his relationships and his walk of faith. His transparency and honesty was so refreshing and convicting. At the end of the day who’s approval are you seeking? Man’s or God’s?
3. You can have a business that has meaning.
- I was so encouraged by the Sashes Market which held so many beautiful hand crafted items that when purchased will have a further reach than just taking home a pretty new bag. Some of the items benefitted women in Africa trying to help feed their families, or help a woman come out of the sex trafficking business or a local individual get back on their feet. I was encouraged to look at the business I was building and see how I can create a model that has meaning.
There was so many more but I wanted to share my top take aways. If you think that you might be interested in finding out more or attending the Influence Conference you can click here. They already have the dates set for next year so you can get to planning!
Here are a few tips for you if you are planning to attend!
1. Bring money for shopping! Trust me you will want to have extra funds when you see all of the pretty things you can purchase at the Sashes Market! It’s a great time to stock up on Christmas presents!
2. Bring business cards! This is a great time to network and meet other like-minded ladies! I didn’t have any cards with me but I made sure to get other people’s cards so I could follow up after the conference!
3. Dress cute but comfortably! You will be out all day at the conference so you’ll want to be comfortable. However you will be taking a lot of pictures so you want to look cute too!
4. Don’t feel like you have to connect with everyone! There were over 300 women at the conference so it’s impossible to connect with everyone. I just prayed and asked God to let me connect with whoever He wanted me to connect with. It took the pressure off and allowed me to relax and be myself. I ended up meeting very lovely people that I think will become good friends as time goes on!
There are more tips on the website so I won’t go on and on!
After the conference I really felt like I could let go and let God. Meaning I don’t have to spend so much time researching internet marketing tips or be constantly on social medias. I just felt like I could go back to enjoying blogging while I stop stressing about the other stuff. I’m not saying that we can totally forget the business side of things because that’s necessary but I am saying that it’s important not to lose focus on what is really important at the end of the day. At the end of the day for me it’s about sharing God’s love with the world, inspiring others to live passionate lives, and living with joy.
Here’s a video recap I made as well. I would love it if you would take a moment to subscribe to my channel!
Yesterday I jumped into The Nester’s challenge to blog for 31 days straight. I wanted to use this opportunity to create some focus in my life and start to remove things that aren’t working…shave off the fat if you will.
The first thing that I focused on yesterday was cleaning up one of my email accounts. I cleaned out over 4,500 emails and let me tell you how good it felt to look at that cleaned up mailbox! I know it sounds like a small thing but I would literally feel my heart beating faster every time I opened up that email account. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders to tell you the truth!
Today I’d like to work on creating a list of the most important things I want to focus on in my life.
How do you create more focus in your life? I think it takes some time to sit down and think about the type of life that you want. Write down your goals and main things that you desire in life. Do you want to create more financial stability? Lose weight? Take a trip? Do you see yourself living somewhere else or changing careers?
I spend a lot of time journaling and dreaming. I think about what types of things are most meaningful to me. What am I most passionate about? How do I want to help the community? What are my gifts and talents and how can I use them in a way that pleases God?
You probably know what kind of life you want to live. You’ve probably found yourself day dreaming about the things you are passionate about every now and then. Maybe you are currently living your dream life and you just want to take it to the next level or increase your reach with what you are currently doing.
- Make a list of the 5 most important projects you want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months. You might find that something you’ve been wanting to do didn’t make the top 5. That’s okay. It just might have to be done at a later time.
- Think about what you envision your day like. Do you have a lot of free time? Are you working at the same job? Are in a flexible position at work? Are you working for yourself?
- Write down your time priorities. Who are you giving your time to now? Where would you like to see your time spent?
- What is your biggest desire?
I did this a year and half ago and I was really surprised to see that I hadn’t listed having an online store in the top projects. I’ve been wanting to find a way to create pretty things and sell them online. Now a year and a half later I know that I want to create some online products but I’m not sure how to go about doing it or if it’s the best time. At least I’ll know where it fits and can possibly spend time researching and planning for that move for whenever the time is appropriate. It can seem scary to cut out what is not really being effective in your life but I believe that the end result will leave you feeling more accomplished, focused and productive.
I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed…
Overwhelmed with God’s goodness…
Overwhelmed wit His mercy…
Overwhelmed with ideas…
Overwhelmed with God’s love…
Overwhelmed with information…
Overwhelmed with desire to create…
There is so much that I want to do. So many ideas I have. The problem with today’s technology is that you can actually make those ideas happen! That is both a blessing and a curse for someone like me who is a doer. I hear INFJ’s work hard to make the visions in their minds come to life. But I’m beginning to realize that in order to accomplish the things that I want to do I really need to focus on tuning other things out.
Which sucks for someone who is an information, seeking community, I wanna support, be in the know, read everything junkie.
Recently I found out about 31 day challenge The Nester has going on. Basically it’s 31 days of blogging in October. I’ve been wanting to join since I found out about it a few days ago. It’s taken me a few days to get past the worry that it was too late to start or not having a cohesive theme to start with. But I figured it would get me back into the habit of daily writing.
I haven’t been writing consistently on my blog since this spring when our lives got flipped turned upside down (What’s up Fresh Prince reference!). On top of it I’ve started working and producing my web series Sweatpants & High Heels which has been INTENSE. I’m so excited about launching this project soon!
However, I’m finding out that with working, and family it’s really hard to find time to dedicate to the things I want to do.
So like a good blogger I’ve decided that one way I can write consistently and do what I need to do I can use blogging to keep track of my goals. Kind of a one two punch, you know! A girl’s gotta consolidate where she can, right? After attending the Influence Conference a few weeks ago I’ve been extremely focused on…well getting focused. I want to make sure that I’m maintaining focus on God and what He wants me to do rather than chasing approval or a way into a crowd. I want to take time to focus in and make sure that I’m spending the little time that I have on the things that are most important for my spiritual growth, my family, my marriage and my business.
I encourage you to check out the 31 day challenge over at The Nester and let me know if you have joined!
Do you ever feel like you are a box with a fire burning inside?
Sometimes you feel like you would be more comfortable at home in sweats, drinking tea, reading a good book. Other times you have so much passion and desire rise up within you that it comes out in bursts of creative expression or conversation causing people to think you are crazy a tornado of ideas and passion?
Would you describe yourself as an introspective, quiet, over thinking, seeker type? But then at the same time there are moments when your passion for a topic or an idea forces you to burn through that box and come out of your sweats, throw on your heels (or tie) and share what your doing? Afterwards do you promptly feel like hiding again so you can quietly contemplate every thing that was said and
worry obsess over what others thought of you at that moment when your fire was burning bright all over the dang on place?
If so, you are not alone.
This is me all the way, every day.
I noticed that these feelings were really affecting my life last year. I have been this way since my teenaged years but it continued to get worse in my 20′s and even my early 30′s. I had this strong desire to share my feelings, thoughts and message in a way that I had never felt before but I was struggling to accept myself. I was struggling to accept my unique mix of gifts, talents, dreams, goals and circumstances. I didn’t see anyone else out there like me doing what I wanted to do the way I wanted to do it.It was causing me to feel frustrated and confined. Two things I hate dearly.
That’s why I started by #befearless journey. As I’ve gone through this journey I’ve begun to see God’s hand EVERYWHERE! It was super hard at first but now I’ve come to the point of accepting the parts of myself that somehow had become hidden over the years.
As we grow up, layers from life’s experiences start to form over our authentic selves. As we get older we might desire to uncover our selves again so that we can live more purposeful and passionate lives. But it’s scary to let go of those old habits, beliefs and fears. However, when you begin to examine where your life is and where you want to go, you start to realize that you’ll never get there if you live under layers of fear, criticism, and caring what others think.
Basically you were being pushed around by the social survival mammoth.
I found out about the Social Survival mammoth on the blog Wait But Why written by Tim Urban. In his article called Taming the Mammoth he illustrates (literally) how we allow “the social survival mammoth” to dictate to us behaviors based on irrational thoughts about what people might think of us. These thoughts cause us to try on a billion different outfits before going out, or missing out on an opportunity to talk to someone new for fear of rejection. When reading the blog post you see how ridiculous it is to allow this mammoth to influence our behavior and choices but in reality we all do it.
So back to my fire. The fire that I let the mammoth step on and almost put out so many times. The fire that for some reason wouldn’t die and continued to torment me. The fire that was shut up in my bones so to speak. I realized that if I wanted to get anywhere with my dreams I had to find a way to over come my fears, to connect more with others, to develop closer friendships and a stronger faith.
Making that choice was the first step. I thought that it was about putting myself out there so that I could get more subscribers, followers, or facebook fans. I thought more attention would get me what I wanted. Maybe I could write a book, or travel, or work with brands if I just. had. more. Maybe I would feel better about my writing, or just feel like one of the cool kids…and finally learn how to fit in.
But I didn’t realize that it really was about uncovering who I am in Christ and being more free with my faith. I didn’t realize that by going on this journey I would find a deeper meaning to what I was trying to accomplish rather than having more people follow my youtube channel. I’ve begun to found more joy in writing again as well as doing youtube. Many times I’ve asked myself why I’m doing what I’m doing online. The answer isn’t very black and white. All I know it’s given me a chance to explore, connect, grow and share my faith. I’ve also realized something major…
I don’t need followers to write a book, or give a speech or work with a brand. I don’t need followers to feel good about what I’m writing or making a video about. What I need is to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, to seek Him first, and know that what I’m creating is what He wants me to create. When I do that I have more peace, and it doesn’t matter if I’m a cool kid or not. And frankly Jesus already said that if we followed Him we would most certainly NOT be a cool kid.
And that’s totally fine with me.
So how about you? Does the world of social media weigh on you sometimes? Do you get distracted by stats and numbers? Do you think you need those things to do what you want to do in life? Let me know how you over come the social survival mammoth.
Looking for a way to spice up your wardrobe? Try making a handcrafted DIY Peter Pan Collar Necklace. This Peter Pan Collar was super easy to make and took me under 20 minutes to make. The best thing is that little to no sewing is required!
- Felt (Joanne’s fabric)
- Studs (Joanne’s fabric)
- Tacky glue for fabric
- pattern (found in description box of video)
Please subscribe to my channel for more diy projects.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial and have a great weekend!
Many times when you start a business you are really excited about it. You have a ton of ideas, you have a mission and you have a strong belief for what you are selling or providing for your customers. After awhile the day to day tasks and challenges can start to take precedence over your passion and the bottom line becomes the top dog. In this post I’ll share: 3 Questions to Help You Find Clarity and Be Great.
I’ve been struggling to find the heart of my blog again. I absolutely love blogging, sharing what I learn and connecting with others. I want to continue to grow my platform and create a life that is beneficial to my family, my well-being and blesses others. I decided to enroll in Michael Hyatt’s Platform University in order to learn more tips on how to do a better job at the things I’m already doing online as well as get over my fear of creating products to sell.
In one of the Platform University forums someone asked a question about finding their niche. I thought that was a great question because I’ve been feeling like my focus has been getting unclear here at The Inspired Cafe. I don’t want to feel like I have to create a focus and then write towards that focus. I wanted to take the core of who I am, what I’m passionate about and create a focus around that. This way I can still feel excited and inspired to write and create.
In one of the forums someone suggested watching Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk called: Start With Why-How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
This was well worth the 20 minutes it took to watch this video. It really dialed in on a perspective that I think is present in all humans but just not well articulated. He simply broke down what separates the greats from the “meh”. Seems like common sense that the “why” in what you are doing or selling is the most important thing in being effective, doesn’t it? But sometimes we need to be reminded and given a clear strategy for not forgetting or why in the future, and identifying what makes the “why” disappear.
After processing for another 30 minutes I came up with a new mission statement for The Inspired Cafe that better incompasses what I’m trying to express here on this blog.
The questions I had to go back to is:
What do I believe?
- What are your core beliefs and worldviews?
Why is that important?
- How does this belief help others?
What do I do to help others?
- What is your business? What is your vehicle to deliver your belief/dream/message to others?
All of a sudden things started to fall into place and I felt more authentic in my goal for the blog and more inspired to create products that follow that belief system. So what I’m created feels genuine and from the heart. (That stuff is important to me.)
I also wanted to share a video from Marie Forleo where she shares an experience she had on a visit to Morocco with her husband when they went to purchase a rug. She knew that she didn’t need the rug but the owner of the rug shop reminded her that you aren’t buying a rug with your mind you are buying it with your heart. The rug was going to be a reminder of her trip as well as a way to have a piece of Moroccan art in their home.
Here are the videos that you can check out!
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It’s been almost 4 months since my world was turned upside down, since my daughter was shot (she survived), since we’ve had our own place to live, since…life was “normal”. I’m not going to lie. It’s rough sometimes. I have moments during the day where I struggle…really hard. I don’t like my thoughts and my thoughts really don’t like me. The “d” word hovers over my head for at least 83% of the day. I fight to keep an open heart, to keep communicating with my husband, to keep laughing with the children. I keep trying to pray and keep busy being creative and sometimes it helps.
Tuesday we started family counseling.
It felt like a band aid was ripped off of a wound. A wound that I thought was scabbed over and healing, but no. It’s still bleeding. I’ve been mad at myself because it still hurts to think about that night when bullets ripped through our home like a war zone injuring my oldest daughter. I should be over this by now, shouldn’t I? It feels like the whole world has gone crazy. Maybe it was already crazy and I finally woke up to it. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek. Of course the world is crazy…it’s just that it’s craziness wasn’t supposed to touch me and my family.
But it did.
I keep thinking about how I’m going to get through this period in my life. I believe things will get better, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there are moments when it’s hard. I accept that. I accept the wave of emotions that come, I ride it and let it wash up on shore until the next wave rides in. My out of body beach experience.
I keep debating on how much to share. How deep do I go? Will it be too much? Will I be setting myself up for someone to take advantage of me? Then I remember the gift that God has given me.
The gift of creativity. It’s my prozac. It literally lifts my spirits and helps me to keep going. It takes my mind off of dark thoughts and just let’s me breathe. Almost as if I had run 50 miles and collapse out of exhaustion, and happiness and accomplishment. That’s how I feel when I’m able to be creative. My mind can run free, and feel the wind it’s hair…well…you know what I mean. If my mind had hair it would be blown by the imagination wind.
And it would be epic.
It is epic.
I am reminded of the conversation I had with my brother the other night. He is a VP at an engineering company. He is also a gifted musician, rapper, and producer who teaches awesome bible studies at our church. He’s also a father of 4 kids. He’s kind of awesome. So much so I call him my little big brother because I look up to him (literally and spiritually). We talked about the gift of hobbies, and creativity and art and how they literally can help us make it through life’s challenges. Expressing ourselves while in the midst of our journey can help with healing as well as encourage others. While hiding those parts of ourselves can feed the negative thoughts that we tell ourselves throughout the struggle or trial we are facing. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to stay positive. But there are a few things I’m implementing to help me keep my head above water.
I am working on putting my health first:
- This is hard to admit but sometimes I won’t eat if I’m too busy. Sometimes I forget and sometimes I do it on purpose so I can keep working. I’ve done that with having to pee or get a drink of water. Now I try and stop, pee/eat/drink, and then continue on with what I was doing. I’m still not perfect at this but I’m getting better.
I make time to write in my journal/visit with friends/think/pray:
- This has always been important to me but I don’t think I really made it a priority even though I know that this is essential to my well being, creativity and overall happiness.
I’m giving myself some grace:
- This is by far the hardest thing for me to do. I’m working on not judging or criticizing myself for sleeping in, or not doing laundry, or not praying the most “holy” prayer. Essentially for being “human”. Right now things are messy and even get lost but I’m trying to let those things go and realize that my worth is not in how well I accomplish things but my worth is simply in who Christ made me to be.
Do you have any tactics that you use when you are feeling down?
This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a Lace Peter Pan Collar. I hope you like it!
Old Lace from a shirt I got from goodwill but you can buy lace at your local fabric store
needle and thread
Pearl embellishments from local craft store
Please subscribe and share if you like the video!