Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Ron in Kansas City

Ron in Kansas City

When did you start to #LiveALittle (make the changes)?  
Well, when I got my A1c done in January 2014 it had shot up to 9.9.  I should’ve wanted to fix that then and there, but instead I stayed on the “medication will fix this” path for 3 more months.  My doctor had put me on a new diabetes medication and thought it would do the trick.  Well 3 months later my A1c had only improved to 9.4.  At that point he told me that insulin injections were in my near future (3 months away) if I couldn’t get things under control quickly.  So right after that I decided to get busy with making changes.  The date I refer back to was April 28th.

What do consider your main accomplishments?  
Well so far I’ve lost 65 pounds, dropped my A1c to 5.9, biked over 400 miles, brought my waist size from 48 to 40, shirt size from 4X to 2X and just flat out feel great and continue to want to improve.
What does everyone around you notice as 'different'? Well, it seems like everyone first off notices the physical changes.  The slimming down has been pretty obvious.  When I look at older pictures I realize just how big I was but at the time I really did not seem to think I was so massive.

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with and allow into your inner circle?  Positive, can-do people.  Don’t like hanging around with excuse makers.  Sometimes I have to look in the mirror and remember that I was one of those people not so long ago.  
If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas on changing one's life, how would you go about it?  Well I feel like showing someone what has been accomplished often tells the better story.  The Before/After is very motivating to me.  I look at the success stories on MFP daily for my own motivation.  When asked I try to tell people to start with small goals and then build on successes.  For instance instead of changing your entire diet, just stop drinking pop for a week.  And then when you can do that, move on to another goal or two.  

How would you describe your personal #LiveALittle lifestyle change? 
I just focused on making little changes.  Logging on MFP was first, then after I had some data I analyzed and saw that adjusting carbs and/or calories would be a good goal.  Don’t try to change everything all at once.  It’s a classic setup for failure.  I also decided it was irresponsible of me to not use my abilities to their fullest when others did so much with limited abilities.  An example – my Dad has Lupus and has lived with it for over 30 years.  He has crippled up hands and can’t walk very well at all.  Does he let that stop him?  Nope – he is a Master Model Railroader and creates amazing things with his crippled hands.  He got himself a trike and takes long bike rides to try to keep his health that he does have.  
If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?  Toss out negativity.  It gets people no wear and wastes a lot of time.  You need an environment full of “anything is possible” to prove that Anything really is possible!

How do you show that you believe in yourself?  
I keep working on myself.  I track things that help me stay on track.  I remind myself that the Ron a year ago couldn’t do that 50 mile bike ride or that 5K in under 40 minutes.  I look at my closet which has been reworked to get rid of my fat clothes.  I look at old pictures to remember where I came from.
Who, Whom, and/or What has influenced you the most?  Well there are several people who had a part in my motivation.  I suppose my Dad as I described above.  Also Ellen and Alicia really showed me what is possible when you really commit to something.  I had not seen Ellen in a while and when I saw how great she looked it really was amazing.  I’ve always looked up to her in the business circles we are in, but this showed me she is serious about bettering herself in all ways and she has accomplished so much!

What do you do to challenge yourself when you're not motivated?  
Tough question – sometimes I can self-motivate (by looking through MFP success stories or tapping in to the MFP community).  Sometimes I get motivated when my wife notices that I am slipping back in to my old ways.  It’s tough to do.  Still working on this!

When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay?  
Not really sure there is a reason to break any of the rules!

What does 'working on’ yourself mean to you?  
We are all works in progress.  Working on myself means that I am still trying to find the me that is the healthiest and happiest I can be.  Even when I achieve fitness (on whatever level that is) I will need to maintain it.  

What does empowerment mean to you?  
Helping others to see the power that they have in themselves.  I see so many people like me.  People that have not yet realized what they are capable of.  Trying to help them find that motivation is what I like to do.  

How and where do you find inspiration?  
I read all the stories I can find.  MFP and the #LiveALittle FB page give me a lot to work with.  
How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?  That is a tough one.  I am fighting this one right now.  I was laid off Friday from a company that I really loved.  I am feeling overwhelmed about the future and decided to eat my feelings this morning via a very large donut for breakfast and am fighting off a lot of fear at the moment.  Let me keep working on this one to see what I can do here.  

What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?  
You gotta remember where you came from to truly appreciate where you are and where you are going.  As much as I say “live in the NOW!” I know that I need to remember what old Ron was like and why I made changes to him.

How do you bring courage and conviction to risky situations?  
You gotta make the best decision you can with the data you have and then move forward.  You won’t always be right, but you have a better shot at achieving greatness than if you play it safe and do the same old thing day in and day out.  

What values are you committed to?  
Love, loyalty, continuing to better myself and those around me.  Laughing at myself and moving on when needed. 

What do you do to live a balanced life?  
I try to make time for myself.  I didn’t in the past.  I now know that 30-45 minutes of exercise daily really isn’t optional most days.  It really keeps me driving towards my other goals.  As I face time off from work during this layoff I have already told myself that I will spend some time every day working on myself.  

What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?  
Again – go to MFP and read the Success Stories.  So many other people have made this journey before me and their experience has offered me so much inspiration and encouragement.

Monday, December 1, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Robert in Topeka, KS

Robert in Topeka, KS

When did you start to #LiveALittle?My journey started on January 15, 2014. I hit the "restart button" as my New Years Resolution. I had begun to eat right and exercise.
Dieting and exercise is not new to me. I have rode that diet roller-coaster many times. I always started out great but I would lose motivation and drive shortly after I started. 6 months ago I came across the #Livealittle project. With this group I found my niche. I learned how to set goals, maintain motivation, and changed my perspective. I have made many new friends that are very positive and supportive.  

What do consider your main accomplishments?
My main accomplishment isn't the weight I have lost or the 5K's and Half marathon I have finished. My main accomplishment is the change in my way of thinking. I learned that I have to #Livealittle for "me" first. I can't change anyone and they can't change me. I have to love myself enough to change. I learned that I am worth something. I am not a fat, ugly and worthless person. I have something to offer. Each and every day I am surprised by the people that tell me I am helping inspire them #Livealittle. People that I had no idea were even paying attention tell me how they have been following my journey.

What does everyone around you notice as 'different'?
The one thing I hear the most is that people have noticed my unrelenting drive and determination. My never quit attitude. Every time I get knocked down I get up again. 

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with and allow into your inner circle?
I look for people with positive attitudes. People that genuinely care about others and want to help. People willing to love others and not care what others think. People willing to take time and invest in others to help build them up. You never really know how much of a difference you are making in others lives. 

How would you describe your personal #LiveALittle lifestyle change?
My personal lifestyle change has been to not be afraid. To take the chances and see what happens. To not settle for the status quo.

If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?
I would surround myself with positive self motivated people. A core group that is there to keep each other accountable. People that are going to encourage and motivate you. People who help pick you up when you are down and celebrate you success with you! With a great core of support you can move mountains.

How do you show that you believe in yourself?
I show show that I believe in myself by not settling. My goal this year was to do one 5K. It was outside of my comfort zone but I overcame my fear and did my best. I learned an important lesson that day. I learned that the only thing holding me back was myself. I keep looking for new challenges and strive to better my 5K times. I am never satisfied. I want more. Since my first 5K I have ran six more and I have constantly improved my time and have cut 20 minutes off my time. I have also completed my first half marathon. That is something I would have never dreamed of at the first of the year. Now I am already setting goals to prepare for a full marathon.

Who, Whom, and/or What has influenced you the most?
I have several people that have influenced me but my parents, Joey Little and the #Livealittle project have made the biggest impact. My late dad always told me, "Unless your reach exceeds your grasp, how do you know what you can attain and don't!" My mom has always been my rock. That unwavering love and support for me to never give up. Joey has shown me to change my perspective and never settle. To take chances and look beyond my comfort zone. To love and support others in their journey's. The #Livealittle project has introduced me to several wonderful people that are committed to the #Livealittle philosophy and to help others #livealittle. I love seeing everyone's posted whether it is about a success or failure, a need or encouragement.  

What do you do to challenge yourself when you're not motivated?
I work hard at being consistent. I have formed new habits by sticking with my routine everyday. it has become second nature to me and now I feel lost if I don't exercise.  

When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay?
For me, breaking the rules is not okay but you shouldn't beat yourself up if you do. There is no shame in hitting the restart button.

What does 'working on’ yourself mean to you?
This means always striving to do better and be better. To not settle in all aspects of your life. Not just health but in your relationships, career and anywhere else you can think of to #Livealittle.

How and where do you find inspiration?
I keep positive people around me. I have a 12 year old daughter and I want to be healthy for her and to be a good example for her.

Whats the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?
Setting goals. I set short term goals and long term goals. I write them down and post them in several places as a reminder. I have done the same with the #Livealittle rules.

What values are you committed to?
I am committed to being positive and honest. To love myself and others. To show others the love I have and hopefully inspire them to love others.

What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?
My dreams and goals are constantly changing. My initial goal was to do everything possible to be a good example for my daughter, in health and in life. As my health gets better my dreams get bigger. I have a dream of completing the Boston Marathon, the NY Marathon and an Ironman.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Here are the 7 qualities of chronically unhappy people. | The #LiveALittle Project

Here are the 7 qualities of chronically unhappy people.

1. Your default belief is that life is hard.

Happy people know life can be hard and tend to bounce through hard times with an attitude of curiosity versus victimhood. They take responsibility for how they got themselves into a mess, and focus on getting themselves out of it as soon as possible.

Perseverance towards problems versus complaining over circumstances is a symptom of a happy person. Unhappy people see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in the “look what happened to me” attitude versus finding a way through and out the other side.

2. You believe most people can’t be trusted.

I won’t argue that healthy discernment is important, but most happy people are trusting of their fellow man. They believe in the good in people, versus assuming everyone is out to get them. Generally open and friendly towards people they meet, happy people foster a sense of community around themselves and meet new people with an open heart.

Unhappy people are distrustful of most people they meet and assume that strangers can’t be trusted. Unfortunately this behavior slowly starts to close the door on any connection outside of an inner-circle and thwarts all chances of meeting new friends.

3. You concentrate on what’s wrong in this world versus what’s right.

There’s plenty wrong with this world, no arguments here, yet unhappy people turn a blind eye to what’s actually right in this world and instead focus on what’s wrong. You can spot them a mile away, they’ll be the ones complaining and responding to any positive attributes of our world with “yeah but.”

Happy people are aware of global issues, but balance their concern with also seeing what’s right. I like to call this keeping both eyes open. Unhappy people tend to close one eye towards anything good in this world in fear they might be distracted from what’s wrong. Happy people keep it in perspective. They know our world has problems and they also keep an eye on what’s right.

4. You compare yourself to others and harbor jealousy.

Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own. They believe there’s not enough goodness to go around and constantly compare yours against theirs. This leads to jealousy and resentment.

Happy people know that your good luck and circumstance are merely signs of what they too can aspire to achieve. Happy people believe they carry a unique blueprint that can’t be duplicated or stolen from – by anyone on the planet. They believe in unlimited possibilities and don’t get bogged down by thinking one person’s good fortune limits their possible outcome in life.

5. You strive to control your life.

There’s a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there’s very little control over what life throws their way.

Unhappy people tend to micromanage in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.

The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for letting sh*t happen without falling apart when the best laid plans go awry because they will. Going with the flow is what happy people have as plan B.

6 You consider your future with worry and fear.

There’s only so much rent space between your ears. Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what could go wrong versus what might go right. Happy people take on a healthy dose of delusion and allow themselves to daydream about what they’d like to have life unfold for them.

Unhappy people fill that head space with constant worry and fear. Happy people experience fear and worry, but make an important distinction between feeling it and living it.

When fear or worry crosses a happy person’s mind, they’ll ask themselves if there’s an action that can be taken to prevent their fear or worry from happening (there’s responsibility again) and they take it. If not, they realize they’re spinning in fear and they lay it down.

7. You fill your conversations with gossip and complaints.

Unhappy people like to live in the past. What’s happened to them and life’s hardships are their conversation of choice. When they run out of things to say, they’ll turn to other people’s lives and gossip.

Source: http://www.positivelypositive.com/2014/11/23/7-habits-highly-unhappy-people-practice/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

15 Things to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year | #LiveALittle

15 Things to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year: 
1. What have been the most exciting wins of your life so far in 2014?
2. What have been the most disappointing moments in your life in 2014?
3. What are you most grateful for so far in 2014?
4. Do you feel you’ve taken a step forward in maximizing your potential thus far in 2014? If so, how?
5. If not, what has prevented you from maximizing your potential and performance in life this year?
6. Is this something that is in your control?
7. What is one powerful change you can make right now that would impact your life almost immediately?
8. Can you make this change now and try operating differently for the rest of 2014, to help you continue the progress into 2015?
9. Is there someone you can call/text/message to help you be accountable for this change?
10. How would making this change set you up differently for 2015?
11. What has been a theme for you in 2014?
12. What would you like your theme to be in 2015? Come up with one or two words at the most.
13. What is the predominant feeling you would like to be having in life for the rest of the year?
14. With that in mind, what is the predominant feeling you would like to have in life in 2015?
15. What are three actions you can take to ensure that you feel that way at work for the next month or so?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Christy in Oklahoma

Christy from Yukon, OK

I grew up as a heavy person. I was shopping at Lane Bryant in junior high school - before they had fashionable clothes, by the way. Dressing like an old lady in high school was not very cool! My parents were amazing, supportive, generous people who never belittled me or made me feel bad for being overweight, so it just wasn't a priority to change. I was a brainy kid, so sports didn't interest me - and my sedentary lifestyle led to being well over 200 pounds before I ever graduated high school. A stressful job and 2 kids later - I hit my heaviest at 280.

About 2 years ago, I started trying to eat better because I realized how much my kids were eating like me. After about a year of just being a bit more careful, and a tiny bit more active, I had dropped about 30 pounds. No one noticed - which I found discouraging. I had no real plan, and exercise was still an afterthought.

Then I decided to start taking Tae Kwon Do classes with my daughter. What I expected was shame and a complete inability to do any of it. But I wanted to show my girl that doing hard things was good for you. And it was hard, really hard for me. I couldn't get my overweight body to do the things the instructor was teaching me to do. But there was no shame, only encouragement. So I decided to try running to see if I could get the weight off faster so I could keep up.

And that's when the magic happened. I signed up for a 5k in April of this year to motivate me. I knew if I had paid good money to do something I was going to do it! Even if I finished last! 

It took four months of prep for that first 5k before I started liking it. But all along the way, I posted my progress to my friends on Facebook. The little words of encouragement kept me going. The accountability of knowing that my friends might noticed if I stopped posting my workouts made me keep trying. 

Once I did one 5k, I got so much positive feedback I signed up for another one that day. I've run 8 of them since. I'm still not very fast, but I'm now hopelessly addicted to running, races, and t-shirts.

The weight started to come off more easily as my food habits fell in line with my new more active self.  I started to look at myself differently. I am now the kind of person who runs 15-20 miles a week. So dropping sweets was now a much smaller hurdle. Now, I'm celebrating having lost 100 pounds with a half marathon at the end of the month!

Just like everyone I know, I've tried losing weight a million times before. Motivation is probably the key factor that made this time work.

Being outside is a major motivator for me. The fresh air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, new parks and places - these are things I look forward to all day and miss when I don't get my dose. When it's just too cold or hot, I'll hit the gym, but I'll be dreaming about the outdoors.

I'm an extrovert - I love people and get my energy from being around others. Even though most of my runs are solitary, I've found that being a runner gives me a whole new way to relate to people. I get to talk about the next race with my friends and coworkers, meet new people at races, and share with #livealittle members about common experiences. I'll talk about running with anyone who shows half an interest.

I've also learned to embrace confidence. Now I celebrate my achievements unabashedly. Am I bragging when I post a selfie of myself at yet another run? Heck yes! I'm proud of every step. When someone tells me I'm looking great, I've learned to say "Thanks, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it." 

I still have some weight to lose and goals (like a marathon, then maybe a tri!) to achieve. But being active is now who I am, not just something I do. It sinks in to every part of my life. I keep trying to surround myself with people who support this lifestyle, and those who want to join it. Having someone who wants to follow in your footsteps is a great way to keep going!

I have to give a big shoutout to Robert McCanliss - whom I knew from high school (ages ago!) Seeing his posts about his running and weight loss achievements really motivated me, and he was the one who invited me to the #LiveALittle group. I've found the group and his personal journey to be a daily help and motivator!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Katie in Baltimore

Name: Katie 
Location:  Baltimore

  • When did you start to #LiveALittle (make the changes)? 

About six months after my son was born. I had gained 100 pounds when I was pregnant and needed to loose the weight. I was so upset over the weight and how drastically my life had changed, I knew I needed to change my whole life around. 

  • What do consider your main accomplishments?

My return to college was huge for me. Getting a college degree was my dream. One day- I just applied. I was so scared... And I was accepted. And they offered me a HUGE scholarship. It was a dream come true. Balancing that and two jobs and my son is a struggle, but I am honestly living my dream. 

  • What does everyone around you notice as 'different'? 

I trust that my intelligence is valuable. I am a smart woman, but I have never been confident enough to show that. I never felt like I could be the "smart girl" and still be "valuable". Now I know that's not true. I speak my mind. I now hold my head up. It's been liberating. 

  • If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?

Encourage intelligence. Encourage artistic freedom. Encourage love and understanding. I would give people the ability to feel like they can be 100% true to themselves no matter what. 

  • How do you show that you believe in yourself? 

By working my ass off every single day. Nothing speaks louder than your own work. 

  • How and where do you find inspiration? 

My husband and my son. Both are incredible and strong. They pick up where I just can't. They are infinitely understanding and patient. They remain my biggest cheerleaders and make me laugh when I am beyond exhausted. 

  • How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making? 

I focus on what is real and what I conjure up in my head. My husband is my "check and balance" system. I spout things to him and he acts as a trampoline- bouncing the good to me and the negative away. 

  • What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?

With weight- it's all about how hard the journey was. Once I reached a certain point, I donated every stitch of big clothing I had. No "fat pants" are even in my house. No excuses. No options. 
With education it's all about making a better life for my family. A better life for me. I don't have an exit plan. If you give yourself the option to fail- you will. 

  • What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed? 

I want my son to see my receive my degree. I want people to finally recognize me as something more than a pretty face. I want to prove to myself that my brain is valuable. That I am valuable. I may get a law degree. I may get a PhD. Not sure. But when I do know- I'm ready. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle Series? Featured Member: Arch

Your name?   Arch
Location?  Topeka, KS
When did you start to #LiveALittle (make the changes)?  Aug 2013

What do consider your main accomplishments?  The weight loss is clearly the most visible, but lowering my blood pressure, getting taken off diabetes medication, and learning to stop abusing myself with words and actions are the greatest accomplishments. 

What does everyone around you notice as 'different'? They obviously notice the outward physical change, but my overall demeanor has improved as well, and those who know me best see it very clearly. 

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with and allow into your inner circle?
I’m still very guarded about my “inner circle”, and it’s very sparsely populated. I don’t hang labels on people, and don’t have a checklist of what qualities people should have. Everyone I interact with will either become a part of my “inner circle” or they won’t. There’s no real criteria for me.

If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas on changing one's life, how would you go about it? I don’t think there’s much need for innovation. The methods are tried and true, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. As cliché as it sounds, things like, “If you want to see a change, BE the change” and “You need to love yourself first” are the real truths. That’s why they become cliché… because they are accurate. Step 1 is to incorporate positive self-talk and absolutely ELIMINATE negative self-talk. It’s powerful. Stuart Smalley was onto something. #SNL

How would you describe your personal #LiveALittle lifestyle change? One thing that has helped me was to make an agreement with myself that I will not break promises I make to myself. So if I say I’m going to walk a mile today, then no matter what gets in the way, I walk that mile. Even if it comes at the end of a long day and I’m tired. I refuse to let myself down. Maybe it has to do with my meal choices for a particular day. I approach every day with an attitude of setting out to “Win The Day”. Over time, I’ve gone from loathing physical exertion to craving it. Walking used to be a miserable necessity, now it’s a valued activity that I enjoy. 

If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do? I’d say it depends. If you mean one’s own personal environment, then my answer is to do the following things. 1)Be cognizant of that little voice in your head that spews negativity and SQUELCH it. When that voice chastises you or belittles you or tells you that you can’t reach your goals, audibly take control and say, “That’s not true” and follow it with a positive statement about yourself. It’s important to say it out loud. And it’s been proven that using your name in third person is far more effective. 2) Remove things from your vicinity that perpetuate the problems you’re battling. If you don’t have alcohol, soda/pop, or Twinkies, or Skittles, or Hot Pockets around the house, you won’t be able to succumb to moments of weakness. People sometimes slip, hammer some Girl Scout cookies, and then the cycle begins of beating themselves up over it, and the negative self-talk can follow. Remove those things, and you are one step closer to having a personal environment where motivation can thrive.  

How do you show that you believe in yourself? I show it through my actions. I show it by keeping the promises I make to myself. I make good choices. I get my exercise. Literally, I walk the walk. 

Who, Whom, and/or What has influenced you the most? I’ve drawn influence from many people. Some I’ve known personally, others only through their stories I’ve encountered via various forms of media. For me, being introduced to Plexus Slim was what triggered my rise from the abyss. The product gave me hope, and I’ve taken the proverbial ball and run with it. And it was the friend who introduced me to Plexus, Christina Crosby in my old hometown of Butte, Montana who taught me the power of eliminating the negative self-talk. I used to abuse myself verbally in a hateful way that would make most people cringe. I’ve gotten much better at that discipline, though it’s a constant battle. 

What do you do to challenge yourself when you're not motivated?  In those situations, I break things down into manageable components. I think about why I’m not motivated. A lot of times, it’s because the goal seems so far away, and what difference will one day make? Then I realize that I don’t need to lose 10 lbs. today. I just need to do SOMETHING today. I’ve learned that I never regret exercising, but I always regret when I don’t. So I just treat it on those days like a job. A necessary task. Then I (with apologies to Nike) JUST DO IT. 

When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay? Really, it’s never OK. But it’s gonna happen. And when it does, it’s imperative to acknowledge, and reset immediately. It’s forgivable, certainly, but not really ever “OK”. 

What does 'working on’ yourself mean to you? There are three areas that require attention and maintenance: physical, emotional, and spiritual. The physical part is obvious. Diet and exercise. Simple. The emotional part is deeper. It’s not just about being happy or sad, or fulfilled, though those things play a part. It’s also about loving yourself, respecting yourself. It’s about being able to hold your head high because you know you are being the best “you” you can be. It’s about a lot of things I talked about in some of the earlier questions, like creating an environment for yourself that encourages motivation, and keeping promises you’ve made to yourself. Spiritual can mean your relationship with God, or whatever greater power you believe in, or nature, or simply finding inner peace. I think, to find true balance, a person needs to be aware of and nurture all of these areas. 

What does empowerment mean to you? To me, I see it as coming to grips with the belief that we each do control our own destiny. For years, I rolled wherever the current led, feeling unwilling and unable to chart my own course. I no longer feel that way. I’m the captain of my ship and I’ll sail where I damn well please. That’s empowerment. 

How and where do you find inspiration? I used to think I would find my inspiration in a romantic partner. That when I found love again, that I would then have the strength and inspiration I needed to take control of my life. It turns out, the only REAL inspiration comes from within. My inspiration comes from my own core. And it’s powerful. I never realized it was there, until I learned how to tap into it. Now that I have, I’m unstoppable. 

How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I know how to do that yet. I’m an emotional, passionate guy who feels things deeply. Love, pain, joy, sadness. Whatever it is, I feel it strongly. I’ve not really even tried to disassociate my feelings from my decisions.

What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?  Document things. Write down as much as you can, with dates. Goals, milestones, struggles, everything. Our minds play tricks on us, and our recollections get fuzzy. Hard data won’t lie. 

How do you bring courage and conviction to risky situations? I think the answer is in the question. If you have conviction, the courage comes a lot more easily. I’ve been wrong before, and it’s OK to keep an open mind to that possibility. It’s not imperative that we be “right” all the time, regardless of our conviction. But believing in and trusting in yourself will help you find the courage to stand behind your conviction.  

What values are you committed to? Family. Trust. Those are the most important things to me. 

What do you do to live a balanced life?  I’m blessed to be able to do what I love. I work for a hockey team which is the dream job for me, I get to perform music, and I’m active by playing adult league hockey. I have a great balance of work, play, and down time.

What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?  I’ve always been an athlete. Even at 451 lbs I still managed to lace up my skates and get on the ice for adult league hockey. My hands and hockey smarts allowed me to remain competitive, and I could skate like the wind once I got moving, but like a locomotive, getting started wasn’t as smooth as I’d like. Being able to compete at a level that I felt good about is something that has helped inspire me along the way. Also, the possibility of advancing in my broadcasting career. Back to the negative self-talk, I would say, “No pro team is gonna want to hire a fat f*** like me who no one wants to sit next to on the plane.” I’ve buried that phrasing from my vocabulary. Life is full of opportunity, and I no longer fear or feel unworthy of any of it. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle Series? Featured Member: Lauralee in Kansas

Name: Lauralee 
Location: Kansas

  • When did you start to #LiveALittle? 

Lauralee's "before" #LiveALittle Picture 2 years ago
When I was 28 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It freaked me out! I was massively overweight and then I started showing symptoms of that at a very young age. I decided then and there I couldn’t hide inside myself or in food anymore. That was 2 years ago.
  • What do you consider your main accomplishments?

Well, this one is hard because through this journey I have accomplished so much. The biggest one for me would be building a bigger and better relationship with God. To be honest, I got to where I am because of him. He was on every run, workout and struggle with me. Don’t get me wrong, I give myself the credit where it is due but I prayed a lot to get through workouts and over cravings. I also believe the amount of weight I lost on my own was a huge accomplishment. 120 lbs gone! It’s crazy to think I was carrying an entire extra person. But my FAVORITE accomplishment is the ability to run. I LOVE RUNNING. I could never do it before! Now I am running 5-7 miles some days. That is rad-tastic!!

Lauralee current picture "LivingALittle
  • What does ‘working on yourself’ mean to you?

This is one of my favorite questions to answer. Obviously being massively overweight, I had a problem with food. That problem didn’t stem out of no where, it was a way to cope. I smoked for years and then I quit. I drank at least 3-4 times a week and now I have a drink or two once or twice a year. I could conquer issues in my life but the one with food I just could not overcome. When I started ‘working on myself’, it started with the intention of being “skinny”. I had no idea the path I was about to take myself down. I spent a lot of time in my own mind facing the things I hated about myself. The things I wanted to change had so much more to do than with weight. I am sensitive inside and hard outside. I wanted to please everyone. I hated my body. I thought I was stupid. The list could go on and on and on. The thing is, when you spend a lot of time with yourself, you have to face your faults head on and then the hardest part comes: changing them or accepting them. Working on yourself has a ton of different sub-categories and they all kind of collide together. The moral of my drawn out explanation: Working on yourself to me means that loving yourself is ok. Disliking things about yourself is ok. Accepting yourself is a process that takes a while and that is also ok. I read a quote once that said “You’re not made for everyone to like you” and once I accepted that was ok, the self love came a lot easier because if you can’t love yourself, who will?

  • How and where do you find inspiration?

As self-absorbed as it sounds, a lot of time I find it in myself in an assortment of ways. I get that awesome “high” competing with myself. Can I run faster? Can I lift more? Can I push my limits? I love it! I am constantly trying to be better than I was the day before, but if I fail in my own eyes, I TRY NOT TO get too down. I also find it in music, the bible and in others. Lots of #LiveALittle members cross my mind daily and inspire me to push myself! It’s not a competition with them but a reminder ALL people can reach their goals! It’s amazing how people I have never met have impacted my life so much!

  • When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay?

I want to honestly believe never. We should always be focused on becoming better people. Life gets in the way of living sometimes if that makes any sense but I think once you adopted the lifestyle it should become a habit. Shit happens. I am just going to be straight up honest. I don’t have it all together and if anything at times I have more problems then I can deal with. Luckily, I also have a strong faith and I refuse to give up on myself. We are precious beings. Whatever your personal beliefs are don’t really matter. There is only one if you in this world and that means you must be pretty special and taking care of yourself (not just physically but also mentally) is completely acceptable! Besides, #LivingALittle is fun and life should be a good time, it’s too short as it is!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Never Stop Growing; Advice from the World's Most Successful People | #LiveALittle

I start a brand new adventure in my professional life tomorrow with a group of colleagues I trust and have worked great with before. To #LiveALittle is to constantly grow. I believe that is in all aspects of life; romantically, spiritually, professionally, etc.  When you a stop growing then the deadness sets in & life is over. One maybe still breathing and walking around but they are nothing but an empty shell of who they once were.  Most of the people I talk to are confused about how to grow professionally. I've heard more stories about "golden handcuffs" (at a job you hate but you make too much money to leave because you're afraid to start over or even give it a shot to find something comparable) now then I have ever. 
I read an awesome article tonight from Entrepreneur titled "16 Traits of the World's Highly Successful People". There is absolutely life changing advice from Napoleon Hill. Have a read for yourself:

After spending 12 years analyzing "more than 12,000 men and women," both successful entrepreneurs and ordinary people, Hill determined 16 elements of exceptional leaders that anyone can practice:
1. They have a definite aim in life.
Hill likens having just a vague aim to succeed to being a ship without a rudder. "Bear in mind that both your definite aim and your plan for attaining it may be modified form time to time... The important thing for you to do now is to learn the significance of working always with a definite aim in view, and always with a definite plan," Hill writes.
2. They are self-confident.
To be capable of setting ambitious goals, you need to believe you can follow the plans to achieve them. And when you believe in yourself, others tend to believe in you as well.
3. They show initiative.
The only way to rise up the corporate hierarchy or to develop your own business is to to look for other things to accomplish once you've fulfilled your regular duties.
4. They are imaginative.
A lack of the driving force of initiative and the creative power of imagination is "the main reason why 95% of the adult people of the world have no definite aim in life, which, in turn, is also the reason why this same 95% constitute the followers in life," Hill says.
5. They are active.
You may have earned multiple degrees from elite universities and have read history's most important books, but none of it means anything if you don't turn knowledge into action.
6. They are enthusiastic.
Do what you love, Hill says, or else you will lack the energy to become truly successful.
7. They practice self-control.
Hill says that he did not start to become successful until he learned that he was working against himself whenever he gave into anger or arrogance. "No person ever became a great leader of others until he first learned to lead himself, through self-control," he writes.
8. They go beyond what's required of them.
The most successful people outperform their competition, and when they make it to the top, they compete with themselves.
9. They are incredibly likable.
When you are charismatic and foster relationships with others, you build a network of people who are willing to help you without your asking.
10. They know how to separate truth from bias.
Because their actions have ramifications for other people, leaders understand that they cannot take what they hear or read at face value, and learn how to pluck truth from others' worldviews.
11. They are focused.
Successful people are able to concentrate their energy and skills toward specific goals without becoming distracted by irrelevant issues.
12. They are persistent.
Those who are able to achieve success are not stopped by the inevitable nonstop challenges and setbacks that are in their path to attaining their goals.
13. They are resilient.
"When you begin to realize that failure is a necessary part of one's education, you will no longer look upon it with fear, and lo! the first thing you know, there will be no more failures!" Hill writes. "No person ever arose from the knockout blow of defeat without being a stronger and wiser human being in one respect or another."
14. They are sympathetic.
In "Think and Grow Rich," Hill writes that it's not a coincidence that history is filled with tyrants and dictators being overthrown. The most successful leaders work in harmony with their team, not in dominion over them.
15. They work hard.
Hill says that this sounds simple enough, but it's important to remember that even if you achieve your greatest goal, you need to continue pushing yourself or risk losing everything you worked for.
16. They are empathetic.
Hill's favorite philosophical maxim is The Golden Rule, which states, "Treat others the way you would like to be treated." He uses it as the final rung of the ladder to true success. Hill writes:
The Golden Rule acts as a barrier to all of man's tendencies toward the destructive use of power that comes from developing the other qualities outlined in this ladder. It is the thing that antidotes the harm man could do without knowledge and power; the thing that guides man to the intelligent, constructive use of those qualities he develops from the use of the rungs of this ladder.

Source:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236554?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+entrepreneur%2Flatest+%28Entrepreneur%29

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Men: We are Not Superman. We will Never Be Superman. We are Mortal. | #LiveALittle

**Disclaimer: Some of what I'm about to tell you is hearsay but I tend to believe all source where my information came from.** I heard of the death of a man I have known about for approximately 20 years. He was 49 when he died last week. His funeral is tomorrow. His name was Joe. He was a nice man. We had worked in the same bar & restaurant industry back in Topeka. We didn't know each other well but in passing we would say hello and call each other by name. When I learned of his passing I was curious of what killed him so I reached out to some mutual friends and the information I received blew my mind. Apparently Joe died due to complications of cancer. What blows my mind is that he just learned of his stage 4 lung cancer 3 to 4 weeks before he died. He apparently went into the hospital with stomach pain and got diagnosed with lung cancer that metastasized through his liver and pancreas. He didn't even have the chance to fight the cancer. He was too late. One thing about Joe is, he didn't go to doctors. He felt as though they were "over-rated".
Middle aged men don't go to the doctor because we are afraid that we are going to told we are not Superman. That we are mortal. That we can get sick. But this is silly. We can fight. We can get treatment. We can beat or control cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Go to the doctor. Ellen made me go. She nagged, and nagged, and nagged, and nagged until I went. When I finally went I was told bad news and I was told I was not Superman but I'm doing everything I can to live better and healthier. I encourage you to nag that man in your life. Don't stop nagging. Get him to go. Tell him to "Man the fuck up" and go to the doctor.
Tell him about Joe. Tell him how Joe's family wishes they could nag him but they can't.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fear of Death is Fear of Regrets

My biggest fear is death. Apparently a lot of others are just like me. Public speaking is the #1 fear of Americans with death being a close #2. That means more people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy. But death really isn't my biggest fear, its actually the 5 minutes before you die, assuming I'm going to die of old age in a nursing home somewhere. That 5 minutes before I die will be my time to face all my regrets. That's what scares me. Those regrets. At that time before my death I won;t care what people think about me, what people are saying about me behind my back, I won't be worrying about small dumb shit that doesn't matter, but I will be thinking about about all the times I did. How I let others effect me negatively. How I missed out on amazing crazy opportunities because I was worried I would look silly in the eyes of others. How I stayed at a job I hated because I was worried about truly finding something I loved and took a chance and went for it. My worry is that I will spend my entire life worrying but the last 5 minutes sad because I worried. That last 5 minutes scares me to death, literally.  I want my last 5 minutes to be thinking about the amazing things I did, the loving people in my life, and having no regrets.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Am I So Afraid of the Doctor? | #LiveALittle Journey

I avoided doctors like bad warm beer. Never went. Didn't want to hear bad news. If I had something bad I would first try the Minute Clinics but other than that things would just heal themselves right? Apparently I was just like the majority of middle aged men, "I'm not going to the doctor. I'm fine." Its true that the majority of middle aged men who don't go to the doctor haven't gone for the same reasons I didn't, scared of results. I'm not here to offend any non doctor going men by lumping you all into my excuse pool but I'm sure what I am about to say will hit home close to a lot of you.
You're absolutely scared. You don't want to hear the bad news. Shit, you don't want to hear anything close to bad news. Out of sight out of mind. Thinking, "If I don't know about any aliments then they don't actually exist." I can't believe I thought this exact same way. It was like I was some kind of Superman who never would get sick.  This way of thinking can kill you. When I was younger hearing about older guys in their late thirties and early/mid forties dying of natural causes would scare the shit out of me.
Little did I realize but a lot of those deaths could have been avoided if those dudes went and saw the doctor earlier. We live in the 21st century, these things can be avoided.
I used to work in the nightclub entertainment industry. I lived a fun and hard life from the age of 20 to about 28. Eight really hard years on my life. Never went to the doctor once in those eight years. Drinking, smoking, basically having way too much fun. When you're you're having too much fun your body is usually paying for it. When I walked away from the lifestyle of partying 24/7 for eight straight years my family made me go to the doctor, no question I just had to go. They were worried about me and rightfully so. Made the appointment, but wasn't happy about it, and found out nothing life threatening but terrible sleep apnea. Going untreated sleep apnea can cause some pretty scary shit. Shit, one of my NFL football heroes, Reggie White, died from complications due from sleep apnea.
After being diagnosed with sleep apnea a smart person would continue going to the doctor for follow up visits and make sure everything was under control. Hell I've had health insurance my entire life so its a no brainer, but I didn't.   I didn't go back for almost 15 years. Fifteen years between doctor visits to check up on a serious medical condition that has killed people. Why am I so stupid? Oh yeah, because I'm a middle aged man afraid of bad news from doctors. Some how I think that if a doctor takes my blood or looks down my throat he or she is going immediately tell me with a somber face, "You have cancer." This is ridiculous, I mean it's not ridiculous that a doctor might one day tell me that, it's ridiculous that's my worry. Seriously if I did have cancer wouldn't I want to know right away? Enough time to fight it? I say cancer but there are plenty of other aliments that scared me, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
When I went to the doctor, again finally after almost 15 years, 6 months ago I did get bad news. In fact I got horrible news. My blood tests came back that I indeed did have diabetes. The moment that I had been avoiding for almost 15 years happened. The doctor looked at me with his somber face and told me I had diabetes. I fucking sucked but it happened. He also told me of some other problems that my blood tests showed, like extreme low testosterone (which I'm also currently fixing). But he insured me that I wasn't dying, well at least ahead of schedule at the moment.
I could ramble on and on about not going to the doctor for 15 years and being old wussy for not going but that would get tiresome. The main point to this blog was to encourage guys out there just like me to stop being a scared pansy-ass and go to the fricking doctor. We've got to break this cycle. We've got to get healthy and stay healthy.