January by the Numbers

Is it just me, or did January seem to have 37 weeks in it?

I love winter, a new year, finding new motivation for the day to day, but good grief, January’s 31 days seem to last forever. 2019’s first month was all about foundations for me, I was intentional about setting goals that would be focused on building the foundation for progress and not specifically looking for progress…yet.

| M O N T H L Y  G O A L S |

  • write and send January birthday cards [completed!]
  • pay off credit card debt from the holidays [almost fully paid off!]
  • save $300 [completed]
  • create reading list for the year [completed]
  • finish reading The Light is the New Black [completed]
  • chat with K about CPLP certification [after 4 rescheduled meetings, completed!]
  • order second set of glasses [done, hated them more than the first pair, LOL]
  • verify flex spending purchases [completed]

| W E E K L Y  G O A L S |

  • grocery shopping + meal prepping [made strides, about 3/5 weeks]
  • intentional time with the hubs [yes! 5/5]
  • post 3x on EJB [4/5 weeks, completed – took a week off after the damn moon]
  • designate 6 hours/week to CPLP study plan [whew, done!]

| D A I L Y  G O A L S |

  • movement [still working on this one, 6/30 days included intentional movement]
  • no gluten [31/31 on this one! celebrated 2 months GF as well!]
  • time for reflection [24/31 days included time for reflection!]
  • at least 80oz of water [I slacked on tracking, I’m guessing about 75%]

All in all, it was a pretty productive month, considering all that was going on with my re-entry to the real world, my birthday, full wolf blood super moons, sickness (both Justin and I), winter storms, and you know…life. Here’s to February, where I’ll be focusing on maintaining those foundations and slowly building on top of them!

| F E B R U A R Y | “fall in love with the process of becoming the very best version of yourself.” – unknown

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Creativity.

I would have to consult my previous sets of Powersheets, but I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever set an intentional goal around using my creativity before. During the reflective process that I went through in December I kept noticing a theme of things that weren’t necessarily fitting into the other threads I identified. Things like: brainstorming, doodling, crafting, creating pretty things, getting words on paper, scrolling through Pinterest, colors + patterns – these were all things that “fired me up” but didn’t really have a home in my other goals.

Eventually, it clicked that these are the things that I incorporate into my life randomly, with very little intention, but they all built a sense of motivation, calm, and reflection for me. They are the things that help support all of my other goals, and they allow me to be creative. And my fifth goal was born: Creativity.

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The big picture goal: I am a creative, well-rounded individual and I will dedicate time to using my gifts.

This matters, because: Creativity keeps the blood and motivation flowing, and create new opportunities to share with others.

Some action steps: |create + maintain a EJBlog content calendar | set aside time for writing | get out my markers + doodle | try new things for EJBlog | create a reading list for the year | try new recipes in the kitchen | create a space for yoga + meditation at home | take more pictures | create a list of motivators for when I’m feeling stagnant | maintain weekly posting goals for EJBlog | create a list of home projects I can do |

Prioritizing time for creativity can seem silly, like what adult should make time to pull out their markers and draw? All of them. That’s who! Or, whatever your version of marker doodles is. Make time for your marker doodles!

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Damn Moon Energy + January 74th

I haven’t done this in a while, writing just to write, that is.

Usually, I am a week ahead of time in my posts for the blog, but procrastination, and other priorities just kind of took over last week. Maybe it was the Full Wolf Blood Super Moon Eclipse thing that happened last weekend. While I consider myself a pseudo hippie, and maybe just a little bit witchy, this moon energy has been so interesting.

I went from the new year excitement and motivation to a slump of boredom and…just…real life. Week two, back to reality seemed to dish out similar symptoms to everyone I work with. We all were just not quite as vibrant and motivated as we had been the week before. Snow was coming and the magic of new resolutions and holiday break conversations have melted away.

Then it snowed. A lot. Southeastern Michigan got about 6 inches of snow in about 18 hours, and it just felt so soothing, things got quiet, and the world turned white. My energy shifted to re-centering myself, continuing to clean and simplify at home, and focus on what I am cultivating for the year. I did yoga, meditated, watched a lot of Top Chef, cooked, wrote out birthday cards, wrote for the sake of writing (not sharing), journaled, spent time with my husband, played in the snow with the dogs, read a little, and did little things around the house that I’ve been putting off.

Then the damn moon energy started creeping in. This just got weird. I have no specific words to describe it – people were on edge, I was feeling restless, I laughed a lot, my jaw dropped a lot at random things that happened, I got angry, I was lazy, and the world just seemed off. The universe creeped in a few times, reminding me that times like this are a test of everything else I’m trying to build into my life. It’s easy to reflect, meditate, and take care of myself when I’m feeling motivated, but it’s a whole other thing to do it when I’m not feeling motivated. Lesson learned, universe, lesson learned.

While it feels like it’s January 74th, this month brought a rollercoaster of emotions and insight for me. It was the start of something new, not just a new year, but a new energy for myself, a new space that I’m carving out for myself. Letting go of what was dragging me along, and gripping onto the things that will lift me up. It’s been a strange transitional month, but I’m grateful for it, and I’m grateful that it will be coming to an end soon.

We’re coming for you, February.

 

Yoga for the Bigger Body + Home Practice

I’ve seen the looks when I mention to people that I practice yoga regularly. I’ve felt the surge of insecurity as I walk into a class by myself. I get it, when you think of “yoga” you don’t think of someone with a bigger body. But, guess what? Yoga is for every body.

Yoga is, quite literally, the only form of movement and exercise that feeds not only my muscles but also my soul. An hour practice is about breathing, listening to your body, and making room to do more. It’s not about pushing, or grunting, or doing the best in the room. Yoga is about finding your edge and getting comfortable there, inhaling to find length, and exhaling to see if you go deeper. Your edge is your business.

Does a bigger body make some poses more difficult? Absolutely.

Part of the yoga experience is to find the modification that fits your body, if you can’t hold yourself in plank, drop your knees – you’re still working your core.

Yoga is about awareness, listening, and honoring as you move. That has nothing to do with the shape or size of my body. Some of my favorite poses are:

Warrior I, Warrior II, Tree, Mountain, Cat/Cows, Balancing TableDownward Dog, Triangle, Spinal Twists with arms in T, Forward Folds, Sun Salutation Series, Goddess, Chair Pose (& with a twist), and Extended Side Angle. Well…and, of course Savasana.

img_2835Typically, my yoga practice happens outside of my home. I take free classes at work as part of a community program, and have a membership at a local studio. I’m spoiled by our free classes at work, our instructor is amazing and very flexible with her classes. When she walks into a room, she takes a scan and can throw together an amazing practice on a whim that works for everyone. Sometimes, when I go to other classes, I find that the set flow doesn’t work for me. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just less predicable. So, I’ve started practicing more at home. Here are some of my tips for creating a successful home practice.

Where Matters. Where you practice at home matters a great deal. You need a space that is relatively quiet, has enough room for you to spread your arms wide + put your legs in the air. If you can, find a spot without carpeting. Yoga poses are significantly harder on a mat that is on top of carpeting.

Create a calming atmosphere. I turn on just enough light to be able to see, put some essential oils in my diffuser, and put on my Hippie Shit + Yoga playlist. If you need to, close yourself off, Bruno and Winnie are notorious for thinking me sitting on the floor is an invitation to play.

Guided or No? Decide if you’ll practice with a video or guide. Sometimes I need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or to push me further. Some days, I just want to feel it out for myself. Yoga with Adrienne is a great resource for people that are looking for something specific. I really enjoyed her Yoga for Sciatica when I was struggle with getting moving again after injuring my back.

Release Expectations. Take a second before you start, close your eyes, and release your expectations. You’re not a yoga superstar, that’s cool. You’re just a human, at home, taking care of your mind, body, and soul. Own it, and just enjoy. If your dogs/kids/husband/neighbor/mother/imaginary friend come bursting in during the middle of warrior I, just smile and keep moving. Life happens.

Warm Up, Yoga, Savasana. Don’t skip your warm up and savasana. Your body needs to build up to your poses and cool down after working hard. Just because you’re at home and it feels weird to be laying on the floor doesn’t mean you skip cooling down, take a minute or two for savasana. Slowly come out of your practice, thank yourself for coming to the mat. Say “namaste” out loud. Be grateful you showed up.

Big, small, curvy, straight, tall, short, love handles, strong…whoever you are, there’s yoga for you. You might just have to create it for yourself.

Namaste, friends.

The love and light in me honors the love and light in you.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Career.

Man, oh man. Thinking about my career and what’s next has become a hobby obsession of mine. When I think of “work” it’s my 9-5 job, the thing I do that brings in the money so that we can live our lives. I’ve decided I need to redefine what I consider my work.

I am a writer. I am a trainer. I am a manager. I am a strategist. I am a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). I am working towards being Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). I am a leader. I am a consultant. I am a creative. I am an event planner. I am a coach. I am an advocate. These are the things that make up my career. Some support me financially, some support me spiritually, and some are just fun.

When I went through my PowerSheets process this year, I, for the first time, spent time focusing on my 9-5. It’s a big part of my life, but as I’ve become anxious to grow I’ve also become find something new. Instead of feeding my anxiety, I’ve decided to embrace the time that I have left in my current role, no matter if that’s two weeks, two months, or two years. I have gifts and I will use them to grow.

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The big picture goal: I will use my gifts to be productive in my work, both in my 9-5 and in my personal career.

This matters, because: Quite frankly, it matters because I am getting paid to work, I must hold up my end of the bargain. It also matters because there is always room to grow and I can’t grow unless I do the work. It’s satisfying to work hard and do well (or learn the lesson).

Some action steps: outlining my CPLP training plan | talk to K about her experience | setting performance metrics for the year | developing my training + consulting page on EJBlog | continue to apply only for jobs that stretch my skills | reformat my resume + linkedin | brainstorm new team management strategies | create a list of motivators for when I’m feeling stagnant | maintain weekly posting goals for EJBlog | Take on new Resume formatting clients | spend 6 hours a week prepping for CPLP exam

Growth is hard, it includes struggles, stretching, and letting go. Growth is also necessary. I have spent the last 18 months feeling like I am a victim of circumstances, and in reality, I have control of how I perceive my circumstances. Would I like to do something new after being in the same role for the last 8 years? Absolutely. Is there still room for me to grow while the Universe figures out what that next role is? Definitely. There is always something to learn, so let’s go learn it!

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10 Tips for First Time Trainers

The talent development industry used to call me an “accidental trainer” – I just happened upon the field on accident. Sometimes, I agree, and other times, I feel as though the universe was just pointing me in the right direction so that I could utilize gifts I didn’t know I had. I love facilitating groups and presenting trainings, but talking in front of groups is the number one fear for people for a reason. It’s not easy. Here are my 10 tips for first time trainers looking to add to their toolbox:

Be Prepared. Designing a training is a whole other blog post, but the morale of the story is to be prepared. Know where you’re going, what your objectives are, and how much time you’ll need to get through your outline. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read a script. Talk to your participants and feed off of them, but be prepared on how you’re going to accomplish your objectives.

Know Your Room. One of the worst experiences I’ve had as a training participant is when I was at a national conference and the presenter started talking poorly about Detroit, the people there, and made up statistics about education in the area. While, I couldn’t expect her to realize that I was from Detroit, I could expect her to know her room well enough to know that she could be alienating people who are looking to learn from her. Know your room. Know the spectrum of education, experience, and attitudes of those sitting with you. You don’t have to take a survey, but do an icebreaker, ask people to raise their hand, or just be mindful of nonverbal queues.

Talk S L O W L Y. I can guarantee that if you are a relatively new trainer, you’re talking WAY. TOO. FAST. This is one of the hardest skills to develop, because when you’re talking at an appropriate pace as a trainer you feel like a complete idiot. Keep in mind that people have to hear you, comprehend your words, process them, and put them into context – if you’re already two slides down the road you’ve lost them.

Be Confident. Confident, not cocky. It’s important that you balance the line between relatable and confident well as a trainer. People in your room will already be apprehensive about spending time “in training” so part of your role is to bond with them and build trust. Be confident in your skills, your expertise, and the time you’ve spent preparing. You will not know everything, and that’s okay. Be confident enough to say “You know, I’m not sure. What does the rest of the room think?”

Be Flexible. People like to talk. People like to stare off into space while you talk. People like to share their stories that may or may not relate to your content. You have to be flexible in your methods of getting the content to your participants. Know your information well enough that you can prepare for what you will take some additional time to grasp and have some comprehension activities prepared for when you blow through your content in 15 minutes.

Remember, No One Knows but You. You prepared, you have an outline, you know your stuff, but somehow you still managed to skip an entire chunk of content. It’s OKAY, no one knows but you. Circle back around and make sure you cover what is needed. Messed up a word? No one knows (or cares). This goes back to confidence. Be confident in your facilitation skills and willing to laugh at yourself when necessary, because it will be necessary.

Make Content Connections. If you’re lucky, you’ve got 20ish minutes where people are actually listening to you. The key to make connections between your content. We’re talking about X because it relates to Y, which we talked about earlier. X and Y are important because :: insert how the content relates to their real world here ::

Confirm Understanding. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean that the people in the room are following you. Check in – ask if what you’re saying makes sense. Ask if they see examples of this in their work, or my favorite when presenting information “why do you think that is?”. It keeps people engaged as you go through information by confirming that we’re all on the same page.

Don’t be Lazy. Ugh. This one is just straight forward. Don’t sit on your ass slumped in a chair the whole time you’re facilitating a training. Get up, move around, use your hands and your arms (not too much), walk around when participants are working in groups. Be a trainer is WORK, DO. YOUR. WORK.

Be Yourself. Last, but certainly not least, be yourself. There’s no fake-it-til-you-make-it mentality. People know when you’re BS’ing them, so don’t. It’s okay to laugh, be quirky, and talk about your experience. You are a human, you will be respected much more when you act like one.

Wine Glass + Yoga Pants

Girl, it’s too late for coffee, so we’re switching it up and doing Wine Glass (instead of Coffee Chats) + Yoga Pants. Yoga pants are for all times.

Pour yourself a glass and let’s chat!

Monday was back to reality. Back to my 9-5, routines, and the grind. To be honest, I was alright with going back to work, I crave routine, so as wonderful as three weeks off was, I needed some structure. This is one of my first times going back to work in the new year where I didn’t bring a new planner and notebook with me. I am committed to seeing my customized Plum Paper planner through an entire year, and by using it more often I am consistently falling in love with having it by my side.

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Before Christmas Justin and I went to the eye doctor to get our peepers checked. Nothing like using your FSA dollars at the last minute. Instead of getting glasses at my appointment, I shopped online with Zenni. My honest review is: while I love the cheaper price tag, I am far too picky to be purchasing glasses online. I’m getting used to my new glasses, but I would not have picked them out had I tried them on first. My new PRESCRIPTION aviator sunglasses? Those are the bomb.

We are slowly taking on some small projects around the her to make this house our home. Little things like adding a calendar to the kitchen, taking down some valances, and replacing curtains have really helped us feel comfortable as we transition the house to being ours. Stay tuned as I attempt to sew curtain panels together this weekend!

My dear friend gave me, what we lovingly refer to as, “hippie shit” for my birthday this week. She ordered me a gorgeous rose quartz crystal and a hand carved palo santo necklace. The crystal is pure magic, I keep finding little sparkles in it! Here’s my Instagram post about this thoughtful gift.

I have a severe hatred of glitter. Apparently, I’m not the only one. My friends at the Brain Candy Podcast discussed Glitter on their show (episode 286) this week too! Glitter is a thing, people!

All in all, it’s been a decent week, even after not setting an alarm for three weeks!

Happy Friday, friends!

Enjoy your weekend!

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Community.

I won’t lie. This topic has been difficult for me to articulate into words. The social construct of | C O M M U N I T Y | is hard to nail down into a few words or action items. Enter the all-mighty Google.

| C O M M U N I T Y | a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristics in common. Also, a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

I suppose part of the difficulty is that in the age of social media, we claim community in…well…everything. A Facebook group about your favorite show? Community. Your Instagram followers? Community. The group of people that liked the same photo as you? Community. It’s not a bad thing, far from it actually. But, it does challenge how we honor and value our personal connection with those around us.

I spent the majority of 2018 very lonely. I wasn’t alone, physically, but I was longing for a sense of community after being part of, what I now understand as, an artificial community. I thought I had found my people, that I was finally surrounded by supportive individuals. I wasn’t. The aftermath was rough, and it was even more difficult to understand why it was so rough. Eventually, I understood and that understanding drove my desire and goal to create a meaningful community in 2019.

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The big picture goal: I have a community of people that I trust, honor, and celebrate.

This matters, because: Life is difficult and having a loving community is a form of self-care. Having reciprocal trust in individuals that will hold you up and that YOU can hold up is what life is all about.

Some action steps: daily gestures of kindness + love | volunteering | fundraising for causes that I care about | filling an address book + birthday list | take more photos with people | schedule time with people | send birthday cards, track | celebrate important milestones for my people | know/love/honor my tribe | create a leslie knope style celebration calendar | be a source of L I G H T.

I am hopeful that by building a community around myself, I will be less anxious about social situations, and will celebrate success by hosting people in our home during the holidays.

What will | C O M M U N I T Y | like in 2019?

Loving | Celebratory | Caring | Trusting | Active | Positive | Supportive | Thoughtful

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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My Thirty-Fourth Year

Today is my thirty-fourth birthday.

I’m not a big birthday celebrator, especially considering how close my birthday is to the holiday season. Two weeks, to the day, from Christmas Eve. As a kid, it kind of felt like an extension of the holiday season. As an adult, it’s more like any other day. Which, I suppose is similar for most.

Today, I’m going back to work after over 21 days of vacation, quite frankly, 21 days of being at home is a few too many. I’m ready to get back to a routine and some normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, endless Netflix binges, hanging out in my yoga pants, and constant dog snuggles were amazing, but dude, homie needs something to do!

One of the benefits of having a birthday in early January is that when I set intentions and goals for the year, it’s like two birds, one stone. 2019 will be the year of | E M I L Y | – in case you didn’t already know. Maybe it’s a nice gift from the universe that for my birthday, I am going back to normal life with a new intention, goals, and foundations for the year ahead. Thank you, Universe.

my thirty fourth year

This year, my birthday wish is simple.

Health for my family + friends, the ability to continue growing + learning, and the luxury to continue planning for the future.

 

Here’s to another trip around the sun!

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