why events *are* for introverts

One thing that almost prevented me from trying Isagenix and consequently network marketing as a career was the presupposition that being an introvert meant I would have trouble succeeding. Many network marketing companies also stress the importance of attending events - and my company is no exception! When I thought of events, I pictured flashing lights, loud music, excited people, and buzzwords like "synergy" and "freedom!" getting thrown around - all things that make an introvert want to hide under the covers with a flashlight and a book. I didn't see what I could possibly gain from participating in this nonsense.

Well I was partially right. There are flashing lights, loud music, excited people, and so, so many buzzwords. But I was also partially wrong - there was so much for me to gain hidden beneath the hype.   

I had the opportunity to attend my first corporate event in January of this year. It certainly didn't hurt that I got to travel to sunny California while the weather here in Minnesota was dreary and arctic. It also didn't hurt that I got to spend a few days toddler-free and with some wonderful friends and teammates! 

Now, being one who is not necessarily motivated by money, fame, recognition, or other extrinsic rewards, I wondered if I would be able to connect with the very successful speakers leading the event.  These were the people who were making multiple six-figure incomes, even millions of dollars per year. These were the people who were "Isa-famous."  

When I first walked in and heard the music, saw the dance party happening onstage, and saw the success stories being recognized, it solidified the walls of skepticism I had put up, and my heart sank. Thankfully, it didn't take long before the trainers and keynote speakers had their turn, and my mind and heart were changed. 

There were a few reoccuring themes that each of the speakers stressed in their own way:
- it was not about the money (though a nice benefit of success)
- servant leadership and helping others succeed was a top priority
- they preferred to use their money to pay off debt, pay for children's college tuition, give back to the community, leave a legacy for their family all before increasing their own standard of living
- humility and teamwork
- personal development
- kindness to all
- integrity and hard work
- most expressed God and their faith life to be a top priority in their life

An introvert could find much to admire, and much to learn from those who have gone before. 

This weekend was another opportunity to attend an event, this time much closer to home. Just as before, I was delighted to find people who shared my values, not just onstage, but in the seats besides me as well. If I am willing to look past the hype, I find an abundance of information at my fingertips, and others who are motivated intrinsically instead of by wealth or recognition. I find people who are willing to share what they know in order to help others join them at the top. No secrecy. No jealousy. No competition. A spirit of service!

Network marketing has stretched me out of my comfort zone over and over, but the result is always growth. I'm grateful that my team helped me overcome my doubt and skepticism to attend an event. It has helped me build my belief in our company, products, network marketing, and myself. I'm now looking forward to my next chance to attend an event. What a change from a month ago! 


currently °2

making || lists of gratitude and goals
cooking || lots of baked potatoes - why does Aldi only sell 10 lb bags?
drinking || not nearly enough water
reading || "Boy" by Roald Dahl
wanting || temperatures above single digits...pretty please?
looking || for some good books
playing || "pillow walk" every day with Pippa - that's where you line up pillows on the floor and walk on them...
trying || to cut out sugar this week
remembering || a few days ago when I was eating sugar...
watching || Friends on Netflix. All the 90s clothes are back in fashion! So funny. 
deciding || what goes and what stays - spring cleaning!
wishing || for spring weather to go with the spring cleaning
planning || a spring break trip to Wisconsin
enjoying || secret baby flutters and kicks
waiting || for Justin's school year to be over
liking || greek yogurt with vanilla and cinnamon
wondering || whether our baby is a boy or a girl!
needing || a change with my hair
wearing || the same black lounge pants all day, err day
noticing || how big and funny and sweet Pippa is getting
smelling || cold air...it has a smell
thinking || about how much our lives are going to change in a few short months
buying || Tums - so many Tums 
feeling || strong


on feeling motivated

It's an arctic Wednesday afternoon. February in the Midwest - a dreary affair. The toddler toys have been played with, put away, and ransacked again; a never-ending cycle of blocks, teapots, books, and trucks. The daily chores have been tended to, and dinner is in the crockpot. Our daily allotment of television has been consumed. In fact, we've overdrawn and borrowed from tomorrow's allotment. At some point there was a quick errand to the library and Target, which took up significantly less time than I hoped it would. Hours remain until reinforcements arrive home, and both toddler and mother are cranky in a post-nap winter haze.

On days such as these when there is nothing penciled in my planner, the mornings are so full of promise! A leisurely coffee and devotion. An hour spent reading and snuggling and laughing together. A cursory workout and shower. The prospect of errands and naps and projects.

We just can't seem to avoid those afternoon doldrums, when neither work nor play is enticing. We have had enough! Of each other, of our surroundings, of routine. We need nature! We need sunshine! We need other people! ("We need pens." Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock in the episode where he goes to Washington? Anyone?)

In these situations, it's almost impossible for me personally to feel motivated. This is unfortunate, because there is so much I could be doing that trumps giving up and watching Netflix reruns. First there's the photo-a-day project to improve my photography hobby. There's the option of creating a blog post, coming up with activities to improve both Pippa's and my Spanish, cleaning out and preparing to donate unused possessions, or getting ahead on my Spanish lesson plans. We could be having a dance party, or video chatting with far-away family and friends. 

The problem is never a lack of things to do. It's lack of perceived motivation. It's like when you were little and you would whine to your mom, "I'm so bored!" and she would say, "Great! I've got some chores for you to do." Then suddenly you didn't feel so bored after all, and gee whiz! playing with your humdrum old toys didn't seem so bad! 

The solution is to Just. Do. Something. Just start. Pump some music, pick an activity, and do it. 

My crabby afternoon self hates that solution. But, darn it!, it works. Starting is the hardest part, but in my case, activity usually begets a positive emotion. 

Now if someone could just remind me of this every day...

What are your tips for escaping the afternoon/winter doldrums?


january goals + pictures wrap up

Ah January. A month of fresh starts and ernest goal setting. I always find joy in clean slates, from New Year's Resolutions to new school supplies at the beginning of a school year. It feels life-giving.

As I write this on the first day of February, I'm fully aware that this is a time when many are expected to abandon their goals, once they realize how difficult it can be to implement change in their lives. I am no different, for if I try to change too much at once, I become overwhelmed and adopt an all-or-nothing mindset. Recognizing this weakness of mine, I decided to assign one small change to each month of the year. Baby steps. Mini goals.

January's goal this year was centered around fitness. Cliche as it may be, I felt the timing was right. The first month of the year also marked the time when I would pass from the first to the second trimester of my second pregnancy. I was hoping the morning sickness would fade, and energy would start to return. I wasn't happy with the way I had been eating. Although I couldn't much change the early pregnancy food preferences my body was asking for, I could make better decisions overall. (What is with the pregnancy weeks 5-10 fast-food-only thing? Anyone else? The only things I could even remotely stomach were cereal, french fries, and toast.)

So I set out to put in an exercise tape for 5 minutes/day, 6 days/week, walk outside with the dog for 10 minutes/day, and eat 2 servings of vegetables each day. Small goals. Easily put into practice.

Well, as one of my favorite proverbs in Spanish says: del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho - or easier said than done.

  • I didn't work out with the videos 6 days/week. Lingering morning sickness and very intense headaches that seemed to last for days at a time prevented me from doing much some days. I will say I probably worked out 3-4 days/week. Better than none! I'm happy with my progress on this goal.
  • I definitely didn't walk outside for 10 minutes each day. We had some very cold days (below zero) where it just wasn't safe to take Pippa out for even 10 minutes. But my goal did push me to get outside on days when I didn't feel like it, but the weather was fine (20-30 degrees). 
  • The one goal I can say that I met most days of the month was eating 2 servings of vegetables. Progress, y'all! 

I will continue putting these habits into practice in February (and beyond!). However, the main focus for February is:

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS - Financial February
Guiding thought for the month: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”  Malachi 3:10

We took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course a few years ago, and got really good with our budget. We managed to start a debt snowball and pay off both of our cars. After having the baby, though, we kind of fell out of practice with tracking our money each month. The good thing is, we don't spend much outside of our bills and student loan payments. I'm frugal by nature, and didn't worry that we would have lots of little things adding up. The bad thing is, we weren't making much progress on our remaining student loans.

So this month I set out to zero out our budget at the end of the month in order to:

  • restart our debt snowball
  • save for hospital bills
  • save for quarterly tax payments
The other goal is to give so it hurts - I really want to feel the giving! This goes along with the Bible study I am currently doing with some amazing women. We are following The 7 Experiment: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess. I can't wait to see how I can implement a fast from spending, possessions, technology, etc.  

Finally, I am trying a photo 365 project, forcing myself to take the camera out to capture ordinary moments each day of the year. I'll admit there are some days when it just doesn't happen. But I am enjoying the process, and the resulting photographic evidence:
1. waiting for dad // 2. chilly sunday // 3. baby announcement
7. quiet time // 8. fit pregnancy // 9. birthday breakfast
10. messy hair // 11. pippa the photog // 12. san diego airport

13. palm springs // 14. 14 weeks pregnant // 15. ideal lunch view
16. goodbye to friends // 19. dance party // 20. peaceful
21. fits over "foffee" // 24. light reading // 25. conservatory fun

26. 16 weeks pregnant // 27. lazy weekend // missing california

Welcome February! Bring on the rest of 2015!