Cease Fire September

Cease FireSeptember.png

Happy Labor Day, my friends!

Since our Get Stuff Done & Have Fun 21 Day Challenge ended in August, I thought we needed a new theme for September.

I got the idea of Cease Fire September from none other than our Get Stuff Done & Have Fun winner, Gilbert Higuera.

Like Gilbert, I’ve noticed we can all be a little critical of ourselves (and others) when things do not go as planned. So instead of bashing, trashing, guilting, or goading ourselves into submission or compliance, I say we call a cease fire and stop with the incessant shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.

Let’s just let things be as they are for the moment. No judgments.

Think Switzerland.

Think neutral.

Think neither good nor bad.

It is what it is.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t try your darnedest to change things or make things better. It just means that when change doesn’t happen quickly or easily or at all like you’ve planned, you don’t ridicule yourself for trying.

In my experience things seldom go the way I think they will or they should or I would like them to.

Sometimes they go even better!

But often times it’s just another day in paradise where I get to learn something new. Like how not to do something. Or how to tweak something just a smidge so it will work better next time.

Freaking out or abandoning the entire project does not contribute to the greater good. Mine or any one else’s.  It just gives me further “proof” of my ineptitude at the expense of  the innovative or creative thinking that prompted the idea in the first place.

Few things work right out of the gate. Despite what our culture tells us, overnight successes are usually years in the making.

I learn best by practicing and I practice best when I have partners. Since some of you have already been Getting Stuff Done & Having Fun with me in August, I thought you might want to continue on this journey in September with a new challenge.

If you haven’t done a challenge with me before, now is the time to start! You can participate as much or as little as you like.

The best way to do this is to join our Facebook group – Get Stuff Done & Have Fun. If you don’t use Facebook, then just follow along here or on Instagram at pjplautz.

I like to use a catchy phrase so I remember to practice what I preach at the precise moment I’m about to forget it.  Something like, “Think twice and be nice,” might work for this month.

What do you think?

 

Share the ways you are practicing a little kindness, self-compassion, or neutrality in the comments below.

 

Retreat Photo

PS – The Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat is just 19 days away.  If you want to get in on this amazing day away, you still have time.  You can even get in on the Early Bird Pricing until September 8th.  (We know you are busy and may have forgotten to register by September 1, so we are extending a grace period for registering at the special price through this Friday, September 8th. Call 1-888-336-3907 to register for #187799 or register online at www.eicc.edu/continuing-education/register/). If you want to know more about the retreat, click on the Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat tab at the top of the page.

Are You Up for a Challenge?

 

IMG_3788.PNG

For some of you, just hearing the word “challenge” has your competitive spirit shouting “Bring it on!”

For others, it sends you into immediate overwhelm. The mere thought of one more thing challenging you might send you over the edge.

But what if I presented you with a challenge that encouraged you to get stuff done and have fun?

The past couple of years I’ve hosted a Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge during the month of July.  This summer I’ve been so busy creating the Sunday Summer Stretch Series that I haven’t had the bandwidth (literally – don’t even get me started on the saga with Century Link) to simultaneously launch another challenge.

But since today’s topic for the Sunday Summer Stretch Series is challenge, I thought I’d stretch myself to try a slightly different version of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge for August. I’m calling this one Get Stuff Done & Have Fun.

Yes, we want to get stuff done.  But sometimes the stuff we get done is just not fun. We save the fun stuff for that elusive someday when we have time to indulge ourselves in a little self-care. In other words, the 12th of Never.

So to put an end to that, I’m proposing a 21 Day Get Stuff Done & Have Fun Challenge. Because I know some of you rebels will need some wiggle room to stick to it, these can be 21 consecutive days or 21 random days. But all 21 days need to be in August of 2017.

So here are the guidelines:

  • The stuff you get done has to be something you have been wanting to do. If you don’t want to do it, challenge or no challenge, you probably won’t do it.
  • The stuff you do for 21 days has to be fun for you. What’s fun for someone else may not be fun for you, so do what’s fun for you.
  • The stuff you decide to do should be doable in 5-10 minutes. You are welcome to spend more time if your creativity kicks in and you’re on fire with desire to continue, but start small and simple.
  • You have to participate for 21 days in August 2017 to qualify for the goodies. You pick the days – just make sure you participate for 21 of them.
  • You have to post the finished project either in the comments below, in the Facebook Group – Get Stuff Done & Have Fun, on Instagram at #getstuffdonehavefun, on Pinterest or email me on the day you do it. How else would I know what you’re up to?

That’s it.  Easy peasy.

And what do you get for all this effort?

Prizes, of course, sprinkled throughout the challenge.

The grand prize is …. a free registration to the Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat in Bellevue, Iowa on September 23, 2017.  Yep, you heard that right.  That’s a $200 value!  And it can be yours just for having a little fun doing what you want to do anyway. How great is that?

For example, I’m challenging myself to create A Penny for Your Thoughts post every day for 21 days. I’m going to pull a quote or idea from one of my over 300 blog posts and create an image in WordSwag or Canva and post it to Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. This is how I created the image above.

I actually love to do this but tend to find a million reasons not to do it on a regular basis. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, it’s a great way to engage people in a conversation, and it allows me to unleash my creativity at least once a day.

So if want you to join in on the fun and win stuff, too, just start doing fun stuff and let me know about  it.

The challenge starts now and runs through the end of August 2017.

*One fun thing might be to register for the Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat and decide to make a long weekend out of it. You can stay at an area bed and breakfast and research some of the places you might want to go on Sunday.  To find out more about the retreat, click on the Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat tab above.

Let me know in the comments below if you are ready, willing, and able to take on this challenge. I would love to see you have 21 days of productive fun!! 😀

What’s the Plan?

AdobeStock_116466425.jpeg

I ended 2016 very differently than I have most other years. Instead of going quietly into the New Year with as little fanfare as possible, I experienced a media blitz that had me working harder on my time off than I had at any other time throughout the year.

It was part of my whole alphabet plan to get from Here to the New Year in Good Cheer. It also allowed me to end 2016’s self-titled “Stretch Year” strong by catapulting me out of my comfort zone and consistently into the public arena.

Instead of building on this momentum and jockeying for position in the onslaught of self-improvement programs that January brings about, I retreated. In order to hear the still, small voice among all the shoulding and shouting, I had to get quiet.

As a college administrator, January rivals August as a “don’t mess with me” month. At least not until the students are registered, the faculty is prepped, the staff is informed, and we all get through the first few weeks of classes.

So I’ve resisted the urge to jump into every exciting new program that arrives in my Inbox as well as the temptation to launch my own signature program. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

There is a lot of buzz at the beginning of a New Year. It’s an excellent time to tap into the energy of a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate. As much as I wanted to ride the wave and see how far it would take me, I was starting to feel a bit frazzled.

So I asked myself, “What’s the workable plan for now?  What’s the next right step to move my life forward at a sustainable rate?” 

The answer? Plan my work and work my plan. This, of course, calls for a fabulous planner!

Last year I used Danielle LaPorte’s daily planner, which piqued my interest in planners. This year I decided to try out her weekly planner. Even though this planner works brilliantly for my creatively quirky mind, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are there other planners out there I might also love?”

Oh yeah. Being organized is big business.

I researched and ordered a few planners that made the top  10 lists. One was the Inkwell 2017 planner. This could possibly be my new favorite planner because of all the fun extras like a habit tracker, mission board, lots of space for notes, colorful tabs, and some pockets in the back to store stuff.

The other was Nourished the daily planner for a well-fed life.  I loved the concept and it seemed like the perfect planner to help me be more deliberate and intentional with my meal planning and fitness tracking. It just arrived over the weekend, so I haven’t worked with it too much yet.

As much as I love  each of these planners and are impressed by the details that went into their design, ultimately I have to customize them so they track what I deem important. I need a place to ask the clarifying questions on a daily basis that are just as important to me as knowing where I need to be at what time.

For example, every morning it helps me to ask:

  • What is this day about? 
  • What wants to come forward?  
  • What needs to get done?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What am I willing to do to feel that way?

Every evening it helps me to figure out:

  • Where was the magic hiding?
  • Where did I get tripped up, lose focus, fall out of integrity, or tell myself something that wasn’t true?
  • What was lost? 
  • What was found?
  • What were the HappyThankYouMorePlease moments?
  • What brilliant ideas surfaced?
  • What thoughts consistently hound me?
  • What do I need to sleep on and hope to gain clarity on for tomorrow?
  • Where did I excel?
  • Where can I improve?

The answers to these questions dictate my actions and determine what makes it on the next day’s agenda.

What about you? How much attention do you pay to your day and how does this attention or lack of attention affect your ability to achieve what you want to achieve?

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. you may want to craft your own “I Have a Dreamspeech today. Even if you don’t have any inkling as to how to achieve it or the specifics of what you truly want, just start by stating what you believe is possible. You don’t have to deliver it to anyone else. This is mainly to remind you of what matters and why.

Or, if you are avoiding resolutions or self-reflection the way year-round exercisers avoid the gym until February, that’s okay.  Just breathe in, breathe out, and go about your business. Let the dream, the purpose, or the vision find you.

One of my favorite mantras is, “What you seek is also seeking you.” Somehow the timing is always perfect. Trust wherever you are is where you need to be for now.

You’ve got a whole year ahead of you. Plan accordingly.*

I’d love for you to share your favorite planners and any tips or tricks for making 2017 your best one yet in the comments below.

resolve_to_evolve_new

*P.S. –  There will no doubt be surprises and things you didn’t see coming in the year ahead.  Don’t forget to leave some room for the unexpected in your grand plan.  Keeps it interesting!

Save

Save

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Plan “Q”

AdobeStock_36149935.jpeg

It’s letter “Q” quietly makes its debut in today’s plan to get from Here to the New Year in Good Cheer.

Before Midlife Macgyver, there was the Quirky Quill where I explored the quandaries that quite often confused and confounded me. I thought it might quench my thirst for the quantum leap of consciousness required to quadruple the answers available to me.

But I discovered that answers are overrated.

It’s the questions that keep things interesting. One of the best ways to live an adventurous life is to constantly query the universe.

The quantity and quality of our questions determine the quality of our lives. You can quote me on that.

We may offer a quick quip from our queue of credible answers, but the questions that we keep quarantined that cause us to quiver and quake are what our true quest is about. When we get quiet enough to hear the quickening of our pulse, we cannot quell the call to adventure.

If you are quarreling, quibbling, or quacking like an angry duck, question what’s making you crazy. Quit pretending your quest doesn’t matter. And then let’s start to get clear about where that quest might be calling you in the New Year. (Stay tuned for specific tools on how to do that at the end of this challenge.)

As I was mentioning to Bob how aware I’ve become of all the letters in the alphabet since we started this challenge, his suggestion was to quit. 

Not the whole challenge, of course, but my self-imposed rule of using as many letters from the plan as possible in the post. He figured if I could get through Q, I could get through any letter. And since I don’t normally write or talk in alliteration, he was never quite sure what I was trying to say from day to day.

For the remaining Plans R to Z, I’m going with the less is more approach. Instead of sharing all the words I can think of that start with the letter of the day, I’ll share the most meaningful ones.

This brings me to today’s tip, which if it’s the only one you implement, could save your sanity over the holidays – or any day for that matter.

Question what doesn’t work and quit doing it. Stage your own quiet riot. And then get on with doing what you need to do and create something you love in an even more interesting way.

What do you need to question, quit, or change up in order to get a better result? Plan Q is all about not getting caught in the quicksand of convention or business as usual and finding what works for you. It’s the part of my Read It & Leap! process I call course correction.

I’d love to hear what you are questioning these days in the comments below.

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

Save

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Plan “K”

Empty wishlist for Santa

Hello, kindred spirits. The letter “K” has arrived to kick off the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge today. You might want to read this post out loud because the constant “k” sound is so fun to hear. I kid you not. Try it!

Words that begin with the letter “k” are kind of sparse, but here’s one I know you’ll relate to in more ways than one. It just so happens to be our keyword of the day.

Drum roll – or better yet – keyboard player, please…..

KISS! Or as I like to translate it during the holidays, “Keep It Simple, Santa.” 

Of course, you are welcome to engage in the lip-locking thing, too, but I’d like to save some “L” words for tomorrow.

As you can see from the empty list above, there are no good karma flags from Katmandu,  koalas or kookaburras from Kangaroo Gully, kryptonite from Kuwait, kaleidoscopes from Kiev, kites from Kalamazoo, katydids from Kingston, or kittens from Kauai. No kooky or kinky requests to kidnap your keen sense of control over the Christmas budget, my little kumquat.

Call me a killjoy, but I believe the key to not going coo-coo crazy throughout the holiday season is to knock out the distractions, knuckle down and knit together a schedule that won’t lead you to accidentally serve kamikazes to your kids or your canine Kojak.

Kudos to the wise men who kept their gifts to the essentials – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Although kettlebells and kickboxing gear might make you feel like you can kick ass – especially while consuming kegs of kimchi in your kitchen singing kumbaya-the keys to conquering the crazy-makers is to keep calm and carry on.

To put it musically, koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson. Keep on truckin’ and killing me softly from Here to the New Year in Good Cheer. And always be humble and kind.

I’d love for you to share your “k” comments with me below.

 

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 6 – Plan F

Composite image of christmas caroler fingers

It’s Day 6 of  the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Today’s tension tackling tips focus on the letter “F” and feature five fabulous fingers frolicking and fa-la-la-ing just for the fun of it.

Today is all about freedom, so pick the concept you find most fulfilling, flattering, or fashionable that enables you to forfeit any full-on freak-out during festive gatherings.

If all else fails and frustration sets in, fetch a friend and free yourself from feeling flustered, frazzled, or flummoxed by facilitating a field trip to your family farm.  There you may face fascinating adventures from feeding feathered fowl to following finicky felines as they feign indifference toward their favorite food.

To foster more good cheer you may flirt with flower arranging, or if none are to be found, try arranging the furniture instead for an instant feng shui fix.

If all of this seems foolish, I fear you may have forgotten that time is fleeting and we frequently forgo fresh experiences that allow us to flourish because we are afraid to fumble, fall, or fail.

From Here to the New Year, follow your fascination.  Even if it seems far-fetched, fearlessly forge ahead and let it frame your future. Flamboyantly fake it until you make it, if you must. Just don’t forsake the inner fire that edges you forward.

I love fan mail so please share your favorite “f” experiences with this fantastic flock of followers in the comments below.

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

 

 

 

Go for Your Own Kind of Gold

Swimmers

The Olympics are here! This song has been running through my head since the opening ceremonies, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Since I only knew the first line, it was high time for me to Google the rest of it. I discovered this fabulous video of Peter Allen and his pink pants, maracas, and joie de vivre that screams of all things Rio – at least in my imagination.

The Olympics are a grand global get-together. They allow us to be a part of something spectacular, break down the barriers that separate us, and for a brief time intricately connect us to the stories, hopes, and dreams of those who live all over the world.

It’s thrilling to be alive in times when humans are faster, stronger, smarter, and more determined than ever.

The competition compels everyone to perform better. Even the caliber of the commercials rival that of Super Bowl Sunday.

But on the other hand, it seems to bring out this unchecked need to grab for the gold. The time or points between first and second or even first and seventh are so minuscule, and yet the difference somehow declares one person a winner and another a loser.

These athletes have all made it to the Olympics, for goodness sake! If they feel bad for not getting a medal, imagine how the rest of us feel for not getting off the couch.

Of course, no one expects us to perform physical feats like an Olympian. However, I suspect we all have Olympic expectations of ourselves in fields where we could be contenders.

For example, it isn’t enough for me to write a blog post. To go for the gold, I should also write for O magazine, More magazine, the Huffington Post or other trendy publications. I should also have a book on the New York Times best seller list and be booked on several talk shows. At the very least, my followers should number more than a few friends and family members.

Or so I’m told. Personally, I feel like I win every time I connect with you.

How do we let Olympic achievements guide and motivate us to become our best? How do we write our own stories based on what we’ve learned from theirs? How do we go for our own kind of gold, silver, or bronze and know that is enough?

I’d love to hear what events you’d be competing in if you participated in an Olympics dedicated to all the things you excel at.

For example, would there be a trivia contest, a baton twirling with fire fest, a dog walking decathlon, a poetry slam, a bubble bath battle, a coffee drinking debate, or a clothes changing charge?

Which of these events – if not all – would you be favored to win? Which would you be delighted just to get to participate in?

Your Olympian efforts matter. I’d love to play your anthem and hear about your achievements in the comments below.  Or email me at penny@wellpower.com.