Where Does Confidence Come From?

What creates confidence?
What takes it away?

Are some born with a larger measure and others born with less?

Courage or the lack thereof is a result of self talk.
Courage is a feeling, and our feelings are a result of what we believe is true about the world and about ourselves.

When we believe, for example, we are ABSOLUTELY going to perform something flawlessly, those thoughts and beliefs translate into the feeling of courage and confidence. When we believe that we are missing the tools, knowledge and experience to perform how we need to or see a pattern of falling short we let those thoughts and beliefs produce the feeling of fear or lack of courage.
If therefore, we can change the narrative, self-talk and beliefs we hold, the feeling of confidence can be altered. Anyone remember the movie Dumbo? He had the ability to fly, but not the belief, at least, not until he had a little black feather to trick his mind into believing he could. So many times, I have been able to banish fear, simply through the awareness of what was going on in my brain and a pep talk that usually goes something like this: “Everything is figureoutable, if others have done it, why can’t I?? Fail forward and find your way Vanessa!!”

Can we increase the amount of confidence we have?
Does confidence equal arrogance or is it something different?
Can we have too much confidence?

I’ve been wrestling with these questions for a little while now. The more I work with women who are pursuing fitness and business goals, confidence level seems to be one of the greatest factors that affects the success or failure of each individual.

I am looking forward to unpacking this concept more in the coming months, but here are some of my first thoughts.


Here’s the problem, this pep talk practice works only sometimes: for example, when one of my children has a tantrum in the grocery store, I can remind myself that this is simply ONE instance that does not characterize my entire motherhood or my worth as a mom. But what happens when my children are throwing tantrums MULTIPLE times a day, every day of the week for a few weeks at a time?

I don’t know about you, but it’s very hard for me to believe the positive self-talk, when everything in my mind is screaming “LIAR!” Sometimes, things are just too discouraging and the failure looks TOO real. How do we build up confidence then?
What do I tell my clients who have 100+lbs to lose and have never been consistent in their workouts? What do I tell my friend who has been applying to medical school for two years and has gotten rejection letter after rejection letter? How do we self-talk our way out of discouragement and into confidence without lying to ourselves about the very real discouragements and failings we’ve experienced?


For me, this is where I have to consider a deeper truth. If I DID have children who never threw tantrums, if I DID have that 100lb weight loss, if I DID get accepted to the top medical school…does that mean I am MORE worthy? Does that mean I am a better person than someone who didn’t? Where does worthiness and acceptance come from? Is it purely from achievement or mastery?

You see, I believe that if our confidence takes a hit when we fall short of our expectations for our lives, then we have placed our worthiness in the wrong thing in the first place.


Instead of my self talk sounding like this: “Vanessa, you are a great mom and you are raising amazing children.” (To which my brain can easily should “BULLSHIT” because at this moment in time, my children are anything but amazing and my mothering is inconsistent, selfish and lazy at best) My self-talk can sound more like this: “Vanessa, your mothering skills need work, and your children are not thriving at the moment – things are not as they should be or as you would like – but this does not DEFINE you or determine your worth. You are a daughter of God, you are loved DEEPLY by HIM and your efforts to mother well, while important, are not the things that give you value.”


Do you see how that shifts the paradigm completely? Now, I can eat healthy and workout from a place of ALREADY being worthy and confident in who I am! I can apply to medical school knowing that my life is a wonderful gift and I am loved no matter the outcome. This type of self-talk gives me confidence and courage to STAY IN THE GAME and not eject myself out of fear.

Because that is the greatest tragedy, at least in my opinion, is when we lose confidence and courage and stop trying all together. We march through life with our head held down, never attempting anything great, never leaping into that thing that we are intrigued by but takes courage to pursue. This “half-way


living” isn’t living at all. Call me crazy, but I’d rather believe that I am loved, worthy, incredibly and valuable, just as I am – and live life to the HILT (even if all my endeavors fall short of my hopes and expectations) than to let my worth lie in my achievement and shut down and never actually live.

So, here’s my question for you – where does your worth lie? What makes you a valuable person of society? Is it your dress size? Your bank account? Is it the accolades you have won? Is it the behavior of your children or the state of your home? Is it a relationship and feeling like another person loves or approves of you?


If it is, you will have zero confidence (unless you can get all those things to the level of perfection that you have decided is “enough”) and never be able to get out of the “low confidence loop”. So come and join me! Place your value and worth where it should be and let’s move into 2018 with CONFIDENCE in spades.

It’s not something you can believe only once – it’s a daily practice of reminding yourself where your worth lies, it’s why I practice affirmations (or, if that word


bothers you, I practice telling myself TRUTH so I don’t believe the lies) every morning and EVERY evening. Confidence must be fought for, day in and day out – but I believe, yes, it CAN grow, and when it does – it changes EVERYTHING!

Let it Shine: An Argument for Speaking Up

An argument for speaking up and letting your light shine.

Shivers ran down my spine as I read about this incredible woman’s life. She fought with words. She fought with stories. She stood her ground. She shook a nation.

Abraham Lincoln when he met her said, “So, this is the little woman who started the great war.”

I am talking about Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A book, I am ashamed to say I have never read (although as soon as I can get to the library I will remedy that right quick).

She is one of my hero’s. She stood for truth. Not in a loud, judgemental, shaking a finger type of way.

She used stories, she was clear headed and she influenced thousands, from a lowly farmer, to the Prime Minister of England.

In this day and age of fake news, click-bait, photoshop and emotional Facebook rants, it’s tempting to either stay quiet or vent emotionally (and irrationally) on topics that matter. I have erred on both sides (although I’m more prone to the emotional ranting, if we’re being honest).

I’ve been told to stay out of it and stay quiet. I’ve been told the best thing to do is to simply love your family and be kind to others.

I agree, that’s a noble thing to do and I love doing it every day. I love having littles and getting to teach them these important lessons and pray that when I release these humans into the world they will stand up and make it a better place.

But, I think there is something to be said for speaking up & speaking out. Even if you make mistakes. Even if you get backlash. Even if you have to go back and apologize when you’ve gone too far. It may be messy, but I am convinced, it is worth the mess.

Learning how to communicate clearly, with emotion but without being mean, with humility but also with strength, takes time, and practice. It takes WORK, and it might seem to some an exercise not worth undertaking, but if you KNOW truth, if you KNOW God’s word, if your heart BREAKS at injustice and a lack of empathy and a complete departure from logic – I encourage you – speak up.

Now, please hear me, this is not an encouragement for more of the ugly, name-calling, lack of compassion, internet trolling – I’m talking about intelligent, balanced, composed, focused and love-filled arguments and conversations.

Words are our most powerful weapons. Words communicate ideas, and ideas get lodged into people’s minds. Eventually those ideas become actions and the actions of many can change the world.

We need more women like Harriet Beecher Stowe. Brave and strong, articulate and compassionate. Unmoving in conviction and powerful in influence.

If there is light in you – don’t hide it, pray about how you can let it shine.

Shine your light: speak up for what you know is right Shine your light, stand up for what you know is right

Experiences Over Things


Maybe it’s adding a fourth child. Maybe it’s that this is now my SEVENTH Christmas as a mother (WHAT?!). Maybe my awesome, minimalist sister is rubbing off on me, but this year I had NO desire to ask for or gift THINGS.

But I don’t want to be a Grinch either!! I LOVE giving gifts and Christmas and trees and twinkling lights as much as anyone. So I’ve been brainstorming how to give experiences instead of things. It’s actually true that things lose their value and excitement over time, but experiences become memories and we cherish them MORE as time passes.

So, here is my list of 15 Experiences you might consider giving to your loved ones. I can tell you for a FACT that I would prefer ANY of these gifts to a scented candle by a LOT.


1) Photo Shoot
When I was pregnant I had my first maternity photo shoot (took me four times to finally get one!) and she came and did a ‘lifestyle’ shoot where we just hung out in our home and the kids were jumping on the bed and we were cuddling and reading a book and I LOVED it so much. For someone to catch the mundane, every day moments, looks and giggles. I think giving someone the gift of a photoshoot would be incredible.

2) Prayer Journal
The experience of communing with God, pouring out your heart to Him and recording it so you can go back and remember His goodness is absolutely priceless. This Write the Word Journal is a great one, full of scripture and then PLENTY of space to interact with and experience it each day.

3) Fitness Program
Of course I’m going to mention a fitness program. Giving someone the gift of health is an amazing experience. But it doesn’t just have to be a workout program or a subscription to Beachbody on Demand. It could be paying for their entrance in a race, obstacle course or tennis or golf lessons. Being active brings JOY and might keep your loved one around longer too – so it’s a win/win.

4) Tickets to a LIVE event
A sporting game, concert or play is such a sensory delight in a day and age where we experience so much behind a screen. To see the sweat on a performer’s face, and laugh along with hundreds of others is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

5) House Cleaning
I would seriously CRY if I was gifted this! If you are not a mom with four small children then you probably don’t get this, but if you KNOW a mom with four small kids then GET IT for her! Trust me, the experience of getting to go out for a few hours and come back to a spotless home will be nothing short of heavenly.

6) Annual pass to a museum or zoo
So often when we go to specialty places like this we stay ALL day because we want to “get the most” out of our entrance fee, but when you have an annual pass you can slow down, smell the roses, enjoy the beauty of the local botanical garden, or an hour or two at a local pool or water park. And this is a gift that will keep on giving for a full YEAR!

7) Baby-sitting
This is again, probably one of those gifts only a mom with four small children would REALLY appreciate, but so many parents just have a TERRIBLE time finding babysitting or use theirs up for work or other events and never get date nights. And even if you have ‘offered’ in the past, we hate to ask – so set a date, and give the gift of sanity – I mean, childcare, to your friends with kids.

8) Coffee
Yes, this could mean giving a gift card to a coffee shop, but MORE than that, give the experience of a coffee date with YOU! So often we say, “We should really get some coffee!” but in our busy lives, we seldom actually PLAN to do it! At least that’s how it is for me. I would just DIE to get this gift – not only because I love me some coffee, but because coffee with a good friend is like therapy!

9) Spa Time
Rest. We all need more of it – amiright? Why not give someone the gift of relaxation. A massage, a facial, a mani or pedi, that relaxing spa music, those robes. It’s an experience we all NEED and seldom get!

10) E-course or Online academy
Now days you can learn pretty much ANY skill from the comfort of your own home. There are so many little online academy’s I would LOVE to take – ones on de-cluttering, goal setting, entrepreneurship, photography. It’s an experience that will enrich someone for the rest of their LIFE as they get to gain a new skill.

11) Adventure sports
Sky-diving has never been my thing, but my sister and her husband did it and it’s apparently a once in a lifetime experience. Or maybe para sailing or water skiing. There are tons of adventure sports that we all “wish” we could do, and even if it doesn’t turn out as picturesque as you envision – it’ll be a great story!

12) Personal Stylist
We all have to get dressed, every single day. But most people don’t LOVE the way they look, they don’t know what their style is or where to shop or how to buy clothes that fit them. Why not give the gift of a personal stylist. You can look one up locally, or find someone online. This experience will not only be fun because….shopping! but will be a gift they use every single day.

13) Cooking Class
Eating is another one of those pesky things we have to do every single day. (I actually love cooking, so not so pesky to me, except when I’m super busy, and it’s getting late, and the kids are melting down and we have nothing that is quick to prepare) There are some GREAT cooking classes for all levels, even some you can have in the comfort of your own home (if you live in the South Florida area you should check out At Your Kitchen). Any gift that ends with a delicious meal is a winner in my book!

14) Conference
There are so many amazing conferences for men, women, writers, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs – you name it, there’s a great gathering for it. These times of refreshing and learning are always something we “wish” we could do, but again, unless someone gifts it to us, or puts it on the calendar and says – GO! we seldom follow through. What an amazing experience to give someone than to provide a space to get away and be enriched in their life.

15) Organizer
Having an organized home and life is one of those invaluable things that seems ever illusive. Hiring someone to come over and organize a part of your loved one’s life could be an absolute GOD-SEND! Sometimes we are so bogged down in the clutter and details, it takes a professional outsider to help sort things in a way that makes sense and keeps our life moving forward and working well.

I can’t wait to find amazing experiences to gift to my family and friends and fill our lives not just our closets and shelves.

I’m Not Good at Math

I'm Not Good at Math
My whole life I told myself: “I’m not good at math.”

English was fun because even though learning grammar was a drag, I got to write stories and there was some sort of interesting thread of language that I enjoyed.

History was fascinating because again, it was stories. People be crazy in ancient times!! I would have so much fun digging into the history of fashion and foods from other lands – loved it.

Science was cool because we did experiments. I could touch it and see it – smoke coming from a beaker, the wings of a butterfly. Learning how the human body worked was mind-blowing!

But math.
Math was cold.
White paper + black numbers.

Nothing about math held my interest. Even when math tried to be fun and have a story with it’s word problems, I couldn’t connect to it. I even tried to give each number a personality. Number 1 was the mother and number 2 was the father. Number 3 was the baby and number 4 was the big sister. Still, my mind just couldn’t focus and I started to tell myself: “I’m not good at math.”

Fast forward to the very end of my associates degree – I had only one math class that was required for this degree and I pushed it off ALL the way to the end. Only by this time, I was also working full time. Morning classes were out and night classes were limited – so I signed up for a class in a campus near to my job but far from my home.

My job ended at 5pm and the class didn’t start until 7pm. I went straight there from work and because I had nothing to do from 5pm to 7pm I made it my habit to go up to the math lab and just work on problems until class started.

My professor was this tiny blond Russian lady who liked to wear the brightest red lipstick. I can still hear her thick accent as she tried to explain slope and variables. I felt pretty lost most of the class, and not until the very end would things finally start to click and make sense. I would often need the tutors in the math lab to help me through the problems, but every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15pm – 6:45pm I would work on those problems.

Something incredible happened after my first exam.

The paper got handed back to me and there at the top in red ink, a PERFECT score.

What!? Me?! I’m terrible at math!

Well, it turns out, I’m not. I’m just terrible at hard work. When things aren’t interesting, when I can’t connect to a story or a fun hands on experiment, I am not good at forcing my mind to just do the hard work.

Not until I was forced to just do the work in a freezing cold math lab and just practice and practice and focus and WORK did I find that I was totally capable of understanding and succeeding in math class.

I ended the class with a near perfect score in all of my exams and got to skip the final because my scores were so high.

Me, the girl who barely passed every high school math class – being the top student in a college level algebra class???

I learned a lot more than equations and formulas in that class. I learned that I make excuses for myself when the reality is I just straight up don’t want to do something. I learned that I am capable of more than I realize. I learned that hard work – even though I never want to do it – is actually rewarding and exhilarating.

I plan to blog fully about my experience last weekend at Summit, but if there’s one thing I learned there, it’s that success is available to everyone, but it’s built by doing one boring small action after another and working HARD and not giving up and believing that it’s not the talented who succeed but those who put in the work even when they’ve thought all their life that they just aren’t good at math.

I feel like I’ve been given permission to be great at whatever I want! As long as I’m willing to put in the work and be consistent with it – I’m not going to listen to that old story anymore.

The Self-Confidence of a Mother

I don’t know about you, but when I became a mom the whole world as I knew it drastically shifted.
It was like entering an alternate universe where there were familiar things around me, but everything looked different.

I didn’t recognize my body – yup, that was still my face, but below it – ?????
I didn’t recognize days of the week any more, I didn’t even have a sense for what time it was.
My world was reduced to the three to four hour cycles between feedings.

I was up at night, I would sleep during the day.IMG_3794
I was disoriented as to who I was supposed to be now. Should I loose myself to this child? Should my every thought and moment be consumed with researching things about taking care of babies, feeding babies and making things for babies? I couldn’t help it at first, but beyond those first few weeks – WHO WAS I NOW?

I knew one thing…the straight A student who always had a great group of friends, always picked up new things relatively quickly and was always busy and working and involved in events and projects was GONE. Now, it seemed I couldn’t do anything right. I’d follow the instructions of one book and my baby would cry at me for hours. I would give in and nurse him to sleep and feel like a failure for raising a “spoiled” child – I was already giving into his demands at 2 weeks old! What kind of mother was I going to be? What kind of baby was I going to raise? I felt frustrated and then he would smile and I’d be amazingly happy and at peace and then a few minutes later bored and then just the thought of trying to clean something or do something had me feeling utterly exhausted.

I wanted to never let my baby out of my arms one moment and I wanted to just get away from it all the next. I felt immensely fulfilled and bored to tears all in the same day. It was confusing to say the least.

But more than just being confusing, it shook my confidence. Pregnancy and motherhood don’t just throw off your body confidence, they throw off your self-confidence entirely. Still to this day, I second guess my decisions as a mother. Am I being too strict, am I being too lenient, am I doing what’s best for my kid’s education, am I doing what’s best for their health and nutrition? There’s no way to escape parenthood without a major knock to your confidence, and that’s where I found myself when I was presented with the opportunity to be a fitness coach.

I remember asking myself – “If I can barely keep up with laundry, get in a shower and keep my kids alive without losing my sanity – how in the world am I going to be a good coach?”

I let my insecurities and perceived “failures” as a Pinterest mom to knock my confidence down so low that I didn’t think I could do something like this. I know I’m not alone, because I talk to so MANY women in my same situation. They reach out to me, desperate for help to get healthy again, to feel good again and be strong and as we talk I learn about some financial need, or how they are struggling to find time to do something for themselves and I ask them if they would be interested in coaching? The immediate response is: “I just don’t think I can handle anything more right now. I can’t be there for others – when I barely feel like I can be there for myself.”

I totally get it of course, but what I know that they don’t (yet) is how much coaching GIVES to me and how little it takes. What I know is that beneath that struggling, exhausted mom is an AMAZING woman who is capable of more than she gives herself credit for.

It saddens me to think of how many moms put themselves on the sidelines because taking a shower is such a difficult thing to accomplish so they think they are no longer capable of accomplishing anything. Let me tell you something – most days, coaching is the EASIEST thing to get done – yes, even easier than getting a shower.

Being a coach got me healthy – kept me going on my fitness journey when I wanted to give up – it GIVES me the fuel I need not just to coach, but to be the present, totally imperfect mom I want to be. It GIVES me the financial freedom to pay a babysitter for date nights and get some rejuvenating time with my husband and away from my kids. It GIVES me an identity and mission outside of my kids, it is mentally challenging and I look forward to it after 3 hours of building the same block tower and knocking it down again. It GIVES me friendships and community with ambitious, funny, sweet and amazing women – without having to leave my house or getting judged at the mom’s group for what kind of stroller I have or the snacks I give my kids (Sorry, maybe that’s just a Miami mom thing…). It GIVES me the opportunity to just care for and love on other women who were just like me, lacking confidence, energy, purpose or focus in their lives.

If you are a mom and you feel like something is missing in your life. You love your kids, but need something in the midst of the crazy you can call your own. That push to be healthier and at the same time the opportunity to bring in supplemental income – then coaching is for you. I don’t care how far your confidence has fallen, trust me – deep inside that yoga pants wearing, three days since a shower, surviving off the leftovers of your kid’s lunch heart of yours is an AMAZING, kick-ass woman who would be an INCREDIBLE coach – I believe in you.

Click here for an application for my next mentorship program or just to let me know you are curious to learn more.


When You Aren’t Winning

It’s easy to move on. It’s easy to forget. When the success starts coming and the weight’s fallen off and the energy is back and the mood is lifted.

I had a conversation the other night that made me remember.

I remember when I wasn’t winning. When every event I had to find an outfit for was frustrating (usually ending in tears). When every night I was too tired and depressed to do anything to better my life so I sat in front of a screen. When I just wanted life to be easy but it felt so hard. When I didn’t like myself – not because of how I looked but because I was choosing daily to be someone I didn’t want to be. I was choosing the easy road to not workout, to not eat healthy, to not do fun creative things with my kids and just turn on the TV for them or numb my pain with sugar and carbs. I was BURNT OUT. I didn’t feel like I could do more, but I hated doing the bare minimum. I was in a fog. My goal was to survive the day without killing anyone (I’m not joking). I knew I was meant for greater things but I was too tired and frustrated with myself to try.

I’m not saying life isn’t still a struggle. I’m not saying that before I wasn’t winning now all I do is win. Yesterday was a pregnancy hormonal roller coaster (my poor husband)! But today is a new day. I KNOW what I’m capable of because I’ve fought my way out of those dark days, and when I see the darkness creeping in again, instead of throwing up my hands and resigning myself to surrender to it, I know I can fight it. I know I can wake up to a NEW day. I can make healthy choices, I can take the kids to the library, park, IKEA, Target, cut up some construction paper and get out some glue, I know I can hit play on a 30 minute workout and no matter how many interruptions I know it’s doing my body some good, I know that the fog that hovers over my mind and convinces me that it’s got to be complicated and it’s going to be too hard, is just a lie, and so I dive in and do my best anyway.

I am OVER living for perfection – working out 6 days a week – only eating organic everything – making my own yogurt and bone broth – I am embracing messy attempts at bettering myself, because perfection will never be me, but resignation to lazy- self-destructive patterns wasn’t getting me anywhere either. It’s not that I win all the time, it’s that I TRY all the time, and there’s some sort of magic in trying.

If you aren’t winning, if you don’t even have the strength or confidence to try, if you are in that fog, if you see my posts and roll your eyes because you just can’t…I KNOW that place. I haven’t forgotten. We all hit our rock bottom and we all realize our own strength at different times and in different ways, but let me assure you – there is a spark of the divine in you and that spark just needs to be fanned into a flame. It’s one gust of air away from burning brightly again.

I wish we could sit over coffee and I could blow on that spark, and show you how I see you, how those around you see you, how bright you shine – because I know with the sunglasses of self-doubt and the ear plugs of past failures on it’s hard to see things clearly.

So, this is my love letter to you – when you aren’t winning. Things aren’t as dark as they seem.



My Word for 2016

Last year I started the practice of choosing a word for the year. In 2015 I settled on “Calculated” I wanted to make  every moment, every decision and every action point toward my goals and push me toward the person I wanted to become.

This year, with the anticipation of a new baby and the explosive growth that my team and my business are poised to take I was excited about the growth to be had, but I felt like instead of the forceful “make it happen” attitude I had in 2015 I was being drawn toward the simpler “let it happen”.

I feel like in 2015 I have hustled and worked and pushed and grown like crazy! It’s been amazing to see what I am capable of – to see the lives changed and my team built and grown from virtually nothing to a thriving team of over 300 coaches.

In 2016 however I am feeling a shift. Yes, still working hard. Yes, still focused on goals. Yes, still bold in my actions, but a focus on nurturing the ROOTS of my business “tree” instead of exerting energy on the leaves, flowers and fruit of my business.


My word for 2016 is “ROOTED”  and it’s all about digging deep. Not just springing up quickly, with no foundation for sustainable growth, but truly taking time the build a foundation with integrity. To invest in the fundamentals and to strengthen my team and myself until we are an unshakable force. The height of the tree will only increase in proportion to the depth of the roots.

I see this applying to all areas of my life, not just my business, but with my children, with my marriage and with my own personal and spiritual health. I want to invest in the nourishing of our roots and let the growth happen as an organic outcome.

Less striving, more thriving.

I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store, if it’s anything like 2015 it will be absolutely incredible with a few surprises thrown in – which is totally fine with me.

Do you take time each year to reflect, set goals or come up with a word? I’d love to hear from you and your plans and hopes for the new year – such an exciting time of new beginnings!

A Small But Mighty Woman

We entered the funeral home, all three kids in tow. I felt a bit embarrassed to bring the crazy into such a calm sobriety, but she loved it when we would bring them into her tiny apartment in East Hialeah. She always had little gifts for them, something small she got from the bodega down the street. Even though I was full of anxiety that one of the kids would break something (tiny apartment + lots of tiny porcelain figures and vases + three small children = potential disaster) the smile on her face always put me at ease.

At 98 years old, her passing was no surprise. She had suffered much in her life and she was ready to move on, but this small woman left a big impact.

Of course the family was there to mourn and memorialize her passing, but what struck me more than anything were the other women there. Her hairdresser, her caretakers, all in tears, sharing stories of her kindness, bravery and strong spirit. She did not die with some great title, or having started a movement or even been known by thousands of people, but she lived a truly GREAT life. She made a HUGE impact because of the small acts of love she performed on a daily basis for those close to her.

She made a PROFOUND impression of everyone who knew her, not because she was eloquent or especially fashionable or wealthy or grand, but because of her LOVE.

I want to take notice of more people like Hortensia. The small but mighty who choose to love no matter how much work, no matter how inconvenient, no matter if they feel like it or not. They slip under the radar, un-appreciated by most, no glitz or glamor, but their impact on the world and those around them could not be more profound.

“Do small things with great love.” is a quote by Mother Theresa that I have always been drawn to, but this Monday, in a funeral home in Hialeah, I saw more clearly than ever what that kind of life looks like.

Will It Always Be This Hard?

Will it Always Be This Hard?The other night I was feeling discouraged. I have such high aspirations for my life. Doing personal development is probably the BEST thing that I’ve added to my life in this past year and a half of being a Beachbody Coach, but the more I listen to other people’s “best advice” on living a better life, the longer my to-do list gets.

I love getting tips from others, and I want to implement so much of it – but too much of a good thing isn’t always good.

My mind races with all of my “goals” to be intentional toward my husband and building up our marriage, and with my kids, to shower them with love and affirmation and train them to be respectful and do chores around the house, and feed them whole healthy foods, and limit their tv time and make sure they play outside every day and expose them to the arts and then with my business – best practices for training my coaches, and motivating my challengers and keeping my own healthy journey on track, and then my church and investing in the ladies in my small group and making time to get to church early for a new class and then my extended family – supporting them through sickness, helping them with a move, making sure I carve out time to chat when they are going through major life changes and don’t forget to manage our finances, and track our spending daily and make sure we are contributing to our investments and the kid’s college fund and not going out to eat too much, but still being ok to spend money on date nights because our marriage is important, and my own spiritual growth – taking time to read scripture and be in prayer – but not to neglect the house either – the kids need an orderly, safe place to grow up in.

So many best practices, so many plates to keep spinning – I’ve only barely scratched the surface of all the things that run through my mind on a daily and hourly basis! So many opportunities to feel like a failure, so many areas I need to “excel” in and so many “consequences” for not living properly.

It’s exhausting. It’s tempting to just want to throw in the towel and give up on EVERYTHING! (Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but that’s how I feel sometimes).

It just seems like everything that is right and good takes SO much hard work.
And I’m tired.

Will it always be this hard?

Thankfully I was able to sort through some things last night and I realized – it won’t.

Years ago I read this book called The Power of Habit. The majority of the things we do each day are habits. Getting up and out of bed and shuffling over to the bathroom is a habit. You don’t sit up and think, “Ok, where should I walk to? The Kitchen? No. The Living Room? No. The Bathroom? Well, I do have a lot of useful things I can do there…ok! The Bathroom it is!” No, you’ve done it every single day for so long, that it is a habit. It’s actually scary how many things in our life are controlled by habit! Driving, making a sandwich, the questions we ask in a conversation, so much of what we do in life is habit. It’s because our brains would be too exhausted to make every single decision we need to make in a day over and over again. It makes short cuts for us, so when we receive a trigger (waking up) we take an action (walk to the bathroom) and we are rewarded for it (we are ready for the day) and our brain thinks: “This is a good action to take when the trigger of waking up happens – repeat every morning.” And the habit is born.

This is a good thing to know because we can use this brain shortcut to live well without feeling so overwhelmed. All these things that I want to do, all of my grand aspirations will be much more manageable if I turn them into habits. Things that I do automatically, without having to make a new decision every day.

So, I’ve decided to start small, choose one thing I want to change and implement and turn it into a habit. To create a new habit all you need to do is follow the pattern:

If I want to wash my face more consistently than I do (this is a real thing for me), I decided that when I wash my hands to take off my contacts, I will wash my face at the same time. There’s my trigger and my action, and when I am done I will put on the delicious smelling lotion that I love – because yummy smells brings me pleasure, and that is my brain’s reward.

It’s going to take some effort, it’s going to take some will-power and intentionality to get the wheel moving, and get the habit established, but once I do, I won’t have to stress about it, or work so hard to make the decision, it will be an automatic part of who I am.

You can apply this to investing in your marriage, spending time with your kids, building spiritual disciplines. Get a trigger, do the action and reward yourself for it. Put in the work to create a habit and it WON’T always be this hard.
If you are interested in learning more about this concept, I encourage you to get the book The Power of Habit, I am not an amazon affiliate or anything, I just think it’s a great read.

The Courage to Leave it On the Field

leave it on the field - Live with courageAll of my life I’ve held somewhat of a public role. It’s a small stage, I’ll admit, but being a pastor’s kid, knowing that eyes are on you, was a reality growing up – and even to this day. My successes and failures have been on display, for many to watch (and judge), quietly or not so quietly.

I’ll be the first to tell you there is MUCH in my growing up years that I look back on and shake my head about – mostly just the stupidity of youth, some of it downright selfishness and rebellion. I’m not silent about what I believe, I never have been, and I seldom back away from challenging others when I feel they are off and their beliefs are hurting themselves or others. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong – I try to communicate with as much kindness and compassion as I would want given to me. I welcome opposing points of view and my respect for those courageous enough to share it with me only GROWS.

Recently I’ve had my motives questioned, unfriended, and have been told that close friends think I am completely BS-ing them just to make money. I’m not going to lie and say this hasn’t hurt, deeply. But when things like this happen (and I wish I could say this is the first time) I always have a decision to make. Do I defend myself (this is ABSOLUTELY what I want to do more than anything) do I shrink back and shut up so that nothing I ever say will be taken the wrong way again? Do I censor myself and move toward the safe middle ground, saying what I know other’s want me to say but essentially lying because it’s not really how I feel?

Everytime I mull these questions around in my head I come to the same conclusion: “I may come to the end of my life and find out I have been wrong about many things. I will most certainly hurt, bother and offend many people along the way. But If there’s one thing that I want to be able to say at the end of my life it’s that I left it all on the field. I didn’t shrink back from trying to help someone, I didn’t take the easy road, I didn’t let my life go by, simply content with mediocrity, I didn’t EVER stop trying to become the best, most vibrant, most generous, most authentic and godly person I could be. I never stopped fighting and I NEVER gave up. I had the courage to leave it all on the field.”

This post isn’t necessarily aimed at any one person – those who have questioned, unfriended and misunderstood me know who they are and they know that I hold no ill will against them. They aren’t the first and they won’t be the last. This post is simply a peek into my life – which is a mess – and I hope a spark for you to not worry about the mistakes you make along the way – as long as you are in the game making mistakes you won’t regret this life. As long as you push forward, stay humble and realize that you ARE a work in progress who WILL screw up and don’t let that fact take you out of the game. There are worse things than living all out and having a few missteps along the way – there are things far worse – throwing in the towel, giving up and being satisfied with just surviving is far worse my friends.

Stay foolish. Stay hungry.
When (not if) you fall down, brush yourself off and leave it ALL on the field.