self improvement

Yesterday, I spent the entire day pulling weeds from the gardens. Great big piles of them. Some of those weeds had become larger than the flowers. I could feel them laughing at me as I tugged and pulled, as I muttered at myself, berating myself for letting things get so out of hand. Oh sure…we’ve been out playing, enjoying the summer sun, making every day count.

While we’ve been doing that, the weeds were raging a battle in the garden and doing a victory dance. Well not for long. The weeds are gone and today I pay the price as I gingerly walk about the house, muscles crying out for relief. “What were you thinking?” They would like to know. “Did you have to tackle every single weed on the same day?”

Well, um…once I got started….I wasn’t thinking about my aching muscles or the pain that would been be the price to pay. I was only thinking about weeds, the way you take your eye off of them for a moment and they take over. How you then have to fight back with a vengeance.

I think weeds are a cousin to laundry. Weeds and laundry and the mail. Insidious nasty things that look soooooo innocent. You skip doing the laundry just one day. The next thing you know you are out of underwear and there is a mountain of dirty clothes in your room and you carpet has disappeared. Drop the mail on your desk for just one day without sorting it and shebang…the top of your desk will disappear without a trace. Take you eyes off of your garden and wallah the weeds will gobble up your flowers faster than you can blink.

I am pretty good about laundry most of the time. Flylady sends me these wonderful little e-mails that say “Time to reboot the laundry” and it’s just enough of a reminder to click my brain into action to go throw in a load and go put away the last one. She doesn’t remind me to toss my junk mail but I have set up a system for that and frankly most of the time I will open the mail right in front of the recycle bin, so I give myself better than 50/50 on that one.

But I am going to have to admit to a miserable grade this year so far on weeds. Someone is going to come along and take away my gardening hobby status. You would never guess that I love to garden from the look of things. Its a case of having so many hobbies and things that I enjoy that I just can’t do them ALL well. The garden is suffering. So…that area gets a little more attention for awhile.

Awhile back I wrote a post about Balancing Balloons and keeping them all up in the air at once. Even within my Hobby balloon, I can’t keep all my hobbies up at once! Sometimes I have to make choices or juggle them back and forth for awhile. Time to put the garden back on the front burner so I can enjoy its beauty and not battle the weeds.

As I was pulling the giant weeds yesterday, I was reminded yet again, how much simpler it would have been if I had just taken a few minutes each day, to pull the tiny weeds from the garden instead of ignoring it altogether and having to spend a gorgeous Sunday pulling Monster weeds and paying the price on a Monday in pain. I know this. Yet… it’s a lesson that comes back to haunt me over and over and over. With weeds, and with life.

Don’t ignore the small things. Don’t procrastinate. Be diligent and daily maintain what needs upkeep. Weeds have an amazing ability to grow and they grow really deep roots if you let them. Catch them while they are little and yank them out by the roots.

I am going to do better. I promise my aching back. I really am.


Taking Time for Time Out.

self improvement

Some days you just can’t ride the pony.

No matter how many goals, road-maps, or shots of sunshine you slide down your throat, you are just not getting on. Not today.

But….you should right? So…you make yourself move forward, you push through it, you put on your riding gear and you tell yourself you CAN, YOU WILL… and you…are…hating…every…stinking…rotten…minute…and dang…you also hate that entire group of friends that cheers you on.

Maybe you need to change you stinkin’ thinkin?  Maybe you need to try a little harder and put your mind to the grindstone? Maybe you aren’t believing hard enough? Maybe you haven’t drank enough sunshine cocktails and aren’t drunk enough on the good life dream?

The answer is probably none of those things. In fact, the answer is most likely farther away from all of them.

Sometimes what you need is a break. A change of pace. Now I know a few of you just thought “Yippee!” and were half way to the fridge for a beer with visions of late night TV stuck in your head, but it isn’t what I’m talking about here. I am speaking about re-filling the tank. You know you are going to pay for those beers come morning. I’m talking about choosing activities that will pay you instead.

The price of not taking time to re-fuel is very high. Constantly running our bodies on HIGH and being ON day in and day out, even if we are following a goal is costly and needs to be balanced out with healthy sleep, healthy food, and relaxing, rejuvinating mind time.

Otherwise we are setting ourselves up for a very insidious case of burn out. Nothing will derail your goals quicker then that. Knock your feet right out from under you leaving you on your backside looking up at the stars wondering what in the world went wrong. I actually know a few people who have made a pattern out of this. Get a goal, work on it hard and fast like a rocket for a few years, be a shining success, then the next thing you know, they aren’t doing that any more. Why? They ran out of steam. They couldn’t sustain it. They fell off the pony. Never got back up. They had to go find something else to do. They never seem to figure out what is tripping them up.

Burn out is a very serious condition that can land on you before you ever knew it was knocking on your door. If you catch it while it is still brewing, and is still technically just a bad case of stress, it can be easily treated with lifestyle changes. However, if left untreated, this nasty condition can destroy temperaments, friendships, relationships, and life paths that once you thought were your life’s dream. Late stage burn out symptoms include feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, detachmentment, reduced productivity, loss of motivation, feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands, resentful, physical illness and the most telling sign, that there is no hope that there will be any positive change. (Sounds a lot like depression and some sources will tell you that burn out is a type of clinical depression, that is controversial and not part of our discussion.) When it is still in the *Stress* category, there is still *hope*, when stress has swung all the way over to full-fledged burn out, the light has gone out, it seems hopeless and all you want to do is quit, give up, walk away and never look back.

Besides studying the effects of burn out, I speak from some very personal experience. I have the charred remains to back it up. I went from a very successful career to feeling overwhelmed, out of balance, not spending enough time with my family and physically unhealthy. Suddenly my dream job was a nightmare. I couldn’t understand how I ever liked it in the first place. It took a long time to see that burn out had reared its ugly head. I don’t ever want to do that again. A body isn’t meant to run on high speed non stop, taking on more and more for long periods of time with no breaks, being all things to all people. It Can’t. It Won’t, It Doesn’t Believe. It expects you to take care of it for the performance you are getting out of it. Spiritually, Mentally and Physically.


It starts here. I won’t mince words or sugar coat this. What happens in the Spiritual realm for you will carry through in the rest of your life as well. I’m not telling you what Higher power to believe in, who to worship, or what to do. I’m just telling you that it does make a difference when you take the time to get quiet with yourself, focus and spend some time here. It can be reading spiritual books,  a walk in a park, time in your kayak, prayer, church, again, I won’t say how, but that quiet time of listening and focus and being one with yourself- and anyone else you will share that with- is very powerful. Keeping a written journal is also a powerful way to get some enlightenment on what is going on inside of you.


There are too many things we have to do. Surviving on handing out what we already know day in and day out makes us weary. Learning stuff for work that we only half care about is step one into bored and resentful. Make a list of fun for you things. Topics you would read and learn about just because it interests you. Go on a weekend excursion. To the museum or a lake or wherever your heart desires. Go to your calendar and PUT IN ON THERE. Make a date. The problem with chores & work stuff is that it will fill every nook and cranny of your life. So fill those nooks first. Your work can wait. You can’t. That’s the bottom line. You come first.


 Yes, we have to exercise. That almost goes without saying in this age of can’t turn around without a new exercise program being *The One* to make us a perfect 10. ( And no, we don’t NEED to be a perfect 10, thank goodness)  A combo of cardio, strength training and something to maintain our flexibility so we can still bend down, tie our own shoes and play with the grandkids is a nice balanced approach. There is something out there for everyone’s fitness level.

But that doesn’t finish the deal. The majority of adult Americans are sleep deprived. I can’t speak for our Canadian friends and the rest of the world, but I know that we Americans are either not getting enough or we aren’t getting quality sleep. Lack of enough or quality sleep leads to poor health, weight gain and stress. All significant precursors to burn out. Making good sleep a priority is an absolute must for anyone looking to reach-and keep their goals.

Good nutrition. You wouldn’t expect your car to run on bad fuel. You wouldn’t expect to grow your vegetables in poor soil. But you expect your body to run on sugar, alcohol fumes, simple carbs, greasy fats and low protein. And you expect it to produce high speed production!  We forget that we are machines and that we can only produce based on what we are given. Start thinking about food as nutrition and fuel instead of rewards and entertainment. See if that helps to make a difference in your approach to food.


Everyone has a down day now and then. Everyone has a day where physical health gets in the way. But if day after day something inside is rebelling and bucking you off the pony and you can’t figure out why, take a look at all three of these areas. Has one of them been neglected for way too long? More than one? Take a time out. Time for a retreat and a new plan of action. Regroup. Get back to basics.

You aren’t going to reach the stars if you can’t get off the ground first.


leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

As a very small child, whenever I would get discouraged, I would plop myself down on the floor like a doll made of rags and let out a hopeless wail. “I Can’t…..” would be my pitiful cry. “I don’t know how, it’s too hard, I’m too tired.”

My mother would turn on a dime, narrow her dark Italian eyes, laser beam them into me and say in a voice as commanding as any Military General ever born, ” You CAN and you WILL. HOW does not matter. THAT  we can figure out. Now GET UP!”

Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you, that  was the end of my temper tantrum.

Quitting has never been an option in our family of scrappy little fighters. Raised by my Mother, a woman who raised three children on her own after waking up one day to find her husband had made other plans for his life, she had learned to take surprises and situations and  wrestle them into the life that SHE wanted for us. SHE expected to rise to challenges and goals and she expected no less from us. There were no acceptable excuses. She had an answer for everything. Being tired? Everyone gets tired. So what, learn to rest, balance and push through. Being scared doesn’t cut it. Only fools are stupid enough to not be scared. Not having all the answers is not a reason not to start.  Only the truly stupid think they are wise, the wise know there is always more yet to learn. In my mother’s world, If you want something you have to go for it. If it is right for you and the people you love, then there is no excuse for not doing it. You CAN and you WILL. And she does.

Then why is it not that simple for the rest of us? Not so black and white? The simple determination to march into battle for your noble cause day after day…why does it again and again reduce us to whining, sniveling, crying children?

It took me a long time to learn the third part of my mother’s power.  She had had it all along. It was a mysterious strength that gave her indomitable spirit. That kept her strong and unflinching when she left her secure job, the only thing that put food on the table for her and her three small children and took her measly $3000 and invested every dime she had to start her own business. She could have FAILED. We could have lost everything. She had one thing in her back pocket that was so powerful that it propelled her forward and would not let her down. She had something that most people didn’t have.

She knew that the only way to get from a life that had a steady-but a measly paycheck where she had to work double shifts in a factory and leave her small children home alone was to take a chance. She knew that although the risk was great, that we wouldn’t have insurance at first, that we would have less money to begin with, that we would have no reliable income AT ALL to begin with, that she could make it on her own elbow grease. That something to look forward to with hope was better than a lifetime of looking at what she would have if she changed nothing.

I didn’t understand what that something was at such an early age. She was just my Mom. Maybe I thought that all moms were fierce warriors who went out each day to take on the world.

Later in life, I went into sales. Real Estate sales specifically, although I dabbled my way up to that in other types of sales jobs before that. Sales is HARD. Being rejected is hard. Initiating contacts, talking to strangers, making cold calls, learning contract negotiations, managing files, hand holding nervous and temperamental clients is all hard and very stressful. The overwhelming majority of Real Estate agents quit within 3-6 months of getting their license. They say anyone can become a Realtor. It takes a good one to stay one. I decided to stack my odds. I hired the industry’s best Real Estate coach in the business to coach me and teach me the tools I needed to succeed. All that I learned in the six years of being one of the top agents in our company is more than a blog could hold.  But one of the major things that I paid good money to learn had been right there at home all my life.


Beverly Buffini is the wife of Brian Buffini, Brian being the head of Buffini & Company, the coaching company I was just referring to. Beverly Buffini worked with him and toured with him and spoke at the seminars because frankly she was so inspiring that everywhere she went the crowd went nuts. Beverly grew up to be an All-American volleyball player at the University of Tennessee where she was inducted into the Tennessee Hall of Fame in the first class of women ever to achieve that honor. She went on to become a member of the US National Volleyball Team that participated in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She now uses her skills of discipline, determination, and focus to juggle raising six kids, and writing, and touring as a motivational speaker. Listening to her speak was one of my greatest inspired moments.

Beverly brought home for me the third part of the ingredients for success in her book, I CAN, I WILL, I BELIEVE. For each of the areas that she wrote about, and spoke about, Beverly outlined her viewpoints on the power behind each of those words. Summarizing, she wrote about:

CAN: to be able mentally or spiritually. She attributes the childhood story The Little Engine That Could with the basis for CAN. Perhaps not too coincidently, that story was one that my mom read to us almost every night. The basis of pushing away negative fears and focusing on the positive is the foundation for any dream to come true. In Beverly’s words, ” Particuarly in my athletic endeavors, I learned to be patient, that success only comes when and if the I CAN attitude endures over time. Giving up was not an option when things got tough. I had to persist if I wanted to make my hopes and dreams a reality. With that mindset, I could achieve my specific goals.”

WILL: is the reinforcement of purpose, drive and discipline necessary to spring CAN into life. WILL is the Action word that makes it happen. Webster’s defines WILL as a concious choice and a strong, fixed purpose. She spoke about the choices and priority shifting that it takes to keep the WILL going. She talks about sacrifice and risk. She states, “What was the principle lesson I learned from this? That in order to achieve and find fullfillment and enjoyment in achieving, I had to step beyond the familiar and accept personal risk. I learned that even condemnation or ridicule were possibilities if my choices did not coincide with someone else’s expectations.

BELIEVE: to take as true or real, to have confidence in something or someone; to have faith, especially religious faith (Webster). For some of us, myself included, Faith of a higher power would be moved up to the front of that defination, and for Beverly she says, “For me, I believe has a significance far beyond simply believing that I can and will do what I set out to do. I believe that we are inspired and helped by God and that we have a responsibilty to do our best to live up to that inspiration. I also get a sense of being assisted and directed by a Force beyond myself, and I desire that feeling.”

I Can, I Will, I Believe. I came out of that motivational seminar on fire. I bought the book. Heck. I bought the T-shirt. Honest, I really did. It’s royal blue with big bold white letters going right across my chest and anytime I need a little extra power pumped in to my self esteem I put it on and strut around.  All because she made my mother’s CAN & WILL tangible.

They say you can’t be a prophet in your own backyard. I guess I had to go far away and pay good money to hear what Mom had been saying all along.  I had to hear it from someone else to understand that the secret ingredient that made my mother stand so hard and fast is her faith. Belief in a higher power (God), Belief that she is doing what is right for her family, belief that if you believe in it, work hard for it, visualize it then you CAN make it happen.

By the way, that’s a far cry from stick it on a poster board, stare at it every day and sit back and wait for it to arrive. That would never be my mother’s style. While those that wait-are busy waiting, my mother and her clan are busy doing the WILL part and BELIEVING that with those two together…..why yes…yes you CAN.

Balancing Balloons

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

It isn’t easy balancing all the different areas of our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are hanging on to a giant bunch of colorful balloons and if we aren’t holding on tightly to every single string then …POOF! There goes all of our balloons up in the air drifting away, heading for the clouds or trees, getting caught up in the branches of life.

Ever felt like a wailing child who’s balloon just went POP? Whaaaaaa, There went my red balloooon……

But Honey…you still have a green one.

But I neeeed my red one tooooo……

Of course you do. We need all of our Balloons. Every single one of them. But somehow, just as you get the air back in the Physical Fitness Balloon the Spend Time with Family Balloon starts sinking slowly to the ground. Then Bob at work signs you up as the team leader for an important project and the Business Balloon gets puffed full of air while the Fitness Balloon takes a nosedive. And that Spiritual Balloon? Comes up only on Sunday. The Finance Balloon? Well, You kick it along on the ground with your toe, just to help it keep up.

Sure, you have goals. But every time you start on a goal, something else seems to suffer. It’s almost frightening to start something new. It’s like planning to fail, you can just feel one of those balloons start to lose air. The question is…which one?

It doesn’t have to be so frightening. ( says the Queen of focus) ( yes, I know, it’s terrifying) There is a way that can help those of us that struggle to keep our balloons in the air. I write this as one who struggles. I write as one who is learning as I go along. Not as an expert. I once said you would never hear about how I am an expert in balance at Life’s Little Inspirations. And you won’t. But I will share what helps a cobbler, cobbling along. Balance is my handicap. I get a new gig and I run full force with two feet forward until I fall down. However, as I learn and grow, I fall faster and get up quicker. I grab my balloon string just as it starts to slip now instead of after the red balloon is gliding off to heaven. I’m learning some tips to help me hang on to my balloons.

I thought I’d share my tips with you, maybe you can share some of yours with me, maybe together we can keep our balloons a little longer!

Wendi’s Tips For Balancing Balloons

  • Label your balloons clearly. It’s not enough to know that they are the RED Balloon and the GREEN Balloon. Get in touch with your main balloons. What are they? What are the main five to six areas of your life that need your daily focus? What balloons are you trying to keep in the air?
  • Look at your goals. Name the number 1.2.& 3 goals for each balloon. Now take a good look. Are these connected? Or do they have you running in circles? Try looking for a long term goal, then breaking it down into a ninety day goal. Now what can you do this week to affect that goal? How about today? See the difference? You might want to put the other two goals aside for a bit if they weren’t connected to the long term vision. The point of the exercise is to end up with a short term, a mid-term (90 day) and your long term goal.
  • Put it in Writing. Now that you have a goal for each balloon, put it in writing. IF YOUR PLAN IS NOT IN WRITING, IT ISN’T A PLAN, ITS A DREAM. Get out your planning calendar and start filling in dates that you will take action on your plan. Seeing an actual appointment on your calendar will hold you more accountable. Write in the TIME that you will do the action. Make the actual appointment. IF it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a plan…if it’s not a plan…it’s a dream. ( Starting to sink in?)
  • Ask yourself WHY? Why have you made these goals? Staying motivated to keep balanced in all of these goals is difficult. It takes discipline and focus. Staying Motivated is linked to your inner purpose, your inner drive and your passion. No passion = no fuel in the tank to make it happen. Write down the WHY of your goals. “I am doing this because….. ” Make sure you know what your passion is for each one of your balloons. Sometimes we only feel passion for one of our balloons at a time. This is the single largest reason our other balloons start sinking to the ground. Start a sentence for each balloon that says “I am passionate about this because…” and review it daily.
  • Record and compare & Journal. Track your results in a daily planner or on your calendar. Be accountable to the progress you made in each area. Remember, this isn’t a long list. With only one goal of focus in each area, you are only looking at a few minutes a day. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by making your expectations too high. The goal is one bite of the elephant at a time in each area. We aren’t out to eat the entire herd! Journal about your progress and expectations. No matter how it FEELS like it’s going, stay the course! The discipline of sticking it out when the going gets rough brings opportunity and personal growth, whether you meet the original goal or not!.
  • Create an visual reminder. Draw a chart with the five circles in it, or make a poster board with different color balloons if that helps you. Keep it present, in front of you. Out of sight is out of mind. If you want to make a dry erase board that you can write on every day-go for it! What ever makes it easy for you to envision the balloons that you are trying to keep up.
  • Keep it fun! You are more likely to stick with something if you are having fun with it. Balloons are fun for me to imagine, But you can turn balloons into whatever is fun for you. Have a good time with it.  Running shoes, or Stars or Olympic Circles. One point of the theme that is significant to me is that they are all connected. It reminds me that no part of my life survives untouched without the rest. When my health suffers, my family suffers, when my family suffers, my work suffers. When my work suffers our budget suffers. And around and around it goes.

Balance is important. That doesn’t mean that it will ever be easy for me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to be creative and energetic and run through life like a shooting star. Not so much like a Zen Master. But by finding creative and fun ways to work on balance, I can keep my balloons from floating away.

How about you? How do you keep your balloons from flying off to heaven or running out of air? Please share! We all need the help!

The Garden Gate

family, Healthy Lifestyles, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life, Uncategorized


Through the gate is something more. Does it make you wonder? What lies beyond the garden gate? What majesty? What splendor?

Or are you busy rushing by, not taking time to notice. Does every moment have you booked, tick-tock, your time is over….wake up tomorrow, do it again..tick-tock…tick-tock…tick-tock.

Busyness. Rushing around. Fitting it all in. Adding one more thing to the already over loaded to-do list. Juggling all the balls up in the air. Praying, hoping they will just stay up there. Somehow.

God, it’s exhausting.

Where is the balance? Where is the peace and tranquility? Where is the time for creativity, family, laughter?

At the Garden Gate.

At the garden gate, if you choose to open the gate and walk in, you will find the peace you are looking for. You will find the time to spend with family. You can paint. You can play. You can read, You can play ball, go for walks, exercise, whatever you want to do. Go fishing. What do you want to do beyond the gate? What dream have you been putting on hold? It can happen.

You just have to make that choice. Go ahead. Walk through the gate.

But….if I walk through the gate….I won’t have time for………

What? Finish that thought. What are the time wasters that are keeping you from walking through the Garden Gate?

Are you….

Over-promised with commitments that really aren’t that important to you anymore but you don’t know how to get out of?

Over-extended with family and friend obligations that feel like *have-to* events that cut into meaningful family time?

Over-prioritizing unnecessary time-wasters like Internet, computer games, TV that are really just procrastination devices?

Overwhelmed with disorganized habits and clutter that slow you down and cause you to be inefficient with your time?

What others? There are more, many more.

What can we do to get closer to the gate? To open it more often? At least get in for a visit now and then. Maybe hang out on the weekends for starters. Then work our way up to an hour or two every day. After awhile, you may realize a wonderful surprise. It is possible to LIVE in the garden all the time. It can become a lifestyle. It isn’t easy at first, and it takes breaking some habits. But it’s worth it. The garden is a beautiful, peaceful, wonderful place to live where you have time to explore your hobbies and spend time with families and friends, and enjoy long interesting conversations filled with laughter and fun.

Here are a few of the things that our family has done to enjoy more time beyond the Garden Gate.

Turn off the TV. Unless we are enjoying a family night watching a movie together with popcorn and the whole fun deal, the TV isn’t on. No sitcoms, no news, no droning on in the background sucking away our attention. We are free to pay attention to each other and play with each other.

Reduce clutter, get organized This is an on-going challenge. We have been on a mission for the past two years to reduce any and all clutter and unnecessary gadgets and materialistic *stuff* from our lives. Result? Less stuff=less to clean and take care of. Easier ability to organize the important things that we do want to keep. That means more family time to play.

Prioritize value of commitments. We took a hard look at the groups, clubs and meetings we were a part of and started analyzing their value to our family. It was an eye-opener! We began the process of evaluating our commitments differently. Time started showing up right there! This is a constant review that is always being re-evaluated. What are your family values? How do your commitments measure up?

Schedule time for things you want to do. Get your family’s stuff on the calendar FIRST. It is going to be much easier to say  “Oh, I’m so sorry we can’t make it to the 100th birthday party this month, we already have something on the calendar”  when you actually DO have something on the calendar. There isn’t any reason to mention that the calendar says “spend the entire day playing with our family.” Your family is priority number one. AND oh by the way…so are you.

Plan dinner time. Bringing back the family dinner time in the dining room has done more to slow down our lives then all the rest. Planning menus ahead of time, being prepared and having a relaxing, non-rushed dinner with a set table, candles and everyone enjoying conversation has been a wonderful experience. There have been many evenings that we have sat chatting and laughing all the way until bedtime. I strongly recommend the return of candle-lit dining room dinners as often as possible. They are magical!


Through the Garden Gate is a simpler time with more focus on getting back to basics, nature, family and good friends. Spending quality time doing the things that are truly important to you, not the things that are on your *should* list or your *I feel guilty so I have to* list. It’s not a life built around keeping up with the latest gadgets and the ‘Jones’ and making sure you are on the right side of the Star-Bellied Sneetches this week. It’s about letting go. Cutting back. Focusing on the Truly Important.

Would you care to join us beyond the Garden Gate? It’s beautiful in here. Come on in…

Catch on Fire but Don’t Burn the Laundry

family, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

” Catch on Fire with Enthusiasm and People will Come from Miles to Watch You Burn”

John Wesley

There are days that the moment my feet hit the floor, I am driven by the desire, the passion, the very need, to succeed at my mission. Whatever that mission may be at the time, I can not drive the singular focus out of my head. It is a drumbeat, a rhythm, an obsession that calls to me. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I am pulled back to the mission, the plan…the goal…and I am practically useless to anyone or anything else.

My close friends and family call this Wendi’s “radar focus”. It is my best secret for success and my biggest flaw all rolled into one.

I can’t help it.

One thing I am an expert on is enthusiasm. When I catch on fire, its hard to put me out. It can take entire fire departments to derail me and get me back to the land of the living. Smoke ends up all over the place, and things can end up in a big mess as I probably haven’t even looked around at anything else other than my goal for a long time.

 One of the things that I have been working in the past few years is balancing my surge of enthusiasm with living in the day to day”real world”. The simple ( well, simple for other people) act of managing parenting and household tasks, along with working, while in the throws of unbridled enthusiasm for a project is very difficult for me to balance. For most people, this is where the enthusiasm starts to ebb away. For me, this is where the laundry starts to pile up.

Often, I get comments from people that know me regarding my enthusiasm. “Man, I wish I had half of your enthusiasm” they say.

That part is easy. Here you go:

Wendi’s Tips for Getting out of Bed on Fire:

1. Find your passion. Name something you feel very strongly or passionately about or something that you have always wanted to do. Journal it, daydream it, play the “If I could do anything I wanted and fear or money was no object, what would it be?” game.  Ask yourself what you want your legacy to be at the end of your life. What would you like to be remembered for?  What do you most regret having NOT done so far in your life? If there is an answer to any of these questions write it down.

2. Make a list. Write down every single reason you have not taken action on that goal. Look at that list. Everything on that list that has to do with fear, cross off. It doesn’t count. Never run your life based on fear. Dare to fail. It’s good for you. Everything else on that list is a learning experience, not an obstacle. Start numbering them and start learning. Accept no excuses as to why you can’t learn about those things.

3. Start seeing the possibilities. Get out a new piece of paper and write down what your life will look like after you have succeeded in your goal. Will the world be a better place? Will you have improved as a person? See the vision. Make an action plan with the items that were left on your list. Make sure you put it in writing. Just thinking about it isn’t good enough.

4. Break down the vision into reachable goals. Once it starts to look doable, your confidence will start to build. Once you begin to believe it is achievable, the spark of enthusiasm will start to ignite.

5. Fan the flames. Read as much inspirational material as you can from several sources. Zig Zigler, James Allen, Jim Rohn are three sitting on my desk right now. Currently popular are The Secret and Law of Attraction. Whatever feeds your fire is great, but feed it you must, fires require oxygen and positive energy is the enthusiastic fire’s fuel.

6. Proclaim your vision to visionaries-not vampires.Sharing your goals and dreams with other like-minded positive, energetic, enthusiastic people will create a windstorm of energy flowing in your direction. You will feel the current as it swirls around, creating ideas, solutions and connections that you never even dreamed possible. Conversely, share your dreams with an energy vampire and watch them suck the life-energy and confidence right out of your soul. Stay away from them if you can, but for sure, DON’T tell them your plans!

7. Speak the language. Watch the words that are allowed to come out of your mouth. The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” Do yourself a favor and take this one literally. Words are king! They have the power to affect thought and action. The language of enthusiasm is positive, energized, creative, fun, adventurous, electrified! Don’t speak the language of the defeated, the downtrodden, the bored, the worn out…feel how the energy goes up and down? Keep your energy supercharged with supercharged words.

8. Create a community of Enthusiasts. When I was in Real Estate, I found that the average Realtor was very competitive with other Realtors and therefore did not function in a state of community with other Realtors. It was hard to keep enthusiasm going day after day, year after year all alone in such a stressful job. That is one of the reasons that burn out in that field is very high. Several of us top-producers got together and created a small group that met monthly to brainstorm, share tips and ideas and build enthusiasm. It created synergy and made us all better than we would have been working alone. Helping others to succeed will always help you to build more excitement for yourself. It’s fun and its rewarding. Energy builds energy.

9. Absorb the Vision. Create a written one or two sentence mission statement for your goal and read it and say it out loud to yourself every day. Say it the first thing when you wake up in the morning. Say it the last thing as you are drifting off to sleep at night. Don’t fall asleep listening to the news or negative information. Fall asleep thinking about your mission, reading information about it or writing in your journal about it. You will wake up ready to hit the floor on fire!

10. Keep Physically fit. Make sure your body can keep up with your brain! Its hard to stay on fire, when you are exhausted, sick, sleep-deprived, starving or hung-over. Schedule in time for exercise breaks, healthy meals, fresh air and plenty of sleep.

Now about that second part? Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

I am not an expert on being enthusiastic with balance. Maybe Leo over at Zen Habits can write about that when he is finished with his book, or one of you will have better tips.

So far, what has been helping me is to create rituals that I can do automatically without thinking. The key to this is the “not thinking”part, because I will be up in my head somewhere writing or creating or wondering up a big “what if I do this?” idea for my project. Having systems and routines in place that can happen on auto-pilot has been a huge help. FlyLady.net has been a big help in getting me started with morning and evening routines that have become a daily habit.

 Here are just a few of the things that FlyLady has taught us that are making a difference in keeping me on fire without setting the house on fire too. Her website FlyLady.net will explain everything in detail.

1. Create rituals for daily maintenance items. Lay out clothes the night before, pack lunches, get the coffee ready, and her most important one…shine the sink and lay out a fresh towel! It is remarkable how lovely it is to wake up to a shiny sink!

2. Do a load of clothes every day. Wash, dry and put away. Keeping that mountain of laundry from taking over has been a huge help at our house!

3. You can’t clean clutter, get rid of it! The more I do this, the better off we are. Period. End of story.

4. Swish and swipe bathrooms as you “go”. It only takes a few minutes. Really.

5. Plan out weekly dinner menus in advance. Write them on the calendar so you don’t have to think about it, while you are busy thinking about other things!

6. Spend Fifteen Minutes. It’s amazing how much you can do in fifteen minutes. Set a timer and promise yourself that you will spend fifteen minutes on something. You will be surprised how much you get done. Start sneaking in those extra 15 minutes and they start to add up.

I would love for you to leave me your ideas on this too! Although I have come a long way, the only thing I am really good at balancing is my exercise ball! Feel free to send in your tips! I could use them!