Posted in Planning

Reasons for Inaction

The single fastest and best way to build a reputation is to take action; to do something. Not doing something is in fact doing something. Have you ever wanted to do something, but shied away because you didn’t feel you had the prior experience, know-how, or reputation? Let me tell you a little secret – you can do anything with NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE. Guaranteed. Your reputation for being organized, a doer, risk-taker, problem solver can pave the path and open doors for you that you never imagined. I’d also add that your actions need to align with what you want to be doing. If your mission in life is to have a blog and you have no time on your calendar to blog,  then you aren’t ever going to be a blogger. Maybe you’ve filled your days, weeks, years up with work that is helping someone else achieve their goals – the company you work for, your kids, your church, your community. It’s wonderful that you are so generous with your time, but you need to make time to fulfill YOUR dreams. This world will be a lot better place with your contributions.

Take out your calendar right now. If your work and life calendars are separate put them both up side-by-side with a view of the entire month. Same month folks. Take a gander. Look across the days and weeks – those 4-5 short weeks of each month. Does your calendar align with your dreams, plans and priorities? Do you see time blocked for actualizing YOUR dreams or are you making time to fulfill someone else’s dream? Are you on a diet or trying to save money, but have lunch or dinner plans with friends 3+ days per week? If you were to bucket your calendar invitations and reminders into categories would those categories align with creating the life you wan to live?

Life is passing us by so fast! It’s November. When did that happen?!?!? If you’re a New Year resolution type of person are you on track for having achieved those bold goals you set for yourself as the clock struck midnight on January 1? Say you’re not a resolution type of person, but you created a vision board. Maybe you created a bullet journal spread with a grid of thousands of blocks to color this year for new habits you were cultivating. Maybe your dreams are stuck to a Pinterest board. Wherever they are – they are out there. Are you honoring those dreams? Drink more water, make it to the gym more, pay-off your car, read the entire Bible, run a marathon. So many big things had the potential to happen this year. Did you turn that potential into reality? If not, let’s dive into some reasons why. Why don’t people take action on their dreams?

Reason 1: You’re too busy. Visualize all of those calendar invites on your calendar as sand. Weekly “stand-up meeting” with the team to discuss work that needs to be done. Touch base with your supervisor on performance. Mac n’ Cheese competition and draft beer festival. Parent/Teacher conference. Annual mammogram. Women’s group. Reminder to buy Metallica tickets. Gym. Time blocks for blogging. These are just a few gems from my very own calendar over the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, some of these calendar holds are important. Some are time blocks set aside for me to show up for someone else, some of them making time to show up for YOU (you’re reading the blog post, thank you). Some of these calendar holds are not value-add and are not the best use of my time. If you poured all of your sand (calendar invites) into a vessel, would you have enough space to add those bigger milestones that need to happen as you work toward your dreams? Do your little grains of sand make a sand castle when they are all together? Or are they so scattered that they really don’t make any impact on anything? Stop making yourself busy with work that doesn’t contribute to the greater good.

Reason 2: You don’t know how. This is an excuse and a crappy one at that. You’re reading this blog which means you have access to the internet. You can Google, Bing, Ask Jeeves anything under the sun and get FREE information on how to turn your dream into reality. Want a tutorial on how to create a plan in Microsoft Project? Free on YouTube. Want a printable for making a cute, action-oriented calendar? Free on Pinterest. Want a training program for running a marathon with no previous running experience? Free on Runner’s World magazine’s website. Want a real good recipe for apple butter? Free on this here very blog (Food tab). As my girl Rachel Hollis says, in a world with so much free information your ignorance is a choice.

Reason 3: You’re dreams aren’t big enough. Stay with me for a minute. Let’s say that you dream of paying off your credit card(s). You actually look at your statement. You consolidate what you can to a lower interest rate, and you create a real life budget. Great job! The first month you pay all of your bills and what little is left over you put towards your debt. Month after month you chip away at it little by little. Over time maybe you start to reflect on the things you feel you’re missing out on. Maybe you feel like this is taking FOREVER…. It’s certainly not as much fun being fiscally frugal in the hopes of paying off a credit card or two as it was running up the debt on those cards buying stuff you can’t even remember.

Now, make that dream of paying off your credit cards bigger. Bigger than just not owing banks money. Bigger than feeling fiscally and emotionally drained at the end of the month when the money has run out. Take that dream and magnify it as big as you can. Say…..your dream is financial freedom. Financial freedom is not just not owing the banks money. Financial freedom is having actual dollars in your savings account. Having money saved for retirement. Having the money to travel when you need to or want to without feeling like you have to save for it or sacrifice something else. Having enough money to live comfortably and share your generosity with others. Having the freedom to be able to pivot and change course knowing that you’re okay. Now make a plan to make this bigger dream a reality and the pain associated with the sacrifices won’t sting quite so much. I believe that if you get beyond what you know needs to happen (paying off the credit card(s)) and get to true longing of your heart (the bigger dream) then you’ll have the fortitude to create a plan – and stick to it – that will get you to your ultimate goal faster. Those short term sacrifices that need to be made for you to reach your dream won’t be a drop in the bucket because you have your eyes on the bigger picture.

Reason 4: You’re embarrassed. Recently I saw an Instagram post by Brendon Burchard (@brendonburchard) that really struck a cord with me. It was something to the effect of it not being real fear that you’re feeling, but rather you’re embarrassed to have those around you see you start small. Does that ring true to you? Man, it sure did to me. I used to blog years ago and had created quite the following, but 2 kids and a different job later it had been more than 2 years since I had posted any content. I literally deleted the entire site one day in an episode of frustration and self-loathing. I can still hear the internal monologue today…”It’s been years since anyone’s seen anything from you, no one follows this blog any more, no one wants to hear from me. How many mom bloggers does the world need?” It was pathetic. All of the content that took me years to curate was gone with the click of a button. *Poof*

Fast forward nearly 3 years and I get this idea to re-create an outlet to put my voice out there. I ignore and push it away for nearly 8 months and then for 2 months I resign to not having time for it, but the thought won’t go away, and it starts showing up everywhere. That internal self-sabotaging voice crept back in. “You’re ridiculous. You’ll never have the followers that you did on your last blog. You have no content. When exactly are you planning to do this? Your friends and family have seen you try and quit this same thing before, they aren’t going to follow you down this path again.” (Sidebar: I really dislike this voice in my head.) I was embarrassed, not only at my having deleted my previous blog and all of it’s content, but at starting a blog/Instagram site/Facebook page with 1 post. I have some really successful friends and colleagues who follow me on social media. I can see them shaking their head or worse choosing to keep scrolling when they see this pop-up from me. Maybe I won’t share it on my social accounts, but let people find it organically. Emily, come on!

One night I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed this outlet in my life. That feeling was far stronger than the embarrassment holding me back from starting. I stayed up all night (no sleep) creating PowerInThePlan.org. 1 logo, 1 Instagram post, 1 Facebook post, and 2 shares from my blog pages to my personal social media pages in hopes that some folks would be curious and click on the link. Oh, and that one link was me explaining my vision for the site and what I hope to offer you as the reader, it wasn’t actually value-added content. It’s been a few weeks since this site launched. It’s had 3 themes and while we don’t have 1 billion followers – we have more than 1. While this site isn’t yet exploding with content so rich that I need to add a search bar – it’s up and content is getting added all the time. 2 people even commented on different posts which means they actually read it. <insert audible gasp here>

Get this in your brain. Every new things starts from NONE. Every. New. Thing. Starts. From. None. When this was an idea in my head I had no content, no followers, nothing. Don’t be embarrassed to start small. Just start.

Reason 5: You’re the only one with this particular idea. That’s fantastic. Less competition. Please don’t tell me that you think because you are the only one with this particular idea that no one else will love it or appreciate it. Or <gasp> there won’t be a bunch of free information to follow on the internet (see Reason 2 above). This is a blessing. Having this idea that no one else has opens you up for creating more content and you’re the subject matter expert. Get the thing created and out to the people, then create the how-to, create the video demonstration, be the expert. This could be a new branding opportunity for you. This could be your way to monetize your hard work. This unique idea of your has a lot of potential and you need to take action on it. Come on.

Reason 6: Time is against you. Why start if you won’t have the time to dedicate to it? You know this better than anyone. You make time for the things you want to make time for. If you don’t want to do something you’ll find every excuse to not have to do it. On the other hand, if you have a true calling on your heart to make something happen then you will move heaven and earth to bring that body of work to life. Call a spade a spade. Time isn’t the issue. Your embarrassment of starting small, lack of focus or lack of initiative are what’s truly driving your inaction.

There are so many more reasons why people don’t take action. Most of them are excuses. Heck, even some of the reasons I have above are excuses. Bottom line if you have a calling on your heart to do something, you have every reason in the world to find out how to make that calling a reality. Let’s go! Get to work!

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I hope you’re having an awesome day! If you like what you see here, please follow Power in the Plan and tell your friends. I have lots of new exciting content coming soon. If you have ideas of things you want my thoughts on shoot me a message on my Contact page. Talk soon.

Posted in Planning

Save yourself. Get out of the fray.

I have been in a season of churn and burn for what feels like years. Managing a multi-million dollar contract, having 2 school-aged kids with schedules of their own (that no one coordinates with my schedule mind you)… I’m also over here trying to develop personally, professionally and spiritually….it seems too much sometimes. More often than not I have a tendency to feel like I’m failing at everything. Have you ever felt that way?

Over these past months I’ve learned so much and so much of what I’ve learned is that the “work” is always going to be there and *NEWS FLASH* I don’t have to do all of it! Read: YOU don’t have to do it all. Seems so simple, but when you’re in that chaotic surf, crashing into rocks and gulping water it’s hard to see the many lifelines rolling on top of the waves waiting for you to grab hold. Here are some of the life lines that I look for when it seems like I’m doing all I can to tread water:

  1. Ask for Help: People want to help. Your friends, family, co-workers. I believe they genuinely do, but you HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. Believe me, I’m giggling to myself as I type this out. It’s so hard for me to feel like I need to pull anyone into the fray with me if I can just work harder or faster or longer – what’s wrong with me – why is this so hard?!?!? Take inventory of what needs to be done, sort by due date and those things that don’t have to be done by you, ask someone to help you out – even if it’s just part of the overall job. I guarantee that the final product will be so much better by letting someone else provide a fresh perspective. Think about it. Will this body of work be better if someone helps you make this project the best it can be with a new and different perspective or you pushing through without 100% to give it. BONUS: That person that you ask for help may learn something along the way that they can add to their toolbox, OR BETTER YET they may find that they actually loved helping you with it and want to start focusing on it. Then you can start sharing more of that very thing with them.
  2. Let go of Control: This coincides with #1 above and similarly is so hard to do for those of us Type A, control freak personalities. Can I share with you that this work or whatever it is that has you feeling like you’re drowning won’t follow you into eternity. It was constructed as a temporary fix to a temporary problem in this life. Try your best to put this task or obstacle into perspective with the rest of the world and the rest of the things in your life that mean something to you. Give it the attention it needs, but don’t go crazy.
  3. Wrap it up: Do you have something on your to-do list that has been lingering longer than 72 hours? Just get it done already! The longer that thing sits on your list the more anxiety it collects around it. No one likes waking up everyday remembering something they didn’t get done the day before. Be like Nike and Just Do It!
  4. What’s not getting done? When you have 40+ hours of work to complete in a 40 hour work week (or whatever your ratio of work to available time is) then I suggest you take 30-45 minutes to write it all down. {Tip: When I do this exercise I literally write it all down. I take an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and mark it into 4 quadrants and each quadrant has a list. My quadrants are Home, Kids, Me, and Work.

    My home list may look like charge the doorbell, make vet appointment for the dog, take down Halloween decorations, pay bills.

    My kids list tends to look like don’t forget teacher workday on Monday, Parent/Teacher conference on this day, PTA meeting 11/6, schedule Cole’s 4 year old doctor’s appointment, purge toys.

    My me list includes things like sign-up for Chili cook-off at church, write new blog post, order Rise ticket, make workout plan for the week.

    My work list includes submitting my time sheet, booking rooms for meetings, drafting contracts to get out for review, proofing edits of proposals, finish my development plan, finish quarterly review for my team.

    Maybe you need more than 4 lists or maybe you need a legal-sized sheet of paper. You do you! Get whatever materials you need and get it out of your brain and into the world. In each list highlight those things that are a priority in whatever color draws your attention to it. Beside those highlighted things write down when it needs to be done by and who owns it. Remember friend it doesn’t have to be you. You may not know who needs to own it, but it’s not you. For those things put a big “?” beside it. Tada! You now have a more concrete idea of what’s on your plate that you need to tackle and what you don’t need to give any more power to.

    For those things that you don’t need to do or own – have some conversations with the folks whose names you wrote down and let them know that this was on your list but you think it really belongs to them or that they are better suited and pass those things off. For those things that had the “?” beside them, talk to your supervisor, your significant other, or your kids and ask them for help in determining who can take those things from you. Be honest and genuine in what you do and don’t have the bandwidth to do and let them help. Communicate. Be the team you know you know how to be!

    For everything that’s left on your list un-highlighted and un-assigned…ask yourself: Do these things need to be done at all? Chances are if it made it to your list – someone put it out in the universe. If you put it out there is it still a priority if you didn’t highlight it? If you didn’t put it out there circle back to the person that did and get some clarity on their vision, who needs to own execution of it and the timeline.

  5. Seriously, make some “you time”: It may sound cliche’ and you are probably thinking to yourself “I’m reading this because I already don’t have enough time. How am I going to find extra “me time?” It is so important that you do. I recently heard a story that I want to share with you. Go with me on this visualization exercise for a moment. Pretend that you’re a glass vase. You are being filled up with water. In this analogy water = love. You are being filled up with love by those around you. As you start to feel your thirst for love quenched you start to tip yourself to the side to pour some love out on those around you who have been thirsting for your attention. You tip and tip and tip until you fall over and break. You can’t keep making yourself uncomfortable and pouring out on those around you while risking your own safety or you will break. Now, let’s look at this another way. You’re the same glass vase being filled up by love (aka water). You let yourself stand tall being filled with love and resist the urge to tip over. Collect as much as you can until your vase will hold no more. Do you know what happens when your vase becomes too full? That love starts to overflow. It naturally pours out of you to those around without you needing to do any extra work at all. You’re still just standing there; tall, strong and beautiful – oh and by the way, not a hazard for those that could fall into your broken glass. Let this sink in. Take time for you. Be intentional about it. Let those who support and care for you love on you, help you grow, and build you up. You stand tall and LET THEM! Soon enough you will be so full of love and energy that it will naturally pour out of you and onto those people and things surrounding you and work won’t seem like work any more. You’ll have watered the seeds that promote teamwork, business continuity and new life (read: innovation).

    You’re awesome and I want you to make the best decisions about how you spend your time and energy. Do great things!

Posted in Food

Apple Butter

Apples with scarecrowThere are few things in this world that say “fall” like apple butter. It’s one of my favorite spreads for toast. It’s great on pork tenderloin. I use it in butternut squash soup sometimes. It’s versatile and also makes excellent gifts for friends, family, teachers, bus drivers, etc.

For this recipe I used 6 lbs of apples (3 lbs of gala and 3 lbs of red delicious). Because both of these apple types are really sweet, I used a fraction of the sugar you’d normally use if you were using more tart apples like granny smith. I also canned some of my apple butter using the water bath method so that I can gift some this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of gala apples
  • 3 lbs of red delicious apples
  • 2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 c. water

kitchen aid cutterI made light work of coring and peeling my apples by using the spiralizer adapter for my Kitchen Aid mixer. This tool is quite the handy helper when you’re staring at 6 lbs of apples. It also slices them really thin which helps speed up the amount of time it takes to boil the apples to tender.

apples cookingDirections: Add apples and all other ingredients to a large heavy pot. Boil until apples are tender; about 15-20 minutes. Once the apples are tender use an immersion blender to blend apple mixture to smooth texture. There may be some small apple lumps and that’s okay. Blend until it’s the texture you’re looking for. I personally like little chunks remaining. Continue simmering the apple mixture until it thickens up. If you spread a small amount of your apple butter on a chilled plate, it should hold and not run off the plate. That’s it! Your kitchen should smell amazing and you should have a healthy batch of apple butter ready for eating.

Above I provided a hyperlink for water bath canning. Can some to have apple butter available for gifts or throughout the rest of the year. I also usually put some in a fridge-safe container for immediate consumption.

final apple butter

Posted in Planning

Start Today Journal: A Preview

I’m a sucker for new post-it notes, new pens and markers….new journals….and I recently managed to snag a Start Today Journal c/o one fabulous Ms. Rachel Hollis and I want to tell you all about it!

The first run of this journal came in 3 patterns (brushed gold, tortoise shell and Hope is Not a Strategy) and is currently sold out. 200,000+ people trying to purchase 4,000 journals literally broke the internet on October 12, 2018. I feel like it’ll be a Jeopardy question one day, so make a mental note. Rachel and Dave (her husband) assure us that more journals with new covers are coming. Can’t wait!

While we wait on for the next editions of this journal, I’ll tell you about the awesomeness you will find right out of the box.

Can I first start by saying that if you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis or haven’t listened to her RISE podcast then check her out. She has a down to earth, no-nonsense way of approaching life that I find refreshing. We really could be BFFs if she knew I existed, but back to the journal….

On the first page (after the cover page) you and Rachel are BFFs. Bonus! In the next several pages Rachel shares with us the process she used for years to be intentional in creating the empire she oversees today. Taking her 10, 10, 1 approach she walks you through an exercise of writing with emphatic intention where you want to be in 10 years, 10  dreams you will accomplish and 1 goal that will get you to that 10 year version of yourself the fastest. Recently on the RISE Together podcast, Rachel posted her keynote speech. In that talk she walked audience members through a visualization exercise much like she’s walks you through at the beginning of this journal. I’d encourage you to find that episode from September 26, 2018 and listen to it before you start this journal. Lord knows there is nothing worse than getting a fresh new journal and feel like you ruined it from the start. The worst!

Once you have your 10, 10, 1 exercise done Rachel gives you more than 100 pages (136 to be exact) of daily templates you use to write down 5 things your grateful for, those 10 dreams that you WILL make happen, and the 1 goal you’re focused on right now. That goal can be the same every day until you realize it, or it can change as you learn something new about that goal that may cause you to break it down into smaller goals, or you find that you don’t need to accomplish that goal at all, in which case you will revisit your dreams and identify a new goal to focus on. The intent is to stay focused on the goal as long as it takes for you begin to live those dreams you set for yourself once upon a time. I’ll also add that starting every day from a perspective of gratitude is powerful. I’ve been practicing this attitude of gratitude for 28 days as part of Rachel and Dave’s Last 90 Days challenge and rather than dreading what I need to do that day or the next day, I’ve been focusing on what and who I’m thankful for and I find I get so much more done when the intention is set on being grateful rather than feeling obligated.

At $24 per journal (that was the launch price in October 2018) I’d encourage you to add this gem to your toolbox and buy one for a friend. If you don’t have the $24 just know that you can use any ol’ piece of paper or notebook you have lying around to start this process. There are images of the journal’s insides on Instagram (link above). Just start the process. Meant to be so much more intentional than a running to do list that can seem trite and overwhelming. It takes you out of the day-to-day churn of life and gets you really focused on the bigger picture of who you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

Posted in Food

Chicken n’ Dumplins: From my heart to yours

Have you ever heard of chicken n’ dumplin’s? Not “dumplings” but “dumplins.” Its an entire meal in a bowl and it’s so good. I could make them and eat them multiple times each week, and they are so much better days after they are first made. They are an inexpensive staple in my family’s diet and one that I grew up eating all the time. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to dumplins too. Don’t cut up frozen or refrigerated biscuits and try to pass them off to me as dumplins. Those are biscuits. BIG difference.

I come from a lineage of cooks that cook by feel and taste much like a pianist learns to play by ear. Sidebar: When my mom died a friend of our family created a cookbook for my sister and I of my mom and her mom’s (my grandma) recipes. I still have that binder of recipes and it cracks me up because most every recipe is incomplete. They include things like “Flour” not how much, not what type, just flour. Same with shortening, butter, salt, etc. It’s just like the women on my mom’s side of the family. They make food that comforts the soul. You know the foods you think about from your childhood that you crave when you’ve had a less than stellar day. There is no recipe because their food comes from their heart. Sure, there is a list of ingredients, but perhaps they thought you needed a little more sugar that day, or those biscuits needed to rise a little bit higher. Their food was meant to feed more than just the physical and I’m so glad I have their example to draw from as I feed those closest to me.

I’ve been asked repeatedly for my recipe, but I just don’t have one. The few times I attempted to put my recipe on paper I felt like I was cheating the recipient because I didn’t really know if my recipe made sense or if the process would result in my version of this dish. It’s so hard to pen a recipe for a food that is a part of who you are. Making chicken n’ dumplins is like an involuntary reaction – much like me trying to write directions on how I breathe. Impossible. So, in an effort to put a recipe out there that I know will work I created my very first video blog and I’ll walk you from beginning to end. The entire process of making my family’s version of chicken n’ dumplins.

Link: Video Blog – Chicken n’ Dumplins

What you’ll need:

2-4 hours depending on if you are boiling your own chicken or buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I prefer boiling my own chicken when time allows, but I’ve done both and both are good.

A large pot, a long handled spatula, a butter knife and rolling pin.

3-4 cups of all purpose flour, 6-8 tbsp. of shortening, salt and pepper to taste, 32 oz of chicken broth, water, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 3-4 bay leaves, ice water.

I hope you make these and love them just as much as I do. If you do make them, please leave me a message and let me know what you think. Enjoy!