Motivation

I am pumped!

Recently, I’ve had some really great conversations with some really great friends.

What was the conversation about?

Motivation.

How do you keep going when you feel like throwing in the towel?

How do you stay the course when it seems like you’ve failed the whole time?

How do you succeed at something greater than yourself?

(Did you spot the trick question right there…?)

Answer – Something bigger than yourself.

David wrote on this recently, and I was a victim of his motivational attack. The bug is spreading, and I’m fired up!

If I could add one bit to his post it would be this – If you’re going to do something bigger than yourself, don’t do it alone. This cannot be stressed enough…DON’T GO THE COURSE ALONE!

Part of Taking Fun Seriously is finding others who are willing to do it with you. I’ve been very thankful to have spent some real mental and emotional energy with these folks. I feel like I share in their success, and I hope that they do the same for me.

One of the coolest aspects of the modern Internet is the ability to connect with REAL people online. Now, it’s pretty easy to find someone who shares in the same interests as you, and who can actually share in the same potential goals as well. I’m thankful to have found some of those people (and in some cases, they found me first!).

So with all of this in mind, I’ve been a little motivated to become more. To do more. To BE more.

I haven’t yet come close to reaching my full potential. In life, online, or with this site. So I’m turning over a new leaf, and bringing y’all with me!

When I first started this blog, almost a year ago, I had the title “Take Fun Seriously”. A good buddy informed me that saying “take” sounds too demanding and therefore wouldn’t reach the intended audience. “Besides,” he said, “if you make it present-tense and call it ‘Taking Fun Seriously’ then it’s more you. Because you’re always in the act of doing something fun or funny.” I like it! So here we are…I’m going to start establishing my “brand” online. I put it in quotes because I’m not really sure where it’s headed. But one thing is for sure, enough with the B.S. I want my “digital self” to fall more in line with my real-life self, so from now on, that’s what you’ll see. It’ll be less of a formal lecture from me and more of an ongoing conversation. Who knows, maybe we’ll both learn something in the process while we’re Taking Fun Seriously!

Cheers!!

– JC

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Healthcare Reform – What are you drinking? (Guest Post by Amy Kauffman)

Amy Kauffman is a published author, athlete, entrepreneur, and mentor. As a blogger, she opens up her vast knowledge as a tea-aficionado each Tuesday, sharing “Tuesday Tea Time” with her readers. As part of the Healthcare Reform series, she’s here to drop some of that knowledge on us.  Enjoy! Here’s Amy:

Tea?

Here we are as adults. We’re a seasoned veteran when it comes to beverages. We’ve tried hundreds of sodas, juices, wines, and coffees, and have settled into our favorites. Now you’re reading a post suggesting you can be an avid tea-drinker and still maintain your coffee-drinker status. Your brain just can’t figure this out.

It’s like this – coffee drinkers are in it for themselves; bold, brash, relying on the caffeine to pull them through another hour, another day. Tea drinkers are in it for their soul; catering to their mood, taste buds, and body temperature. Wouldn’t the marriage of the two be a perfect balance?

No apologies (or rebuttles) are needed for the coffee drinkers reading this post. Coffee is fantastic and serves a great purpose! I am in favor of coffee. However, you don’t need to be a coffee-drinker to the exclusion of tea. You can experience both, and expand your world tremendously.

Tea is more than just a beverage…

If you drink tea, you are privileged to have a plethora of antioxidants, build your immune system, strengthen your bones, increase your metabolism, lower stress hormone levels, create a calmer but more alert state of mind, drink a calorie-free beverage, reduce your risk of having a heart attack, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s, cancer, cognitive impairment, flu contraction and acne. Tea drinking lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, aids in digestion, intestinal inflammation, stomach cramps, nasal de-congestion, and prevents cavities. All this in addition to being the second highest consumed beverage in the world, just after water!

Come on. Do I really need to convince you that these health benefits are essential for you?

There are hundreds of flavors of tea. This is why I believe a tea-drinker embarks on a journey of discovery with the first cup of tea. Discovery of a fine drink, many cultures, beautiful people, lovely surroundings, and discovery of self.

I’ll see you in the tea aisle on your next trip to the grocery store, or maybe in Teavana. Start your tea journey. It’s initially overwhelming, but ever enriching and enchanting. You will be very surprised by what your cup of tea holds for you.

Best wishes for your tea journey,

Amy Kauffman

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Profound

Recently, I’ve read 2 manifestos that have changed me in a very big way.

I’ve been hearing the name Chris Guillebeau from multiple friends, tweets, and blogs for a while now.  I finally took a look into what he’s about, and to say that I’m impressed would be an under statement!  I STRONGLY recommend checking out the following 2 manifestos (both free) and for taking a look at Chris’ blog – The Art of Non-Conformity.

279 Days to Overnight Success – Chronicles the story of how Chris started TAONC and also how he came to be a professional writer.  If reading this doesn’t motivate you to awaken your creativity, then your motivator must be broken!

A Brief Guide to World Domination – Asks (and helps to answer) two of the most important questions you could ask yourself: What do you really want to get out of life? and What can you offer the world that no one else can? Taking the time to read this (and answer the questions) will help to open up some of the deep thoughts that you may have been putting off, and (like 279 Days) fans the creative flame that may almost be snuffed out.

I am very blessed to have been able to read and recommend these two manifestos.  Chris is an inspiration to me to become a better writer and to really pursue some gigantic goals (such as his goal to travel to EVERY country in the world in the next 5 years). If you’re a struggling (or a wannabe, like me) artist/writer who needs a little motivation, than Chris is the guy to look to.

CHALLENGE TIME: If you’re going to read either of these, leave a comment below or send me an @message so I can hear your thoughts.  Happy reading!

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Routine Maintenance

We’re well into the new year.  How are your goals holding up?

Right around this time of year is when the health clubs start to dwindle, diets fade, smokers begin smoking again, and all the things that you promised you were going to do this year are no longer a reality.

It’s still not too late to push the reset button!

What are resolutions anyway?  According to the Wikipedia definition of New Year’s Resolution, it is “a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.”

The only difference between a New Year’s resolution and a normal resolution is the time of year when the commitment is made.  I’ll say it again: It’s still not too late to push the reset button!

If you have a goal in mind of something you’d like to do “someday”, now is the time to act.  You are one year older today than you were this time last year.  Next year you will be a year older than you are now.  If you could tell your 2009 self one thing you wish you started then to have a result in 2010, what would it be?  You can make that change now and have it realized for next week, month, or year (or however long a time period it’ll take).

A few suggestions:

  • Write it down and be SPECIFIC!  “Lose weight” is not a measurable goal.  But “Lose 10 lbs by July” is.  Make it measurable, something you can aim at, and make small increments along the way to see it through.
  • Tell someone else about it, or show them what you’ve written down.  Over the past 2 years, some very close friends have met with my wife and I to do exactly this.  We know throughout the whole year what the others are doing and planning on doing, and because of that we’ve seen our goals and resolutions realized more than ever before.
  • If you’re brave, write down one measurable goal you’d like to hit, and the time period you want to hit it in, and leave it in the comments section below.  Get your idea out there for this community to see and you’ll be surprised at how empowered you will be to getting it done!

Good luck, let’s get it done!!

Fear-Setting

Do you really know what it is you’re afraid of?

Some friends and I are reading through the Four Hour Workweek (re-reading for me, as I’ve read it a few times through).  In one of the chapters, the author asks the question “What is it that you are really afraid of”.

Hmmmmm…good question.

I have no idea?!  I’m just stuck in a rut!

Ever feel that way?  So many things on your mind, so many messes to take care of, that you just can’t figure out where to start?

What is it that’s standing in the way of you from being able to do what you WANT to do?

1 word – Fear.

Stepping out into the unknown for many of us is perhaps the scariest thing we could do.  However, there is a remedy – fear setting.  (If you have not bought this book yet, please click the link above and buy it.  This will make much more sense after you cover the “Defining the nightmare” chapter)

Through fear-setting and imagining, and then writing down the worst-case scenarios of many of my hair-brained schemes, many wonders have taken place.

Just the process alone of putting pen to paper (or in my case fingers to keyboard) to “brain vomit” all that scares me about possible outcomes of decisions is worth the time.  Once I actually expressed in writing what it was that I was most afraid of, it didn’t really seem that fearful anymore.  To take it a step further and to really be transparent, I showed some of my written fears to other people.  The response from them was equally incredible.  “You’re afraid of THAT?!?  Dude, that would NEVER happen to you, you’re way to smart/cool/good looking/confident/did-I-mention-smart? (Ok, I added those adjectives in, but you get the point, right?) to have any of that happen to you!” – This is also why it’s smart to surround yourself with good friends who care enough about you to BOTH uplift you and tell you the brutal, hard truth when it matters.

It’s one thing to be able to just think about what scares you, but to actually write it down takes a much deeper level of thought.  If you’ve read the book and missed this step, I challenge you to go back and take it one question at a time.  If you want help, hit me up and I will help you out with it.  Have fun scaring yourself!

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain

My Top 4 Books I've Read in 2009.

In looking back on this past year and setting goals (and getting excited) for 2010, I wanted to share with y’all some of the best books I’ve read in 2009.  There have been many that came close to this list, but I wanted to keep it short and sweet, and only share the 4 that I think are “game changers” for 2010.  If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these books, click the links below to get yourself a copy.  You won’t regret it.  Cheers to 2009, and to a happy and blessed 2010!

The Fab-Four:

Organize Shmorganize” by Amy Kauffman

I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk

The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss

Honorable Mention:

All A Twitter” by Tee Morris – Still don’t understand what Twitter is?  This is the book for you!  Tee Morris (@teemonster), is an avid Twitter user who is simply just excited about Twitter and wants to tell you about it.  Take a few minutes a day to laugh with him about his hilarious observations of how folks can correctly (and sometimes incorrectly) conduct themselves online.  He also goes into a little technical detail that is helpful for the more “advanced” Twitter users out there.

Better Dads, Stronger Sons” by Rick Johnson – Like most good books I’ve read this past year, this book was recommended to me by a friend.  Written for fathers of sons (obviously), this book is very applicable for fathers of daughters (like myself, hence the reason I liked it so much).  It reads like a conversation, in which Rick gives examples and details of how daddy’s can be more involved in the lives of their children, and the positive impact that it has both on the children, and on the parents.  I am just now getting into reading parenting books, and I strongly recommend this book for fathers of any age, regardless of how old your children are.

It’s time to SHMORGANIZE!

Large piles of crap used to be fun…not anymore.

I am not naturally an organized person. I am used to being able to stick my hand into a pile of stuff and pull out exactly what I need. That is, of course, if it’s where I left it last!

With an energetic little one in the house (and soon to be a second one as well), knowing where everything is, and finding it is becoming increasingly harder.

That’s where my good friend, Amy Kauffman has come to the rescue!

In her first book, Organize Shmorganize, Amy has taken her expertise as a wife, leader, and professional “Smorganizer” (my words, not hers 🙂 ) to help those of us with a little less…well…organizational skill to create order out of perceived chaos.

She takes the brain work out of where common clutter-items should go, and isn’t afraid to tell you to do maybe the most important organizational act of them all – throwing stuff out! (Actually, she suggests giving it away first, but if nobody wants it, then throw it out!)

What sets Organize Shmorganize apart from any and all other books of its type is the call to action that comes from reading it. After my first time through, I felt a underlying need to clean up not only my own areas that I wreck on a daily basis (much to my wife’s dismay), but to help others out as well. I re-read the chapter on organizing the kitchen, and did more dishes in 1 week than I may have done in my entire life prior (much to my wife’s joy)!

Let me cut to the chase – 2010 is coming, and you all know you have at least one (if not more) areas of your home that could use a little tidying up. I can testify from experience that when you free up physical space, it frees up mental space (less junk to worry about, less junk to worry about…and yes, you can quote me on that one!).

So take the time to get yourself a copy, and spend 40 minutes laughing and learning from one of the best. Your family will thank you for it! 🙂

Check out Amy’s blog here.