“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.”

“Naturally, there is an obstacle to all this wonderment. Alas, it turns out that the process of unification requires saying ‘no’ to actions that do not support dharma–saying ‘no’ to detours, and to side channels of all kinds, even to some pretty terrific side channels. It requires snipping off all manner of ‘other options.’ The root of the word ‘decide’ means, literally, ‘to cut off.’ To decide for something means at times to decide against something else.” -Stephen Cope

Powerful, right? I love how Cope talks about achieving unification through singular purpose. Taking one path. Achieving one goal first. Literally cutting off all options until you’ve achieved your goal or finished down the path you’re on. How relevant is that? I feel like I am constantly being enticed down a million different paths. I love the singularity of achieving just one. What is your dream? Your goal? Your dharma? The ONE thing that is SO important to you, that you are willing to say no to other things…awesome things, awesome paths, but not the thing or path that leads you to the completion of your goal?

A strong desire coupled with clarity of purpose is a strong piece to this puzzle. It is hard to make decisions when you are unclear of your end goal. What is it that you want? And more importantly, why do you want it? Without understanding those two answers, motivation becomes weak. Choices are hard to make.

The clearer the goal, the easier it is to work backwards: to define the steps you need to take in order to achieve it, to visualize the person you must become, to acknowledge the amount of suffering you are willing to withstand, to have the strength to face fear and self-doubt head on, and then to feel confident in the path you choose. No one is ever going to understand your why, so it is important that you understand it. Engrave your dharma in your soul. Don’t let what is comfortable or easy or pleasure-filled creep in and change what you want. Pleasure is a much easier path. It distracts us. It helps us feel good in the moment, but we can forget who we are and what our soul desires.

One of the the obstacles I removed from my life six months ago was alcohol. After years of trying to make it work for me, I realized it wasn’t helping me achieve my goals. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Mentally it made me a depressed wreck and physically I felt rundown, inflamed, bloated and had a hard time digesting food. Since I am world’s best at being all or nothing :), I just took it completely out of my life.

I came to the conclusion that it is okay to not be addicted to something, but still feel a need to take it out of your life if it is not serving you. Until I completely removed alcohol, I had no idea just how much of a pleasure source it was for me. It was something that felt really good and fun and acceptable, but it kept taking me further away from what I ultimately wanted.

I felt compelled to re-evaluate what was important in my life and what I was willing to give up in order to achieve it. Date nights, bachelorette parties, weddings, hanging out with friends, football games, stressful nights…all sans alcohol. It was tough! It’s still kinda tough, if I’m being honest. It had become a central part of my social life and I had to relearn what my life looked like without it. I started going on more walks to de-stress, having more purposeful conversations, mindfully eating, sleeping better and spending more quality time with my hubs. Best husband award goes to Jarrod for also going sober to support my lofty goals. He’s pretty amazing.

Honestly, it made me feel so much better almost immediately. My skin cleared up, my fluffy body slimmed up, and the best part…I had SO MUCH free time! I started thinking about ways to fill the time that got me closer to what I wanted out of my life…insert becoming a spin instructor. I honestly do not think I would have made the team if I was still drinking, nor would I have had the courage to try out. I needed the sleep and recovery. The workout was challenging enough without being on a podium, talking, inspiring and leading a full 45 minute class on a bike. I needed to feel confident. I needed to feel like I was living a life I was proud of so I could get up there in front of 45 people and not only be the best version of myself, but be confident in being a leader up there. Those lights are very transparent! It has helped me grow and be 100% responsible for my actions. It has helped me show up, for myself and for others. It has helped me take a risk I would’ve normally not taken. And it’s just the beginning of the path, and only a small part of my journey.

I also started to feel authentic in who I claimed to be, who I wanted to be and who I was becoming. For some reason alcohol has always made me have a weird feeling. I don’t really like who I am when I drink. I don’t like the things I say or do. I like being purposeful in my actions. Plus, I swear my body hates it. I don’t know if I’m allergic or what, but I feel miserable after drinking, so I have always felt like I shouldn’t be doing it. I have a hard time moderating alcohol. I’ve made bad decisions, emotionally hurt people, missed opportunities, and put myself in dangerous situations. It’s not the same for everyone, and I am definitely not against people drinking, but for me, it was a big weight on me that I needed to deal with. It’s like wanting to lose weight, but still eating cake every night :). I wanted to feel healthy, authentic, and be the best version of myself, but I was still drinking and feeling miserable. I kept telling myself, I don’t have a problem, everyone else does it, I should be able to manage it too, but it weighed on me and I needed to free my mind of that weight.

However, this subject is tough to talk about without sounding judgmental. Drinking seems like the one thing people don’t like to talk about giving up. It’s a non-negotiable. I see some of my clients at the gym work so hard and eat so well, but say they would never give up alcohol. “Life is too stressful.” But then they are unhappy with themselves, want to lose weight, be healthy and feel confident. And the funny thing is, I was right there with them. I was a leader, a coach, and a fitness professional who also struggled with feeling confident, losing weight and finding energy. I too didn’t want to give up anything that created balance in my life or made me feel normal or happy. Honestly, this isn’t just about alcohol, it could be anything. Should my next post be a blog on sugar or carbs? 🙂 Goodbye, readership! But it’s true, people don’t like to talk about giving up things that make them feel good, even if it’s just for a moment.

I struggled knowing that taking out alcohol made me feel better, but I wondered if it would be worth it permanently? If I gave up alcohol, would it be worth what I was missing out on, for the path I was walking down? Would people judge me? Would people think I had a problem? Could I just use moderation instead? Were any of my health problems related to other things? Did I REALLY need to take out alcohol?

After six months being alcohol-free, which is so small in the scheme of things, I can honestly say, I’m thankful I had the courage to just try it. I didn’t let the questions, fear and self-doubt paralyze me. Do I have any regrets? Not really, but I definitely miss a good Tempranillo at my favorite Texas vineyard, wine dates coupled with heartfelt conversations with my friends, celebratory tequila shots with my LOVE Cycling crew, a mexican martini with my hubs on date night, and the de-stresser drink after a hard day. For sure.

But I’m so enthralled with my life now. I feel confident. I feel authentic. I feel healthy. I feel purposeful. I feel radiant. Everyone has something different in their life. It’s definitely not always alcohol. But there may be someone or something that could be holding them back from genuinely showing up in the world. One of mine just happens to be alcohol. I know I have more obstacles worth tackling as well.

I also know that I can’t do the same things I’ve always done, and expect results I’ve never seen before. I have to change it up. I have to let go of something in order to gain something else. Slowly removing the obstacles and self-doubt to become the woman I so long to be. To show up everyday. To radiate. To be positive. To accept that life is short. To live each day purposefully, knowing it could very well be my last. Deciding what that life looks like and then taking action to purposefully achieve it.

Thank you for allowing me to be transparent. This is all a walk on the side of love and not judgment. Acknowledging my own struggles and showing you part of my journey. Helping me become clearer on why I do what I do and what is important in my life. Challenging others to ask meaningful questions and look inward. To feel confident with ourselves, our choices and the path we are walking down. Head held high. Heart bursting. With a skip in our step. Until we reach the end of our road and head down another.

Today’s Daily Affirmation: No matter what path I am on, it is the right path for me. I believe in my journey. I am stronger than my desires. I am authentically showing up in the world. I am creating opportunities. I am better today than I was yesterday. I am healthy. I am courageous. I can go through challenging times and come out stronger. I am learning from my mistakes. I am important. My life has meaning. Today I will show up. I will serve others and I will be the best version of myself. I am already perfect, beautiful and whole.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

Halfway through the second day of the REV Real Estate Success Conference, my parents, Jarrod and I decided to take a longer lunch break and scoot over to the Pike Place Market for lunch. My mind was already racing as I tried to hold on to and filter through everything I was learning at the conference. Too much information coupled with unlimited coffee had me sitting in my chair buzzing. Being an Activator, one of the hardest things for me to do is to learn without being able to immediately act and apply. I am hungry for action. Seeing that there was still a lot to learn, we decided to head outside the conference for a mental health break and fresh air. After eating the most amazing fresh crab salad I’ve ever had, I looked at the schedule and read “Keynote: Dr. Fred Grosse – Black Belt of the Mind.” I had never heard of the speaker nor did I really have any idea what he was speaking on, but something inside me said GET BACK NOW. Thank you intuition because his talk was my second life changing moment during the conference.

I immediately scheduled an Uber, found the waitress, paid the check and flew back to Bellevue, a 30 minute drive from where we had lunch in Seattle. Somehow we only missed the very beginning of his talk, thank goodness. As I got settled into my chair the first thing Dr. Fred Grosse said was, “What would you do with your life if you only had 180 days left to live?” Powerful, right? I sighed a bit of relief knowing the stress to get back was worth it! Everyone starting scribbling down what they would do. My response? Travel, teach spin :), serve others, spend time with family and friends, eat amazing food, write a book. Write a book? Weird. I didn’t even know that was in me! What other goals/dreams/desires am I holding on to that have yet to surface into my consciousness?

He then proceeded to say, “Your heart is where the still small voice lives. Create a dialogue with your soul partner. What is inside of you? What kills you? Do you lack a sense of purpose? How is your health? Are you doing the things you love? Start expanding how long you’re going to be here will full purpose.” Wow. He could have just dropped the mic and walked off the stage at that point. I was hooked. The same still small voice that told me to get back in time to hear his talk, is the same voice he says to start directing the course of your life. Why should we be healthy? So we can live a longer, more purposeful life. Why should we do the things we love? So we can use our strengths to better serve others in a more purposeful way.

Side note, I have always loved thinking about the meaning of life :). No, really. I obsess over it. What is my purpose? Why am I here? Ah, I love it. But it wasn’t until I heard this talk that I was able to start going after my purpose in a more effective way. Let me explain. The next action item was to quickly write down 15 goals for the next 14 months, to be completed by Dec. 2016. There wasn’t any time to think about what to write. Personal, professional, spiritual, whatever came to mind, we wrote it down. I was able to think of 15 goals and again some of them surprised me. This was getting really fun! Then we had to mark them in priority with 10s, 9s, 8s, etc. It didn’t have to be in order. They just needed to be individually prioritized. I marked five 10s, one 9, five 8s, and four 7s. That was already a wake up call. How many times did I say I had goals or things that were important to me and then finished the day/week/year and hadn’t come close to accomplishing them? Too many times. Which is funny because I love goals. I am very goal driven, but I have so many potential goals that I don’t prioritize them and they don’t get the attention they need to get completed.

Grosse says, “The important part is clearing the slate to get to what’s important, but first you must define what’s important. Do this everyday. If you don’t focus on achieving your goals, you aren’t achieving your purpose in life.” Boom. That hit the nail on the head for me. As soon as the conference was over that day, Jarrod and I walked down the street and bought goal journals. We spent the rest of the night writing down our goals, putting numbers of importance next to them and devising plans on how to achieve them. Just sharing our goals with one another was powerful. Think about it, if there were goals on there that I didn’t even know I wanted to achieve, how in the world could he know I wanted it and how could he have ever supported me? We even switched journals and put a star next to the 6 things we thought were important for the other person. This was Jarrod’s idea and I LOVED it. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on what is important when you have so many things you want to accomplish. Jarrod knows me better sometimes than I know myself, so seeing what he thought I wanted to accomplish gave me a lot of clarity to let go of some as I focused on others.

“Create a sphere that supports you.” Dr. Grosse knows the importance of not only accountability, but having a support network. Big hairy audacious goals are hard to achieve without a plan and a support group to help you get there. Externalize your goals and start to implement them. Visualize what it looks like after you have achieved your goal. How have you changed? Who would you have had to become in order to achieve that goal?* I LOVED that question. SO powerful. Then, what are the steps you would have had to take and who is around you helping you make it happen? It’s not enough to think about the end result, we have to identify the process behind it. The journey is what changes us and fulfills us, not so much the achievement of the goal.

But I’m SO busy!! I cannot tell you how many times I’m running around “busy.” Friends ask how your day was and you say, “ohhhh it was SO busy.” But then you look at your list and you didn’t get ANYTHING done that you wanted to. How is that possible?! Because we are not being purposeful. Everyone is in chaos mode most of the time. We are responding to outside stimulus instead of making things happen. Are we spending our time at work on money making activities or on menial tasks? The purpose of money is to make money so that you can do what you want to do and create wealth to live off of passively for the rest of your life. Remember that water takes the form of wherever it is poured.  We need to create our own ideal structure so we have time for purposeful activities and also rest/self-care.

Dr. Grosse also advises us to not just focus on yearly goals, but to create a list of 10s that you would do on a daily basis to make your heart sing. This could be working out, drinking coffee, quality time with your spouse, walking your dog, etc. Anything at all that if you did it daily you would be happy. I LOVE that. Win your life by winning your day :). Then think of your list of things you could do every two weeks or once a month that would make you happy. Write it down. What about every six months? A year? Create a page  in your journal for your list of daily, weekly, monthly, half a year, and yearly things you want to do purposefully to make you happy! In the rest of the journal, spend 3 minutes a day writing down your goals and action items to get your 10s accomplished with different deadlines. Create a separate list in your journal of just your 10s for the rest of the year (Dec. 2016) that you can keep adding to and coming back to. Start creating more focused time. The clock is running, how are we going to make the most of one year?

This may seem overwhelming. At first, it kinda is. But don’t think about it, just start writing down your goals and prioritizing each one with a number. You’ll be surprised how effortlessly they start to flow out. Don’t carry any judgment with them, just write them down. Dr. Grosse says each of us has 10,000 goals inside us at any given time! WOW! I can’t wait to start exploring the goals in my subconscious. But let’s just start with 15. Once you get going it really is SO empowering. It is empowering to realize that we are in control of what we put into our mouth and how we spend our day. We can create a life of health and vitality and purposeful action or we can flow through life with other people’s currents guiding us and taking us where they want us to go. It’s our choice.

Today’s Daily Affirmation: I am purposeful in my actions. My life has meaning. I am here to serve. I am living my life to the fullest. I embody the life of my dreams. I am capable. I am enthusiastic. I choose to be happy. I choose to grow. I am light. I am love. I am whole.

“First intention; then, enlightenment.” -Buddha

find your soulI know this feeling. Maybe a little too well.

It starts in the pit of my stomach and makes its way into my subconscious.

It’s hard for the people closest to me to understand it and almost impossible for onlookers. They think I’m flippant or unhappy where I am, constantly seeking change in an effort to find happiness. But the truth is, I am happy. Wildly happy. Everything I have envisioned for my life up to this point has come to fruition in some shape or form. Own my own business…check. Own my own car…check. Own my own house…check. Find the perfect husband…the BEST check. Have a successful career…with time, check. Run around the world…Morocco, Kenya and Patagonia, triple check.

So what is it? Why do I still get this feeling? This longing in my soul to be more, do more. To live my potential. To change the world. To get out of my comfort zone. To figure out who I am and what I’m meant to give back to this world. To make more mistakes. To find greatness. To fly.

I had coffee with a friend yesterday who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Big things are happening for him, and it’s exciting! It inspires me. I love the feeling of starting from nothing and building your dream. It takes so much heart, determination, and hard work. It becomes you, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. He asked me how things were going with me, and I quickly said things are really good! Then I paused, and in a moment of complete transparency, I replied, I’m hungry. I’m ready for change.

Being an entrepreneur himself, I think he understood the feeling. He wanted to know what excites me. I love this question! Everything!! I’m full of excitement for lots of things! But when he asked me, I all of a sudden went blank. I had gotten so comfortable with my surroundings, that instead of living passionately, I have been going through the motions. I wasn’t challenging myself anymore, or learning something new, or creating something beautiful, or pushing myself through uncomfortable situations. I was simply living. So why does that scare me so much? There is no momentum. There is no change.

My husband knows when I get this feeling. He says I’m here, but not present. I’m too busy thinking and dreaming to be part of the world around me. My motivation gets low and I stop producing. I start doing the bare minimum to get by, and I get lazy. The truth is, I thrive with a lot on my plate. When things are absolutely overwhelming and unmanageable, I become my best self. I can make it happen. I can do what others won’t. Get up at 4am? No problem. Sell ice to an Eskimo? You got it. The point where others start to break, I gain strength.

As fate would have it, I looked back over my Strength’s Finder results last night. My number one strength is Activator, characterized by the reoccurring question, “When can we start?” The book tells me that I am impatient for action. I can express my goals, feelings and desires, but in the end, only action is real. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, I cannot not act. Action is the best device for learning. I make a decision, I take action, I look at the result, and I learn. I can’t grow if I have nothing to react to. I must put myself out there. I must take the next step. To grow, I must consciously expose myself to challenging experiences that test my talents, skills and knowledge. Underlining theme? I must act. I must move. I must challenge myself. I must change. So what’s the next step?

I ran ten miles the other day, in a constant dream state. I can’t remember the last time I went running, that’s how long its been. I’ve been on a yoga bender for the past three months, restoring and revitalizing my body and mind. Just goes to show how far your body can support you when your mind doesn’t tell you to stop. The dream? Living in New York City. Smack dab in the middle of it all. Is that cliche? To dream about living in the city that never sleeps because it is constantly dreaming? Regardless, I can’t deny the pulse, the energy, its cathartic. It truly makes me feel alive.

This isn’t a new dream. It has been one of my life goals for as long as I can remember to live in Manhattan. Every time I visit, I pretend to be a local. I throw on my headphones, walk briskly, and pretend I’ve been there my whole life. I’ve even had multiple tourists ask me for directions! I smile, point them in the right direction, and keep the pace. I wake up before the sun, head to a sweat drenching fitness class, grab breakfast and watch the people go by. It’s a melting pot of cultures, dreamers and people just trying to make it. Everyone has a story, and it fascinates me.

Now to be fair, this isn’t just something I got from watching Sex in the City, Gossip Girl or Million Dollar Listing on TV. My parents used to take our family to NYC every Christmas. We would wake up Christmas morning, pack our bags and off we’d go. It was magical. Before we’d go I’d make lists of things locals would do and dragged my parents to each one, including “the best place to eat hummus.” I remember being bundled up for the Macy’s Day Parade, sitting outside of Macy’s on bleachers holding a christmas balloon and smiling ear to ear. Or spending Spring Break with my mother and literally walking into the St. Patrick’s Day Parade when we didn’t know it was taking place. Or watching shows on Broadway and wishing I was in them. To this day, if you ask me what I want to be when I grow up, it’s the star of a Broadway musical! I can’t sing or dance, but being under those lights would be a dream come true. Even just sitting in a diner and listening to the buzz of the people around you is exhilarating. Everyone has a story. Everyone is trying to make it.

The fear of failure is a strong motivator. I have been blessed to have a fairly positive life. I have been supported and loved beyond measure. My safety net has always been closely underneath me. But what I love most about leaps of faith, is the fear behind the action. Will I find a job in NYC? Could I support myself? What if I don’t make it and have to come home? Will I be a failure? Will I disappoint my parents by leaving Austin? If my husband stays in Austin, will I be able to set up a foundation for him to move up here with me? Will I be lonely?

Austin has been good to me. Maybe a little too good. With 110 people moving here every single day, there is no doubt that Austin is the place to be. Even my friends in New York dream of being back in Austin. With so many transplants, I am one of the few natives who call Austin home. Not to mention, the weather right now? Oh ya, it’s absolutely perfect. Yet I run around Lady Bird Lake and I dream of being elsewhere. Somewhere that lights a fire inside of me. It may be freezing, unwelcoming, harsh and more than a challenge. It may break me. But either way, it will make me stronger.

At the end of our two hour talk, that honestly felt like 2 minutes, my friend looked at me and smiled. He said, Katy, I can’t wait for you to come back to Austin in a fur coat as a straight up #GIRLBOSS and tell me you only have ten minutes to talk to me. I laughed. But he’s right. What’s stopping me? Kids? No, not yet. My husband? No, he’s with me for life and beyond supportive. My family? Maybe. My stable life in Austin? It shouldn’t. I’m an Activator. I make change. I excel at it. So what’s my big hairy audacious goal that scares me even to think about? It’s leaving everything I love and facing the Big City with open eyes and an open heart. I can do this. I’m ready to fly.

I wrote this post almost one full year ago on October 16, 2014 after my coffee date with Johnathan Haynes, but never published it. I’m sure you’re dying to know…did I go to New York? haha No, I didn’t. But I started asking myself serious questions. Was moving to New York the answer, or could I find the same answers right here in Austin? What about New York excites me? What could I do there that I couldn’t do here? Who did I think I could become, that I couldn’t become here?

I soon realized that New York wasn’t the challenge, it was the easy answer. If I wanted to optimize my life, find purpose and live my dreams, I didn’t need to move across the country, I needed to change my mindset. I needed to start taking action. I needed to be authentic to who I was and who I wanted to be. What did that look like for me? How could I get out of the monotony that was becoming my life and tap into something greater?

This may seem silly, but besides becoming a straight up #GIRLBOSS NYC Realtor, one of the biggest things I wanted to do in New York was become a SoulCycle spin instructor. To me, that was stardom! These instructors were insanely fit, 100% authentic, beyond inspiring, and had what appeared to be a zest for life that I wanted. If you’ve never taken a rhythmic spin class, you’ll have to trust me when I say it can be transformational on a mind, body and spirit level. It’s like lifting a heavy barbell overhead and immediately feeling empowered to go out and do anything your heart desires! I knew if I could be on that podium, I would have transformed myself into be the person I so longed to be.

Then as fate would have it, I heard about a studio opening up right here in Austin that wanted to take the rhythmic spin model and make it even better. I immediately thought, this is your chance Katy, take it. I had another coffee date with a fitness icon in Austin who was opening up the LOVE Cycling studio and it too changed the course of my life. At that meeting I was red in the face, trembling, and felt completely unworthy to be a spin instructor. For one, the workout was REALLY hard for me physically. I am a power athlete and heavy lifter, and spin is a highly endurance cardio workout. I crumbled on fast jogs and 3 minutes of 2 pound weight routines. My confidence and self love was low. I questioned whether I was ready or capable to be up there. Would I be motivating? Did I look the part? Could I embody the fitness mentors I looked up to? Did I zest for life? But regardless of my fears, I knew the journey would change me for the better.

I started thinking about what I needed to do and who I needed to become to achieve this goal. I cut out alcohol completely about six months ago because it wasn’t enabling me to do the things I wanted to do. I stuck to eating healthier because I knew I needed the fuel to make it. I made it a priority to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night to help recovery. I started reading daily life optimization books, podcasts and articles. But above all I was given an amazing opportunity to train for three months under two unbelievable mentors for both fitness and life. As the time passed, I grew stronger and more confident. I started becoming the person I saw myself being right here in Austin, Texas. And as luck would have it, I made the LOVE Cycling studio team of instructors and we open next week!!

Have I finished my journey? Heck no, I just started. But now I know I am capable of any crazy idea I can dream up. To feel successful I need to go after the things my heart longs for. I need to challenge myself. I need to change. I need to develop. I need to optimize myself and most importantly, others. My list of goals is now pages long so I started this blog to hold myself accountable and to start helping others achieve their dreams.

One of the things that first coffee date a year ago told me, was to be authentic. Do you. Be transparent. Maybe it will resonate with others, maybe not, but don’t stop writing and don’t stop dreaming. This past year I learned to stop judging myself for being a Realtor, gym owner, spin instructor, and *insert passion. Being authentic to me is doing all of the things in my life that enable me to follow my core values, use my strengths, and serve others. I finally feel whole. Funny enough, I didn’t need to go to New York to find my SOUL. It was always inside me. Just as I could not have tried to find LOVE. I found it once I started breaking down all the barriers within my self that I had built against it.

LOVE team

Today’s Daily Affirmation: I am LOVE. I have purpose. I am on the right path. I am better today than I was yesterday. I LOVE myself. I LOVE others. I am connected to everyone. I am already whole, complete and perfect. Today I can make anything happen and today is the day I make my dreams come true.