“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.

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“Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams.” – Hal Elrod

One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was after listening to Hal Elrod speak at the REV Real Estate conference I went to last weekend in Seattle. Hal spoke about two game changers that I have already started implementing in my life and cannot stop telling people about so I thought this would be a good follow up to yesterday’s post.

Hal is a Hall of Fame business achiever, International Speaker, Life Empowerment Coach and Bestselling Author of his latest book, The Miracle Morning, all before the age of 30. As he stood up on stage with his mom in the back row watching, I couldn’t help but think, wow I am underutilizing my potential! It’s okay, I still have two years :). A little backstory on Hal. “At age 20, Hal got in a head on car wreck at 80mph with a drunk driver and was found dead on the scene. Despite being dead for six minutes, in a coma for six days, breaking 11 bones and being told he may never walk again, Hal defied the logic of doctors and the temptations to be a victim, and he bounced back to prove that ALL of us are capable of overcoming extraordinary adversity to create extraordinary results in our personal and professional lives.”

What I love about Hal’s story is his mental fortitude. After getting out of the coma, Hal was told he may never walk again. Instead of being defeated, he came to terms with not walking as his worst possible outcome and chose not to let that fear cripple him. He chose instead to be positive and thankful he was alive. He chose to focus on the possibility of walking again. This is the kicker…he gave himself 5 minutes to be as upset and angry as possible, and then he let it go and chose to move on. His motto was, “Can’t change it.” He even had rubber bracelets made for everyone that said “can’t change it” and showed us pictures of people who had tattooed the phrase on their body because of him! I can’t get over it. The guy died, was in a coma, told he would never walk again and then he gave himself only five minutes to be upset about it because he couldn’t change it!!! I cannot tell you how much of a reality check that was for me. I sometimes spend hours, days, months and even years still dwelling on things and people that have upset me. Hal says only spend 5 minutes, then move on.

This was an action item I started using right away! Jarrod and I are already holding each other accountable by saying, “okay you have five more minutes to be upset/angry” and then we let it go. It is beautiful. Challenging? Heck ya. But there is so much more life to live than to worry about the things we cannot control. Traffic? 5 minutes. Missed workout? 5 minutes. Life shattering event? 5 minutes.

miracle morningThat was the first big message, the second was the introduction of his “miracle morning.” Hal decided to find out what made the most successful people in the world successful. He wanted to find out the one thing that they attributed to their success. He ended up with a list of six things that the most successful people do every day, and he decided why not just do all of them!? He came up with S.A.V.E.R.S. A daily morning ritual he believes will not only transform your life, but take every aspect of it to the next level by showing you how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS.

Seeing that I could DEFINITELY use all three of these, I started right away. He claims you only need 6 minutes…one minute for each one, but I have found myself needing at least an hour, and sometimes if I’m on a roll a little more. Point is, it’s flexible and once it becomes part of your routine it probably won’t take as long. Okay, so what are they?

S: Silence- prayer or meditation. I use the HeadSpace app on my phone and meditate. I am currently at 15 minutes of guided meditation. He has a cool accent and is very calming. I have learned not to do this from my bed because I fall back asleep! Wake up, grab some coffee, plop yourself on a chair and get to it.

A: Affirmations- anything you declare to be true. I like to look at myself in the mirror and say them to myself. Just like that cute girl in the video :). It helps me believe what I am saying to be true when I make eye contact. Yesterday I decided to add them to the bottom of my blog posts. Feel free to steal mine. Things I am currently affirming myself of: I am strength, beauty, love, capable, confident, whole, powerful, successful, radiant. You can also google affirmations and some pretty awesome ones pop up!

V: Visualization-  How do you envision your life now? How do you envision it will look like in the future? How do you envision getting there? A lot of times we only think about where we want to go and don’t envision the steps it will take to get there. Make sure you plan out the steps in your mind as well. If you visualize yourself 20lbs lighter, think of the healthy food you’re eating, workouts you’re accomplishing and friends holding you accountable. My current visualization is with my husband Jarrod and my pup waffles. We are laughing and radiating love and happiness. We are healthy and fit and confident. We are surrounded by loving friends. We live in a beautiful contemporary farmhouse in Rosedale with chickens 🙂 and Mike Johnston’s awesome TRUTH artwork covering the walls. We have two kiddos running around the house laughing and playing. There are italian lights strung up in the backyard, a fire pit and large oak trees. There’s a cool breeze and a nip in the air. Music is playing and we are dancing. Life is sweet.

When I worked at lululemon we posted our 10 year vision along with our goals on the wall of the store for everyone to see. I loved the transparency of strangers and coworkers reading about what you wanted to accomplish, what you were going to do to get there, and where you saw yourself in 10 years after completing those goals. It was powerful. There was accountability to it. It was in writing! I’m glad life has brought me back to this exercise. Speaking of exercise…  

E: Exercise- This one I thought I had down because I love working out in the morning, but then I changed my mind about what it meant to me. Since I still had two more SAVERS to do after my workout, I didn’t want it to be something I left the house for because then I wouldn’t be in the mental space to finish my miracle morning. I would be up and about and on to my daily schedule. So I decided to use it as a gentle yoga flow that will enable me to stretch and wake up my body for the rest of the day. I have been following morning yoga sequences on YouTube. “Yoga with Adriene” is pretty good! Shelby, the owner of Bfree Yoga also gave us a quick morning sequence to get us up and moving when we are not at the studio. BTW, Shelby’s yoga class is pretty much my favorite thing to do in the world so doing it at home without her really isn’t the same. If you have a chance, go check her out, she will change your life. Anyway, get up, stretch, run, do yoga, anything that gets your blood flowing, heart beating, mind awake and body moving!

R: Reading- This can be any book, article, podcast you choose. I have been devoted to Brian Johnson’s daily Philosopher’s Notes. He reads the best personal growth books and then summarizes them in an easy to follow Cliff Note style summary. This is also a good time to read Hal’s book as you’re getting started with your miracle morning or read another personal development book that excites you! I also love to listen to TEDtalks as I go for a run…two birds, one stone! I just have to make sure to get home and write :).

S: Scribing- OKAY, this one is my FAVORITE! I love to write, but I never prioritize it. Shame on me. I want it to be and sound perfect, so I just don’t do it. Ah, so ridiculous. But now that it’s part of my miracle morning, I can’t not do it! So that’s what I’m most excited about with the SAVERS and what is going to keep me blogging away day after day. I also really love that it’s the last one because the five before it put me in a really awesome creative space. But honestly, there is no need to start up a blog. I have just wanted to for years so this was a great opportunity for me. If you don’t want to write, this is also a great time to journal. It can be a prayer journal, goal journal, gratitude journal, funny jokes, random thoughts, whatever you want it to be, just take some time to write/type it out.

Today’s Daily Affirmations: I am thankful to be alive. I will live today in my fullest capacity. I will give love. I am loved.

“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.