What makes you extraordinary?

I had the privilege to speak at the AFA Leaders Conference for the second time! This session, based off of Franklin Covey’s 5 Choices for Extraordinary Productivity was titled, Balancing Your Priorities.

From the start of the trip, it was bound to be something special. David accompanied me and we would be flying out the night before my presentation. I accidentally put E85 gas in my car, thinking it was FlexFuel when in reality, it was only Eco system. Therefore, David and I pushed our boundaries to get to the airport on time for our flight. We made it with a half hour of chill time before boarding! The uneventful flight was nice, and caught a Lyft ride to the Sheraton Crown Plaza. It was midnight central time when we checked in and as you can imagine, I was ready for bed. Unfortunately, sleep did not come easily. I’m always nervous before a speaking event. I had prepared as much as I could and know now I could have tweaked and polished some things. Nonetheless, it was what I hoped for, planned for and more!

The organization and people are extraordinary. And they inspire me to do the same. Throughout the presentation, I caught myself reflecting a lot on my own productivity or lack of. My own goals and ones that I was performing or underperforming. I also thought about my current primary roles that I can enhance and improve.

I’m not simply a presenter, speaker or facilitator. I am a strong woman, caretaker, lover, writer, athlete, influencer, adventurer, cook and more! All of these roles can be used to describe me. This is part of what I helped these college freshmen evaluate for themselves.

Strong Sweet Caroline - Extraordinary

I gave them a new perspective. They can become extraordinary. We all can! It’s just a matter of the amount of time, dedication and effort put into your craft. A real life example I used was Steve Jobs. He was wildly successful because he dedicated his life to his passion and interest and did not let anyone stop him. To be extraordinary, we first identify our beliefs and values. The passions and interests stem from there. We cannot divert from our deepest beliefs and values. If that happens, and it happens to all of us at some point, we hit a plateau, a “mid-life crisis” if you will.

The extraordinary lead from unwavering beliefs and values. 

Caroline Weihl

It was beautiful seeing and working with these bright students. They were receptive to learning how to be extraordinary. They were even more intrigued by my transformation within my career, my passions in health and bodybuilding, and David and I’s relationship.

This event revitalized me to continue extending my reach to share my gifts and become a master of my trade. I will help women find feminine strength through health and healing. I also aspire to share relationship advice. David and I are not perfect. But we have invested in one another to sculpt our relationship for the future.

After the event, David and I got some Kansas City barbecue and spent the evening in Power and Light District with some old friends. It was well worth the little sleep. It also shed light for David from the presentation and friends to an underlying health issue we were not aware of before.

After we got back, we focused on realignment and our routines. David’s now healing what a doctor discovered is an esophagus ulcer. And I’m working on healing my energy from within. In order to reach our extraordinary goals and extraordinary life, we must take new actions and set those new habits daily. 

What makes you extraordinary? Believe it, act it, become it! 

Reflection: A Tribe Called Bliss

Close your eyes. Prepare to set your intentions. Breathe in through your nose the desires you have for the day. Breathe out the preconceived notions and expectations. It’s time to create your tribe.

I have followed Lori Harder for the past four years. Between living in Nebraska, Ohio and Georgia, she has been a part of my transformation and journey. She does not know it, but she has had a direct impact on my development as a woman. Through her podcast called Earn Your Happy, and Instagram, I’ve felt like I’m right alongside her, in her growth, her challenges and her successes.

We have a lot in common. We both grew up the Midwest, her a Michigan gal, me from Ohio. We were raised in a conservative rural communities, hers a bit moreso. We have competed in bodybuilding competitions. We both have larger-than-life goals! These commonalities helped me connect and want to learn with and from her. I also had set in my mind that one day, I would meet her and work with her.

About one month ago, the opportunity arose! Lori has been promoting her new book, A Tribe Called Bliss, which I heard a bit about on another podcast, and discovered she was doing a book tour around the country. Atlanta had made the list! I asked David if it was OK and fit our budget and he knew I’d been talking about her forever and said “Go for it!”. So then and there, I reserved my ticket.

I experienced a crazy day before the event. A lot of stress at work, followed by trying to get to a gym to train and go straight to the event. I got in a half hour chest and shoulder workout with an insane pump and started towards the venue near Midtown.

I wasn’t sure its location and on the way, my GPS navigation tried to turn me on a closed road and I was almost T-boned when en route. But I made it, early, in once piece, wearing a new sweater dress and boots to stay warm in this brisk fall weather on Thursday night.

I approached the small venue and opened the door to a vibrant energy. Women [and men] gathered around the chairs set before Lori’s presentation began. I had never been to a “book tour” so it was neat to be a part of one I could deeply connect with. And, most importantly, start to connect with the women there to build a tribe.

Lori came on stage in a full length, long sleeve dress, looking stunning. The thing that caught my eye most: her iconic braid and a stunning quartz ring on her right middle finger. I’ve been researching more about crystals and seeing hers, that is a symbol for clarity and a few other things, was just another indicator I was in the right place.

She began with meditation. This is how I knew I was in the right room! We each set our intention for the evening. Mine?

Embrace likemindedness and new relationships.

Lori shared with us her two intentions: make it fun and share her tools to deeper connection. Immediately after, we spent the next four minutes to meet four new people! Nothing says networking like working a room of excited women.

As Lori continued the event, she shared the 7 Sacred Commitments to having real, authentic relationships. A lot of it I have already known and no, I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read the book! But, nonetheless, she had quite a few mindblowing quotes.

When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

Wayne Dyer

After her speech, photo opportunity and autographs were a must. A few ladies like Ashley and Stormy I am definitely going to keep in touch with! Some others, I did not get to meet very long but this is the chance to use social media for GOOD and send a quick follow up DM on IG or Facebook.

Sometimes, things happen if they are not meant to be on our path.

Lori Harder

Finding a tribe to flourish with has been difficult. But, I believe my tribe will continue to strengthen and evolve. I know it’s just a matter of time and energy. Give and you will receive.

Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

My current tribe is spread across the country. They are still amazing, wonderful women! And I’ve made it a goal to not lose touch with those in my court. Now, I set course to create another tribe, but locally. I guess that is the give and take of moving around for different jobs and life opportunities.

If it scares me, I need to do it. Grow through it!

Lori Harder
Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

This reflection is not just about the amazing event, but to turning a page into my authentic self. I really resonated with Lori’s philosophy about our true self.

Lori Harder personal definition of authenticity: Give yourself the freedom and grace to show up completely different than you did yesterday.

Going into the end of the year and 2019, you can bet I’m making my tribe a priority. Want to join me in reading the book? Send me an email at strongsweetcaroline@gmail.com and I’d LOVE to start up a little book club.

How to choose and live your theme

It’s a new year and I have been extremely busy. My priorities are focused on my goals. I’ve laid out daily action plans and tactics. And I get done what I can.

Last year, you might remember I chose my word/theme for the year as moxie. And I certainly lived it out! The decision was not taken lightly but just came to me.

This year, I took time to analyze myself as a person, what I’ve learned, what I strive to accomplish this year and how I can do that.

You may or may not have done this yourself. Here is the process for how I choose my theme for the year and live it out DAILY.

word of the year (1)

Step 1: Review last year

I take at least one full hour before year end to evaluate my year. Whether you have a paper or electronic calendar, go through each month and see what happened. It’s funny, sometimes we forget about the little things that happened unless we write them down! For example, I forgot I completed two new books the month of March and that was while traveling to Texas for a fitness camp!

While reviewing, take in some key mental (or written) notes of happy, exciting experiences, experiences that were difficult or sad, things you learned, things you maybe did not grow as much as you wanted and any additional indicators of success or weaknesses.

Last year, I had a lot of change because I followed through and lived my word of the year, moxie. I described it as having vigor, courage and determination. And that seems to be what I did. In difficult times and amazing, wonderful successes, I had moxie. I sat down in Miami Beach, FL and reviewed the year and what things happened as planned, what did and looked at the why behind everything.

Step 2: Identify your vision for the new year

After you have reviewed the previous year, you can step forward into the new one. Identify a vision for the year. What are your big goals? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to travel? How can all of these pieces fit together?

Sometimes, I get too many thoughts into my vision. Therefore, I break it down into distinct categories:

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Emotional/Intellectual
  • Financial
  • Social/Family
  • Career

If I pick three to six vision points underneath each category, I can stay better focused throughout the year and not feel overwhelmed. Some are large goals and some are small. Nonetheless, I write down options and select only a handful for the one year. Save the others in your notebook for later down the road or to review and possibly add in next year.

Step 3:  Select your theme

When you know where you were last year and identify where you want to go for the new year, options for your theme will become more clear. Think about who you are.

What are some common characteristics of you? What words would your best friends use to describe you?

Now, take it one step further.

If you can live out who you are through thoughts and actions, how would you do it? What words might describe that? Maybe you are not quite to the level you want to be yet. That’s OK. This is the process to help you see yourself in the future.

Close your eyes and see yourself achieving this year’s goals. You see yourself successful, happy and amazing.

Open your eyes. Choose the word that if you wrote it down or saw it daily, it would take you back to that vision and motivate you to act towards your new goals.

This led me to choose my theme of vitality. To me (and the dictionary), this means

  • physical strength
  • mental vigor
  • continuation of meaningful, purposeful existence

This was a great over-arching theme for the goals I had in mind with my current meal prep company and new business ventures I’m planning for the new year. So now what?

Step 4: Live it

It’s easy to write down a word or theme. The real challenge is execution. What will you do daily to live it?

vitality

I have a daily mantra I read aloud to remind me of specific things I want to do or do not want to do that align with my theme. Then, I take time weekly and daily to review things each day, make top three items to complete in one day.

Only choose three!

We always have to-do lists. But what three items will progress you towards your bigger theme and yearly goals?

Set time in your day to work on those. Fill in the rest with errands, other action items, family time and more. This balance and accomplishing three main things will take stress off your back and help you stay focused on what you can truly do within 24 hours.

What is the theme you choose and how will you live it? Would love to hear how you are doing it in the comments or send me an email (strongsweetcaroline@gmail.com). Look forward to helping more people with my businesses this year.

 

Sweet as Swiss

Remote. Friendly. Authentic. Value. Beautiful.

These words describe my two-day experience in Interlaken, Switzerland. If they don’t inspire you to want to move there too, just wait.

Harder Kulm, Switzerland

During my vacation, a main goal was to identify different personal enjoyments and passions. Since starting in my first career out of college, I have struggled to find balance between work passions and personal passions. The two days spent in Switzerland brought forth a great realization: I love enjoying the outdoors through hiking and taking paths less traveled.

The group arrived in Switzerland by train late one evening and we had two full days after to adventure and see the sites. I woke up early (6:30 am) to head towards my first adventure: hiking Harder Kulm in the Swiss Alps. Interlaken is nestled in a valley of the Alps. This “mountain” served as a challenge. I was advised it would take slightly more than 2 hours to reach the peak. Sounded like a great start to the day!

Off I went to the base of the trail. It was 15 minutes from my hostel to the entrance. There was also a “wildlife park” near the entrance, where I saw some mountain goats. I backtracked a bit to find the actual trail and met a couple who were parking their bikes and prepping to trek to the top. I asked them if they were hiking to the top. The gentleman said “yes” and his wife started speaking in German. Luckily, the man spoke good English and told me to join them on the trail. So, I did. This was the beginning of learning from Yulie and Frannie.

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