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! 

6 young adult realizations you need to know

Wow, where does time go? I’m 26 now? Nope, not old. Only getting more youthful. The only aging I want is wisdom and experience. I’ve gone from the past few years after college graduation and thinking I know EXACTLY what I need to do, when I need to do it and why I need to do it. Last year, I made some big changes. I chose to leave the agriculture industry, move from Ohio to Atlanta, and pursue something complete new.

This year alone, I have learned a ton. Life, love, business. Friendships have come and gone; so has my sanity at times. Sleep lost, gains made. Anxiety took hold and then I found peace of mind.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know

My birthday wish was simple: spend time simple time with my boyfriend and that he cook us dinner. I had a lifestyle photoshoot, ate some delicious burritos (pictured above), went grocery shopping, did some reading and writing, made a protein carrot cake dessert and enjoyed a patio dining experience with Greek lamb, rice and veggies.

It tasted just as good as it looked! I was feeling a little tired and decided instead of trying out a brand new carrot cake recipe, I’d use resources at hand. Thankfully I bought Bake to Be Fit Healthy Brownie Cookbook a while back and tried her recipe. Placed in the fridge and it tasted divine!

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

After a filling dinner and some wine, I completed my reflection. It’s been hard to fall asleep lately. Many thoughts run through my head as I wind down. This year, I had some large takeaways. These six realizations are important, no matter your age. But as a young adult, I think they are vital to understand and incorporate into your life.

 

Strong Sweet Caroline’s 6 young adult realizations you need to know

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • You can only control your response. The first reaction is what matters most for you and others involved. Control how you react. Keep emotions in check and then ACT. Too many times this year, I hesitated. I let the cause affect my outcome. It affected me severely with anxiety, depression and hopeless thoughts. Business was lost from it. Friendships were hurt. No more of that. Keep in mind, it is not all about you when you respond. It can affect so many others, whether you realize it at the time or not. This method of self control will help you personally and professionally. It comes with heightened maturity. And it will bring more peace of mind. Make a choice and stick to it.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Be a woman and man up. David has taught me more than anyone to not be timid in my thoughts and actions. “MAN UP” as some might say. If you think about the business world, it is dog eat dog. And the more hungry the dog, the faster they are to fill their food bowl. At the end of the day, I am the only one responsible for my results. And if I do not stand up for myself, why would anyone else, even if they do love me? Whether man or woman, it is up to you to do your due diligence for yourself. Have courage and believe that every step and action you take is leading to your results.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Even when you feel like you are working, work harder. The grind as an entrepreneur is severely underrated. I definitely have not worked as hard as I could be. Part of that is because my focus has not been there. I was not accountable to myself and my dreams. It’s not about the number of hours, but the amount of concentrated WORK put into whatever I’m trying to accomplish. It will not be easy. And life balance is hard to come by. But it can be created. Stay organized and diligent. Sometimes, you end up taking a step backward to take two forward. As long as those steps you are putting your greatest efforts in place, it will yield results.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Priorities will shift. For me this past year, it went like this: first it was personal freedom – second was financial stability – third was business/career success – and most recently it’s been relationships. I’ve realized that in life, you have career, relationships and self care. At one time, you can pretty much only master two of those. This year, I had a big shift between career and relationships. I quit a career for a relationship. I then started up a career again to focus on the relationship. The cycle continues as I look to better balance. My health has stayed steady most of the year. The priorities change with seasons of life. Don’t get too caught up in one over another or they all could suffer.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Never stop learning. This has always been important for me and was reiterated this year. Not having a mentor after leaving Syngenta has been tough. I’m working through it each day. Podcasts, reading books, scanning online articles and exerting myself daily. I’m also trying to build new friendships. It’s a never-ending system. I realized I am not involved in the community yet. And I won’t be exposed to the amazing people in Atlanta until I step foot into it! I can learn on my own, but I love learning with and through others. As long as you never stop learning, you can stay young in heart and mind.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Be grateful for everything. Every hard point, every positive experience, be humble and grateful. God has given me so much to love and be blessed. I should never take it for granted. Sure, it can always be better. But I will continue to be grateful for the simple, little things too.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
At the end of the day, if we can lay down our heads and know we are doing our best, that’s all that matters. And learn from the rest. Take these six and implement them. May they help you be strong and live a sweet life!

FOMO or FOBP? Your call.

Last weekend, David and I traveled to North Georgia and the border of Tennessee. We had a friends trip to go white water rafting for the first time! We were so excited to go! Since I was young, I wanted to try it at least once. It would be an adventure to say the least! I’m willing to try anything [within reason] once.

We left Atlanta to drive north. After the two-hour car ride, we dropped cell service here and there and it reminded me of several trips I’ve made before. I have driven through Southeastern Ohio, North Central Nebraska or northern Missouri and been lost and separated from cell service. Those times, I was often alone.

That’s challenging. But when you have someone with you to go through the navigation together, it makes it easier and more fun. You can share road trip stories, belt out sing along sessions to your favorite 90s songs and enjoy mid-drive snacks or prepped meals. We found a playlist on Spotify that was more of “driving music” and allowed us to have a deeper conversation about relationships, friendships, love and life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

Driving on the curvy roads prepared us more for the white water rapids we would face the next day. We did not have any friends go white-water rafting recently. But, it was even more important to me to be present for this experience.

There are so many distractions in life. A lot of our friends had either events or bodybuilding competitions the weekend while we were gone. Both David and I are in an off season from competing and having some FOMO.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out” is a large problem for our age group today. I believe it to be the biggest downfall with social media. It can easily cause envy, jealousy, desire and craving for attention, instantaneous reaction and response. More critically, it takes away from being present.

I have suffered it. I think I leads to a new category: FOBP. This I call “Fear of Being Present”. For some, they do not necessarily fear missing out. Instead, they have a fear of being present. They do not want to face a situation, want to live in a “fantasy world” in their phones and “escape reality”.

I’ve noticed the more my social media platforms grow, the more I get sucked in to this tunnel. It has taken some self analysis and witnessing it in others. I now acknowledge it head on; I am addressing my weakness with FOMO and FOBP.

Therefore, for the day trip, I disconnected from my cell phone. It was self-induced once we reached the cabin. Cell service was spotty, I wanted to enjoy the moments and cook our last meal for the evening and make the most of our time in nature of the Georgia mountain ranges. So that is what I did. Others may have checked their phones on occasion that evening. The next day, we all left our phones in the car until after the rafting trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

This forced us to be present. FOBP was pushed aside. This was about enjoying the experience. We could share it later. Storytelling is the oldest form of communication. I do not have video footage or photos of the greenery, the steep and staggering geography along the riverbeds, the sparkling blue waters in the calm parts of the waters. These are all in my mind. But that is what makes it more fun to reminisce and think back to the experience!

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Our guide JP was an eclectic, knowledgeable rafter. He has been working there for five years and his knowledge shown through as we successfully made our way down the river to his commands.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

“Two forward!” “At ease!” “Left side, three forward!” “Everyone down!!!”

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

I almost fell out of the boat two times. But, those twists and turns on the quick white waters gave me the adrenaline I’ve been missing! It was a bonding experience to work as a team, rowing on command and taking control (as much as we could) of the raft along the natural and man-made Ochoee River.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Four hours later, we returned, everyone intact and with slight sunburns. We also found out there were cameras around the river capturing moments from the trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.

We dried off, ate and made our way back to Atlanta. I pulled out my phone and was reluctant to review all the notifications. It was nice not having the noise and clutter.

Detachment from our devices is hard. Let’s be real: we live on them. And it sucks sometimes. That’s why taking a little separation can be good. It does not necessarily have to be for half a day. It could just be one hour each day you dedicate to not checking your phone, setting it on “Do Not Disturb” and focusing on work, family or friends. Let’s shift away from the “Fear of Being Present” and move into being present, not missing out on the moments and memories that life is really about… the ones not seen in a screen.

What will you choose? I think I will dive more into this topic, because it is not just relevant for me, but for many others in my life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.

You cannot plan for timing | 3 lessons in handling conflict now

You know the drill. Deadlines upon you, holidays approaching, weight loss goals are either moving not fast enough or not at all and the world keeps spinning faster. Then, BAM!

The most unpredictable, unexpected happens. It has been a few months since I’ve blogged. No good excuse. I’ve just been embracing life more. But I realized some of my life experiences can help others. Most recently, these moments of conflict.

People hate challenges and conflict. They make us uncomfortable, can hurt and cause even more struggles if we fall into the “self-fulfilling prophecy’ mindset that things will just get “worse”. This isn’t always the case. But, with things like relationship issues, health troubles, traffic jams or worse… someone experiences assault, harassment or passes away, it is tough.

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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.

 

5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

This past weekend, I flew to Scottsdale, Arizona for the third annual Fitposium conference. I discovered it this past spring over James Patrick Photography’s Instagram profile and ponder it for a few weeks before securing my spot. Each year, I usually invest in one weekend for some sort of personal development. To be frank, some of the conferences I’ve attend the past 3+ years have become stale. Sure, I always had some new nuggets of information to learn. But, there was something tugging at me to travel to Arizona.

As someone transitioning from one industry to a completely different one, I was not sure what to expect. The two-day agenda was full of unique opportunities. And it did not disappoint! I had some powerful takeaways from Fitposium. Watch now for my five tips to succeed in your casted roles. You can also read more details below!

Do not treat your peers as your customers.

I was surrounded by other fitness professionals, entrepreneurs and models during the two-day conference. The industry has become saturated and, even in a conference setting, it can often be competitive. For example, during the casting call, I got nervous about what others were doing for poses and outfits. Should it have mattered? No. My brand is the only one I need to focus on at that moment in time. Do not worry about what your peers are doing. Majority of the time, they are not your customers.

Many of the keynote and session speakers hit on specialization. It used to be about knowing “everything” and being a “Jack or Jill of all trades”. But guess who is now getting all the business? The specialized ones. Speaker, Jill Coleman, creator of Jill Fit, asked, “What is your X-Factor?” Identify your customers, your niche, your true “passion” in the industry. Is it powerlifting? Do you love yoga? Vegan nutrition? Get clear and focus now.  This is not just advice for fitness professionals, but all professionals in their respective industries.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Know numbers to succeed in business.

I have always been a writer. I love marketing, public relations and photography. Where is my weakness? Financials. Even in my full-time corporate role, I was challenged a lot to improve on knowing my numbers. It helped me make it more of a habit but I need to keep growing it. The biggest reason businesses fail is because they do not focus enough on their balance sheet, profit and loss statement and operating budget. Even as someone in college, corporate or in your home, having a budget is essential to staying balanced and having less worry on financials.

The grind is not sexy.

I am experiencing this firsthand. There will always be things in life we are required to do that we may not love to do. You may have heard the phrase, “the most valuable things in life do not come easy.” This is the same with building businesses, relationships and the life we dreamed of. This is the opportunity to think futuristic and make shit happen. Speaker and entrepreneur Jon Boles stated that you must “position yourself to where you are going, not where you are.” But, in order to do that, you have to trust the process and do the daily grind. Hustle your butt off.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Blog Quote

Do not be vanilla.

One of my favorite speakers was Bizzie Gold. She is a serial entrepreneur who I’d define as a bad ass boss lady. She shared we spend too much time being wishy washy, trying to be all to everyone. You can have whatever ice cream you want. There are many brands and even different types of vanillas out there. We must identify who we are, being creative to showcase our talents and taking action each day that will lead to future expansion. Rome was not built in one day. Our lives and empires will not be either if we do not act DAILY and do not find a way to be unique in the crowd.

Always tell your story.

Past Olympian Erin Stern, Your Marketing BFF Tana Nelson and Chris Powell and Heidi Powell all shared a common message: tell your story. Story telling is the oldest form of communication. It’s how we build relationships. It’s how we impact the world. It is the most important way we communicate to anyone. Never forget to tell your unique story. Many people do not know I have traveled to different countries, spoken on stage in front of over 20,000 people or raised alpacas. They do not know I grew up on a farm, moved across the country three times and that I left corporate sales to pursue a dream larger than myself. But now more than ever, I am empowered to share that message.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

I am empowered to help other people create elegant strength and joy in life’s journey. I know who I am to the bone. And this allows me to give my best talents and gifts to the world.

 

Four things to do when you move to a new city

I have moved four times since graduating from The Ohio State University in May 2014. Each time, I have gone to a new city. Three of the four I never actually visited before moving there! A while back, I blogged about my largest move to Nebraska. Now that I have moved again (this time in Atlanta, Georgia), I’ve done some thinking on the trials and tribulations relocating can create. I think it can often be easier to do than we think.
Below are four things I recommend doing when you move to a new city. BONUS: I discuss one of my favorite healthier alternative ingredients to use when creating baked goods.
  1. Get acclimated with the area
When moving to a new place, especially a large city, it can be very intimidating. The first thing I like to do is pull up Google maps and see what the surround area, towns and roads look like. Then, hit the road. It serves you well to drive around, take in the local businesses and get a feel for your surrounds and directions. I even allow myself to get lost. Usually, that’s how I find new coffee shops, backroads and fun places to explore. When I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for my first job territory, I found a neat coffee shop called Firefly Coffeehouse. The more comfortable you can become, the more quickly the “new” factor will wear off and you can normalize your area.

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