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I DO NOT WANT A DOG

My daughter wants a dog. Bad. Like real bad. Like keeping her up late at night bad.

I do not want a dog. We have 2 cats. And I have my 10 year old Taylor. I have never in my life had a desire to have things that count on me for food and water. I’m 3 above goal. No dog.

She’s argued her case of how she will take care of EVERYTHING.

She’s argued it 63 times. It’s a good case.  But I’ve never been one to sway easily.
We’re not getting a dog.

She starts telling other folks about this dog. It’s mostly met with well-meaning adults trying to talk her out of it. I can see she is crushed by these comments. Things are mentioned like: responsibility, the expense, the work, how all kids say they will do everything, but never do.

She is especially offended by that last comment. She tells me, “I AM NOT LIKE OTHER KIDS. I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT TO ME. I AM ME.” She is right.

I don’t want a dog. I can’t handle another thing on my plate. I don’t want to handle another thing on my plate. I do not want to feed and water anything or anyone. I know that’s why people close to us are trying to talk her out of the dog. They know where I’m at. They know I want less on my plate, not more.

One day, I hear a lot of dream busting over her dog. Taylor looks like she is going to cry. She doesn’t cry often.

I feel mad.

I’m an advocate for people’s dreams, for God’s sake. That’s what I do for a living. Help people live their dreams. I start getting a fire in my belly. I can’t stand when I see dreams being dismissed and spirits dampened.

And I’m acutely aware of the fact it starts in childhood. We try so hard to make sure kids know how hard “real life” is that we bust bubbles wherever we go. It’s like we’ve done our job well if we’ve taught how the “real world” works.  We constantly point out all the things that could go wrong instead of all the things that might go right.

We turn kids into adults with negative minds, low belief in self, and grown-ups afraid to try anything new. Grown-ups following safety, false security, and a mediocre life.

We start convincing and conditioning our young people that other people know more about what is right for them than they do. We do it because we are scared for them…for us. We also do it because…it’s easier for us…the parents, the schools. Let’s be honest….raising a follower, raising a conformist, raising someone who easily goes along with the masses is easy. Raising a dreamer, an independent thinker, a spirited soul, a world changer is HARD and INCONVENIENT.

When I was five, I remember being clear. I remember the oppression and repression setting in. I remember being told a lot of things I didn’t believe in. I remember my spirit getting less bright. I remember my dreams turning into “why bother”….

I don’t want a dog.

More than that…I don’t want a daughter who doesn’t know how to keep her dreams alive.

Inside battle. What do I do? I sure as heck don’t feel it’s my responsibility to ‘hand out” dreams. But I do feel it’s my responsibility to teach her how to make her own dreams come true.

I understand what I must do. Not as her Mom, but as ME, a fierce advocate for people’s dreams. I must tell and teach her what I know to be true. Despite what I want. Despite how inconvenient. It’s sacred to me that she knows how to dream bigger and HOW to be an active participant in creating her dreams.

So it went like this:
You know I don’t want a dog, right? A lot of people don’t think you should have a dog, right?  This is what I want you to remember. YOU want a dog. Don’t give up on your dream. Think about that dog every day. Dream about that dog. Believe you will have that dog.

AND… do the work to get the dog. So what’s your plan? What will you put into action? What will YOU choose to think, believe and do despite the odds. Those are the things that will determine if you get a dog.  I don’t know how it all works, but it does. It might not be next week, or next month, or next year. Maybe you’ll be 20 before you get a dog. But it’ll happen. Don’t get down. And don’t give up. If a dog is your dream, keep it alive and do what you can. Never let anyone else, including me squash your dreams.

Then I said: Here are my concerns.  The expense, interruption in my work, more work for me, and our cats being neglected. I don’t know if those will ever go away. But I can tell you what I’d do if I were in your shoes. I’d do everything in your power to help me be less concerned. How could you do that?

She started earning money. She did odd jobs. Car washing, lemonade stand, plant watering, etc. Some days she made more money than me.

She made a long list of all she would do for the dog. And the cats.

She also made a contract saying that if  I ever felt like the dog was “put on me” I’d have the right to take it back. There was a clause added that she’d at least get one warning so she could course correct. There were places for both our signatures and the date.

She worked hard. She wrote everything out. She said happily, “I’m OK if we don’t get a dog soon, when it’s right, I’ll get a dog. It’ll happen. Maybe not until next year.”

We volunteered at Angels of Assisi (I have community service work -but that’s another story). We saw all the dogs. We walked through the kennel. I touched one on the nose. I just wanted to get out of there. They were all barking. It was smelly. I don’t have that…”Oh you’re so cute, I want to take you home thing.”  I never have that.

Tay said, “Mom let’s go back. I connected with a dog. I know he’s THE ONE.” We go back. It was the only one I had touched. Tay says, “That’s my dog. I can feel his energy. We are meant to be together.” I look at that dog.  And then at all the other dogs. Then I look back at the one in front of me. Carter is his name. I never thought we’d have a dog named Carter. I never thought we’d have a dog.

Two days later we go back. Taylor hands her money over to the adoption assistant. They hand her over her dream.

Taylor says like 50 times, “I can’t believe I have a dog.”

I say, “Believe, baby girl. Always believe.” And…well done.

xo!
Hollie
Taylor and Carter
FullSizeRender(22)FullSizeRender(33)

Is it YOUR time to love your life? All of it?

Life is short. So I was at an appointment Monday with my dermatologist. She asked me how my day was. I thought about it and said, “Actually, really fast.”

She said, “OH THAT’S GREAT! Don’t you love when they fly by? You know how sometimes you look at the clock, and are like…oh my gosh, ONLY 2:30?!”

Me: (In my head.) Huh?!

I could tell she was authentically very happy for me and my fast day.

I wanted to go, “Wait! Wait! Not a good thing! That’s my precious life minutes!”  And then list the 67 reasons why I enjoy my days and want them to go slow. But that can be exhausting…for both parties!

But, I couldn’t shake the comment. Partly, because I was surprised she felt that way. I viewed her as someone who loved her work and enjoyed being there. I was also there at exactly 2:30 pm and suddenly wondered if she was happy to be treating me or thinking, “God, it’s ONLY 2:30. Can’t wait to get this girl out of here!” Which I’m sure she WOULD HAVE thought had I started on my list of 67. 🙂

I started thinking that it probably wasn’t an odd comment, but likely a feeling many people have about their lives and especially their work.

So I took a moment to get out of my self-created bubble, and go back in time. 17 years to be exact. I do remember exactly how it felt. I felt it every single day, every single hour from my first job at 16 years old until my last job (for someone else) at 26.  It’s been 17 years since I disliked my work and counted hours until I could go home. It’s been 17 years since I counted down the days to weekends and to vacations.

It’s easy for people to look at me now and say, “Oh, you’re lucky.”  But, I have to be straight with you. It wasn’t luck. It was a choice. I went for it. I took a big fat scary leap to change my life. I did it for one reason and one reason only:

A life where I watched the clock was unacceptable to me. Period. I refused to live that way.

Despite great odds and very little money, I creatively found a way to open my own business. I was looking for a solution. I was willing to create the solution. To go for it, even though it seemed crazy. Even though I didn’t even know HOW to fully create my solution or run a business.

Being committed to a solution just means determined to figure it out as you go. Fiercely determined. When it’s hard. When you’re scared. When you’re broke. When you’re unsure. Fiercely determined. Because what’s on the other side is worth it. It matters.

So for me this leap of faith and life change took place in the course of one summer (which is often when I choose to shake things up). I started on July 21 and opened my first fitness center on September 11.

It was fast and furious. I had to get my space ready…find it, lease it, gut it, paint, install floors, a front desk, and set up equipment. And market. I went door to door (which wasn’t fun). I learned how to run newspaper ads. I did everything in my power to open that baby in the fastest time period. The truth is I had to. I couldn’t afford not to. Literally…I had no savings, nothing to fall back on. It’s was fly high or crash and burn. I flew.

So I guess I want to convey 2 things:

1. Life is too short and too precious not to love each and every day.

2. If there is something you want to be different in your life, you can make it so.

You may not want to open your own business, but you might want to find work you love. Or get super fit and healthy. Or create something that would be incredibly meaningful to you.

If that’s you, but you’re not sure how to get started, I’d love to help. I’ve created a very unique mentorship & mastermind to teach you what you need to know and practice to go after that something that would increase your life exponentially!

It’s pretty darn cool…you’ll pick 1 goal and we’ll go full out for 4 weeks. I’m a HUGE advocate of short time periods. Because typically, MORE time is not what we need.

What we need is: Guts, determination, focus, momentum, and a BIG reason!  Miracles can happen when those elements exist. The good news…those elements are available to us all. 

So if you want something, something that matters greatly and you can bring guts, determination, focus, and your big WHY…the rest…easy peasy.

Want to play? Send me a message at: Hollie@WellnessSpark.com or hit me up on Facebook.

Here’s to slow days and sparking what matters…to YOU!

Hollie “fiercely determined” Flynn

 

What it Means to Live an EPIC Life.

NOW that's EPIC

The Essence of EPIC + The Essence of YOU.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into this whole business of EPIC. It’s important because understanding the full meaning has the power to change your life.

First, I admit, “epic” is a word that feels a bit overused these days. I certainly do more than my fair share driving it into overused territory. My brand, life coaching business, and the theme behind all of the books I’m writing hinge on the word EPIC. I write it, say it, even create posters about it, and I openly engage in what many would consider epic challenges and pursuits in life.

On the surface or if you know me personally, you might think when I use the word EPIC, I’m referring to crazy tough and awesome mountain bikes, trail runs, or other outdoor challenges and adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I love those things… challenging myself, digging deep, and busting my own limits both physically and mentally in nature…yeah, you bet, that stuff completely rocks my world.

But there is something that rocks my world even more and I want to be very clear about what that is. When I use the word EPIC, I’m referring to one of the toughest, most exhilarating, and often most elusive endurance events of our lives …the journey of BEING who we are meant to be in this life.

We can hide, we can pretend, we can deny it, we can create a life so busy we don’t have time for it…but the ultimate challenge, our most epic adventure is always there calling to us.

And if you ignore it or dismiss it, life will always be a chase. A chase for more…more fulfillment, aliveness, and richness in life. You’ll waste time, energy, money, and heartache continually chasing what you think will fill you up.

To discover (actually to rediscover) who we really are, what really fulfills us and to express that fully into the world is the toughest and most EPIC adventure of a lifetime.

EPIC is an acronym I use that defines and symbolizes a life, and a YOU that is:

Extraordinary
Passion-filled
Inspiring &
Completely aligned

Extraordinary. It means you are living in a way that is extraordinary to you. Your extraordinary can only be defined and designed by you. It is an expression of your very personal, purposeful, and divinely downloaded desires and dreams.

Passion-filled. It is a life overflowing and in flow with your passions. You are surrounded by who and what you love on a daily basis. Your work, your activities, your life is an extension and expression of what you absolutely love.

Inspiring. It is a life in which you feel inspired to start each new day knowing you are on the right path (your path!). You feel free to fully express yourself as only you can. You feel inspired from the inside out and you are a beacon of inspiration to those around you.

Completely aligned. It is a life completely aligned with your core values. You know and honor your values in every area of life. This is what you stand for. This is what drives you. It is a YOU in complete integrity with your higher self.

EPIC is the essence of you. It is who you really are. It is the nature of your true and full potential being fully expressed. It is why you were born.

To live an Extraordinary, Passion-filled, Inspiring, and Completely aligned YOU is to leave behind the ordinary, the expected, and the mediocre. To live EPIC is about being courageous and heroic in living your truth and your destiny.

You have to be a bit of a badass to bust the status quo, toss aside programming and decades of well meaning but misguided teachings, beliefs, and mindsets that take you farther away from your truth, desires, and dreams.

It takes guts, moxie, tenacity, and heart to live your purpose, passions, and true essence, and to orient your entire life around your core values. It’s a journey of EPIC proportions. It’s THE ultimate adventure of a lifetime.

Have you felt the call? Are you up for it? Are you ready for your EPIC adventure?

Life is short. You are not guaranteed another year, or another day. Neither am I.  I’m hyper aware of this truth.  I’m fully committed to an EPIC life, an EPIC me.  And I’m on a fierce and deep mission to help others spark, create, and live their own EPIC.

I offer two powerful coaching options for those who are ready.  Learn More Here.

Or, contact me at Hollie@SparkYourEPICLife.com with subject line: My EPIC Life

Then…tell me your why.

Welcome to the Adventure!
xo!
Hollie

 

Stop The Madness!

Stop the Madness  “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present: the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then
dies having never really lived.”
~ The Dalai Lama

I’ve been quiet again. Whenever I go offline I’m either in my creative cave or I’m slowing down to intentionally create space to think, feel, reflect, and reset. I’m intentionally choosing less so I can live more, create more, and feel more.

As much as I appreciate the beauty of the online world and social media to keep us all connected, and to grow businesses (including my own), I am equally aware and respectful of its mighty distraction and soul sucking abilities.

Time. We never get it back. It’s precious. So precious.

Sometimes we have to slow down to speed up. Sometimes we have to unplug to connect to what matters most. We have to create space, get a little quieter, a little less busy, and STOP THE MADNESS.

It is so easy in our fast, busy, social media crazed culture to get carried away without ever asking what truly matters to us. Weeks, months, years and even entire lives can go by without ever stopping and asking:

:: Is this what I really want?
:: Is this how I want to live?
:: Is this how I want to feel?

I don’t want distraction and information overload. I don’t want to be documenting and sharing as I go. I want to BE in my life now. I want Presence.

I don’t want fast. I don’t want to go in a direction that isn’t aligned with my soul. I want slow, deliberate thought and action.

I don’t want busy. I want a fullness of heart. I want a life overflowing with peace, love, fulfillment, connectedness, impact, soul exhilaration, simplicity, creativity, and abundant time in nature. I want time and presence to look into the eyes of those I love.

I want an extraordinary richness in living.

I’m devoted to that richness. That richness brings joy into my heart.

And I admit, I’m a bit obsessed with feeling good. And with helping others to feel good.

“The point of life is happiness.”   – The Dalai Lama

I often feel like running through the streets (or social media threads) shouting “Stop the madness! Just stop it right now!” I want to flag people down on the street and lead them to a quiet little bench and ask, “What are you up to and why? Where’s it leading you? And do you want to go there? Are you happy?”

I know this for sure, you can’t stop when you have more time. You will never have more time. You must choose to stop the madness. It takes discipline to stop the busyness of life to reflect, ask and answer some tough questions, and course correct if needed.

It takes awareness and discipline to stop doing stuff that truly isn’t raising the quality of your life.
And it takes courage to live who you really are and go for what you really want.

When was the last time you stopped, really stopped, sat down and thought about your life?

I invite you to Stop the Madness and set aside 20 minutes to answer the following questions:

::  Am I truly happy?
:: Am I healthy and full of energy?
:: Is my life full, or just busy?
:: Do I often feel rushed, distracted, or overwhelmed?
:: Do I keep chasing things I think will bring me happiness but just don’t?
:: What in my life isn’t really working for me?
:: What do I love or know I want more of?
:: What would my ideal day/life look and feel like?
:: What would make me so happy that I’d jump out of bed each day to begin it?
:: Do I need to course correct?
:: How do I want to feel?
:: How do I create and live that life?
:: Am I BEING who I really want to be?
:: Do I have enough time, energy, and space in my life for those I love?
:: Am I leaning into my highest and truest potential?
:: Am I fully living?

Good Lord Hollie, that’s a lot of questions! Yep, it is. But really, if you aren’t asking these questions what’s it all for anyway? This is your life.

Just think about all the massive energy, time, and money it takes to maintain your day to day living. If this day to day living doesn’t light you up, why for the love of everything holy are you exerting so much of all your resources to maintain it? Why? Truly, what is it all for?

The following are 3 practices I engage in on a regular basis to stop the madness and to keep myself grounded and aligned with living my truth. I invite you to try them out. You may find in one week’s time you feel happier, have more energy, and are connected more to what matters most (to you!).

1. Take a digital detox.

A 3 day detox is ideal, but if it’s not possible due to work, take a 2 day. It doesn’t even have to be a full digital detox. Plan 2-3 days where you will not check email or get on any social media channels. Stay as far away from your computer and phone as possible. Just stopping those two things will be change the energy of your entire body.

I want you to simply notice how you feel.

My first digital detox was a year ago and since then I do them regularly. As an introvert and a business owner, I thought I loved the online world. I wanted to love it. I’ve tried to love it. I STILL keep trying to love it. But my body and spirit keep giving me a radically different experience when I step away.

Notice what is true for you.

2. Get into nature.        DestinyHike

There is a reason why so many speak of nature as “their church” or that it feels like a spiritual experience. It is! Go for trail runs, mountain bikes, or long leisurely hikes. Go for a paddle. Go outside at night and marvel at the stars. Feel the cool breeze on your face. Breathe. Smell the earth. Lay on the ground. Take it all in. Let it nourish you. It will.

This past month I’ve been hiking as much as possible. It’s a different energy than biking or running. I wanted the slower, almost meditative movement of the hike.

There is a deep, primal, soulful part in all of us that is healed and rejuvenated in nature. Again, experiment. Notice how you feel.

 3. Begin a morning ritual.

Start your morning off with getting centered. Learn to direct your mind, and create your day rather than jumping into reactive mode. This is life changing. Journal. Read something that is positive and that nourishes your mind. Meditate. Visualize. Write out your intentions for the day. Connect with how you want to feel.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. 30 minutes is ideal. But even 5, 10, and 15 minutes is life changing.

We all have the power to create our life experiences. We have a choice in how we feel. We have a choice in how we direct our mind, support our body, and connect our spirit.

Stop the madness and step into being the creator of your own masterpiece.

What makes you happy? What fills you up? What truly nourishes you?

Live it fully.

It matters. Your life matters. YOU matter.

And if I pass you on the street…well…hey, you’ve been warned.

Hollie “Stop The Madness” Flynn

 

Chart Your Own Course (Machetes Optional)

Hike-A-Bike. Summer 2013

Hike-A-Bike!
Summer 2013

   “Successful people believe in the validity of their own dreams and goals,even if dreams are all they have to go on.” ~ Denis Waitley

I so believe that quote.

My entire life, I have been a rebel. I have thought differently. I have acted differently. My thoughts, ideas, and dreams haven’t been mainstream. Much of my life, especially my younger life I felt I was fighting an uphill battle.

Despite feeling alone and often depressed, I was also quite tenacious and confident in following MY path.

After I started accomplishing some pretty cool things in life, I noticed that my big accomplishments were the ones that no one really understood or “got” when I first started pursuing them. I soon made the connection that if I had a big dream and no one supported it, then hot-diggity-dog I was on to something!

Trust me, the majority vote is not what you are looking for in living your highest potential and greatest life. Doing anything really great requires innovation.

A well traveled path is NOT a great adventure, and it’s unlikely to be the path to your deepest dreams.

So get the heck off the tourist path and explore and discover what excites YOU most. Live that stuff.

I recently got off my own course and found myself in a tourist trap. Maybe I was just a little tired and thought following a path might be easier for a change. And even though the path was well worn and well lit, and other folks loved it, I found myself very lost.

And not only was I lost, I was miserable. And miserable is never easy.

I’m writing this in case you might be off course. I want to remind you of that thing you really want to do. That thing that you think about all the time and then talk yourself out of.  That thing you’ve shared with so many people hoping they will get it, but they just don’t.

THAT THING…you should do it. In fact, you were born to do it.

It should feel scary as hell and exciting. It should make you think, “Am I crazy to think I can pull this off?”

If that crosses your mind, know with 100% certainty you are on your path. But don’t get confused…your path won’t look like a “path”…YET… you’re the one to cut it.

Say “YES!” to your biggest dream. Life is now. You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow or another year. It’s time to live like you mean it.

As A.J. Leon (author of The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit) says, “Don’t follow well-lit paths. Grab a machete and hack down your own.”

I feel blessed, I had someone (thanks Helen!) to help redirect me back to “my jungle” to hack down my most adventurous, aligned, and divine path.

And that’s what I want to do for you. I want to say:

Do what you REALLY want to do and screw the rest! Believe with all your heart that it is possible. Go for it… fully in and full out!

That’s the kind of journey that’s so worth it. And it’s the path to fulfillment, inspiration, and immense joy despite the terrain.  I don’t want you to spend another minute of your precious life second guessing your dreams or yourself.

Consider this your divine trail marker from the Universe to go for it.

So here’s to some machete action & courageously living your own version of EPIC!

xo!
H

 

Nourishing Your Soul: What are you craving?

Photo: Hollie Flynn

Photo: Hollie Flynn

Off The Beaten Path

So I’m getting ready to head out on a 2 day mountain biking adventure off the beaten path. Other than my riding partner, I won’t see another soul the entire time. We’ll be doing a remote camp under the stars tonight.

And to be honest with you I thought my camping days were over. I use to love to camp. Now, I mostly try to avoid it. OK, I completely try to avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, I will play hard… biking, running, paddling  for 12-24 hours. I don’t mind being wet, muddy (and even bloody) and pushing until I can’t push anymore. In fact, I love that.

BUT, when that stops, what I want is a hot shower, high thread count sheets in an ultra comfortable bed with some wholesome food, a tasty beverage, and a good book. That’s how I roll these days.

Tonight though, it’s primitive camping and I requested it.  What the heck was I thinking?

THIS:

I am craving the Earth. I am craving fire. I am craving silence. I am craving a huge black sky. I am craving a vast ocean of stars that never cease to amaze me. I am craving the smells and feel of the Earth around and under me.

I am craving a digital detox…no social media, no emails, no internet, no computer, no phone. I want to step away from the man-made (except for my beloved bike!), the busy, and the noise in my head.

I am craving a deeper connection. That connection I always feel so intensely when I’m in the woods, on the trails, in the mountains or on water. It’s magical. It’s mystical. It’s spiritual. It feels like complete exhilaration AND peace at the same time.

It always reminds me of what I need more of in life, and what I need less of.

This weekend for me is about soul nourishment.

What are you craving? What would truly fill you up? What does your soul need for nourishment?

I’m willing to bet the things in your life that really fill you up, that really bring you happiness are right at your fingertips. And usually they don’t take a lot of money, if any.  They do take being aware, and mindfully and actively bringing them into your daily practice and life.

Are you paying attention to those things? Do you know what they are for you? Are you engaging in those things that really nourish your soul?

They are typically simple and beautiful things like:

:: enjoying a great meal
:: having a great conversation
:: hugging your child
:: creating a piece of art
:: laughing with a friend
:: reading a good book
:: going on a trail run
:: doing yoga
:: walking in nature
:: paddling at sunrise
:: biking off the beaten path
:: enjoying live music
:: gathering with a small group of friends
:: just being…
:: watching a fire…
:: gazing at stars…
:: feeling the wonder that is life!

It’s so easy to over complicate life. To fill it with things…busyness, information overload, to-do lists, the shoulds, physical stuff, non-fulfilling work, or goals accomplishments that aren’t even aligned.

This leads to spiritual malnutrition. It feels like stress, emptiness, and a “blah” state we can’t quite figure out.  What are you really craving?

Slow down. Get quiet. Listen.

Then…spark something that matters…nourish your soul.  Let it fuel your extraordinary life.

And, by golly, get out into nature this weekend…however that looks to you.  It will nourish you, I promise!

With Spark + Love!
H

Spark Note: How To Feel Better

SP5When you are not living your passions or your purpose you will at best feel bored, restless, and be in continual search for MORE…

If the gap deepens between your purpose and your current reality you may feel anger, bitterness, resentment, and/or depression.

At its worst, it can often look like addictions or chronic illness.

Every cell in your body knows whether you are happy or sad, or if you are living your soul mission. Pay attention to how you are feeling and let those feelings get your attention and guide you.

Those feelings and manifestations are letting you know just how far off course you are. You can course correct at any time.

Let yourself feel what you are feeling and use that powerful information to guide you back to living your passions, and your purpose.

Don’t buy into how life “should” look…that’s all man-made. It’s not real. Express what you want to express. Get in touch with how you really want to live. This is your ‘divine design’…

Live what lights you up.

Immense joy is on the other side.

With Love & Spark!
Hollie

Are You Playing Your A Game or Your B Game?

2 Or heck, are you even in the game?

My guess is many of you are B-gaming it. I know, I B-gamed it for years. There’s a good chance you might be B-gaming it and you may not even be fully aware of it. Me? I was aware. For y-e-a-r-s I was painfully aware.

The B game is a tricky bastard. It often looks like success. It means you are doing pretty darn well for yourself. You have money, you have recognition. In fact, you are pretty good at what you do. I mean you might even be excellent at what you do, but still… it’s your B game.

The A Game

Now your A game…it’s that thing you’ve always dreamed of doing, but you haven’t yet. I mean because it would just be too good to be true. And really, are you “allowed” to do it? Is life really allowed to be so awesome? Kind of feels like you’d be tempting the Universe, right?

If your A game is pertaining to your life’s work, it is work only you can do and in the way that only you can do it. It’s your zone of genius.  Your A game doesn’t necessarily have to be about your work, although often it is.

Whether it’s work or a way of being in this world, it is you being full out you. You are leaving nothing on the table. You are delivering work that no one else could possibly deliver. You are living in a way that honors every ounce of your soul. You are giving it your all.

It’s usually that thing you’ve been dreaming of and talking about for years.  It’s also that feeling of restlessness and the “more” you are searching for. Those feelings are there to get your attention. They are your call to play your A game.

The A game is what we were born to do. And ironically, that’s exactly why we’re not doing it. For one the B game looks like success and it is at some level. We can easily become too comfortable and complacent there.

While so many other people aren’t even in the game. You know those folks, who work 9-5 or much longer and hate their work, complain about it, yet plan to do nothing to change it. They live for the weekend. And my guess is they watch a lot of TV, especially reality TV. They live through other people’s lives.

But, B gamers are in the game! They are up to big stuff. They look successful to other people and themselves. They are comfortable in life. Doing great work. Making a great living. Making some great contribution. But still, it’s the B game.

Our A games aren’t comfortable. They stretch us. They challenge us. And most painful of all, they expose our greatest fears. Our A game is what we hold closest to our heart. So we protect.

:: It’s the book you want to write, publish, and change the world with.
:: It’s the songs you want to sing, record, and deliver to the world.
:: It’s the jewelry you want to make and set up shop with.
:: It’s the house you want to sell to travel the world.
:: It’s the project that lights your soul on fire.
:: It’s the foundation you want to establish.
:: It’s the race of all races you want to kick ass at.
:: It’s the business you have dreamed of starting.
:: It’s that message, that purpose, that thing that only can be done in the way that you can do it.

And it is so precious to you. It means so much. So much that you will protect it, your ego, and your heart by not doing it. It’s easier to dream about “one day” than to experience the possibility of failing, rejection, or criticism in the here and now.

So instead we play our B game. We do a lot of good stuff. We do a lot of great stuff. Even some freaking excellent stuff. We stay busy. So busy we distract ourselves. We use excuses…not enough time, not enough money, maybe when the kids leave home, maybe if I were single, maybe if I were married, maybe if the economy were better, maybe when I know a little more, maybe when I’m a little more ready…

All excuses. All lies we use to comfort ourselves and let ourselves off the hook of our A Game.

But the truth is we are not ever “off the hook” because each year that goes by, each month, each week, each day, each minute ….it is eating at us at a soul level. We can try to fool ourselves, but deep down we feel the truth.

We are NOT living what we came here to live. We are holding back. We are downplaying our potential. We are waiting. We are dying a little bit each day.

I know for me, my A game is to be a published transformational author who impacts lives on a global scale. I’ve known this for some time. It feels too good to be true. And guess what, there are a ton of great transformational authors who have accomplished this quite easily. And there is a good chance it is their B game.

I’ve been very successful in business. Why? It’s my B game. I can do it really well. And the thought of failing, although unpleasant, doesn’t make me come unglued. It doesn’t touch my heart at a deep level. So I’m willing to take risks. I’m willing to have some fun. I’m willing to do the work because well…it just doesn’t mean as much. Or rather I haven’t attached such a heavy meaning or burden to it. So it’s successful.

But writing a book and it being rejected or criticized? Or, OMGosh, what if I really can’t write anything great? What if I can’t impact lives the way my heart desires at its deepest level. Ouch. That really gets me where it hurts.

I’ve been writing a lot lately. I have one little book complete. One is currently with my editor (yep, loved saying that again!) And I’m working on my 3rd.

And…I feel completely exposed. I feel vulnerable. I feel stretched and challenged. AND I feel immense relief AND exhilaration. I feel on purpose, with purpose like I have never been before.

And that is what living an EPIC life is about. We are meant to feel fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We are meant to stretch, to be challenged, and to grow. We are meant to feel alive, engaged, and exhilarated.

There are two reason why we don’t exceed at playing our A game:

1. We never start. We never get in the game.
2. We give up. We DNF on our biggest dreams.

Actually, there is a 3rd reason, and it’s legit. Many people don’t know what their A game is. It’s been pushed aside and covered up for far too long. It may need to be discovered.

I’m obsessed with helping others discover their A game and then helping them develop the guts to go for it!

Here’s to Sparking Your EPIC!
xo!

Vacations Don’t Fire Me UP. This Does!

Adventure Summer 2014

I’m a little fired up. I just finished creating my “2014 Summer Adventure List” — Everybody does this right?

And in just a few hours I’m heading out on a 120 mile bike excursion. Staying overnight in a little town I love, eating great food, drinking great drinks, and enjoying gorgeous scenery via the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

Biggest challenge (besides my longest bike this year being 30 miles!) is fitting my sundress and shoes in my pack! I’m determined to bike like crazy and look great at dinner!

I admit, I always get a little agitated this time of year with the question: Are you going on vacation?

Who wants to vacate? I just want to adventure on! I don’t want to rest or slow down (OK, sometimes I really do), but mostly I want to LIVE…full out… everyday…then rest.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against vacations. What I’m against is people living for vacations, instead of creating a life they love every single day.

I dream of a world where folks don’t need or want a respite from their “real” lives. I wish the questions that were more often asked were these:

:: What exciting thing are you up to next?
:: What is lighting up your soul these days?
:: Tell me what you love most about this season or most about your life?

Now, those questions stump the majority of people. Try them out. Or answer one yourself and comment below! I’d love it.

Summer, for me, has always been a time to amp things up, to adventure even more, and it also has often been a time of some pretty significant life transitions and transformations.

I get an extra hit of energy and inspiration this time of year. Maybe it’s the sun, the playing in the water, and the running and biking without freezing my tush off that does it. Whatever it is I get bit by it every year…the doing, creating, and experiencing some EPIC shit-zu!

(oops,I have some Aussies and New Zealanders here (very cool!). Let’s just say any season is a good time for EPIC shit-zu?)

Really, it’s about feeling the START of something new. The new possibilities…the hopes…the desires…the unknown… the adventure.

So, just by some crazy chance you haven’t created your EPIC Adventure List yet, let’s talk about what you might want to include. And, if you already have a list going, this might inspire you to expand it a bit.

Really, the essence of this list is this: What would you like to experience in the next 8-12 weeks that would just be awesome?

Definitely include any race, fitness, outdoor adventure, and travel goals/dreams. But also think about other challenges, experiences, and growth opportunities you could throw in. Your life, all of it, is your greatest adventure. And dig deep…stretch…want would be really awesome and a bit challenging to pull off?

Like:

1. Do you not just want to run, do you want to set a PR?  Go for it!
2. Do you not just want to race, you want a podium finish? Go for it!
3. Do you not just want to bike, you want to bike in France? (OK that’s me!) Go for it (Hollie!)!
4. Do you not just want to work out, do you want to get super fit and strong? Go for it!
5. Do you want to pick out 5 new destinations to explore and adventure in? List ‘em.

Side note: Do you know how many cool towns + cities there are probably in just a few hour radius of where you live? See how many you can knock out this summer. I’m telling you multiple 3 day active adventures in cool places are crazy fantastic.

6. Want to leave your job? Then plan your escape!
7. List 5 restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries you’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t yet. Visit them!
8. List 5 books you want to read. Read em’.
9. Is there a cool class you want to take? Sign Up!
10. Want to get married? August is a great month! Set the date. Plan it. Do it.

Go for it! Life is short. Live your adventure(s).

Write This Baby Out.

I’m not a “must or should” kind of girl so you know this is a serious recommendation when I say YOU MUST WRITE THIS OUT. Writing out what you want is CRITICAL. Trust me on that. Grab your journal or some paper, and pen and jot down things off the top of your head.

Maybe you have partner you want to adventure with — take your notebook and pen and over drinks have fun planning all the badass things you are going to do over the next 8-12 weeks.

Then when your messy list is pretty complete, go type it up. Print out at least one copy.
You will be amazed at how much stuff will come across your radar screen to provide you with opportunities to live your list out. You’ll also be amazed how if you never look at this list again, how much you will have accomplished by September.

And if you are a super purpose driven, badass adventurer you will refer back to your list often and make sure you are on course living your adventures, your most EPIC life!

But anyway you choose to handle your list after it is completed is truly OK. You’ll be engaging in something that about 97% of the world wouldn’t bother with.

Main thing: Spark It (dream/imagine it), Create it (write/print it),  Live it (full out + on your terms)!

Feel free to share a comment below…How are you Adventuring this summer/season?  Besides this making me feel warm and fuzzy (and it does!), it can be super inspiring to others. Put it out there, you never know who you might inspire and touch. And, that’s a pretty cool thing.

I’m counting on you to help me Spark a Summer of EPIC!  Because the world could use a little more extraordinary adventuring!

xo!

Hollie

Strategic Retreat: What is it? And Why I Took One.

Time Out

 

Strategic Retreat + My “not so new,” but new business.

I’ve been in a period of what I call “strategic retreat”… a time of going inside my head, heart, and soul more. I should say, “more than unusual” because I do hang out in those places a lot. Usually though when I’m in my head and heart…thinking, dreaming, feeling, planning…I am also in massive action mode.

I love to leap. I love risks. I love action. I love knowing what I want and going after it full throttle. Life is short, and there is a lot I want to experience, a lot I want to become. But over the last 6 months, I took myself out of fast action mode and went into retreat mode. I realized to go forward, I needed to go back.

I was at a big crossroads in life. I had recently sold 3 businesses, sold a second home, closed a business, and was divesting out of a 5th business. I had purged a lot of personal belongings, and organized the heck out of everything else in my life. I was on a serious mission.

I was serious about a new chapter in life. Clean sweep. Less is more. Simplicity. Those were my mantras for a few years. And it did take 3 years to “clear my space” because I had built a lot. A lot of amazing things, but the problem was they no longer fit me.

I’m at a point in life where I MUST be in 100% alignment and integrity with everything I do. How I spend my time, who I spend it with, and especially with the work I put out into this world. What or Who I say “Yes” to is very short list. Because to live an EPIC life means saying “no” to most things. Because even too many greats can lead to not so good!

I define EPIC as a life that is Extraordinary, Passion-filled, Inspiring, and Completely aligned. I especially had been feeling that the work I wanted to put out into this world MUST MUST MUST be in 100% alignment this time around. Not 80, not 90, but 100%. I was and am fiercely determined about that.

I had started business #6, Wellness Spark, Inc. a few years back, but I wasn’t really sure the direction I wanted to take it and I didn’t have the time and energy with all the other businesses to figure it out. But this business was where my heart was, even if I couldn’t fully grasp what that was yet. I knew that everything I had ever experienced and accomplished had brought me to this point.

So after all my “clean sweeping, and simplifying” I thought I was ready to roll and started building my business again, but very quickly I sensed I wasn’t going in the direction of my biggest vision, of where I really wanted to go. Something was off. So I stopped. Which was painful, and a very uncomfortable thing for me to do. But sometimes uncomfortable is necessary. And uncomfortable for a short period can lead to extraordinary for a very long period.

I wasn’t convinced my path was right or the destination was where I really even wanted to go in the first place. I take that stuff seriously. Life is short.

Strategic retreat mode for me was about stopping for a bit and figuring out exactly where I was in my life, and more importantly WHO I am, and from there exactly where I wanted to go. The truth is sometimes we get off course. And the truth is sometimes we have to let go of awesome dreams that simply no longer fit.

It’s not about the easy, comfortable path, or even the financially abundant path, it’s about the right path. Right for me. Right for you. That’s what matters.

I knew with what I was feeling that massive action would just carry me farther away from my desired destination. I would be busy and perhaps “successful” but not fulfilled and on fire with what I was building. I wanted ON FIRE! I needed to do some soul searching, ask the right questions, and reorient my life map from there. I needed to retreat a bit to do so. That was the smartest and most strategic thing I could do.

Some of you know, I co-own Odyssey Adventure Racing (this would be company #5), and we put on Adventure Races where you have to navigate the course (biking, running, paddling) with map and compass. There are no volunteers directing you, no flagging or markers to clue you in. You have to know where you are on the map at all times and navigate from there. In these adventure races it is more important that you are going in the right direction over a fast direction. I mean fast is awesome, especially if you are racing, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how fast you are going if it’s the wrong way. Go in the right direction first, then fast.

I’ll repeat that: “It is more important you are going in the right direction, than a fast direction!”

Same is true in life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think is “forward movement” simply because we are busy and going fast. But that doesn’t mean we are going in the direction we really want to be going.
And sometimes “success” as defined by society is not truly our “forward movement” in life. We are here to live what we love, full out. Happiness is the goal. The Dalai Lama says that, so you know it’s true!

Another thing in Adventure Racing, when you’re out in the woods, in the mountains and you are lost, turned around, or just suspecting you might not be where you think you are …do you know what you do? You go back to your last known point of origin. It’s hard to make yourself do it. You feel like you are losing time and that you will waste precious energy by going back or by stopping to make sure you are going in the right direction. But the truth is, if you don’t go back or stop, you will most likely exert way more time and energy in the long run. And you may not ever hit your desired point or destination. It’s a strategic retreat.

So the moral of this story:

1. Not only is it OK to slow down or stop, it’s critical to ultimately getting to where you really, really deep in your soul want to go.
2. It’s more than OK to ask yourself what I call “the right questions” or the tough questions.
3. Please for the love of all holy, REFLECT more. Listen to what comes up for you.
4. It’s normal to feel like you don’t have time to slow down. But understand  it’ll save you so much in time, energy, money, and blood, sweat, and tears (OK, maybe that’s just my life!) in the long run.
5. Your happiness matters. The Dalai says so!
6. Your life can look any way you want it. But you have to know what you want.
7. Yes, it might (as in “it will!) take time and work to reorient your life map.
8. The aliveness, alignment, and fulfillment are so worth it!

By the way, I’m full speed ahead with my “not so new” but NEW business. Guess what it’s all about:

EPIC Lifestyle Design + Personal Development + Kick Ass Adventures

And you know what that feels like? Completely Aligned. Completely me.

I’ve also designed a couple of offerings for those of you who are ready to spark YOUR most EPIC life. You can check those out here:
Maverick Mentorship
The EPIC Life Experience

If this helped you or might help someone you know please share or forward along! I’m on a mission to bust the status quo and inspire a revolution of EPIC Living. This happens when we start living our dreams, our highest potential, and life on our terms!

And if you haven’t joined my newsletter – The Spark, hop on below!

Hollie “On Fire!” Flynn

Montvale 5 Miler_ Finish