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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

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

Who Are You Listening To?

Question: Who or what should you listen to and what should you trust?

Here’s the deal. You desire things that other people don’t. Period.  Sometimes when you ask people what they want, they often say “a million dollars in the bank” or more money. But if you dig deeper it’s actually much much more that they want.

Know that what interests you, what you love, what you dream about, what your idea of the perfect day is, or the perfect mate…are all very different from someone else’s idea. What you think would be the most awesome lifestyle, job or business….again all very unique to you.

Consider your desires to be Soul Sparks!  They are there to light your unique path.

Listen to your heart, trust your gut and THEN use your mind to strategize how to get what you truly desire.

Most people work it the other way, spending a ton of energy and “logic” to talk themselves out of their desires and dreams. So many folks spend so much energy building the case as to why their dreams and desires can’t happen, or why they aren’t supposed to happen.

This is so draining. This is exhausting.  And in all areas of the heart…logic is pretty darn useless.

People pride themselves in being realistic. Don’t.  Being realistic is a road to build other peoples’ dreams, not your own.

I encourage you to honor what you really want. To really practice trusting those desires. That means trusting yourself. Trusting yourself more than well-meaning loved ones, parents, your significant other, society at large, and yes, even me. 🙂 You know more than ANYONE about how to live your life.

So use your smarts (thinking) to create the life you really want, not to talk yourself out of it!  Your heart is telling you the truth. Your brain helps you to get it.

Trust your desires. They are why you are here.  This is how you will be the greatest service to others. So pay attention to your heart. You never know how many people are counting on you to do that very thing.

With love and total belief in you and your dreams!
Live Extraordinary!
Hollie

Man, This One Question Stumps Me Every Summer!

And it is a perfectly normal summertime question!

But it drives me nuts.  I hate when someone asks me a question
and my response is, “um…well…yeah…I guess…I mean…
I’m sure I will….ummm…”

Really? Come on Hollie, get it together.

Make up the answer. Script it.  Craft an elevator speech for it.
Or for the love of everything holy, for this question just say
“YES!” and let it be over with.

This is the question that tortures me:
So are you going on a vacation this summer?
So freaking simple, right?  But it confuses me. Usually
I’m good at thinking fast but I always stumble over this one.

3 REASONS:

1. I’ve been an entrepreneur working from home for the last
14 years. I’m my own boss. So I just say, “Hey Hollie, you
want next week off? Cool, you got it.”

2. I’m spontaneous as hell. So I don’t plan ahead. I always
take “vacations,” trips, days off, or go on an adventure with
little notice. It’s based on when the mood strikes. So unless
it’s 1-5 days out, I really can’t say.

3. Every day feels like a vacation (OK well, not EVERY day).
But on a whole the way my life and days are set up there is no
difference between a day or evening, a mid-day or a weekend,
or a vacation to real life.

All that leaves me with the oh-so inspiring “um, yeah,
I’m sure I will….” answer.

Like I said, I should just respond with “YES! Beach
trip sometime in July!”

But no, instead my soul starts pondering why we
live like we do.  Why do we save our best days to
just a week or two a year?

Why do we have lives we need to vacate?

Hey, I do get why vacations are important and it’s cool
to travel with friends and family. But what I’m really
talking about are the masses who live for vacation days
whether it is time off on the weekends or the one to
two weeks or so off a year.

Not everyone can be their own boss (or would want to
be for that matter!). However, I do believe a far too great
a number of folks are miserable in their work, and are
living for the weekends and time off. And that my friend
needs to change.

So…are you living for time off, or loving living
every day of your life?

3 Things to Decide, Consider, and Get into Inspired Action with:

1. Do you love your work?  If not consider finding new work
(even if it pays less) or starting your own business. It’s pretty
impossible to love life while dreading 40 hours of it each week.
Start exploring options. Start exploring what your world would
look like if you loved your work?

2. Are you incorporating something you love into every day?
Do you wake up feeling excited?  A group run, a sweet mountain
bike, a workout, a great meal, a juicy conversation, a lunchtime
adventure, a fantastic movie, a massage. Incorporate more fun, rest,
and adventure into each and every day.

3. Decide NOT to accept that this is just how it has to be (It doesn’t!).
You may not have all the answers now, but do start lowering your
tolerance to what you will allow yourself to “live with”…
LIFE IS TOO SHORT.

 and…day to day inspired living beats any vacation any time!

I say do both, but definitely “book” the inspired living
trip…it’ll last a lifetime!

Here’s to spark, sunscreen, and living like you mean it!

Hollie

The Tipping Point: When Too Many Greats Become Not So Good.

Do you feel overwhelmed? Confused? Muddled? Even though a lot in your life is good. Some of it really good.

I get it.

You know, I’ve been on a “simplicity journey” over the last year or so. I sold 3 fitness centers, closed 1 vacation rental business and sold a 2nd home in sunny St. Pete.

I also went on a crazy purge of “stuff”… I took Jeep-fuls to Goodwill, sold things on Craigslist, closed accounts, cut off phone lines and cable, and unsubscribed to pretty much everything. I even had a burning ceremony in my backyard getting rid of financial docs, cards, photos, and other personal mementos. Anything physical, mental, or emotional that felt heavy or like a distraction went.

It felt so freaking good. So much that a few times I feared I might not know where to stop with the simplicity pursuit. It turns out I did know. I actually felt when the Tipping stopped.

So…distractions from what you ask? Good question.

Distractions from expressing my true purpose + living it full out. I learned great things, can keep us from the EXTRAORDINARY things we are meant to do. I learned we can’t do it all. And better yet, there is no reason to.

Because in reality great + great + great + great + great = good (at best!).
Most of the time it = overwhelmed, stressed, confused, flat, unsure, divided, distracted, less joy.
Somewhere along the way too many GREATS tip into TOO MUCH.

So…a question for you…

Would you recognize your Tipping Point?

When was the last time you really stopped, reflected, and assessed your goals, your “forward” direction, your life? Kind of checked in on your WHYs and your WHAT’S IT ALL FORs? Does everything feel good and right? Or does it no longer make sense or feel too much?

Sometimes a Tipping Point can sneak up on us or we simply evolve and it’s time to recognize what was great no longer is and it’s time to let go. And that it’s OK to let go.

Sometimes it takes letting go of a lot of great things, ideas, projects, businesses, and even people to experience less, but more extraordinary ones.

Sometimes you have to do less + have less to BE more.

To be more rejuvenated.
To be more rested.

To be more focused.
To be more powerful.

To be more expansive.
To be more creative.

To be more loving.
To be more joyous.

To be more passionate.
To be more purposeful.

To be more YOU.

Here’s to Tipping in the direction of your happiest, healthiest, and most extraordinary life!

You deserve it!

Hollie

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