Toast Your Triumphs

We’ve reached that point in the year where for many, January 1st has become a distant memory. This happens every year, but time and time again, it continues to catch us off guard. The end of March will mark three whole months since you sat down and set your intentions for 2017. Is your progress measuring up to your expectations?

That is a heavy question. You probably have some wins and accomplishments to be very proud of. You also likely experienced some challenges and setbacks. The most important part of this personal Check-In is to be honest with yourself - you are fully deserving of celebrating your successes, but you must remain fully open to refining, adjusting, and adapting to remain steadfast on your path toward your most personal and complex goals. It takes a minimum of three months to make significant changes in your life, and turn practice into habit. In those three months, shifts and adjustments for sustainability are inevitable. To master your 2017 Check-Ins, dedicate some time to ask yourself the following:

  • Are my goals challenging me? Furthermore, are they challenging me enough?
  • Have I sacrificed my health for any other aspect of my life, or vice versa? If so, what needs to change?
  • Are my goals strictly physical or outward? Have I addressed the need for emotional, intellectual, or spiritual growth?

The process of reinventing and reaching your goals will teach you amazing things about yourself. Below, we’re sharing a bit of what we’ve learned by pushing our own boundaries in goal setting and providing some steps for you to make any necessary adjustments to your own plan, following your next 2017 Check-In.

Rashanna’s Journey:

Back in January, I wrote a blog about “breaking basics” in goal setting to inspire our readers to go further in 2017, and to let go of the things that are holding them back.  It was a challenge that we set forth to change the mindset in which goals are set.  An incredible thing that happens in the process of writing to inspire others, is that you yourself become inspired. You walk the walk a little stronger than before due to the deep exploration that it took to gather your thoughts and set an actionable plan.  So I myself, took my own advice in the new year.  I can report that I am in some ways exhausted, yet I am also invigorated and stronger than ever. 

For me, I had to figure out how to perform at close to a 10 in both business and health.  In the past, when one was at a 10, the other would drop to a 7.  I was personally frustrated because it was taking me so long to find this balance.  The new year forced me to compose a pretty thorough plan for both business and health.  I integrated the entire system into my life by entering it into my calendar as my priority, then I schedule the rest of my life around it.  I'm no longer working 14-hour days with no workout, or getting so far behind on business tasks that I fall off the workout wagon completely.  It ALL gets done because I found my formula.  This is also working for some of our clients that we are coaching through our Meet Your Muse program.  

It's about making a commitment, and designing a system that guides you towards your muse.  I'm exhausted, yes.  But that is because 1) this time of year is always nuts in the wellness industry because our 1st quarter is filled with new customers and lots of events.  2) I'm growing in my capacity to function at a higher level on multiple cylinders.  I feel I have been able to attack challenges in life with more clarity and direction because there just isn't time to not get it in.  My social life has decreased a bit, some good and some bad.  Good, because I have narrowed my social life to supporting the positive, uplifting and mutual friendships rather than the contrary. Bad, because I’m still working on giving myself more time with the ones I love, without feeling like the rug is going to get pulled out from under me if I’m not working.  At the same time, my focus has led to amazing new opportunities that are bringing a new found joy and satisfaction.  Overall, I have learned to make the plan and work the plan as it is providing more balance as well as success.  This time of year is perfect for making the necessary tweaks to your goals so that you can truly transition into a life plan.  We have 10 months to go in 2017.  Your muse is calling you! - Rashanna Moss

Shannon’s Journey:

It’s pretty clear that the Moderna Muse philosophy on overall health, wellness and happiness is anything but one-tracked. So many factors play into becoming the best version of yourself, and that is exactly what I tried to keep in mind back in January, when setting my goals for 2017. I have historically been an “all-in” type of person - committing to very clear, very tangible goals with definitive markers for success. These goals usually lived in worlds separate from one another, with no goals feeding into or playing off of one another. If you think back to the piece Rashanna mentioned earlier, she challenged us to step away from the typical confines of goal-setting, and to push ourselves to dig deeper. Look at the big picture. Dive into a complex, multidimensional goal that might even require a redesign of your whole lifestyle or way of thinking. 

These types of deep, personal goals are difficult to put into words, and sometimes the end result isn’t easy to visualize. But if you’ve ever experienced total alignment with your muse or can imagine what it feels like, you know that sense of satisfaction in your core, and that feeling becomes your vision. It brings a sense of clarity, confidence, and calmness that translates into an undeniable trust in the process and the challenges ahead. That feeling is my continuous goal for 2017 and beyond. Shifting my goals to a more holistic, inclusive approach has required me to let go of one major thing: numbers. In many cases, goal tracking is most easily translated to counting - from calories to account balances to checkmarks on the to-do list to workouts per week, quantifying results can help with focus. But it has also given me stress, which brings a whole other bout of challenges - distraction, lack of sleep, emotional sensitivity, and a general feeling of exhaustion. This year, I have channeled more of my focus into three major areas: 1) what and how my body feels 2) valuing knowledge and experience over wealth and 3) remaining confident and calm in accomplishing tasks. All of these things are qualitative, thus increasing my quality of life without the added stress of counting every single achievement as a means to an end. 

Looking at your goals through a qualitative lens can feed your soul with the goodness that keeps it fired up when it comes to reaching for goals, but there is still a place for structure and planning. You can’t simply say, “I’m going to be more mindful” and suddenly have a bounty of knowledge and awareness bestowed upon you from the universe. Qualitative goals take work and practice, so I have put a structure of actions and exercises, as well as a calendar around those goals to hold myself accountable to them. And of course, it’s okay and often helpful to include some markers of numbers or data in your goals, but it will all be without meaning if you aren’t balancing that with the freedom, happiness, and satisfaction your soul wants at its core. Don’t abandon your muse in the race to quantify your achievements! - Shannon Pike

We hope you can see that the journey is just as important, if not more important, than the destination. Being open and honest with yourself about your successes and challenges can become a catalyst for getting to know yourself on a level you never imagined. Going through deliberate personal Check-Ins through the year will help you in cultivating goals that break basic and push you to get in touch with exactly who you are meant to be. So put your plan in place, and commit to your routine Check-Ins just as you committed to the goal itself:

  • Pick a Check-In date and stick to it. Three-month increments are a great place to start. If you find that your life shifts with certain seasons, or certain times of year can trigger a falloff from your goals, adjust accordingly.
  • Make an effort to reduce the internalizing of outward noise. This includes the distraction of relationships that do not serve or support you. Your goals and your progress are your own, and your markers of success should never come from the criticisms of others. If you’re relying on the opinions of others to determine where you’re at in the process, your goals are not your own, and you will lose touch with the journey.
  • Eliminate self-pity and excuses. There is a delicate balance between pushing and being kind to yourself. Falling short of a goal simply means you need to reevaluate and adjust your plan - not give up, or make excuses. You are capable of more than you know!

Even though we are challenging you to set very personal goals and have extremely honest conversations with yourself, remember that you are not alone in your journey. Draw inspiration and motivation from the people in your life that support you, can relate to you, and hold you accountable for working your plan. And if you’re ready to amplify your growth but aren’t sure where to start, we would be honored to hear from you. Contact us any time. We’re in this together, musas! 

Rashanna Moss & Shannon Pike
CEO & COO, Moderna Muse

Breaking Basic

New Year, new goals, clean slate, a sense of renewal and leaving the past behind...again and again and again! If you take a peek at your goals from last year, you likely reached some of them. Some you will copy and paste into the upcoming new year.  If we pay close attention and take an honest inventory, we are copying and pasting more than we probably should. Yes, it’s important to be gentle with oneself and adjust timing of our goals as needed, but we often let the copy and paste happen because of our lack of a breakthrough, and attachment to a perceived payoff. Let’s explore this more closely.

If you’ve ever been through a goal-setting session, you’ve likely heard of “SMART Goals” a million times over:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.  This is a great foundation for goal-setting and simple to apply, yet it is simultaneously basic. When you are living your muse, you aren’t basic. Your path can’t be planned through a “one size fits all” plan. Life will likely require that you experience a unique, major breakthrough to get to your muse and live beyond the ordinary. This breakthrough might be so personal to you that it can’t be considered “measurable”.  It might be a state of mind, a perception, or an emotional experience. And in no way, shape or form can you become extraordinary with ordinary tools.  You must be willing to do the things that don’t look perfect, polite, accommodating or acceptable in order to reach your breakthrough.

Start by looking back at where you came from. Your family, hometown, childhood friends & activities, etc.  It’s your foundation, and an integral part of who you are. Throughout life, you have been and will be exposed to different opportunities that broaden your scope beyond where you come from. This is actually pretty common for most of us. It usually starts with college or other post-high school experiences, where we leave home to pursue a higher level education or new experiences. Some of us may return home and others do not. For some it is only the start of many journeys that exacerbate the gap between where you come from and where you are going. This gap quickly becomes evident in the relationships in your life. Any time that you move, elevate to a new position or make a major life change, you run the risk of leaving people behind. There’s a deeply personal and often negative connotation that comes with this. You are pursuing your dreams and your calling in life, but it comes at the cost of changing your relationships. And boy, can some people put a guilt trip on you!  “You left me”, “I never see you”, “You’re too good for us now”. Those comments cut like a knife. It’s not that you don’t care about your friends and family; you are simply following your calling.  And isn’t that what life is all about?  Living your muse to fulfill your soul’s purpose? Hearing that your loved ones feel left behind is hard and it hurts. You have no intention of causing pain, but the risk of misrepresenting yourself to others is one of the many costs of propelling yourself forward. Everyone is responsible for themselves, including those that may feel left in your past. Find new ways to connect and create bonds through distance and change, but never make yourself responsible for those in your life that inflict guilt trips, make you responsible for their happiness or project their lack of growth on your success. Is the payoff of being close, accommodating others, and putting their needs first worth the cost of your dream?

Payoffs are hard to see. They are usually a blind spot that we, and our friends and families, can’t even identify at the surface. The easiest way to explore them is to start with your fears. If I ______________, I’m scared that _____________ will happen. Our interpretations of simple cause and effect. Over years of conditioning, experiences, abuse, lost loves, failures, successes, we establish a set of rigid ideas that make up our template for a solid, responsible “plan”. In actuality, we have developed mental and emotional limitations that block our willingness to incorporate taking risks and conquering fears into our plan.  We equate “safe” to “responsible”, and “comfortable” to “right”. But when you are truly breaking through thresholds, you’ll see that those principles go straight out the window. You face your fear dead on and overcome your complacency and the payoff you’ve been leaning on.

When I was doing heavy self work during the process of my divorce, I was reading Conscious Loving by Gay Hendricks, where I came face to face with this concept. Hendricks poses the question “What are you Getting out of Staying Stuck?” In the book, a story is shared about a man and woman suffering from their attachment to a payoff. “Larry and Ruth realized that their main payoff was in maintaining their belief that the other person was wrong. When they fought they could strengthen their belief that ‘no matter what I do, I can’t win with this person.’ Their other big payoff was limiting positive energy. By fighting all the time they kept themselves from acknowledging something very important and real; neither was satisfied with what they were accomplishing in the world. They felt they were not living up to their potential as individuals or as a couple.  Fighting and blaming were ways of avoiding looking at and doing something about this painful awareness.” It’s amazing what we discover when we peel back the layers and face the depths of what’s actually holding us back.  With my own realization of being stuck, I had to face what ever labels, blame, judgments and opinions that would come with divorce.  But with my fear of being alone and starting over, I gave myself the opportunity to live my muse and disprove my fears.

Many of you have stepped out in courageous ways and have started to influence your communities with your life’s work.  This is a tremendous step and you deserve a round of applause.  We are in a new era of both self-promotion and brand-promotion, and sometimes the line between the two feels blurred. It’s a different way of commercialization, but the tools within social media alone have changed the game. Often times, when we have influence, we become too humble about our platform. The more people you know, and the more good work that you do, you are talked about more, have more people to socialize with, more obligations and events...the list goes on and on. It’s exhausting and you can quickly become sick of yourself.  As a result, humility can lead you to pull back on your visibility; you don’t want to bother people with too much “you”. But when you are doing good work and you believe in your work, the world needs more of you. Stand as that example of courage, strength, good, positivity, encouragement, beauty, creativity, and inspiration. Yes, it comes with the price of some people thinking that you are narcissistic, conceited, cocky or egotistical - but guess what... your message isn’t for them! Might I remind you that Oprah’s show was called “Oprah” and her entire brand is “Oprah”. You too have the right to own who you are and rise into your muse unapologetically.  

Beloved musa, all this is said to encourage you to do what YOU need to do this year.  Despite what people might think and how they might feel, despite the fears that flow through your blood, you were put on this earth to do great things. The payoffs of holding back aren’t worth it, and even when it feels like they are, challenge yourself to expand the lens on your scope and find creative ways to maintain the things that are important to you.  Become comfortable with the temporary pain of change and growth, knowing that you are shedding and making room for more goodness in your life.  In 2017, copy and paste that lofty, crazy, dreamy goal for the last time in your life.  Know that this is your year, this is your breakthrough, and there’s no going back to basic.  Live your muse!

Rashanna Moss
CEO & Executive Visionary
Moderna Muse

 

Hendricks, Gay, and Kathlyn Hendricks. Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-commitment. New York: Bantam, 1990. 158-59. Print.

Working Silently

I’m not a religious person, but I was raised Catholic and attended Duchesne Academy of The Sacred Heart in Houston, TX.  The curriculum required religion class once a week and chapel was frequent as well.  I can’t recite bible verses, nor do I attend church, but as a child in that environment, I did understand that I was being taught valuable life lessons through an influential narrative.

For some reason, Matthew 6:5-6 made a huge impression on me and has translated in to my current life and work philosophy. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

This somehow shaped my perspective on work in general.  I remember when I started running as part of my tennis training, I would run in the dark - when other people weren’t out and up yet.  It was my time, my work and my responsibility to put the work in.  There’s something really special about climbing into my shell, connecting to my inspiration and working without interference from others.

Working when no one else can see you work can significantly impact an outsider’s view of you.  You might be perceived as lazy, uninvolved or “just lucky”.  But you aren’t here to satisfy other people…you are here to live your muse.  Your work will ultimately show in the results of your ventures. Strong results do not happen by osmosis.. You have to focus on letting go of the judgment and the need to prove yourself to others.  It’s impossible to conceptualize, plan and execute your work at a high level without retreating to do so.  

Musicians create some of the best works of art that inspire us.  They give us incredible shows that move our entire being, and we relive those moments when we hear our jam on the radio.  But those same musicians escape to the studio for months at a time to regroup and create another work of art in the studio…away from interference, media and unnecessary noise that could distract them from the ultimate goal of creating great music to sustain their careers.

Find your shell, your studio, and turn off the opinions of others.  Connect with your soul and crank out the good stuff.  Live your MUSE and let the world connect with your amazing creations.