Colorado Bucket List: Mount Evans

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The technical Colorado Bucket List goal is “climb” any 14er, but unless I get back out there on foot, I’m going to let this count for now.

Mostly because, how could I not?!

I don’t really use the word epic seriously, but this was epic. My bestie was in town for a weekend get together and we were told the only 14er you can drive to the top of is Mt. Evans. So we decided to do just that the following day.

Driving out we grabbed some B-B-Q and sat in a lot of traffic on I-70, but it was so worth it. We started winding up the mountain from Idaho Springs and it was simply gorgeous up there (I seriously can’t wait to go back in the fall). We finally made it to the park ranger station to get our pass and headed up the steep and winding 14mi to the summit.

Along the way we saw bighorn just casually strolling along the road!

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There was a little pull off area where we stopped to climb rocks and take pictures of the awesome views and our awesome selves. It was breathtaking.

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Further up was a little lake and some gorgeous views. I made a mental note to also return to hike along the pathway near this spot. So unbelievable.

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Then closer to the top we saw mountain goats! There were five of them stopping traffic on the side of the road. This one guy was just staring at all of us while munching some grass with a look of, “what’s the big deal guys?” Amazing.

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At the top, WOW. Just wow.

The views were absolutely amazing and it was so quiet and peaceful, despite the mass of people all around us. We took pictures with the official sign, sat on the edge of the cliff, and just took it all in. Next time I’ll definitely bring a picnic to spend more time at the top.

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Why I Pulled Away from My Tribes (and Why You May Want To)

At the end of last year I made the conscious decision to pull away from my communities. My mastermind tribe, entrepreneurial groups I was in, mentors, and even some of my fellow business building friends. I was feeling unhappy with my business and like it needed to better reflect who I was and the work I was here to do… not be another online business doing the same thing as everyone else.

So I pulled away.

I didn’t post in groups (or even visit them). I didn’t hire coaches or take any programs. I didn’t read the blogs or websites of mentors and people I’d previously looked up to. I took serious space from everyone else and started focusing on what I wanted to create, which lead to some serious awesome.

I changed up my blogging schedule and focus.
I created a new offering unlike anything I’ve ever done.
I poured myself into the creation and release of my new book.
I focused on creation and produced a ton of new content.
I cleared the clutter and shed old layers in life and business.
I focused on my health, happiness, and finances.
I learned that life, relationships, and experiences are my muses.

I not only uncovered more of myself and my truth, but I created greater alignment in my life and businesses, making everything I do more fulfilling, on purpose, and divinely inspired.

Could I have done this while staying connected to my tribes?

I’m honestly not sure.

But the fact is, I didn’t think I could, so I honored that by stepping away. I believe strongly in creating space when it comes to creating alignment with our truth, especially in relationships. Whether personal or professional, it’s hard to grow when we’re trying to fit into other people’s perceptions and expectations of us. Especially with family and long time friends who feel we need to stay “who we’ve been” since that’s what they’re most comfortable with.

The beauty of stepping back is that we rarely have to leave forever. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding our footing so we can stand firmly in our beliefs when we finally do come back.

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How to Pull Away to Create Greater Alignment

1) Consider where you need to step back.

Is it from your personal relationships because they’re stifling and limiting? Is it from the books and programs that all tell you to do the same exact thing as everyone else? Is it from the communities that have so strongly adopted beliefs and practices that there’s no room for innovation or experimentation? Or maybe it’s from your mentors, because it’s time to blaze your own trail and step into your power as a leader? Pay attention to where you feel the most stifled and why.

2) Create the space you need to grow.

This may mean anything from moving across the country to ending a relationship to going completely off the grid. It could mean taking a digital break and stopping the digestion of other people’s work. It may mean going on vacation and unplugging the entire time. Or it may be as simple as not running your ideas past family and friends until you’ve found your footing.

3) Focus on what feels right for you.

When you step back, focus on only the things that feel right for you. Do the things you feel compelled to do without having to worry about other people’s opinions. Experiment with doing things a new and different way. Meet new people and experience new things. Make choices and decisions from your intuitive hits and not from other people’s opinions. This is the only way to grow into the person you’re meant to be, and having the space to do it is unlike anything else.

4) Come back if/when it feels like time.

In some cases, you may never return to the people, communities, mentors or tribes, and others you will. There are certain mentors I’ve completely unfollowed who had a huge impact on me when I started out, while others I’ve chosen to work with again. There are certain communities I left without a second thought, while others I consciously came back to with a new focus and certainty of self. There’s no one size fits all plan for this kind of thing, so trust your intuition. If something or someone who once resonated deeply no longer does, that’s okay! Growth means shedding layers, people, things, and experiences that no longer serve us. You don’t need any other reason besides “this no longer feels right to me.”

Take action now!

Work through the steps above to see where you need to take some space in your life, then share exactly how you plan to do that.

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Miracles Are…

One of my favorite lessons from A Course in Miracles is, “A miracle is a shift in perception.” By changing your perception of a situation, you completely shift your experience, the outcome and how you feel. So true and so amazing. Miracles are also found through gratitude and appreciating what’s all around you. I wrote my first Miracles Are post a few months ago, and have decided to make this an ongoing series when I feel compelled to share the miracles in my life.

Miracles Are…

  • Little adorable furballs that love you to pieces, sit in your lap while you work, snuggle you when you find yourself sleeping alone again, and are always so happy to see you when you come home, whether it’s been minutes or hours.
  • Amazing, inspiring individuals that love to connect, talk business, and are willing to give you their attention and best ideas to help you grow your business even more in the coming months.
  • A new view of forgiveness and what it really means to heal in layers.
  • Being a relatively small fare away from your favorite people in the world, bestie weekends, girl talk, and realizing you have some pretty amazing souls surrounding you in this life.
  • Aha moments, introspection, insightful books, and clarity.
  • Running six miles without stopping and accepting, finally, that you really are a runner. Also, continually being amazing by what your body is capable of.
  • Being able to do the work you were put here to do.
  • New connections, reconnections, and feeling like a magnet for all the awesome things and people. Synchronicity and kindred spirits.
  • Sleep, after many restless nights.
  • Truth telling, even when it hurts, especially when it’s hard.
  • $10 gym memberships, new albums on iTunes, Lululemon, and your favorite bosu ball and barbell workout. Mostly, reconnecting to your happy place.
  • Budgeting, streamlining, up-leveling, and systematizing.

Miracles are when you finally see how all the years, lessons, tears, and confusion really, truly lead to something amazing. Purpose, passion, connection, faith, joy, and all the things you believed to be out of your reach are present every moment of every day.

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How to Be Seen, Loved, Appreciated and Valued for Who You Really Are

For the majority of my life I felt like people didn’t see me.

When I was younger and in school, it was feeling like I had no real friends (I really only had a few sporadically), like people were always more “into” or interested in everyone else, or like no one cared about really knowing me deeply, even within my own family.

Throughout my first serious relationship with my high school sweetheart, I felt like he didn’t know me one bit, nor care to know anything more about me than what he decided he wanted to see and hear. The core of who I was and what made me ME simply wasn’t welcome in that space.

Throughout all my jobs after college, I always felt like my opinion and expertise was either undervalued or ignored. Because I was generally much younger than my co-workers, I often felt treated like the “youngin’” or like the intern who had to do all the grunt work. Even when I knew in my bones what I was saying was important and valuable, I was often dismissed.

And just three years ago during a retreat with my mastermind group, I had an epic and powerful breakdown during one of the exercises designed to make us uncomfortable so we could move through our personal blocks. I spent the entire weekend feeling unseen, and when my coach called me out on it, I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably in front of the group, nearly hyperventilating. What I realized that weekend shifted everything and laid the foundation for me to come to a place where I feel very seen in life and work.

How to Be Seen, Loved, Appreciated and Valued for Who You Really Are

How to Be Seen, Loved, Appreciated, and Valued for Who You Really Are:

1) See, love, and appreciate yourself first.

The biggest shift for me has been learning to see, love, and appreciate myself, regardless of whether or not anyone else does. I know myself incredibly well, including my strengths, talents, passions, and purpose in life. Believe me when I say it makes a world of difference. Work is a perfect example. For many years I believed on some level I wasn’t good enough, that maybe I had no real gifts, and that I wasn’t worthy of being valued. This lead to people reflecting those beliefs and energies back to me through their dismissing actions. Since I learned to value and own my expertise, talents, skills, and gifts, others have begun to value them as well.

Other people can’t see and value you until you see and value yourself. They also can’t love and appreciate you until you love and appreciate yourself! Self care, owning every bit of who you are, cultivating confidence, and showing yourself love and appreciation is key. We show others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. Those confident people that others are drawn to simply see and appreciate themselves fully at their core. They exude an attractive energy because they’re attracted to and love themselves. It doesn’t make you “full of yourself” and self centered, it makes you smart, powerful, and focused on what matters most to your fulfillment and happiness: you.

2) Know your worth.

It’s also incredibly important to know your own value as a person. We’re all amazing, unique, gifted individuals, and yet we don’t inherently know that. We tend to place our worth in the hands of others, and usually people who don’t deserve any say in how worthy we truly are. Your worth isn’t defined by whether or not someone else loves, sees, values, appreciates, or adores you, it’s inherent. You are worthy because you’re alive. Regardless of your mistakes and failures, you’re worthy of an amazing life and complete happiness. If you want others to see and appreciate you for who you truly are, know and honor that worth. Never settle for less than you deserve, don’t tolerate being treated like garbage, and always demand the absolute best for yourself in every situation.

3) Be willing to put yourself out there.

This is one I’m still working on in many ways, but have become more comfortable with over the years. The more you put yourself out there and get vulnerable, the more others are able to truly love and appreciate you. How can they if they don’t truly know you at your core? It’s uncomfortable, absolutely, but it’s worth it. It’s worth the risk of someone deciding they don’t really love and appreciate who you are at your core, because then you don’t have to waste time with them. It removes those people from your life so you have the space to attract the right people. Rejection can be painful, but it’s temporary. And the right people? Well ,they’re worth the wait and hundreds of rejections along the way. Trust that.

Take action now!

Where in your life or work do you feel unseen or under appreciated? Where are you not fully seeing, loving and accepting yourself first? Where are you teaching others how to treat you by how you treat yourself? Where do you need to embrace your worth or value? Where aren’t you getting real and vulnerable? Remember, other people are simply reflections of our own inner beliefs and blocks. Pay attention and you’ll learn a ton about yourself.

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Colorado Bucket List: Denver Art Museum

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Last weekend I found out the Denver Art Museum was having it’s monthly free day, so I decided to check it off my Colorado Bucket List!

I wasn’t having the best day, so I got myself dressed up and headed down to the museum for a me date. I’d been to the old art museum that’s shaped like a castle a couple times while I was in college, but I’d never been to the new museum. I remember driving home from school and seeing the museum being built, so it was fun to finally go inside this very interestingly shaped building.

I wandered around for a couple hours and explored the building, looked at a ton of awesome art (and some odd/interesting things in “contemporary art”), went out on the overlook to see the skyline, and walked the bridge to the old museum.

I got to see the Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective exhibit, which was pretty amazing. Above are a couple other artists I really loved. Overall, it was a fun trip and I’m so glad I finally made it to the museum. Definitely something I want to hit again before leaving.

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People around me have noticed how “happy” I’ve been lately and I can 100% say that I have never felt more happy, authentic, confident, and healthy as I do now. I am so grateful to Stephenie for helping me begin this journey of self discovery. — Jennifer McAleese