Time to Unplug

I find that one of the only ways to keep balance in the life of being an entrepreneur is to make time to unplug. In a world of laptops, mobile devices, apps and wearable technology, it’s almost hard to escape being connected but if you can find time to completely unplug, you will find clarity.

Traveling is one of the best times to disconnect. It’s a time to completely free yourself from the overflowing inbox and clutter of files on your desk. It’s a time to reconnect with life, with others and sometimes with nature.

Here is a short list of disconnected getaway ideas in the states:

  1. Go Hiking: Grab a walking stick, backpack and hit the trails for a weekend away on a completely tech-free terrain. Peaks of Interest: Mount Si (Washington), Adirondacks (New York), Grand Teton (Wyoming)
  2. Get Grounded: A new wave of young professionals are reconnecting with their childhood with adult summer camps such as Campgrounded and Digital Detox.
  3. Find Zen: An alternative to the traditional hiking or camping escape is to achieve complete relaxation in a wellness retreat. A few in the North America region include the popular Kripalu in Massachusetts and all-women center, Big Sky Yoga in Montana.

Did you get a chance to unplug this summer? What would be your ideal digital detox getaway?

Girls in a Cabin

After hours of driving through winding roads in the woods, we finally arrived at our girls’ getaway weekend retreat. We approached the cozy log cabin and our city-girl personalities started to shine through. Of course, we didn’t think to bring flashlights so there we are, all huddled closely together, using our cell phones to peer into the darkness…”Wait, shh.. what was that?” “Hello? Is anyone out there?” “No really, did I just see someone looking in the window?” Completely freaked out, we finally made it inside and after a bottle of wine, we felt right at home!

We never once turned on the TV and we had no cell service the whole weekend. In fact, at the very beginning of the trip, I had to call the other car of girls but had no way of doing so until we set out driving in to the dark forest and happened upon a cord phone in a box on a tree in the woods. Scariest thing ever!

It was a weekend of talking… a lot of talking: stories, secrets, laughing, and of course s’mores, wine and jacuzzi time.

Over the past two years, we’ve all been getting to know each other more and more over dinners and shopping trips but this weekend was such a great treat to really connect and appreciate our friendship on a higher level. I’m so thankful to have a group of girls that I can be myself around and learn so much from. Here’s to true friends!

Dreamforce Videos: Tony Robbins Makes The Room Shake

How do you get an entire auditorium of ten-thousand middle-aged suits to jump around like a tee-ball team winning their first game? Let Tony Robbins share his passion for life.

Some of my Tony Robbins takeaways:

SUCCESS IS CREATED BY PASSION, DRIVE, AND HUNGER
People who succeed never lose passion and people that fail never find it.

EMOTIONS ARE THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE
People say that failure is the results of a lack of resources but this is not true, the real cause of fear is the lack of resourcefulness.

YOUR DEEPEST PAIN IS YOUR GREATEST GIFT, IF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT
Most successful people have struggled at some point or another. The goal is to turn negatives into positives and find out what the triggers are that shape you.

BREAKTHROUGH IS CREATED BY: STRATEGY, STORY, AND STATE
A breakthrough is that moment when you suddenly decide to change your path and find your ultimate strategy to success in your life. In order to breakthrough, you must change:

  • Strategy: If you are doing things one way and it isn’t working, change it!
  • Story: Think about your personal story and ask yourself if it is empowering. If the answer is no, change it!
  • State: Your state is often triggered from real-world events. When you take control of your state, everything will change. In order to change your state, think about these three decisions.
    • What should I focus on? If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll be stressed. Change the pattern.
    • What does this mean? If you treat your relationship how you did in the beginning, at the end of your relationship, there will be no end.
    • What should I do? If you want to take the island, burn the boats! Because you’ll never breakthrough if you have a way to go back.
EMOTION IS CREATED BY MOTION
If you want to change your mood, change your body, change your state. Two ways to do this:
  1. Change your physiology. Stand up, jump around, smile, act happy. To be happy, you must act happy.
  2. Change your focus. (focus = feeling) Think of something you can be really proud of, something that makes you feel really grateful, something that makes you excited.

FORMULA FOR HAPPINESS
Life conditions = blueprint = happiness

Find your blueprint. (write down your answers)

  1. What’s an area in your life where you are really happy?
  2. Why are you really happy with that area?
  3. What’s an area in your life that you are not happy with?
  4. Why does that area give you pain?
Think about what you need to do to change it. Make sure your expectations are reasonable.
Now write down one professional life goal and one personal life goal.
Think about why you want to achieve it and what excited you about it.
TRADE EXPECTATION WITH APPRECIATION AND YOUR WHOLE LIFE WILL CHANGE
Below is a video that I made about my experience at Dreamforce. It’s motivating, empowering and even if you don’t watch the whole thing, skip to about 4:30 minutes to see the auditorium shake with energy.

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Things I Learned On The Beach

It was 6AM each morning when I awoke to the orange sun rising over the ocean and the waves rolling into the shore. Seven days in the Outer Banks with family and my dog was the re-charge I was looking for in my life (two weeks ago). Although I worked 65% of the trip, it was much more relaxing without distraction and in a completely different zone, where I could really focus on the project at hand. It seems that working from the beach exclusively would be much better for my productivity, yes?

While on vacation, I awoke each morning to watch the sunrise, read a little on the porch with the pup, take a jog, get coffee from this little coffeeshop/bakery down the road and then in the middle of working, I played in the ocean, of course! Here are some of the things I learned on the beach:

(1) Get off the kayak before the last surf into the coastline.

The flags on the beach were out to warn of danger but being adventurous, we decided to take the kayaks out to test our luck. Unfortunately, the flags were right – the waves were crashing into the shore viciously and after only a few minutes out in the wild ocean, we chose to come back in. I was doing all right until the last surf came crashing into the coastline, launching me and the boat into the air, over top of the wave and crashing back into the ocean. The kayak rolled over top of me and smashed my head straight into the sand. My neck was sore for days. Lesson learned: don’t try to ride the kayak in on a treacherousness day.

(2) Bring an audio-book for the road-trip. 

From Columbus, the drive to Outer Banks takes about 11 hours. To pass the time, I created a few playlists, listened to NPR, played on my iPad, worked on my laptop and also listened to a few audio-books. I ordered Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine  because I am attending a seminar in which he is the speaker discussing how teams can achieve their full potential. It seemed right up my alley but as soon as I turned it out, his voice put me to sleep. Literally. So I had to switch gears fast.

I went to the extreme and turned on The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. You see, Gary is the kind of guy that is just so fun to listen to. I actually prefer hearing his books to reading them. He’s energetic, passionate and just by listening to him get pumped, you will too. By the end of the book, I was ready to take on the world. Make sure you listen to a short snippet of the book before committing to an entire roadtrip together.

(3) Time doesn’t matter.

Even if you aren’t an early person, try to wake up one morning just to watch the sunrise. It’s such a peaceful site to see the sun coming up over the ocean – something that you will never experience in an inland state. After that , you can go back to sleep or stay up and nap in the afternoon. The beauty of a beach trip is that time doesn’t matter. I found myself working early, sleeping midday on the beach and then staying up late.

(4) Be prepared to eat…and eat… and eat.

The most food ever. Just before the trip, I spent a lot of time focusing on working out, my juice diet and cooking healthy meals at home for dinner. I even brought the juicer on the trip and stopped at the farmer’s market on the way to pick up some fresh produce. It was supposed to be a week of healthy eating but boy was I wrong. Every single night we had an enormous meal and the following day I would say I wasn’t going to have another giant seafood meal and then sure enough, dinnertime came and everyone was gearing up for a feast. Next time, I’m going for one meal skip. Maybe just champagne for dinner (like the photo of the stormy beach night above)

(5) No running on the beach!  Just find a nearby trail.

On the first day, I attempted to run on the beach in the morning. I bought those weird toe shoes and thought it would be a good way to get my morning exercise but after a couple hours, my shins and calves both felt stiffer and more sore than they ever had and it was just a few miles. Day two, I got back out there for more and found that I could barley even walk in the sand. It was time to change my method. I found a nearby trail and after a lot of stretching, it was a much better idea. Sure beach running like Baywatch looks beautiful, but it’s not only hard to do, it’s hard on your body.

Did you go on a beach vacation over the summer? Do you have any tips or advice for someone planning their trip next year?

Four Miles High Into The Sky: Impromptu Hiker’s List

It was 10am in Seattle and the rain was pouring out of the sky. Everyone walked into the coffee shop dripping wet and collapsing umbrellas. It was hours later, while we sipped our coffee that the day slowly started to peek out and before long, the clouds parted and the sun invited us to go on a hiking day trip to the peak of Mount Si. Not being prepared at all, we had to run to an outdoor clothing store and purchase some essentials: long hiking pants, bug/wind repellent jacket, a backpack and bottles of water. In less than an hour, we arrived at the 4,167 foot mountain.

At the beginning of the trail I came across a small walking stick on the ground that was just my size. It was beautiful to see the sun rays shooting through the tall trees and hear the whispering howl of the wind as we got closer to the top. Pushing through the last mile, it was getting slightly harder to breathe. After breaking through the trees, the first thing I saw was a giant pile of rocks. There were rocks everywhere! To reach the very top, it involved a little technical rock climbing through the “Haystack”. Rocks were falling under my feet and tumbling down. My heart was racing. I turned around to see how high Mount Si had taken me and the view was breathtaking. The clouds pushed around the side of the mountain and everything fell white. Breathing in deeply, I looked around and felt a wave of accomplishment.

It only takes a few miles into the sky to realize what you’re climbing for everyday.

 

Ever since my climb, I’ve been thinking about other day-long hiking trips closer to my home so that my dog can join. I found a few great peaks on the East Coast and some beautiful hiking trails around the Smoky Mountains and  that I’ll probably do in the next couple years. If you are thinking about taking an impromptu hike or climb, be sure to pack some essentials.

Impromptu Hiker’s List:

  1. Hiking boots are so important. I had normal gym shoes and rolled my ankle quite a few times
  2. Long pants and wind or bug repellent jacket. Even if it’s warm – it will get cooler at the top.
  3. Take LOTS of water and start out well hydrated.
  4. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
  5. Trail mix. Because… come on.
  6. Make sure you stretch, stretch, stretch at the trailhead.
  7. If you’re wearing hiking socks, wear a thin nylon or light sock under. You don’t want blisters.
  8. Get a walking stick or make one at the start. It’s so helpful with keeping your balance.
  9. If it’s cold, don’t forget gloves, hat, extra socks and so many layers.
  10. Other gear: camera, tripod, backpack, compass, bandanna, flashlight, first aid kit, iPod, journal.
Happy Trails!