Everyday Epiphany… Embracing the Gift of Fall

I find that I’m always a little down the week after we turn back our clocks. When that sun begins to fade, I feel like my energy fades right along with it. I can’t help but feel like my day is “gone” when it’s only 5pm. However, I think I’ve figured out a little trick to help me make light of the change: switch up my routine in very small ways. I made a few little changes to my evening ritual to help me embrace the increase in nighttime hours.  For example, I’ve replaced the streaming daylight through the windows with soft light from fancy orange, red, and yellow candles. I’ve replaced my lemonade with spiced apple cider. Tiny things, I know, but they’re making a difference. After all, I do love fall. I just needed to stop looking at the whole thing as if someone “stole” my summer and instead look at it as if someone “gifted” me fall. 

Everyday Epiphany… There’s No Need to Rush

I just saw an ad for ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, the aisles in Coscto are all set up with Christmas gear, and I recently caught myself looking online for unique gifts. What?!? It’s mid-September! Yes, time certainly does fly and I realize that the holiday season will be here before we know it, but there are so many wonderful things to focus on and enjoy before Christmas gets here.  There’s Halloween and Thanksgiving, and plenty more depending upon your faith. And there are many, many funny ones as well. Did you know that today is National Cheeseburger Day? I didn’t until five minutes ago but I certainly plan to celebrate it! I don’t want to think three months ahead. I want to enjoy today. So how about celebrating this particular day in our lives? I’m going to throw myself a little cheeseburger lunch party!  What will you do to celebrate today?

Everyday Epiphany… What a Difference a Year Makes

Labor Day weekend of last year, Balance Bead made its first public appearance. I set up a table at a local craft fair down by the pier in my hometown of Huntington Beach. My goal was to test the market—to see if anyone would be interested in my little idea. Granted, my extremely supportive friends all told me the idea was great, but I had to see if anyone outside of my circle would think it was great enough to purchase.

I’ll be honest: Balance Bead wasn’t a runaway success. Tons of people visited the area that weekend, but person after person passed by my booth barely making eye contact. But I made five sales! No, five wasn’t a lot compared to what my colleagues earned that weekend, but it meant that five people understood my idea and were willing to spend their hard-earned money on my product.

I exhibited at a few more craft fairs over the next couple of months. Over that time, based on feedback from customers and colleagues, I improved my product, improved my packaging, improved my display, and improved my pitch. At the last craft fair before Christmas, I sold ten times what I’d sold on that first weekend.  I still didn’t come close to earning what my colleagues earned but I knew that Balance Beads were going to be in many Christmas stockings that year and that was success for me.

As I approach Labor Day weekend and begin preparing for the holiday season (gasp!), I can’t help but reflect upon the year since product launch and wonder what’s in store in the months to come.  No doubt there will be changes to the product line, changes to our communication approach, and so on and so on. Business, like life, is and endless cycle of learning and redirection. And the only way we learn over here is through feedback from you, so please be in touch. Let us know what you’d like to see from us in our second year of business.

Here’s to a great Year Two!!!

Everyday Epiphany... A Good Problem to Have

The past month has been crazy. Beyond crazy. My house is under construction and a major leak was discovered under the living room floor, my job has me working until the wee hours of the morning, my best friend just moved away to a different country, and so on. I was doing fine for a while, just going through the motions, but it all caught up with me yesterday. You know how it goes. The tiniest thing brought on a flood of emotion.

But after I’d shed a few stress tears, it occurred to me: these are all good problems to have. Yes, I have a valid problem with the leak under the house, but I wouldn’t have a leak if I didn’t have a house. And that leak is being caused by the beautiful pool that sits in my backyard. Yes, my work is causing me stress, but the stress is due to the fact that people are giving me business. Business that I love. Yes, my best friend moved away, but it happened in an era when people are connected no matter how many miles separate them. And she’s having the adventure of a lifetime, which brings me tremendous joy.

On the days when all I can see are my problems, I need to remember that these are pretty good problems to have. They all stem from blessings in my life. And as they say, you need some of the bad in order to appreciate the good, right? So after the plumber leaves and I finish my work tonight, I think I’ll take some time to put my feet in that leaky pool and flip through my friend’s most recent adventure pics!

Everyday Epiphany… Summer Lovin'

Everyone have a good Fourth of July? In my mind, that holiday is the ultimate summer day. It’s a day filled with sunshine, fun, and friends. I’ve always loved summer. As a kid, summer meant camp, sleepovers, and random adventures. As an adult, summer means barbecues, family visits, and (still!) random adventures. But unlike when we were kids, we have our jobs to do. For most of us, work doesn’t just stop as the temperature rises. However, I think it’s important to honor the season and carve out time in the evenings and weekends to celebrate summer. I mean really, why should the kids have all the fun?!

This summer I plan on enjoying a couple of stay-cations in my fabulous city, taking a couple of little excursions to neighboring areas, maybe having a picnic or two in the park next to my house, and of course, making frequent visits to my dogs’ favorite spot: the dog beach! As I put on my Balance Bead this morning, I set my daily intention to enjoy this summer day with the carefree spirit of a child. Perhaps that’ll mean making s’mores in the backyard fire pit! What summery activity can you do tonight?

Everyday Epiphany… Natural Benchmarks

Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2014? I feel like I’m still getting used to writing 2014 instead of 2013! I love natural benchmarks like these, so this morning I took some time to review my goals and consider all the things I thought I’d have done by this point in the year. As it turns out, I’ve actually been able to do quite a bit of what I set out to do. Sure, there are some things on the list that I’d intended to tackle by the end of June that are still sitting there untouched, but overall, I’ve made respectable progress—and that’s something to celebrate. No need to beat myself up over the things I've missed.

As I put on my Balance Bead today, I set my intention: relish in my accomplishments thus far! What are some of your achievements from this part of the year? I’d love to hear about them.

Disclaimer: I have to give credit where credit is due. I had some coaching on task accomplishment and goal achievement. Ever read Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy or Getting Things Done by David Allen? If not, I highly recommend picking them up. Great stuff. (And I promise I don’t get kickbacks for the recommendations!)

Everyday Epiphany… Time to Kick Up the Fitness Goal

With the World Cup going on in Brazil and all the buzz surrounding it, I can’t help but have physical fitness on the brain. I mean, look at those soccer players running endlessly up and down the field! They’re certainly in peak physical condition. Me? Not so much. While I do make an effort to stay in shape, I know there are a few things I can add to my fitness routine to take things up a notch. Right now, it’s not really feasible to add a bunch of fitness classes to my schedule, but I can certainly swing one additional class a week. And I know I can carve out a little extra time each day for a little yoga or mat Pilates in my house. It’s all about finding the motivation, right? Well, those soccer players are definitely helping me find it! This morning, as I put on my Balance Bead, I set the following intention: I will make the time to promote my physical fitness. I may not be able to keep up with those soccer players, but I can be proud of myself for holding plank position for 60 seconds! 

Everyday Epiphany... New Month, Fresh Start

Remember how you used to feel as a kid at the beginning of a new school year? At the beginning of each month, I always get excited about the prospect of starting fresh. It's a great time to acknowledge what I've accomplished in the past month and set goals for the new one. As I woke up this morning, I thought about the goals I wanted to achieve in June and wrote down the activities I'll need to do in order to support those goals. How quickly that list can grow! I had to remind myself that I don't have to be Wonder Woman. I don't have to attack them all this month. It's important for me to enjoy the process of achieving my goals, and that means setting goals that are reasonable and attainable. After creating my list, I put on my Balance Bead and set my daily intention for balance: enjoy the fresh start of a new month and approach each activity with enthusiasm!

Everyday Epiphany… Appreciating the “Not So Terrible” Things

We know it’s important to appreciate the good things that come our way, but what about the not-great-but-not-so-terrible things? A few days ago, I got in a pretty bad car accident. Right now I’m lying in bed, typing with my left hand because my right arm has a nasty airbag burn. Yes, I’m struggling with aches and pains but I’m in one piece. Considering that it was a high-speed crash that resulted in a totaled car, that’s pretty fantastic, don’t you think?

It’s natural to get upset when things don’t go our way. It makes sense. But perhaps there’s a little bit of room to be grateful when things that end poorly could have ended a lot worse. Both drivers walked away from the accident. It could have ended differently. For that, I am grateful. As I deal with the tedious tasks that follow any accident, I’ll try to appreciate the fact that it’s really not so terrible.

Everyday Epiphany... Luck Plays a Part, But Not a Starring Role

I’ve been a voice actor for many years. As any actor can tell you, it’s easy to go long periods of time without booking any jobs. In those times, it’s really easy to doubt yourself and indulge the temptation to give up. Many do—believing they’ll never be “lucky” enough to book their dream role. I’ve been there a few times, but I’ve never gone ahead and actually thrown in the towel. I simply love the work too much.

A few years ago, I was going through one of these down spells. An audition came through and I almost didn’t submit it. I was extremely busy that day, my recording equipment was on the fritz, and there was a gardener hard at work outside my window. I remember thinking, “What’s the point? Why stress over getting this recorded? I’m not gonna book it anyway.” I recorded it only because I felt guilty. If my agents gave the audition to me, another one of their clients didn’t get it. I recorded it and hit send.

I bet you can guess what happened. I got the job. I was “lucky” enough to book a series regular role on a major new animated show. But what do you think? Was it really luck? In part, I think so. I was lucky that my recording equipment cooperated with me for a few minutes that day. I was lucky that the gardener outside the window needed a water break. I was lucky to have an agent who believed in me. But what about the fact that I got past my feelings of defeat and recorded that day? Well, that wasn’t luck. That was all me. 

I giggle a little inside when people tell me how lucky I am to be a working voice actor. I always respond with, “I’m very fortunate, and very grateful.” Because it’s not all luck, is it? Persistence plays a part. Hard work plays a part. Resilience plays a part. And then there’s Lady Luck in a supporting role.

Everyday Epiphany… Let's Celebrate Less Celebrated Women!

During Women’s History Month, we see images of incredible women like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, Frida Kahlo, and Josephine Baker—groundbreakers whose achievements have had a tremendous impact on our society. But there are also women far less celebrated who are doing amazing things every day—things that make the world around them brighter, happier, and safer. Women who work tirelessly to improve conditions in neighborhood schools, lead city beautification efforts, volunteer at senior care facilities, assist at local shelters, and so on. I am proud to know many of them! And since there’s a ripple effect to everything, you never really know how great the impact of one small act will be on our world. It could be enormous. So don’t forget to celebrate yourselves this month, ladies. I know I’m celebrating you!

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Everyday Epiphany… Hearts Need Love, Too

February is National Heart Month! The American Heart Association suggests lots of ways to keep your heart in good shape: increase physical activity, follow a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, manage stress, and avoid tobacco. Great advice. I’d like to offer one more: do things that make your heart happy! Of course, that could mean different things to different people. To me, it means taking my dogs to the park or grabbing lunch with a girlfriend. Whatever “heart happiness” means to you, go ahead and pursue it! As you put on your Balance Bead today, set an intention to make your heart happy. :)

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Everyday Epiphany… Love Comes in Many Varieties

It’s Valentine’s Day. On this day, we celebrate love. But it seems to me that we tend to focus on the love between sweethearts. We send flowers, have romantic dinners, and exchange gifts. But there is so much love to celebrate that has nothing to do with romantic love. The love of our family, our friends, our pets. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by all this love on a daily basis. Today, in addition to celebrating with my sweetheart, I will celebrate all the other cherished loves in my life. xoxo

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Everyday Epiphany… “Fail” is Not a Synonym for “Quit”

So often we beat ourselves up for quitting. For giving up on something. But as a wise friend recently reminded me, sometimes it takes a great deal of bravery to quit. A few months ago, I finally quit a work-related project I’d been pursuing for three years. About two years into the project, I knew it wasn’t going to result in success. But I refused to quit. That’s what we’re told is the noble thing to do, right? Never give up. But what if giving up is the right thing to do? If it’s the thing that will set us free from something that causes us stress, pain, or imbalance? For me, quitting the project was the right thing to do. And a few months after making the break, I can honestly say that quitting was the smartest thing I could have done. I feel free.

Perhaps going forward we can stop associating the word quit with the word fail, and begin associating it with the phrase let go

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