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Everyday I read about people who are creating great products or doing some really fun things. On Friday’s I share my favorites. Today, it’s Everest.

Everest is an online company that inspires you to live your dreams and achieve your personal goals.  I love their attitude and their tag line: Everyone’s got their Everest. We help you climb yours.  I don’t know about you, but I could use some encouragement when it comes to my dreams and goals.

One feature I like about Everest is they encourage you to capture moments (i.e. photos) as you chase your dreams. The idea is to inspire others with photos of you accomplishing your goals. They believe that through social engagement we’ll be more motivated to achieve our goals. I’ve done this with other apps and it does work for me. Accountability helps keep me on track.

The App has a feed of public challenges for you to choose from or you can create your own. I’ve included a few below.

Everest MenuI picked Get Out of Your Comfort Zone as my first “dream” along with 113 other people.  There are only seven steps so I have a shot at actually accomplishing it!

Everest challenge

Here are the steps:

Everest stepsI’m planning to start tomorrow that’s why there’s been no progress.  Does that sound like procrastination?  Maybe that should be my next challenge.

Check it out and if you sign up, let me know what you choose.  In the interest of full disclosure, the app isn’t perfect.  It’s new and there are some bugs that need to be fixed, but give it shot and see if it helps you accomplish your goals.

We can succeed together. 😉

http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/14/everest-app/

Why 2013 May Be The Best Year of My Life

Sunrise Crystal Cove

As we approach the end of another year and reflect back on it, I can honestly say that 2013 may be the best year of my life.  My family is happy, healthy and doing well in school and work. That would be enough to make it a good year, but this year I’ve been blessed. Starting over in a new city allowed me to release the pressure of fitting in, keeping up and staying on course. I can’t explain how unprepared I was for my life in the Midwest.  At first, I didn’t understand that living where we lived meant conforming.  The expectations were subtle and often cloaked in smiles and invitations, but it all felt phony. For years, I was confused and frustrated. I’m not the kind of person who likes being told what I “should” do. I’ve never had a desire to fit in and be one of the crowd so I was a stranger in a strange land. I resisted the standards that were being thrust upon me, but eventually one must conform to a certain degree or be lonely and outcast.  Moving gave me a fresh start. There were no expectations of me in our new town.  And for the most part, there still aren’t. People here are eclectic and eccentric. I love their creative and free spirit.  I love people who follow their dreams, not the money.  Following the money leads to unhappiness.  I worked with many high earning professionals in the last few years and I can honestly attest that money is more of a burden than a blessing to them whether they realize it or not.  But that’s fodder for another blog post.

Moving gave me a fresh start. I started taking pictures again and reading more books. I took walks on the beach. I explored our new area. I found a church that we all enjoy. I started practicing yoga three times a week. I started writing again. I reconnected with family that live in the area. I avoided getting involved in activities that might fill my time, but rob me of the newly acquired peace I’d found. I met a few people, but I was in no hurry to jump into friendships that might make demands on my time or me personally. I feel free. I don’t feel trapped by the expectations of others or the location of my home.  I am happy, content and grateful.  I thank God everyday for the blessings of 2013 and look forward to his plan for 2014.  I wish the same for you.

 

Finally An Answer to the dreaded question: What do you do?

Recently I read an article about “slash careers” and how people who have slash careers are more fulfilled than people who don’t.  I’ve thought a lot about that article.  A slash career refers to a person who has multiple careers simultaneously.  A woman named Marci Alboher coined the term for those who can’t answer the question “what do you do?” with a single word or phrase.  As a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, this intrigued me.  During those years I would recoil when someone would ask me that question.  I struggled to tell others what I did without describing myself as either “just a stay-at-home mom” or coming across as superior to others who didn’t stay home with their kids.  Women who choose to stay home and raise their kids are sensitive about explaining it to others.  How do you tell people what you do as a stay-at-home mom when, if you do it right, it literally encompasses many careers?  My experience has been that people either judge you because they think you aren’t really doing anything or worse they think you are a leech on the rest of society who is out there earning and producing.

I take pride in everything I do and raising my children is no exception.  When they were young, I didn’t sit around the house eating bon-bons watching TV. I also wasn’t out playing golf or tennis and lunching at the club.  When I stayed home with my kids I spent my time with them.  They were my job.  I was teaching them, reading to them and providing for them.  I was their nurse, cook, artist, athlete, coach, chaperone, chauffeur, nutritionist, teacher, cop, laundress, maid, moralist and referee.

I am naturally curious and find many things interesting so I easily identify with the slash career philosophy.  Why be pegged into one career if you have multiple interests?  I’ve lived my slash career life without knowing there was a name for it.  I have several careers simultaneously and I enjoy them.  In addition to raising my kids, I do contract work with a small start-up company in Chicago.  I create ads and in-house publications for an Oregon based hotel, restaurant and convention center.  I love photography and take photos of almost anything and I’ve started writing again.  I embrace my slash careers and believe I am happier having multiple careers than I would be if I only had one.  In fact, I have a good friend who has a career in sales and she loves her job, but she also loves photography so about ten years ago she made a bold decision to spend one of her days off working at a local camera shop.  She made a deal with the owner that she would work there one day a week in exchange for products, services and learning.  At the time, and even now, people think she’s nuts for taking that day away from her family to do what she loves.  At times people have tried to make her feel bad about her decision, but she is more fulfilled than the people who are criticizing her.  I have another friend who works in sales and enjoys her job, but she has no hobbies outside of work.  She gives everything to her job and she complains about her travel, her hours and her time away from family.  So the more I think about slash careers the more I’m convinced the author is on to something.  No person is just what he or she does for a living.  We are all complicated and interesting beings that cannot be defined in simple terms or by society’s standards.

Dreams and Julia Child

Dreams

It’s been three years since I told a friend, “Hey, Julia Child didn’t become Julia Child until she was 49. There is still time to follow your dream.” Yes, I was encouraging a friend, but I was also giving myself time. I’d just turned forty and had plenty of dreams of my own, but because of time constraints, fear and family I wasn’t pursuing the ones that really brought me joy. Instead I was spending my time trying to be what others in my community wanted or expected me to be. I volunteered at school, made meals for the homeless, helped with my son’s sport teams and my daughter’s choir and drama. I got involved in charity work and social engagements that usually left me asking myself, “What am I doing here?” I did what was expected of a typical Midwestern mother and housewife. The problem was I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. It’s not that I didn’t want to be involved or helpful, but doing those things didn’t bring me joy. I ignored the voice that kept telling me what truly makes me happy. It was easier to do what everyone else was doing rather than do what I loved. There was risk involved in living my own life. I risked stepping outside my comfort zone. I risked disappointing friends or family that may not approve or understand. But the alternative was losing touch with my joy, my dreams and God’s plan for me. What really makes me happy is exploring the outdoors, reading and writing. I am just starting to truly enjoy my life again. God gave me a gift in relocating to the West Coast. I can start over and spend time doing the things I was meant to do rather than the things others expect me to do. I’m taking time to write, explore new places and learn new things. I think Julia Child’s path is a good example for all women. Follow your passion and listen to the voice that’s telling you what truly makes you happy. Life is a series of stages, not one long journey. Life is also short; don’t waste it letting society define you or your dreams.