Goal Setting Resources for 2013

Alright guys, goal setting time is upon us!

Resist the urge to go all hipster/ironic, or emo/anti everything, when it comes to goals. Yes, I know that only capitalistic robots who have been brainwashed by corporate America would even dream of doing something so cliche as setting goals that begin on January 1st (heaven forbid). But stop trying to be unique for just one second so you can realize that, guess what? You need to do it SOMETIME, and since most of us don’t remember the rest of the year, now is a perfect time!

To help you with your 2013 goal setting, I’ve come up with a list of resources to give you some direction!

 

Goal Setting Resources:

Discovering who you are…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. Finding a valuable identity
2. Give them something (good) to remember you by
3. Discovering who you are

Outside Resources:
1. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
2. Myers Briggs Personality Test

 

Dreaming about what you want to do…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. The Discipline of Dreaming
2. Your ideal life
3. Your entire life in one word.

Outside Resources:
1. 5: Where Will You Be 5 Years from Today? by Dan Zadra

 

Setting goals and making a plan…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. Baby Steps… yes that’s a real thing.

Outside Resources:
1. Your Best Year Yet  by Jinny S. Ditzler (I apologize, it’s a little boring, but it’s the only one I know of that gets the job done!)

 

Encouragement…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. John Mayer is a Liar and Peter Pan is a hero
2. Do Epic Shit
3. Remember why it’s worth it
4. Patience Grasshopper
5. You can do it my dear
6. Manifesting your manifest friend

Outside Resources
1. The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson *
2. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller *
*FYI: Both of these are Christian books, but still very encouraging even if you don’t agree with everything in them.
December is going to fly by, so I want to hear sounds of goal setting screaming from your computers now! Go, go, gadget goals!!!!

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Manifesting your Manifest Friend (a project)

I once knew a girl who had a plan.
She had a plan because she had “Manifest Monday’s” with her best friend every week. This day would consist of them getting together and writing their own personal lists of things they wanted to see happen in their lives. Big or small, they’d write the dream down and then write down the steps they needed to take in order to get there. And guess what? Their dreams came true one by one.

There’s power in knowing and defining your dreams.
There’s something magical about writing down the things that require bravery just to think about them.  I’ve heard that goals that are written down are around 80% more likely to come true than goals that are vague and not clearly written down (I’m not completely sure if that percentage is accurate, that’s just what I’ve heard). Even still, you can write things down until your fingers are raw, but they are still much less likely to come true than they are if you also write out the steps you need to accomplish them. Once you have the dreams and the steps, don’t forget that there’s power in numbers. It’s a big deal when you voice something out loud to someone that seems crazy. Mostly because it means you might actually do it!

Manifesting my Manifest Friend.
I actually wrote this post before I even knew my Manifest Friend who I’d eventually find myself voicing my crazies out loud to. I’m glad I waited to post it until I found her, not only to hide my hypocriteness, but also because now that I do have a wonderful Manifest Friend, I actually understand the significance of the words I wrote about how important it is to find one!
You know those moments when you’re like “I think my chest is collapsing, or wait, maybe the sky is falling….  or whatever it is, everything in me seems to be caving in”? And you know those other moments when you’re like, “I feel like skipping, I think I’m going to skip… maybe I’ll whistle a tune while I’m at it!”. OK, well having a Manifest Friend means that even if I start the day in the first moment, I end up in the second moment by the time we finish our meeting together. I can’t quite explain this phenomenon. Maybe it’s having someone who relates to my struggles…Alanna is an actress/model/musician so she knows the pain of never knowing when your next paycheck is coming, of having to self motivate since there’s no boss to do it for you, and of having your finances be dependent on whether or not people like you, etc. Maybe it’s having someone to be honest with, even when it’s about the things on your “I’m not so good at and I need to fix_____” list. Maybe it’s having someone to encourage you when they hear about something particularly brave or ambitious that you’re trying to accomplish. Whatever it is, all I know is that every time I leave our little once or twice a month meetings where we discuss our progress on the goals we emailed one another with at the beginning of the month, I’m amazed at how much brighter the world seems and how much smaller my problems feel.

Today is your day.
I know they don’t grow manifest friends on trees, but if you start looking, you might be surprised that you actually do find a ripe one! And I’ll give you super, extra, one-up, flower power, bonus points if you start searching for that person today. I don’t care how you do your manifesting; you can work together on identifying your dreams and the steps towards them (as my Manifest Mondays friend did), or you can just work on holding each other accountable for your specific monthly goals that you’ve identified on your own time (as Alanna and I do). However you do it, just do it.

The steps to take.
1. Define your dreams by writing them down.
2. Write out the steps required to accomplish those dreams.
3. Discuss these with a friend.
4. Rinse and repeat.

P.S. If you need help identifying your dreams, check out my posts “The Discipline of Dreaming” and “Your Ideal Life

Entreprenurial Advice

Recently I was asked to give advice to other entrepreneurs by my friend who writes Modern Reject so I wanted to share my answer with all of you here as well…

 

1. Discover the difference between needs and wants.

Constantly re-evaluate what you really need in life versus want. Entrepreneurial life often requires making choices that involve sacrificing your security and comfort, so it’s important to know whether the things you desire are needs that cannot be sacrificed or wants that can be adjusted. Entrepreneurial life requires lots of outside the box thinking, not just in your business, but in your life as well. Everything is a trade. You have to be willing to trade living the way you are comfortable, the way you always thought you’d live, or the way you think you’re “supposed” to live, in order to gain the kind of benefits that others who live the “right” way only dream about.

 

2. Remember that security doesn’t exist.

Remember that the security we cling to so tightly isn’t real anyways. None of the things that feel like security are actually things that will protect us from the hard stuff, nor are they actual secure. The recent recession and instant loss of so many seemingly “secure” jobs taught us how temporary our security that we fight so hard for really is. Somewhere deep down we know that our securities aren’t really that secure, yet we still fight for them because they are ways for us to feel like we are in control and can keep the things we’re afraid of at bay.

 

3. Identify and face your fears.

You have to decide how much you want to let yourself be guided by fear. So many people are fear driven and use the excuse that they’re being “wise” or “protecting their family” but really all they’re doing is hindering the capabilities of themselves and their loved ones, as well as putting limits on the amazing kind of life they could share together. Limiting yourself, your loved ones, and your shared life because of your fear will come back to haunt everyone involved. Purging yourself of unnecessary fears and balancing your ability to risk while still using wisdom, will allow you and your family to be their best. And that will always be the most “secure” way to ensure that you will thrive both as individuals and as a family, regardless of what new adventures you embark on in the future.

Good luck in all your entrepreneurial endeavors!

Thank You

There are no words.

Which is why it’s going to be extra hard to explain what I’m talking about. It’s you. It’s all of you guys. You are incredible. The feedback you gave me after my last post brought me to tears multiple times. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your heart felt responses to my heart felt, mini-break down.

I currently have plans to respond to each and every one of you who took the time to comment or send me messages, but every time I go to do it, I get emotionally overwhelmed all over again! You all put so much of yourselves into your comments that I want to make sure I respond with the amount of thought and energy that you deserve. So please do not be sad you haven’t received a response yet. I’ve heard you, I love you for it, and I will respond.

This will NOT be the end of Rare Existence. As a result of your thoughts, comments, and encouragement, I have received the motivation that I so needed to keep moving forward.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. You guys truly are the extraordinary.

Much Love,
Breanna

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Remember Why It’s Worth It

In case you haven’t decided if you’re ready to make the necessary sacrifices for your extraordinary life, or if things have been getting a rough lately and you just need a little encouragement to remember why you’re doing it, let me tell you a little about what has changed in my life since I began pursuing a Rare Existence. You need to know that the concept of extraordinary living is not just a pipe dream, but that it is an actual reality for many, and it can be for you too!

You can work from anywhere.
In fact, I am currently sitting on vacation in a cute little workspace at a stunning log cabin in the forest of Northern Arizona, listening to the beautiful rain.

You can work whenever you want.
Hence, it being the middle of a weekday afternoon and I’m enjoying my time writing, not working at my main job.

You can have a job you love.
I get to be creative and work with people on the happiest day of their lives.

You can have the ability to move wherever you want.
I have always wanted to live in Los Angeles and now I do live in Los Angeles.

You can have a beautiful marriage.
I now get to really live the majority of my life with my husband. We share in the same excitements, hopes, dreams, etc. that come from having many common goals in our work together.

You can be a stay at home parent.
When we have kids, I now have the ability to not only be a stay at home mom but to have my husband stay home with us as well… stay at home parents raising a family together!

You can live debt free.
We have no obligations, fears of bankruptcy, foreclosure, bills we can never pay.  With this comes much freedom and peace.

You can take 1 month, 2 month, or even 3 month vacations.
In this past year we went to Hawaii for 3 weeks, Mexico for 3 weeks, and Venice, California for 3 months (before we made the decision to live there).

You can live your life in a way that prioritizes relationships over all else.
When people call to hang out, we have the choice to go whether it’s late at night or right smack in the middle of the day. And we live in the kind of community where that happens almost daily!

You can live a life that matches up to your values.
We now have the choice where we what to put the majority of our time, energy, and effort.  We now just have to focus on continuing to choose well!

You can do something meaningful with your life.
We have big dreams, and we are doing everything we can to make decisions that will set us up to accomplish those!

 

I’m not kidding. This is our life.  Seriously, write out your dreams and start taking those crazy, scary steps towards accomplishing them (revisit the discipline of dreaming post)! We had to do it… we had to take the risks and walk on some shaky ground, and we continue to push through challenges as a result of our choices, but the end result is so SO worth it! Do it. Start dreaming and doing now. I’ll see you soon on the road towards extraordinary living!

 

You can do it my dear

This post is dedicated to two of my friends (you know who you are).

 

“You can do it my dear.” That is what I told myself when my husband and I both went full time into our new photography business which has continued to support us for the past 3 years.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend, Kelli, told herself as she gave up her successful career to start up her non-profit organization that now helps hundreds of foster children every year.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Molly told herself (and her husband!) as he went in to reverse his vasectomy after they decided that extraordinary living for them means having and raising as many children as possible (they now have 4 boys and are pregnant with their 5th baby!).

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend, Nicole, told herself when she started up her blog that now has a large fan base and is leading to major speaking opportunities which enable her to help all kinds of people in more ways than she dreamed possible.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Christina told herself when her and her husband decided to start saving their money to fulfill their dream of living on Maui- which they succeeded in doing 5 years later.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Julia told herself as she gave up her life, time, and energy to nursing school because what she is meant to do with her life is help people.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Lynn told herself as her and her husband set off to leave their home in Phoenix and live in Chicago for a year… just to have an adventure.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Abby told herself when she moved to Africa to start housing and taking care of orphaned children there.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what my friend Katie told herself when she started sewing wedding dresses out of old tablecloths and soon became busier than she could handle sewing all kinds of unique women’s clothing.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what I want you to tell yourself next time you have a dream, inkling or idea, that seems made of equal parts amazing and impossible.

“You can do it my dear.” That is what I want you to tell your friends when they share their big dreams and ideas with you… right before you pull out a pen and paper and help them write out the steps to accomplish their plan.

YOU can do it my dear(s).

 

Sometimes Lauryn Hill just says it better than me

I’m not sure if it’s her raspy voice or her slight east coast accent that makes you know she’s awesome… but there’s just something about Lauryn Hill that makes everything she says sound extra true!

I do know that it’s her vulnerability that makes me love her. If you’ve never seen or heard her MTV Unplugged 2.0 video… GET IT! I’m giving you a little clip here, but it’s not nearly as powerful without the music and the rest of her story backing it up. Basically, she went on national television and broke down, laid it out, preached, and just spoke straight up truth… all while being completely unprepared and almost too emotional to finish her songs. In other words, I L-O-V-E it!

In this particular section I’ve chosen for you to listen to,  Lauryn’s talking about how her life of fame, glamor, and beauty fell apart and she began discovering and owning the real her… not the public image of her… but the legit Lauryn, full of flaws and all (as you will even hear in the clip when she can’t find the lyric sheet she needs).

The reason I’m including it here is because it’s so inspiring to hear from someone who’s “made it” and who has achieved an extraordinary life, who is willing to  be open and share the lessons she learned along the way. Most of it has to do with how once she found who she really is and what she’s meant to do she found freedom.

Preach it sister.

Patience Grasshopper

Blah. I was laying sprawled out on our couch feeling blah and puzzling my husband. I had no idea what was wrong, all I knew was I felt frustrated and negative for seemingly no reason…which only causes MORE frustration and negativity! 

I realized I hadn’t been outside all day so that might help. I walked down to the boardwalk and as soon as I caught sight of the ocean I felt an irresistible urge to head towards it with as much energy and force I had left in me. So I did. 

I sank down into the sand practically shaking and still so upset and angry that I didn’t know what my problem was. I haven’t felt angst like that since I was a teenager. 

I just relaxed, stopped analyzing, and watched the lifeguard pace nervously as the surfers caught bigger and bigger waves while the sun began to set. It was a beautiful time for the beach and I just sat back and allowed myself to enjoy just being a part of it.

Then actual, specific frustrations (with real reasons) kicked in so I finally has something legit to think about. They just began hitting me in short phrases with only a second or two between each thought.

I SHOULD BE ABLE TO SURF BY NOW. WHY CAN’T I SURF? I LIVE ON THE BEACH! I’M RETARDED.

I SHOULD HAVE A JOGGING/ EXERCISE ROUTINE BY NOW LIKE THAT LADY WITH 40 YEAR OLD BUNS OF STEEL JOGGING OVER THERE. I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA AND I SHOULD BE ALL HEALTHY AND IN- SHAPE LIKE A TRUE CALIFORNIAN. I’M PATHETIC.

WHY DON’T I HAVE LOTS OF GOOD FRIENDS HERE YET? WHY DOESN’T ANYONE WANT TO HANG OUT WITH ME? I MUST BE TOO LAME FOR PEOPLE AROUND HERE.

WHY AREN’T WE BOOKING MANY WEDDINGS/PHOTO SHOOTS IN LA YET? I MUST BE A TERRIBLE PHOTOGRAPHER.

WHY DON’T I ENJOY WHERE I LIVE MORE? I HARDLY EVER GO TO THE BEACH, HANG OUT ON THE BOARDWALK, OR GO TO THE INCREDIBLE RESTAURANTS IN WALKING DISTANCE! I AM SO BORING AND UNGRATEFUL AND I DON’T DESVE TO LIVE HERE. 

I know, what the hell right?! Talk about negative,  self- defeating thoughts!  No wonder I feel depressed! That’s what’s going on in my head that I’m not even aware of?!

That’s when a single word hit me.  A word that freed me and made me start laughing out loud with relief. 

PATIENCE.

Patience!! I just uprooted and changed my life less than 3 weeks ago! Of course I haven’t adjusted to my new lifestyle, location, or relationships! I’ve barely had time to finish the actual physical part of the transitions, not to mention the emotional, mental, spiritual, ad relational parts! Give myself a break, me!!!

Why would I ever believe or expect myself to become an entirely new person in 2 1/2 weeks?! Especially considering I’ve spent that entire time unpacking and catching up on work that moving put me behind on. I’m embarrassed to tell you how a completely unrealistic and unreasonable I was being. What am I, 8?!

Personal growth and change takes time. Lots of time. It can only be done one step at a time. And often, one very slow step at a time.

The reason the word patience gave me freedom was because it IS happening so I can relax. I’ve done my part by taking care of what I can and now I wait. I think my fear takes over and pushes me to try to take control and force things to happen. You can only push so hard before it’s time to just sit back and let time enable your efforts to take root. 

So just remember as you’re pursuing your rare existence…it does take a long time. There is only so much of it that you can control. Do the work, then take time to sit back and enjoy the process. Just know that it is a process and it is happening. It’s on it’s way, you’ve got it going. Now stop and enjoy the little successes that are happening along the way.

(UPDATE: It has been almost a year since I wrote this and I wanted to let you know that it has now been confirmed to be completely true. I knew I’m always right! I’m not exactly where I want to be yet, but I addressed many of these problems- minus the surfing- one at a time, then gave the changes time to take root, and voila! I have made significant progress in my life! So I’m telling you… there’s totally hope!!)J

P.S. please pray for the health and well being of my adorable quote image (you know, the one you guys are supposed to be sharing on Pinterest?!). He’s been trapped on my computer that got sucked into a time warp where wifi doesn’t exist. Be brave my little yellow friend.

“Fame” brings a definition of success

“There are some things success is not.

It’s not fame, it’s not money or power.

Success is….

Waking up in the morning, so excited about what you have to do that you literally fly out of the door.
It’s getting to work with people you love.
Success is connecting with the world and making people feel.
It’s finding a way to bind together people who have nothing in common but a dream.
It’s falling asleep at night knowing you did the best job you could.

Success is…
Joy…
and friendship…
and success is LOVE.”

OK I didn’t write any of that. It’s a speech from the movie “Fame” and I love it. I have to go work on my own definition of success now and I suggest you do the same.

What’s your definition?

 

A Voluntary Book Report: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

That’s right,  A Million Miles In a Thousand Years: How I Learned Live a Better Story by Donald Miller, changed my life and I don’t think your life is immune to it’s powers either.

It’s a book about his life… about a book about his life.

Specifically, Don wrote a New York Times Bestseller called Blue Like Jazz awhile back and some guys came to him wanting to make a movie about it. So he was like, “sure, that’s awesome”. I mean, what else are you gonna say when someone asks you that question, right?

As they began working on the movie, Don began to learn a little more about the concept of story in relation to script writing. And being the self- reflection obsessed kind of guy he is, it didn’t take long for him to apply the concept of story to his own life…. especially because the story they were currently working on WAS about his own life.

The thing that was getting to him was that they were having to re- write his life a little bit to make it into a better movie. I mean I guess that’s to be expected and doesn’t sound like a big deal. Well, until some guy starts telling you that the way you handled an important problem in your life was wrong or that what you thought was a moving, epic moment is really just a snore fest. I mean this was his life they were talking about! But I guess it just didn’t have enough car chases and naked girls to make it in Hollywood.

So that’s the premise of this book. Don sets out to live his life as if he really is the main character in a story. He talks about developing himself as a character, setting a good scene in his life, pursuing epic adventures, and “the inciting incident” -which is the point in the story that forces the character to progress forward. Like when the main character of a story finds out they’re dying of cancer, losing their farm, or in Don’s case just living a boring life that people wouldn’t want to pay to watch for 90 minutes.

Unlike Don however, I knew my life would make a stunning blockbuster feature!

So I’m sitting there, on a rooftop patio overlooking the ocean, on our summer adventure in Venice CA, reading this book and thinking, “I’m so awesome. Look at me. I took a big risk, have a great setting, I’m living an adventure, and pursuing a dream. I deserve to have a movie made about MY life. And then I deserve to win an Academy Award for it!”And right about the time that I was running low on suntan lotion, I got to the part where he talks about how you can’t have a good story unless your character faces and overcomes conflict. Oh $#*!. Unfortunately, dropping my margarita all over myself when I read that part, doesn’t count as character building conflict (it totally should though because I was sticky for at LEAST an hour after that)!

The Reading Rainbow part (aka why Levar and I think you should read this).

1. Don is real and this book is real.  I should tell you that Donald Miller is one of my all time favorite authors. He is a Christian author so take note that some of you might not agree with everything he says, but this book is so good I don’t even think you’ll mind the stuff you don’t agree with! I like him because he’s gut wrenchingly honest and often incredibly deep,  yet somehow he’s able to do it in a way that’s almost…. well, cute. I’m sure he wouldn’t be too happy that I described his heartfelt writing as cute, but too bad because it is and that’s what I love about it.

2. It’s just really really really good. I honestly sat bawling for hours while reading this book (and I cried when I finished it because I was so sad it was over). I also found myself laughing out loud while reading it despite being in public places by myself and having people scoot their chairs further away from the laughing maniac in the corner.

3. It gives some of the best examples of extraordinary living EVER. I’m not kidding this book gave me several new heroes, and those come very far and few between for me. And if you are trying to figure out how to live extraordinarily with kids, then you DEFINITELY have to read this. Most of the incredible people he knows happen to also be living out some of the most unique family lifestyles I’ve ever heard about. I would type all of those stories up for you here and now if I wasn’t pretty sure that was on the plagiarizing no- no list. And anyways, you should read the whole book to get a better picture of it.

If my description hasn’t given you enough reason to one- click Amazon order this book or to at least check out Don’s magnificent blog, then maybe these last quotes from the book that I’m going to leave you with will…

 

Quotes from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:

“Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.”

“I realized how much of our lives are spent trying to avoid conflict. Half the commercials on television are selling us something that will make life easier. Part of me wonders if our stories aren’t being stolen by the easy life.”

“Nothing against a nice condo, but I privately wondered whether I was a protagonist telling an exciting story who happened to live in a nice condo, or whether I was a protagonist telling a boring story about trying to pay off his nice condo.”

“You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too.”

“While I could not control my happiness, I could control my misery, and I would rather have had control than live in the tension of what if.”

“But fear isn’t only a guide to keeping us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”

 

I believe in this book so much that…

I am going to give away a copy of “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” to the first person who shares the Rare Existence Facebook page with 3 people. Seriously, just 3! And they don’t even have to actually “like” the page. For once I’m going easy on you guys and having low expectations… mostly because I really want someone to win this book! So tell your friends and email me once you’ve done it! First email I get, wins!