Note: This is part of a series where I feature people who are on their true peak journey.  If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact me.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today our guest is Christian Hollingsworth, from Smart Boy Designs.  Christian writes about blogging and life at his site, and has created an active community through the stories he weaves.

Below Christian shares a part his story, as he has continues his true peak journey.

Please read and enjoy…

I’m going to put it bluntly, straightforward from the beginning.

I found my true peak by forgiving myself and understanding that I make mistakes.

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of learning for me. A time to ponder and consider the great questions of life. For a year I was serving as a service missionary in Colorado and then November of 2010 I got incredibly ill. At first it was thought to be the flu, but I never got better. Heart problems, stomach issues, joint pain and more. At this point, over seven months of being ill, the doctors still don’t know what is wrong.

It’s been during this time that I’ve grown the most.

Let’s Go Back a Little Bit

I feel like I’ve had a blessed life. A life full of opportunity and kindness given to me. Brought into my life my forces unbeknownst to me. Life has been handed to me – and I’ve always had no excuse (in my mind) to be my very best.

In short, I have always been my own worst enemy and critic.

Whether it’s a simple drawing or essay, I’ve always been the one to judge myself. The one to say I haven’t done my best. That little voice who distills in my mind – bringing the negativity. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you’re the toughest person in the universe, on your own work and output? I often did, and still do sometimes.

I Choose to be Positive.

In order to fight it, I had to understand and firmly believe in a simple truth.

Negativity is not my natural spirit.

That’s not how I’m supposed to be. That’s not who I am. Those feelings are and were only the feelings of the negativity we face on a daily basis – that creeps in from the world.

From our youth we are often positive. We’re going to climb the highest mountains and be the next astronaut on the moon. We’re going to accomplish everything and take others with us. Then the world, people and our own selves start to voice their own opinion. They tell us it’s not possible, we can’t make it, and what we’re bringing to the table isn’t enough.

Don’t believe them.

My True Peak

Let’s go back to my original thoughts. Being ill.

It’s been during this time that I’ve been humbled to the core. I’ve been brought down to a tremendous low. It’s often during these times that we rise, and make something great out of the dust.

From being ill I’ve reached my True Peak – because I am quicker to forgive myself. I’ve come to understand that I will make mistakes, difficulty will arise – and that I have the power within to overcome.

That’s the true peak. That’s the peak we each face every day. The mountain we climb.

We’re going to make mistakes – but we’re also going to reach the peak, and summit.

It’s the happy message. The one we should be proud of.

I don’t know that I’ll ever fully reach my True Peak in this life, but do know that I reach smaller, less pronounced peaks each and every day. I’m still young, and have so much to learn.

I’ve got my backpack, filled with some tools of life – and I expect it’s going to be an interesting climb.

Christian Hollingsworth is the creator of Smart Boy Designs, where he talks about living your life to the fullest, with a special attention toward creating an online presence.  Keep up with Christian on Twitter and Facebook.

"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure " ~ Joseph Campbell

How are you choosing to live?  More than the work you do, more than the things you have – what are the experiences in your life that make you feel fully alive?

The Experiences of Life

Life is a series of moments.  Strung together, these moments are the life we are living.  Many of these moments are simply ordinary moments.

Eating dinner.  Sleeping.  Watching a movie.  Cleaning the house.  Driving to work.  Etc. Etc.

And perhaps these moments feel just that way – "ordinary".  Especially those which we repeatedly do.

How do we make even these seemingly ordinary and daily moments come more fully to life?

The Adventures That Stimulate Our Lives

Stepping out of the comfort zone we're living in is such a powerful way to re-energize our senses.  And in energizing our senses, even the most basic of daily routines can become new again.

The photo above, is of my wife, Lora – just before she headed out on the track at the Milwaukee Mile to race in a stock car (a very awesome and cool experience!).  In early June, she completed twelve laps in the Home Depot #20 car – being able to feel the exhilaration of racing, of speed, of cornering, of getting outside of the norm.

Note: If you're having trouble seeing the short (and slightly humorous) video, click here.

Being outside of the norm, this moment in itself was filled with much excitement and with the sense of doing something new.

It's so much more than that, though. 

This moment is just that – a moment in time of this life we are living. 

…just a moment…

Perhaps, though, that moment is one which somehow changes us.  See, we are not the same person we were.  We've had this experience (whatever that is).  And from that experience, if we choose to let it be not just the experience itself, but something more…

…something more…

The experience of being alive, of being in that moment – of feeling (really feeling) a sense of connectedness to self, to possibility, to "being".

What Can Be

Then maybe, just maybe, we can be more fully in the simplest of moments in our lives.

Aware of the textures of the foods we eat, the feeling the grass between our toes, the watching of the stars and feeling like part of something so much bigger….

This experience of being alive, of not just going through the motions…it is possible.  And it does not have to be just one-time flirts with experiences.  It is possible even in the simple moments of our days.  It is, when we choose to honor the self within and experience the moment. 

Experience the Moment

This is a tough one.  Oh, maybe in those exhilarating moments (like the race car), we are in that moment.  What about all of our moments, though?

It would be a lie for me to say that I'm really (and fully) experiencing every moment of my days.  And I'm sure it's that way for you, too. 

We get rushed.  We get distracted.  We zone out.  And many more.  Many more things which keep us from being fully alive to the experience of the moment.

So, this is not something that we're going to wave a magic wand at, and suddenly we'll be so alive in every moment. (hmmm…doesn't work that way, I guess)

Small steps.  Small steps in the direction of being more fully awakened to the moments of your day.

The Challenge

Pick something.  It can be anything really – as long as it's a regular part of your life.  Breakfast could be a good one.  Or brushing your teeth.  Or driving to work.   Something you do regularly.

Okay – now actively choose to be more aware during whatever thing you have chosen. 

Aware of the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feel – really, all that can be in that moment. 

And in this awareness, let that feeling of being in that experience (as simple as it might seem) awaken you even more fully to the experience of living this life of yours.

We Are One

by Lance Ekum on June 11, 2011 · 1 comment

Note:  If you're having trouble viewing the video, please click here.

"The only gift is a portion of thyself." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Has life ever not  gone as you’ve expected it?   There are those setbacks that are minor, and we can move on in our journey without much problem (and sometimes these setbacks end up being so, so good for us too).  And then there are those bigger setbacks, that can shake us to our core.

Tess Marshall, from The Bold Life, and I are teaming up to help support the families of those affected by the recent tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

We're working together to raise money to support these families, through donations to the American Red Cross.  The Red Cross has a presence in Joplin, and we’re creating a way for you to be a part of rebuilding this community (and its people).  As our way of raising money to support Joplin, we're creating an e-book which we'll then sell, with 100% of the profits going to the American Red Cross.

NOTE:  We're not looking for your financial support.

To make this a reality, we need your help, though.  We would love for each of you to be a part of this e-book we're creating.  And this e-book will be a compilation of favorite posts by a number of different bloggers.  Please consider joining us!  All it takes is for you to choose a favorite post from your site.  That's it!  And then we'll include it in the e-book we're creating, with a link, as well, to your site.

What We Need:
Your commitment, below, to join us.  Once we’ve collected our list of contributors we’ll be sending out specific information on how you can submit your favorite post to us, for inclusion into the e-book.

That’s it!

In early July, we’ll have the e-book created.  Note that there is no obligation for you to buy one of the e-books.  If, however, you do choose to – know that all the proceeds will go to support the rebuilding of Joplin.  We'll be selling the e-books for a suggested donation of $5.

Thank you for all your support, not only with this, but for all that you do.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact either Tess or myself.

Share your Talents

Note: This is part of a new series where I feature people who are on their true peak journey.  If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact me.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today our guest is Gina Johnson, from goodthingz.  Gina is a life/business coach based out of Illinois.  About a year ago, she created the goodthingz site, as a way to really focus on the good things that were uplifting and energizing for her.  This is a wonderful story of how we truly become what we think.

Below Gina shares her story, as she has continues her true peak journey.

Please read and enjoy…

Almost one year ago, I decided to start a social networking site aimed at inspiring people to live positive and productive lives. goodthingz is the name of the site, and it is the home of the goodthingz movement.

What is this goodthingz movement all about?

Well, it is really about 3 main things.

  1. Choosing to be/ stay solution focused when dealing with negative events and/or people in life.
  2. Searching for and focusing on what is right in life rather than what is wrong in life.
  3. Celebrating one’s joys and interests with others, and in turn choosing to walk away from unnecessary drama and gossip.

All three of the above sentences can be summed up in four words, “Be the bright side”, and this is the goodthingz slogan.  It is a slogan that reminds me that my attitude and outlook are always my choice.

What inspired the goodthingz movement?

I was inspired to start the goodthingz movement after I had been posting on the goodthingz twitter site for about 6 months.  I started the goodthingz Twitter account because I was at a dark and lonely place in life. My dad had recently passed away, and I was simultaneously experiencing many other big changes, both personally and professionally. To say the least, there were a lot of stressors, and not a lot of obvious positives surrounding me at that time.

Unfortunately, I allowed my thinking to follow the course of the events/situations around me, and I immersed myself in a lot of negativity. Negativity bred negativity. Negative thoughts led to negative behaviors which attracted negative people. You get the idea; I chose to deal with life’s negatives by being negative, and my reward was unhappiness. Luckily, at some point, I realized I wasn’t going to get my life back on track until I made a point to get my thinking back on track. As a licensed mental health therapist and certified life coach, I was well aware that I could not just tell myself to think differently, more positively, that is. Instead, I needed a strategy, a way to structure my thinking and to follow up with positive/productive actions.

It was then that I decided to make a game out of it. I opened a twitter account, named it goodthingz and challenged myself to find 10 “good things” to post each day. I wish I could say that it was all downhill from there. No, I quickly learned that finding 10 good things to post each day was easier said than done. However, I was determined to feel better, and I knew an adventure in positive/productive thinking and behaving was the treatment I needed. I asked myself what I enjoyed before life (and I) had taken a negative turn, and I returned to those things (i.e., music, art, design, self help articles/books, movies, bicycles, photography, nature, etc). I then made  a point to post something from  those categories every day.

While at first, it felt as if I was going through the motions, it didn’t take long for me to start experiencing joy when looking and finding my good things for the day. Perhaps, more importantly I noticed that in my downtime, away from work, I was thinking differently, in a more positive/productive way. Rather than worrying or dwelling about the negatives in life, I was dealing with them and moving on. Moving on to learning more about an author that I  found while searching for my goodthingz site, or I was off to take a photo to share, or to look up a new song title.   I was making time for the good things and it was paying off. Possibly best of all, I was learning how to better connect with other people through positive things vs. negative things. All of the above left me feeling more energized and invigorated. Instead of feeling bogged down by life’s problems, goodthingz gave me more energy to work toward solving those problems. Slowly but surely I changed for the better and so did my life.

After 6 months of posting good things on Twitter and experiencing positive changes in my life, I decided that I would like to create a venue for other people to do the same. I took my idea to Surface 51, a local web and design firm,  that is comprised of people I genuinely like and trust. They were immediately on board and after a lot of hard work, the goodthingz site was up and running. We also have several plans for future development on the goodthingz site.

How to get involved with goodthingz

First, visit goodthingz and join our community! Next, find and share your good things with us.
Here are a few examples of how people are currently using the goodthingz site and contributing to the community.

  • To develop a more positive and productive mindset. Make a goal to find and post 2-3 good things a day. (It can be anything, a pic of something cool, a story about someone thoughtful, a great song you heard on the radio, or a piece of art your friend showed you.) Don’t sit back and wait for good things to cross your path; go searching for them and bring them to us! The acts of searching for and sharing good things day after day is a proven way to better your overall mindset and mood.
  • To maintain and grow an already positive and productive mindset. We are all adversely affected by negativity bias; searching for and sharing good things each day helps prevent negativity from taking hold of us. Even more, finding and sharing good things prevents stagnation and promotes growth.
  • To inspire, encourage and motivate others. By contributing to the goodthingz site you are helping to create a databank of good things…a databank that anyone can and will visit to find strength, encouragement, wisdom and humor. You never know when someone will tell you that your post made their day.
  • To build and store collections of good things unique to you. Goodthingz gives you one place to store all of the positives you find in life. Are there certain songs that motivate you, certain places that hold special memories, pictures that make you smile, videos that inspire you? Collect them and store them on your goodthingz page. What a great place to return, to share laughs with friends or to find some relief after a stressful day.

It is my hope that goodthingz will mean many things to many people. Perhaps it will mean inspiration to some, safety to others and hope to all.  I would love to see you there!

Gina Johnson is the founder of goodthingz movement, an online community to share all the things that inspire and energize.  Keep up with Gina on Twitter and on the goodthingz site.