Failure is not the end of your story, its just a chapter in your book

Dear Readers,
I come to you today to talk about the journey, not the destination. I think its super easy to say, hey, I did it.. or we did it.. and bask in the glow of success never giving a though to the sacrifices and setbacks you experience among the way. For my purposes, I am going to tell you about a setback we are having right now in our journey to debt freedom.
We had projected by the end of November which is exciting and then Tuesday we found out that the car we are paying off (Murphys Law has a sense of humor) needs some repairs so the money we have been using to pay off the debt at an accelerated rate now gets to go to car repairs so its disappointing. In fact, I was trying really hard to not get excited about the debt free date at the end of November because I kept waiting for something to screw us up. Guess what, I was right. I HATE that I was right. Its certainly not the end of the world, but its worth mentioning because it is part of the journey. . (looking forward to that post when we ARE DEBT FREE) because its still coming, just slightly delayed.
In my career as an actress, I have failed many more times than I have succeeded.
I have auditioned many more times than I have “gotten the part”. As the speaker and writer Jon Acuff says, “Its about making reps”- or repetitions
Showing up to do the work, over and over, makes you READY for when they (the people casting) say YES. At the end of the day, when you get that goal, you don’t focus so much on what rejection has come before, you are so excited that you have won.
I also hurt my back in May and have not been able to keep training for the half marathon I wanted to do in January 2016, but I am focusing on the fact that I am now working my way back up to a 10K. Recently I slow jogged a 5K so 10K can’t be far behind. I am looking forward to the chapter (many months away) that I get to write about that success. Stay tuned, for more on that.
So put another way, if you fail, its not the end, its just a chapter in your book.
I love this quote from Michael Jordan who is undeniably a success story. MichaelJordan
Think about it…..

Social Media- Blessing or Curse?

Dear Readers,

If you are anything like me, you enjoy social media but in our Tuesday night meeting, the Toastmaster posed the question, “Social Media- Blessing or Curse?”

I got a lot of answers to this during the meeting, some of them arrogant and funny and others poignant and thoughtful but it got me thinking..

I say both with the caveat that like everything else, balance is required.

Case in point, Our Toastmaster attempted to periscope the meeting but realized while he was doing that he wasn’t fully “engaged” in the speaker or the meeting. This is a real hot button of mine because I think too often in our “must have it now” society we spend a lot of time comparing our lives to those people we are friends with on social media and not knowing the ins and outs, we judge ourselves and find our lives lacking.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love to hate people who use it too much. Okay but seriously, I think it has its place. I have made and maintained many friendships with people online who I have never met and I can honestly say that encouragement helps and that “like” or “comment” (mostly the comments) keep me running or walking when I REALLY do NOT feel like it. So it’s healthy in that sense that we can encourage each other, but the flip side is we can also hurt each other with social media by posting vitriol and racist and really unpleasant things.

So as my husband put it, “Social Media is kind of like The Force, you can use it for good or evil, so on any given day you can choose to be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. What will you choose to be ?

one post on facebook talks to you about donating to a worthy cause while another complains about something that while its “trending” isn’t worthy of your time to read about. I guess that’s the point, you decide what you want to use your time and energy to spread in the world.

What will you meditate on? Good or Evil?

Think about it…..

Meet Yourself Where You Are

Dear Readers,

Last week I wrote about “abandoning the checklist”– Wow, is that easier said than done. It turns out, old habits die hard and what you resist persists.

As many of you know, I have been having back problems, well I recently made contact with a great chiropractor and I feel optimistic for the first time in months that I won’t need back surgery which was a looming prospect.

It has involved adjustments and a change in behavior for me. Every hour, ( I set a timer) I have to get up and stretch. (my job is very sedentary and involves lots of not getting up and moving. I do walk around from time to time, but nothing like this.

Not only do I feel better, I get the chance to support my people better because they see my face, I don’t have it stuck on my monitor all day.

I could beat myself about the head and shoulders for not doing this sooner but I have opted instead to “meet myself where I am”…. So what does that mean?

  1. I will walk when I exercise not run for a while.
  2. I will LET GO of having to do a 1/2 marathon this year.

What do you need to do to “meet” yourself right now? Are you pushing yourself too hard? Do you need to push yourself, is it time to make that decision you have been putting off? Or is it time to give yourself some grace, and make a decision to tackle it anew tomorrow?

Think About It….

Dream it and then DO IT…

Dear Readers,

It is not enough to say you want to do something. You must put a deadline on it.

If you have a dream to move to another city, state or country. Do what a very famous director in Austin told me when I was directing my first production many years ago –

“Work backwards from opening night.”

Let me be more specific, Write on your calendar “GOAL” and then work backwards, what must you do in each week to get there?

If you want to learn a language, don’t say you are too busy, figure out if its important enough to actually do it and find the time.

Do you want to run a 5K? Don’t just talk about it, join a running group, or even start with a cause you believe in more than the comfort of the couch, that’s how most people do it.

If you want to speak professionally, speak every chance you get and ask for feedback from people who are better than you, join Toastmasters and keep speaking every chance you get so you have every chance to get better.

My blog is all about getting people to live their dreams, not just talk about them, so I challenge you, yes you, reading this.. What do you want to do ?

Make a plan, and get some accountability partners and then GO DO IT.. What are you waiting for? There will never be a better time to start.

Think about it…. EliteSeMpicture

7 days to a 10 mile walk…..

Dear Readers,

Next Sunday I will walk and run in a 10 mile race. So scary to see that in black and white.. but its the truth, I put my money down, I have trained and prepared and am on the cusp of accomplishing a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL.

In the history of the world, at one time or another there was time that something had not yet been done.

While running a 10 mile run is not on par with discovering a cure for cancer (as yet undone but any day now someone is going to wow us with that one) for my life it recommends a sea change in activity, lifestyle, health and overall goal-setting.

I invite you reading this to approach any goal or change in your life in the same way. Just this morning, one of my running buddies helped me see how important it is to take stock in what you have done, are doing and have yet to DO.

Think about it!

Health is a gift…. Do not SQUANDER IT!

Dear Readers, Some of you may have noticed a post missing last week some of you may not have.. Well I was sick which really made me mad because I got a flu shot, am exercising, (not as much as a should) but exercising, drinking water.. getting enough sleep.. (well again not as much as I should) ah wait, I am beginning to see a pattern here.. are you?

There is nothing like a bout with sickness to make you appreciate health. We all know what we are SUPPOSED to do for good health.. but we don’t do it.

Get 8 hours a of sleep.

Drink 64oz of water day.

Eat good for you food.

Exercise.

So when I did a personal inventory I have to admit I was pretty lacking in all of these areas, so I am renewing that effort with a vengeance. I know, I know, its not always possible to get 8 hours, kids (kids sickness), work demands, life demands but try. I tell you what, just do one thing on the list. Hydrate more.. even if it is just one of the things. Exercise– Take the stairs once a day, and take them slowly but take them. Yes, the elevator is faster, but what is your hurry? It’s your life, ticking away one minute at a time. Don’t rush, take your time. Stop and smell those roses.

I see people around me dropping like flies so I fought the good fight, I drank orange juice and did all the things I do when I get sick but I truthfully think it was my body saying, ENOUGH! I will force you to take care of yourself and if this is the only way, SO BE IT.

Don’t let this happen to you, do something to embrace your health today, its a great gift we ALL take way too much for granted.

Think about it!

New Year New Goals!

Dear Readers,

I woke up today filled with inspiration and excitement to talk to you about the new year! What’s that you say? New Years was 15 days ago? Au contraire.. In Jennifer’s world (which, let’s face it.. this blog is Jennifer World) my New Year starts on My birthday which is 1/19/2015 and it got me thinking about the following things

My friends are up to some pretty wonderful things!

One friend is applying to graduate school and I am so proud of him (you know who you are!)

One friend is living in NYC and living her dream of being an actress and REALLY doing it, not just talking about it

Another friend is readying herself to buy a house!

Another friend continues to work on her budget, finances and career simultaneously with specific goals that are measurable and I am VERY Proud.

Yet another friend started a new job and it was hard and difficult to do something new but she is SO glad now.

As for me, I am planning the following things-

1. To prepare a Ted talk and apply to give said Ted Talk.

2. To exercise three times a week no matter the weather or my mood

3. To continue exploring my spirituality in whatever form that takes

4. To find ways to random acts of kindness through the year.

5. To get out of debt! creditcarddebtfree112913(this picture is when we got out of consumer debt on 11/28/2013– all we have left is the car!!!

SO here is the point– January 19th is my birthday and also my New Year. What I ask of people is to do one random act of kindness, you choose what and where and who and all I ask you to do is to tell me about it. That is my present from you, pretty simple and no shipping required.

Ready, Set, GO!

Be BIG, be BOLD, be BRIGHT!

Dear Readers, its 2015! Hooray!

Every year we get a chance to do something new, start over or just plain start.

This year, I am starting off by auditioning for a show I love. It’s absolutely not something that I would have thought possible without the help of my very intense Meissner class over the last year and a half. The instructor said in one of our early classes, “I coach principals” and to clarify for my non-actor readers perusing these words.. that means he coaches Hamlet, not Horatio.

I have worked harder this year on my craft and opened myself up more than I have ever done before and its scary, soul-shattering stuff. In case you thought being an actor was easy, you were wrong. I am living proof.

I find it important to write these words BEFORE the audition when the hope wells up inside of you like a fountain ready to burst forth with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. I have auditioned a lot this year and felt good about each and every one but you don’t have control over casting. As a director, I know this but it doesn’t mean I like it. On the other side of the coin, part of being an actor is full-time auditioner, part-time role taker. It really is that simple. A no comes a lot more often than a yes but the no’s make you savor the yes that much more.

I do not know what will happen with this audition on Sunday, I only know that I am preparing myself and working as hard as a I can to be the best I can be and that’s where my control ends.

The thing I hold fast to is these words-

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

So I hope that by bearing my soul to you, my dear wonderful reader, that it encourages you to shine your light, to be BIG, Be BOLD, and BE BRIGHT!

What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything!

Think about it….

SwirlyGirlJenniferHaston

What

Passion! Don’t turn it down, turn it UP!

Hello dear readers!

I have gotten my share of requests to “calm down” , “be quiet”, and “stop being so intense” but you know what? That is a big part of who I am and why I am me and why I have made mistakes (which I have learned from) and why I have had successes small and large.

Saying things like “awesomesauce” and “YAY Rock Star Parking” It makes me a better friend, it makes me a better leader, and it mostly makes me a better human. So in turn, I say to you, be passionate, love what you do and if you don’t love what you do, figure out a way to find things about it that you love and focus on the positive aspects and minimize the negative as much as you can.

My biggest passion in life is not settling and I truly believe that its something we should all aspire to the best life possible.

My passion for life, led me to start writing a blog two years ago and that passion  led me to ask others about their blogs and led to me writing a guest post about my marriage to Jeremy for the wonderfully passionate Chelsea Turner Avery of The New Wifestyle-

Here is an excerpt:

“We both have an incredible work ethic and are not afraid to work or struggle to reach a goal. We communicate very well but even six years later it is still a struggle to navigate that communication and I think that still surprises me. We have a good marriage but we both work hard at it and actively invest (read books, read blogs and listen to other successfully married people) for how to best protect our marriage from harm and to strengthen it for years to come.”

http://thenewwifestyle.com/the-new-wifestyle-profile-jennifer/

So what is the point of all this?

Be excited, be passionate, and remember you are so much greater than you give yourself credit for and people need YOUR passion to help inspire them and in some cases give THEM permission to be their most excited self.

Marianne Williamson said it best-

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Think about it, what would the world be like if we all were liberated from fear?

Imagine the possibilities!

Meet yourself where you are.. now and later..

Hello friends,

I come to you once again to say.. meet yourself where you are. I have said this before, but its so important I thought it bore repetition. For example, I want to give a Ted Talk by this time next year.

That is scary saying out loud and then here I go putting it in black and white but there you go.

I can hear you saying, that sounds great Jennifer and you are awesome and all but how do you plan to do it?

Great question and I am glad you asked.

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel, if someone has already done it, read about what they did and if possible get an audience with them to find out the nuts and bolts

2. Do your own research. For instance, did you know that Ted speakers do not get paid, the prestige is what you are after and of course the opportunity to go viral for all the right reasons.

3. Work backwards. Some of the best advice I have ever gotten is from a noted director who said to me, when I asked him (quite the upstart am I) “What is your best advice for directing a play?” He said plan your schedule backwards, Opening Night is August 22nd. work backwards from there.

4. Be patient and curious about what you discover along the way to your goal. You may find that your goal changes or leads you to a new goal. Case in point, Healthy living for me has led to 5K pursuit I never even thought was in my reality and now I have done three of them.

5. Get accountability partners or someone you trust to help you stay the course or work on your goal.

Sometimes that can be you… Let me explain, there is no time. Let me sum up-

You can write a letter to yourself and have it delivered in the future- It’s kind of awesome to think that the motivated you of today can help propel future you forward!

http://www.futureme.org/

Think about it!