Archive for goals

Jul
22

Life’s Weeds

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This afternoon I spent some time with the flowers (and the weeds) in the backyard.  After about 20 minutes alone with them, my ipod, and my thoughts, I got a wake up call.  It’s been nearly 2 months since my last post.  Aside from my frustration of being out of integrity with my personal commitment to this blog, I have been uninspired lately and have been trying to figure out why.

Getting into a weed pulling rhythm today I realized that all the weeds that had grown so fast, so big, and so quickly were very easy to pull out. It was almost as if they knew they didn’t belong.  When I wrapped my hand around some flowers accidentally and pulled, they held steadfast in their rightful place.  Because their growth happened slower with more time, care, and attention, their roots are now stronger and deeper in the ground creating a much more permanent home than their weedy relatives. Apparently flowers are smarter than weeds.

Smart flowers are like smart goals. They are intentional, hopeful, and with proper care and attention…they BLOOM.  In the past few weeks I have let my bad habits (like big obnoxious weeds) overcrowd my goals so much that they were lost. The weeds were stealing the water and nourishment from the plants just like my bad habits were sucking the life out of my positive intentions.  I have a goal to eliminate time wasters in my life in order to maximize the time I spend doing the things I love; however, I am disorganized, forgetful, and have a bad habit of always misplacing everything. Keys, sunglasses, ipod, you name it.  My things don’t have a place where they belong and return to when I’m done using them so they get left everywhere and then I am searching all over the house and yard almost daily trying to figure out where I left them last. It doesn’t help that my lovely fiance is the same way and so that’s double the time we spend looking for our things and each others.

Between not being organized AND being so forgetful, my goal of not wasting time was nearly impossible to attain.  Most of my goals have gotten a bit stagnant lately as I have lost track of the specific things I want because so many little things were getting in the way.  As they piled up I became less and less excited in my daily routine and more and more lazy.  Luckily, like pulling out weeds, this is a pretty easy fix and thanks to my inspirational time sitting in the driveway pulling weeds today, I am back in track and I am left feeling renewed, mentally refreshed, and in desperate need of a shower.

It just takes a minute to get clear on what it is that you are committed to and what you do in your life on a daily basis that contradicts that commitment and stops you from taking action on it. The pictures above were both taken today, and they are a reflection of my life in the past few weeks and my life in the present. I am dedicating this weekend to getting organized and locating the other illusive weeds that have crept into my life and kindly asking them to leave.

At the inner journey seminar I took last year, I remember learning this formula for having setbacks in life:

If you have a  setback or a breakdown over something it means you have a committment and something happened that stopped you from fulfilling it.  By recognizing what that committment is and taking new action on it, it can leave you recharged with just the right amount of energy to overcome the breakdown and instead create a BREAKTHROUGH. This happened to me today and I am so thankful for this reminder.

Have you done a little weeding in your life lately?

Categories : Goals, Journal
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Mar
31

Smart Goals and Bhags

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My plans for the goal setting pages are rather bold, because I’m going BIG.  I have big dreams and some things I am committing to that I have never been able to stick to before and I know I can now because of you.

I will be putting my goals up for everyone to see, and that way I am held accountable by more people than I have ever wanted to be accountable to.  That is the magic of goal setting, and it will work in an extreme way for me because what I value the most is having integrity to my word.  Being out of integrity, I have noticed, makes me feel worse than most things; therefore, when I have it I feel great about myself.

-‘Goal Setting’ photo by Angie Torres-

At lululemon we were encouraged to set goals that really pushed our own personal limitations and we were even encouraged to fail because if you’re failing at things, it means you are going big.  Chip always said a good amount was 50% achieved.  This means 50% of your goals don’t happen which seems like a bummer, but if you look at it like divorce there are two sides: either you are like wow, half of marriages don’t work, or wow, half of marriages succeed!  I’m going with the glass half full here because if I can make half of these goals happen, that would be incredible.

So this is where BHAGS come in.  A bhag is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal…something that scares you.  It’s like a big hairy monster of your own creation that could be your best friend because he brings out the fighter in you.  He makes you willing to stretch yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of to make something you want happen.

Also, I will do my best to make these goals SMART because this is a very important formula or acronym that helps make goals a reality:

Specific: You must specifically state what you want like : “I complete the application process and adopt a 1-3yr old Weimaraner from the Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue…”, instead of saying “I will rescue a dog”.  Being specific with your intention will bring you exactly the things you want instead of  the things you don’t.

Measurable: Your goals have to be measurable so you know when you’ve accomplished them.  For example, I could say “Someday I want to lose weight”.  Since someday can’t be measured, I could successfully put this off until I’m dead.

Attainable: If you set a goal that you don’t believe is attainable, then it will be exactly that: unattainable, not going to happen. Envision yourself already having it and notice what that feels like.  The feeling of already having it will help bring it into fruition.

Realistic: It is not realistic for me to say I will get my PhD in 4 years; however, it is realistic to say 8 years.

Timely: This is your “by-when” and it is very important to keeping yourself in action.  “I adopt a dog from the GLWR by June 1st.”  When I have a time frame, I am much more likely to get going on the application process which takes two weeks, and then start planning to drive and meet some pups!

So there are the basics.  I plan to blog my goals in a very raw and honest manner by explaining first where I am (not looking forward to the picture documentation of this) and then where I want to be and by when.  I will also track when I have achieved my goals and when I haven’t.

For some great stuff on goal setting, check out http://www.lululemon.com/education/goalsetting and also http://goals.lululemon.com/

Categories : Goals
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Mar
26

The truth about lululemon…

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I worked for lululemon for just under three years, from 2007 to 2010, and even as I write this I can count 5 pieces of lululemon clothing I am wearing at this moment. I wanted to share my story because this company has made a profound impact on the person I am today.

Rumors have always circulated around this yoga apparel company as a cult, brainwashing their employees and sending them to the landmark forum to become robots and work their lives away making little in return.  Lawsuits have been springing up left and right over not getting paid for working overtime and now a lululemon employee is the prime suspect for the murder of one of her co-workers at the Bethesda store (http://www.slate.com/id/2289013/).  But, there are two sides to this story and I have seen and been on both…

One side  is all true: lululemon has a vision to “Elevate the World from Mediocrity to Greatness” and their mission is to “Create Components for People to Live Longer, Healthier, More Fun Lives.”  This seems odd to a good majority of people considering they are a retail clothing store. Since I was a thirsty horse in the realm of personal development, I quit my job at as as an assistant manager of a local kayak shop to make less money (I could barely pay rent and keep food in the fridge) as a lululemon educator.  Don’t get me wrong,  lululemon pays decent and there are amazing benefits, especially if you’re an athlete,  it’s just that I chose to live in the most expensive county in the US.  Not only was it worth it to me, but  it was the greatest company in the world as far as I was concerned. The more I learned about the company, the more in love I fell.  There are hundreds of reasons why, but to name a few:

– I was attending all the fitness classes I wanted throughout the community while lululemon gladly paid the fitness bill (highly beneficial to all parties, I got to work out for free and  lululemon got their grassroots marketing, as I was always head to toe in the newest and brightest lululemon gear)

-The stores offer free weekly yoga classes to everyone which gave me a real sense of community for the first time

-I was encouraged to set goals based on my dreams and post them at the store (whether or not these goals included staying with the company)

-Chip Wilson (the founder and former CEO of lululemon) had his personal phone number listed on lulunet (lululemon web) as well as all other high-ups in the company (which made me feel just as important as them instead of less equal or important like most companies in my personal experience).

-The lululemon manifesto was packed with inspirational quotes to live by like “sweat once a day”, “dance, sing, floss, and travel”, “do one thing a day that scares you”, and “friends are more important than money”.

-My co-workers felt like family and quickly became some of my best friends in the world.  (One is even going to be the maid of honor in my wedding next year.)

-The company paid for me to go to the Landmark Forum where for the first time I saw how my own patterns of thinking were holding me back from so many of the things I wanted in my life.

-The company paid for me to go to the Advanced Course (level II beyond the Landmark Forum) and for the first time I understood how I could be ME, fully self expressed with other people, a concept that I had never understood prior.

-When I went to Vancouver for the yearly conference, I was surrounded by hundreds of people who inspired me, all in one room.

…the list goes on.

Within one year of working at lululemon I had 4 promotions: I went from Educator to Community Leader to Keyholder to Assistant Manager, and before I could blink I was managing a store in the San Francisco Bay area.  When I became manager, everything started to go down hill as  I started becoming afraid of not being good enough for this amazing company.

Before I knew it I wasn’t doing the things I loved anymore, not attending as many fitness classes, and not being the shining example for my team that I knew I could be.  I was hardly sleeping and becoming more stressed then I have ever been and experiencing panic attacks as I was trying to keep my head above water.  Meanwhile, I continued to put on a happy face and pretend like everything was fine instead of reaching out for help.  The “not good enough” feeling was taking me over and as I became less and less myself, not happy, and more scared. Still completely in love with the company I realized I was out of integrity with what the company stood for and what I stood for in myself.  At the Vancouver conference in 2009 I stood up in front of hundreds of other managers, board members, the CEO Christine Day, and Chip himself.  I called out my lack of integrity as well as the general others who had fallen into the same self-destructive pattern as I had (which seemed to be prevalent in stores across the US). The issue was that several managers, including myself,  were working overtime without adding it on our time cards.  It was all to maintain the appearance that “I can get it all done” when really I couldn’t, and me and so many others were too afraid to admit it so it kept getting worse. When I stood up and spoke out about what was happening, the subject was quickly changed and I sunk down in my chair trying desperately to choke back the tears over what I had just done. 

 My intention was to protect the company from what I was seeing, which was that people  were choosing to work so hard and then not clock their time and then later were suing the company for unpaid overtime when really the company was trying to get everyone to NOT work so much! I wanted it to stop or else the choices that were made could really affect this amazing company I cared so deeply about.

Within a few hours, 3 people had approached me to say thanks for speaking up.  One woman said she knew another store manager that wasn’t even spending much time with her kids anymore because she was devoting all of her time to lululemon.  That night in the hotel room in Vancouver I couldn’t sleep.

When morning finally came we were asked to drop our goals into a basket and then choose someone else’s goals, and then find that person and start a conversation.  To my shock and horror, out of hundreds of sheets of paper, I chose Chip’s goals.  There I stood, holding the goals of the founder of the company and I had to go strike up a conversation the very next day after I stood up.  The first thing I read on the page was that he wanted to “date [his] wife once a week” and I thought that was so sweet, he always seemed to be such a family guy.  I decided to go up to him and just talk goals and not mention the horribly embarrassing scene I made.  He smiled when I approached him, we chatted goals for about 30 seconds, and then he hugged me.  It was a real hug (the kind with the tight squeeze), and it was proof to me that this was an incredible man.

Following the conference I saw some amazing changes taking place.  They brought in an incredible girl to take a new HR position in the area and we started having calls that assisted store managers with protecting their people and the company by managing time cards accurately.  I was seeing the changes I had hoped for which made me so happy, but I was feeling like an outcast and I did it to myself.  Within a few more months I was losing my grip due to the stress, paranoia of losing my job due to standing up at the conference, and I was wrongly accused of a missing nightly deposit by the asset protection guy. I had decided to walk away, knowing that if I didn’t I would have most likely been fired.  I was thinking “how could this have happened?” I thought I did everything right, I was a hard worker, extremely passionate and positive, honest, and loyal.  I walked away from the company I loved lost, sad, confused, and heart broken.

This May will be my one year anniversary leaving lululemon.  In that time I have gained a perspective I preached but didn’t fully understand before…personal responsibility. It took me a year outside of the company to finally fully understand what they were trying to teach me from day 1 and that is that I am the only one responsible for the choices I make and how these choices affect my life.  There are so many people out there that have started working for lululemon and then in one way or another took a very destructive turn, and a lot of the time it’s against themselves.

For me, the truth of the matter is that if I had the same passion for myself (my own balance, health, vitality, future, fulfillment) as I did for lululemon, I would have made much more of a  profound impact in my own life as well as the lives of my co-workers.   That was everything I wanted, and even though I thought I understood it all at the time, I didn’t.  How could I have expected to take a stand for the greatness of the company, but not for myself? It just can’t work that way.

To me,  lululemon is about creating your life the way you want it, the way you love it.  As soon as I stopped creating for myself and started becoming the victim, it seemed like lululemon turned it’s back on me but the truth was-I turned my back on myself.

Today I am happier, more excited, and more in love than I have ever been.  The lessons I have taken from lululemon have and continue to shape my life more and more into what I love.  For this I can say from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU CHIP!

all my love,

Categories : Confessions
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That Free Thing

“"We don't see things as THEY are. We see things the way WE are." ”

Raymond Charles Barker