let’s not talk about it.

[I know. I know. It’s been more than a hot minute since my last post. I can’t even explain myself. But…I am back. You may be rejoicing or sighing heavily.  I get it.]

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Transformation Tuesday.
Sometimes a transformation is MORE than just a physical change we can capture with a camera.
Usually when one accomplishes that PHYSICAL change, something inside of them changes as well.

For this gal, it’s been an incredible year of change.
She’s the first person I think of when I consider a transformation of mind, body and soul.

She can tell you all the nitty gritty details, but I can tell you what I see as her coach and friend.

1. MIND: After you read about what she has done with her body, you’ll understand why this gal is a fit badass and knows it. Not in a cocky way that we all hate.
She EXUDES confidence.
She knows she has.
She knows she can.
She knows she will.

As she begins to push herself towards her goals with her coaching business, she begins to lead her team. The more she leads, the more she learns, and the more she believes in herself AND her team.
It is truly amazing to see the change she has taken in how she approaches challenges. There is no doubt.
[Or if there is? She pushes that crap down and holds her head up and goes forward, leading with her heart.]

2. BODY: She not only completed several Beachbody programs but also found her love of weight training and competing as well as teaching P90X classes. She is leaner, stronger and more capable than ever.

Her transformation over the past year, physically, has been one that would make most mommas of a few kids fist pump the air as they say “I want that, too!”.
If she can do this? You can, too. She has lots of boys at home and a farm and teaches. Busy is her middle name but she makes it happen. So can you.

3. SOUL: I like to tell people that I put out into the Universe what I want and I fully expect to get it. I call it prayer. And I START my day that way every day. I read my morning devotional. And half the time I share it with others because it reminds me of them.

Heather has started doing the same thing. Morning devotional. Set her intentions for the day.
And it shows.
Soul “work” is something very personal but it doesn’t mean you can’t share it with others.

We talk a lot about personal development on our team.
She doesn’t just talk about it.
She orders the books for her coaches and sends them to them.
Change your mind. Change your actions. Change your soul.

All that to say….
I know there are more than just physical transformations.
And as much as I love seeing pictures of those before/afters, THIS kind of transformation is the most powerful.

I am so proud to call you my friend and fellow coach, Heather.
Keep doing what you are doing.
You inspire many with your words, actions and drive.

5 things.

5 things.
5 things I don’t like about working out.
5 ways I overcome the dislike and still get it done. every. day.

1.  Getting up early to get it done.
I don’t like getting up early.
I want to lay in bed like everyone else.
I want to wait for the sun to come up.
What I hate  more than getting up is how I feel when I don’t work out.
I hate missing my workout and knowing I will feel better if I do it…. but when?
When do I squeeze it into a busy day?

So every morning, I remind myself of how much I enjoy working out at 5 a.m.
Of how much Iike having it done by 6 a.m. so I can make my husband’s coffee for him.
Of how productive I am after that workout.
Of how energized I am and ready to tackle my day.

2.  Not knowing what to do.
For many years, I just struggled with exercise.
What are the best exercises?
What will help me lose weight?
What will help me build muscle but not bulk up?

The answer came in an infomercial while I was on vacation.
Shaun T showed up on the TV screen while I was pouting about how I looked in my bikini.
I went home and ordered his Insanity program.
5 years later I am still doing at home workout programs.
Because they come with a calendar that tells me what to do each day, including rest.
Because they get results every time when I put in the effort.

3.  Not always enjoying it.
For the longest time, a workout was just a workout.
A way to lose weight and stay healthy.
I didn’t enjoy any of it.
Except the cool down at the end.

And then came PiYo.
Not only did I love this workout but I looked forward to it.
So much so that I spent an entire day doing it so that I could be certified to teach it.
And then came my real joy.
Teaching my favorite workout to others.
Sharing how exercise can be hard but enjoyable.
From start to finish.

Another thing that helps are challenge groups.
They are Facebook groups that help participants stay on track and motivated to complete their workout for the day.
Usually with a specific program.
I just finished 60 days of Insanity Max:30 with a small Facebook group and it was the best thing. ever.
Full of motivation and accountability and support? ohmyword support.

Key to enjoying exercise more?
Find something you enjoy doing.  Find a group to do it with for support.

4.  Exercise didn’t always get me the results I wanted despite my efforts.
I lost weight with exercise.
I looked fine in my clothes.
That was it.

I was not strong and lean like I wanted to be.
I did not have the energy and happiness that I wanted to have.
I wanted exercise to fix all my problems, but instead it frustrated me.
I was putting in efforts that were getting results but not the results I wanted.

I finally found my “soulmate” workout and learned more about how to eat.
I began to honor the gift that God has given me–a body that is capable of great things.
A body that can be strong and feel great if I just did what I needed to do–move in a way that made me happy and eat real food.
And sometimes, I do new programs to challenge me.
And guess what?
I grow and get stronger each time.

5.  Exercise takes time from my day.
Life is full and busy. I am okay with that.
What I am not okay with is exchanging reading time or playing time for a workout.
I have work to do and homeschool and chores and errands.

Working out was just “another thing to do” until I realized that it’s my time.
For me.
It was my time and my time only.
I didn’t have to share it with anyone.
And if you don’t have time for just you, then you will lose yourself.
You must connect with yourself and spend time with just you.
Exercise gave me that opportunity.

So there you have it.
My 5 things that I hate about working out.
Getting up early to do it–>I remind myself of how great I feel having it done first thing.
Not knowing what to do–>I use at home programs that tell me what to do, how to do it and when.
Not always enjoying it–>I found a workout that fit my needs/wants and remember how good I feel every time I finish a workout.
Didn’t always get me the results I wanted–>I had to mix things up. Try something new and educate myself about nutrition.
It takes time from my day–>I had to change my perspective: exercise wasn’t taking time from my day but giving me my “me” time.

how I eat.

Let me start by saying that I am a work in progress.
I have come a LOOONNNNG way from last July when I got started on this change.
But I still have things I’d like to change.
  • I don’t eat 100% organic.  I want to.
  • I buy most of my (non-meat) food at Sam’s club which doesn’t do much to help support farmers. I want to support farmer’s with good ethics and practices.
  • I still feed my family gluten. The more I read about gluten and how it affects the gut and the brain I know I must continue to make the change. For all of us.

Now that THAT is out of the way, let me give you a warning.

I have a degree in dietetics and how I eat now is completely the opposite of everything I learned in college.
This is also the first time in my life that I look the way I want to look and feel the way I want to feel.
The. First. Time.

The warning? This is not mainstream thinking here…not yet.
You might read this and think “she puts what in her coffee?”.
I get it. It’s 100% understandable.
I’m not paleo. I’m not gluten free.  I’m a bit of everything and still a work in progress.

I am learning more through podcasts like The Bulletproof Radio, Fat Burning Man, and the SANE Show.
I listen while I fold laundry or tend the goats.
I read books from the library like Grain Brain or Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It.
I listen to my friends who eat this way and feel great.
I learn about how to eat better because I know it’s important.

And that’s the key:  you must find what makes you feel great.
And if you think you feel great now, well, you might be full of crap.
I can say that because I thought the same thing.
Trust me.  You will never know until you try.
Try eating more veggies. Try eating less grains.  Stop eating processed food crap.
Eat real food. And lots of it.  Exercise enough (which I think varies for all of us).

Alright.
So here we go.
This is how I eat.
Don’t knock it until you try it.

5 a.m.  Drink water. 8 ounces with a pre-workout drink mix before I workout.  More plain water while exercising.

8 a.m. Regular/decaf coffee blended/shaken with Bulletproof XCT oil and Kerrygold butter (about 1 tbsp each).

11 a.m.-noon  Lunch: Usually leftovers or a salad with nuts/veggies/avocado and homemade vinaigrette.
  • I focus on veggies big time at this meal.  Whatever ones I have on hand and love eating.
  • Lettuce can be the base for ANYTHING. Try it.
  • Salads do not have to be boring.  Be creative already.

3 p.m. Shakeology–vegan chocolate with peanut butter or PB2 blended with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

6-7 p.m. Dinner usually has a meat of some kind (not always) and more veggies.
  • We eat roasted veggies at dinner and have raw ones setting out before dinner for snacking.
  • Non starchy veggies rule the roost.  Any veggie you would eat raw=non starchy. (So not corn or peas.)
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts (really, they are good!), cauliflower and broccoli are our favorites.
  • Salad is always on hand and easy if we need something else to go with a meal.
  • If we have grain or carbs (non vegetable kind) then it is quinoa or rice.

That’s it.
I am done eating after dinner.  No bedtime snacks. No nibbles.  Just water.
It’s based on the ideas from this site: www.eighthourabsdiet.com and the principles of intermittent fasting.
I eat during an 8 hour window.
And I eat a lot.  Mostly veggies and proteins like beef, pork, chicken or fish.

Some extra info:
  • I have Shakeology daily. It has my vitamins/minerals/superfoods/probiotics/prebiotics that I need.  And it’s easy. And tasty.
  • I drink lemon water throughout the day and green tea and Kombucha when I can get my hands on it.
  • Other supplements: Turmeric capsules and Membrane Complex (2-AEP)
  • I eat meat, but mostly vegetables.  The meat I eat at home is local and raised by a friend.  I want to know what’s in my meat.  I want it to be grassfed and nutrient dense.
  • I eat some dairy–usually cheese–because I love it. I don’t eat as much as I used to.
  • I eat a little dark chocolate–good stuff–when I want some.
  • I love fermented foods as they taste good to me and are SO good for your gut!  Examples are sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
  • I don’t avoid gluten but I just don’t eat much of it. I feel better when I don’t and I feel best when I eat lots of veggies and healthy fat.  So we don’t really keep bread on hand and have pasta maybe once every 2-3 weeks. No one complains. Anymore. (I’m smiling when I type that.)  We eat homemade pizza every Friday night–that is my gluten fix for the week!
  • I get healthy fats everyday and shoot for 1 avocado a day along with my XCT oil (it’s MCT oil sold by Bulletproof Exec.). I cook with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, lard and butter. Vegetable oils are crap. Don’t use them.
  • I eat a lot of veggies (did I mention that?). Kale, spinach, lettuce blends (I don’t buy everything organic, but I do with lettuces, etc) are always on hand.  I keep carrots, cauliflower and other raw fresh veggies on hand for snacking or roasting.
  • I keep frozen berries (again organic here when I can) in the freezer for mixing in Shakeology or making smoothies.
  • I love nuts. I keep mine in the fridge. Some nuts don’t like me much and I mainly eat pecans and walnuts.
  • I eat dessert once a week or so–usually dark chocolate but our family dessert night is almost always something homemade but not always.
  • We try to avoid processed/packaged foods with added sugar.  If we have them, it’s usually in granola bars or cereals that we keep on hand.
  • I don’t buy junk food or chips or packaged foods. If they don’t come in my house, I can’t eat them.
  • My kids eat fruit, raw vegetables or mixed nuts for snack; I have Shakeology or nuts/nut butter and fruit.
  • My kids eat fruit smoothies, Shakeology or eggs for breakfast.
  • On the weekends I have wine. Beer can give me a head ache now, and wine can, too, so I spread a bottle out over 3 days and enjoy it.  And I recognize that I might not feel great after I drink it.
  • When we go out, I almost always get a salad loaded with all the stuff I love and I eat every bite.  And sometimes I eat a burger and fries and enjoy it!
  • Eating for me is truly about making me feel my best and staying healthy.  I don’t count calories. I don’t think too much about it.  I find recipes I want to make for my family that sound good, I buy good, real food, and we eat it and then we go do other things.  It is NOT about quantity of food/calories–it’s about quality.
  • Eat real food. Eat plenty. Move your body in the form of exercise a few times a week (I do 5 days because exercise is energizing and a great release for me, plus I just want to be able to kick someone’s ass if I need to).  Get rest.  Be awesome.
  • SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT: Saturdays are the one day a week I don’t eat this way.  I always make a big breakfast for my family–sometimes it’s green smoothie bowls, sometimes it’s donuts, sometimes it’s bacon and eggs.  And I may or may not each crap food at some point but it’s not  a goal for the day like some “cheat” days are.  I don’t feel good when I eat it so I still limit it on Saturdays.

Did you know I have a Facebook group where I share my weekly menu including recipes?
I also share this, that and the other related to eating throughout the week.
Want to join this free group?  –>Eat Like Me Facebook Group

Link to Eat like Me form

baked oatmeal cups.

Trust me.
It might not sound good, but it really is.
Baked oatmeal.
In muffin cup form.

Not only do they taste good, but they are incredibly easy and my kids love them.
Win, win, win.
Plus they have good stuff we all need–protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and whole grains.
I now make a double recipe at a time.
Refrigerating half to eat during the week and freezing the other half.
My kids eat them cold or you can warm them up in a bowl with some milk.

Baked-Oatmeal-Cups

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Bananas and Berries
modified from Team Beachbody Blog
(Makes 12 servings, 1 cup each)

Total Time: 45 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 30 min.

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or raw honey)
2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (or raspberries)

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare twelve muffin cups by coating with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, extract, bananas, and maple syrup (or honey) in a large bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds and baking powder in a medium bowl; mix well.
5. Add oat mixture to egg mixture; mix well.
6. Add almond milk; mix well.
7. Divide oat mixture evenly between prepared muffin cups.
8. Top evenly with blueberries.
9. Bake 26 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tip: Raisins, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds, or dark chocolate chips can be substituted for blueberries.

the anniversary of me.

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It’s been almost one year.
One year since I said yes.

Not to a marriage.
Not to a new home.
Not to having another child.

I said yes to me.
I was clueless as to what was about to happen when I said yes.
At the time, all I really said yes to was a new workout.  Seriously. (Stay with me here, it gets better.)
And all I knew  for sure was that I was unhappy.

Unhappy as a mom.
Unhappy as a wife.
Unhappy with my body.
Unhappy with life.
(That was not supposed to be a sad rhyming poem but it sure is, isn’t it?)

I had no clue that saying yes to this workout was going to change my happiness.
I was hoping it would change my unhappiness with my body but the rest of it?
Um, no way.  A workout is a workout.
It’s not going to change everything I’m unhappy about.
Or so I thought…

So I ordered this new workout called PiYo, which happend to be the opposite of everything I had ever done for exercise.
I took my “before” pictures and joined a PiYo challenge group on Facebook.
What happens next is kinda, sorta, totally crazy.

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A total transformation–mind, body and spirit.
–>that weight I thought I’d always have? gone.
–>that flat belly I figured would never be found? got it.
–>that depression I battled for years? managed without medicine. (thanks to Shakeology)
–>that realization that I do have something to contribute to this world? incredible.
–>the learning about how we should really eat?  mind blowing. and freeing.
–>that strong body I was sure would never exist? got it.
–>the purpose I never had? figured that out.
–>the career that helped me combine my love of fitness and nutrition? all mine.
–>the financial contribution to my family? yep.
–>the confidence to teach a weekly fitness class? whoa. so fun.

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So these pictures?
Taken last weekend as a celebration.
A celebration of me and this life that I have gained in the past year.
A celebration of potential and realizing that I can do great things with hard work and the support of others.
A celebration of life and all it can be when we find that passion that is ours to have.

These pictures are proof that saying yes to a simple thing can lead you down a path that God has intended for you.
A path you never would have imagined or expected.
So this is my anniversary of me.

I want to encourage you to be on the lookout for opportunities to say yes to you.
Eat well.  Move your body.  Read books that teach you things.
Work hard.  Laugh and smile.  Help others.
You have no idea what could happen when you do.

And if you need help with knowing what to eat or what workout to do to reach your goals?
That’s my thing.  My purpose.
So it’s be kinda cool if you asked me to help you.
Check out my contact page or click here to sign up for free.

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Pictures by Nicole Speer at Nicole Speer Photography

Make Up by Abby Prather at Abby Prather

the answer to that burning question.

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People often ask me how I get everything done.
I usually shrug my shoulders and say, “I just get it done.”
I think that’s how it is for most folks.
And I admit, that I don’t always get it done “right”.
I think that, too, is how it is for most folks.

But I admit.
My priorities are not the norm.
I think that’s what folks are questioning–how I prioritize.
So I’m going to talk about that today.
And to set the stage, here’s a rundown of a typical week.

I workout most days for 30 minutes.
I homeschool my 2 kiddos.
I coach folks who are getting healthy with my at home/online business.
I teach live PiYo classes.
I prepare meals for our family.
I take care of our home and farm–that means all inside and outside chores like washing dishes to mowing the grass.
I run errands and grocery shop.
I take kids to practices and games.
I attend church.
I spend time with my girlfriends.
I check in on our elderly neighbor.

This is my life.
Some of those things don’t always get done.
Sometimes we eat out.
Sometimes we run out of milk because I haven’t been to town.
Sometimes I forget to check on Ms. Becky.

And then there are things that don’t get skipped.
My “no matter whats” on that list.
The one I get asked about the most is the first one on the list.
Exercise.  Workouts.  Making time for it.

It’s a priority.
Because without it? I go nuts.
It’s the one thing that makes me feel great, even when I don’t want to do it.

What?!
Yep. You heard it here.
I don’t always want to do it.
But really, it gets done at least 5 times a week.
Because I know I will be happier if I do it.

So that said–how do I juggle all those other things and make time for exercise?
Well, I could tell you that I hire a sitter so I can go for a run.
Or that I go the YMCA and use their daycare service for my kids.
Or that I wait till my husband gets home so I can head to the gym.
Or that I do squats while I watch TV. (TV? I am supposed to watch that?)
Or that I count mowing the grass or teaching PiYO as my workout.
But that’d all be a lie (especially the running part….).

The plain and simple answer is this.
I get up early.
I get up before everyone else and I get. it. done.
I get it done for me.

My workout is the FIRST thing I do after I brush my teeth (while reading my devotional) and get dressed.
If I don’t do it first thing then it’s looming over all the other activities of the day and will most likely get put off until it doesn’t happen.

And I always do it at home.
I have two kids at home with me. all. the. time.
Going somewhere to workout ain’t gonna happen.
I need something that I know is effective and can be done from home so I have used Beachbody programs for the past 5 years.
And always ones that I enjoy. (that’s key, folks!)

Mowing the grass doesn’t count because while it’s exercise, it’s not a workout.
Teaching PiYo doesn’t count because that’s my fun.  It’s my class’s workout.
A workout for me is something that pushes me.
That feel-good-dopamine-producing-workout that makes me happy.

The happiness kicks in when I am done.
Done with a fantastic 30 minute P90X3 or Insanity Max:30 workout where I have been pushed.
Where I did push ups and pull ups and tuck jumps (all things I don’t like).
I did them.
A certain sense of accomplishment and no doubt, NO DOUBT, that I worked out.

Can you imagine how awesome that is to feel that way FIRST THING in the day?
First thing!
By 5:45 a.m. I am feeling like a freakin’ rockstar.

I got up out of my bed.
I got my devotional read.
I brushed my teeth.
I worked out.
In my book, I am a rockstar before 6 a.m.
That is powerful stuff.
A sense of accomplishment that early in the day sets me on fire for the rest of my day.
Or at least until 7 p.m. which is good enough in my book.

Now I know, I know.
There are morning people and night owls.
I get it.
(here comes the tough love)
Get over it.

So you like to stay up late?
Good for you.
My kids would like to eat Cheetos all day and stay up all night.
Good for them.
It’s not going to happen because it makes no sense for their goal in life.
The goal to be awesome.

And it’s not good for them.
It’s not good for you either.
(That’s not just my opinion, there is research to back this.)
Or to not workout.
And if you want to get more done in your day then you need to go to bed and get up earlier.

But you just can’t fall asleep?
Get some melatonin, darken that room, read a book, create a night time routine that sets you up for sleeping by 10 p.m.
Set the alarm for 5 a.m. or whenever works for you.
And get. it. done.

Pull on your big girl or boy pants and do it.
If you want it.
Do it.
How’s that for tough love?
Yikes.

But really.
That is my answer to the question of “how do you get everything done?”.
I start my day early.
I own the day.
And the next one.
And the next one after that.

You can, too.
For reals.
Try it for a week.
See how you feel.

Just don’t be surprised when after that week, you buy a shirt that says “I am a rockstar.”

own the morning

backup plan.

I got a degree in dietetics and become a registered dietitian in 2001.
I worked at WIC and had my own personal chef business for a while.
Then I had a baby and was incredibly fortunate to be able to stay home.
Really.
I know what a huge blessing that was and how important it was for me and my daughter.
To not work and stay at home with her.
But it wasn’t easy.

I struggled with some gnarly post-partum depression.
I felt trapped with a baby that wouldn’t take a bottle.  Ever.
I struggled with the fact that she wasn’t consolable after 5 p.m. and had no idea what the problem was.
I was a total control freak who insisted on doing everything but give her her bath.
I could go on, but you get the picture.

It was rough for me and not because I quit working.
I wanted to quit working.
I wanted to stay home and have kids and be a momma.
I wanted to take care of our home and make good food.
I wanted to be that blissfully happy mom I imagined I would be.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t.
Plain and simple.
I wasn’t that mom.

Fast forward to now.
I still stay home with our kids.
Two of them now.
I still take care of our home and farm and make good food.
I also teach fitness classes, homeschool both kids and started working part time from home.

Those last three things?
Not necessary.
I don’t need to work outside the home to support our family.
But…I wanted to.
I needed to.

I home school because I needed to do this for my kids.
Plain and simple.
It’s the best solution to our problems with educating our kids.
But I never imagined I would home school. Ever.

I imagined I would put my kids on the bus, wave good bye and have time to do my own thing for 8 hours every day.
I wanted to get back into nutrition and helping folks.
I wanted to get back into cooking and teaching.
I wanted to have a u-pick berry farm and orchard.

And when I decided to homeschool two years ago, I was totally bummed.
I was certain my big dreams were done.
That I would be stuck tending my kids, and now their school work, all day.
With no time for me.

Then I was asked to become a fitness coach because someone noticed my love of exercise and nutrition.
Something I could do from home– as part or full-time as I wanted.
Well, why not?
I can do it from home.
I can help others.
I can make some money.
I can be with my kids.
Sounded good to me.

So I did.
I did it for me.
100% totally for me.
Selfish?
Maybe and that’s okay by me.

I needed to do this.
I needed to have a purpose again.
I needed to feel like I was contributing to the world.
I needed to help folks get healthy because that?
That is my passion.

And maybe more than all that?
I needed to have a backup plan.
I hadn’t worked for over 13 years.
I kept up on nutrition research, latest trends, etc. but I wasn’t a prime candidate for anyone hiring a dietitian.
I didn’t have a PhD. I didn’t have my Masters degree.
I was just a mom with a bachelor’s degree.

What if something happened to my husband and we lost his income?
How would I provide for my family?
I knew I needed a backup plan. For me.  For us.

And if nothing else, it was an opportunity to earn some spending money for trips or to pay off our mortgage.
I wanted to contribute to my family financially after years of doing the other stuff.
So I did it.

I became a coach and help folks online with fitness and nutrition.
I got certified to teach PiYo classes.
These two things have changed my world.
They have given me purpose again.
Yes, I know being a mom and wife is purposeful, but I wanted more.
I wanted to do what I thought God put me on this Earth to do to help folks outside of my home.

I am proud to say that I have found my purpose and my path.
How about you?
Has your life gone differently than you thought?
Have you given up on a passion because you don’t think you can?
Are you living your purpose?

I am here to tell you this: don’t be afraid to want more and go after it.
That “more” may be your back up plan and quite possibly your purpose.
Go after it.