The 24 hour “what if” challenge

Living in the “what if” stage can be pretty addictive…

What if… you ask the question, request the favor, make the change, take the leap, quit the job, ask the girl, *answer* the question, get off the couch, turn off the tv, pay the bill, sign up, check out, check in to your goal?

You know that comfy feeling when you are staring into space, pondering what would happen if you do any one of these things? That place is dream land. No one holds you accountable for your unspoken “what ifs”, so you get to play and peruse possibility. You can be the biggest version of yourself in this space… you can be bold and sexy, quiet and constructive, in a sense, you are only limited by the bounds of your imagination. Who wouldn’t want to swim around in that kind of potential?

The problem comes when this place of dreaming becomes your comfort zone… Circling in the holding pattern between the conception of an idea and the physical action of starting the process is a space that doesn’t really have a lot of gumption or enterprise. It is a calm place, a hiding place. No one is going to drag you out of this lingering, meandering circle… you have to request your own clearance and move towards a decision, an action, a plan.

You have to decide if you are going to be the dreamer who stays asleep or the dreamer who wakes up and carpes the hell of the diem.

When you hang in the “what if” limbo, you are pressing pause on anything and everything that moves, grows, feels, and counts. Of course, that “what if” time is totally necessary for planning and preparing for the experiences we want to have, but let’s face it… we all spend a lot more time imagining the consequences of the “what ifs” than we do acting on them.

How long do we wait before engaging, trying and saying hello to all the deliciously interesting parts of life? What if we just did a fraction of the things we are imagining. That would be a biography of a life that I would want to read. Sometimes I ask the question, “if my life were a movie, would I keep watching?” or would I be bored out of my mind, screaming at the screen, telling myself to stop worrying so much about what might happen if I just got out of my head and started getting things done.

Here’s my challenge to you… In the next 24 hours, allow 3 of your big “what ifs” to be answered.

It will be a little scary, it will be a little uncomfortable. So what.

Act on your “what ifs”. Be the bold one who at the end of the day surprises him/herself a little bit. It could be really fun….

Maybe you have been thinking about learning something new, going back to school, getting involved with a charity, taking your career to a new level, branding yourself differently, making a new fitness commitment, whatever it is, you can spend a lot of time considering the idea or you can start answering your “what ifs” to get some answers.

“What if” you actually answered 3 of your “what ifs”…

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Shuffling your deck

Did you know that EVERY single time you shuffle a deck of cards, the outcome will be completely UNIQUE? That goes for every shuffled deck that has ever, will ever, be shuffled by anyone. Ever. Think on that. The permutation of a standard deck of 52 cards has the following number of possible arrangements:

cards52 isn’t a huge number, but the combinations of options from the 52 cards is a pretty healthy batch of changes. Jacks, Kings, the 2 of hearts, they are all in there, ready to be shuffled and rearranged, ready to create a combination that has never existed in history and will never, ever, exist again. I am a firm believer that the hand we are dealt is made wholly of the cards we allow ourselves to play with.

When I heard this big ole number, my head started spinning. If 52 cards can be arranged in that many ways, what does that say for choices, decisions, outcomes and opportunities in our own lives? We all have way more than 52 things we could rearrange in order to create a new scenario, a fresh outlook, a new angle, a feeling of starting over.

My top 52 for today (the best part is, they change all the time!): attitude, goals, family, work, diet, hours of sleep, focused time on studies, time spent writing, alone time, work relationships, health, intention, time spent flying, building new relationships, asking for help, friends, social media interaction, breaking bad habits, building new positive habits, organization, time spent worrying, care for others, my budget, prioritizing tasks, my importance of the opinions of others, wasted time, being uncomfortable, planning, daily tasks, charity, unconventional ideas, time spent online, being kind, saying yes, saying no, saying not today but maybe soon, down time, relaxation, speaking up, acting like a child, acting like an adult, decision making, being aware of the big picture, meditation, focus to detail, dreaming, outside input, inspiration, research, safety, conservation, feeling.

You may relate to some of my 52 or maybe none at all, the point is, when you focus on the same top 5 out of 52 day in and day out, you are leaving out a lot of very important other options that all have a place in your deck. You don’t have to eliminate cards, but you also don’t have to be afraid to give the deck a shuffle every now and again to feel that fresh newness of a renewed, excited plan.

If I dig deep into my deck, and tomorrow, I focus on things like saying yes, research, organization, breaking bad habits and dreaming, I would probably have a totally different day than if I went by the usual plan of focusing on attitude, family, work, diet etc. as the same way I focus each day. I am by no means saying to ignore your typical top 5, we already know we’ve got those covered, but a shuffle can allow you to feel alive, fresh, renewed and inspired to see through a slightly different set of eyes. You will naturally pay mind to the things you focus on during a typical day… but… with a new hand that you deal yourself, you’ll be playing the game confidently and with a strong hand full of intentional choices.

When you start of each day by looking at all your options, rather than going with what makes you feel comfortable and at home, you will inevitably start to do some rearranging along the way, fixing and plotting, getting priorities aligned in a smart way that can build your strategy for success… heck, maybe your deck will go flying into the air and you’ll have to pick up all the cards one by one, once again, creating an arrangement that is all yours.

The best part about all of this is that the new arrangement that you are priviledged enough to hold in your hot little hands has never existed before and will never exist again.

So go ahead, shake things up, shuffle your deck. Just remember, you decide what goes into that stack of cards.. every single day.\

Here’a link to the video I mentioned in my video blog above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKZStlBECHo

The two days of the year when nothing can be done…

Click for a larger view, share for larger inspiration:

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 6.06.04 PM

I hope your day was filled with delicious, ambitious, heartfelt action!

I wanted to share a podcast interview with SimpleFlight Radio that I did last week… flying, goal setting, and focused inspiration were the topics we covered.

We also decided to rock the Twitter Hashtag: #gulpingbeauty

Here’s a link: http://www.simpleflight.net/aviation-radio-show-archive.html

Thanks to the crew at Simple Flight for believing in general aviation and my plans for an around the world flight!

-Amelia

Obvious? You betcha. Incredibly powerful? Ohhh yeah.

airport3

I am a creature of the night, waking at the deeply dark, wee hours of the morning to head to the tv station where I prognosticate about all things traffic, weather and news. The alarm sounds at 3:30am these days, which is a nice break from the previous 2:30 honking that woke me from my delicious flying dreams at previous times. Eyes flutter open, muscles come alive and more often than not, a smile slips across my lips, knowing today is the best day in history.

Hair and makeup, dresses and heels, espresso (raspberry and vanilla these days) and I am out the door with a quick kiss blown to my faithful little pup, Nubbin. When I get in the car, I have approximately 14 minutes to set my mood just right.

The freeway is a runway leading straight toward whatever day I want to have.

What I noticed today, as I drove in for a Sunday morning weather shift at 9News, was how clear and deep the night sky seemed as I pressed the gas pedal and roared onto I-25. Through the windshield, the stars gleamed, constellations crisp and obvious to the North, inviting my stare to linger longer than usual. I was alone, baring the rare opposite direction freeway companion. It was the color of the sky that really got to me this morning. It was a bluish black, with no end in sight. There was no promise of impending light, no hint of a day ahead. Pure, calm, silky black eternity.

What would it be like to fly in this night sky? On a Sunday morning at 4am? Sure, I’ve had night flight time, as pilot, as passenger, as sleepy shoulder sleeper, but this, this would be different. My mind immediately went to the pinnacle of my flight goals, an eventual flight around the world. There will be hours upon hours spent flying at night and inevitably, there will be a 4am adventure across the night sky. I get chills thinking of what it will be like to look back on even just the writing of this blog post, wondering what and where and how and oh my goodness it is all so possible!

The first Amelia saw what I am imagining, craving, working toward, first hand, and summed it up in such a succinct way… “The stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have I seen so many. I always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but I was sure of it that night.”

There is a reason that I am so focused and amped up toward diving into that night sky, especially as of late. A personal recommitment has been made, a show of respect toward the big goals and what they stand for and it has all come from a new sense of understanding exactly what we are all individually capable of. It comes down to deciding what you want to be and committing 100%.

Obvious? Completely.

Here’s where I realized I have failed in the past: Previously, a 99% commitment felt like a path toward success. If I was 99% there, 1% couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t matter, right?

Wrong.

That 1% is a powerful little beast. Take for example, a thought on exceptions to the “rule”. If you commit to working toward a goal 99% of the time, you will constantly use the excuse that today is the day to slack off, procrastinate, put it off, and let the work pile up. Is today the 1% exception? Sure, why not? I am 99% committed to my cause, my goal, my idea. This one time wont hurt. Two times is a fluke, everyone get’s a few free passes, three times starts to look like a pattern and then, before you know it, a 99% commitment looks like a 50% maybe I’ll get it done when I have the energy, when I lose ten pounds, when the kids graduate, when work slows down. Familiar? I’ve been there and I don’t want to go back. No way, José. 

That one little time turns to habit and you are back where you were when your goal was just a lofty idea without legs. When a 100% commitment is made, there are no exceptions, either you are or you aren’t. Do or do not. Be or don’t be. Progress can be slow, but commitment with intention and defined terms of success and hard work is sexy. Just make the first step, invite yourself to take the next, the third will feel good and then you are on a roll.

I’ll take it one step further… If you accomplished 99% of your goal, would you be happy? If out of 100 job candidates you were one away from the top, would you be stoked? In my case, if I flew 99% of the way around the world, I would certainly disappointed. You get out what you put in. Lately, my input has been learning, growing, soak up the amazing details of how awesome flight can be. When I talk about the goal, I show 100% on my face. You’ve got one life to give it all while you’re here. I don’t want to die with a bunch of unfulfilled ideas.

Am I sounding like some sort of crazy tyrant? I am not saying you’ve gotta be all work and no play… that would be a terrible way to live. What I am saying, is decide what you want and pour your whole heart into it. You are completely capable of doing whatever it is you can imagine. It feels damn amazing to accomplish goals, right? Do it more often. I can’t believe I am quoting John Mayer, but here goes: “If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.”

Back to night flight… lately, when I have a hard time studying, or going to a lesson after waking up at 3:30am, or taking the time to understand my craft, I go back to what it will feel like to slip into the sky and fly East towards the horizon. It kicks me in the ass, it lifts my heart, it rumbles my soul. It is like the aircraft engine starting… it feels like the beginning of something big.

Almost there is ok, but hitting your mark feels realllllllly good.

Love,

Amelia

What *can* you be, what are you *willing* to be?

Watch the video before you read!

These are 4 minutes and 19 seconds you’ll be glad you devoted your time to! Brian Johnson, creator of en*theos (www.entheos.com) and Philosopher’s Notes (www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes.com) struck a chord with me during his latest YouTube video on Optimal Living… he talked about that tricky little zone we all tend to visit more than we’d like: “The Integrity Gap”

He describes this place as, the distance between what you are *capable* of doing and what you are *actually* doing.

I watched this video while on the treadmill at the hotel here in Minneapolis, I am here for a meteorology conference that 9News sent me to. But first, rewind a bit… we got in a few hours early and it is nearly as cold as Denver here! Right around 7 degrees today. As I walked into my pretty little hotel room, I thought, ugh, there are so many things I need to get done! My room looks out over the Mall of America and I gotta tell ya, it was less than inspiring. Buy, buy, buy, eat, eat, eat, spend, spend, spend. It instantly put me in a bad mood!

I sat there on my perfectly pressed bed, thinking about how cold it was, how much I needed to get done, how lazy I felt, and how I would be here all week! We have all been there, right?

The afternoon could have gone one of two ways, turn on daytime (ugh) tv, surf Facebook and listen to everyone complain about the cold, and generally replicate the view I was looking at through my window, or…

I could *close my integrity gap* and cancel out the distance between what I was actually doing and what I was capable of doing. So I laced up my Pegasus sneaks and got my butt down to the gym.

New view, new body temperature (hot hot hot) and a new feeling that I was now doing what I was capable of. I came back upstairs, wrote some exciting follow up emails about the round the world flight, made a few calls that included a big ask *with a yes response!* and popped up the lap top to jot this note.

((((I am not trying to brag by writing this blog, yadda yadda, I got so much done. Not that at all. I just want to make sure that the people who care enough to read the post get the same opportunity to feel as incredible as I do. ))))

As Brian says, the gap is filled with regret (I should have gotten more accomplished), anxiety (I am falling behind and my goals will not get accomplished), and disillusionment (blah, blah, life ain’t so fun).

Back to the point of the video- how can you close the gap?

It is truly as simple as being the highest version of yourself moment to moment. That even feels good to write… what would the best version of you do right now, literally right in this very moment?

For me, it is writing this down and having the courage to push the publish button.

To closing the gap…

Here goes.

Inertia: Why your next 5 decisions matter more than all the rest

Think back to being 9 years old. You’re running down a hill, chasing a friend, you’re neck and neck. The trees, the grass, the sky it’s all a blur of summertime warmth and glee. You didn’t know your legs could go this fast… you pull ahead. Your legs pump in Olympic fashion, and suddenly, you’ve lost control. Bones and flesh turn to jelly and in your mind, you picture a cartoon character with a blur of limbs circling beneath. You really want to win this race so you let your legs do their own work. Your legs are no longer yours to speed up or slow down, but you continue running. Legs keep doing what they have been trained to do. Heart pumping, win or lose, energy is in your favor and with nothing to slow them down, they just keep circling.

Newton’s Law of Inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by another opposite force. 

Warm in your bed, sleeping like a lamb, you continue to slumber until an alarm clock, a barking dog, a brain wave, a temperature change wakes you and shakes alert. Inertia broken. You’re awake.

Two weeks of exercise, a daily practice becomes the norm and you are on a roll. Suddenly going to the gym is not the exception, but rather the rule. Inertia is rockin’ your world. You get used to feeling a certain way and you like it. You may even love it.

Going to the grocery store… that’s way too hard. I’ll just grab something quick on the way home. Insert low quality, cheap, fast, bloating, greasy, super tasty food. Get home, feel like the mashed up, human version of what you just put in your mouth, turn on television and zone out with a cocktail… one of the toughest forms of inertia to resist continuing. Sounds like a great life, right?

We have all heard the superhero-like people that we look up to say things like, ‘you’ve just got to make the good stuff a habit’, ‘the good stuff has to be a daily practice’, ‘the good stuff has to be your way of life.’ We have all heard the people who want to make a change say things like, ‘the bad stuff became a habit’, ‘the bad stuff became a daily practice’, and ‘the bad stuff became my way of life.’ Hmm.

Take inertia in the most literal sense: What if your last five actions became the path of the rest of your life? What if inertia kept you rolling in the same direction of the last five things you thought, did, ate, or felt? Consider the following options:

Situation One: Last 5 actions 1)complaining about a co-worker’s actions 2)skipping the gym or any form of physical activity 3)ignoring a friend’s call because you knew they needed your thoughts and your ear on an important issue 4)eating low energy, junk and feeling like junk afterwards 5)sleeping in whining when you finally do have to get out of bed because yesterday’s actions and thoughts gave you nothing to look forward to the next day.

Situation Two: Last 5 actions 1)waking up with a goal in mind, you made plans for something that excites you and you are looking forward to engaging in it 2)You move around a little, you shake it, you get your blood pumping, you smile at the kid in the grocery store because you have no particular reason to feel bad 3)You take the call from a friend and help them see that little changes can make a big difference and that every problem can be solved with a new perspective and by taking things one step at a time 4)You eat something that tastes, looks, feels, smells and like the stuff that fuels a healthy body 5)You encourage the coworker that is probably going through something at home that’s affecting their work performance. You offer help at work, but don’t feel like you have to complain or change the situation. You are simply a friendly face.

I don’t know about you, but to me, it is pretty easy to see how the actions in each situation could lead to inertia in either direction. Either you remain on a path of lazy, negative, yuck or you remain on a path of energy, health and optimism.

What were your last 5 actions?

More importantly, what are your next 5 actions?

Whatever they were, there you are. Deal with it. Either continue to be the inertia or start to be the change. Your next 5 actions can be completely opposite of the last five or they can be as radiant as the last. We are, of course, what we repeatedly do.

Say you’re working towards a goal. You chip away at it every day, you quietly put in the effort and just get on it. One of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss, has a good way of explaining what that looks like from the outside. Ferriss says, “most people are fast to stop you before you get started but hesitate to get in the way if you’re moving.” It turns out that he has a lot in common with Amelia Earhart… She once said, “never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” The reason I dig this way of thinking is because when you are setting out to do big things, people who live in the “Situation 1” form of negative inertia will try to hack away at your goals. Even if they don’t say it to your face, they will think it, and probably tell their friends. It is always a compliment when this happens, as they are spending time thinking about what you are up to and wondering how the hell you are pulling it off.

Let ’em.

Once you are on a roll, there you are, day by day, getting closer to your goal. It is hard to argue with results.

So here’s to a new year filled with the inertia that you choose. We all know that big goals, whether weight loss, a job promotion, an invention, a great relationship, a new skill, expanded learning, planning a flight around the world, whatever it is, it all requires a whole lot of hard work and elbow grease. These things don’t get accomplished through magic, they get accomplished through a series of steps that lead toward your goal. Inertia wants to work in your favor… an object at rest wants to stay at rest and an object in motion wants to stay in motion. You are the force acting against inertia. Either stop the bad or keep up the good. Your choice. 

Every last drop of the best parts of this big beautiful world are yours for the experiencing. Go get what you want, feel it deeply, teach others how you did it, and by all means, keep being oh so curiously engaged.

As Danielle Laporte says, “Life is full of opportunities to feel exactly how you want to feel.”

Take this opportunity to feel that way.

Why 5 decisions? Why not. High 5.

Back to basics

Hey friends,

No election talk here, just a note for those who have this sort of thing stamped on their souls… and for those who could use a reminder.

I’ll run my hand gently over the wing of a small airplane and say to him, “This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could. It won’t get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house. But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know — that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible.” And then, because airplanes speak in a language beyond words, I’ll take him up in the evening summer sky and let the airplane show him what I mean.

— Lane Wallace, ‘Eyes of a Child,’ Flying magazine, February 200