Our true authentic self is the lifeline for igniting our true happiness

Thank you for opening your hearts and welcoming my sometimes vulnerable stories into your life.  Through these stories, I hope to inspire you to slow down for a minute or two and recognize what you are capable of being when you are your true self.  I share these stories and ideas with the intention to inspire others to live their story. It takes time to get comfortable and accepting of ourselves.  We have been trained to conform; to be a certain person, someone that does not represent our fuller selves. At Ignite Happy  we show you the path to take prescriptive and intentional steps towards igniting happiness from within that illuminates a brighter future.  For now, I offer you a part of this path to consider taking; the first step. What will your next 30 days look like if you take the chance? Think about taking that first step. Show yourself some kindness.  Take notice of how “strong” words affect you, and begin taking more steps towards being a stronger you.

I encourage you to be S.T.R.O.N.G. from this day forward. Be strong for yourself and all the amazing people that benefit from the fact that you are in their world.  You are a gift to this world with the ability to happily dish out kindness, joy, love, and generosity with genuine care and purpose.

Stand up ready to consciously live your life, you are worth it

Trust with belief can make you unstoppable, dream

Reflect on what you want to be remembered for, purposely live out loud

Optimism is contagious, spark the skies all around you with yours

Now you can be the real you, fully alive, inspire others with your presence

Grow through wonder and inclusion, connect hearts to possibilities

Start by Standing up and being ready for life’s challenges.  Take them head-on. Flip the script and instead of those challenges taking you over or filling your head with paralyzing thoughts, take intentional steps to explore and address these challenges each day.  Opportunities become more abundant over time if you are more open to them.  

Trust ourselves, believe in the good of others and find the avenues that invite others into our lives.  Including others for the beauty and uniqueness, we each have to unleash. Illuminate the light in you and your path shall become clearer.

Not being stuck in the middle or lost in the shuffle, rather enlightening others has all to do with how we Reflect in the world. Positivity sets the groundwork and fuels all the good to come.  Be good, to get good and put joy out in the world and you will see it returned. Expect what you reflect.  Practice being kind and compassionate to yourself, then watch how you are better able to give the same to others.

“Having direction and trust is all about knowing where you are going without knowing exactly where you will end up”

Living with a positive outlook and attitude is proven to have profound impacts on healthier and happier living.  Having the ability to be Optimistic is a choice. Start today and over time, it is just the way you will be; filled with hope while knowing that we are able to change in ways that illuminate a new path.  Your light, when combined with others, can create powerful illumination for others to follow.   

Never underestimate your child-like skills, like creativity and happiness, that are dimmed down over time as we trudge through the adult world.  There are these unconscious biases and learnings taught to us by our society that have us living in a way that we are certain about in our subconscious.  It is scary to think that we have been programmed, like robots, to fall back to our “normal” and “acceptable” state. From Now on, it is our time.  It is time, for our uniqueness to be the new normal.  Now is the time to be accepted by others as we bring our best selves, regardless of where we have come from or what we look like.  I believe you and many others have unique beauty inside, just waiting to be unleashed.   

When we stand frozen for too long, we fall behind.  Some of us are unclear, blurred or even ignorant to the implications of living life rigidly, assuming all of life’s questions are already answered.  Even worse, an unwillingness to change or try new things, accepting an “it is what is” approach that makes it easy to self-rationalize. Growth enables us to change and begin to believe anything is possible.  Amazing growth comes from embracing discomfort with putting ourselves out in the world with vulnerability and accepting where we are.  When we include others and our surroundings as opportunities to learn from, we set up ourselves up to grow fully. I encourage you to come alive with an ever-present ability to be childishly curious.   Our world is better with you in it and even better when you are fully you.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”

– Charles Darwin

Our path is our own and it is ours to own.  Find someone to share it with, to encourage you to take daily steps.   Take a small part of each day to self-reflect with self-compassion and forgiveness intended to ignite your own learning. It is the right thing to do, for yourself.  Nothing or nobody is perfect and I always say that inactivity is worse than trying and not being perfect. Be grateful for each moment and try to commit to setting aside just 15 minutes of each day to take back control of your life and learn from exploring through honest self-reflection.  Your best, future life depends on it. Accept that you are worthy. I believe in you and I am here for you.  

Find joy on your journey and ignite the path ahead!  Happiness doesn’t have to be all-consuming, in every second of your day, it just needs to be close enough that you can reach out and grab it.  It starts from within you. Live and see what is possible.

Dance Out Loud

Allow your happiness to be a dance; to come alive and live out loud

It all started with a curiosity to learn something new.  My daughter asked to join a dance class at the young age of three.  She signed up and absolutely loved it. The group learned new dances and jumped around with new-found friends.  It was all fun and games until she realized she needed to spotlight all of the new skills on stage at an upcoming dance recital.   The joy that once filled her was replaced with the anxiety that comes with performing in front of an audience.    

One day my daughter came home with a brochure, “Calling all Dancing Dads” interested in dancing in a routine at the recital.  As I read it, I immediately had butterflies in my stomach and blushed with embarrassment at the thought of getting on stage, not unlike my daughter’s.  My little girl asked me if I would do it. Even though I was totally insecure about it, I jumped at the chance to do this. I would do anything for her.  I was nervous about going on stage too and for something I had no business doing in front of others. We formed a pack that said, “if you go on stage, then I will too.”

Fast forward eight years and numerous dance recitals later with D.A.N.C.E by Kristin (https://dancebykristin.com) and I see the happiest little girl on stage.  She has grown up with such comfort, confidence, and pure joy while performing.  The pack we committed to and followed through on was a simple challenge, yet we both grew from our willingness to try new things and to overcome our fears. We came to new-found joyous places as a result.  

A funny thing occurred when my wife called me out a few recitals ago, when I received my 5-year trophy, stating that “I think you enjoy this “Dancing Dad” bit as much as our daughter.”  This most recent recital made me realize she was spot on. I heard there was a possibility the “Dancing Dad” group was not performing. I admittedly felt bummed. Then like clockwork, an email came out again, “Calling for all Dancing Dads” and I asked my girl what she thought.  She giggled and gave me a big smile, saying, “of course Daddy, you guys are funny up there.” Her acceptance of me for who I am and my silly dancing around the house and stage, simply warms my heart. Besides learning some new moves, this new adventure helped me build an amazing connection with my daughter in a whole new plane. We talk about dancing and she guides me rather than the other way around. 

When we least expect it, moments turn into movements

Have you ever been caught dancing?  Embarrassing right? Or was it liberating to show a little bit of yourself out in the open?  

It is embarrassing for me, especially if you ever saw me dance.  After thinking about a specific time when I was caught dancing, my stomach sunk.  Although I thoroughly enjoy dancing, It was something I was holding in. The irony here for me is I seem to be my best self when I let myself dance out loud. It is empowering. 

I have learned through experience that there is power in learning new things,  especially those that allow us to expand in totally new directions. We gain the most from learning things that really stretch our idea of who we are; things that make us feel vulnerable.  In fact, each story I share in this blog is a vulnerable moment for me that I am willing to share in the hope it will spark something in all those that read my words. Ask yourself if you are open to learning new things or even exploring without an expectation to be perfect?  Growth comes from taking actions, fumbling, stumbling and continuously improving in your quest to get better. The secret is finding the joy along these journeys and to know that happiness is never far away. Once you are ready to take a small step or risk, you are at the edge of your comfort zone and ready to jump in.   Each new experience, each difference welcomed, and each person accepted for who they are will add to the joy in your life. I call this zone the “Circle of Possibilities.” With curiosity and action, we can expand our circle to unimaginable places that are there for the taking, right in front of us. Simply following the comfortable path of the known is a sure-fire way to miss out on a world filled with possibilities.  

Check out the “Leader” video (https://youtu.be/Z61W5d2ePpw) and look what happens when people authentically puts themselves out there. As you watch, think of where you have been that “lone nut” or the one viewed as crazy, a lunatic, an outcast and different.  It was actually someone dancing out loud and saying “I am alive” and not worrying what people might think. That is true vulnerability. When we least expect it, moments turn into movements. It all starts at that moment.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, join the dance” - Alan Watts

Join me in the dance.  In order for us to be ready to take action and change even a little bit, we need to become comfortable with not being perfect.  I love the intersection here. Just like dancing as a metaphor, we move to the rhythm we hear and we feed our thoughts with where we want to go.  You can feel the energy when you are connected with something that touches you in a new and different way. What is that for you? Spark and add fuel to that connection.  For me, it is finding happiness in unexpected places. Maybe it is joy, love, hope, creativity or something else for you.  Maybe try out a new artistic skill to stoke new thinking and childlike interest.  Be humbled and allow the feeling it creates within to come alive. Find the connections and take notice what you see around you.  Be open to it and build from there. Live and see your possible.