Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You must learn to Ship

The idea of "shipping" comes from Seth Godin's new book Linchpin and it goes like this:
"The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship. Shipping means hitting the publish button on your blog, showing a presentation to the sales team, answering the phone, selling the muffins, sending out your references. Shipping is the collision between your work and the outside world."
 One of the best books I read all year. I highly recommend reading the full book if you plan on thriving in our new economy. The point of writing this blog is to tell you about a project that we just shipped. I'll be the first to admit I am the worst at shipping. I have a million big ideas and think they're all amazing and I usually get started on about one-hundred at a time and end up shipping none. By being aware of the shipping concept it has helped me focus on my purpose.....when I get an amazing idea I ask myself, "Am I going to finish this idea? What's even involved with finishing this idea? Do I plan to ship and when is a date I can set and make a goal to hit? Who needs to be involved? Can I get them on board? How can I ship this idea to the world?..." Just by asking and answering questions like this I am able to make a decision to move forward with the idea or kill it. If I have no plans to ship it I don't even waste energy starting it. How many of us have these amazing ideas that never get shipped? I think mostly for me it was always fear that created this idea generating, never shipping monster that I had become. I could come up with hundreds of creative ideas to save the world but they would never do anyone any good because I was too afraid to ship them. Afraid that someone would laugh, that they would fail, that I would look stupid, that someone would steal my idea...I could make up stories all day about why I shouldn't ship. The truth is they are all excuses, all cover ups for being afraid of taking a stand and putting myself on the line. Now that I am aware of this self destruction I can call myself out and move on. I am a shipper of ideas.  Will people laugh, probably, will lots fail, probably, will I look stupid, you bet. But you know what I only need one of my ideas to stick, one to change the world, one to make a difference.

So....here is the idea that we just shipped to the world:

Idea: A clothing line designed specifically for Crossfitters, using the lululemon athletica marketing plan, fabric technology, and design team.

How: Present the idea to lululemon's creator Chip Wilson in such an amazing powerful way that he has no choice but to meet us in person to talk about it.

Our shipped presentation:

We created a new rougher manifesto, designed a new logo and created this paint can to hold our presentation:

Then for about 2 months I started telling myself stories on why it was a stupid idea and it sat there in my office untouched. Then I read Linchpin and decided I was letting my fear win. So I set a ship date and finished the idea. We made the intro letter fun and in 3 parts:

The Second part being a DVD presentation of this video we made:

The winners from the last crossfit games explaining the culture of crossfit:

Added some homemade Paleo Crunch:
Packed up the ideas and did the hard part, WE SHIPPED IT to Mr. Chip Wilson:

Our only goal at this point is to score a meeting with Chip. Will he run with our idea, who knows. The important thing is that it got shipped to the world, our idea is out of our heads and into the hands of a man that has the tools to actually make it happen. What happens if he doesn't pick it up? We will make a new plan to get it done. See its still not finished if it dies at Chip. We will ship it to the world one way or the other. .

What's stopping you from shipping?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Life is full of setbacks"

"Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks." - lululemon manifesto

Story of our lives for the past 2 years. This thought has been on my heart to share, but I have been embarrassed to be open about our current situation. I kept thinking "this is going to be an awesome story to tell when we make it...." but I realize that is selfish, I want to honestly share what we are going through in hopes that it will help you if you are going through some setbacks of your own. So here it goes....

In 2008 Jere and I got married and were excited to start our life. Problem was we moved out of the college home we owned in order to rent it for the semester and were living with my father. As awesome as it was to not have any financial responsibilities and hanging out with Dad, we were determined to get to Charlotte, NC. Months went on of Job searching, no luck. I turned down 2 very high paying salary jobs that were in Ohio, because we wanted to get out of Ohio that bad.  We were working for family doing small remodel jobs for money.  In January we settled for an insurance job in SC, with built in living expenses and a connection for Jere to start working construction in Georgia. We were excited, moving out of parents house, check, moving out of Ohio, check, grown up jobs check. What could possibly go wrong?
Packed up our son and we were gone January 4th 2009

Lake Carolina Condo/Work Live Unit. I was working the Nationwide office below
Setback #1 - A month into our exciting new life we were both miserable. At this point we had already signed up for a new car payment and spent way over our budget to buy expensive furniture to match our fancy new condo against everyone's advice and were quickly accumulating debt. Jere was commuting 4 hours to work and we never saw each other.
Our new home in SC
Bounce Back: We decided it was time for change. Jere found a new job at Lowes for a quarter of what he was making and started a handyman/remodel business. I started perusing health and wellness, and started boot camps in my community before and after work. Jere hooked up with a guy at Lowes that owned a lot of rental properties, he had lots of work to keep Jere busy. Jere quit Lowes, we drained our savings for our newest money maker.....a flip house! The plan flip it, sell it, move on. I was building my business to get out of insurance. Found an amazing company that could provide the income we needed to supplement the boot camps, AdvoCare! Met some amazing people that believed in our dreams. And found GOD and our faith!  We were excited! Back on track....
First AdvoCare Success School June 2009, we saw the big picture we knew this was our calling
Setback #2 - The condo is for sale, the house is a dump and we are in over our heads. A month after buying our flip house we soon discovered that we were going to doing a lot more work on the house than we planned. Our wellness business was not doing as well as we had thought and we had already started an action plan to shut down the insurance office. The building was up for sale hours were cut and we poured all of our energy into our wellness business. Working on the house only on the weekends. I started applying for gym jobs and anything else in the wellness industry to keep our heads above water until our business was enough. . Jere was still working on all the rental properties. We had an equity line on the house our estimation for repairs....$15,000 our equity line was only approved for $19,000 even though we were pre-approved for $40,000. We were in over our head, had no liquid cash and a house that was half gutted.

The dinning room of our flip house August 2009

Bounce Back: Bootstrapping, that's what they call it when you finance your own business with all personal assets. We used every penny we made to stock products, pay for advertising, network and buy equipment for personal training/ boot camps. I built up 10 clients and 13 AdvoCare distributors...we were growing. We met our first serious business builder, Shelly. She became our best friend. We had a plan, keep building the wellness business, buy the building we were living in and convert the office into a personal training studio, finish the flip house. And did I mention Jere lost 68lbs using AdvoCare. People wanted to know what we were doing. Big things were happening.  There was no plan B...failure was not an option.
First community wellness program with new AdvoCare team

Setback #3 -  Jere's rental guy stopped paying, the insurance office is closed, winter hit and half of your client base left, we have to pay another mortgage and your equity line is gone. We would finance jobs for the guy that Jere worked for, basically he would do the job and the guy would pay him weekly until he was paid up. He slowly stopped paying and in January he completely stopped all communication. Taking full responsibility of the stepping down from the insurance job we lost about $3,000 a month in income plus around $4,000 that Jere was making. Our wellness business was only bringing in around $2,000a month and had all our cash invested in our flip house. Our college house that had renters was now vacant and on the market, we were paying the mortgage.  Still applying for jobs I was desperate to find something related to health and wellness.
What was left of our boot camps when winter hit...winter warriors.

Semi Bounce Back:  Dads are the best!  Dad was willing to loan us the money we needed to finish the house. We knew we could get it done if we focused. We added a new advisor to our AdvoCare team and we were consistently hitting our pay period goals. Moving forward we were back to work on the house. We would both find jobs in SC and would move into our flip house until we had our finances back together. We had to shut down the boot camp part of our wellness business because we were moving 40mins to the other side of town, but we were able to keep our $1,000 monthly residual income that AdvoCare provided. 

Painting party at the flip house, thankful for awesome friends that came out to help

Setback #4: We can't pay our cars, we can't pay our credit cards and the condo is rented. We had 30 days to get our house into livable conditions. We still had no luck in the job search and all of our payments were past due. We were in trouble.  
Moving day - last photo at the condo
Bounce back: Finally got our first homeowner credit from the government, 8 months late. Better late than never! $4,000 could last us a long time if we were smart. I was in the final round of interviews for 2 jobs at the YMCA and EarthFare, both in the wellness industry. We moved into the flip house without a kitchen or hot water. We pray a lot. 
The Kitchen of the flip house when we moved in

Setback #5: The jobs fell through, we have $600 left and there's a hole in the roof. I didn't get either job. Our $4,000 went fast to paying past due bills. And we discovered that the leaking roof on the back of the house needed to be ripped off and redone. 
Roof repair that set us back a month and a whole lot of cash
Bound Back: We talked about the possibility of moving to Orlando to be closer to our AdvoCare family, they offered me jobs as a personal trainer at their gyms. I stumbled upon a company called lululemon, when I read the manifesto it gave me goosebumps as it sounded like I wrote it. From that moment I knew I was going to work there. There was a store in Orlando and they were hiring. I applied. Jere got a job working with another AdvoFam setting up race events. Obviously we were moving. I used our last $200 to go to to the interview at lululemon. I got the Job. We had a move date and another great plan, get the house done, close this chapter, start new. 
Last week at the flip house
Setback #6: Looks like you're moving alone. We couldn't pull off getting the house completely done by the time I had to move to start work at lululemon. So I packed up my ford with clothes, an air mattress and Sammy and we moved alone without Jere. He stayed back to finish the house.
Sam and I lived in an empty apartment on an air mattress for a month
Bounce Back: 1 month of living in an empty apartment and Jere finally made it. We were ready to start over. Our flip house was on the market and priced to sell, we both had jobs that we loved and we were back. We were barley making enough money to survive but we were  surviving. We found an awesome church in FL that fuels our passion to keep pursuing the dreams that God put in our hearts.  Just keep swimming. 
Jere's Birthday our first date in FL at the Orlando Brewery

Setback #7: Jere's work was only on the weekends, mine was a very very long commute, we live in the ghetto and the house is not getting any interest from buyers. Creditors call us non-stop. We have no more options to borrow, no more credit, no more patience, no more money, no luck on any other jobs for Jere, no more energy.......

Bounce back: WE SOLD THE HOUSE for our asking price! 

Setback #8: The closing date got pushed back 2 weeks, then a month. 

Bounce back: We find comfort in the uncomfortable. We learn that we don't need much to be happy. We learn to be thankful for what we do have. And we learn to ask for help when we need it. Our parents bail us out 2 weeks before we lose a car and/or get kicked out of our apartment...apparently 3 days past due gets you an eviction notice in FL. We win our court case in SC against the guy that owed Jere money but only for $660 of the $3,000 and we had to call of work and make the trip to SC for the trial. Probably just broke even, but it was a chapter we could close. We pay for groceries by selling things at the pawn shop. Its actually freeing. All the things that we had to have; name brand clothes, diamonds, snowboards, stereo equipment..... is all just stuff. It was such an amazing experience to get rid of them. It was like a cleanse for our souls. We found out how strong we were as a couple, how the only thing that we truly needed was each other. We cried a lot, we prayed a lot and we counted on each other a lot.

Setback #9: The closing is pushed back again.

Bounce Back: The house sells and $94,000 is transferred into our bank account for real!! It almost feels fake. We paid $38,000 for the house, we put in $40,000, in total we made $16,000. Not really what we had hoped for but we learned a lot. The more I think about it the more I am amazed we actually did it. We made something beautiful from something that was broken and trashed.

Kitchen Before
Kitchen After
And guess what, we have a new plan and new goals..... move back to Ohio, start a family, keep building our AdvoCare business, use the income that AdvoCare provides to open a crossfit gym, start a clothing line for crossfitters (new post coming on that soon).  Will it be perfect, probably not. Big dreams = big setbacks and by now we are experts at handling them.

The point is....Life is full of setbacks. Everything will never be perfect for long. Every time you think you have it figured out life throws you a curve ball and you're back on the ground. But here's the important lesson that this 2 year journey has taught us....Live it up and enjoy every second of your life. Setbacks and temporary defeat are not bad things. If you can embrace every second, whether you are broke or rich, whether you get that job or not, whether you sell your house or not, if you can appreciate the moment and be grateful for the life you have now you have the secret. I have wasted so much time being upset over setbacks in the past two years that I missed out on the opportunity to live. I will never get those moments back, they are gone. It will never happen again. I needed to go on that journey to learn that lesson. I hope that you can learn from our experience so you don't miss any of your life. Be happy. Be grateful. Love every second of your life because this moment right now is all you have. 

 -Shanna Tokarsky '10

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Traveling Paleo

Holidays equals traveling for most of you. How in the world do you keep it healthy with all the fast food, Starbucks holiday drinks, and 7-eleven slurpee temptations? One word: PREPARE. You can do it. Here's how we roll when we hit the road:

Fresh Sweet peppers 


Variety of meats! sure beats a drive thru

The Glorious trek 

New Invention Cucumber meat taco 

An impromptu stop a Chick-fl-a  

Chicken Sand hold the bun and the sauce 


Long trip requires some tasty road pops 

Cheers to gluten free beer

If Ya got time Cook some chicken and bring it along 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Have a grateful spirit

This is how we ended our staff meeting today! Yep we made a thankful turkey! Well Jere and I made him at home the other day and today at our meeting we each filled a feather with everything we were thankful for in our lives. I know its easy to think about it once a year around Thanksgiving, but think about how your life would change if you were thankful every day, every moment. How would that affect the people that you are in contact with. From my favorite book of all times, The Travelers Gift, author Andy Andrews challenges us to do just that:

Be thankful for every breath that you take, every moment that you experience and you will always be happy. Its a simple choice. Don't let it fade out after Thanksgiving.

What are you Thankful for?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What do you Want!?

In life we face a multitude of choices and that is a very cool thing!  When we demand something to change it is amazing what can happen.  We stop thinking and we will it to happen.  The hardest part about making that change is having a unwavering faith to see it through.  Don’t feel bad it is human nature to give up, because its what we are programmed to do.  Think about the time you did something really hard (ride a bike, bake a cake, write a thesis, ect.) all the while you may have gotten “ you’ll never finish…(fill in the blank)” So we quit, we conform, and everyone gives you the ole’ “its okay, maybe next time.”  The whole time they are thinking, “ I told you so, and you are again as miserable me.” 

Where does that leave us?
 Down (more than likely)
 Mediocre, (probably)
 Frustrated, (of course)

…  But why?

  Why is it that we take ourselves for granted?  We are amazing creatures of life.  We have the ability to adapt and flow with whatever the universe throws at us.  But the naysayers and dream stealers tear us down.  So we feel like we do not need silly dreams.  Then we forget what we really want in life just because it gets to tough.  I challenge you to take a stand on what you really want out of this life!

Better health.
Better food.
Better sleep.
A Better self!!

Like it or not  time is going to move forward and along with that so is life. Ever moving ever changing wonderful life.  So ask your self this, “Am I happy where my life is headed?”  Or are you daring enough to change and stick to that change no matter what anyone tells you.  Of course you may fall off the wagon every now and again but it is to build your strength to quickly get back on again.  Lets face it nobody on this planet is perfect!  NOBODY!  We all have wants and desires and there is nothing wrong with that.  The question remains though, how bad do you want it? You are the sole decider of that question.  Like I mentioned life is full of choices only you have the ability to choose!

 Weight loss can be as easy or as hard as a person wants to make it. I Wanted to add life to the end of my years... Lost 68lbs down 8 pant sizes... Love my life. "Either you can or you can't either way your right!"- Mike Ferro

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Inspired Paleo Stuffed Squash and Baked Apples

YUM!! This fall inspired recipe is easy and delicious.

What you Need:
Squash (feeds 2)

  • 1acorn squash
  • 1 package of organic sausage (we used garlic herb and sun dried tomato)
  • 1 cup Organic mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of sea salt
Baked Apples  (feeds 2 + 4 left overs - great in the microwave later)

  • 5 or 6 organic apples
  • 1/2 cup of organic raisins
  • 1/4 cup of pecans crushed
  • 1/4 cup of organic brown sugar
  • 1 TBS of organic maple syrup
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds
  3. Fill a glass baking dish with 1/2 of water
  4. Place halves of acorn squash face down in water of the dish. 
  5. Bake in oven for 45minutes
  1. 10 minutes before squash is done, unwrap sausage and place in frying pan
  2. Add the 2 eggs
  3. Brown sausage 
  4. Add mushrooms to mixture and finish cooking
When the squash is done flip it over. Fork should slide into the squash easily, it will be very soft. Add sea salt and fill with stuffing.

Baked apples: (did this while the squash was in the oven)
  1. Combine all dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl
  2. Add maple syrup and mix
  3. Core apples (I suggest an apple corer but it can be done with a knife)
  4. Add filling to apples
Once the squash is done. Dump out the water in the baking pan and place apples face up in the pan. ( I hate dishes so I reuse when I can) Keep the oven at 350 and place the apples in to bake while you are enjoying your main course. 20 minutes later your desert will be ready. : )

 Not very pretty but it is delicious and nutritious!!!