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Written by Deena Ebbert

Inspire is a Verb – Dancing Queen Judy Victor

“For me dance is the place that I find freedom.
I know that if people can let go, their soul can shine through.”

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Click the image to find Leap! Events on Facebook

Judy Victor is throwing a dance party for all of her girlfriends. And all of their girlfriends. And so on and so on and so on. For as long as I’ve known her, and long before that, Judy has been the Dancing Queen. She glows with it and we go with it. She makes it easy to celebrate the moment.

Judy’s terpsichoral zest coalesces on March 14th at the leap! all women dance party, when women from all walks of the Twin Cities will gather their girlfriends to get their groove on for fun and charity. A pretty groovy idea! I asked Judy to tell us about it:

Contemplation …
What made you say “Hmm … maybe I’ll throw an epic dance party!”?
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Productivity – Supercharge Your Snooze Button

The wake-up ritual. For some, it’s a good-morning cup of coffee. For others, knocking the alarm clock halfway across the room in a glazed half-conscious state qualifies as greeting the day.

With a commitment to consciousness, I started a new ritual at the new year; scanning seven news feeds during the seven minutes it takes for my good-morning coffee to brew. Fortune, Forbes, and Fast Company. Inc. and Experience Life. Entrepreneur and Success. I’ve seen a number of smart reads lately on meditation and the brain, and how our morning rituals shape both our day, and our long-term success trajectory.

Science, shared opinion, and I agree: Establishing a positive, meditative, mindful morning ritual is good for us, good for business, and good for those we serve.

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Dreading morning? Beating up on the clock? Knock it off. Make the snooze button your buddy. Here’s how:

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Before “Before” – On Transformation

The fitness transformation “before” selfies I took on February 7th have been self-censored.

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Last week’s selfies weren’t salacious, just a titch sad. Bummed expression, bad lighting, and too-little too-tight spandex. The way “before” photos usually are, to set us up for the afterglow of “after”.

These days, I find I’m less interested in before and after, and more interested in better. Along with my newfound 5K OCR fitness-nut nuttiness, I enlisted in a 90 Day Transformation Challenge, today’s training for which featured Coach Z encouraging me in barbell hauling, rope dragging, bear crawling, ball chasing and other excellent tortures. Tracking, measurement, and photographic self-evaluation are all part of the deal.

The deal is, I’ve never been good at looking at sad.

Still, for the sake of Transformation Challenge truth telling and transparency, I’m posting an image from before “before”. A more honest photo. More for myself than anyone else. Because sometimes transforming forward demands a look back. Read more →

Lick your iPod – A Lesson in ‘BE THERE!’

Lick your iPod. If you are standing outside in the bright crisp blue of a blisteringly cold Minnesota morning in the blast of a 30 below wind chill, and you lick your iPod, it will stick to your tongue. Of this I can assure you. It’s a bit like you think it might be, to be that kid in that movie who stuck his tongue to the flagpole on a recess dare.

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I was simply trying to get the itty bitty switch into the “on” position so I could rock my Valentine’s Day 5K playlist. Wearing two pair of gloves, fingers fumbling, I desperately needed to hear Get Your Freak On. Or so I thought. Until I found my iPod stuck to my tongue.

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Inspire is a Verb – Style Maker Laine Sou Weinberg

“LIFE’S SHORT … dress cute every day!”

I hear Laine Sou Weinberg’s exultant words ringing in my ears every time I get dressed to go on stage. The KOKOON Boutique Without Borders tagline won me, hook line and sinker. Laine Sou is a style maker, and she made mine.

Back in the day, I wore black. Stealth mode. Flying under the radar, hiding my personality behind all-black all-the-time. It was boring and I was bored. Bored with hiding, bored with being invisible, bored to tears by my generic black pants and uninspiring black top. But I didn’t know how else to dress.

“Dress.” Laine Sou smiled with authority and swept her arm in welcome, inviting me into the KOKOON studio, where I was met with a hand-selected array of bright and beautiful designs. “Dress cute. Every day.” Instantly, I saw the light.

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LIFE’S SHORT! Dress cute every day!
Click the image for Laine Sou’s blog
Daydreamer Was Here

In that moment, I looked at Laine Sou and realized she believed I was bright enough to stand out in a crowd. She inspired me to say yes. Yes to me, yes to bringing my personality into play, yes to that first dress that changed the way I dress. Not just on stage, but everywhere.

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Leadership – Find Your Tire

“Well, we’re not out here flippin’ tires to be better tire flippers. We’re doing it to be better period. Better leaders. Better parents. Better, stronger, more determined humans.”
~ Reebok Be More Human Campaign

I don’t own a television set. Unplugged it in 1997, dragged it to the curb, and next time I looked – “poof!” – it was gone. I let it go so I could have more time to be more engaged with the humans around me.

Last night, giddy after an exhausting Spartan Workout, I was happy to rely on the humans around me to keep me apprised of the best ads during the Super Bowl. Without contest, this is my favorite:

The narration reads:

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Five Fine Fitness Finds

Yesterday, Dan the Mailman dropped of a tiny package of the finest floral spandex at my door. I debated chasing him so I could give him a giddy kiss, but I was too excited to jump into my new tights and hie my hind end to Life Time.

Used to be, deliveries were from the liquor store. Another case of wine. Or from the pizza place. Another extra-large with everything. And breadsticks. With that icky cheesy dipping sauce. Getting out from under the burden of giving up on myself was daunting. I had a lot of help.

At the gym, I stopped to catch my breath between rowing and deadlifts. I caught the motivating smiles in the mirror from other folks devoted to getting it and getting fit. I thought about the top five helpers that kept me going this month:

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Leadership – The Pros & Cons of “Mystique”

I had a look, back in the day. Black suit. Hair slicked into a bun. Severe. Serious. You might think I meant business. Truly, I just didn’t have time for much more in the morning than quick rinse and a dash out the door. I had to get my hustle on, get to the office, plunk down in my maroon cube, and gear up to climb the Corporate America ladder.

Eventually, I got my big break. My big boss got the flu, and I got to sit in for her at a leadership roundtable. I bought a new black suit. I bought a plane ticket. I bought a fresh notebook, sat in the middle seat and spent two hours at 30,000 feet imagining what the big picture of leadership might look like.

The event was hosted at the headquarters of the Top Team. They put on a show, pulled out all the stops. We got fruit baskets. At the outset, I felt like an insider.

I had traveled quite a distance with the express assignment of sharing best practices, being enthusiastic and collaborative, listening, learning, and bringing back the revealed secrets of success. While Top Team Leader was taking us on a tour of her trophies, I asked, specifically, “What is the secret of your success?”

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Wellness – The Work Out / Work Win

I learned effective conflict resolution fast, confronted by a hot mess of hoppin’ mad, red faced, freaked out sales rep, one of the most consistent and biggest winners on my team. He burst into my office blinded by the temporary insanity of a big problem, holding out angry, empty, shaking hands … no solution. In that instant I could see he wasn’t going to be good at using his inside voice, so we took it outside for a walk around the block. It turned out to be a pretty big block. About two miles.

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Walking is man’s best medicine. ~ Hippocrates
Photo credit: Ardon LXXXIII

While we walked, we worked it out. He hollered a little bit, blew of some steam, regained control of his adrenaline, talked until he was able to listen, and made a space in his busy brain for reason. Together we carved out a path and created a solution. It only took a little walk around the block.

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Inspire is a Verb – Fashion Meets Poetry with Lisa Harris

My first meeting with Lisa Harris was less of a formal introduction and more of a collision, our opening salvo a mutual how-do-you-do a duet of “You look fantastic!”

We were backstage, behind a screen in a makeshift dressing room, in the midst of the Spring Fever frenzy that accompanies the KOKOON season launch. We spotted each other wearing the same hotly sought dress.

In a similar situation, a lot of women would get uppity about another gal zeroing in on her prized “back off its mine” find. Lisa saw it as an opportunity celebrate our multifarious differences, how we could each be beautifully unique, and we decided we should both rock the frock. Lisa looks at life that way. She’s genuine, and genuinely excited to see women clothed in their individual light. She’s a poet with a purpose.

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Click the pic for irresistible Lisa Harris’
inspirational Instagram feed.

A year later we reunited over decadent with-everything mochas and I interviewed her about her upcoming book where fashion meets poetry, Unveiled Beauty.

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