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Road Trip to Elk Rapids, Petosky and Harbor Springs

DAY 2

Today we took a drive up the Lake Michigan coast to check out Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Petosky and Harbor Springs. It’s surprising that I’ve never made it up to these places (that I can remember). It was another gorgeous sunny day and part of me wondered if we should be spending the day on the beach.

First stop we made was in Elk Rapids. We drove through the small downtown to the waters edge where we stopped and took some pics of the water.

After the pics, Kurt and I had lunch outside at TJ Charlie’s – this cute little diner. I loved that the older guy sitting outside knew everyone. Everyone that passed by said “Hey Joe” and stopped to talk with him. He was sitting with a younger guy (mid 20s) and talking about the history of the town (all the inside scoop) which I found fascinating. I wish I could have pulled up a chair and talked with him. I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded.

Inside a bunch of older ladies were playing bridge. It was like walking into someone’s grandma’s house. I loved it. I wish I could have pulled up a chair and played with them, too. It looked like the kind of thing that they did every week (or even every day). Monday bridge club or something. I want to belong to something cool like that. 

Kurt drove straight through Charlevoix and Petosky up to Harbor Springs. We made one stop off at a turn off so I could take more pictures of the water. I don’t remember Charlevoix at all and took zero pictures there.

Harbor Springs was small and you could tell it dripped money but in a subtle summer cottage sort of way. Everything felt a bit down played. We drove up the bay on the road literally right on the water, taking in all the expansive super green and perfect manicured lawns rolling up to super huge houses with gorgeous views and docks jutting out into the bay. Yes – I’d love to live here.

We drove back down to Petosky and stopped so I could browse some shops. By this time it was around 5 PM and shops were starting to close. Spent some time in an art gallery type shop (which I loved) and their hardware store that had a bunch of home type stuff.

For dinner we stopped at Knot Just a Bar just outside of Petosky in this cool newer development community. They had a bunch of condos hanging off cliffs and their own little bay and marina. We sat outside again. It was a gorgeous night. The sun was just setting. Ordered another chicken cherry salad and Kurt had fried perch (his favorite). Had some beers. It was nice to just sit and relax and watch the sun dip behind the mansions on the peninsula.

The Trek to Traverse Begins

DAY 1

What really should be a six hour trip ended up taking my husband Kurt and I about 10 hours. Yes – we had a lot of stops but not enough to make up for the missing four hours.

One of the first stops we made (after a quick lunch in Michigan City, Indiana, and at Michigan’s mile marker one to grab an arm load of magazines and brochures) was in Grand Haven, Michigan. We skated through Grand Haven the last time we were driving down from Whitehall, Michigan, in August but didn’t spend any real time there. I had wanted to grab a pretzel from this crazy good bakery but they were closed. Ended up doing dinner at the Grand Haven Brew House downtown. It wasn’t anything spectacular but somewhat quick with an extensive list of beer that we didn’t try since we still had a ways to drive.

We made it as far as Ludington, Michigan, just as the sun was setting. We drove through the wind turbine generator farm–a truly gorgeous sight to see at dusk. We drove to Lake Michigan hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunset but just missed it. Took pictures anyway.

7 Steps to Create the Life You Want

We all want to be living the life that we want but many of us don’t know how to make that a reality. We get stuck into thinking life needs to be a certain way because that’s how it’s been for our parents and that’s how it’s being for our friends. It takes guts and courage to break out of the norm, to really go for what you want, especially when it’s not in line with what you think everyone else around you wants.

Let me tell you a secret:
You can have the life you want.

Yes – you can. You just need to learn how. Here are 7 steps to help get you started:

1. Discover your values
Start by discovering what you truly value in life. You may be surprised. Most people will be quick to say they value money but really look at what exactly would having more money mean to you. What’s the value? Is it security? Comfort? Joy? Break down your wants until you discover the underlying values. This will help you to be more clear when it comes to creating the life you want.

2. Take responsibility for your life
Before you can create the life you want, you need to take responsibility for it. You need to realize and know that how your life is working out is all up to you. Yes, there may be challenges but you also have a choice as to how you handle and react to those challenges. Successful people take full responsibility for their life, for their actions and for their thoughts. And if they can do it, so can you.

3. Get clear about what motivates you
Until you know why you want something and what’s the motivation behind it, creating what you want can be difficult. A great place to start is to look at your life’s purpose. Why are you here? What are you hoping to achieve in this lifetime? And I’m not talking about career oriented stuff, although your life purpose may be wrapped up in that. I’m talking are you here to be love? To help others? To create beauty in the world? Keep it simple. But really get behind your life purpose to discover what motivates you to do anything in this world. Once you know this, the rest becomes so much easier.

4. Decide what you want
This may seem obvious but very few people sit down and decide what they want. Take the time (be it a half hour or a few days) to really decide what you want. Write it down. Be clear and specific. Don’t worry about how you’re going to create it. Let yourself open up to knowing that you can create whatever you want. Let yourself play with ideas. Let yourself be free to dream and discover. Brainstorm. Write down anything and everything that makes your heart sing. This is your time to really get clear about what you want for your life. Don’t hold back!

5. Believe you can have it
This step may not seem all that important but in reality this is the most important step of this whole process. If you don’t believe that you can create the life you want, then you won’t take the steps necessary to make them a reality. Part of believing is being able to visualize it. Visualizing is a powerful tool that tricks your brain into thinking that the thing you want is already here. Once you’re able to visualize it and truly believe that it’s possible, you will automatically start acting in such a way as to make it a reality. Believe first. Create second.

6. Create a plan
Once you believe you can have the life you want, create a plan to make it a reality. Yes, there may be gaps and you don’t need to figure out every little detail, but at least figure out some really good first steps. Something to get you moving towards what you want. For example, if one of the things you want is to live in France (and you live in the US), figure out some first steps that will help get you there. Research how a US citizen can live in France. Visit France. Read French travel memoirs. Whatever works for you. But don’t get too caught up in the how will it all work out. This could stop you before you even give it a chance. Instead allow yourself to live in the unknown (not knowing all the answers, all the hows) and see what unfolds. Most people get caught up at this point – allowing the hows to stop them. Don’t let that be you.

7. Let it go
The final step in creating the life you want is to let it go and to let God (or whatever higher power you believe in) do the heavy lifting. You’re not in this alone. The life you want also wants you to have it. By letting go, you allow the universe to conspire to make your vision a reality. Sometimes if we hang on too tightly to our dreams, we end up strangling them and actually inhibit them becoming a reality. Do all that you can to help create the life you want but there comes a point where you need to let it go and trust that it will all work out.

How to not freak out about running out of time

If you’re anything like me, you have a to do list a million miles long with new things being added constantly and no time to get it all done. It can get challenging to figure out what to tackle first and what needs to be a high priority. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, freaked out and end up spending countless hours on Facebook just hoping it’ll all go away or magically work itself out. Or is that just me?

I have a real fear about running out of time and not getting everything important to me done. I’m one of those people who have a million different projects going simultaneously, often not related to each other, and it’s challenging to know what to do next. It’s easy to freeze up and want to blow it all off or pick the easiest (but least time-sensitive) thing to work on just to be doing something because everything else is just too much. Can you relate?

I’ve been told this is a common problem for people with multiple interests who refuse to focus. I’ve tried focusing (and picking one area of interest) for more years than I can count with no success. If you’re at the beginning of this road thinking you can focus on one thing when you have varied interests, take it from me right now, don’t even try. You’ll only end up disappointed and back to square one wondering how to manage all your varied interests simultaneously.

It’s easy to feel like you’re running out of time when you can’t seem to put all your varied interests together in a way that make sense. Something always feels like it’s being left out or discarded. You end up feeling like life is passing you by and you’re not doing the things that you want to do. It’s easy to end up feeling like you’re wasting your life especially when you have unrealized goals.

From one multi-focused person to another, here are some ways to soothe the freaked out part of you who feels like time is running out while gaining traction towards your various interests and never ending to do list.

1. Get clear about your goals and why you want them.
Take inventory of the big goals in your life – those things you’ll be really bummed out at the end of your life that you didn’t achieve or didn’t even try to achieve. Get clear about why they’re important to you. Are they really your dreams or what someone else wants you to do? Why is it important for you to achieve this? I’ll let you in on a little secret right now: achieving goals doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. It could be the pursuit of the goals, knowing you’re working towards something, overcoming challenges and staying true to what you want that really does it for you.

2. Stop trying to be perfect.
For the love of God, stop trying to be perfect. From one perfectionist to another, trying to be perfect is killing your happiness and keeping you from your goals. Most of us who fear running out of time also aim for impossible ideals and feel like we won’t be happy until we reach them. Which, let’s face it, is IMPOSSIBLE. I’m not telling you this to bum you out but instead to free you from this incessant chase. Dropping the need to be perfect will create space for you to be true to who you are and to pursue all your varied interests without some impossible measurement hanging over your head. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Whenever I sit down to write a novel and am staring down a blank page, I give myself permission to write garbage. I tell myself this is only a first draft, that it’s supposed to be awful, and it’s the only way I can get myself to put words to page. Releasing yourself from your perfectionism will seriously help you to move forward with more ease and less pressure.

3. Commit to your high priorities.
Sometimes it’s as simple as committing to something to make it a reality. If you’re at all like me, you may be dancing around some of your goals because you feel like they’re too big, too scary or not even possible. As I mentioned in step one, sometimes it’s not about achieving your goal but taking the road to get there. Getting started and pushing through that initial inertia (which happens for everyone) will help squash the fear of running out of time because at least now you’re on your way and no longer standing at the starting block.

4. Prioritize your to do list and make space to do multiple things at once.
If you’re a multi-focused person like me, this step is vital. Make a list of all the projects you want to accomplish and prioritize them. Also make space to focus on multiple projects at once. I don’t mean multitasking which I hear can cause more harm than good. What I’m talking about is developing a schedule that includes a few of your projects at a time. Yes–still focus on one thing at a time when you sit down to work on something. This is the time to get really focused. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have multiple focused projects going on at once.

For example, right now my projects include maintaining and writing Untangled Life, redesigning my this website (www.laurakinker.com), launching my Dream Builders coaching program, finishing a writing project I started five years ago and starting a new novel. The way I get through it is to determine what is most important to focus on each day while being sure to include a bit of the others along the way. Right now redesigning my personal website is the most pressing thing (since it’s literally a mess right now) however I’m taking the time out to write this post because writing for this website is also a high priority. I find a balance of doing multiple projects at once. And, yes, I have a million more projects that aren’t on this top list but they’ll just have to wait for now.

5. Make space for fun and friends.
Do not expect to work all the time on your projects AND have an amazing life (unless you seriously get high off all that work). You need to make time for fun and friends, too. Be sure to schedule in things that make you happy, that relieve stress and that give you a much needed break from all your projects and to do lists. Think about crafting a well balanced life. Rarely anyone at the end of their lives wishes that they worked more. Most people wish they had made the time for more fun and connecting with other people. Make this one of your high priorities now while you still have the chance to make it happen.

6. Enjoy the present moment.
No matter what you’re doing, enjoy the present moment. Be fully present and engaged in whatever is happening, even if nothing is happening. This is called being mindful and it’s the easiest gateway towards inner peace and serenity. One great way to get yourself fully in the present moment is to take three slow cleansing breaths. Focus on your breathe as you’re doing them–pulling the air in then slowly releasing it. Three times. This will get you centered and fully in the moment as well as calm you down. As part of this also don’t dwell too much on the past or the present. The past is gone so let it go while the future is an unknown. Being fully planted in the present moment will make you feel more grounded and more in control.

If you have any additional tips and tricks to how not to freak out about running out of time, I’d love to hear them. Please take a moment to comment below. Us multi-focused people need to stick together!