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“Elegant Excellence Experience | 10 Day Challenge”

Elegant Excellence by Hilary Rushford

The year is already almost half over, and I hate to say it, but it hasn’t been my best year ever. I think I need an attitude adjustment and perhaps approach things from a different standpoint. I usually have a hard time sticking to challenges and since I’m doing one for my body (Bikini Body Challenge), why not do one for my soul? Fortunately for me, Hilary Rushford at Dean Street Society is doing a 10 Day Elegant Excellence Experience Challenge that has helped me to pay attention to my thoughts and make time to do the things that I love but have been neglecting because “I don’t have time”.

The challenge was June 1-10, and each day Hilary posted a 5-minute video discussing how to express gratitude, how to be aware of our thoughts, and how to have a clear mind. In each video she gives a prompt to journal about for 5-10 minutes. She also encourages you to spend at least 10 minutes doing something that brings you joy. I chose to read a book for at least 10 minutes a day because it’s something that I used to do so much, but I rarely make the time for anymore.

The Elegant Excellence Experience challenge has had such a positive impact on me over the past week and a half, and I just wanted to share some tidbits from my journal entries. I think she does this challenge every few months, so if you missed it this time, hopefully you can catch it next time. I highly recommend it, especially if you struggle with keeping a positive attitude about yourself and/or your business (like me).

Day 1 – Wind, Waves or Whipped Cream: Paying Attention to Our Thoughts

Hilary says that our thoughts have three categories: Wind represents thoughts (possible negative) that can take you off into a tangent and over-analyze things. Waves are positive thoughts that help keep your grounded in the present. Whipped cream thoughts are simple, frivolous thoughts about things that don’t carry much weight (like what house you would belong to in Game of Thrones).

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to be aware of my thoughts and be more present. This prompt was confirmation that I’m going in the right direction and also that my ass needs to try harder. So many times throughout the day I find myself drifting off into to-do lists and anxieties about stupid shit that doesn’t matter, and I miss little moments. When I catch myself zoning out, saying affirmations helps to bring me back if I’m having not-so-positive thoughts. If I’m running through my to-do list, I just jot down my ideas to get them off my mind. Or if I’m replaying a long-past conversation, I say to myself “Get over it! It doesn’t fucking matter anymore”. That’s been working pretty well.

Day 2 – The Pity Party’s BFF: Employing the Gratitude Flip

Again, another confirmation exercise. I started a gratitude journal about two weeks ago because I noticed that I was having more negative thoughts than positive. Today Hilary talked about how she would often go into a downward spiral of self-pity and want to stay there. I’ve also done that a couple of times. Instead (or in addition to, when I just have to be a Negative Nancy), we should recognize and give thanks for the things we are grateful for. So today’s journal entry is one focused on gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for my husband. He’s so supportive and is always cheering me on. He believes that I can do things that seem impossible to me, and his encouragement makes me braver. It pushes me to take risks. And if I fail, he doesn’t let me wallow in my self-pity for long.

Day 3 – Going Granular: Right & Relevant Goal-Setting

I’m always setting goals for myself, typically 30 day to 3 month goals, and I had done so recently. Instead of making another list of my 30 day, 3 month and 3 year goals, I wrote about them as if they had already happened. It’s kind of personal, so I don’t want to share everything (especially since it hasn’t happened yet). But I’ll share a few excerpts.

For the last month, I’ve been working on my blog and learning so much while doing so. The next 30 days will be spent writing and scheduling blog posts and working on my Youtube channel.

Thanks to my smart work, our demand and income has TRIPLED in the past 3 months! My blog has received several requests for sponsored and guest posts. The traffic is steadily increasing, and it’s so much fun to post every week and interact with my readers. Right now, I’m making about 2K a month from my blog.

OMG! I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already! Let me fill you in. About two years ago we moved to [fingers crossed], but before that we were able to save up 20k plus pay off all of our debt.

Of course I went into more detail in my actual journal, but also left some vagueness, especially in the 3 year goals. I loved doing this journal entry so much because I felt like it gave weight to my goals and I was able to visualize them, rather than just listing them out again. Listing out your goals every few months is important, but I didn’t think that it would benefit me at this moment.

Day 4 – Going Grand: Hope-filled Dreams for Strategic Wins

I actually over-achieved on yesterday’s journal entry because today I should be visualizing all of the goals that were written yesterday. I already did that so I’m just going to re-read it and visualize it again. 🙂

Day 5 – Language Matters: Articulating What You Want

One thing that I’ve noticed that I say frequently is “I’m trying” or “I’m starting to”. This implies that my goal has not yet been achieved. If you believe in the power of affirmations like I do, then you know that “I AM” are the two most powerful words. Instead of saying, for instance, “I’m trying to communicate better,” I should say “I AM communicating better”. That makes me feel like I’ve already started (even if I haven’t) and I’m successful at it. It gives me the boost of confidence to continue (or start) that thing that I want to be better at, rather than beating up myself for not already being perfect at it.

Day 6 – Love Actually is All Around: Gain Perspective on What’s Working

Too often we focus on what’s wrong in our lives or business and don’t give ourselves credit for what we’ve done right. So today I acknowledge some of my wins. Just thinking about big and little things that I’ve accomplished over the last 2 years, both personally and professionally. I’m not going to list them all out here, but this exercise is similar to gratitude journaling in that it helps you to focus on the positive. It also helps to acknowledge how far you’ve come rather than how far behind you feel.

Day 7 – The Great Purge: The 5 Layers to Truth

So many of our problems are multi-faceted. Meaning that there’s not just one or two surface issues leading to the root of the problem. We are human and humans are complicated. If we’re feeling resistance or dread towards something in life, Hilary encourages us to ask ourselves…Why? And to keep digging until you get to the root of the problem. For the more complicated problems it could take five or more Whys to get to the REAL reason as to why you’re not starting that book.  I’m talking to YOU, Ariel.

Day 8 – Carpe Diem: Short N Sweet Acknowledgements

Today is probably the toughest day of homework for me. It’s actually not a journal exercise.  I’m supposed to thank 10 people for something that they’ve done for me. Well, it doesn’t have to all be people; she gave the example of writing a review for a book that helped you. This exercise is so tough for me because I hardly ever think about my relationships with people (besides my husband). But after a few minutes I thought of some moments or circumstances where I could acknowledge gratitude.

Day 9 – The Sound of Silence: Embrace the Void

I love silence. Love it. It’s the best way for me to feel at peace and clear my head.

This morning, before I even watch Hilary’s video, I went on a 35-minute walk as part of my workout for the Bikini Body Challenge . I usually don’t listen to music on my walks (3 Saturdays consecutively as of yet), but today I considered it. I ended up not and just walked in “silence”. But it’s not silent because my head is going in so many different directions. Without the distraction of music or the TV, I’m able to explore each thought as fully as I want. When I felt my mind going with the wind, I was aware  and brought it back with a couple of affirmations.

Day 10 – The Movie of Your Life: Fully Direct your Script

The Elegant Excellence 10 Day Challenge has confirmed several new methods of thinking and living that I’ve adopted over the last couple of weeks. Now I’m more aware of my thoughts. I’ve found gratitude in new and forgotten places. The biggest thing I got out of this challenge is being introduced to visualization journaling. I’m officially obsessed and will be blowing my gratitude journal up!

HUGE thanks to Hilary for putting this challenge together!