Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Three Steps to Happiness All Successful People Know

by Jan Spence, ©jan spence & associates
Used with Permission

 Experts say that we spend the majority of our lives at work. So our career and life are very closely intertwined.  Sadly, many people are unhappy, unfulfilled and feel like they may even be in the wrong field, position or company!  That’s no way to live!

Regardless of whether you are currently working in a career field, have yet to graduate, or are looking to make a change, there are several steps to follow to enhance your fulfillment in life and career.

Step One: Discover your Direction.  You must first identify your core values and let them guide you in your decisions.  Core values are those defining principles that guide your life. They are your “non-negotiables”.  They are those qualities that will be etched on your tombstone and whispered at your funeral!  By defining these first, we can use them as a measuring stick for the rest of our life choices when we are planning to “take the next step.”

For example, if “Spending Time with Family” is a core value, yet you choose a career field and job that will have you working crazy hours so that you are rarely available to have family dinners, attend dance recitals or just throw the football in the back yard, then your core values are not in sync with this career choice.

This doesn’t mean that you should throw out the career field, but it may mean adjusting your choices to better support your core values.  And, you should also remember, that sometimes short-term sacrifices are made for long-term gain.

Step Two: Set Goals and Strategy to Support your Vision.  Once you have identified your core values, you can develop the vision for your life.  What is your “end game?”  Where do you see yourself five, ten, twenty years down the road?  We must begin setting our goals with the end in mine.

So often people are short-sited and don’t find fulfillment in their career and life because they never stop to take the time to think about what it is they really want out of life and what they were meant to give to the world.  

For example, my husband and I have the core value of “Good Stewardship” which means being a good manager of all that is entrusted to us – money, home, education, etc. We have the vision to live in a foreign country and be able to travel the world.  In order to do this, we set the goal to become debt-free.  From that goal, we chose the strategy to buy and sell a business as the means to achieve that vision.

Step 3: Seize the Start.  After you have clarified your core values and established your vision, goals and strategy, it’s time to get moving!  So often, people have good intentions, but they get stuck by never taking the first step.   One of my favorite sayings is “Just move!”  Just do something!  Just take action! Whether it is the right action or not, it doesn’t matter. The fact that you are breaking that inertia by starting the engine with create more activity and begin to clarify what it is that you need to be doing.

Don’t wait until you have all the answers. You will NEVER have all of the answers.  Just take baby steps and start the ball rolling.

Once you begin to take action, you will be energized to keep moving and discovering more about your vision.  When it is tied to your core values – those principles that define you- there is no way you can lose!  The world is waiting for you to live your best fulfilling life!

Come see Jan speak at the Hardy 2015 Administrative Professionals Lunch and Learn at UNF on April 22. Information and tickets here. Her topic will be: "Game Plan for Life: Life Lessons from a Former Pro Female Football Player."  As a former full-tackle football player in a professional national women's league, Jan has the crowd roaring as her story inspires listeners to believe that they truly CAN do anything if they want it badly enough.

About Jan: 

Jan Horton Spence is an international consultant, professional speaker, trainer and one-on-one business coach.  With contagious charisma and a zest for life which make her an excellent motivator and leader, the Georgia native has used her vast knowledge in sales, marketing, and business operations to help numerous clients including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay. Find out more about Jan at

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Connecting with Nature Through Eco-Art: Discover an Effective Tool for Engaging with the Land that Inspires and Sustains You

by Kelly Johnson

Eco Art is a broad term to describe genre of art that addresses the human relationship with the earth. Eco Art or environmentally based art is not a new art niche by any means, and I have found that it is an incredibly effective tool for engaging students of all ages in the process of exploring their own relationships with the land that inspires and sustains them. 

The New World Museum believes environmentally based art is “The intermingling of art and the environmental is a phenomenon with roots in some of the earliest known human works.”  Humans have been expressing their thoughts about nature since their beginning. Whether to relay information on animal migration on a cave wall, to please a deity, or to express elements of science and beauty of the natural world, artists work to understand the human relationship with nature.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, art in the form of nature journaling was often used as a tool to engage in nature study.  While grounded in natural history, art was a way to
appreciate and connect with a natural world that was quickly becoming transformed by industry. The mid-twentieth century saw the Land Artists expressing their connection, or desire for connection, to nature by vastly manipulating large areas of land. Late twentieth century artists began utilizing natural forms and nature itself to draw public attention to environmental spirit and consciousness. Now, in the twenty-first century, environmental artists’ work seeks to invite the viewer to address issues such as finding a balance between media, pollution, and development with a human need for nature connection in a culture of convenience that often comes at nature’s expense.

Today, Eco Art is explored in a wide variety of ways from the hands-on manipulations of natural materials to journaling in traditional art mediums to creating online content. This flexibility makes it very attractive and approachable to people of all ages and interests in the natural world. My favorite aspect of Eco Art is that it frequently focuses on process and connection with the materials rather than a finished product. Process over product is such an important lesson which once learned frees us of any fears related with not being a “good” artist, allowing us to just have fun with the materials while exploring forms, textures, and colors in naturally inspiring environments. 

To learn more about the Connect With Nature Through Creative Journaling class from March 23 through April 11, 2015 from 2 to 4 p.m. at UNF Continuing Education, please click here. Registration is going on now!

Work Cited: Natural World Museum, NWM. Art in Action: Nature, Creativity and Our Collective Future. San Rafael: Earth Aware, 2007. Print.

About Kelly

Kelly Johnson (BFA, MA) is an artist, author, Montessorian, and children's gardener in Neptune Beach, Florida. Through her books, workshops, consultations, blog, courses, and handmade garden accessories Kelly inspires children and adults to connect with their natural world through gardening and the arts. Follow her blog at

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Essential Four Steps to a Healthier You

by Claudia Wallace, RN, BSN, Certified Wellness Coach

Have you always wanted to eat healthier, maintain a long-term exercise routine , have more energy, or lose the winter pounds? If you answered “yes” then it’s time to shift gears by taking the next step.   Commit to change towards a healthier and maybe happier you. One of my clients has lost over 80lbs since working together and taking the steps below; literally, he took up dancing. It’s not only the weight he has lost but the new confidence and joy he has found by taking the next step and reaching his goals.

Know Your Core Values
The first step towards successful change is to connect our long-term goals with our core values.  Why is a healthy life, focused on wellness, important to you?  When we truly believe  in and value our goals we are much more likely to achieve them as opposed to just doing what we’re told is best. Do you want to lose the extra pounds to feel better about yourself, to prevent chronic diseases or to have more energy to do the activities you enjoy? It is important for success to spend some time thinking and even writing down what brings joy into your life and what makes you thrive. Knowing your values in life will inspire you to reach your potential or long-term goals.

Set SMART Goals
Now that you have defined your long-term goals and connected them to your individual motivators, it’s time to set weekly short-term goals. It’s important to set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timely. If your goal is to work out three times a week you want to be specific on what action you are going to do, where, what day and time and for how long you are going to do it. It’s important to start with small steps to build up confidence through early successes.  For example, if you are new to exercise you might want to start with a walking routine. 

Create a Plan
Plan for success by writing down your workouts in your calendar like you would any other important appointment. Use a digital reminder or sticky note, whatever works best for you personally as an additional aid for success. Sharing your goals with somebody you trust will make you more accountable for your goals. Inviting a friend or partner to join you for support and company will also make you more likely to be successful. Think ahead about any potential obstacles you might encounter and make specific plans on how to overcome them. If you are often too tired or busy in the evening to visit your gym, try getting up earlier for a morning workout.

Celebrate YOU!
Last but not least, believe in yourself and your ability to be successful with your goals. Many studies have shown that we are much more likely to be successful with any goal setting if we also feel worthy of change. Give yourself as much encouragement and support as you would give a good friend. Plan for potential setbacks and see them as learning opportunities. Celebrate early successes by rewarding yourself with something special. One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford “Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t; you are right”.

About Claudia:

Mrs. Wallace is a Registered Nurse (Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston) and Wellcoaches™ certified wellness coach. She is CEO and founder of Horizon Wellness Coaching of Ponte Vedra Beach. In addition to her own clients, she has served as wellness coach to underprivileged patients at the Sulzbacher Beaches Clinic in Jacksonville Beach. 

Mrs. Wallace coaches individuals to lead healthier, happier lives through prevention and management of chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes. In her coaching, she uses a holistic approach addressing nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, self-compassion and sleep. Claudia also offers monthly wellness workshops for the community partnering with different health care providers and health oriented businesses.

The UNF Division of Continuing Education is committed to helping everyone reach their health and fitness goals. Visit our website to see all of the classes available for registration.