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Today I’m sharing one of the most inspiring and action-oriented Lively Show episodes so far!

Eric Williams is a blogger (WordsofWilliams.com) and author who – along with his wife, Kelsey – eliminated almost $40,000 in debt in under 23 months! 

In his new book, It’s Your Money, What Will You Do With It?, Eric details exactly what it took to make such dramatic progress in such a short amount of time.

A few months ago, Eric kindly offered me his book. After reading it, I was so inspired by his story that I spent the rest of the day with Mr. Lively reevaluating our finances.

Since then, we have killed two(!) student loans and are now substantially saving for a new home in the next two years.

Which means I can quite honestly say that his story has made a profound and positive impact on our financial future… and I have a feeling this interview (along with his book) will do the same for many listeners as well!

(Plus, at the end of the show I explain how you can enter to win one of 10 It’s Your Money books for free.)

So if you have debt, or if you simply feel a little “iffy” on your money situation, this show is for you!




  • The program that helped the Williams craft a debt-free plan to pay off almost $40,000 in loans in under 23 months (without being “rich”).
  • The single motivator that helped them stay consistenteven when things were tough.
  • The one store they refused to shop at while paying off their debt.
  • The emotional toll of this aggressive plan.
  • How the Williams approach intention as a family.
  • How to talk to your spouse about finances. (42:00)
  • The best way to approach student loans after graduation.
  • The money and budget tools Eric recommends.
  • What Eric would tell someone just starting out on this journey.





It’s Your Money, What Will You Do With It?

Financial Peace University

Debt snowball calculator

You Need a Budget







Want more? Check out past Lively Show episodes here.


PSEnter to win one of 10 free It’s Your Money ebooks!

To enter: (1) Subscribe to The Lively show on iTunes, (2) leave a review on iTunes, and (3) comment on this post to let us know that you left a review!

The winners will be selected and contacted after next Thursday (3/6/14).


art via

{Sorry for the delay! The site was down yesterday due to server issues and then after I posted this yesterday evening it disappeared… spooky!}


Today I’d like to discuss a simple concept that can restore balance in our lives and simultaneously reserve our self-discipline.


Intention-based rituals.


According to The Power of Full Engagement, up to 95% of our lives are based on habits.


This is pretty crazy. Almost too high to believe.

This means that most of our strengths and not-so-great aspects of our lives are likely rooted in habits that we have cultivated – consciously or not – throughout our lives.

The urge to eat the ice cream out of the carton when no one is looking and our ability to jump out of bed in the morning are both likely tied to habits we have crafted over time.

Knowing that habits have such a HUGE influence in our lives means that we can choose to shape positive rituals that reflect our deepest values and intentions for each area of our life. 


How to Create Intention-Based Rituals


I’ve got a simple exercise that can help you help tie your intentions for each area of life to new rituals.

This simple exercise can help us re-balance our lives, particularly if we are currently spending all of our time (out of “habit”) in some areas of our lives, but ignore others.

By simply taking the time to implement new rituals in the weaker areas of our life, we can refocus in areas that we normally gloss over during our daily routine.

Or, we can expand and deepen a life area that’s thriving.

By creating intention-based rituals, we can build positive momentum which eventually requires less self-control to continue.

— Which means we can save our rather limited daily discipline reserve for other aspects of our lives that may be more challenging.

Step One: Review Your Intentions

First, you will need to recall your intentions for each area of your life.

If you don’t already have them, it can be helpful to re-read this post and think deeply about your values in each area.

Step Two: Form Rituals that Embody Your Values

Next, you’ll want to pick an intention from each area of your life (possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career) and identify how you can craft a ritual to help you embody that intention in your daily life.

These rituals can be daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually. It all depends on your intention and how you’d like to bring it to life in your life.

Here are four examples from each intention area in my own life:



Wardrobe Intention: To have a carefully edited and stylish wardrobe.

Ritual: To do a handful of Throw Out 100 Things Challenges per year. (Another weekly ritual you could try is the End of the Week Exfoliation.)


Personal Growth Intention: To expand the circle of influence in my life, and increase the distance between action and response.

Ritual: I do a daily “Private Victory” where I read a spiritual book, a non-fiction book, and exercise (the exercise happens about every other day). This practice helps me to explore and develop my mental, physical, and spiritual aspects which brings more peace and clarity.


Marriage Intention: To accept, support, have patience, and be present with Mr. Lively.

Ritual: We read aloud together in the evenings a few weeknights per week. This helps us increase our presence with one another and often spurs supportive conversations.


Secret Project #1 Intention: To deeply explore and explain how we can live balanced, integrated lives in an inspiring and affordable way.

Ritual: I have recently begun working in three 90 minute chunks (with 30 minute breaks in-between) twice a week on this project. 


In your own life, you may already have awesome rituals in place, and you may be struggling in other areas.

Do your best to consider the major intentions in each area of your life, and see if you can find ways to add rituals if you don’t have any currently. 

Or, if you already have a ritual in place, but it’s feeling a bit boring, consider changing things up a bit to continue to reflect your values in a new action or method.


My Own Struggle / New Ritual


One habit I’m personally struggling with is not checking social media updates in the morning before work.

Because I have my iPad in bed with me while I read during my Private Victory, I find itextremely tempting to hop onto Instagram, Twitter, and Disqus to see what’s happened overnight.

This early morning social media itch slows me down and distracts me from my morning routine with Franklin and Mr. Lively.

Plus, it tends to bleed into a habit of checking social media excessively throughout the rest of the day as well, such a distraction! 

could delete the social media apps from my iPad altogether. Or at least sign out of the sites every time I use them to make it a bit trickier to click into quickly.

However, I’d prefer to try crafting a new ritual instead.

I’d rather fill the time with something meaningful and positive than try to simply avoid checking the sites based on self-control alone. 

My New Ritual

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to try doing a 5-10 minute Quigong video (I’m going to pick a free video on YouTube) as a part of the spiritual part of my Private Victory.

By getting out of bed and doing the moves right away after reading, I’m hoping that it will be easier and more natural to just go about the rest of my day without hopping online first.

We shall see how it goes!


Now, How About You?


What new intention-based ritual are you going to implement? 

Let me know by responding directly to this email (I’ll write you back!), or in the comment section on the blog when the site is back up!



PS – I made a Life with Intention “Quick Start Guide”! 

Based on overwhelmingly positive Facebook feedback, I’ve made a free guide with my top 5 posts, books, videos, blogs, and habits for living intentionally (hint: 20 of these resources cost nothing!).



Listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Today I have a fun girl chat with Liz of Sequins and Stripes on The Lively Show.

Liz is a (successful) blogger, stylist, soon-to-be bride, and overall adorable person!

I’ve personally been friends with her (as well as a follower of her blog) for several years now. In fact, her taste has been a huge inspiration for my own style.

In the show, we talk about defining your style, the progression of Liz’s life and career from corporate to blogging and styling full-time, and there is a hefty dose of strategy advice when it comes to making an income through blogging.

So anyone looking to learn more about making money via blogging sponsorships and brand collaborations will love this episode!


In this episode you’ll find out about


  • The two “unsuccessful” blogs Liz started before Sequins and Stripes.
  • How she landed her first styling clients before S&S.
  • How to comb through your closet and determine which things to exfoliate.
  • A few little details about Liz’s upcoming wedding(!).
  • Liz’s approach to life through “little victories.”
  • How successful fashion bloggers foster connections and land dream projects with their favorite brands. (20:00)
  • How List transitioned financially from her full-time job to her styling business.
  • Liz’s biggest struggle in her business right now.
  • What Liz would say to someone just starting out.


Show Notes



They’re Real Mascara by Benefit

Bare Escentuals Powder/Blush (in Rose Radiance)

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer/Sheer Foundation

Essie Nail Polish – Bikini So Teeny 

Essie Nail Polish – Geranium

Essie Nail Polish – Lilacism

Life with Intention Online


Listen to the show




Want more? Check out past Lively Show episodes here.



PSI’m being interviewed on a Podcast, too! I’m over at the With Purpose Podcast talking about living intentionally, my take on purpose, how my parents influenced my career, and more.


PPS – Want to ditch the stress, “shoulds,”, and future tripping?

As someone who has read countless books on living an intentional life, Jess has found the secret to bridging theory into actionable items today!

This class will benefit anyone seeking greater meaning in your life, from anywhere.

– Leana M. | Participating from Rwanda


photo by


Today I’d like to talk about the most important – and often overlooked – factor that is essential for deeper, more connected relationships.

Ignoring this factor can cause a lot of heartache.

When it is properly understood and acted upon, it can bring lasting peace.

What is this magic factor, you ask?


No matter how much we bring to a relationship, we cannot force another person to connect any deeper than they are willing (or able) to go.

This truth, though seemingly obvious, is often ignored.

I should know.

I kept looking for deeper relationships with certain friends and family members for years to no avail.

No matter how much I gave to these relationships, I could never force a deeper connection if the other people didn’t have the same intent.

I’ve also seen this play out in a client’s life recently as well.

No matter how much she gave, she could never illicit the same level of care and concern from a handful of her friends and siblings.

We both butted our heads against the principle of Independent Will:

No matter how much we try to be the perfect friend, family member, or co-worker, we cannot force the internal motivations of other people to change

It’s as effective as punching water.  

Rather than tirelessly seek deeper connection with those who are unable or unwilling to do the same, we can lovingly choose to set an intention that includes the value of reciprocity in relationships.

Reciprocity is not about “dumping” everyone in our lives who fall on the shallower side of the relationship pool completely.

It is simply means that we meet and enjoy them at their comfort level.

And in turn, when we meet people who would like to have deeper, more connected relationships with us, we can accept those meaningful levels with open arms.

The point is to allow whatever level of depth the other person is comfortable with set the tone.

(Unless we are the ones who want the shallower level. In which case, it is best if the other person respects our comfort zone to avoid the reverse scenario.)

Of course, we are welcome to invite others into deeper connection with us, if we like.

But if they show resistance to our efforts, we can lovingly give them the space they feel comfortable with and recognize that deeper connections can be found with other people in our lives.

Depending on where you are finding a shallow connection in your life, this may be heartbreaking to hear.

I should know.

Some of my relationships with people “closest” to me are actually the more shallow ones. But no matter how hard I used to try to connect more deeply, I only got hurt. 

Eventually I got so tired of “running around that mountain” trying to unsuccessfully please people in order to connect more deeply, that I decided to value peace more than the unreciprocated connection I craved.

This isn’t to say that I would not welcome a deeper connection with these people with open arms!

I’m just not forcing it.

At the moment, I’m still actively engaged in these people’s lives – only now I’m meeting them at their comfort level.

With peace and reciprocity as the foundation of my relationship intention for my friends and family, things flow much more smoothly. 

There may still be a twinge of sadness knowing that some connections are not as deep as we would like.

But that twinge is far outweighed by the welcome peace that we can feel by accepting reality and honoring the principle of Independent Will.

Plus, this opens us up to opportunities to connect more deeply with other people in our lives – now or in the future.


To Summarize


We cannot force people in our lives to want the same deep level of connection that we crave. Independent Will is a principle that cannot be ignored.

However, once we recognize the comfort level of those in our lives and agree to lovingly meet them at that level, we can find peace and the chance to invite new people into our lives who may seek the same deep connection that we desire.

Reciprocity and acceptance lead to peace.


May something wonderful happen to you today,


PS – Looking to go deeper and bring more intention, peace, and joy to your life?

Up until I took Jess’ Life with Intention Online class, I had been going about life in a way that dictated that I have to be productive, busy, and successful in order to be fulfilled or complete.

Her lessons totally opened up my mind to a new way to thinking. I’ve already begun to feel more at ease with how I conduct my daily life.

I highly recommend working with Jess and taking this class!



Lisa Maithas, Lisa-Maithas.com | Washington D.C.


The March Life with Intention Online class is already 50% full! RSVP now.




Listen and subscribe via iTunes.


The second episode is here!

First of all, thank you so much for the outpouring of support for the first episode with Erin last week!

It was so wonderful to see how well received the show was, and I cannot thank you enough for spreading the word about the show, particularly via Twitter.

In today’s show, I interview Jessica Murnane, a Chicago-based blogger and plant-based eating coach over at OnePartPlant.com, whom I’ve had the privilege to befriend over the past six months.

I will say right away: this episode is not intended to “push” a plant-based eating agenda.

I simply find Jessica’s health story inspiring, her resulting career shift fascinating, and I think her journey is an amazing example of someone turning their ‘mess into their message,’ as Joyce Meyer says.

So whether you are interested in eating a plant-based diet or not, I hope you join us!


In this episode you’ll find out about


  • How Jessica’s avoided a hysterectomy due to severe endometriosis by switching to a plant-based diet.
  • The emotional toll and reaction to making a positive shift from friends and family. How to deal with naysayers.
  • How Jessica started a plant-based movement among the top restaurants in Chicago and beyond.
  • What resistance she faced internally to making this shift in her life.
  • How to get enough protein on a plant-based diet.
  • How to handle having selective eating choices in a group setting.
  • What to do if you have an overzealous friend on a new eating plan.
  • What Jessica would advise someone considering a plant-based diet.


Show Notes



Isa Does It


Listen to the show



Want more? Listen to more Lively Shows here.


PS – Please leave a review on iTunes!

Now that The Lively Show is on iTunes, I would really appreciate it if you can leave an honest review.

As the show gains more reviews, it may qualify for the new and noteworthy category… which means more awesome listeners will be able to discover the show!



How does anybody really figure out what they’re “meant” to do?

And once you do that, do you find a way to make it into a career?

What’s the difference between a career/purpose and making a living?

Are they always the same thing, and how do you figure out if those things overlap or not?

I received these thoughtful questions from a reader a few weeks ago when I asked for content suggestions.

They also happen to mirror a lot of conversations during the first Life with Intention Online class last week. So today I’d like to clarify and share an often overlooked aspect of purpose.


The Overlooked Secret to Finding Your Purpose


After studying and writing about purpose for many years, I believe there is a simple equation for purpose.

 It’s clear. It’s concise.

And (most importantly) it is universally true. 

In order to survive and thrive as a species over thousands of years, we had to look out for one another moment-to-moment.

So nature hardwired us to seek ways to benefit the group’s survival by producing surges of the “feel good” chemicals serotonin and oxytocin when we help and serve others. 

However, this simple truth about present moment service as our true purpose is often overlooked in today’s world.

Instead of focusing on how we can serve others today – perhaps even in this dreadful job – we spend time dreaming about a specific career or role in our lives that might produce a sense of unending “purpose” that will forever fulfill us and perhaps even bring us a healthy paycheck along the way.

And this is where we can get tripped up.

Being a doctor, a stationery designer, or a mother can never be our sole “purpose” in the truest sense because roles are impermanent. 

Each one of those things can be taken away (lose the job, get into financial trouble with the business, and God forbid, something happens to your children) and then we are left with… a purpose-less life? 

Or, what about the many years before we started that business, had that first child, or got that degree? Were we purpose-less then? What happens to purpose when we retire, or get injured and are unable to perform our duties?

What about children who died young? Did they “lack purpose” because they did not have a career or offspring?

Of course not.

That’s why purpose is about using each day as an opportunity to improve the lives of those around us.

Even if we don’t like our jobs.

Even if we don’t have a job.

Even if we don’t feel particularly passionate about anything.

We still have the same purpose we will have for the rest of our lives right NOW.


The Good News


However, there is some good news: roles and purpose can work together!

Once we can completely connect to the idea that purpose is about present moment service, we get to move onto how we would like to serve going forward.

So, how would you like to help others in this moment? This year?

That’s it.

Just answer that question. How would you like to express your love and serve other people?

In a job you don’t like? Consider looking for a new one or approaching the current one in a different way.

Want to start a business on the side? Find a way to get three people to pay you for your services or products over the next four weeks.

When you no longer attach permanence to your role, you have a plethora of possibilities!

Don’t let the many options you may have scare you, though. Keep things simple. Ask your gut what you should do first and go do that thing.

Then, as you move forward in one direction, you might find that you feel pulled towards another path later.

As long as we serve others in whatever situation we are in, we are fulfilling our purpose and not a moment is wasted.

The only way we can “waste” our lives is by withholding service to those around us in the present moment while we wait for something “better.”




To summarize, we often overlook it, but our purpose is to serve others in the present moment wherever we happen to be.

And when it comes to roles in our lives, we can choose how we want to serve in this stage in our lives without attaching permanence to that decision.

We can let things percolate, progress, and pivot with a purposeful playfulness.

So take a deep breath and enjoy some feel good chemicals!

Go help someone today and you are on your way.


May something wonderful happen to you today,

PS – Want to explore purpose and intentions deeper? Join me in an upcoming Life with Intention Online class!




Listen and subscribe via iTunes.

It’s here! It’s here!

At long last, The Lively Show has launched!

Thank you so much for your patience, ideas, and tips along the way! The podcast will be available to subscribe to on iTunes very soon (update: it is now live on iTunes – get it sent directly to your phone or iPad!).

As I wait for iTunes to publish the podcast feed, you can listen to this episode here on this page right this very second! Once it’s on iTunes, I’ll let you know so you can subscribe on your phone and have the episodes loaded directly.

This first episode features one of the nicest people I’ve ever met (online or offline), Erin Loechner.

You may know her by her fame from DesignForMankind.com, DesignForMinikind.com, or her newest – and largest – project to date, ClementineDaily.com.


In this episode you’ll find out about


  • How Erin got started in blogging.
  • Where she draws the online line between public and private life for herself and for her daughter.
  • Why Erin quit the rat race and slowed her life down intentionally.
  • Erin’s biggest business challenge with Clementine Daily.
  • Erin’s journey to adopt a child from Africa (and the #1 thing to beware of in overseas adoption).
  • How Erin juggles motherhood, work, and marriage in her daily schedule using “golden hours.” (This part is amazingly helpful!)
  • The biggest resistance and doubt that Erin had to overcome to get where she is today.
  • And last but not least, what Erin would like to say to someone just starting out.


Show Notes

The E-Myth Revisited

The Renaissance Soul


Listen to the Show




Want more? Listen to more Lively Show episodes here.



how to set goals intentionally
February 4th, 2014     |    Intention


Today I’d like to talk how to use goals intentionally.

To some, goals may seem like the best thing ever and to others they may seem like the worst thing ever (and sometimes both at the same time).

Ironically, the source of goal excitement and fear emanates from the same source.

They are simply opposite ends of the spectrum of “What Goals Say About Me.”

On the exciting end, it can seem like goals are a pathway to feeling fulfillment, success, and happiness!

Goals = : )

On the other end of the spectrum, they can feel like indicators that we are never enough and can never measure up.

Goals = : (

Thankfully, neither of these goal perspectives is true.

Goals are simply tools that measures our effort. 

They are not essential to live a full and ‘successful’ life.

They are not good.

Or bad.

Like scissors, goals are simply tools which have the power to benefit or harm us — depending on how we use them.

Let’s take a look at how to use goals in a positive, productive way – by breaking a common assumption and measuring our goals peacefully.


Assumption: Completing goals will make us fulfilled and joyful.


Quite simply, they cannot.

We feel fulfilled and joyful when we are acting in accordance with our deepest values in the present moment (ie: intention).

Goals simply measure progress and effort on the Doing level of our lives.

If too much emphasis is put on the goal, rather than the intention behind the goal, we find ourselves caught up in our own personalized version of “the rat race.”

We’ll always be focusing on getting to the next moment so we can be closer to reaching our goal.

Then, we make new goals.

Dream Bigger.


The cycle is endless. Short bursts of pride and happiness fade quickly after we reach our goals.

Enduring fulfillment and joy illude us.

For those who find it difficult to live in the present moment, this attachment to goal setting may be partially responsible. Overemphasizing goals can leave us future tripping to the finish line, unable to focus on the moment at hand.

Now that we know that we fulfillment and joy are experienced independent of goals, we must also consider how we measure goal success.


Measure goals based on effort, not outcome.


Yes, we all know that goals should be S.M.A.R.T., but what we specifically aim for matters a great deal.

Instead of measuring goal success based on an outcome (get 500 Facebook followers, lose X pounds, make $X), we must measure goal success based on our effort. 

This might seem a little bit crazy. After all, most of the time we naturally set goals so we can get specific outcomes.

But this is really setting ourselves up for a lot of pain.

You see, outcomes are byproducts of principles.

And if we accidentally pick the wrong principle to act upon, we may have the very best intentions and try our best, but we will never reach our desired outcome.

Then, when we don’t get our desired outcome, we’ll feel like we have “failed.”

When in fact, we may have executed our goal perfectly and to the best of our ability.

To understand the relationship between principles and outcomes better, let’s take a look at flying.

Throughout history, men have tried to fly. In ancient times, they attached feathers to their arms like birds and tried jumping off of towers.

As you can imagine… they were unsuccessful.

If these men tied their “goal success” to the outcome of flying, they obviously failed.

Not because the didn’t try or want it badly enough.

Heck, they were jumping off of buildings! 

They “failed” simply because they didn’t execute according to the natural principles of flight.

The same is true for us in our daily lives.

We may deeply want a particular outcome, but we may not have a complete understanding of the principles that determine that outcome.

So we may decide to keep trying the same few methods over and over to get a specific result which may never occur.

In this scenario we have failed, regardless of our effort, heart, and perseverance.

We would be much better off deciding to measure our goal’s success on our own effort instead.

If we find that our methods outlined in our goal do not get us an outcome we desire, we can simply try new methods aligned with different principles to get the outcome we seek.

Execute our goal. Celebrate our efforts. Evaluate the result.

If we don’t like the outcome, we can try different actions that may reap different outcomes.

This process allows us to approach the “how” we do things less rigidly.

In this case, outcomes are still relevant, they are just not the determining factor to our goal’s success.

Thomas Edison is perhaps the most celebrated intentional goal setter.

He “failed” over 10,000 times to find the solution to the light bulb. But rather than look at each attempt as a failure he said,

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

He innately understood that his success dwelled in his effort, not on his attempts that defied the principles of light.

We can do this, too.

We must simply act according to our intentions in the present moment, set goals that measure our efforts, and adapt until our actions align with principles that produce our desired results.


Want to learn more about intentions, goal setting, and fulfillment?

The second Life with Intention Online class sold out last week, so I’ve added two more classes in March!

Click here to RSVP.















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