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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

15 Minutes Outside

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you listened to your own advice? You may not realize it, but sometimes when you are giving advice to others, there is hidden clarity for you.

In my Big Fish program, Lorin Beller Blake calls turning disappointment into action 'recovery' - you want to learn the tools that get you back on track in the shortest amount of time possible.

In my case, it took me overnight to realize 'ah ha' moment, but the 'ah ha' came from authentically thinking about others (e.g. The Go-Giver) and finally, I recognized that I needed to listen to my own advice.

We all know that we have that moment of choice to be really upset or not and for how long. Sometimes, it takes time for the disappointment to flow away, like a wave that must rise and fall naturally. Other times, it just takes 15 Minutes Outside to breathe the fresh air, which can 'change the channel' of our mood.

Last weekend, I was able to step out of the disappointment and catch a totally different wave, taking another path to not only enjoy the day, but also move my business ahead.

On Friday, I was on my way to Houston, Texas for a speaking engagement, and I was pumped for my one hour workshop. It was being video taped and I had centered on some wonderful advice from storytelling expert Joan King:

One of the remarkable qualities of the story is that it creates space. We can dwell in a story, walk around, find our own place. The story confronts but does not oppress; the story inspires but does not manipulate. The story invites us to an encounter, a dialog, a mutual sharing. - Henri J. M. Nouwen

I was excited to connect with others in taking them to their treasured memories outside and sharing mine, inspiring each of us to make more memorable moments outside every day. Awaiting my first flight, a conversation with Joan's sister-in-law, Starla J. King, found us remarking about the power of the internet to easily inspire others through sharing short, 2 - 10 minute videos.

While thousands of travelers had flights canceled or moved around due to a winter storm, I got to Houston from Virginia without a problem. In fact, I made the most of my two flights gobbling up a favorite Deepak Chopra book that I last read two years ago: The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. Strangely enough, when I tried to work on my PowerPoint in the Atlanta airport awaiting my flight connection, PowerPoint kept shutting down unexpectedly and I couldn't get past the title page. I wasn't rattled, just curious, since I was otherwise prepared.

Upon arriving at the hotel, I connected to check my email. It turns out, a half hour earlier, the conference was canceled due to weather (there was NO snow/ice to be found!). While listening to the news, there had been 800 accidents that morning on the icy roads. There was concern of potential ice the next morning.

Believing that this weird chain of events happened for a reason (yes, I did have five minutes of getting upset), I started wondering about ways to help the conference planners and all the presenters: there were many people fired up and ready to go; how could they easily share their important concepts that otherwise no one would now hear that day?

Ah yes, video.

The next morning, I had a great breakfast with the conference planner to share my ideas, went back to my hotel room and asked myself, "Now what do I do for five hours until I have to leave for the airport?"

I realized my conversations about video over the last 24 hours was really advice for me. With my MacBook and iMove software, I had the tools at my fingertips to put my energy of wanting to share to good use. I used the time sitting in the tiny business center to tell the personal story of why I wrote my book, 15 Minutes Outside.

Remarkably, I even had on hand a few childhood photos, scanned by my sister Anna (thank you!), that had unexpectedly surfaced at my parent's house three days before.

Through video, I shared my story in a way that didn't depend on a conference; my story can now be shared with the world. While it took a whole day to make the video - there was no sense of effort - only excitement and connectedness to my heart and purpose.

Yesterday, I learned that the overflowing excitement to share my story was a kind of "bright faith" (thank you Starla J. King for finding White Hot Truth) in believing my video will travel through infinite connections to those with whom my concept of 15 Minutes Outside will resonate.

Know that your bright faith is there; it is in snippets of conversations that you may be having with others every day. Tune into what is important to you and what excites you as you go about your day to day, and you will find yourself more quickly stepping out of disappointment when it does arise and more into action to create an even better outcome.

About Rebecca P. Cohen

Rebecca P. Cohen believes time outside transforms our lives for the better. PJ's Backyard Adventures is the latest project from Rebecca, author of the book 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks), and creator of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. Rebecca’s work has been featured in countless media outlets, including USA Today, Parenting, Redbook, Working Mother, and Family Circle. In addition, Rebecca has appeared on live morning news shows around the country, and is also host of the video series, Get Out of the House, which shows fun ideas for time outside in every season. For Rebecca's inspiring blog and free downloads, visit

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