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Chrisanna Northrup on Pursuing Your Dreams
Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself.
A couple years ago, I bought a book on how to write a screenplay, wrote it, and sold it in one week for over six figures! I did this all on my own with no Hollywood agent. I’m a full-time working mother of three kids (ages 12,10,and 8) and never wrote anything more than a term paper in school. Selling a screenplay in that short period of time with no experience is incredibly rare. Believe it or not this success nearly destroyed my marriage and my family.
Let’s go back a bit to before I decided it would be fun to write a screenplay. I’ve been with my husband for 16 years and were in survival mode for the last decade raising the kids and working. Exercise, alone time together, and time for ourselves was non-existent. Survival mode at its best! Writing at night here and there was time I didn’t really have; therefore, it put strain on the marriage. After selling the screenplay, I was faced with lots of meetings in Hollywood, which didn’t fit into my work/family schedule either. I wanted more but felt like I couldn’t do it all and my marriage was failing. That’s when I met Ariane. It was winter of 2008 at the Long Beach Women’s Conference. I was in a room of thousands of people listening to her speak about change. I hung on her every word and that day she changed my life.
I figured out the normal that I created with my husband and family was not working for any of us any longer. Change was the only answer. I read Ariane’s book and I was ready to make a difference in my life. My husband and I separated. This was one of the most difficult points of my life. A year passed by with us living apart and going to counseling weekly, desperately seeking answers and trying “to figure it out.” What I figured out was that I’m sure we weren’t the only family that was experiencing these problems. I wondered what was normal around the world and how do we get to a healthier/happier normal?
I started asking friends and family if they were happy with their lives and I got a wide mix of answers. I read magazine articles, self-help books, paid attention to the media, and even went to University libraries to see what research was done. Still I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Ariane’s voice rang in my head, “life has no barriers.” Another big change was about to occur!
I looked back on when I wrote the screenplay. I’m very creative, visual, and enjoy writing. If what I was searching for wasn’t out there, I saw an opportunity to create it! I decided that I wanted to research what everybody else’s normal was around the world. Cross-compare ages, ethnicities, religions, values, demographics, and so on. I also came up with a life-changing exercise on how to change my normal into a happier/healthier one in my relationship with my husband. Thankfully, he liked the idea. With this exercise, we were able to change our normal to one we were both happy with. I moved back in and we are more in love than ever! Our kids are happier and thriving better than ever, too! I figured if I could look at our normal and change it, I could help other people, too. I reached out to one of Oprah’s relationship experts, Dr. Pepper Schwartz about my concept and she loved it. I’m currently partnered with Dr. Schwartz and Dr. James Witte to gather groundbreaking data on cross-comparing normal around the world. My interactive survey is featured in the May issue of Reader’s Digest and on the home page of their website, www.rd.com normal meter or normalmeter.com.
You are a great success. Because of what you've accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to Inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
If you are not happy with the life you lead change it! Change is not easy, but the rewards of living a healthy, happy life are worth it!
We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
Definitely Ariane! I mentioned in my story earlier how she saved my life.
You make it look easy, but I'm guessing you've experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
I sure did overcome some incredible challenges! Don’t go through your changes and challenges alone. Turning to friends and family to help you through difficult times is a must. Also seek out people that have experienced similar hard changes in their lives and lean on them for advice. Of course, there are the infamous family members and friends who are very negative and don’t want to deal with you when you are going through difficult changes. Keep focused and stay far away from any negativity. Surround yourself by positive, loving people. During all of my challenges, I learned people love to help other people out. You just need to ask for it!
We all have ideas on how to improve our lives, whether it be a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you "stepped off the ledge" with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
Going back to my original story it would have to be taking my “Normal Bar” concept global. Moving out from my husband was a big risk, but quite frankly even after I did I still wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing or there would be as great as an outcome that came from it. I just knew what we were doing wasn’t working any longer.
Reaching out to Dr. Pepper Schwartz, the Universities (George Mason and Clemson), Reader’s Digest, Perfectmatch.com and the experts I put together to assist me in my journey to uncover groundbreaking data and make differences was definitely putting me out there for a lot of disappointment. I got lucky, yes lucky, and they all said yes, but my journey is only beginning.
My next challenge will be taking the data we’ve gathered and adding it to my book proposal, which starts with “The Normal Bar: Where does your relationship fall?” but goes into a series of Normal Bar books such as fitness, health, raising kids, etc. Maybe when we take it to publishing houses they will all hate the idea. There are millions of books out there. Who knows, but I’m prepared for the word no and will not let it stop me. I will make a difference and help people all over the world towards a healthier normal in every aspect of their lives. Focusing on this will help me pull through any resistance I face.
Rejection is never fun and it could really put you into a depressing state of mind. Just know and believe in what you are doing and DO IT!
How can others do what you did?
Ask questions and advice from people who have succeeded. Read books written by people who have succeeded. I’ve been doing that all along the way. Take what you want from the advice you read or hear and sometimes you just need get creative. I sold my screenplay from placing a three-line ad in the entertainment magazines the day after the Oscars. That’s what I did and it worked.
I researched like crazy who were the top experts in the country to assist me with normal concept and picked up the phone. You do need to realize people may love what you are doing and just don’t have the time. That’s okay. Move on and find somebody else. As luck would have it for me, I got everybody I reached out to at a good time. Then I reached out to the top online/offline magazine publishing company, which, by the way, took months secure! I hung in there and stayed focused on my vision and goal.
What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
Something I haven’t mentioned yet, which I think is the most important thing to keep you focused and positive is NUTRITION and EXERCISE! When you are about to tackle the impossible you need to prepare mentally and physically. They only way to do that is change your diet and exercise.
My picture could have been posted on a billboard with the words, “I don’t have the time to exercise” underneath. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the time. I didn’t make the time and I didn’t enjoy exercise. Running and even walking seemed like a chore to me. I stressed myself. And, that could work for you. Try different forms of exercise! Try Pilates, workout videos, yoga, running, jogging, tennis, and so on. Try something until you find something that you love. I tried a little of everything, because I believed if you feel fit and healthy you have a much better chance of success, because you are more focused and feel better!
Personally, I feel in LOVE with Crossfit (Crossfit La Jolla). Not only do I enjoy exercising now, I look forward to it! The best part about Crossfit to me is that it takes 20 minutes or less! Every workout is different, challenging, and fun. Crossfit is best described as varied functional movement executed at high intensity. I am in the best shape of my life and am super fit! I changed my eating habits to include just lean meats, veggies, fruits, and little starch and no sugar, except on occasion. This is what I found worked for me. Before going through a big change in your life, my advice to you is to find an exercise/nutrition program that works for you! This is the first step to a healthier change no matter what you are about to take on.
What's the greatest joy in your life?
My kids are top on my list. Teaching them everything that I learn about life is so much fun. Being a positive role model for my kids is a blast. I’m proud of all their accomplishments and they are proud of me too.
Spending quality alone time with my husband is a wonderful thing. We make sure we spend a good chunk of alone time together every week. It's vital to our relationship! We have a blast together. We both ditched work the other day and went snowboarding together. Next month we are hiking the Na Pali Coast on Kauai. Turns out when you backpack, the trip is really cheap. All you need is a plane ticket and permit.
Lastly, as I take on my journey to change the world to a healthier normal, I celebrate each success. I’m celebrating this article getting posted as you read it!
If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy- call it YOUR BRILLIANCE—what important things that you've learned would you want to pass on to others?
Wow, this is getting tough. I feel like I’ve shared all my secrets. I do have one more! When you are setting out to make a change or take a risk, hold yourself accountable. Publicize what you are about to do. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers. Post it on Facebook. I find what works for me is when I make what I’m doing public I own it at that point. Simply put, you make yourself accountable for what you are about to do. So don’t disappoint yourself and show everybody that when you set out to do something you do it!
If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
On top of everything I just mentioned, I’m starting a new company. I came up with a unique way to motivate, inspire, support, and help people reach goals that they only thought about but never bring themselves to do it. Along with changing what we know as normal today in our relationships, health, fitness, raising kids, etc., we can live a healthier normal. I plan to set up a company that will assist in everything from early detection of cancer to your child getting into the best University in the country.
There I just publicized my next goal. : )