Saturday, December 19, 2009

Taking Time Out To Figure It Out (Read Time: 2 min.)

For the past three or four weeks, I've been getting used to the idea that Stay Strong premiere membership, at least as I've known it, is gone. It was a hard pill to swallow, not so much because it didn't jive but because I was so in love with the idea and, yet, so out of love with the results.

Having to say "This isn't working" on something that you absolutely adore is a hard thing. Having to admit, even to yourself, that what you're doing isn't reaching who you're trying to reach feels a lot like failure and, even though I know that failure is simply learning and results, so many fears and doubts came up for me.

"Did I not stick this thing through?"
"Should I have continued on and on and on until it took?"
"What will people think?"
"What will people say?"
"How am I going to rebuild from here?"

Every single question connected to fear, self-doubt, and failure crept in and, one by one, I had to come back to the real issue: it wasn't working.

Napolean Hill once said "Before success comes in any man's life, he's sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That's exactly what the majority of men do." I thought about that and, at first, I said, "Am I doing what most men do?"

Then I read some more Hill and he also said "Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times." The key here, and I'm learning this, is to know the difference between quitting and letting something go. When you quit, you give up. You retreat out of a buy-in to the fear that you can't accomplish what you desire to. When you let go, you acknowledge that something in your plan isn't work quite right. You accept the results and you go back to the drawing board and come up with new plans. It's not a retreat; it's an intreat. You're getting the answers you don't want and you're asking new questions.

And that's exactly what I'm doing. I know Stay Strong has its place in the world... and I'm asking new questions so that, soon, very soon, I'll see different results.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Put Striving Down (Read Time: 2 min.)

There's a time to pick up... and a time to let go. Extraordinarily successful people sense what time is for which action.

Every day, you wake up and set an intention. You utter those first words and the day begins... and you move through it behaving as if everything works out for you... or nothing does. In the midst of it, you're doing one of two things: flowing or controlling.

Flow is embracing life as it is, taking action where and how you can, and being open to the outcomes. Control is a tense, tight desire to have the inputs and outputs of the day be exactly what you say they are... and a deep sense of disappointment if things don't end up that way.

The quickest way to living your best life comes in flowing with what comes. That doesn't mean you get lazy or refrain from taking action. It simply means that you give every moment your all, do your best, and enjoy the results, whatever they are. If the results aren't what you want, you take notes, get a good night's sleep, and wake up tomorrow and try something different.

Your striving blocks your success; let go, give in, and watch your life grow up!

Friday, November 27, 2009

What Savings Account is Right For You? (Read Time: 3 min.)

Cash is a wonderful thing but accumulating wealth is about having your money work hard for you and NOT you work hard for your money.

In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth , T. Harv Eker talks about the differences between the way rich people think and the way poor people think. In fact, he says the following: "Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money."

One of the first things you can do to build wealth, no matter how much you earn, is have a savings account that accrues interest and, thus, makes you money without you having to work hard for it. But, all savings accounts aren't created equal.

I called Bank of America this morning to find out the benefits of moving from a regular savings to a Risk Free 9 month CD or a High Yield 12 month CD. At the present time, my regular savings earns me up to $250.00 a year.

When I sat on the phone with a consultant and she started doing the math with me (keep in mind that interest rates change daily and you'll need to call and ask your bank's representative what the current monthly and yearly interest rates are), I found out that with a minimum deposit of $5,000, if I went with the 9 month Risk Free CD, I'd bring in an extra $216.00 a year and with the 12 month High Yield CD, with a minimum deposit of $5,000, I'd bring in an extra $630.00 a year.

Now here's where you have to get savvy about it.

Why would I move from my regular savings that's earning me $250.00 a year to a 9 month Risk Free CD that will only earn me $216.00 a year and will incur me a fee if I take the money out early? That's a no brainer: not worth my time.

However, the High Yield CD is an option because I'll earn $630.00 a year and that's almost $400.00 more a year than I would have earned with a regular savings account. $630.00 a year might seem small but if you're a long term saver (which everyone needs to be), then over 10 years, that's $6,300.00 you didn't have to "work" for and over 20 years that's $12,600.00 you didn't have to "work" for AND that is only ONE savings strategy you can put in place.

Every little bit helps but ask the questions, do the math, and know which account most benefits you BEFORE jumping into anything. Remember: Ask, ask, ask, and ask again until you are as clear as clear can be.

Are You Guessing At Spending? (Read Time: 2 min.)

How much money do you spend each week?
How much of your money goes to things, people, and places that you can't even remember?
When was the last time you kept track of your daily spending?

Here's the truth:
Money is one of the EASIEST things for you to demonstrate.

If you don't believe it, spend one week tracking your daily spending. Write down everything you spend for seven days and then total the amount at the end of the week. You'll find that you spent way more money than you THOUGHT you had to spend.

Stay Strong Point for Today:
If you don't know where your money goes, then you're guessing on whether or not your money will grow.

Become a diligent steward of your finances by doing three things this week:
1) Keep a daily spending journal- (without judging yourself) document what you buy and how much you spend.
2) Ask 'Did I need this or did I want this?'- At the end of the week, look at the total amount spent, look at each item purchased and ask yourself "Did I need this item or did I want it?"
3) Give Yourself 3 Spending Days a Week- For the upcoming week, choose select days that you'll spend money and refrain from spending ANY money on any of the other days. That means you decide the days you'll spend, you make sure you put gas in the car on those days, you buy groceries on those days, and you do whatever needs to be done on those days and discipline yourself not to spend on the other days.
4) Commit to saving 10% a week of what you spent during last week- That means if you spent $150.00 last week (and still have no idea what value you received for that amount of money), next week, save $15.00 and stick it in your savings.

One of the quickest way to grow your money to a level of wealth is to treat the money you have as if it were already that exact amount you desire, i.e. cherish it and take good care of it. The diligent in finances never lack for ANYTHING.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forgiveness but Not Trust (Read Time: 1 min)

On a flight home this weekend, I picked up December's issue of Success Magazine. In it, I found an interesting article that did something I'd never read before: distinguish between forgiveness and trust.

I've always said "Forgiveness doesn't mean you go stupid." Brash? Yes. True? Absolutely! But, in this article, the author points out the solid tenet behind this idea. He explains that while you can forgive someone, forgiveness does not require that you trust that person again or ever.

Extraordinary success happens when you trust and honor who you are. Forgiveness is a requirement for extraordinary success. Unforgiveness keeps you stuck in the past. Forgiveness frees you up to create your future. Without forgiveness, you have no momentum upon which to build your success.

However, just because you forgive someone does not mean you have to trust them now... or ever. The ability to forgive comes from knowing that 1- you can forgive, 2- you trust yourself, and 3- when people show you who they are, you believe them. In this way, you can forgive someone, let the past go and still know who they are enough not to put yourself in a similar situation with that person in the future.

At the end of the day, knowing the difference between forgiveness and trust
comes down to one very critical success quality:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finding the Silver Lining (Read Time: 2 min.)

When trying to execute a plan, achieve a goal, or live a dream, it's important to know what states of being make you most effective.

The highest level to operate from is gratitude. When you come to a place of being grateful for EVERYTHING, the "bad" experiences no longer haunt you, the mistakes no longer consume you and you are able to fast track your goals because you are free from the mental baggage that most people call the "past."

In every situation, there is a silver lining. It's not a matter of being like Pollyanna. It's a matter of answering one question: Do I want to be the victim or the victor in this situation? The victim lives in a constant state of repression, trying to forget what was, afraid of what will be, and unsure of how to live now. The victor accepts what was, embraces what will be and knows that, in this moment is his or her power to choose differently.

You don't have to be perfect to live your dream. You don't have to be lucky to have the life you want. However, you must be grateful. The more gratitude you have, the faster your dreams become real. Test this out.

How many complainers do you know who live extraordinary success on a consistent, continual basis? I don't know one.

No matter what the day brings, keep in mind one rule of thumb:
Never complain, never explain, always BE grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

48 HOUR Stay Strong EXCLUSIVE!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Booker T. Washington Economic Summit. For those of you interested in premiere Stay Strong membership, if you click on the PayPal link and become a premiere Stay Strong member between now and Saturday, November 21, 2009, you get 2 hours of private social media coaching for FREE!

That's a $300.00 coaching package. It pays to be a premiere Stay Strong member!

Don't miss out! Get your BOGO Stay Strong benefit between now and Saturday!

Sometimes You Want to Scream! (Read Time: 2 min.)

Remind me to NEVER allow someone to book me a flight with multiple connections allowing for less than an hour between flights. I'm not naming any specific airlines but said airline took off late, arrived at my second stop late and, after power sprinting nearly 2 miles to Concourse D, I missed the flight by TWO MINUTES!

I got to an empty check-in counter out of breath, sweating and PISSED. At that moment, all I wanted to do was spew out emotional poison at whichever airline employee showed up next and, in a moment, she was there.

I was mad and she was politely ignoring my frustration. I asked her about another flight. She explained it would be a two hour wait and I slowly stopped seething. After all, yelling at her might ease a little tension but it wouldn't change the fact that I'll be waiting two more hours for my flight. So, calmdown I did... And what have I done for the last two hours?

Breathe, eat, walk and work...

I guess this was my opportunity to apply the Stay Strong message I sent out about emotional poision... Don't send out so you don't have to take in.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Extraordinary Success Blocker You Can't Afford to Have (Read Time: 2 min.)

Overconfidence is an extraordinary success blocker and most people straddle the fence between believing in themselves too little and believing in themselves too much. Confidence is key to any level of success. Overconfidence is the beginning of a loss of success.

When you get overconfident, you take for granted the principles of consistency, persistency, and passion. You begin to live under the illusion that your success is all YOU and, in this way, as long as you exist, so too does your level of extraordinary success. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Your success is built and based upon your daily thoughts, plans and actions. In the moment that you change course and stop doing the things that got you to this place, you will find that your footing begins to shift. Before you know it, you're out of the limelight, your success is waning, and you won't know why.

To you, it'll be as if nothing changed. After all, you haven't changed so why should life?

The truth is this: If you change what you give to your dream, you alter the entire dream. Don't get it twisted. This is not about "hard" work.

Hard work says "I have to work hard to get what I want and if I ever stop working hard, then I'll stop getting what I want." Extraordinary success is not a 2+2 = 4 kind of thing. It's really a 3X3 to the third power kind of thing. Your success multiplies in astronomical ways based on minimal amounts of input. You give your all in a little and there's no telling as to how it'll grow so it's not about you doing a certain amount of work to get a certain amount of result.

However, it is about you approaching ANY and ALL work with the same level of initiative, fire, passion, purpose, and planning that you did at the very beginning... and that's where most people lose out.

Fervor in the beginning of a journey is easy. It's new. The goal is new. The dream is new. It's like a shiny, new car. It even smells good but talk to me when you've been in the dream for years, when there've been good and bad times and here's where the champions are born: Champions don't get defeated by the discouraging vicissitudes of the game. In fact, it's in the tough moments that they bring their passion to the forefront because they understand that passion and purpose at all times is exactly what they need to succeed.

What am I saying here?

Confidence is key. Overconfidence is a death sentence. It's so easy to become overconfident without ever noticing until it's too late. Remember that your best cure to the overconfidence bug is to remain grateful at all times, to check your passion and purpose level at all times and to use the rough patches as opportunities to train yourself to keep doing what you know must be done in the SAME SPIRIT that you began it with.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Everybody Has a Second Life (Read Time: 2 min.)

Walk through life with an open mind. That way, no matter what anyone does, says, or who they become, you'll adapt with joy and ease.

Close minds lend themselves to incorrect assumptions and premature judgements. When a person thinks you're a certain way (and you're not), no matter what you do, who you are, or what you have, in their eyes, you will always be something other than WHO YOU ARE...

The key to realizing full potential comes in recognizing it in other people.

When one person achieves, it demonstrates the fact that ALL can achieve. But, it's bigger than that.

There comes a moment in life when you realize that people aren't as "normal" as you once thought they were. You walk down a street with a new sense of awe because you realize that people have talents, gifts, dreams, and desires that they never tell to anyone, dreams that make them some of the most fascinating people you'll ever meet.

The reason so many people lack faith and confidence in their dreams is because they've bought into the false notion that few people have "big" dreams and even fewer actually achieve them.

Remember: EVERYBODY (including mom, dad, sister, brother, cousins, teachers, police officers, co-workers, and the janitor at the grocery store) has a SECOND LIFE, a dream they avidly pursue, the highest version of themselves that they can muster, a goal or plan that they secretly pursue with all their hearts... and you'd never know it to look at them.

Just as you have a dream in your heart, so does each and every person in the world. When you deny, laugh, or criticize their dreams, you're doing it to yours as well. We climb or fall together. When you truly get that, you become a dreamcatcher for other people. You cheer them on and cheerlead their endeavors. You encourage them in their defeats and guess what? Before long, absolute strangers start to do it for you in return...

Remember: Tony Robbins was once a janitor. Suze Orman was once a waitress. There is nothing new under the sun.

Everybody has a second life...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What is Stay Strong? (Read Time: 2 min.)

You dream, you start, and, at some point, you always stop... Why is that?

You have a dream, you've got a plan but you're missing the one thing that guarantees success....
Would you like to have that in spades?

Premiere Stay Strong members do!

Because they invest in the one success training membership that teaches the ONLY skill that GUARANTEES unlimited success! STAYING POWER

At Stay Strong, we have one mission: to teach the science of STAYING POWER.

You aren't who you were yesterday.
You're not even who you were five minutes ago.
Isn't it time you got into the driver's seat of your life?

It's time to Stay Strong!
Kassandra Vaughn, CKO ROI Coaching

You can create a life you'll love to look at!
Become a premiere Stay Strong member and learn how!

Stay Strong is a premiere membership that takes individuals from ordinary results to extraordinary success. Through daily emails, weekly lessons, quarterly coaching packages and mastermind calls as well as the annual Success Mastery Conference (held in Malibu, CA), members get the motivation, inspiration and education they need to LIVE extraordinary success.

Stay Strong elevates your momentum so you can accelerate your success!
Sign up the for 14 day FREE trial today!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lashing Out is Easy (Read Time: 2 min.)

Lashing out is so easy. Someone does or says something that hits that big red button on your heart and, before you know it, the rage is seething, the hurt is throbbing, and the desire to strike back, to defend what's left of your ego is front and center...

But does it get the desired results? Yes and no.

When we lash out, we instantly feel a sense of superiority. "I told him!" we say to ourselves. "She deserved that" we justify but who walks away from a tongue lashing truly hurting? The person who used their tongue.

When your hurt transforms into anger that reveals itself as vengeance, the only thing you can achieve is a regretful moment. There's emotional violence in lashing out that you can't ever take back. Your words are more powerful than your fists. A physical bruise will eventually heal but the spiritual and emotional wounds of physical and verbal bruising never go away.

And you don't have to speak it for the venom to spread. A look can injure. A tension filled sigh can violate. The withdrawal of interaction (dead silence, a blank stare) can destroy.

It's too easy to lash out, yes but it's too hard to live with the consequences. When you lash out at anyone else, guess who you're really clobbering? You...

Let's stop the emotional violence. Let's send roses to the people who act in ways we don't necessarily like. The daggers, when we send them, always have a way of returning to sender.

The next time you feel your blood boiling, fists clenching, and heart pounding, step back, walk away, and ask yourself one question "Do I want to spread the emotional violence or heal it?"

That answer will tell you exactly what to do next.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creating Shapeable Goals (Read Time: 3 min.)

One of the biggest mistakes any person can make on the extraordinary success journey is to create goals that are rigid and unchangeable. Your life is constantly changing. Who you are and what you can do in your teens is very different from the person you become in your forties. The same applies to every growth period of your life.

Far too many people believe in the “I can be all things no matter what’s going on in my life” mantra. Not so!

Your goals, if you are to achieve them in an extraordinary way, must be shapeable.

What do I mean by shapeable?

Shapeable goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound GIVEN the context of your present life circumstances.

Let me give you an example.

Paula and Janet both want to start their very first businesses. Both came from a career in corporate America. Both are passionate, capable, and extremely prepared to start their ventures. Paula is 31 and just had a baby three months ago. Janet is 45 and just sent her last child off to college. Paula has a wonderful husband who is very supportive but works 70 hours a week. Janet has a wonderful husband as well who works 40 hours a week and helps her with the technical side of her business. Paula is a wiz with computers and is currently designing her website, setting up her online payment system, and is drafting email marketing campaigns. Janet sleeps 8 hours a night. With breastfeeding, Paula is lucky if she gets 3 hours a night and, since her husband can’t help in the feeding area, she’s the one who’s up all night with the baby.

Now, can we assume that BOTH Paula and Janet will build, launch and start making money from their businesses in exactly the same time frame? No, we can’t. The context of their lives are drastically different and, therefore, neither can expect to attain the same goals in the same amount of time given the vast difference in those situations.

You are not who you were yesterday. You will not be the same person tomorrow so it makes sense to create goals that work for where your life is right now. Too many people succumb to the pressures of self-imposed, UNREALISTIC expectations and set goals that, in all honesty, given the current context of their lives, they will never reach. This isn’t pessimism; it’s called being a practical dreamer.

Napolean Hill said “Practical dreamers don’t quit.” What he failed to mention was that practical dreamers know how to scrap plans that don’t work for the context of their present life situations and keep scrapping those plans until they find one that works.

How do you find the plan that works? Develop shapeable goals.

Be willing to change your mind about your goals without blaming or faulting yourself for not achieving what you originally thought you could. Don’t look at setbacks as failures; see them as opportunities to re-evaluate and come up with a better plan. Be open to change. Your ability to rock and roll with the changing nature of life itself is a competitive advantage that EVERY extraordinarily success person possesses.

Most importantly, set yourself up for success by fully considering the current circumstances of your life. This doesn’t mean you play the victim or you play small. It does mean that you accept the pace of your life and you create goals that work within that pace.

No matter how fast or furious you see other people going, know that every great achievement was arrived going ONE STEP AT A TIME.

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 Ways to Step Out of the Control Freak Mentality (Read time: 3 min.)

Ever feel like you have to be in control of everything
or else you aren’t in control of anything?

The fear that comes with losing self-control, for many, spurs the creation of a control freak mentality. Control freaks need to know what they’re doing, where they’re going, how they’re getting there and with whom… or they need their enter lives planned out… and everyone else’s life who directly affects theirs’.

The control freak mentality is tension-ridden, anxiety-filled and, at the end of the day, does little more than stress a person out. The truth is that life is not about force; it’s about flow and the only way to flow with life is to be okay with the outcomes, no matter how much you’ve invested in the inputs.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our reactions to the uncontrollable experiences of life are where character, integrity and success are determined. The most important things in life are not 100% in your control but your reaction to what happens in your life is.

To take on a false sense of omniscience is to believe that you control everything and nothing is beyond your careful planning. This sets you up for HUGE failures.

What happens when you get laid off after years of stellar performance appraisals?
What happens when the 20 year marriage you invested heart and soul in ends because he or she is now in love with someone else?
What happens when the child you did everything to protect from 0-18 gets in a fatal car accident at 25?
What happens when the body you so lovingly nourished and exercised comes down with cancer?

While it’s important to dismiss the idea that every good thing is followed by a bad one, it’s time to come to grips with the reality of life: shit happens. We all go through dark times and they always serve a divine purpose. The control freak, in wanting to decide and choose everything, will lose sight of the blessing of ANYTHING he or she did not plan for… and that will erode extraordinary success.

In addition, it takes a lot of work to be a control freak. It’s time consuming, headache producing, and when you do the control freak thing in relationships, it kills the mood.

So how do you go from control freak to proactively spontaneous?

Here are five ways to step out of the control freak mentality:
1) Trust the process of life.
It sounds foo foo and metaphysical but this is the most important thing you can do to break the control freak tendency. At some point, you’ve got to decide whether you live in a friendly world where things work out for you or whether you live in a hostile world where things are just waiting to go wrong for you. Whatever you decide, that’s EXACTLY what you will get. Trusting the process of life is not about having guarantees; it’s about being secure enough in yourself and the Divine to know that you are guided, protected, and made successful in EVERY life experience, especially the bad ones. Yes, there will be crappy things that happen. Yes, people will do things you’ll absolutely hate but there’s a gift in that and when you trust the process of life, you’re able to let it go because you know that you know that you know that your future is bright and joyous and secure… NO MATTER WHAT.

2) Master your time.
So many control freaks walk around trying to do the work of 10 people over 2 weeks as one person in one day. That’s a set-up for absolute failure. Extraordinary success comes from putting whole mind in present action. To do that well consistently, you have to be a master of your own time. You have to know how much time you truly have and what is feasible for you to do in that timeframe. There’s no need to berate yourself, to deprive yourself of necessary sleep or to deliver on 10 things at 80% when you could deliver on 3 at 100%. Until you have mastered your own daily schedule, control freak tendencies will lead you to behaviors that, in the long run, are self destructive. Whether you call it overworked, underpaid, overburdened or simply burnt out, until you master your time, you will forever feel the burden of trying to control and overcompensate for the lack of mastery.

3) Ask for and receive help.
No man is an island. Ask for help. More importantly, when someone offers you help, say ‘Yes’ to it. Say ‘yes’ to it and let that person do what they said they would do WITHOUT you fearing that they’ll screw things up or won’t do as good a job as you will. Maybe they won’t but their assistance will help you focus whole mind on present action and that is the key.

4) Stop criticizing yourself.

Control freaks tend to COMPLAIN A LOT. They also tend to criticize themselves and others A LOT. Take a moment and look at where you are in your life. Your criticism of yourself and others has got you here. If this place is where you’re happy staying, then keep criticizing. But, if, by some chance, you aren’t as far along as you’d like to be, if you would like to experience extraordinary success in a way you’ve never known, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done. Start with this: no more criticism of yourself or others for anything at any time. Love and approve of yourself and watch the circumstances change magically.

5) Embrace and be OK with who you are.
Certain aspects of control freak can be moderated. Many of them can blossom into a deeper, intuitive, freeing way of life. However, there are certain things about control freak nature that might never go away. It’s time to be okay with that. So what if you like to hog the remote control? Give it away for a day or two but if you hog it five days a week, who’s counting? So what if you like to take your wallet or purse with you everywhere you go, no matter where you are? Is that hurting anyone? No, keep doing it. There’s a part of reducing control freak behavior that comes, in large part, by you not criticizing yourself for being this way and, instead, embracing all of who you are. You might like napkins folded in a certain way and it drives you nuts when anybody else does it another way. Learn how to accept other napkins and, when dinner is over, and the other person leaves, take a de-stress moment and re-fold the napkins. That person will feel loved and you’ll feel better.

What’s the point? Embrace ALL of who you are.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are You Free to Be? (Read Time: 2 min.)

I've had strep throat for the past couple of days... and this is the second case of strep throat for me in the past three months. Needless to say, I went straight to You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. I discovered two things:
1) Sore throats relate to being unable to speak up for one's self
2) The blue chakra (the throat) is the area where change happens

According to Louise L. Hay, the affirmation to deal with sore throats is "I release all restrictions. I am free to be me."

One of the greatest lessons in extraordinary success is this: you choose what your success journey looks like. A big part of change comes in being willing to see things differently. You're at the helm of your own success. No one's driving the car but you. When you understand the magnitude of your power in creating your own success, you also understand the responsibility of it.

The only person who can stifle you is you and, for many of us, we do the stifling in small ways. It could be that you refrain from saying how you feel in order to make others feel better about themselves. It could be that you say 'yes' to friends and families when you really want to say no. It could be that you take on projects, events, and chores that you know put you into work overload. Whatever your "stifle" is, it's important to live in a conscious state of choosing.

You choose when you say yes and when you say no. You choose who you'll spend your time with and when. You choose how many hours of sleep you get at night, how much you work, and how many projects you take on. Allow yourself the freedom to be you. Don't overcomit, underestimate, or overcompensate because you "think" this is who you have to be to in order to live extraordinary success.

Remember: Who you are is enough...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hope Has Its Place (Read Time: 2 min.)

Hope is a good thing… in general. It has its’ place. It’s a beginning point on the journey of extraordinary success but it is not a core concept in the science of staying power. If your staying power is based on “hope”, you won’t be staying for very long. Tony Robbins, author of “Awaken the Giant”, once said, “I don’t hope I’m going to be in a good state; I demand it.”

To stay the course for your goals, to become who you were truly meant to be, you must go beyond “hoping” for things to work out. You have to KNOW that things ARE working out. It’s a critical shift in how you think, what you do, and how you live that is a prerequisite to seeing ANY results.

If you walk through life “hoping” things will work out, you are straddling a fence between success and failure and the in-between is what we call a mediocre life. To be really good at anything, you either have to know that you will do it or believe that you can do it. Hoping that maybe you’ll succeed is lukewarm thinking that results in lukewarm actions that will bring about lukewarm results.

You are not here to “hope” your way through life. You are here to live your way through an exciting, extraordinarily successful life.

Remember: You don’t wake up “hoping” to breathe so don’t live your life “hoping” to be successful. Know that you know that you know…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What is Staying Power? (Read Time: 2 min.)

Momentum... Passion... Purpose... Goals... Desire... Motivation... Inspiration... Success...

Give it a name and there are scores of people who've written, talked and taught about it. There are varying schools of thought about what creates it and there are few people who refute the importance of belief to it.

What is IT? Extraordinary success.

Stay Strong was birthed out of three questions: What? How? Why?

What is extraordinary success? How do people become extraordinarily successful? Why do some people create and keep and other people lose it?

Whether you love Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker, or Dr. Wayne Dyer, Stay Strong is a premiere membership created to teach one thing daily:
The SCIENCE of Staying Power!

Are you ready to learn how to stay the course?
Become a premiere Stay Strong member today!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Be Vigilant With Your Mind (Read Time: 2 min.)

In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book, Don Miguel Ruiz says the following: “Seeing the awesome power of the word, we must understand what power comes out of our mouths. One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events.” The most important (and most difficult) work you’ll ever have to do to be AND stay extraordinarily successful comes in being vigilant with your mind.

The mind will accept whatever is allowed in it as true. That’s why people say things like “You are the company you keep.” Your mind will take in the stimuli it receives. If your goal is to live a positive, upbeat, happy life, spending time with people who complain is a No-No. If your goal is to build a multi-million dollar empire, spending 5 hours a day watching reality TV is not going to get you that.

“We become what we think about all day long.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer

If we monitored our thoughts as vigilantly as we monitor other people’s behavior, we would have more power and prosperity than we’d know what to do with.

The lesson?
You are the master of your own mind.
You control what thoughts you allow in. It’s time to be vigilant about what gains entrance into your mind and, eventually, into your heart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Releasing the Need to Be Right (Read Time: 2 min.)

I like to be right. No, let me back that up. I LOVE to be right. It’s one of my greatest strengths because I’m thorough in what I do, whether it’s fact checking, blog writing, or customer service. It’s also one of my greatest weaknesses because when you thrive on being right, you don’t like to EVER be wrong… and being wrong is a great opportunity to learn.

What I’m learning is how to be open and willing to be wrong. Instead of jumping to answer questions or relying on myself for all the answers, I now ask questions to no avail. I listen to different viewpoints. Maybe I take the advice, maybe I don’t but I come at them with a different sense of curiosity and openness that, naturally, I’m not too inclined to produce.

It takes work to be open and willing to change but the work is worth it. Some of the greatest ideas you’re ever going to have are going to come from SOMEBODY ELSE and if you’re not open, willing and ready to learn, you’ll miss out on gems of information and wisdom that could truly be your tipping point in the long run.

At the end of the day, you can be right or you can be kind. Kindness may not be what you want to do but it is always what you can CHOOSE to do. Extraordinarily successful people understand the power of staffing their weaknesses, not pretending that they don’t exist.

Release the need to be right. You’ll thank me in the morning:)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Other People's Opinions (Read Time: 3 min.)

Terry Cole Whitaker wrote an amazing book called What You Think of Me is None of My Business. It's a very powerful point that must be considered in full.

What YOU think of ME is NONE of my business.

On the journey of extraordinary success, there are going to be LOTS of opinions. You're going to get unasked-for advice. You're going to receive both positive and negative feedback. You're even going to get negative feedback masquerading as "suggestions" (you know what I'm talking about).

At the end of the day, the extraordinarily successful know how to deal with these elements of the process.
There are 5 things you need to know when dealing with "other people's opinions":
#1- If the opinion is good, don't take it personally.
That person could be having a fabulous day and they're telling you how amazing you are is simply a result of how they are now, in this moment, choosing to view the world.
#2- If the opinion is bad, don't take it personally.
A person who tells you (either in a nice, subtle way or a brash, rude way) what you're doing isn't up to snuff is someone who's coming from a negative place. Maybe this person had a bad day. Maybe this person is having a bad decade. That's not your problem. Understand that whatever this person is saying is about them, not you.
#3- Take criticism with an open mind.
Even when people are totally wrong in their criticism, there's an opportunity to learn and grow that you will COMPLETELY MISS if you take what they're saying personally and use their words as ammunition to go into victim mode. When someone has taken the time to observe you enough to make a comment about you, this is YOUR opportunity to learn from it, whether that was their intention or not.
#4- Trust yourself.
If someone told you you were a purple walrus, would you believe them? Of course not! Why? Because you know you're a human being. You have to cultivate the same level of faith and trust in what you're doing as you already have in the fact that you're a human being. When you get to the place of knowing that you know that you know that what you are doing is right for you, people can talk. They can bicker, fight, fume; they can throw a tantrum if they want but YOUR mind hasn't changed. When you trust yourself, you do what's right for you always.
#5- Go by what people do and not what people say.
I have to quote Wallace D. Wattles on this point. In The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles says the following: "Do not boast or brag of your success, or talk about it unnecessarily; true faith is never boastful. Wherever you find a boastful person, you find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid." It's easy to get sucked into the hype of people who talk a really good game, who boast of their major successes, all the millions they're making, and what not but don't allow the boasting of others to make you feel like less than who you are. Remember that "Wherever you find a boastful person, you find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid." Just because someone tells you they have a superstar who has everything they could possibly want in life doesn't make it so. Go by what people do, not by what they say.
I spend a great deal of time talking to clients and teaching this exact point but it bares being repeated over and over again:
What 'they' think of YOU is NONE of your business.
Have you signed up for The Power of a Comeback?
Don't miss this amazing teleseminar on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stop, Retreat, Ask, & Say... (Read Time: 2 min.)

Ever have an "Oh no you didn't!" moment? You know what I mean. Someone says something that hits a sore spot in your psyche and, as harmless as it might have been coming out of his or her mouth, it's hit a key target spot within you that makes you want to run to defend and attack. It's called "taking things personally" and far too many of us take things personally ALL the time.

If you've taken things personally at any point in the last fourteen days, here's some good news:
You can end the "taking things personally" habit right now.


Here's a simple 4 step process you can use when you feel a defensive response building up in you:
1) Stop
2) Retreat to think (you can physically or mentally check out for a minute or two)
3) Ask and answer one question, "What's the gift in this?"
4) Say 10 times "I am willing to change" (out loud or quietly)

At this point, you can now return to the conversation or consider your options of response from a place of peace and objectivity. To do anything else is foolish. The words you speak have power. Talk too soon and you might say things you can't ever take back.

Remember the words of Maya Angelou:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Halves Do Not Make a Whole (Read Time: 3 min.)

There's a big difference between romance and love. Romance is exhilarating, mysterious, and exciting. It's the coming attractions of love but romance, in and of itself, is NOT love.

Love is who we are.

It's not limited to one specific person or a particular set of feelings. As we are, so love is. In this, who you love is who you CHOOSE to love. Where people get caught up is by confusing how romance makes you feel with who love asks you to be and they are night and day when you compare and contrast the two.

When two people get together, romance says "Here's my better half! Let us join together and become one!" Last time I checked, two halves don't always make a whole. When two broken people get together (believing the romance of two becoming one), they unite through their wounds but cannot heal completely in them.


Because brokenness cannot be healed by brokenness. Wholeness is the cure and if you find yourself in the arms of someone who's as broken as you are, unity is not possible until each of you reclaims the perfection of who you really are apart from anyone else.

Romance also longs for the fairy tale side of love. When things start to get dull, stale, boring or "hard", romance says "This isn't my Prince Charming. She's not the princess I thought she was" and, before you know it, lines like "I love you but I'm not IN love with you" start to come out.


That's a scapegoat way of saying "I'm really not that into you." Romance requires a blowtorch and an endless amount of wood to keep up with it and if there's no love in the mix, who's really going to invest the time to do it? No one...

Love (real love) that's unconditional takes a completely different take on relationships. Love says "I desire you but I don't require you. I see you, the real you and I love the adventure of who that is. That doesn't mean I'm always going to like you but you're worth the effort. I'm worth the effort. I'm putting on the bungee chords and I'm jumping in and so are you. This is going to be one big adventure and no matter what happens, even on the days when I don't like you, I promise to always see you, the real you."

Sounds poetic, doesn't it? Try the everyday work of really doing it and you'll find two things:
1) You have to really choose that person AND they have to choose you.
2) The choice is made daily so commitment is key.

In the long run, love will get you much farther than romance. In the short run, love never has to be devoid of romance.
How does this relate to extraordinary success?

People who choose and stay in relationships filled with unconditional love have more focus, direction and less tress (i.e. energy leaks) than those who don't. They're able to succeed farther faster because they are whole by themselves and complemented (not contradicted) by the person at their side. Do divorced people experience extraordinary success? Of course they do! But if you're divorced (like me), here's one BIG extraordinary success tip:

Choose your next partner wisely.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You are Not Your Parents (Read Time: 2 min.)

Our parents set a precedent of what our lives "should" look like. They are the first individuals we ever hear from the womb, the first we ever see out of it, and the first individuals we define our lives and dreams by. Given that, it's easy to play the victim and blame them for everything.

Blame doesn't work. Blame keeps you stuck in your problems. Blame makes our parents monsters capable of creating our lives in a way that we can't. Does that sound like power? It's not.

The key to dealing with how you were raised is not in pretending that your childhood was rosy and pink if it wasn't. The power of your childhood comes in looking at it and saying to yourself, "I was raised by people who did the best they could with what they had and they were raised by people who did the best they could with what they had and I don't have to live up to my parents expectations for me. I CAN go beyond them!"

That's the truth: You CAN go beyond your parents' expectations (limitations).

You can transform your life in ways they couldn't have ever imagined. In the same way that people who lived in the 1800s couldn't imagine a time when there would be cell phones, laptops and MP3 players, our parents are people who live in a certain space and time. They have their own limiting beliefs to deal with. Their limiting beliefs don't have to become yours UNLESS you choose it...

At the end of the day, you are not your parents. What they taught you can be unlearned. At any moment, you can clean out your mental house and let all that old programming go. Why do so many refuse to do it? Truth be told, they'd rather be stuck and play victim. Blame has its own rewards when you're doing it. By the time people realize that blame offers no long term benefits, years have passed.

Get the lesson now: you are NOT your parents.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It Is Your Movie! (Read Time: 2 min.)

"I know that you see the world with different eyes, with your eyes. You create an entire picture or movie in your mind, and in that picture you are the director, you are the producer, you are the main actor or actress. Everyone else is a secondary actor or actress. It is your movie. The way you see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with life. Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one's truth but yours. Then, if you get mad at me, I know you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse for you to get mad. And you get made because you are afraid, because you are dealing with fear. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will get mad at me. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will hate me. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will be jealous or sad. If you live without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of those emotions."

- Don Miguel Ruiz, "The Four Agreements"

Everyone is living in a life called "my movie." Our experiences are paved by our perception and our perception is based on what we choose to see. Not taking things personally is key to extraordinary success. Why?

What other people do is up to them, not you. What good is it to take another person's actions or words personally when you can't control or decide how they respond to ANYTHING? Your best effort at making them who you'd like them to be is absolutely fruitless and, in many cases, will result in you becoming the villain in their movie.

On other hand, if you love who you are and you accept people for who they are, you won't feel the compulsion to change them or expect them to be any different than who they are showing themselves to be. In fact, you'll embrace whatever they send your way because you'll be confident that, if it's negative, you'll deflect it and if it's positive, you'll accept it. The choice, in this way of living life, is always yours.

When we begin to believe that what other people say and do to us has power OVER us, we begin to live as supporting actors in THEIR movie and not the stars of our own show. You don't have to choose that. In fact, you never have to take on a role you didn't initially accept. All you have to do is love and embrace who you are and live fearlessly from that place. Your life is still YOUR movie. Claim it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do First, Speak Last (Read Time: 3 min.)

What drives you to success?

What drove much of my early success in life was a deep desire to prove people wrong. Growing up, I had many people who looked at my circumstances and didn't believe in me. They didn't believe that someone who was pregnant at 18 could finish college... So I graduated with a bachelor's degree by 20. They didn't believe that someone with a child could complete an MBA... So I had my MBA by 22. They thought it a joke that someone could be 22, a young mother and be a college professor... So I did that too. They didn't think that a woman who couldn't get pregnant for 4 years could ever have a second child... So I got pregnant and had two more miracle babies. I was driven by the deep desire to prove people wrong, especially those closest to me who were supposed to be supportive but, in many ways, were anything but.

It seems like a good enough reason, doesn't it? But the fuse of ambition, when striving to prove people wrong, is being lit by the wrong lighter... and that ember never lasts.

When your motivation is driven by the desire to make someone (or a group of people) eat their words, make no mistake about it: this is a revenge issue, not an achievement cause. While it may seem like serious motivation for a while, what will eventually happen is 2 things:
1) You'll get to the goal and
2) You'll still feel the emptiness and pain of people not believing in you.

To work so hard for so long at something because of what anyone else said is madness. Why? Because by doing so, you've made their opinion of you MORE important than your opinion of yourself.

I've learned, over time, to shift out of that mentality. While it rears its' ugly head every now and again, there are three things that get me very clear on why I do ALL that I do:

1) I don't tell people what I plan to do anymore; I SHOW them.
Napolean Hill has a great quote, "Tell the world what you plan to do but first show them." That's it! It's not about what you say; it's about what you do. Don't waste time trying to convince people of where you're going. They'll figure it out as soon as you actually get there and, trust me, the sweet victory is always in the arriving at that point because, once there, you don't have to say a word; the experience speaks volumes!

2) I remind myself that my life is about me.
No one is ever going to care about my successes or failures as much as me. In fact, no one could ever want more for me in my life than I want for myself so making my goals and objectives about anyone else BUT me is absolutely craziness. I make my goals about me and no one else. That keeps me in the creative mindframe and not the competitive one.

3) Victories happen daily. No one has to "see" my success for me to celebrate it. Victories happen daily. I AM WHO I SAY I AM. It's not other people's recognitions that make me a winner. I make me a winner.

Winning feels good; being a winner feels even better. If you leave the victories of your life up to someone else's approval (and your vindication), you'll forever be a hamster on the wheel called "approval-seeking." Get off the wheel forever.

Do first, speak last...

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Does Transformation Really Require? (Read Time: 2 min.)

I hear so many people theorize and theologize about transformation to the point where, for many, transformation comes across as some sort of ascension into the unreal. That sort of theorizing will not help you get through the daily grind of what it means to transform.

Transformation is growth and growth can be painful. There are moments on the journey to extraordinary success where you feel stunted, stuck, stagnant or some wierd combination of all three. What do you do when that happens?

Here are three things you CAN do when change feels like its too little, too much and, at the same time, too hard:

1) Remind yourself that nothing stays the same. Everything is a constant state of change. Seasons pass, people age, jobs change, lives change, everything changes. Whatever is going on right now will pass. Before you know it, it'll be a memory. Why linger on the negative of your change when the positive that's resulting is SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL?

2) Feel what you feel. Whether it's fear, sadness, pain, anger, frustration, or disappointment, allow yourself to feel it. Only by allowing it to be will you give those feelings the permission to move through you. The more you fight those feelings, the tighter you cling to them. The best way to let go is to allow them to move through you and, once out, refill your mind with thoughts of love.

3) Breathe. When we feel tension, distress, or worry, the first thing we stop doing is breathing. Breath is the key to life; it's at the heart of peace. When you're in a worry episode or when you feel like you're not as far along as you'd like to be, stop and breathe. Take 12 deep breaths and, with each exhalation, let it all go...

There are many roads to extraordinary success. Rather than talking about it, I want you to BE about it. Do the daily work. It WILL pay off:)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Full Time Love Affair (Read Time: 3 min.)

You're having an affair.

Maybe you call it something different because it feels, looks and seems different. Perhaps you rationalize your indulgence in it because, to you, "It is what it is" but make no mistake. You are involveed in a full blow, 24/7, 365 day a year love affair and the object of your affection is in your arms even now: your dream.

The journey of extraordinary success is a full time love affair with the vision of the life you are now creating. All the hours of work, months of planning, years of executing, all of it has been dedicated to the fulfillment of your dreams.

At times, it has asked for all of you and you've willingly said yes. At every turn of the road, when you had the option to let go, you hung on for dear life. You've done all you can, been all you can be and you're still doing it now. You are filled with the ecstasy of pursuing your heart's desire and here are three things, in the midst of passionate pursuit, you must remember:

1) Put in the effort necessary to secure the results you seek without complaining about it.
2) Rome wasn't built in a day; your secret weapon is patience.
3) No dream will require you to jeopardize the life you have to get the life you want. If this dream is costing you that, find a new one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

This is the Moment That Counts

"Today is the future I created yesterday."
- Louise L. Hay

Living in anything else but the present moment is a waste of time. The past is over and the future isn't here yet. In fact, what's creating your future is what you're feeling, thinking and doing right now. If your focus, in this moment, is longing for the next, guess what you're creating in your life? More longing.

At some point, when you're sick and tired of always wishing you were at the next destination, living in your next state, reaching your next goal, it dawns on you that there will always be a next destination, goal and thing to aspire to. At this point, you have two choices:

1) Live in this moment and fully love what is (i.e. enjoy your life).
2) Live for a future moment that may never come, always unhappy in this moment, never satisfied with the life you have, basing your joy on a future that won't ever come because you're too busy longing for it to actually spend this moment creating it.

The truth of the matter is this:
Right now is your place of power and it's the only moment you truly have.
How you choose to spend it is your business. Spend it wisely.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

No One Has to Understand

Have you ever tried to pour your heart out to someone only to get a blank wall of misunderstanding back? You walk away frustrated, annoyed and the only thing you can say to that person is "You don't get it..." And maybe they don't but why should they have to?

It is a huge misconception (not to mention a gigantic energy leak) to believe that anyone else (including your spouse) needs to understand why you do what you do, feel what you feel and want what you want. It's not up to them to choose, critique, or validate the quality of your life and choices. And, yet, so many of us give other people that power.

The truth is this: other people's approval is desired but not required.

Your life moves whether other people "get it" or not. In fact, it moves better when you trust yourself enough to know that even if no one else gets it, you do.

No one has to see things your way. All extraordinarily successful people understand this. Why do you think Frank Sinatra sang "My Way"? It is no one else's job to create your life but you and every time you spend time and energy fighting to get people to see things your way, you not only waste time but you work hard at creating a life that is more about "them" than it is about you. Is that the life you really want?

One of the key steps to achieving extraordinary success comes in being able to say loud, proud and consistently: "I am that I am am" and not feel compelled to explain what that means to anyone else. After all, they don't have to understand.

The only person who needs to "get it" is you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get It Right This Time!

You have a dream but doubt has you.
You're on a 5 year plan that you'd like to make 2.
You're achieving great things, building a great life, and, yet, there's still so much more to do.
You're fulfilling your dreams but each road still is tough.

What do you do when you're on the path to extraordinary success
but you find yourself getting stuck?
Stuck on the details...
Stuck on the doubts...
Stuck on the limitations and finding a way out...

You do what it takes, day by day, to quit the worry, feel the fear, and achieve it all anyway!

In three words, you Stay Strong!

You can get your daily dose of unstoppable, inspirational, downloadable, Pump-You-Up-And-Bring-You-Back-to-The-Greatness-That-Is-You daily inspiration by becoming
a premiere Stay Strong member.

Stay Strong is for the individual who has a goal with a deadline,
plans and persistence to spare but is looking for
the momentum-building education to take life to levels
you never even dared!

Are you the one?

Become a premiere member today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are You the Ant or the Giant?

If you feel unhappy with any aspect of your career, you have the power, in this moment, to change it. Your job is more than a title and list of responsibilities. Your field is more than a profession and a series of degrees and certifications. To experience more in your career, you've got to take more control of how you work, when you work, who you work for, and what you get paid.

It is not the company's job to promote you. In today's economy, it's barely their responsibility to train you. If you desire success in terms of career growth and expansion, you have to take the bull by the horns and blaze your own career path.

How do you do that?
Work like the ant and network like the giant.

"Within every ant is a giant and within every giant is an ant."

Ants work very hard. They plan, prepare and store what they need for the winter well in advance. They can lift so much more than their own body weight and, together, as a community, they build, save and thrive.

Giants aren't as quick as ants but their mere size gives off an air of power and strength that you won't perceive in an ant at first. Perceived power brings with it a first impression of strength and, as we all know, first impressions are usually lasting impressions.

In your career, you've got to work like the ant (smarter, not harder, lifting more than your weight, planning ahead and using wisdom) but you cannot showcase this totality of effort for your entire office to see. Too many people play the martyr at work and choose to be the "workhorse" and then wonder why, when performance appraisal time comes, they're always passed up for the promotion.

If you will work twice as hard as everybody else for the same pay, what incentive are you giving the company to pay you more?

That's why you maintain your work ethic, bring in the best results but you showcase the strength and power of the giant so when people in the office see you, they don't think "Oh, he'll do the job of three people for the price of one." No, they see you relaxed, enjoying the workday, networking with senior managers and they'll wonder "How does he get so much done when he spends a lot of the time in a peaceful state? He must know somebody..."

To be a big fish in any pond, you must convey an impression of strength and power that can't be conveyed if you look like a chicken running around with his head cut off.

Work hard but don't play the workhorse;
show that you get paid just as much
for your presence as you do for your productivity.

What's Your Interior Monologue?

Success boils down to the converations you have with yourself. To stay focused and to maintain your vision, you've got to be vigilant about what you tell yourself.

Actors, when they prepare to take on specific roles, do character studies where they dive into who their characters are, their motivations, their histories, family dynamics, personality traits, etc. From that study, an actor will develop an interior monologue of thoughts that this character would think and they actually begin to think these thoughts whenever they rehearse or perform. It's called "getting into character."

In much the same way, to achieve extraordinary success, you need to monitor and rehearse your own interior monologue and fill your mind with the thoughts that will bring you success.

Examples of success driven thoughts include:
* I love and approve of myself
* Life supports me
* I am fabulous
* Every experience is a success
* I have unlimited potential
* The rough is only mental; I think victory- I get victory
* I am grateful to be alive
* Whatever comes my way, I can handle it
* I am strong
* I have everything I need to succeed
* I am a winner
* I love my life
* I flow with life
* Money comes easily and frequently
* I am a genius
* I choose peace
* I feel good
* This is a terrific day
* I am phenomenal
* I love what I do and do what I love and I'm making great money doing it
* I am more than conquerer

When you first start thinking these thoughts, it will feel like work. More than likely, you are undoing years of negative programming. As you make this a habit, whenever doubt or self criticism sneaks in, you'll know exactly what thoughts to call upon and you will say them with power until the doubt and fear melt away. Spend three weeks changing your interior monologue and see what happens.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gratitude is Built for ALL Things

Gratitude is a cornerstone of success. Having a sense of thanksgiving and praise for life is key to attracting more of what it is you're thankful for.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things: waking up, breathing, walking, talking, love, good relationships, a wonderful job but what about the not-so great things?

What about the awful boss who never promotes you?
What about the less than supportive spouse who doesn't like the idea of you starting a business? What about the whiny kids who would rather jump off the walls than take a nap for you when you really need to get work done?
What about the meddling in-laws who come over unannounced?
What about the university who's just overcharged you for last semester and who you can't get a hold of to have the billing error fixed?
What about being thankful for the not-so-great stuff?

What most of us fail to realize is this:
The "bad" experiences are our greatest teachers and
they have, within them, the most powerful leessons.

It amazes me how easy we forget our blessings when having a bad day.

I woke up this morning and things didn't go as planned.
#1- I woke up late (I'm usually up by 5 am) and I woke up at 8:30 am.
Waking up late for me is like getting to work 2 hours late for anyone with a 9-5 job. I have 2 toddlers at home right now that are up at 7:30 am and if I don't get in my meditation/prayer/power of positive thinking/work window in at the crack of dawn, it doesn't get done so today, guess what? It didn't get done.
#2- Unmeditated and very agitated, I tried to do work and get my "to-do" list done (I have a ton of to-do lists; I'm a list woman) and between the toddlers bickering, my 12 yr old asking philosophical questions (he's so smart!) and having to cook in between, very little work got done, to the point where I went into my room and cried. Yes, I cried...

Add to that the fact that the Internet was slow, my email communications provider's website wasn't working and I was feeling a slight tinge of writer's block and it was a doozy of a morning/afternoon.

Finally, I did the smart thing: I surrendered. I took a shower, said my affirmations, got dressed and took a long nap (thank God for grandmas who can watch their grandchildren). I woke up refreshed, renewed and with a very different perspective.

All morning long, I'd focused on what I wasn't able to do. I was focused on doing things my way and was completely resisting going with the flow. I was missing out on opportunities for gratitude because I was so set on seeing what wasn't working. A nap solved that issue because I rested and with rested eyes, you see things much differently.

I woke up and realized that I am so blessed. My children are healthy, happy, rambunctious and full of energy. They love life and their simple appreciation for my time teaches me how to love life as well.

I looked at my 3 year old and, for a moment, was brought back to a time when I was pregnant with her, sitting in an Ob/Gyn's office, having an ultrasound, being told that she might have Downs Syndrome. They asked me if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I flashed back to that devastating moment and, all of a sudden, I was reminded just how blessed I am. That child was born absolutely healthy, no Downs Syndrome and she is fiercely independent, fiercely vivacious, and absolutely loving. Is there any greater gift?

For the last two days, I've been thinking about a line out of Louise L. Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life." In it, she says, "Money is the easiest thing to demonstrate." The first time I read that, I thought "HUH?" but thinking about the miracle that is my daughter, I see how right she is.

You can't pay for good health. There's no amount of money you can pay to not have a child with Downs Syndrome. Love is priceless. Family is priceless. Every major thing in life that is essential to living, including breathing, is FREE.

It's time to be grateful for everything, even the bad experiences because within the bad experiences of life are miracles we may not be able to fully see until long after they've passed. I teach about extraordinary success because every day I live it. I'm learning that the extraordinary part of success comes in the ordinary aspects of living, that courage is a choice, and that gratitude is a requirement.

Joy in the storm is a life lesson; don't worry if you're not getting it the first 5,000 times a bad day hits. It comes with time and, eventually, when it storms in your life, you learn how to dance in the rain.

I wasn't dancing this morning; I'm dancing now:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"What if" you didn't say 'what if'?

One of the most annoying things I sometimes find myself doing is what I call the "what if" mentality. You've been there... You have a situation occur, you take time to make a decision. Even as you make the decision, you're still up in the air, you decide and then you spend at least two weeks going over in your mind all the "what ifs."

What if I'd done this?
What if I'd not done that?
What if I waited?
Would it have turned down differently if...

Oy vey! The list could go on forever.

The "what if" mentality will drive you crazy if you let it. I'm learning how to let go of the "what ifs" and say "Woulda/shoulda/coulda", so what? What's done is done. Now what?

I love John Maxwell because he says there's a difference between problem spotting and problem solving. When you're stuck in the "what if" mentality, you're problem spotting, i.e. you're identifying all the things that are wrong and you're not looking for any of the opportunities that exist right now (let alone actively pursuing them). Problem solving is where you take ownership and responsibility but you do not judge or blame yourself. You say, "Ok, I made a decision, didn't come out quite like I wanted. What's my next move?"

It isn't always easy to make that transition but I have a "what if" catcher in my mind. Anytime I start to drift to past experiences or present circumstances and start to think things like "I should've done this or that", I stop myself and say "But what am I going to do now to get to where I want to go?" and no matter how much my mind wants to return to the blame/shame/guilt game of "what if", I keep coming back to the same question, "Now what?'

If you stay with the "Now what?" and leave the "what if" behind, you'll find that you're much more positive, much more productive, and, before long, you're out of whatever situation you got yourself into.

Cut out the "what if" mentality. The question doesn't serve and there never is an answer to what could've been. Either way, it's not what happened and you'll never get a chance to live that exact moment again.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Verbal Kick in the Pants

Discouraging comments are fabulous motivators.

Someone threw a belittling comment my way the other day and, for about thirty minutes, I was hurt... and mad. After about five minutes of saying to myself "Feeling this way won't get you what you want", I forced myself to get real:

#1- I was taking the comment personally. I knew that what this person said was about that person, not me and, yet, I was making this very personal.

#2- If one comment could irk me this much, in some way, shape, or form, it had to hit home. There was something here I needed to look at.

#3- To make this issue a "non-issue", I needed a perspective adjustment and, more than likely, an action realignment.

Within an hour's time, I worked out my issues with the comment and came out of the whole thing extremely grateful.


Because the comment pinpointed an area in my life that needed serious work and, if someone else hadn't struck the chord of discontent, I would've lived on ignoring the fact that it was there.

At times, we like to behave as if the changeable things in our lives aren't in urgent need of changing, as if living "ok" is fine for the meantime when it couldn't be farther from the truth.

If there's anything in your life that's keeping you from extraordinary success, it's a BIG deal. But, until you see it as urgent, it won't move to the top of your priority list... and that's where discouraging comments come in.

Sometimes you have to hear the unadulterated, exaggerated, oftetimes blunt truth from someone else to wake up to the call to action that's quietly been asking you to DO SOMETHING.

You might not heed your own inner calling to change but when someone else throws it in your face in a way that sets you off, don't get mad. Get grateful. That person didn't insult you; they inspired you.

The question is:
What are you going to do now?

Friday, July 10, 2009

They Don't Get It...

Some of the biggest critics of your dream share your DNA. They may even look like you. Whether you sleep next to them or see them every Thanksgiving, these are the people who knew you first, know you best and care about you most.

So why, then, are they also the same people who appear to doubt, dismiss or try to destroy your dreams? Why does it seem like, of all the people you tell your goals to, they're the only ones telling you the 999 reasons why your plan won't work?

The relationship between your dreams and your family is a complicated one. On the one hand, your family wants only the best for you. They know you deserve the best and they believe in your ability to get it. On the other hand, your family members are over-invested in your well-being. They want you to be safe, happy and free from rejection or pain. Combine that with their own personal hangups, fears, past failures and beliefs that only certain kinds of successes are worth pursuing and you've got biased individuals who give more credence to their opinions than you ever need to.

The problem with family is not that they say or do discouraging things.
It's that we buy into it.

Anytime you make anyone else's opinion of you more important than your opinion of yourself, you turn over the controls of your life to that person. You give your power to them by allowing your passion to be diffused by their position.

Don't do it!

Family patterns are set by the time children hit 5 years of age. As an adult, you might find it difficult to redefine the relationship boundaries between yourself and a parent, a sibling, or a spouse. It might feel a little like a betrayal to say "This is me. I'm doing what I feel is best."

Keep in mind two things:
1- You never have to explain.
When a family member starts to offer unasked for advice, simply say "I'll consider that" (even if you won't), and change the subject. The moment you start to explain why you're doing what you're doing, you become 7 again and you're back to trying to convince your parents to let you wear a certain outfit to school tomorrow.

2- Don't share your vision with people who can't see.
You may desire to share your dreams with your family. You may long for their approval and support but understand that they, in all sincerity, cannot support a dream they don't understand. It's not their fault. They aren't being consciously malicious. It's simply a matter of vision. If they don't "get" it, they don't have the full capacity to back it. Keep your vision to yourself until it shines forth so bright that everyone will see it.

A special note about spouses...

If you have an unsupportive spouse (i.e. a spouse who discourages you from pursuing your dreams), you have to take a renegade approach to furthering your goals by doing three things:

1- Don't take it personally.
Whatever your spouse is saying about your goals has everything to do with how he/she feels about him/herself and nothing to do with your actual capability in achieving the goals. Notice that when your spouse's mood changes so too does his/her level of support in your dreams. Again, opinions are cheap. Tune your spouse out.

2- Don't stop.
There is a tendency, on the part of some spouses, to delay or even halt pursuing a dream in the hopes that the unsupportive spouse will one day be "ready." That day may never come. #1- God didn't give that dream to your spouse; He gave it to you. #2- Your spouse may not have the judgment, righteousness, and capacity to adequately assess your goals; in fact, given the clear point that he/she is emotionally tied to you, your spouse is too partial to be wise counsel. #3- As long as what you're doing is edifying the family and changing people's lives in a positive direction, what's the problem? Unless it has more to do with your spouse's ego than your ambition... Think about it...

3- Do evaluate your motives.
Take a very close look at why you're pursuing what your pursuing. Is this in the best interest of your family? Is this going to improve your household or hurt it? Is this a calling on your life or is this a wish you'd like to fulfill just because? You have to do the soul searching required to give you a faith and courage strong enough to keep going, even if your spouse decides not to go on the journey with you.

Final Point
At the end of the day, it's not your family's life. It's your life and the only one who can live it is you. You have to trust your intuition, go with your own choices and take responsibility for living your best life. No one else can do that for you and if you turn the reins of your life over to other people's opinions, your regrets will still be yours to bare. No one else is going to have to live your life but you so make sure that you're doing the living of it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What to Do About "Fair Weather" Friends

Remember all those times growing up when your mother pointed a finger and said "You are the company you keep"? She was right.

Time is precious which makes selecting friends an important, selective process. But how do you know who your real friends are?

One word: listen. If you spend enough time letting people talk, they will always show you who they really are. I'm not a fan of "fair weather" friends, people who are there to do lunch and shopping on a Saturday but have an early morning and are too busy to talk on a Sunday when you're having a serious family issue.

No one said friends have to be therapists. Friends who drain you of life energy with their endlessly dramatic "Woe is me" stories are not friends you need. Neither are the "Yeah, but..." friends. These are the people who bring you their troubles and no matter how many solutions you offer (hell, Oprah could be standing in front of them offering solutions), their response is always the same: "Yeah, but..."

Being a true friend is about being supportive,
not getting used.

In the same vane, eliminate your "fair weather" friends, the people who'll stay on the phone for hours seeking YOUR advice but always have to go after five minutes when you have a problem that needs solving or the friends who love to be friends when there's no significant other in the picture. However, once the next 'flavor of the month' comes along, they drop you like it's hot... or the friends who love to have you as a friend because you are Mrs. or Mr. So & So with Such & Such firm, living in a prestigious neighborhood, driving the fancy car. Once your social status goes, so will they.

So why am I talking about friendship on a site dedicated to building extraordinary success?

Because you are the company you keep. If you're expending your energy worried about other people's problems, annoyed by other people's lack of empathy, embroiled in 'Keeping up with the Jones', where's the energy to pursue your dreams?

The people in your inner circle will either help you or hurt you; there is no neutral. Be sure your friends are built-in sources of inspiration, aspiration and joy.

If they bring more grief than comic relief,
kick them to the curb!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are You Tired of Hiding?

I've fallen off the exercise/fitness bandwagon. I'm a fitness junkie, a former personal trainer, and I've fallen off the wagon. It's been two weeks since I've worked out and about a month since my nutrition has been somewhat decent and I feel YUCKY! I always know the moment my body is out of proportion. The second I go into sweatpants rather than mini-skirts, flowy, pregnancy looking tops rather than tight knit tees, I know something's up.

I feel like I'm hiding... from my own body. So now I've spent the last couple of days saying affirmations, reading "You Can Heal Your Life" and I know all the mental patterns behind weight: protection of the self, security, blah blah blah blah blah and the question keeps coming up for me, "Why am I not back on track?"

Frustrating is the word! FRUSTRATING!!!!! But... There's a lesson here and I'm determined to find it, learn it and teach it so here we go...

Hiding is easy. Most people do it. We hide behind our degrees, our families, our careers, our weight, our 'niceness' but hiding never equated to joy. When you hide, you lose the opportunity to be seen. Well, you don't lose it; you reject it.

Hiding serves one purpose: it allows you to be less than who you are.

How do you hide?

It may not be weight. It may not be social status. It may not be your kids. But if you feel like you aren't 100% of who you are, you're hiding in some place, in some way in your life.

What I want to do is not point to the hiding but open up to it. There's nothing wrong with it! As kids, we play hide-and-go-seek. Why? Because the finding is SO MUCH FUN!

So now I'm finding myself, asking the questions, looking within, and I see that this, for me, is not about extra weight on my hips but extra pressure on my shoulders and what I'm doing right now to deal with the weight (besides developing new workout and nutrition regimens) is giving myself permission to hide. I give myself permission to go within so I can re-discover and come out... in divine right timing.

I know myself. I'll get back into prime shape. I know I will. It's not happening as fast as I would like but it's all happening right on time. In the meantime, I'm going to love myself right where I am. My heart beats, my eyes see and my feet move. The rest of it is on its way!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Learning What Your Best Is

"Always do your best."

It is the fourth agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book and it's a principle that most people overthink. Don Miguel Ruiz helps to eliminate the complication by saying the following:

"Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best- no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself and it will take you longer to accomplish your goals. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt and regrets."

Doing your best, in all cases, requires 3 things:
1- You give your all to what you do
2- You understand that mastery comes with practice
3- You can appreciate your results and view them within the context of your present situation

1- You give your all to what you do
A divided mind will not produce fabulous results. Learning how to be present in any and all situations is key. Being present means you are focused on what you're doing. Whether it's washing the dishes, driving a car or writing a book, your mind is fixed on completing the task at hand to the best of your ability. Add to that your energy and passion. Not only are you focused on what you're doing but you're excited in the process of doing it. You know how much benefit will come from this activity (for yourself and others) and you can't wait to hit completion and share it with the world. That's called giving your all.

2- You understand that mastery comes with practice.
Rome wasn't built in a day. A big part of doing your best comes in acknowledging that your best is and will get better with practice. The "best" is subject to where you are in your life and since where you are is always changing so too will your best. Cultivating the best begins with saying to yourself "There's always more to learn and I'm open and willing to change." The moment you start saying "I don't need to learn that. I got it", you've shut yourself off from new levels of success. Doing your best is a process of lifelong learning and continuous improvement.

3- You can appreciate your results and view them within the context of your present situation
In the quest for success, don't dismiss your current results. Every day contains success within it. Celebrate your successes. Savor your wins. Bask in your growth. Focusing too much on getting to the "next" level keeps you out of the present moment and the present moment is where your success is created.

"But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next."
- Don Miguel Ruiz

It's also important to cut yourself some slack in what you define as your "best." Your "best" will be different when you are sick versus vell, when you're single living alone versus married with three children under the age of 5, at age 5 versus 25 versus 45. Do not set up unrealistic expectations that, in your current situation, you cannot achieve. You will be exhausted, frustrated, and, at the end of the day, less productive than if you'd set up realistic goals.

A slower pace is by no means a less successful pace. All roads, when accompanied by passion, planning and persistence, lead to success. Your best is your best. Your job is to create, cultivate, and celebrate your best by living and giving IN the present moment.

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