Category Archives: Personal Development

What’s Your Word for 2018?

Do you think of a theme or a word for each year? It’s a great exercise someone recently mentioned to me. I’ve decided that this year’s theme for me is evolution. It’s one of my core words anyway and it feels appropriate for this year as well.

One of my favorite sayings is “Life is change. Change is constant. Growth is optional.” I’ve lived by this for many years now. I believe that life happens FOR us not TO us. When we can make this mental shift, we drop the victim mentality and start to think that the Universe has our back, even through the challenges and tough times, which if you are breathing, you WILL have! It’s a part of the human experience.

It is often through the toughest times that we can grow and evolve the most. It somehow forces us to dig deep inside and find what we need to make it through the challenges. At least that has been my experience.

So choosing growth, choosing to evolve, and leaning into trust that things are going to work out for you in the long run, makes it possible to be strong and resilient through whatever life may throw your way. We ALL have an inner core strength of courage and those difficult times helps you to grow.

Growth of course can happen in good times as well. It seems like when you are reaching for goals, dreams, and desires that are outside of your comfort zone, you learn to expand your comfort zone to make it bigger. And guess, what? It stays there!

Two years ago when I released my personal story, 1,352 Days, I ended up all over the media in Sweden. I was on radio and TV shows, even LIVE TV, doing interviews in Swedish (holy cow!! that was a HUGE stretch for me!). For most of the interviews, I was pretty calm inside and the reason is because I was (and still am) very purpose driven. I knew that I had a message to share and get out into the world and if I could use my personal story of immense challenges to inspire others, and to share that no matter what happens, choose love over fear, then I was willing to expand my comfort zone as far as I needed. That was a year of huge evolution to me.

I believe that our world is going through a HUGE evolution right now as well. It seems like so many people I know are having to deal with their emotional baggage, issues that they might not have dealt with or wanted to deal with. But now is the time for each of us to do the internal clearing and healing. Watching what has happened with the #MeToo movement all over the world is both bringing up issues and (hopefully) healing for those who have experienced any sort of harassment.

It is time for us to embrace the changes, to consciously create the world we want to live in, and to take our power back—both individually and collectively. Together we are stronger. We have the opportunity to step into our best selves and we are evolving.

So what is your word for 2018?

Why is Knowing Your Purpose So Important?

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born…and the day you find out why. ~Mark Twain

It is essential to know why you do what you do. This is your purpose. And when the purpose is clear and communicated to everyone in a way that is understood, everyone is on the same boat, so to speak and can move forward in the right direction.

Like building a house and putting down a strong foundation, this is the first foundation block to creating an Amazing Company.

A company is a system, just as an individual, a family, and even the Universe. When you know how to optimize the system, you bring the best into your world. A big part of this is in knowing why you exist. In the business world, it is the reason why the company exists.

Here are a few examples of great purposes from our model companies that we feature in our book, Engage!:

– TOMS Shoes—it is a “One For One” movement; not a shoe.

– MindValley—it is about “Pushing Humanity Forward” and optimizing human potential through personal development products and education.

– HCL Technologies—putting “Employees First, Customers Second” has taken this global technology company to $4 billion in revenues in 3 years—and the primary focus has shifted to their people.

– Southwest—giving their customers the “Freedom to Fly” drives their business forward and give clarity to all business decisions.

– Achievers—they are “Changing The Way The World Works” through recognition.

The clear purpose is one of the key foundational elements that you can build your company on… and your life too. When a company is not in touch with its purpose, it will be lost.

Why do you do what you do? Let’s say you’re an executive of a company. You want to make a good living.

  • Why is that? Because you want to live a good life and take care of your family.
  • Why is that? Because you want to make them happy.
  • Why is that? Because it’ll make you feel good.
  • Why is that? Because you want to be happy too.

When anyone does this exercise on a personal level, eventually we end up with just a few core reasons: love, happiness, and peace.

It’s a simple exercise and it shows that even though we all come from different walks of life, we all have the same core desires within us…which doesn’t make us so different from each other after all.

A purpose statement is like a compass—guiding you on the path to reach your destination. A company may have a purpose well defined, but the important question to ask is this:

Is it a purpose that will inspire others to take action?

If not, it is probably not the bigger purpose. We can lift a company’s purpose to a much higher level just by asking “and why do we do that?” several times until you discover that higher purpose for being. Knowing the purpose then becomes the guiding light for smooth sailing. The same is true on a personal level.

After going through so many difficult years, I now know my purpose is “Bringing Joy To The World” by teaching all that I have learned along the way through my books, courses, programs, etc. Even Jim Carrey, one of the funniest people alive, has his own personal purpose defined very clearly—“Free People From Concern”.

A clearly defined purpose statement is the foundation to building a purpose driven life and a purpose driven company.

What In The Heck Are You Asking?!

The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.

Let me explain what I mean by that. I’ve come to see recently that we are all asking questions to ourselves all the time. Those questions are determined by the filters of our experiences and programs that we have lived our lives by. This explains why some people can be crushed by a situation and others rise above and thrive through the same circumstances. It all comes down to the questions we’re running in our minds.

I was put into a horrific situation where my life changed 180 degrees in a matter of seconds—from a dedicated mom of two beautiful young girls a nd a successful business woman with a concrete plan to expand her company internationally…to sitting in a 10×12 cell in a high security jail with total uncertainty and fear, completely isolated from her family while my daughters were growing up with me. This situation lasted almost FOUR years! I would never wish this on anyone!

In the first months, I often asked myself:

  1. Why is this happening to me?
  2. What have I done to deserve this?
  3. When is this ever going to end?

In order to survive, I immersed myself in reading anything positive I could get my hands on. It became a personal development bootcamp in the highest regard for me and I began to see the world differently. As I searched for my inner strength and courage, I began asking different questions:

  1. What is the higher purpose to this situation?
  2. What can I learn from this challenge?
  3. How can I serve others while I’m here?

My questions changed from a “victim mentality” to a “victor mentality” and I became strong. I was able to stay focused on my dream and my deep faith that it would come true: my charges would all be dropped, I’d walk out of the building I was in, and return home to my family where I belonged and that I would be there to raise my daughters. Although it took a long time…that was exactly what did end up happening.

Are you aware of the type of questions you are asking yourself? What would happen if you changed them to more empowering questions? How are you reacting to the situations that come up in your life?

Things just happen. But then we label them according to how we view the world. So a situation can be a big problem where you focus on what is going wrong…or it can be an opportunity where you focus on the solution.

Successful people always find the solutions that drive them through their challenges. They grow, develop, and become better people because of everything that they have experienced. Others who focus on what is wrong all the time can easily become angry, bitter, and stuck, which only perpetuates their situation for the worse.

A leadership mentor explained to me once how it really is essential to bring in light into any situation and not focus on clearing out the negative stuff, because if you bring in enough positive energy and enthusiasm, the problems and negativity will dissipate naturally. It helped me to realize just how powerful we really are and that we have the ability to determine the quality of our lives by the choices we make and by questions we ask.

Here is a powerful exercise: practice saying everything you say in a positive way. Sounds easy at first, but it can also take some effort because unfortunately, our world often conditions us to see the worst! Stating things positively is a great place to start becoming aware of the questions you are running through your head and why.

My final question to you now is: are you paying attention to what the heck you’re asking yourself and how can you change those questions so that they serve you in a positive way?

11 Easy Steps to an Inspiring Life

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many sources. Let’s keep it simple. When you choose to be on a quest to find inspiring information, you can really change the way you look at the world.

I’ve learned on my journey that we need to be discerning about the information we take in, especially the visual images and what we read. It’s a concept I call “Feed Your Brain,” because like all things, we must nuture to grow and be the best versions of ourselves.

If you are constantly bombarded by negative news, images, and information, it brings you down. It’s hard not to be depressed by that. And our mainstream media thrives on bad news. As they say, if it “bleeds, it leads”. Defaulting to our fear based instincts worked back in the cave days when our lives depended on paying attention to the threats of our environment. It was our survival instincts that kicked in and kept us alive.

Our societies have moved on from this. However, our automatic reactions haven’t—unless you actively work on it. When you become aware that most things are not a threat to your survival, you can choose to respond from an entirely different perspective. You can recondition your brain to look at what’s going well, instead of always looking at what is going wrong or could go wrong.

This brings me back to our quest for inspiration and joy. Here are 11 easy tips to change your mindset and start to recondition your brain so that you can have an inspiring life:

1) Stop watching the news. Read the paper or news online. It’s easier to skim headlines and choose to take in what is of interest to you. Choose to read good news instead. Imagine that any information you take in is like food for your brain. Feed your brain inspiring and positive things and you will feel so much better!

2) Spend time in nature. Get connected to the natural beauty that is abundant in our world. Walk barefoot whenever you can, this is called “earthing” and studies show that just a few minutes a day connecting to the earth this way helps reduce stress and lowers blood pressure. It actually helps get your electromagnetic resonance in tune with the earth.

3) Pay full attention when having a conversation. Often we listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. We are thinking about the next thing we are going to say instead of truly listening and understanding what the person is saying to us. Practice conscious listening and you’ll feel a difference in the connection and relationship.

4) Know what inspires you – and then act on it. If reading books makes you feel good, do it. Going to conferences, do it. Listening to good music and dancing like a manic in the privacy of your home, then DO IT! Whatever you love to do, put these things into your daily life.

5) Laugh, laugh, and laugh more. Laughter is the best medicine. It raises your energy, makes you feel good, and releases endorphins, helps you deal with stress, breaks up the tension…the list of benefits goes on forever with this one. Watching babies laughing on youtube is one of my favorites here. Just don’t take life so seriously anymore. It’s all going to work out for the highest good for you.

6) Be aware of how you are feeling. Using the Joyometer (www.Joyometer.com) is a great tool to help you check in on a regular basis to monitor your feelings throughout the day. If you can stay in the positive emotions coming from love 51% of the time on a minimum, you’ll be bringing your dreams and goals into your life.

7) Choose love over fear. All of us have a choice in how we respond to circumstances and situations. Instead of allowing our survival instincts to drive our lives, we can pause and ask, how can this situation serve me? What can I learn here? What would be the best response? You may never have control over circumstances, but when you understand that always have control over how you respond, you become very empowered. You become the creator of your life instead of the “victim” of circumstances.

8) Surround yourself with supporters. It is said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Often times, we have some of our toughest relationships that serve to bring us the greatest lessons. Be aware of who you spend time with most—are they living the life you desire to experience? Are they giving you energy, or do you feel drained just by spending time with them? You can minimize the time spent with those energy drainers (I call them energy vampires because they suck your energy out of you) and make an effort to find those who make you feel happy, inspired, and joyful.

9) Do what you love to do. The great equalizer in life is time—we all only have 24 hours in a day. If you aren’t doing work you love, you are not living fully. Figure out your passions. Know your values. Discover your true purpose. And then find work that allows you to express that. Our work is an extension of ourselves, it is our opportunity to create and bring into this world our talents and gifts that no one else has.

10) Be playful and imaginative. As children, we have wonderful imaginations and know how to play. As we grow up, we lose that sense of playfulness. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Richard Branson is willing to dress up as a flight attendant on a dare. What can you do to bring more playfulness into your life? And spending time day dreaming is a great use of your time. Every man made object in this world first started as a thought in someone’s mind. Dream about the life you want to have and the experiences you desire. Before you know it, you’ll be living it!

11) Practice gratitude. All successful people have a high degree of appreciation for life. They are able to take the challenges and see the opportunities that lie within them. When you focus on what is going well by using gratitude, you can shift your mindset and get yourself to a positive frame of mind. For every complaint, come up with 3 good things to counter balance the situation. All situations serve us on some level so look for the lessons and move on.

You have the power and everything you need within yourself to be the best that you can be. Get inspired and you’ll inspire others too. So what is your next step?

Love With a Scientific Twist

Love is the essence of who we all are. It’s the one thing we all have in common that we want and need to have in our lives…and often feel like we are lacking the most. Love to me is an acronym: Living On Vibrant Energy. Because love is vibrant energy flowing through you and into your life.

In the Bringing Joy series of picture books, Joy shows how we can “plug” into Source energy, which is the same as love. When we are feeling like we are lacking in love, it is only because we are “unplugged” in some way from that vibrant energy.

We can’t see electricity but we know it’s there and that it words for us. It’s the same with Source energy or love. We can’t see it but we know when we feel it or have it in our lives.

The Institute of Heartmath has been studying the heart and its mysteries for almost 20 years. Their findings are fascinating. Did you know that:

  • The heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions
  • The human heart’s electromagnetic field can be measured up to several feet away from the body
  • Positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body
  • You can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions
  • Negative emotions can create nervous system chaos but positive emotions do the opposite
  • The heart has a system of neurons that have both short and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences
  • In fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed
  • The mother’s brainwaves can synchronize with her baby’s heartbeats
  • The heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa
  • Positive emotions help the brain in creativity and innovative problem solving
  • Positive emotions can increase the brain’s ability to make good decisions
  • That the heart’s electromagnetic field is approximately 60 times stronger than the brain

The Institute of Heartmath is teaching about coherence and how to reach it. This is essentially when your heart is open and you are experiencing a state of love and gratitude. Love and gratitude are the strongest positive emotions.

Another book I highly recommend is Hidden Message in Water by Emoto Masaru. He looks at the world from the camera lens of capturing crystals as they are forming on freezing water. He has also discovered that love and gratitude create the most beautiful crystals.

It’s very exciting to see so much research happening about love, our hearts, our emotions, and how we can learn to use all this knowledge to better our lives.