Category Archives: Personal Development

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.

What is Your Great Vision?

Having a vision, a goal, and staying focused on it is one of the most powerful creation tools we can use when we want to proactive create our lives. Our minds are incredible.

Our imagination is a tool that we can use to create anything in our lives! Being able to visualize and actually see and feel yourself experiencing a better life will help you to bring it into reality. Our thoughts are charged with a frequency that we send out into the quantum field and that brings into our life that same experience. Anything is possible when you understand how to work with the spiritual laws of the Universe!

We are energy magnets creating our lives all the time. We have the power to choose our thoughts. That is the key to manifesting what you desire. Your vision is you placing an order with the Universe. And the more often you can see yourself there with the strong feelings of it being real, the more powerful your dream will become, and the sooner it will come into being. However, it is important to release any expectation of time and allow it to happen in the perfect time.

This is why visualization is such a powerful tool for us. Seeing things in our minds helps us to believe it is possible and it is proven that the brain cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality. Then we must take the next step and truly believe that it will come to pass (faith). After that, we must release it and trust that it will come to us in the right time (acceptance and allowing).

As soon as we put an expectation of time onto a desire, we can set ourselves up for disappointment or discouragement—that’s when we are lacking in patience and higher understanding. Know that everything will resolve itself one way or another. And believe in that immense power that we all have within.

Even in my biggest moments of doubt when I was separated from my family for so many years, I meditated and continued to see myself going home—the answer I kept getting was that I was going home.

I held onto that vision and believed in it with all of my heart. But I had to learn to let go of time and of any expectations. It had to happen in its own time. This was a hard lesson to learn. Acceptance of this certainly came in handy during that time and now is one of the ways I can manage my life now.

My question to you is: what is your great vision now? What dreams are waiting to become your reality?

5 Ways to Get The Best Out of the Next Year

Girl jumps to the New Year 2017 at sunset.
In these hectic days of busy-ness, the best present you can give to yourself is to take a little time to evaluate your life. If we don’t do this regularly, time will disappear and before you know it, years have gone by and you’ll wonder where it went. Rather than allowing your life to slip through the sands of time, take a little time on a regular basis to evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Personally, I generally do the following activities at the New Year, my birthday (which is in March), and at the end of summer when I’m gearing up to finish the year. I recommend at the very minimum, annually, but quarterly or even monthly is great.

Here are some simple ways that you can keep your life on track moving forward towards the experiences you want to have. Take out a piece of paper or better yet, write this down in a journal so you can come back to it in the future to reflect back.

1. Write down your top goals that you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Just the act of putting it down on paper makes it more concrete and the odds of these things happening increase dramatically. In fact, only 3% of people actually write down their goals and according to a study of Harvard students, that 3% will make ten times more than the other 97% put together!

2. Write down how you want to FEEL in the coming months. Get in touch with the emotions and feelings you want to have as your dominate feelings. Whether it is love, happiness, joy, abundance, peace, fun, excitement, passion, or whatever is important to you, bringing this awareness to how you are feeling is going to keep you on track of situations that are in line with these feelings—nor even more importantly, situations that are NOT in alignment with these core emotions.

3. Write down what experiences you want to have. Be specific, dream big, bring fun into this. What are the things you’re dreaming about doing in your life. There is absolutely no time better than NOW to start experiencing it. Life is about living…not settling or waiting until the time is right or you have enough money/time/freedom/ability/insert your reasons here to make it happen. The dynamic about creating your life is that you need to be clear and specific about you want, set the intention to make it happen, and then guess what? It has a much higher likelihood of happening!

4. Write down how you want to give back in your life. The key to bring joy into your life and creating the life you want to live is directly tied into how you want to give back. Your ability to receive grows as you give. And as you give, you help others feel good which in turn makes you feel good too. The more interactive this is, the better. Although it is nice to write a check to your favorite charity, it doesn’t have nearly the positive impact energetically on you versus going down to the local soup kitchen and helping to feed the homeless during the holidays or reading for children at the local library. These are just examples—come up with what feels right for you.

5. Write down how you are going to take care of yourself and get committed. We only have one body and it is important to take care of it. So whether that means eating healthier foods, getting regular exercise, sleeping better, having more fun, nurturing relationships more, think about how you can take care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Often people think it is selfish to put yourself before others but in fact, it is the exact opposite. When you take good care of yourself, you have more to give to others.

When you take good care of yourself, you have more to give to others.
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dream big, set goals, take action - inspirational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

Once you’ve written these 5 ways to get the most out of the coming year, think about all you’ve accomplished, and how far you’ve come so far. Celebrate your progress and know that you are getting in the driver’s seat of your life. You become empowered when you stop and take a little time for this reflection. And dream about how you want to experience your life. Because everything that we can imagine and dream about, we can bring into our experiences if we stay focused, determined, committed, and loving the path we’ve chosen to take. Good luck and here’s to making your dream life come true!