Are You Living at 2% Battery Life? How to Create Reserves to Help You Avoid Burnout and Achieve Peak Performance

Nothing warms my heart more than spending time with my kids. Recently, my youngest son Rock was home for 6 weeks over Christmas break. I love having him here and I’m fortunate that at 19 he makes time to pencil me into his busy social calendar.

As much as I love Rock being home, he has one habit that drives me nuts; no, it’s not the clothes left on the bathroom floor, not the dirty dishes I find in the morning from his midnight snacks, not even the fact that his room is unrecognizable due to clutter: empty potato chip bags, clothes, candy wrappers, Taco Bell leftovers or soda cans - none of that bothers me. My pet peeve is that he lives his life at 2%. I’m talking about the battery life on his phone.

It’s not for lack of resources. I bought him a Mophie charging base, he has a phone charger in the car, his bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen; still, his phone is either at a perpetual state of 2% or dead.

Before you are quick to judge Rock, what areas of your life are you living at 2%? What reserves of battery life do you constantly operate on?

Create Reserves to Help You Achieve Peak Performance - Transform UniversityReserves

To function at a peak performance level, you must establish reserves in your life. Reserves enable you to have more than what you need in key areas that affect the quality of your life. Having strong reserves in place gives you independence because they create abundance and breathing room for you.

With reserves in place, you have the freedom to choose how you want to spend your time and you have the resources to do so. This is a far cry from always being rushed, stressed, or leaking energy; living life in the fast lane. When you don’t have margins set up, your reserve tanks fall dangerously low and you risk running on fumes; constantly being in survival mode which is a far cry from peak performance.

Can you envision what your life would be like if you had margins in the following key areas?

  • Time
  • Finances
  • Sleep/Rest
  • Ideas
  • Energy
  • Healthy Emotions

Human Reserve Gauge

We are equipped with 100% full battery life on our phones. We know when we are at 50%, 30% or as in Rock’s case, 2% battery life because it shows up on our home screen. Wouldn’t it be great to have the same digital indicator in our bodies? The fact of the matter is we do, but unfortunately, we don’t know how to read the gauge very well.

  • Overwhelmed? Battery life at 2%.
  • That stress headache you got last week? Battery life at 2%.
  • The cold you caught trying to meet endless deadlines? Battery life at 2%.
  • The financial crunch you’re experiencing - causing you to lose sleep? Battery life at 2%.
  • Not able to find clarity and focus? Battery life at 2%.

What is it costing you to live your life at 2%? How can you start building much-needed margins into your life? Let’s take a look at intentionally building reserves for yourself.

Designing Reserves

Unfortunately, reserves are not automatically built into us. Thankfully, you have the power to create them. There are some key factors that serve as anchors to help you establish and sustain reserves for your life.

Commitment

There is power in commitment. When you commit to something, you wrap your belief system in the decision. The simple act of resolve allows you to take ownership of what you’ve chosen to do. This, in turn, increases your self-confidence and enhances performance.

That’s the power of commitment; it changes what you believe and consequently your results.

Self-Awareness

To start creating reserves, it’s important that you take time to evaluate where you are now in each of the areas mentioned previously and see where you want to be. Do you feel?

  • Washed-out
  • So-so
  • Okay
  • Good
  • Energized

Focus

Consider the areas in your life that you want to create reserves in. Which area would serve you best right now? If you are experiencing quite a bit of stress due to debt, finances might be a good starting place for you. If you are constantly tired, sleep and rest might be where you want to begin.

3 Steps to Building Reserves

1. Imagine a Full Reserve Gauge

Envision what a 100% battery life looks like to you in each area you have chosen. For example, if your first category is to build a reserve of energy, write down what that looks and feels like to you.

For me, having high energy levels feels like:

  1. I’m rested.
  2. I’m in control of my thoughts.
  3. I don’t feel like I’m dragging, drained, or exhausted.
  4. Life is not moving at such a high rate of speed.

Basically, I feel in control.

2. Action Steps

Make a list of the steps you must take to build that reserve. Staying with the energy example, my action steps would be to:

  1. Create a nighttime routine to get to bed earlier.
  2. Recognize when my mind is worrying and reframe toxic thoughts.
  3. Practice the *Pomodoro Technique to increase my productivity.
  4. Eat clean.
  5. Train at the gym.
  6. Schedule a half day a week to organize my paperwork.
  7. Schedule one day a week to rest and reset myself.

3. Measurements

List measurements to determine what a full reserve is for you. My milestones, still using the energy example, would be:

  1. Getting 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Having my quiet time in the morning.
  3. Having the majority of my meals prepped.
  4. Getting six workouts a week in.
  5. Having fewer piles of papers, sticky notes, and books on my desk.
  6. Staying ahead of my deadlines instead of finishing them at the 11th

Start with one category at a time until you have selected all the ones that benefit you.

Mindset

Creating Reserves For Your Life - Transform University Personal DevelopmentNever underestimate the role your mind plays in peak performance. You want to consider the big picture of your life. Creating reserves is not a superficial or task-oriented activity. Reserves go much deeper than a to-do list. Honestly, having margin in your life creates a coveted lifestyle and is part of the essence of who you are. Margin is also a key player in your purpose because it allows you to be more and to give more to others.

When you are 19 like Rock and live life at 2%, it might be okay for a while. However, I know from personal experience and can guarantee you that eventually it will catch up to you and you will suffer from burnout. Think about what that could potentially cost you in time, energy, relationships, your health, and finances.

I hope you commit to creating reserves in key areas of your life where you are experiencing low battery issues. I guarantee you that the benefits will far outweigh the short amount of time involved in setting them up. You will feel better than you ever thought possible, your performance will excel, and your life will never be the same.

“Margin in your life is not something that just happens. You have to fight for it.” - Michael Hyatt

*The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that has increased my productivity tremendously. I use it and my clients use it with great results. It is a very simple system to follow that focuses on splitting tasks into timed intervals throughout the day. Here is the link if you are interested: https://cirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique

If You’re Doing These 2 Things…You’re Not Living Up to Your Potential or Leaving a Legacy for Others

I was standing confidently on the edge of a very steep cliff overlooking the breathtaking Pacific Bay 80 feet below me. With adrenaline rushing through my body, my feet were firmly planted on the ledge between the famous two cliffs in Acapulco, Mexico known as La Quebrada.

Taking one last deep breath, I raised my arms overhead, bent my knees and started to jump up and dive head first between the rocky, uneven cliffs. Suddenly, someone grabbed me by my waist and yanked me off the ledge. In disbelief, I said, “Mom?”

I couldn’t understand why my mom was frantically screaming at me and pulling me off the jagged ledge. I soon discovered why. In reality, I was not at the cliffs of La Quebrada. I was a 7-year old child climbing the rod iron railing on the 4th story of our hotel room in Mexico.

I had been sleepwalking…again.

Are you Sleepwalking?

Although you might not be mimicking professional high divers in Acapulco, you may very well be in a constant cycle of sleepwalking through life. If you are, take heart because you are not alone. Sadly, most people live their lives without any intentionality or a deep sense of purpose; waking up every morning and robotically punching the timeclock of life. They allow life to happen to them and react to their circumstances rather than creating vibrant, thriving environments in which to live.

What does it take to wake up and break the cycle? For some, it comes in the form of a stinging slap in the face: a job loss, breakup, or financial crisis. For others, it’s a gnawing in their gut that something vital is missing and they want more out of life: more joy, more fulfillment, more significance.

There are two key areas that I consistently see people sleepwalking:

  1. Not being committed to their personal growth.
  2. Not living in the present.

Neglecting both of these areas carry potentially damaging social, professional and emotional life consequences.

How can you recognize whether or not you’re sleepwalking through life? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time do you spend worrying about the future or stuck in the past?
  • Is your mind frequently swept away by powerful thoughts and emotions?
  • Do you have a vibrant sense of purpose?
  • Do you live by a clearly defined mission statement for your life?

If you can relate to any of these questions, chances are you might be sleepwalking.

IMG_7143Consequences of Sleepwalking

Another question to ponder,

“How is sleepwalking impacting your life?”

I’ve personally both lived and seen the effects of mindlessly walking through life, without a sense of meaning or purpose; merely going through the motions. How can this impact your life? Many people find themselves frustrated in relationships because they don’t have a clear understanding of who they are or what they want. They make life choices based on past experiences, a flawed belief system, or from a position of ignorance.

Some people settle for a career that is unfulfilling because they are unaware of their strengths, talents, or true motivators. Others are in a constant state of being bombarded by stress and anxiety; feeling that they have no control over their lives.

What’s the solution? The answer is very simple; it’s time to take back the wheel of your life and start living intentionally. Intentional living unleashes the power of purpose.

The human mind is the steering wheel that determines the direction of one’s destiny; we are transforming our lives by the way we turn our minds. - T.D. Jakes

3 Ways to Take the Wheel of Your Life

Action is always a catalyst for change. If you want to stop living your life on autopilot and find more joy, fulfillment, and a deeper sense of purpose, you must be highly intentional about pursuing personal growth.

Let’s look at 3 areas to focus on that will help you live life more fully.

1. Write Your Own Story

You are both the author and hero of your life story; this is a powerful gift entrusted to you. Your story is the greatest weapon you have to activate your warrior genes and discover your true identity.

To start crafting your story, commit to the habit of journaling. When reflecting, look closely at the heart and soul of who you are at your inner core:

  • Your personal values
  • Your core strengths
  • Your top motivators
  • Your most trusted character traits
  • Your strongest positive habit

Examining your core will give you clarity and direction to your identity. Remember that in order for a hero to emerge, he or she must face challenges and obstacles. You will experience failure in this world; tested to your very core and encounter pain and heartache. Such is the path of the warrior. Learn to:

  • Embrace your challenges as friends
  • Be purpose minded
  • Count the gifts that grow out of your trials

Know your mission in life. Ask yourself daily, what must I do today to move in the direction of my mission?

“You are the principle character of your story because you are the only character you can control.” - Donald Miller

2. Be Present

Despite the fact that life unfolds in the present, most people are rushing through life always trying to be somewhere else or worrying about things out of their control. Being present is the ability to become fully engaged in the moment.

The best way to keep yourself in the present moment is to focus your attention on your present experience.

  • Slow down to recognize when your mind is drifting
  • Connect with your 5 senses
  • Be attentive when others are speaking
  • Replace rumination with reflection
  • Frame your day with intentional habits
  • Align yourself with what is…not with what should be or what once was

Connecting with your senses is relatively easy but does require practice on your part. What do you see, feel, hear taste and smell? What is the temperature against your skin? If you are seated, what does the seat feel like, is it hard or soft? What colors and shapes do you see around you? What sounds do you hear?

When you are with others, be curious. Ask questions regarding the here and now. Look for opportunities in front of you. People who are skilled at living in the present are more fully connected to themselves and experience healthy, meaningful relationships.

3. Leave a Legacy

This may sound like a morbid question; however, it is not intended to be.

“What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?”

Everyone in this world leaves some kind of legacy behind. If you truly desire to influence others and to leave an enduring legacy for future generations, you must focus on living your life on purpose and with purpose.

“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.” - Jackie Robinson

Take some time to consider what you want your life to stand for. Your legacy is closely related to your sense of purpose or mission in life. Reflect on and answer the following questions:

  • What are 3 things in life that you would like to be remembered for?
  • If you could influence another person, what would you contribute to them?
  • What are some of the most painful obstacles you’ve overcome?
  • What do you find most fulfilling in life?

The answers to these questions are vital components of your story and consequently your legacy.

Life Mission Statement

Based on your answers, write a strong mission statement for your life. Some examples of mission statements:

My mission in life is inspiring purpose in others.

My life’s purpose is abolishing injustice for the needy.


Landlocked? Discover 4 Internal Allies to Help You Break Free

Landlocked

I hate to admit this to you but it’s true. There is one day out of the year I know in advance that I am going to have a bad attitude. It may sound trite but it involves an annual event here in Phoenix where I live; it’s The Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Don’t get me wrong, I love fitness. I myself have competed in many races and fully support my friends and family who participate in the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll.

So why does this event get on my nerves every single year? I happen to live in an area that is blocked off for both the half and full marathons. First World problem, I know. Despite the festive atmosphere which features live bands and cheer teams to support the runners, in my mind all I see are barricades, closed roads, rescheduled church services, delays, detours, and cars backed up for miles. Circumnavigating exiting my neighborhood has always been a challenge similar to finding Waldo without the fun. Basically, I’m landlocked.

Detours

Most years I stay home till the race is over, other years I have even gone so far as to leave town and head to San Diego for the weekend. This year neither choice was an option. My son Rock had a flight scheduled the morning of the marathon so I could not stay at home nor could I escape to San Diego; I had to get him to the airport.

Thankfully, a friend of mine went online and mapped out a route for us to take. That Sunday morning, still embracing a bad attitude, Rock and I left for the airport. It was clear sailing for about a half a mile and then we found ourselves in an extended detour line.

The line was so long that at one point Rock told me that the navigation on his phone was telling us to turn right. Although the street to our right was indeed wide open, my gut told me to stay the course. I hesitated but in the end, I chose to listen to my gut.

Internal Navigation System

As it turned out, Rock’s phone navigation did not have the updates for the closures. Had we followed it, we would have found ourselves in an even worse bottleneck jam because the next major street was closed. The detour would have rerouted us and we would have ended up at least a mile further back from where we were.

What situation do you find yourself landlocked in? Are you:

  • Lacking clarity in everyday decisions?
  • Indecisive about relationships?
  • Questioning a career that’s unfulfilling?
  • A habitual worrier?

How in tune are you with your internal GPS system? Do you hear:

  • Your Mind
  • Your Heart
  • Your Gut
  • Your Spirit

Whatever situation you might be landlocked in, it’s time to ditch the bad attitude, find a roadmap to get out and hone your internal navigation system. In order to learn how to trust your instincts, you must first develop your own GPS system to help you be less reactive in life and learn how to make authoritative, confident decisions.

4 Faculties Hardwired into Your Internal GPS:

1. Your Mind

Reasoning is an essential faculty of your mind and one that has the capacity to process information and use rationale to draw conclusions. Your reasoning mind includes other factors such as perspective, imagination, and memory which also weigh heavily on the decision making process.

In decision making, your mind is wired to allow you to practice sound judgment, focus on priorities, and be effective at follow-through. In order for you to tap into your innate wisdom, your reasoning capabilities must be trained.

To Sharpen Your Reasoning Skills:

  • Choose a positive attitude.
  • Adopt a growth rather than a fixed mindset.
  • Use your memory to focus on past successes; not perceived failures.
  • Learn how to tame your Inner Gremlin; limiting beliefs that can deceive you.
  • Weigh the benefits and risks of each decision; counting the costs.

2. Your Heart

The heart is connected to humanity and is considered to be the seat of emotions and passions. To understand your heart, you must first understand yourself. Developing a discerning heart, based on self-awareness, allows you to choose which emotions are best suited to help you make sound decisions.

If you don’t learn how to control your emotions, you will live life from a reactionary state. Understanding and connecting with your emotions is vital to mastering emotional control.

To Sharpen Your Heart Skills:

  • Practice empathy by connecting with yourself and others.
  • Watch for emotional triggers that may derail your judgment.
  • Recognize what emotions you are feeling and allow yourself to process them.
  • Choose emotions that best serve the situation before moving forward.
  • Avoid making decisions rooted in fear or doubt.

Rita Hudgens Life Coach - Discover 4 Internal Allies to Help You Break Free3. Your Gut

Your gut, also known as your hunch, is below your conscious awareness and is the ability to understand a situation or thought instinctively. It is your intuition; your inner wisdom and inner knowing. Although many confuse intuition with a 6th sense, it is one of your mental faculties; it’s that sensation you feel when your gut is telling you something.

The more you consciously connect with your intuition, the greater the likelihood of you becoming deeply aware of its leading. Since truth tends to come from the gut, and if you sincerely want to increase your ability to hear truth, it’s essential for you to train yourself to listen to it.

To Sharpen Your Intuitive Skills:

  • Connect with your 5 senses: sound, touch, smell, sight, and taste.
  • Bring your mind to stillness; reduce distractions and outside stimuli.
  • Look at certain environments where your gut is relatively accurate: is your intuition stronger in task situations or relationships? Can you hear it more clearly professionally or personally? Practice listening to your intuition in all situations.
  • Keep the present as your frame of reference.

4. Your Spirit

The fourth powerful ally in your built-in navigation system is your spirit. The human spirit is resilient and has the capability to overcome adversity and thrive. It is designed to be curious, vision focused, and solutions–oriented. When it is on point, it is intuitive, innovative, and resourceful.

A resilient spirit is very optimistic and creates a compelling vision for the future. Inspiration, creativity, and openness are virtues and driving forces of a resilient spirit.

To Sharpen Your Spirit Skills:

  • Build a resilient mindset by facing your fears.
  • Pray in faith.
  • Develop the habit of reflecting on problems (solutions-focused) rather than ruminating over them (worry focused).
  • Look for opportunities to be resourceful.
  • Stay as curious as a child.

“Getting stuck is not a problem. Staying stuck is. Good learners practice getting unstuck.” - Unknown

Rita Hudgens Life Coach - Discover 4 Internal Allies to Help You Break Free - Transform University Life CoachWide Open Exits

As you can see, making confident decisions can be based on reason, intuition, or ideally a combination of the two; it does, however, involve training. The good news is that all of these faculties can be developed.

Teaching yourself to listen to your head, heart, gut, and spirit utilizes the exact same principles as going to the gym and training your muscles to grow stronger. The more you practice it, the more resilient they become.

Change occurs when you embrace a positive attitude and a determination to stay committed to the process. In my particular situation with the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, choosing to have a negative mindset greatly hindered me.

In addition to having a bad attitude, I also had a fixed mindset based on past memories of previously being stuck at dead ends. In spite of my bad attitude, I learned so many valuable lessons that day and realized that after all these years of thinking I was stuck, I actually had 2 options to exit my neighborhood; basically, I’m no longer landlocked.

So how many options can you find to exit your landlocked situation?

Instead of focusing on barricades, closed roads, delays, and detours, you now have a roadmap to help you break free of landlocked circumstances and discover the wide-open exits filled with opportunities you never knew existed.


Learn How to Break Out of a Victim Mindset and Take Back Your Power

Yesterday, after my workout, I stopped by Chipotle to grab a quick lunch. Sitting at the table next to me was a family of 4: a mom, dad, and their two kids. The boy was around 9 years old and the girl was slightly older – she looked to be about 12.

The parents finished their meal before the kids and left. In doing so, the brother and sister were left alone to endure each other’s company and finish their lunch. The younger brother looked cross and annoyed by having to sit with his older sister. Having raised 4 kids, and understanding sibling dynamics, I was totally not surprised to see the angst between them. After they finished eating, they got up from the table and walked towards the trash container.

The sister threw her trash away but her brother wasn’t quite so lucky. When little brother got up, he tripped and in slow motion his tray went crashing down – spilling its contents all over the floor. What remained of his lunch: drink, bowl, chips, napkins, fork, and the guacamole all took a tumble with him.

Embarrassed and humiliated, little brother immediately glared indignantly towards his sister and with a shaking fist he screamed, “Look what you made me do!”

Get the picture? Little brother fell of his own accord, he spilled everything on the floor, and angrily blamed his sister who was not even remotely close to him; basically, he pulled the victim card.

Victims – all of us have seen one, all of us know one, and at times all of us are one. - Rita Hudgens

What Does the Victim Card Look Like?

When my mom was still alive, one of her favorite evening pastimes was watching her endearing Telenovelas. Although I’d rather be curled up reading a book, I sat next to her to keep her company and surprisingly I too got caught up in the drama.

Those Telenovelas are such an accurate portrayal of victims – they are constantly creating personal dramas, magnifying everything that happens to them, and getting others caught up in their melodramatic life.

Victims are stuck in a mindset of self-pity which renders them powerless. They refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and cling to resentment, bitterness, and grudges; constantly blaming someone else or something else for their fate in life.

When was the Last Time You Used the Victim Card?

We all live in a fallen world filled with setbacks and disappointments. No one is exempt from failures and let downs and none of us are immune from pulling the victim card. A helpful key for you to avoid using the victim card is to see your life as a character in a book. Read your story in such a way to recognize warning signals alerting you to the fact that you may be operating from a victim mindset.

Everyone has a story to tell. Some live out their story in anger to retaliate against an alleged perpetrator, some tell their story to receive sympathy, others to get attention, and then there are the discerning ones who tell their story to get help and experience wholeness.

The goal is to learn what your story is so you can transcend your circumstances and live a life of freedom; not of victimhood.

6 Strategies to Stop Acting Like a Victim

1. Create Clarity

In order to stop the cycle of victim behavior, you must recognize when you are portraying yourself as a helpless victim. Getting clarity on your present situation will help you process your hurts and disappointments so you can get to the root of the problem.

Step outside of yourself and learn to observe your thoughts and actions by recording an unbiased account of your situation.

Action Steps:

  • Write your story from a third person narrative and describe what happened to you.
  • Take the judgment and emotion out of your writing.
  • Avoid using the words should, could, always, or never.
  • Look for the gift(s) that resulted from the situation.

2. Take Responsibility

Take personal responsibility for your own behaviors and thought patterns. This action is quite healing and builds self-confidence. It takes you out of the victim role and empowers you to move forward.

Action Steps:

  • Ask yourself in what way you contributed to the situation.
  • Do you recognize any patterns of behavior that you can change?
  • What strong character traits do you have that can help you create change?

3. Stop Writing Telenovelas Scripted With Drama and Self-Pity

Recognize if your behavior is a lifestyle habit of constant drama or if you are truly wounded and need counseling.

If it is a habit, understand that being a victim is not only disempowering, it is extremely unattractive. Do you really want to look like a victim?

Action Steps:

  • Take inventory of all the things you do have and what you are most thankful for.
  • Recognize when you are writing a victim script in your mind. Feel the toxic emotions rise inside of you and immediately pause the script.
  • Take a 6 second time out and do some breathing exercises to allow your stress hormones to abate.
  • Think of 3 ways to reframe your thoughts that put you back in control.

4. Get Your Needs Met

All human beings have emotional needs and will find ways to get those needs met; in a healthy or unhealthy way. Unfortunately, victims crave attention and will do anything within their power to get that need for attention met.

Look at some common needs and see which ones resonate with you. Do you have the need to be: accepted, loved, heard, or recognized? Learn how to get your emotional needs met in positive ways.

Action Steps:

  • Find a trusted friend that will listen and support you; not enable you.
  • Do not beat a dead horse; stop repeating the same conversation over and over again.
  • Set up accountability and boundaries for yourself and for the person supporting you; they must be brutally honest with you and not attend your pity party.
  • Journal your thoughts but focus on being solutions-oriented. Don’t just vent the same things over and over again; look for solutions.

5. Forgive

Forgiveness is the path to healing for the victim. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the situation or other people; it has everything to do with you. When you forgive, you take back your power. Be willing to ask yourself some tough questions.

Action Steps:

  • What is unforgiveness costing you?
  • Are you willing to release judgments about the situation?
  • What perspectives can you let go of that may be hurting you?

6. Stop the Victim Language

Victim language is universal and is easily recognizable. Their language is a fatalistic cycle of words complaining about their lot in life - blaming others and acting as if it’s them against the world and the world is winning. Victims have a repetitive pattern of words that sound like:

  • It’s not my fault.
  • My supervisor makes me so angry, she’s an idiot.
  • I can’t find a job because….
  • I can’t go on a vacation because…
  • Things would be great in my life if only…
  • There’s nothing I can do about it, it’s just the way it is.

Have you ever cringed when you know you will be meeting with someone who drains all the energy out of you? Or when you see their name pop up as an incoming call on your phone? You know what’s coming; they will rant over and over again about the same thing and suck the life and vitality out of you just by listening to them. Well…make sure that person isn’t you.

Action Steps:

Make an intentional effort to listen to the words you repeatedly say. Slow down before you speak, listen to the emotions you are feeling and see ahead of time how you want to be portrayed. Replace victim phrases with overcoming phrases:

  • It’s no one’s fault; it just happened.
  • I’m feeling angry about this situation but I’ll figure it out.
  • I don’t have the job I want yet…but I’m finding a way to get it.
  • I haven’t been able to go on a vacation but I’m learning how to be creative and planning one soon.
  • I have a great life because of what I’ve overcome.
  • There are always opportunities available to me.

Every test in our lives makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to make us or break us. The choice is ours whether we become Victim or Victor. - Unknown

IMG_7088Time to Change Your Cards

Neither you nor I will escape pain and loss in this world but we do have the power to choose what to do with it. We can be resentful for what we don’t have, or grateful for what we do. The next time we take a tumble and our Chipotle tray slips and slams to the floor, we can be angry and shake our fist at the world or we can use resolve and grace to pick ourselves up from the floor and say, “I made it, I’m okay!”

You’ve been given a deck of cards in life; use them with wisdom and foresight to break free from the self-imposed chains of victimhood. Remember that when you play the victim, you lose. Here’s to winning at cards and in life.


Healthy Lifestyles for Successful Living

We live in a microwave, drive-through society. We want quick fixes for everything with little effort and no sacrifice expended. We want to take a magic pill to lose 15 pounds yesterday. Quick fixes may work for a time but are rarely permanent, always come with side effects, and don’t produce lasting change.

Creating healthy lifestyle habits doesn’t have to be complicated or painful. You just have to take one step then another then another. You can make three changes to your life to incorporate a healthier lifestyle: clean eating, exercise, and restful sleep.

To Eat Clean, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Eat five to six small meals a day: make two of them protein drinks.
  • Try to combine your proteins, carbohydrates and a small amount of fat with each meal.
  • Say good-bye to high fructose corn syrup and excessive sugar; they will sabotage your goals. These all break down to sugar in your body and too much sugar turns to fat.
  • Drink lots of water. A well hydrated body is more metabolically functional.
  • Watch your portions. Use a scale or measure your meals to avoid overeating.

If weight loss is your goal, consume foods that have a thermogenic effect on your body so include plenty of fibrous vegetables and lean protein: chicken breast, turkey, fish and egg whites are great choices.

To Exercise – Just Move:

Physical exercise enhances more than just your appearance. It improves your mood, increases energy, helps with weight loss, and combats diseases. Adherence is the key so chose something that is viable for you, make it fun and stay consistent. Options:

  • Walk, run or bike 3-4 times a week
  • Check out the local swimming pool at your local parks or recreation
  • Join a gym – nothing changes the body like weight training
  • Find a class you enjoy and take it: Pilates, Bootcamp, Yoga, Spin

The last component to this healthy lifestyle trifecta is sleep. Sad to say that as a nation most Americans are sleep-deprived and the consequences are alarming: decreased performance, diminished alertness, impaired memory, and increase in stress levels which contribute to a poor quality of life.

To Enhance Sleep:

  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Turn off all electronic devices an hour prior to bedtime
  • Minimize all lights in your bedroom
  • Create healthy bedtime routines: reading, praying, deep breathing exercises

The most successful people in life have certain habits built in to their daily routines. If you can develop these three habits, you will see dramatic changes in your life.


Why not you

Three simple words. Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, was asked three simple words by his father, “Why not you?” Russell embraced those words as his mantra and they have set a foundation for his life; his hard work ethic, belief system, and the use of his talents. Words are powerful and those three simple words have catapulted him to the pinnacle of his career-Russell doesn’t know how to quit because he believes, “Why not me?”

So what do those three simple words mean to you? Where are you in your career?

o Perhaps you are a stay at home mom wondering if there is more to life than sleepless nights, teething babies, slobber and poop.

o Maybe you have an entrepreneurial spirit and you’re wondering if you have what it takes.

o It’s possible that you are feeling unfulfilled in your current career and you’re thinking that there has to be more to life.

Regardless of your career status, my question to you is, “Why not you?”

If your desire is to be a stay at home mom and watch your kids grow up, you’re living your “Why not you.” Remember that everything in life is just for a season. Don’t be surprised if during, or at the end of your stay at home season, you’ve become the next Debra Cohen. Debra was a high powered, successful business woman who decided to leave the corporate world to stay home and raise her daughter. In that season of her life, she borrowed $5,000 from her husband’s pension and started a contractor referral company, Home Remedies of NY, Inc. Today, Home Remedies has a current estimated worth of 3.5 million dollars. Not bad for a stay at home mom gig. Coming from a once stay at home mom myself, I’m asking you, “Why not you?”

If your entrepreneurial DNA is calling you to create something, you might want to listen to your intuition. Female entrepreneurs, now more than any other time in history, are making a big splash in the business world. Statistics show that female owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of their male counterparts. So the question remains, “Why not you?”

If you are feeling unfulfilled in your career, the first step is to find out why. Perhaps there are some changes you can make right where you’re at that will make all the difference in the world. If after you’ve addressed your why, you still feel unfulfilled, it might be time to get to the heart of the matter and discover what you really want to do in life. Once you find it, the question remains, “Why not you?”

Keys to getting to your “Why not you?”:

  • Look at what you have in your hand, your skill set- what are the resources you have now?
  • Find the gap in your industry. Where is there a need that you are capable of filling?
  • Find your passion. What makes you sing, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • Be prepared – there will be obstacles ahead of you. Know that obstacles = opportunities. When facing an obstacle, substitute the word obstacle for opportunity. It will take on a new meaning to your subconscious mind and take you closer to your goal.

One of the greatest barriers to your success is you. Fear of failure is an obstacle you are sure to encounter on your journey to success. Believe in yourself, speak to the gremlins who shout in your ear, “Why you?” And respond with a resounding, “Why not me?”

“Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better… or quit. Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from them, avoid them, and you throw away your future.”
-Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World


De-Stress | Breathe - Laugh - No Joke

No, there is no way! Not another bad doctor’s report. First there was Epstein Barr, then Systemic Strep, Mycoplasma Pneumonia, and now this……..Lyme disease. I sat in the doctor’s office in disbelief. I had been fighting for my health for years: insomnia, chronic anxiety, mysterious joint pain, severe asthma, chronic fatigue – I was falling in and out of hopelessness. I was so tired of going to doctors, facing insurmountable medical bills, not being able to exercise, not being fully present for my kids, I rarely smiled and hardly laughed – I was too busy fighting the fear of the unknown.

My doctor asked me something that at the time I thought was a stupid question, “Are you under stress?” Um, let me see: I just lost my home, had to declare bankruptcy, newly divorced, I am homeschooling my last child, trying to build a career and taking care of my elderly mom who was just diagnosed with dementia. So I’m under a little stress – what does that have to do with anything? Apparently a lot.

Studies show that there is a very high correlation between patients experiencing emotional stress and the onset of disease. Sadly, not only does chronic stress cause disease, but the disease itself also causes significant stress which creates a vicious cycle.

Everyone on the face of the planet experiences stress in one form or another. Stress is actually a natural reaction to both positive and negative experiences that can be beneficial to our health and for our safety.

The problem is not short term stress – the health issue concerning stress stems from chronic, long term stressors and the severe strain it places on the body’s system. Long term stress can be physically and psychologically debilitating causing:

  • Anxiety, depression, insomnia
  • Breathing problems, hypertension
  • Stomachaches, heartburn, nausea
  • Headaches, body aches, tight muscles
  • Susceptibility to infections

So what is a person to do? You don’t always have control over the circumstances in your life, but there are things you can control. You can control how you react to stress – thus limiting the negative effects to your body. The first step is awareness – know it exists and acknowledge what it is doing to you.

After you recognize it exists, develop a management strategy plan. Remember your body was not intended to withstand long term stress so be diligent in executing your plan.

The ability to relax is at the very core of any program to reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure your plan includes:

  • Taking small breaks in your day
  • Practicing deep relaxation techniques; including breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Prayer

I’m happy to report that by following the above steps, my health has improved significantly. The diseases are almost in remission and I laugh quite a bit now. Last piece of advice, don’t forget to laugh. According to an article in helpguide.org, laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemicals. These promote an overall sense of wellbeing. This is no joke so laugh on.


Rekindle Your Lost Dream

The office was dimly lit but not as dim as my heart and soul was. I was on a coaching call with my mentor and business coach, Margot Wurst. I was on the verge of losing my house, my credit, my marriage and all my hopes and dreams. Margot asked me what particular coaching niche I intended to focus on for my coaching career. I was overwhelmed and exhausted but I saw an image in my mind of an ocean bank on a dark night with a flicker of a light coming from a lighthouse in the distance. “I don’t know Margot,” I sadly replied. “I just want to be a light to help people rekindle their lost dreams.” “Wow, did you hear what you just said?” Margot stated with excitement in her voice. I barely recollected my words; I was sinking because of the weight of my circumstances.

Where are you in regards to your dream – are you living it? Or are you sinking because of the weight of your circumstances? Your circumstances are going to change; but if your dream is tied to your purpose in life – it won’t change, it will call out your name till you follow it.

There are many obstacles that block dreams: troubles, tribulations, people, finances, illnesses, and disappointments. So how do you overcome the roadblocks that cause discouragement and try to stop you from pursuing your dreams?

1. Gap
Recognize that there is always a gap between when your dream is planted in your heart and when it comes to fruition. It is usually in this gap when people give up. What you do in the gap period will determine if you live out your dream or if you settle for less, or even worse – if you give up completely on your dream.

2. Sacrifice
Rarely is there a victory without sacrifice. Are you willing to pay the price? The bigger your dream; the greater the sacrifice. If you want to be at the top of your dream get use to sacrifice, it never stops. In the words of John Maxwell, “Sacrifice is an ongoing process – not a one –time payment.”

3. Purpose
A true God given dream is tied to your purpose in life and will align with your values. Does your dream line up with your values? Can you feel the significance of your dream in your life and in those around you? If not, revisit your values. Make sure you are certain of your life purpose and make any adjustments you need to on your dream.

It has been eight years since I had that conversation with my coach Margot Wurst. So much has happened. Yes, I did lose my house, my credit, my marriage and sad to say I lost my dear mentor coach Margot to cancer a few weeks ago. Margot lived her dream of helping others and was able to support and encourage those who were going through the same cancer battle she was. She certainly played a huge part in me not giving up on my dream despite overwhelming circumstances. I still hear her voice speaking to me and saying, “Wow – listen to what you just said.” She heard my dream loud and clear despite the dimness of the room, the dimness of my heart and the dimness of my soul. She encouraged me to pay the price to pursue it. I found hope and am living my dream of helping people who are going through transitions in life. I hope this message gives you a little bit of light to find your way to the shore, rekindle your lost dream and live it out loud.