The Success Catalyst

Up Your Game & Bring Out Your Best

The Power of Imagination and Intention

“When I grow up I am going to draw and paint pictures. I am going to be an Artist. I will bring my pictures to art shows all over the world. I will bring them to ships and let men bring them across the world. I will take my stuff like paints pencils and paper with me almost wherever I go. I will make alot of money. I will be famous. I will draw people. I like art. I hope people will remember me as an artist.” ~Tracy, 3rd grade

[Tracy Kachtick-Anders is a Painter, Doula, a mother of six, and Rosie O’Donnell’s girlfriend. She is also the Director of Open Arms Campaign, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recruitment of foster and adoptive families.]

Now here’s a kid who allowed herself to imagine and follow her heart, no matter what, and she then proceeded to live the life of her dreams. There are no limits when you aren’t old enough to make up stories that there are. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t encounter hardship, disappointment, loss, and failure along the way – this is the human journey – but what she did do is stay true to her values and passions and she is living the life of her dreams, as a result.

What are your dreams and what are you going to do about living them, TODAY?

With Love,
Dani

Inspire Others By Doing Your Best

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~John Quincy Adams

There’s a kid who works at my gym who, everyday, gives 100% to every single task he does – cleaning the machines, fixing whatever’s broken, stocking the supplies, sweeping the floors – and always with a spring in his step while unfailingly greeting every member with a warm smile, followed by a hearty good morning. I am moved and inspired by his commitment to his way of being in the world – he is a true leader. Just for today, allow yourself to impact others in a way that leaves them touched, moved, and inspired – it’s not hard to do and the rewards are plentiful!

With Love,
Dani

What’s Your Stimulus Plan?

On January 20, the man we elected as our President made some powerful proclamations about who we must be, as Americans, in order to rise above our current conditions and, in his words, “pursue our full measure of happiness.” (My non-American readers please include yourself in this discussion – last we checked, this is a global thing). [Note: everything in quotations is directly pulled from Barack Obama’s inaugural speech – in many cases, pronouns are modified for the intent to speak to the individual rather than to the country as a whole.]

As Obama reminded us in his inaugural address, “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood…. a consequence of our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare for a new age.” Come again? The President of the United States is asking us to “prepare for a new age”? Sounds more like a musical from the late 60’s about some overly idealistic hippies ranting against “the Establishment”. And now it’s coming from the Establishment? Yes it is, and how exciting!

We tried greed and denial (our “collective failure”), why not try something new? And what better time when so much is crumbling from the business-as-usual approach? Aren’t we sick of ourselves yet? Just as it was our collective failure that got us where we are, it is our collective success that elected someone as “new age” as President Obama. Our ability and our willingness, as a country, to choose someone who is committed to peace and understanding and who is encouraging us to “seek a new way forward based on mutual respect” signifies that, somewhere, in each of us, we do want be a part of creating a better world, a better us.

But there is work to be done – it’s not enough to just want a better world, a better life, and then wait and see what happens – we have to BE a part of the solution in creating what we want. This is good news! Because, even though “there is work to be done” (I know, the “w” word – eek!) we are always given the opportunity, in every moment, to “lay a new foundation for growth”. Who doesn’t know the feeling of a job well done? Even better, who doesn’t know the feeling of a job poorly done? If I recount just any random memory of a job well done, however small, the experience was always much more fulfilling than all the jobs put together that lacked the spirit of doing my best.

President Obama is busy doing his part, how are you doing yours?

If you’re in need of some ideas, let’s go back to Obama for some helpful hints. On the 20th, he reminded us that, “in reaffirming our greatness…we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey…is not one of shortcuts or settling for less. It is not the path for the faint-hearted….Rather, it is the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things…who carry themselves up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”

Why, that sounds like a pep talk from an experienced Life Coach! And, he’s right; this path of making a difference in the world is not for everyone. There are no shortcuts to genuine happiness and true success so you have to decide whether you’re in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as a middle ground on this one. It’s like saying you’re on the field during a game and you’re “sort of” playing. Or a guitar player in a band and you’re “sort of” strumming. For your teammate’s or bandmate’s sake (and yours!), I hope that you’re in.

Who, in your life, is counting on you to be, and do, your absolute best? And, who can you currently count on to do their best? The faint-hearted ones? Those who are risk and conflict-avoidant? The ones who take shortcuts and settle for less? Those who expect others, and life, to give to them first before they give of themselves? We are being asked, by a great and courageous leader, to make some hard choices and decide who we are on this journey – will you be one of the courageous ones? If so, start by asking yourself, “In what areas of my life am I settling for less?”. Are you feeling lackluster in your job? Are you making excuses for maintaining the status quo in a stale relationship? Are you out of a job or relationship, and didn’t see it coming?

Are you overwhelmed by your TO-DO LIST? Do your friendships lack depth and a feeling of real connection? Do you cut corners when it comes to taking care of yourself? Are you putting off having fun and relaxation until you “get more done”? (Hey, if Obama can make time for romantic dinners and theater outings with his wife then so can you).

And then ask yourself the price you are paying for not doing and being your best, because there is a cost for everything we do that is not feeding our well-being. It’s like driving a car with shoddy alignment – you have to grip the steering wheel harder and harder in order to keep from going off the road. It doesn’t mean the car needs to be taken to the dump, it just needs a tune-up!

Some indicators of “poor alignment” are frequent feelings of anxiety, fear-based thinking, increased secrecy and isolation, worry, and perpetual lack of clarity. All of which, left to their own devices, will take up free rent space in your head and, unless given an “eviction notice”, will gladly squat there for as long as you allow and that is what will be driving your life choices and decisions, as well as just plain make you feel bad!

Just as there are costs for settling, there are immeasurable rewards for choosing greatness. Some signs that you are living a life that is authentic to your True Self and inspired by your dreams are: unexplainable joy for no “reason”, an openness to whatever life brings, an acceptance and compassionate understanding of yourself and others, perpetual curiosity, laughter, generosity, and an overall feeling of connectedness, inner peace, and sense of purpose. The road less traveled may be a “long and rugged one”, but what a journey if the riches are that of prosperity and freedom, of heart and mind? The other option is just as long and rugged, but its continual rewards are that of lingering self-doubt, feelings of disconnectedness, boredom, and persistent blaming.

And the real kicker is that, in order to cope with the barrage of sabotaging thoughts, we then return to the addictive patterns that got us into the stuck mindset in the first place; discovering, once again, that the relief is always short-lived, and ultimately followed by an even more vicious onslaught of greater emptiness, deeper confusion, and intense frustration. And on the cycle goes.

But wait, there is a way out! Here are three things you can do, right now, to kick-start your own personal Stimulus Plan:

First, make the decision that you want freedom from the bondage of your old ways of doing things. It’s the old, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you got.

Second, start noticing what you say to yourself when you would rather give up than stay focused on what’s important to having what you want. Some worn-out favorites I hear, and have tried out myself are, “What’s the use, it never works out”, “People will always let you down”, “It’s not realistic”, “The world doesn’t work that way”, “I’m too busy just getting by”, “I know, I know. I’ll do it later”.

Third, Instead of focusing on your “petty grievances” with others (and yourself) and habitually making “false promises” to yourself (and others), both of which result in a “sapping of confidence” that leaves you with “a nagging fear that you must lower your sights”, try something new and make the decision to re-connect with your Real Self – “reaffirm your enduring spirit” by committing to a process of self-discovery. The days of façades and self-deceit are numbered and will keep you from having what you really want.

This approach guarantees a deeper clarity of purpose, focus, sense of direction, and HAPPINESS.

Obama has firmly asserted that, “what the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them.” To those of you who are trying to hold on to wanting things to stay the same even though you weren’t too happy with the way they were anyway, the ground is feeling a little shaky right now and, if you want to be one of the beneficiaries of the “new age” then now is a fantastic time to get your own stimulus plan in action – so that when our economy strengthens, and it will, you want to be at the starting line, poised to hit the ground running. And, in the meanwhile, you can spend your time living your life joyfully and without regrets.

Do this for a week and email me what you notice. And, don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!

Make 2009 your best year ever – invest in YOU!

With Love,
Dani

How to Have What You Want

DSC00594Werner Erhardt once said, “If you want to know what you want, look at what you have”. Whoa, that’s pretty harsh.

Or is it? To me, this is one of the most insightful, compassionate, powerful, and truthful proclamations I have ever encountered (and on my personal and professional path of growth and development I have come upon many!).

If the truth of the matter is that we are living out whatever thoughts and beliefs we put into our heads then that means we get to choose the stories we tell ourselves and decide how we want our lives to go. How freeing is that? We can write the story of our lives, chapter-by-chapter, page-by-page.

What would the title of the book of your life be, based on your Life Message right now? Would it be something like, “I never get what I want”, “It’s not fair” or “Why me?”. Or how about, “When’s it my turn?”. Or maybe, “It’s too hard”.

Now, take a look at some of the chapters in your book that you may have authored – here is just a small sampling of the “best picks” I have heard: “it’s never too late to blame someone else for the way my life is going”, or “make resolutions, barely follow through on them, then hate myself for it”. Or, “do unto others as much I can get away with and then come away feeling even more empty and worthless”. One of my personal favorites that I see a lot is, “get excited about having a great life, but balk at putting the corresponding time, energy, and money toward it and then get envious when I see others who have what I want”.

Take your pick from the variety pack above or come up with your own. The idea is to take ownership of the thoughts and beliefs that are guiding your life so that you can decide if they are ones you want to keep or let go of. If they are fear-based thoughts then they will continue to make you miserable and you will continue to not have what you want.

Now, the good news! You can write the story you really want to tell, and LIVE, instead of the ones you have been programmed to believe you’re supposed to have. Ask yourself, “10 years from now, what’s the story I want to be telling about the last 10 years of my life?”. Most people do not have what they want and are waiting until the day comes when it will magically appear. Now, that’s harsh. And so sad. Most of us know plenty of people who, year after year, are still saying the same things over and over, to themselves, and to anyone around them who will listen, and the years go by and nothing has changed. Actually, the quality of their lives usually gets worse – great intentions and all.

That’s because most people do not want to ask themselves the real questions that would actually impact how they can have what they want. Most people would rather stay stuck than let go of old ways of thinking. Even when they say they want more in life, I’ll still hear them say, “I’m definitely going to make the change, just not now, later” and another year (or five, 10, or 20) goes by and it’s the same old story. This one usually starts out with, “If only…” or “It’s too late now, I should have done it last year (or 10 years ago!)” or “Why bother now”. The reasons and excuses go on, ad nauseam.

Now ask yourself what would you like your Life Message to be? What does your Best Life look like? What would you like people to take away from their time with you? What would make you want to jump out of bed in the morning?

Some ideas might be, “Always do your best and your best will keep getting better”, “Whatever the question, Love is the answer”, “Life is happening for me, not to me”, “All dreams appear impossible until someone makes them happen”, “Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live”.

Come up with your own and you’ll know it’s right for you if it makes you feel sparked and alive. And then ask yourself, “what’s one thing I can do to start making my new Life Message real?”.

My favorite parable of all time (and I’m not big on parables), told by Stretton Smith, is about three little fish in Monterey Bay, CA who are in fish school and one day their professor tells them about “water”. He tells them that water is present at every point in space at the same time.

So, after school that day, the three little fish were talking and wondering where the water really is. One of the little fish understood the concept. He knew he was already in the water. The other two said with great excitement, “Let’s go find the water!”

And so, they swam the seven seas, and finally, years later, they returned to Monterey Bay, old and decrepit, impoverished and home to die. They looked up their old fish school chum, who was still looking young, who had a whole string of condos in the reef, a fine family with several generations of grand-fish. And the two fish asked, “How did you ever find the water?”

I love this story – it makes me cry. Everything we need and want is already right here, in this moment – inside us, and all around us. All we have to do is awaken ourselves to the truth of how life works and we can have everything we want, beyond our wildest dreams.

So, here’s the key – in order to have what you want, start with understanding these three things:

1. You can never get enough of what you don’t really want. Most of us are relentlessly looking outside ourselves to fill up the emptiness and lack that we experience deep inside. There is not enough alcohol, food, sex, obsessive romantic love, drugs, shopping, over-busyness, or whatever other obsessive-compulsive, self-sabotaging, fear-based and blaming thoughts or behaviors you are engaging in, that will fill the emptiness inside of your hungry heart. We are starving for love and attention and what most of us don’t know is that it is we who have abandoned ourselves and we are just trying to get back home to us.

It can seem so much easier to tell ourselves the same old crusty story about “how things are” rather than feel the fullness of life that is always flowing through us. It takes great courage to be vulnerable and to allow ourselves to connect to our inner experience and awaken ourselves to the places inside that we hide from. It’s everyone’s dirty little secret that they think they are the only ones who are scared to death to live a life of open-heartedness, connection, peace, and joy. So many are consumed with trying to get what they think they want or desperately trying not to lose what they have that they are living in their own solitary confinement.

We live in a culture that obsessively promotes the false notion that once we get what we want, then we’ll be motivated to do what we need to do in order to be the person we know we can be. Any happy person will tell you that it’s the other way around!

Start putting who you are being first and watch your life completely change. Do what you love and what you were born to do and watch your life completely change. And then enjoy everything that you have as a result of who you are being, while you are living a life you love!

2. Want what you already have. There is nothing cliché about being fully aware that every breath you take is a gift – ask anyone who is dead and see whether they agree! And that the happiest people are not those with the most stuff, but those who are rich in gratitude and generous in spirit.

Make a (written or mental) gratitude list every night before you go to bed and it’s impossible not to go to sleep feeling filled by all of life’s riches. Reminding ourselves of all that we do have – inside of us and in our lives – is hugely gratifying and, above all, transformational. Don’t wait until you “don’t know what you got till it’s gone” to start appreciating what’s in your life now.

When we don’t take the time to appreciate what we have and acknowledge ourselves for what we have accomplished, how is it that we think we’re going to appreciate what’s to come once we get it? Who you are being while trying to get what you want is who you will be when you get it so be very clear about thinking you’re going to be happy by manipulating a situation into giving you what you think you want. Disappointment and self-hate will surely accompany that one.

3. Ask yourself “What do I love to do?”. What makes your heart sing? What would make you get out of bed in the morning that you couldn’t get dressed fast enough to go do?”.

What I love to do: I love to dance. I love to write and read, to sing and play my guitar and to listen to my favorite music, watch movies, and play with my adorable and irresistible cat. I love to swim and kayak in the ocean, ski powder, and hike in the mountains. I love improv theater and comedy, and to travel everywhere. I love dinner parties with friends, having great conversations about everything. I love to coach people to live their dreams and have their best life possible and I love to get coached – I love it!

This is just a small sampling of what I love to do. What is yours? Start writing down what you love to do, and then start doing it! It will make you come alive and, when you feel alive, you have no interest in blaming others and complaining about why you can’t have what you want, because life is too good!

And, if you’re still not convinced that your thoughts create your reality, then you’ll have Albert Einstein to contend with because he is the one who said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions”. Still with me? Good because here’s more good news, you can have whatever you want. Whatever you want. Start by,  1. Getting honest with yourself about what you’re focused on wanting, 2. Want what you have and, 3. Do what you love!

Do this for a week and email me what you notice. And, don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!

With Love,
Dani

Now Could Be a Good Time

Hopi Elders Speak

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and so swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They will feel they are being
Torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep your eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

The Elders, Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays – make this holiday season a joyous and prosperous one in every way!

With love,
Dani

Yes We Can, Yes We Did, Yes We WILL!

We have, as a country, elected as our President a man who is committed to being all that he can be – as a father, as a husband, as a citizen, as a governmental representative, and as a human being. And he is also asking us, as individuals, to rise up and do the same in our own lives – to make a difference wherever and however we can.

In his own words, “We need to internationalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”

I’m going to be so bold as to slightly modify this powerful statement for the purpose of this discussion and say, “We need to INTERNALIZE this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”

What does it mean to internalize the “idea of excellence”? In order to internationalize the idea of excellence, we need to internalize it. One way to better understand what this means is to ask ourselves what is at stake if we don’t strive for excellence. If we’re not striving to be the best version of who we can be, we are settling – not only as Americans, but as human beings. We are essentially saying to ourselves, and to those around us, that we are not important enough to live the best life possible and live a life we love.

Barack Obama did not win this election on his words alone – it was his actions and who he was being that clinched it for many of us – as opposed to his opponent who had resorted to such hostile tactics as antagonism, mockery, finger-pointing, and fear-based accusations, Obama remained committed to a way of being, based on his values and his Vision, never wavering, regardless of whatever challenges beset him – and there were, are, and will be, many.

What a challenge he is giving each and every one of us and, true to form, he is living his version of excellence – how are you living yours?

Two things you can do to bring more excellence into your life:

1. Obama has reminded us that “anything’s possible” – what’s possible in your life? What can you imagine having more of? What would give you more true fulfillment and joy? What would bring more peace in your mind and love in your heart? What would bring more harmony to your relationships? What would leave you feeling more connected to your dreams and goals?

Knowing what’s possible for yourself and your life is the start of becoming who you really are and having what you want, which frees you to be able to live a life you LOVE. Otherwise, you are just trapped in trying to look good and fitting in, never getting what you really want and likely never even finding out what that is.

2. Take a look at your daily habits, beliefs, and attitudes to determine whether they are fanning the flames of excellence or separating you from yourself and others and thereby draining you of your life force.

However we see things is how they are. It’s that simple – if you see the world as unfair, hostile, and withholding then that is what you will get. If you see life as an exciting adventure filled with endless opportunities to be kind, loving, compassionate, and understanding then you will enjoy a life filled with never-ending joy, goodness, and love.

We are the sum total of our daily habits so you want to get honest with yourself about what habits, in thought and deed, serve your highest good and which ones are getting in the way of you having what you want. Thinking, “It’s always been this way and there’s nothing I can do about it”, conveniently keeps you from having to do what it takes to get the results you want.

When you don’t follow through on the commitments you make you are communicating to yourself that you cannot be counted on to do what you said you were going to do. This causes a breakdown in trust with yourself and, if trustworthiness is an important value for you, you will be leery of any promises you make, to yourself or to others.

Instead, ask yourself, each day, “knowing how important it is that I treat myself with the love, care, and respect that I so often expect from others, what can I do today, to feel loved, cared for, and respected.” And then do it! And, when you don’t, simply notice and acknowledge having fallen short of your best intentions, remind yourself that you’re human, make any reparations necessary to restore your word, and then let it go, knowing that, if you’re lucky, you will have many more opportunities to be the person you are becoming.

Do this for a week and email me what you notice. And, don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!

And, once again, to alter the words of another great leader of our time,  “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for you”. By putting our attention on how our thoughts, beliefs, and actions affect the quality of our daily lives, we are conveying to the world that we care about all of humanity.

President-elect Obama will be calling on all of us to join him in his Presidency to make “being excellent” a priority. How excellent of us that, as a nation, we elected a President whose values reflect that of someone who chooses, every day, to, in the words of John Quincy Adams, “dream more, learn more, do more, and become more” and, in doing so, he inspires all of us to do the same!

Feel free to get in touch with me to find out more about what coaching is. And please share this article with everyone you know – let them know about what’s possible for them and how they can get it!

With Love,
Dani

The Best or Worst of Times?

Dickens said it best 150 years ago when referring to the French Revolution of the late 1700’s in the opening of his novel, A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” ~Charles Dickens

I love this passage! These times are whatever you decide you want them to be. Yes, there’s the reality of the Big Bailout and the ensuing ripple effect on the economy resulting from short-sighted greed and selfishness (throw in denial, fear, and ignorance, for good measure). Yes, there’s financial devastation, pain, and loss for some, and “belt-tightening” for most. (And for those of you who are prospering – personally and professionally – from a place of authentic generosity, love, and service to others, then ROCK ON and keep doing more of what you’re doing!).

But, whether we see this as an opportunity for self-reflection, re-invention, and rebirth into never-ending possibilities, or as a time where “the sky is falling”, is entirely up to us. You choose: “Doom and Gloom” or “New Beginnings” – whatever you choose is what you will get, so choose carefully.

Life is always giving us wake-up calls – some alarms ring louder than others. And, as a young, robust, vibrant, and virile nation (to my international readers, please excuse the ethnocentrism of this message:), we are constantly given numerous opportunities to grow and change…or die. Those are the only two options we have – it is impossible to stay stagnant and not whither – nothing can exist from nothing.

Right now, we have the chance to become benevolent toward our “adversaries”, prosperous as a result of socially responsible and ethical business practices, fair-minded in our approach to the giving and exchanging of goods and services, compassionate when restructuring our health care system, and inclusive when creating community in our neighborhoods. The opportunities for bringing love, understanding, compassion, and kindness into our personal and professional lives, are endless.

As long as our individual consciousness is attached to the experience of lack and scarcity, we are contributing to the collective victim consciousness, which only results in blaming and complaining. All victims blame and all blamers see themselves as victims  – we live in a victim/blame culture so we are constantly being surrounded, encouraged, and bombarded by this ineffective yet, oh-so tempting approach to life.

As long as we react to challenging circumstances by tightening up inside and withholding ourselves –  from our selves, and from others –  we cut ourselves off to the possibility of uniting for what everyone on this planet wants: Happiness. We don’t all seek happiness in the most effective of ways, but I don’t know of one single human being who does not truly want happiness versus the experience of suffering. Each and every one of us can redeem ourselves in the blink of an eye, just by asking ourselves, right this second, “what can I do, today, to ‘be the change I want to see in the world’?” (Gandhi).

How exciting that, as a country, we are so fortunate to have this opportunity, right now, to take responsibility for how each of us has contributed – in thought and deed – to the fear-based hysteria and panic that is occurring in our great nation. How many of us spend much of our time, when “times are good”, in anxiety, worry, and fear rather than in appreciation, gratitude, and open-hearted joy. Instead, it is more likely that we are seduced by fear – fear of losing what we have or of not getting what we think we want. This attachment to having things go a certain way is the cause of our suffering and, as a nation, this mindset is unfortunately condoned, is very contagious, and results in devastating outcomes such as an epidemic of unresolved conflicts that sometimes end in violence or, at best, in such unnecessary unresolved misunderstandings, bitterness, and resentment between one another – all of which closes us off to the love in our hearts and the possibility of living our dreams. It comes down to the tried and true, “would you rather be right or happy?”.

Ironically, this is a fantastic time for us to become even more generous and giving with whatever we have – to ourselves, first and foremost (we really are our own worst enemy), and with everyone we come into contact with, regardless of how others are treating us. This is a great time for each of us to let go of any self-centeredness and thoughtlessness we have and get busy being who we were bornto be, but who many of us have forgotten. Now is a great time to remember and reconnect with our authentic selves – that person we left behind years ago because we thought we had to become something different in order to be liked, to be successful, or to be accepted and to “fit in”.

DO try this at home (or anywhere!):

1. Try saying YES to unconditionally accepting everything that is happening in your life today – see it all as a gift from the universe, rather than as an “interruption” of your life. By doing this, you are saying “yes” to the abundance of love, to change (yes, to change – bring it on!), to connecting to the flow of “life on life’s terms”. Say yes to being true to yourself –  every morning, ask your heart what is it that you need to know in order to live a fulfilling life, listen to what it says, and then have the courage to follow it.

Say yes to trusting the process of all of life and to opening your heart – more than you thought possible; not waiting to do this when you start getting what you want, do it now, instead of waiting to open yourself up once the job market changes, once your co-worker stops annoying you, once your children start obeying you, once your business partner starts respecting you, once your significant other starts listening to you – choose love and understanding now and allow for all of life to flow through you and watch as everything you need, in all areas of your life, comes to you.

2. Say NO to blaming others for your misfortunes, to complaining, to judging others, to angrily finger-pointing, to getting others to agree with your “stories” – you know the ones – your golden oldies that keep you and those who will listen to your continual tale of woes of how right you always are and how wrong everyone else is – for those of you who are doing this, please note that you are still not getting what you want, plus you’re still the victim in this story, wishing things were different, asking “why me?”, and  wondering why you don’t have what you want. This is a great time to let go of  judging and blaming others because it doesn’t get you want you want. It only disempowers us more and takes us further from having the wonderful life that we all want and are meant to live – a life filled with love, joy, abundance, connection, and intimacy with others.

How you know whether you are successful at saying yes and no to the right things  is very simple: when you feel good, you are doing the above and, when you feel bad, you’re not.

That said, it is important to distinguish between the initial instant gratification (the “high”) that we get from blaming, rationalizing, and justifying – the euphoria quickly passes and we are, once again, left feeling empty inside, self-hating, confused by why it didn’t last, and feeling even more victimized…and then back to the blaming we go – a vicious cycle that brings us more suffering and even further from what we want.

This is a time to get humble and honest with yourself because when we are honoring the truth of the matter, although we may initially feel the discomfort of becoming aware of, and admitting to an old, comfy habit, the discomfort eventually transforms into a deep feeling of peace and ease and a grounded sense of satisfaction, with ourselves and the world – and that’s what it’s all about!

Do this for a week and email me what you notice. And, don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!

In the words of one of my personal heroes who did not back down from his stand for peace in the midst of a hostile national political climate:

“Yeah, we all shine on, like the moon and the stars, and the sun, yeah, we all shine on, on and on…” ~John Lennon

Shine on!!

With Love,
Dani

Shoot For The Stars!

So, not only is Shoot for the Stars the name of my coaching company, it’s what we do together when I coach you! Why would we shoot for anything less? Well, LOTS of reasons – we’re afraid of failing…we’re afraid of succeeding (yes, many of us are afraid of getting what we really want)…we’re just plain afraid of LIVING!

So we end up settling, in so many ways, and, one of the ways we know we’re settling for less is if we’re not fully enjoying and appreciating every moment, regardless of the circumstances (and there will ALWAYS be “circumstances”). When we allow ourselves to really have it all, even when we don’t think we have what we want, our world opens up to all the love and excitement and the joy of living.

The following was said by someone who, in my book, had definite “street cred”: “Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”  ~ Helen Keller – Deaf and Blind Educator, Lecturer, and Author (1880-1968)

How can we deny the power of those words from someone who spent her life unable to speak, see, or hear and yet went on to become a Radcliffe graduate, an anti-war and women’s rights activist, a prolific author, and was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame?

“Security” is an illusion – what do you really have to lose by taking risks in life? Rejection? Disappointment? Failure? – if you’re not experiencing these things on a DAILY basis, then you are not really living life! You are playing small and suffering because of it – we can never have what we really want if we don’t risk what we already have.

And, if you are taking risks every day, then you know how great it feels to be out there playing a “Bigger Game” – don’t stop “shooting for the stars”, because, it’s in the “going for it” that we get to experience all of our aliveness and gusto for life – that is the prize!

Try this out: spend the next week asking yourself, each day, “Just for today, what is my ‘daring adventure’?”. It could be that you go out of your way to be kind and generous to everyone you meet. It could be that you register for a class you’ve been thinking about taking, but haven’t. Or, you’re going to take more of a leadership role with projects at work. If you’re someone who doesn’t take enough down time for yourself and tends to spread yourself too thin, stay home more often, cook yourself a healthy and delicious meal and really allow yourself to enjoy your own company. Or, if you tend to go straight home after work, often feeling too tired to go out, take yourself out – or invite a friend – to a museum exhibit, a walk in the park (rain or shine!), or to an event that you’ve always been curious about. Clean out a drawer. Or even just take a right if you usually go left!

If you tend to be an impatient person then try being extra patient with everyone you encounter. If you’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument, but don’t, then start taking lessons and, if you do play one, but haven’t in awhile, then pick it up and start playing! The sky’s the limit to what you can do more of today in order to have more of what you want – just do something that you think about doing but haven’t taken action on.

And, whatever it is you want more of, give more of – if you feel like you want more understanding from your significant other or a co-worker, then go out of your way to be genuinely more understanding of him or her. If you want others to listen to you more, then focus on really listening, with an open heart, to what others are saying to you.

Do this for a week and email me what you noticed. And…don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!

With Love,
Dani