The Success Catalyst

Up Your Game & Bring Out Your Best

The Four Pillars of a Wonderful Life

Clients often ask me, “How do I get what I want?” The question comes in many forms like, How can I have better communication with my husband/wife/business partner? How can I make more money? How do I find “The One”? How do I lose the one I’m with? How do I hold onto the one I have? How do I find a career I love that pays me enough? How do I lose the 20 pounds and keep it off? How do I have more balance? How do I get out of debt? How do I increase my sales? How do I get my business off the ground?

No matter the question, I believe the answer is always the same and one of the many forms the answer has come in for me is an approach I stumbled upon years ago called, The Four Pillars of a Wonderful Life. The idea is when all four pillars are firmly constructed, their sturdiness holds up a life worth living. So, let’s take a look.

The First Pillar is to know ourselves. Imagine getting excited at the prospect of getting to know yourself more, every day, and liking what you’re discovering. Every experience we have is an opportunity to grow and become more of who we are. But we have to be open to the lessons and willing to see that everything that happens to us is happening for us.

As the Tao Te Ching, written 3,500 years ago, says, life is a constant movement toward our wholeness and our greatness. When we resist this, we suffer and become more estranged from ourselves and from the opportunity to connect to our inner experience, which is what gives our lives meaning. When we realize that Life is a conversation, one we can dance with, we become more relaxed and connected to our true selves, which inherently increases our compassion and openness to ourselves.

The Second Pillar is to love ourselves. This one can sound so cliché and yet it is so fundamental to being genuinely fulfilled and happy. How can you expect to live a life you love or even find the love of your life, if you don’t love, honor, and cherish your own unique and precious self? Usually we’re so busy telling ourselves what’s wrong with us that we don’t see how lovable we are. We often hold ourselves to ridiculously high standards and see ourselves as deeply flawed so we don’t think we deserve to be loved “until or unless…”. Our self-love is often conditional and comes with strings attached – it’s pretty flimsy and not the kind of love I’d want to settle for with anyone, let alone have with myself.

We then try to motivate ourselves to make the changes we desire from this disapproving, critical, and judgmental standpoint and, while that may give us the short-term results (think bootcamp and diets), it isn’t effective for lasting change.

The Third Pillar is to trust ourselves. Becoming trustworthy can mean that we know we can dependably rely on ourselves to take good care of our well-being in all areas: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  This creates a self-assuredness and calm and that, in turn, builds our confidence. It gives us the ability to make choices that fuel rather than deplete us.

The Fourth Pillar is to inspire ourselves. How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m bored, I can’t think of anything fun and interesting to do. I’m just not motivated. ”

Life is filled with opportunities to connect with our creative life force and to make a difference. When in doubt, get out of yourself and go help someone else who is less fortunate. That is a great way to re-ignite your flame. Once your pilot light is back on, keep it burning by asking yourself, “What else can I try? Where else can I go? Who else can I meet? What else can I make?” Just like negative thinking and getting stuck in old beliefs of lack and scarcity is habit-forming, getting inspired is contagious, too.

TRY THIS: for the next 30 days, give 30 minutes each day toward knowing, loving, trusting, and inspiring yourself and see if it makes a difference in your life.

AND, for those of you who are interested in having more self-awareness, love, trust, and inspiration in your life, contact me for a complimentary coaching consultation. Say YES to living a life you love NOW because, “a year from now you’ll wish you had started today.”

With Love,

Sustainable Resolutions: Choosing What You Want Most

I once heard it said that discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most. If that’s true then it would be good to know what’s really important to you and to your life so that, when you are making decisions about how you’re spending your time and who you’re spending it with, you can consciously decide whether it is either an attempt to temporarily alleviate the inescapable discomfort of being human or if it’s in greater service of your true heart’s desire.
The absolute best way to know the difference is to spend time getting to know yourself. No one can do this for us and the only way we can get to know ourselves is by spending real time with ourselves. You are the expert on you and there’s no better way to hear the wisdom of your inner guidance than to get quiet and listen.
Gandhi once said, “The only tyrant I will follow is the still, small voice within.” The truth of who we are is tyrannical and it patiently and persistently tugs at us, sometimes in a barely audible whisper, until we quiet our minds of the thoughts and the made-up stories that keep recycling in our brain, taking up precious time and space that could be used to bring us real and lasting happiness. And it’s not until we bestill the mental chatter that we can start listening to what it’s saying.
Most of us don’t stop to listen because we’re afraid that it’s going to tell us to do something we don’t want, like change the dynamic of our intimate relationships or friendships, eat the broccoli instead of the pizza, stop self-righteously judging someone and, instead, get into their world and see their point of view of things, or give up a night of TV to enroll in a class in something we’ve always wanted to do.
If the pizza were going to bring you real comfort, or the lack of real communication with others was going to bring you more meaning and closeness, or being right were viable roads to true happiness, then we’d all be set. But, it doesn’t work that way and, thankfully so because, at the end of the day, I can’t imagine anyone saying they wished they’d watched more TV, or closed more people out of their hearts, or ate more foods that made them feel sick.
So, the first step to finding out who you are, and this is going to sound brutal, is to stop what you’re doing and really start noticing the voice inside your head and hear what it’s saying. For those of you who are not used to doing this, which is most of us, you will, at first, not even know the difference between this voice and the real you, so be patient with yourself as you charter the tricky terrain of your mind and its creative ways of lulling you into looking outside yourself for approval, validation, and a sense of worthiness.
One of the reasons it’s so important to know the difference between that voice inside your head and your own inner knowing is that, without your awareness or permission, it will make choices for you that ultimately keep you stuck and unhappy and further from the truth of who you are. And, no matter how much you say you want something, if you don’t actually believe it, it will not come to be.
There are many ways to get acquainted with the voice in your head and, besides meditation, one of the best ways I know of is to start a daily morning practice of writing down your stream-of-conscious thoughts in a notebook – I’m talking good old-fashioned journaling that is for your eyes only. I have been doing this myself, off and on, since I was a teenager and it’s also one of the first things I get my clients in the habit of doing when we start working together.
The results my clients have experienced from doing this have often been nothing less than transformational – from restored relationships that seemed hopeless, to the breaking off of marital engagements that were based on fantasy and projection, to starting successful businesses generated from long-held creative passions, to going from feeling hopelessly unemployed to getting a six-figure job, to meeting and creating a life with the person of their dreams, to creating a more empowering and exciting role in their company that better reflects their strengths and interests, to changing their sexual identities (both ways!), and the list goes on.
But, most importantly, what comes from knowing ourselves is a greater ability to love who we are and that love is what creates true possibility – for ourselves, for others, and for the world. When we are so busy judging ourselves and others, there is no space for true creation and creating is what makes us come alive.
Try this: ask yourself, of these two choices, do you prefer truth or untruth? Now, ask, would you choose something that feels good or something that feels bad? Ok, now, which would you choose, something that feels good or something that is true?
If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry, right? This is where it’s easy to get stuck and choose the short-term gratification over the bigger picture of true fulfillment. And, if the price weren’t so high, like forfeiting your dreams and passions, then I’d say, no big deal and to go for it. But the cost of not authentically living into who you really are is to be miserable, at best, and life-threatening, at worst.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about waking up and becoming aware of what’s true because, as it’s been said through time, the truth will set us free, and freedom allows us to choose powerfully. If you get and stay curious, challenge yourself to ask the powerful questions, and allow for the raw energy of life to move through you, you get your real self back and, from that place, anything is possible.
So, the great news is that, once we start exercising the often flabby muscles of our deeply-held desire to genuinely connect with ourselves and others and access our vibrant and creative spirit, we start to get into a groove and the very same techniques that got us stuck into old and destructive habits that keep us unhappy are now in service of activities, routines, and behaviors that actually bring us true happiness, peace of mind, and real joy. And, if you check under the hood of anyone’s new year’s resolutions, you’ll probably find very similar motives: to feel, do, and be their best. So, start getting “selfish” and focus on you and what you really want – it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself and everyone else.
Have fun playing with this approach and email me what you notice!
With Love,

It’s Never Too Late!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. But the second best time is today.” ~Chinese proverb

I love this because there are so many things I am doing now, later in life, that I never had the courage to do before when I was younger. And, as a result I am having the time of my life!

If I wanted, I could come up with a million excuses as to why “it’s too late” to live the life of my dreams. For starters, although my spirit is more vibrant and energized than ever before, my body is not! I just don’t have the same ole “bounce-back” I had at 25 as I do now in my late 40’s, and yet, I am not letting that stop me from making choices like moving cross-country to a big city I don’t know, filled with friends I haven’t yet met so that I can live near the beach, surrounded by year-round swaying palms and fruit trees.

Yeah, it would have been great to have moved here 25 years ago and learned to surf and play volleyball in the sand before I developed multiple repetitive stress injuries throughout my well-worn body, but I didn’t so what’s it going to be – lay down and cry or get on with it? Well, I chose the latter and couldn’t be happier.

The above proverb is a reminder that it is never too late to be, do, and have all that life has to offer! There’s no better time than now to live a life you love because yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes. In the end, what do you have to show for your unlived dreams? Even better, 10 years from now, what kind of memories do you want to be able to look back on?

Try this out: ask yourself, what is one thing you can do today that you wished you had done years ago? Now, start taking the steps to make it happen. It may be as simple as reaching out to someone you’ve been meaning to re-connect with, bringing a camera with you on your outings and take those pictures you’ve been meaning to shoot, getting that story that’s been in your head for ages out onto paper, or take a weekend or a day trip somewhere off the beaten path that leads to some unforeseen adventure.

The sky really is the limit when you decide to take a chance and do something different. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again, expecting different results. If you’re feeling lackluster in your day-to-day life then it’s time to shake things up a little and see what’s available to you from a fresh perspective. But we can’t create something new and fresh from a mind filled with old, stale ideas so start with an open mind and heart and dive in with the courage and curiosity of a child, and see where it takes you. It’s never too late to have what you want!

Since it’s true that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’re going to get what you got, then what have you got to lose by doing something you’ve always wanted to do but left it behind and underneath a pile of worn-out excuses?

Have fun playing with this new approach and email me what you notice!

With Love,

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,

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,

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,