The Success Catalyst

Up Your Game & Bring Out Your Best

Five Questions To Ask Yourself While Wrapping Up 2014

Whether you’re a savvy business owner, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, or just a plain old hard-working professional, ’tis the season to take stock of the wins and challenges of another year gone by.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what you think didn’t work out or not feeling like you accomplished nearly enough and, while it’s always a great idea anytime of the year to ask yourself what you learned from any disappointment or “failure”, we tend to easily forget about or dismiss our wins and successes.

So, in the spirit of getting a “reality check” on your year, here are five great questions to ask yourself while looking back:

1. In what areas of my personal and professional life did I make some progress? Take a good look and expect to be pleasantly surprised. It’s easy to shrug off many of the “little” things we did because we’re still focused on the never-ending big picture. Make sure you acknowledge what you know now as a result of your commitment to your success that you didn’t know a year ago. Chances are, you’re much more of a pro than a year ago!

2. Who did I lend a helping hand to? It’s not only good business or “karma” to bring value to others, it just plain feels great! You can never do too much of this one so give it all you got. As personal and professional development coach Brian Tracy says, “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

3. What am I most proud of? Whether it’s an against-all-odds project you completed, a promising new collaboration you developed, or the day you helped out at the soup kitchen, really take time out to acknowledge ways in which you showed up that reminds you how great it feels when you’re at your best.

4. What were the most fun times I had? This is an obvious, but often easily overlooked one: if you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Look for the laughs, the smiles, and the good times. If you’re not finding any, make it happen – starting now!

5. And then top it off with: What advice would I give myself for a successful 2015? This is a terrific way to mentally tick through the past year and note what habits slowed you down and which ones gave you traction and momentum – you are the expert on you so take your advice to heart and use it as a call to action!

And I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t throw in a juicy challenge: take one BOLD action before the year ends. Pick something bordering on “crazy and outlandish” – that thing that makes you think, “No, not that!” – yeah, that one – and then go do it! Yes, just do it. What have you got to lose? Doing the same old thing gets stale. Jolt yourself by doing something that gets you out of your comfort zone and just see what happens. If nothing else, it will make for a great ice-breaker at a holiday party.

Even better, while sharing your bold action story with some unsuspecting reveler, encourage them to do the same before the year’s up. Who knows, you might even pick up a new customer, business contact, or friend just by having fun playing this game with a fellow traveler on the road to success. As the saying goes, “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”

Now, put a big fat bow on 2014 and get ready to ring in a great new year!!

With Big Love,

Dani

The Year of Living Wholeheartedly

park benchI have always been one to take risks, follow my heart, pursue my dreams, and not wait for love or life to find me. So, nine months ago, after getting out of a dead-end relationship, I left California for new beginnings in Portland, Oregon, a place I knew almost nothing about, and am excited to say I have completely fallen for this gem of a city that I now call home. Rocco, my super rad chiweenie, is adjusting like a champ and we both agree the future looks bright!

And, as hard as it’s been to let go of a dream, I will never stop living wholeheartedly. Every heart-wrenching disappointment is a messy opportunity to fall even more in love with myself, my friends, my passions, and my life.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing – sometimes joyfully, sometimes not, but always passionately and with my whole heart. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for my nearest and dearest – my extraordinary friends and my amazing coach who have all been there for me, as always, like angels walking the earth.

And, for all of the amazing humans that I coach – past and present (and future!) – who endlessly move and inspire me with their fierce courage and indomitable commitment to living their best life. You all ROCK, and I am so honored to be a part of your wholehearted journey.

And, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t invite all of you to ask yourself, how are you living wholeheartedly today? Whether there is heartbreak, a loss of someone you love, a high-pressure job, no job, compromised health, challenging kids or family members, a too-full plate, a fledgling business, a betrayal by someone you loved and trusted, or any of the other challenges that come with being alive – how are you showing up for yourself and your life?

Hint: If it’s with a compassionate and courageous heart, a curious and open mind, and a willingness to lovingly and authentically connect with yourself and others, then, I believe, you’re on the right track!

Thanks to everyone who, just for today, is showing up wholeheartedly – we’re in this together!

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

With Big Love,
Dani

How Surgery Was a Gift: A Fresh Perspective

I didn’t see it as a gift when I was told that my shoulder needed to be operated on if I wanted to get back to my racquet sports and swimming – not to mention if I was interested in a remaining lifetime free of chronic and acute pain from a torn rotator cuff that would only get worse. Upon getting the d-date for late May, I broke down and cried.

There’s nothing like having surgery on your (dominant) arm and then being told you can’t use it for 6 weeks to get your attention – well, there are so many things much worse, but this was enough to get mine. The worst part was this meant I had to reach out to friends and ask for help. For some, this isn’t hard to do – for me, it’s excruciating. I’ve gotten much better at it over the years, but, given a choice, I prefer not to ever have any needs – that’s how I roll.

At the eleventh hour, I made a few calls, stopped by a few friends’ houses, and wrote a few emails, letting people know I was heading into surgery and could use some help. In less than 24 hours, friends were sending out emails to my other friends and, before I knew it, I was inundated with support.

Between everybody, everything was taken care of: from day-of hospital logistics to post-op in-house movie nights – it was a revolving door of friends cooking for me, taking care of Rocco, doing my laundry and dishes, bathing me, taking me to dinner and to cool events, driving me to doctor’s appointments, downloading audio books, and checking in on me 24/7. My aunt and uncle even made a special visit which was reminiscent of when my dad came out to be with me for a minor surgery I’d had 25 years ago, armed with what seemed like a year’s supply of my grandma’s chicken and matzo ball soup and homemade Mandel Bread.

Although I’ve had the good fortune of having many close and very special friendships throughout my life, I was, once again, overwhelmed by the generosity and support that was so freely given by so many and I am forever changed by it. And, with the exception of a couple fast and furious meltdowns, I have been in exceptionally good spirits from the moment I left the hospital.

While I don’t recommend having to have surgery that renders you relatively incapacitated in order to have a shift in perspective around being vulnerable, it’s been said, when the solutions to our problems come, they are often difficult for us to receive. Life has a way of giving us the perfect people and situations to help us do something different so that we can actually have the things we say we want. Someone or something will show up in our lives that is the most challenging to our specific, deep-seated, fear-based beliefs that will take us out of our comfort zone – and it’s our choice whether to be open to receive the gift of that opening, no matter how uncomfortable it feels when it happens. Or to refuse it.

This is one of life’s many moments of truth – are we going to welcome a challenging opportunity in order to evolve beyond our self-imposed, internal barriers or will we resist and then still feel victimized when we continue to not get what we’ve been saying we want. All the while, turning our backs on the very people and situations that show up to heal us and bring us the love, connection, and affinity we so deeply long for.

Now, having spent six weeks in a sling, I can’t imagine not having had this fortuitous opportunity to let my friends be there for me – it’s as if they were waiting for it all along and I finally woke up. I can be stubborn so an injury would be an obvious wake-up call for me.

And, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you to identify one thing, however small, that you are resisting because it feels too hard – and do it! Most of us know what we need to do, and what we need to stop doing, in order to have what we want. Simply decide to do one thing differently and see what happens. You might be surprised by how good it feels – maybe not right away – in fact, at first, it’s likely going to make you feel disoriented, anxious, and put your stomach in knots. If so, that’s the one you should stick with! Learning how to do something differently requires the willingness to tolerate discomfort. And remember, you wouldn’t be considering changing things up if what you’ve been doing was getting you what you want so you’ve really got nothing to lose by breaking up a long-held habit that has been leaving you empty-handed.

In one of her poems, Mary Oliver asks, “Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”. See what shows up from asking yourself this question. And then, enjoy the freedom and peace and aliveness that comes from bravely choosing your truest path – it’s called authentic happiness and time waits for no one.

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

With Love,
Dani

As I Began to Love Myself

The speech that Charlie Chaplin gave on his 70th birthday: As I Began to Love Myself

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
 are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
 as I try to force my desires on this person, 
even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it,
 and even though this person was me.
 Today I call it “RESPECT.”

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life 
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
 Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
 I am in the right place at the right time,
 and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
 So I could be calm.
 Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time
 and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
 Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do 
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
 Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health—
food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself.
 At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. 
Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right,
 and, ever since, I was wrong less of the time.
 Today I discovered that is “MODESTY.”

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future.
 Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening.
 Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
 But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.
 Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems 
with ourselves or others. 
Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
 Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

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