The Success Catalyst

Up Your Game & Bring Out Your Best

When All Else Fails, Be Yourself

When I was a teenager growing up in the 70’s and Graham Nash was proclaiming to song to, “Be Yourself”, I remember thinking, “Yeah, that’s right!” and ended up using that as one of my anthems into adulthood. And, although my version of what that looks like today is probably unrecognizable to the 16 year-old me, the core of the message is still the same – that I be true to myself because, at the end of the day, all that really matters is that I lived my life according to my own inner compass, my own True North.

We can so easily be influenced by what others think of us that it often leaves very little room to genuinely explore and then go after what we really want and what would make us truly happy. The tragedy is that we’re then stuck with a life (read: job, relationship, career, body, home-life, financial situation) that doesn’t fit who we really are and what we could actually have. As Charlie Chaplin noted on his 70th birthday while reflecting back on his life, “anguish and emotional suffering were only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.”

And the warning signs usually first come as a quiet whisper, obviously the best time to catch them and, with practice, really does get easier. Or, if we’re lucky, it’s more like a tap on the shoulder – still not too shabby if you can catch it then. More likely though, for most of us, you might notice it as some very annoying finger-poking in the chest, and, if you’re still not willing to pay attention, a thwack across the head – think major, and often humiliating, take-downs for those in the public eye and, for many of us, the usual high drama of didn’t-see-it-coming flash floods like affairs, pink slips, loss of an important friendship, or, even worse and, in most cases, just a quiet desperation of a life unlived.

The great news is that these circumstances don’t have to be a crisis; rather, it’s life’s way of sending us smoke signals that we’re off-course and just need to re-calibrate. Wake-up calls can be a cold shower and, although unpleasant, nothing more. If we take these signals as a friendly reminder to follow our hearts, no matter what, life has a way of providing all the support we need to take the steps toward creating a life filled with peace, joy, and true contentment.

So, what does being yourself really mean? The first step is recognizing that anything in your life that isn’t going the way you had hoped and planned likely has some hint of inauthenticity in it and lacks the vitality of a rich connection – with yourself and your values.

This is where a real heart-to-heart with yourself can do wonders. One great way to get back on track is to ask yourself, “If I were completely being myself in this situation or dynamic, what would I be doing, seeing, or saying, differently? What beliefs about myself and life would I have to be believing in order to feel alive and connected and getting the results I want? What conversations might I be having with the people I’m closest with?”

Start with where you are, get curious about what’s going on, and trust that the rest will show up as you go along. It was Oscar Wilde who once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Do yourself a favor and take his advice because it’s never too late to be the person you could have become!

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,

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,

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,