Monday, December 26, 2011

Traffic Light Your Life

Today is the day to begin cleaning house.  I mean this literally and figuratively, inside and out. This is the week where we must sit down and reflect on 2011 and think about what we want 2012 to look like. What will we leave behind in 2011? What will we take into 2012? What will we do differently?  What will stay the same?  There is a reflection activity that I often use with my training participants called Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light. Let's use this activity to help us to reflect on last year and plan for the year to come.

The red light represents things that we want to stop. What are some things that you did in 2011 that you don't want to carry into 2012? Maybe it's a bad habit or behavior...or it could be some form of inactivity perhaps when it comes to exercise, or being organized.   For me it's leading with my emotions and negative thinking. I've spent a lot of time really looking at and learning about myself this year and I've come to realize that the way that I react to things and the way that I think about things is truly the only thing that is holding me back from where I really want to be. It's not money, or time, or any of the other excuses that we often use when we talk about why we aren't where we are supposed to be in our lives. So my red light is that I plan to stop making decisions and reactions based on emotion as well as negative thinking and processing, all which ultimately lead to self-sabotage.

The yellow light represents things that you want to continue. It's all about acknowledging something that you have been doing that is working for you.  At the end of 2010 I realized that I was 32 years old with tons of great accomplishments and success, and I made good money, but I had absolutely nothing to show for it. As a result, this year I committed to financial literacy and freedom and it has completely turned my life around.  It has increased my confidence and self-esteem and it has decreased my stress. Therefore my yellow light is that I will continue my journey to financial freedom in which I have intentionally mapped out a plan for 2012 that leads to the road to being an enlightened millionaire.

The green light represents something that you want to start. This year what I want to start is quite simple. I want to start searching and saving for my dream house.  I believe that it is my destiny to be the rock of my family. I want to be the safe and neutral place where everyone can come to celebrate on holidays. So, once I get my dream house, I want to start strong traditions of love and acceptance for years to come.  Family begins with our blood relatives, but it extends to the friends in our lives who have become family as well.  So again, my green light is to start saving and searching for my dream house where I will begin strong traditions that bring peace and joy to those that I love.

What will you Stop (Red Light), Continue (Yellow Light), and Start (Green Light) in 2012? This week I challenge you to sit down and write, draw or visualize these things so that you will have a simple yet solid plan for the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Order your autographed copy of "Monday Morning Motivation" (The Book) from

Monday, October 10, 2011

EXCERPT from "Monday Morning Motivation" The Book!


A New Day

Recently I was talking to a friend and fellow motivator about Monday mornings at his job. He shared that it was the absolute worst time of the week. This was due to the fact that everyone was always upset and depressed because they didn’t want to be there. As positive as he is, one can’t help but be affected by such negative energy; as it is contagious. Finally, he told me that when my Monday Morning Motivation message pops up in his inbox, it ends up turning his whole day around.

When I decided to do these messages I never could have imagined the impact that they would make. More than one person has shared with me that research shows that suicide occurs more often on Mondays than any other day of the week because of that sense of dread and depression that is often referred to as the “Monday Morning Blues.” Each of these readers, who have never met and live in different parts of the world, all said that they feel like these messages are making an impact and a difference when it comes to those statistics. If a little inspiration on Monday morning lifts one heavy spirit or saves one life, then I feel that I have done my job.

I look at Monday in an entirely different way. I truly believe that our health, wealth and how we feel about ourselves depends heavily upon how we perceive things. For example, when I hear the term Monday Morning Blues, I think of how beautiful a blue sky is or that blue is my favorite color as opposed to the negative connotation that the word blue usually holds. Instead of looking at Monday in a dreadful way, I look at it as a new day and an opportunity for a new beginning… as a gift that we are given each week.

I remember when I was a child and I wanted to ask my mother for something, I can’t recall what it was, but I prefaced it with, “Mom, when it’s 1984 again can I….”  She laughed and let me know that years don’t come back around like months and days do. We may not be able to get the years back, but there will always be another Monday.

Every day is a new day and an opportunity to start all over again, but I feel that Mondays are the most powerful because they are the beginning.

How often do we think or say that we wish we had the opportunity to do something all over again? Monday gives us that. Today I challenge you to think about ways to make the most of Mondays.  I’ll start you off with a few, but the rest is up to you…

Re-Commit To a Life-Style Change
Notice that I didn’t say diet. Focus on fitness in a way that is manageable and realistic enough for you to maintain for life. 

Do Something Differently Than You Did Last Week
Use the weekend as a time to reflect on issues that came up for you throughout the week.  Once you’ve completed that task, use Monday as a day to learn from your mistakes by leaving them behind and moving forward with new goals and action steps.

Begin the Journey of Letting Something Go That Is Not Good For You
Perhaps you want to quit smoking or give up sweets. Monday is a great day to begin and even if you slip up during the week, that’s OK because another Monday is on the way for you to give it another try.

Let’s make each Monday a new day and if you find yourself getting off track as the week progresses, just remember…another Monday is only seven days away.

How to Use This Book
You are more than welcome to read this book all at once, but for maximum impact it is designed to be read one chapter per week for a year. Read each chapter first thing in the morning every Monday when you wake up, before you do anything else, or as soon as you arrive at the office, before you begin your work for the day.

Apply the topic of the message for each week to your life by focusing on the challenge posed or questions asked at the end of each chapter. Continue to apply and review the concepts, ideas and suggestions that you read in the motivational message for the entire week.

After reading the message, or at the end of the week, reflect on your progress. This can be done alone or with a close friend, family member, co-worker or group. Encourage the person that you share your thoughts with to read the book right along with you. (See the Book Club Guide at the end of the book.)

If you decide to reflect alone, record your thoughts, your answers to the questions, or the action steps that you plan to take to meet the challenges in a journal.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy the read!

"Monday Morning Motivation" The Book Coming November 12, 2011!!
Pre-Order NOW for ONLY $8 at

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Matters? Put In The Work To Make It Work

I was watching the movie Couple’s Retreat yesterday and toward the end, a line that actor Vince Vaughn said really stuck with me. He was talking to a friend that hadn’t been taking his marriage seriously when he said, “If it matters, work at it…if not, move on to something else.”

All too often we find ourselves in situations that we complain about, yet we stick around.  We are obviously sticking around for a reason.  Instead of continuing to just exist in such comfortable situations, we must ask ourselves if this job, this person, this project, or this goal really matters to us.  If it does, we must get out of our complacent state and work to make it work.  If we are not going to put in the work we must either stop complaining…or move on.

We are doing no justice to ourselves or the other people involved if we continue to stay around.  It’s kind of like that kid in the classroom, or that person in the office that has a cold. The school and the office management would rather that they just stay at home instead of spreading the germs and making everyone sick.

If you aren’t happy with a situation, you’ll ultimately exude negative energy, which is also contagious. Beyond that, it sucks the life out of people.

Today I challenge you to take inventory of your life and identify an area that you are not giving all that you know that you can.  What can you do to improve the situation?  In reflecting upon this situation, if you find that it really, truly matters to you, then put in the work to make it work, or do everyone a favor and let go and move on.  Moving on is not always a bad thing. It may be just what’s needed to liberate you and those who were affected by your actions or inaction.

My guess is that if it is a relationship with a loved one, as was the case in the movie…it probably does matter to you. So don’t take another second taking that person for granted. As soon as you’re done reading this, let them know how much they mean to you and why, and then begin devising a plan of action to put in the work to make it work.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

According to Wikipedia Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.

When I hear the word work, it makes me think about faith. Many of us truly believe that we have faith, but faith is a formula. Faith needs work to work. 

When a woman is in labor, she can believe that the baby will just slide and glide out or walk out of her without any effort on her part, but the reality is that she has to push.  She has to put in the work to give life to her little miracle.

What miracle do you want to happen in your life?  What goal or dream do you believe for? Are you putting in the work?  If you don’t want that vision to die, you have to push. You have to put in the work.

Now when I say put in work, I don’t just mean working hard…many of us do that every day. I mean working smart. For all that we do, there is a corresponding process or system that could help everything to go more smoothly and lead to higher quality outcomes.

Lately I’ve been studying business so that I can grow and strengthen the companies that I own.  In my research I read a staggering fact that 99 out of 100 small businesses fail in 10 years. We often have great ideas, great products and the ambition and the drive to start a business, but the reason that it is not successful is because we have not put in the right type of work.  To see our desired outcomes and ensure that they have longevity, we have to put in the work on the front end to create excellent systems. defines a system as A set of detailed methods, procedures, and routines established or formulated to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, or solve a problem.

When we take the time and put in the work to create a system, then our businesses, our goals, our dreams, our children, or whatever we believe for can continue to grow and flourish without us even being there. That is the type of work we want to do.

So celebrate the work you’ve done up to this point today, but tomorrow and beyond I challenge you to put in the right work.

Happy Labor Day!
Monday Morning Motivation (The Book) Coming November 2011!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Increase Your Peace

My Mother and I had a really good conversation the other day. We discussed how as you get older, your life should become more peaceful, and you should have far more grace when it comes to the way in which you handle situations. It may seem that the opposite is the case with the way reality TV glorifies grown folks fighting, but it still rings true that as your age increases, so should your peace and grace.

This year I’ve made an intentional effort to improve the quality of my life. Just last week I was sitting in my loft and I thought to myself, “My life is really peaceful. I am happy.”  There was a time in the past where I wouldn’t have been honestly able to say that.

There were certain things in my life that I had to change, replace, add or take away on my personal journey to peace and grace.  The first step was being brutally honest…with myself.

I know that I do well under pressure, which is fine every now and then, but overall I had to replace procrastination with planning.   My lack of advanced planning often led me to be reactive to situations, so I had to replace that with being proactive.   Being reactive often came with a lot of emotion. I had to replace the emotion with logic. Emotion usually leads to drama, so once I got rid of that, the drama decreased and I became ready to increase my peace. Increased peace leads to grace. When you are peaceful and happy, you handle situations far more gracefully.

I was reading one of my favorite authors, Robert T. Kyosaki, the other day and he said that in order for him to make meaningful and lasting change, certain parts of him had to die. For example, in order for him to be rich…the poor man in him had to die. In order for him to be healthy, the fat and lazy man in him had to die…

What part of us needs to die, so that the new and improved version can be born?

This week I challenge you to think about the habits and behaviors in your life that you can replace, change or eliminate in order to increase your peace and grace. Take it one day at a time…and take it from me, the end result is well worth the work.

Monday, August 15, 2011


The word rehabilitation is often given a bad reputation in that it is associated with the process by which someone goes through detox, therapy and behavior modification to help them recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Very rarely do we look at it as the positive thing that it is meant to be. If we looked at the bright side of it we would see that it is a way for people to restore and rebuild their lives.

Let's look at it in terms of real estate. When you buy an investment property it may be distressed or in need of repair. Investing in the rehabilitation that the house needs will substantially increase its value. Even something as simple as painting the walls can make the property worth more than you acquired it for thus making it more marketable and in higher demand once you present it to the world.

I want you to think of yourself or your life as that house. What projects need to be done to increase your value? What investment do you need to make in yourself to increase your worth? Perhaps you need to strengthen or reinforce your foundation by continuing your academic or financial education. Or maybe the improvements are structural in that you need to commit or re-commit to fitness. You might need new windows which represents your vision or the way that you look at things. Are you looking at life from a point of view that is broken or damaged? A new storm door represents security…do you need to work on being more secure in who you are, especially in the face of a storm or adversity.  Whether the changes are large or small they can all increase your net worth in a major way.

Today I challenge you to do your due diligence and conduct a thorough inspection of yourself.  Make a list of the projects that need attention, in order of priority, and begin your process of rehabilitation with the most pressing one.  In the end you will find yourself in a better place with more confidence and self-assurance because you put in the work needed to increase your value and your worth.

Let the rehabilitation begin!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Help IS The Way

 There’s a song that goes, “Hold on, Help is on the way!”  If you have faith, you know that this is a statement that is very true, but what we usually fail to even consider is that help IS THE WAY to speed up the process. 

We often believe that we've exhausted every option when it comes to trying to improve a situation, solve a problem, or reach a goal in our lives. There's one secret key that we always forget about.  That secret key is asking how we can be of assistance to someone else. The saying “Give to Get” doesn't just apply to money. We can give our time, wisdom, experience or advice to those in need.  And keep in mind that when I say “those in need” I don’t just mean the “needy.”  Successful people are often the one’s that need the most help and there is a lot to be learned and gained just from being in their presence.  Let's cut right to the chase and look at a few concrete examples of how helping others has a high return on the investment of your time…

Years ago I worked at an after school program where the teens would often ask about employment opportunities. I'd built a relationship with them, so they trusted me when I told them that there weren't currently any opportunities, but they should volunteer in the meantime. Sure enough, after a few months we were awarded grant money to pay teen staff and since those particular young people had been diligently volunteering, they were first in line to get hired.  How can you apply this example to your life? Are you seeking employment? You’re never too young or too old to be an intern and you can work your way up.  Most major executives started out this way.

Now let's take a look at my writing career. In college I studied elementary education and then social work. I'd never taken a writing class. But I knew that I wanted to write and publish a as soon as I moved back to Detroit I immediately began volunteering for the Motown Writers Network. I basically latched myself on to the founder, Sylvia Hubbard, and volunteered to help her in any way that I could. Now over ten years and five books later, any time she comes across an awesome opportunity for a book signing, speaking engagement, publishing opportunity or whatever, guess who the first person that she calls is? So as if all of the valuable information that I’ve learned by helping her over the years wasn’t reward enough, I also get ongoing perks that continue to help me to grow my business and my brand.  If it wasn't for my giving there is NO way that I'd be as far along as I am today.  Is there an industry that you would like to learn more about?  If you volunteer for some of that industry’s major events you can forgo the registration costs but still learn all of the valuable information while you are helping.

When some people hear the concept of doing something for free it sounds foreign to them or even absurd, but what they fail to realize is that when you give, you benefit as much or more than the person that you are helping.

Think about it like this. Let’s say you charge $30 per hour for consulting and you help someone with what they are dealing with for two hours. Your profit will end at that $60 if you even get the contract. Now if you volunteer to help someone the rewards and benefits you get are often infinite.  It may lead to referrals for more contracts, paid speaking engagements, or free access to things that you might have otherwise had to pay for equaling thousands in profit or money saved.  Your helping for free just keeps on giving in ways that hold far more value than that mere $60. Now I’m not suggesting that you not know your worth and charge accordingly for it, I’m just making sure that you are aware of the powerful impact and benefit of simply offering your free gift of help.

This week I challenge you to reach out and help someone.  Simply ask, “How can I help or support you?”  Pick someone who has successfully achieved some of the goals that you hope to achieve. Think Big! Target the top 5 people that you have been watching and hoping to someday achieve what they have. I’ll be tackling this challenge by trying to meet a millionaire mentor. In the midst of my helping them, I can pick their brain to see how they got to where I want to be.   

After you’ve done all you can, try a new approach. Help IS the way.

TAG! You're It!

Think of the game called Tag that we used to play when we were children. You run for your life from the person that's “It” like getting caught by them is the worst thing in the world...the worst thing that could possibly happen.  We don’t stop to think about what happens when we get caught. The reality is that the outcome is not that bad at all.  When you get caught YOU become “It” and now you have the power.

Now think about how this parallels with our lives. We often run from our problems, namely bill collectors or facing hard choices and decisions that we must make.

Take your power back! Stop running from your fears and problems and turn around and start chasing and pursuing them. I’ve been doing this for the first half of this year and it’s not only been far less painful than I thought it would be, but it’s actually been quite liberating.  Set up payment arrangements, see if there are opportunities for settlements, talk to people about how you feel, make those hard decisions and stick to them... When you face your problems and your fears head on, they are nowhere near as frightening as they seemed when you were running and hiding.

It’s time to take responsibility for the fact that our fears are often our fault. Yes, bill collectors may be a little rude and snippy at times, but hey, they’re just doing their job.  We are the ones that did not keep our word, or pay our bill, or who bought something we knew we really couldn’t afford. 

Fear only has the power that you give it.  Just like a car, it can’t go anywhere or do anything unless you give it the fuel.  So this week I challenge you to stop running, turn around and chase your fear right back.  These days, as I work diligently to repair my credit, the bill collectors are my friends, not my enemies.  I call them regularly to see what type of deals I can work out with them and I even go as far as joking with them while I’m on the phone with them. I keep it pleasant and positive and they often have no other choice but to reciprocate those delightful behaviors.

What are you running from?  Take your power back TODAY….TAG! You’re IT!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Under Book and Over Look

Lately I’ve been exploring meditation in an attempt to quiet my ever racing mind.  I’ve also heard that prayer is you talking to God and meditation is you sitting back quietly to listen for His response.  So now, instead of rambling on my long prayers and going about my day immediately after, I’ve tacked on some meditation time at the end of each prayer to listen to what God has to say back to me.

One day last week I set aside some very intentional quiet time to really get deep into the prayer and meditation.  In so many words, the response that I got during my meditation was, “You’re doing too much.”  This made so much sense because I’ve come to realize that I tend to over book myself.  This doesn’t mean that I’m scheduling things at the same time, but I’m not really giving myself time to thoroughly breath, reflect, and rest in between appointments and engagements.

I’ve come to learn that just because a block of time is not filled on your calendar or in your day planner, it doesn’t mean that it’s really available.  I’ve had days where I schedule appointments, book signings, meetings and calls back to back to back just because the space is free on my calendar. What I don’t account for is transitions, down time, travel time and the fact that I am not a robot and that I might just get tired somewhere along the way like humans often do.

When I was given the message that I was doing too much, an example was also revealed to me.  Now that my business travel is beginning to slow up a bit, I’d decided that I was going to commit to thirty days of focus to tie up a lot of loose ends in my life.  God was like, “Why does it have to be thirty days? Why can’t you just start by committing to like two days and see how it goes?” Again, this made so much sense for me because I definitely have a tendency to make grand plans, then I find myself either overwhelmed by them or disappointed with myself because I’ve abandoned them.

Another area where I tend to “do too much” is within my thoughts. I have formed a nasty little habit of sweating the small stuff, instead of focusing on the big picture.  Sometimes we all stress ourselves out by thinking about, paying attention to and entertaining some of the most trivial things.  Let’s use a dating situation as a common example of this…

 A man and a woman are dating.  The woman spends a lot of time and energy paying attention to all of the other young ladies that are attracted to or interested in her man.  She overlooks the fact that she gets all of his time, attention and affection, and focuses on all of these women that are making comments on his Facebook page or following him on Twitter.  Instead of focusing on the positive big picture, she is zeroed in on the insignificant small picture.  My advice to here would be,” If you are the quarterback, why in the world are you worried about who’s on the bench?”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

This week I challenge you to UNDER Book yourself for a change and OVER Look the small stuff that doesn’t even matter in the larger scheme of things. As your personal guinea pig for positive change I can assure you that your life will begin to improve instantly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get Your Life In Order

I’ve come to know that the state of my physical space is often a pretty accurate representation of my mental and or emotional state. If my car and my loft are junky, then so is my mind. When I’m off balance, overwhelmed, stressed, or just trying to do too much, all of the things around me become a clear sign that it’s time to slow down and pull things back together.  I usually don’t stop to “clean up” until things slow down naturally, but yesterday I began to think...What if we can reverse the effects by flipping the process?

It all boils down to being proactive. What if I began by stopping to take time up front to clean and organize my life?  Would that then lend itself to a more clear and organized mind and emotional state?

I decided that I’d give that a try this week. So last night I cleaned up my loft and created a few posters to guide me through the week, the month, and the rest of the year.  Take a moment to think about this…What are some practices that we could put in to place to make our lives run more smoothly?  Here are a few of my suggestions…

Finances: Create a poster of monthly expenses, (also list due dates and amounts) post them on the wall where you have to look at them every day, and cross them off as you pay them off. 

Long Term Planning: Create a poster that is a grid of the next six months with blank columns under each month.  Write major goals out individually on Post It (sticky) notes.  Place the goals in the columns under the months in which you hope to accomplish the goals.  If life happens and you don’t meet one by the due date that you’d planned for, simply move it over to the next month.

Daily Duties: Create a poster similar to the Long Term Planning Poster described above.  Instead of months as the column titles, list important components of your life.  For me that includes the names of the different companies that I run or consult for, shopping, friends, family and personal.  List what needs to be done under each category and cross them off as you accomplish them.

These visual representations of the things that need to be organized and maintained in your life help to keep you on track. Being able to cross them off and see that they have been taken care of gives you a real sense of accomplishment and progress.

You may not adapt any of these techniques, and I don’t encourage you to if you feel that they won’t work for you.  BUT this week I will challenge you to come up with one process that will help you to get your life in order, thus improving your mental health and productivity.  Engineer yourself for success by beginning with something small and manageable that you know you will stick to.  Once you put your new practice into place, sit back and watch how much more smoothly your life will run.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Year of Repair

What is broken in your life?  Is it a relationship with a family member, friend or significant other? Is it your credit or financial situation? Is it your health? Is it your education? Is it you?  Take a quick diagnostic check or assessment of your life as it is right now and determine what is in need of repair.  If you find that there is more than one thing, prioritize them and zero in on that one thing that is at the top of the list.

This year I came to realize that the area where I was the most broken was financial literacy. And isn’t it ironic that the root word of broken is “broke”.  Being “broke” is no more than a mindset or a pattern or behavior that can indeed be broken in a positive way. 

In an attempt to fix this area with which I had always been challenged I have officially decided to declare this my “Year of Repair” with a focus on financial literacy.  Surprisingly, I have found that as I improve my financial situation through education, awareness and consistent practice of a specific set of action steps, that my self-esteem and confidence have increased and my stress level has decreased.  This has in turn freed up my time and energy to align and balance all of the other areas in my life that are in need of repair as well.

As we approach the middle of the year, now is a good time to reflect upon and reassess the goals that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Many of our goals probably spoke directly to the things in our lives that are in need of repair.  I just stopped writing this to flip back in my journal to see what my goals were and I realize that I have accomplished four of the eight that I set for myself.  I also realize that half of my goals were financial.

This week I challenge you to devote some time to reflecting on where you are in your life, assessing what the challenges or broken pieces are, and beginning to plan for how you want to move forward during the second half of the year. Don’t overwhelm yourself with several projects, simply focus on one thing that you want to repair and go from there.
Here are a few tips to get you started…

1.       Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is probably a friend or colleague right within your grasp that is strong in the area in which you are weak.

2.       Study books, magazines, or even documentaries or movies that address the area in which you broken and are striving to repair.

3.       Be honest with yourself.  A lot of times it’s hard to admit areas where we fall short of even our own expectations.  Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and take the first small step to changing your life for the better.

Happy Year of Repair!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Simplify Your Life to Live

“Why are you ALWAYS in such a rush?”  These words stopped me in my tracks and made me ask myself the same question. My seven year old nephew said this to me on Friday when I breezed back into town after being gone for a week and only stopped by momentarily to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  He had other plans. He wanted me to sit and play with him and his super hero action figures. So instead of rushing out of the door to run errands, keep appointments, and squeeze in everything that I could before leaving town again on Sunday…I sat down with him and just played.

It was interesting that he said this to me because the previous week I facilitated a training where I asked the participants to talk about their goals and two of them said that their goal was to simplify their life.  This stood out to me because usually people have complex personal or professional goals that include losing weight, starting a business, obtaining a degree or writing a book.  I realized that for me, simplifying my life might have been just as challenging as any of those other goals.
Sometimes, when we are good at something, it is our natural tendency to feel like that is what we are supposed to be doing and we pour all of our energy into it.  I’ve learned the hard way that just because you excel at something, it doesn’t mean that you are supposed to be doing that thing. 

There was a point in my life, where I gave time to everything that I was good at…acting, dancing, modeling, community work and youth work.  I figured that since all of the things that I was engaged in were positive, then there was no problem with me doing them all. What I came to realize was that stress comes in all forms, not just from negative things or when things are not going your way.  You can just as easily become stressed out from doing a whole lot of positive things. 

There have been several instances where I took something that I loved, and gave it so much of myself, that I ended up turning myself off to it altogether. I’ll give you an example.  I love to dance.  Instead of just dancing like no one was watching because it brings me joy, I ended up dancing professionally, and then teaching dance.  My joy became work, and I ended up retiring from it.  Being a dance teacher was great, but that’s not what I really wanted. I simply wanted o dance.  Even though I may have exposed my students to new and wonderful experiences, I ruined it for myself.

I realized that this is a pattern for me.  I take something that I love, and end up taking a road that I may not have been meant to take.  The problem with this is that when we overdo anything, we end up burning ourselves out. It’s just like food, if you cook it too long, or at too high of a temperature, it burns.

Essentially, it’s all about finding a balance. It’s great to give your all to what you believe in, but don’t spread yourself too thin.  I’ve always had a desire in my heart to change the world, so I tend to try to do fifty million different things to accomplish that goal.  Eventually I find myself tired and overwhelmed.  If I’m feeling that way, what good am I to the people that I hope to encourage?

My point?  Keep it simple.  At the end of the day, that’s all that matters anyway…the simple things.  If you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed more than you find yourself at peace, it may be time to scale back your life.  Someone said, “Maybe you need to clear some things off of your plate.” My response was, “Maybe I need to get a smaller plate!”. 
This week I challenge you to identify one to three things that you can eliminate from your schedule that will help to simplify your life, thus reducing your stress and anxiety.  It may also be a matter of adding something to your schedule, like budgeting your money to make things flow more smoothly for you in the long run, or beginning a workout, such as cardio kickboxing, that will help you to reduce stress.

Once you’ve done this, simply sit back and savor the simple things that truly matter. Play with your children before you look up one day and realize that they are all grown up. Watch the sun rise or set. Color in a coloring book. Watch a silly movie. Read a good book. Talk to a friend on the phone about nothing of importance. Or do what seems to be the most challenging thing of all for most of us busy over achievers…simply sit down.  These are the things that make life worth living. Simplify your life and begin to live.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where is Your Focus?

Motivational speakers, teachers, business professionals and the like spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to focus. This is true, however, more time might need to be spent talking about what we are focusing on. It is implied that we focus on the positive, but perhaps it needs to be more clearly stated. We have a natural tendency to shift most or all of our focus to negative things such as what we don't have or what is wrong in our lives.

We always talk about how we can't wait to get more money, a better job, a bigger house and so on, but once we get those things are we truly happy with them?

I had to catch myself recently. I am living my dream life right now, but every now and then I find myself slipping into focusing on the negative side of things. I was talking with a friend about how I struggle with anxiety when I travel because I miss my family and friends and I feel like I'm missing out on something back at home. My friend had to snap me back to reality by saying, "You have a life that most people only dream of. Why are you complaining?" I had to stop and say, "You know what, you're right!"  I had to place my focus on the fact that I love what I do, my work affords me the opportunity to travel all over the world as a result I am able to live comfortably and help my loved ones.

This week I encourage you to examine subject of your focus.  You might be a very focused person but, the question is, “Are you focusing on the right things?” Shift your focus from what is wrong and lacking in your life to more positive matters such as the things that are going well and your vision for personal and professional growth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Take A Chance On Life

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we don’t want to happen that we forget to accept and embrace what we do want.  This usually happens in two major areas, our work and our love life.

Let’s take a look at our work first.  We may be at a job that makes us completely miserable, but we find every excuse under the sun as to why we can’t leave, when just the fact of being miserable alone is reason enough.  The main thing we say is that we don’t want to lose the benefits. What will we do if we get sick? What will we do if we get in a car accident?   Well the first thing that I learned about working in a toxic environment is that I never got sick until I started working there, so yes, if you continue to work in an unhealthy environment, you just may need to go to the doctor.  I also learned that in a lot of cases, benefits were not the magic answer.  I learned that the hard way when my benefits didn’t cover the services that the dentist convinced me needed to be done before I could get a basic check-up and cleaning.  As for the car accident, God forbid, if you even have to get treated, then you’ll just have to pay off your bill in installments, just like you do many other bills that aren’t covered by your health benefits.

Sometimes when we hold on to something like a miserable job, we don’t allow room for the new amazing job, investment opportunity, or new business venture to come into our lives.  We are so fixated on our circumstance that we can’t see the other awesome possibilities that are all around us.   I took on a mantra a couple of years ago and I constantly have to remind mind myself…”Stop complaining and do something about it.  If you’re not going to do anything to make the situation better, then shut up!”

The same is often the case with love. We say we want this wonderful, honest, good looking, and hardworking mate but when we meet that person, we are suddenly scared.  We are scared to be hurt or disappointed or we begin to feel like it must be too good to be true.  Don’t you know that you will get what you ask for if you believe that you will receive it?  But keep in mind that that goes both ways.  You may be with that person now, or you may still be waiting.  If you are waiting, prepare yourself now to be ready for what you asked for. If you’ve never had it, it will certainly take some getting used to.  If you have it, don’t sabotage it by not believing that you deserve it, or waiting for something to go wrong. Savor every moment and receive the blessing that you’ve been praying and asking for.

This week I challenge you to take a look at your work and love life and ask yourself if you are giving both a fair shot.  Will you complain or sabotage?  Or will you make the necessary changes and embrace the goodness?  Take a chance on life. Take a chance on love. Take a chance on happiness.

What Are You Chasing?

Take a moment to take an inventory of how you spend your time.  Most likely you spend some, if not the majority of your time going after something.  That thing may be money, a mate, or a goal.  Having your sights set on something to strive toward can be a great thing.  The question is, are you going after the best thing for you?

When it comes to life, love and even success, there is something about the chase that is very exciting. We like to go after what’s challenging, what we are told that we can’t have, or what may seem unattainable.  In many instances this is a good thing, but is what you are chasing, what you are supposed to have?

Are you missing something that you are supposed to get by chasing something that you are not supposed to have?

We have a tendency, often subconsciously, to try to manipulate and control our lives. We see something we want and then we create every excuse that we can as to why it is what we are supposed to have.  As a result, we often find ourselves in situations that may not be healthy for us.  So it’s important to take time to think through our decisions and our choices to make sure that in trying to pursue what we want, we are not missing out on what we are supposed to have.

This week I challenge you to analyze your current circumstance. What are you chasing?  Does it want to be caught? If you stop chasing it, will it chase you?  When it’s something that you’re supposed to have, it will most likely come when you stop looking.   Make room for your blessings by opening up your mind and your heart to receive them.  Sometimes that means just being still and waiting faithfully and patiently.  Take a break from the chase so that you can get what you are supposed to have.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Is Your Thinking Stinking?

Yesterday at church the pastor said that when you are going through hell…the only way that hell could have gotten inside of you or your home is through your mind.  His words were exactly what I needed to hear because I’d been dealing with negative thoughts all week to the point where I was losing sleep. As much as I motivate and encourage others, I was slowly being taken out by entertaining negative thinking.

It all boils down to fear and we know that fear and faith can’t co-exist.  I don’t mean to recap his whole sermon, but he was so on point that I’d be doing you an injustice if I didn’t share.  The other profound point that he made had to do with faith.  He said that there are three things that need to be in place in order for faith to be faith:   1.) Believe it 2.) Speak it. 3.) Act on it. 

Believe it
See yourself in the future. Whatever it is that you want to happen…you must believe that it will. Visualize it. Picture it. Draw it if you have to. Think of it as already being yours.

Speak It
We often underestimate the power of our words.  You will begin to see what you say so choose your words wisely and keep them positive.

Act On It
We can believe it and speak it all day, but if we don’t act on it, we might as well go right on back to living in fear or allowing hell into our home and into our mind.  Another important point that the pastor made is that sometimes the corresponding action to the faith is to “shut up and wait.”  So think about what the proper actions are that will go along with what you are believing for.

I’m usually extremely positive, but last week I was all out of character. I had to check myself.   It all came down to changing my thinking.  Now, when negative thoughts try to enter my mind, I picture myself swatting them away with a tennis racket.  That may seem silly, but hey, it works for me so I encourage you to do what works for you.

This week, I want you to check yourself to make sure that you aren’t allowing negativity, fear, self-doubt or any other stinking thinking to seep into your subconscious.  Remember, the only way that hell can enter your life is through your thoughts AND the only way that hell can exit your life…is through your thoughts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ask for What You're Worth

When I travel to do consulting or speaking engagements, the clients generally cover travel expenses. I am often given the option to choose my flight preferences.  For those of you that travel frequently, you know that connecting flights can be a nightmare.  If your first flight is delayed, then it may make you miss your second flight. Another headache is when you end up in airports and on planes all day because your layover in between flights is so long. Either way, it makes for a stressful and draining day of travel, which often takes away from the energy needed for the performance that you plan to give when you speak, teach or train. So needless to say, my preference is for straight flights.

As I was looking through the flights I realized that most of them had connections.  I also noticed that the ones with the layovers were considerably more affordable than the ones that were straight flights on the airline that I usually travel on so that I can accumulate frequent flier miles. 

This time I tried something a little different. Instead of feeling bad for choosing a more expensive flight, or trying to save the company money by selecting the cheapest flight, or even sending my top three choices…I simply sent my first choice and left it at that.

As I waited for the response I began searching for my second and third choice because I felt that surely they wouldn’t honor my first request.  It was too expensive. I got prepared to accept my fate of having to take a cheaper flight even though all of the departure and arrival times were either ridiculously late or painfully early. 

In the midst of my melancholy search I received a response.  It was the confirmation for my first choice flight! It was a straight flight on my airline of choice. The client booked it without a question or a concern.  They saw the value in my services thus matching the quality that they know I will deliver with the accommodations that they arranged for me.  It made me realize that ‘affordable’ and ‘expensive’ are all about perspective.  If we want something different for ourselves, we must think differently about ourselves.  If I thought of myself as priceless, then I wouldn’t have thought of that flight as being too expensive.

The lesson in all of this is two-fold.  The first is that you must know your worth.  If you expect and accept less, then that’s exactly what you will get…less than what you are worth.  Look at it like this…if someone said, “I want give you some money.”  And your response was, “You can give me $5 or $500 or $5000.”  Which one do you think they would choose?  Most people would probably go with the $5 since you gave them that option.  Don’t low ball yourself. Start high because you are worth it. If negotiations are necessary, then so be it, but don’t settle for less than what you are worth.  When you ask for less it may cause those who you are communicating with to believe that you are not qualified or confident when it comes to your ability to execute the task.

The second lesson is that you must ask for exactly what you want.  You’d be surprised at how often you actually get it.  We have not because we ask not. A more common occurrence is that we have not, because we ask for less than what we truly want or are worth.

This week I challenge you to ask for what you want.  The worst thing that can happen is that someone can tell you “no”...they can’t kill you.  If you don’t know your worth, then perhaps you should take out some time to learn about it.  Once you know your worth, adjust accordingly.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Do You Talk About YOU?

How do you talk about you?  If you hear something so often for so long you start to believe it. Your own voice, whether it's speaking internally or out loud is the one that you hear the most. So as you clear old things out of your life and bring in new things, you may want to remodel how you speak about and to yourself.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say, “I feel so ugly” or “I’m fat”.  I might as well just start responding to them by saying, “You sure are,” because what we speak seeps into our subconscious and subliminally hypnotizes us into believing what we are saying, then as result we end up becoming those things…even if it is only in our own mind. No matter what others see, when we look in the mirror, we only see what we’ve spoken ourselves into being.

Even more detrimental than negative self-talk that focuses on physical appearance is when people defeat themselves before they even try by speaking negatively about their ability.

For years I taught dance to young people and I got to a point where I had to ban the words, “can’t” and “don’t” from my classroom.  I told my students that those were curse words.  They took it so seriously that when a new student came and said one of those words, or an existing student slipped up, there would be a collective “ooooooooh”. ..that sound we make when someone is about to get in trouble.

I had those children convinced that those were two more four letter words to add to the list of profanities that they weren’t supposed say.  But if you look at the term ‘curse word’ literally, it is like we are putting a curse on ourselves when we speak so negatively.   I would ask those young people, “How do you know what you can’t or don’t know how to do before you’ve even tried?”

This New Year, I challenge you to focus on changing the way that you talk to and about yourself. Out with the old negative self-talk and in with the new positive self-talk or affirmations.

“An affirmation is a positive statement of (positive) belief, and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we will notice an enormous change.” – Julia Cameron, Author of The Artist’s Way