From Hiding to Shining: 3 Steps to Create the Business and Life of Your Dreams – On Your Own Terms

From Hiding to Shining: 3 Steps to Create the Business and Life of Your Dreams – On Your Own Terms

Have you experienced the feeling of being stuck—like you keep repeating the same pattern over and over—as you long to have the fulfillment you truly want in your business and life?


I believe it happens to all of us! You get caught up in old stories about what you can or can’t have. You put your dreams on hold or push them aside.

Or, worse, you give up on them completely.

Because, well…

There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. You have to be smart and sensible about your future, your retirement, your sanity.

Or you think you’re not smart enough, rich enough, young enough, old enough, educated enough, loved enough or fill-in-the-blank enough to really go for what your heart is truly longing for.

So you stay stuck, or you stay in hiding.

I know this pattern all too well.

When I was in my early 20s – yes, I’ll admit that was about 25 years ago! – I had a dream to be an entrepreneur.

I wanted to speak to and inspire audiences, lead workshops, facilitate groups and work with people 1-1 to help them transform their lives.

So I began taking steps in that direction. I created a Mastermind group. I attended workshops and trainings to develop my skills. I put together a personal growth presentation (called it Open the Door with Rapport!) that I delivered to a roomful of friends and acquaintances. I even had it professionally videotaped.

I was on fire. That was in 1993.

And then…

I let the dream go.

I didn’t think I had what it takes. I got caught up in comparing myself to others and “not enoughness.”

I got caught up in the need to make money, have a steady job and do what I knew how to do. I stayed in the comfort zone of the “known.”

Which was to go to work Monday through Friday from 9-5 and use my marketing and communications skills to help others be successful.

Now, 23 years later, the entrepreneurial dream is alive for me. I’m living it.

I’m regularly speaking and leading workshops. I now emcee a monthly women’s networking group. And I’m continuing to coach others to success in their businesses and lives, but I’m doing it on my own terms.

What made the difference? These 3 critical steps:

1) Trust your heart and start with the question: What would I LOVE?

A question I often ask my clients is “What would you LOVE?”

That’s the first question to ask yourself when faced with a big or small decision.

Not what’s the best deal, what’s going to make you the most money, or what’s the smart or sensible thing to do. Typically, those are questions that come from ego.

But when you start with your heart, that’s where you tune into your inner voice of wisdom, your Higher Self. Then, you can bring in the more analytical and practical questions, so that your ego is in service to your soul.

For example, I used the “what would I love” question as the springboard to starting my coaching business.

At the time, I was working a full-time job that I enjoyed. But, ultimately, I was feeling stressed out and unfulfilled.

I KNEW I was meant to have my own business.

And I knew it was my time now to step out from “hiding” and shine my brilliance in a bigger and bolder way!

When I got in touch with what-I-would-LOVE, I realized my heart was longing to have afternoons off to spend with my son, plus a longing for more personal time and the space to create my budding new business. I longed for breathing room.

So my first step toward my dream of becoming an entrepreneur was to cut back my hours at the full-time job.

Then, as I followed my heart and excitement, the “how” of leaving this job to start my coaching business – and ultimately, create a freedom lifestyle and financial success on my own terms – was revealed to me.

And 8 months later, I fulfilled my dream of being a full-time entrepreneur!

2) Leap before you’re ready.

Price Pritchett in his excellent book You-Squared urges us to “Make your move before you’re ready.”

He says to act first and then strategize while creating your dream business and life. When you do that, you’ll discover you can trust your instincts and that you know more than you know.

Writes Pritchett: “A quantum leap is a move that is yours for the taking. Right now. It represents a giant step you can make merely by deciding to and opening yourself up to the resources presently available to serve you.”

So when I decided to leave my full-time job to start my coaching business, I didn’t have all my duckies in a row. I didn’t know how it would all happen.

But I acted. I leapt.

I took the first step I knew to take and then strategized along the way. I followed the breadcrumbs and looked for signs that I was on the right track.

Was I scared when I took the leap and quit my full-time job?

You better believe it. But again, it didn’t happen overnight. It took 8 months from the time I decided to leave my job to when I actually left and started doing this business full-time.

3) Be willing to invest in yourself – and get support.

Let’s face it. We ALL need support in creating the biggest dreams in business and life.

But sometimes relying on just the support of your spouse, friends, co-workers, or family members doesn’t cut it.

There are those times when you absolutely need the support of a mentor, coach or consultant – especially if you’re starting or growing a business.

It’s essential to have someone who has traveled the path and can take you where you want to be, giving you the structure, support and accountability along the way.

This has been a critical step on my path. And ongoingly investing in my business and myself is essential to my success.

So I have a business mentor and coach, and I regularly receive training so that I can continually uplevel my skills as a professional coach and business owner.

Plus, I’m part of a weekly Mastermind group that holds me accountable.

Having a team of support around me helps me see my own blind spots and reveal unconscious beliefs that stop me.

My client Tom struggled for years on his own to integrate his 30-year career as a financial advisor with his longtime passion for teaching meditation and mindfulness.

Through our coaching together, he got crystal clear that his purpose is to bring forth BOTH aspects—the material and the spiritual—into his work.

As a result, Tom created the Mindful Money Institute, a nonprofit focused on helping money managers incorporate mindfulness and meditation to promote business growth and inner peace.

And, oh yes, our coaching also helped him get refocused on his business priorities, and he increased his revenue by 33%!

Bottom line: Take these 3 critical steps to create what YOU really want in your business and life. And please comment below!

How to Get Started with Speaking to Grow Your Email List and Attract Wonderful New Clients for You

How to Get Started with Speaking to Grow Your Email List and Attract Wonderful New Clients for You

So you’ve heard speaking is a great way to build your business and attract new clients. But how do you even get started?

I know from personal experience how daunting it can be to hear “just get out there and speak” when you’re not even clear where to begin. So in this article I share with you my best tips for taking those critical first steps.

First of all, why even speak?

Simple answer: Because you’re seen as an EXPERT when you speak, and it’s the easiest way to demonstrate the value you can add to someone’s life.

(I remember the first time I was a roundtable presenter at a women’s conference and how I walked away from that event feeling like an expert. It was the perfect confidence-builder in those early days of getting started.)

So here are some simple steps for you:

1) Choose your hot topic.

The first step to launch yourself into speaking is to come up with a “hot topic” that gets the attention of your ideal clients. Ideally, it’s a problem that your clients regularly struggle with and that your services help them solve.

Brainstorm possible topics by asking yourself these questions:

– What is it my clients don’t know how to do?
– Where do my clients get stuck?
– What disempowers them?
– Which specific situations cause them the biggest problem?

2) Create a clear, captivating title for your talk.

Don’t try and be clever or cutesy with your title. You want to use clear language with lots of BENEFIT words and phrases.

For example, if you’re a relationship coach or therapist, your title might be “How to Put the Romance Back in Your Marriage.”

Or if you’re a health & wellness expert targeting women over 50, a possible talk title could be “5 Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally So You Can Sleep Soundly Each Night.”

Here are a few easy formulas you can use to create your captivating title:

“How to ______________ so you can ________________”
“How to ______________ in # Simple Steps”
“# Secrets/Keys/Steps/Strategies to_________________”

3) Make a list of ALL the possible places you could speak.

The key when you’re just getting started is to draw upon audience members that are already in existence, so you don’t have to do all the work to rent a space and promote the event.

Start by brainstorming and create a list of groups, organizations and businesses that your ideal clients are already part of.

For example, if you work primarily with women entrepreneurs such as I do, you’ll want to list out places where these types of women gather. Do an online search for “women’s networking.” Check out local Meetups, civic organizations and entrepreneurial groups.

Play the “who do I know” game and get creative here! In addition to speaking in more traditional settings, I’ve spoken at a chiropractor’s office, a women’s workout studio, and even a hair salon once!

Bonus Tip: Let your friends and colleagues know you are looking for places to speak, and ask for referrals.

4) Smile and dial!

Now that you have your list, prioritize the top 5 places where you’d like to speak and start calling them. Do a little research on the group before you call, so you’re prepared with how your talk would fit in with the group’s goals and mission.

Much of the time you’ll be leaving a voicemail, so leave a brief, friendly message and then a critical step is to follow up with an email.

Here’s a simple script you can use when you get someone live (you can modify it when leaving a message):

Hi, this is [Your Name]. I’m a [your title], and I’d love to chat with you about the possibility of speaking for your [group, organization]. I offer a phenomenal presentation on [your hot topic] where I help participants [briefly state 2-3 benefits of your talk]. How does that sound?

The most important step here is to make the call!

Invaluable Bonus Tip: Get regular speaking practice by joining Toastmasters or a weekly networking group such as BNI or Team Referral.

Add your comments or questions below about how to use speaking to grow your business. And send me an email to let me know how it goes for you.

Enjoy speaking your way to getting wonderful new clients now!

A Tribute to a Dear Friend

A dear friend of mine, someone whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, passed away recently. It was sudden. A diagnosis came and then about eight weeks later, poof, he was gone.

Last weekend we gathered to honor his amazing life, and what a life it was.

Upon returning, I got the hit to not do my typical ezine this month and, instead, write something to honor his memory. So, Jimmy, this one is for you, my friend.

There’s a saying to “live everyday as if it were your last day.”

And that, in so many words, was exactly how Jimmy lived his life–pursuing his passions relentlessly every single day. Day in and day out. Even when he got “no’s or deals fell through or he ran out of money. This is definitely not a man who died with the music still in him.

He literally poured out his heart, soul and mind for decades–writing spiritual and personal growth books, developing financial market theories and tools, designing, publishing and marketing his own work, and pursuing a lifelong passion: filmmaking. (In the ’70s, he got his masters degree in film from Columbia University.)

His latest project was taking on the gargantuan task of creating a multi-part documentary on what seems like an impossible subject to tackle: “The History & Future of Humanity.”

People called him crazy. Obsessed. Over the top.

And maybe he was those things… but so what?

He DARED to get his voice, his art, his passion out into the world. He dared to shine his brilliance and dream big. To dream a big fat impossible dream and get up every single day with relentless drive and JUST DO IT.

Even if it meant living on the edge. Even if it meant people calling him crazy. (He would often poke fun at himself and say “Yep, I probably am.”)

This was a man of enormous courage, persistence, creativity, genius-like intelligence and action.

In those last weeks of his life, I spoke with him by phone and had the opportunity to visit with him, even though we now lived miles apart.

On those occasions, with as much strength as he could muster, he urged me to LIVE IT UP for him. To eat, drink and be merry. To seize the day. To take hold of each precious present moment and savor it. To give with wild abandon and not waste a second of life holding back.

I’ve been thinking about what this really means for me–and for you.

Quite simply, it comes down to this:

It’s time. Enough already. Time to get your voice, your art, your message, your gifts out into the world. Time to not hold back anymore. Time to come out from hiding and share your passion with others with ALL your heart, with every fiber of your being.

Time to live on the raw edge of ALIVENESS, as if today were your very last. And definitely time to stop freakin’ caring what others think of you, or if you’re bothering people. So what.

I say all those things because that “you” I’m referring to is also “me.” I had a million and one excuses to not send this email to you today. Too busy with clients. Too exhausted from travel. Too emotionally drained. Too many things on my “to do” list. Too… blah blah blah.

Steve Jobs in his famous commencement speech to Stanford grads said this:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

So a simple takeaway from this is to look at your calendar.

Do you wholeheartedly LOVE everything on it today? I mean, really and truly? And what about this week? And next month?

Are you waking up each morning excited to do what you absolutely and totally and madly LOVE? Doing what your heartreally, really wants? Not what you “should” be doing or what “makes sense” logically or what’s going to bring you the most money. As Steve Jobs says, those things are secondary.

So my urging to you today, via a precious soul who has gone on to a different dimension, is to LIVE IT UP. Seize the moment. Carpe diem.

Live today as if it were your last. Look at your calendar from the lens of “What would I LOVE?” and take those steps each day that have you live on that raw edge of becoming more and more of who you truly are.

You are Divine. You are Brilliant. You have a Wild and Precious Life to life. You have Great Gargantuan Gifts to Give. So, go do it. Now. Today.

These 3 daily actions can make or break your business (and your dreams)

These 3 daily actions can make or break your biz (and your dreams)

There’s a saying I love by W. Clement Stone: “Big doors swing on little hinges.”

When you apply this to your business, it’s the little, yet consistent actions and habits that swing open wide the doors of income and opportunity for you.

In Sanskrit, the word for “habit” is called samskara. (Thanks to my yoga teacher who shared this with me the other day.) When we cultivate a new positive habit or samskara, our lives truly do transform before our eyes.

So here are the 3 daily actions in the areas of money, marketing and mindset to grow your business, your bank account, and your impact on your clients and community.

These are my personal practices, so I wouldn’t highly recommend them if I haven’t already given them a test run and KNOW they work.

Focus on these three areas each and every workday, and I guarantee you will skyrocket your success:

1) Money: Track your numbers every single day to the penny.

Tracking the inflow and outflow of your money is an amazing practice that keeps you mindful of your money—and empowered to take the necessary action steps to increase what’s coming in and be conscious of what’s going out.

For many women, it can become all too easy to ignore our finances, or to go to the other extreme and be obsessive-compulsive about our numbers.

Action: Set a recurring appointment time on your calendar each day when you write down or use a spreadsheet to track everything that has come in that day and everything that has gone out. (I do my tracking everyday at 2:30pm.)

This time is also the perfect opportunity to express appreciation—another powerful daily practice—for the inflow and outflow of money, and the value and meaning that expression has for you!

Bonus Tip: Set a weekly money date for bill paying, and schedule it as a recurring appointment on your calendar. I have my weekly “money date” on Friday mornings.

2) Marketing: Spend a minimum of 30 minutes each and every day making outreach calls to potential clients.

This one simple action has made a HUGE difference in the growth of my business. Use this 30-minute block of time to make calls, send emails and follow up with former, current and prospective clients for setting appointments and booking NEW business, or taking steps toward your big dreams.

Bonus Tip: Use a timer or hourglass to keep you focused on the project at hand and minimize distractions that are rife for many entrepreneurs who work from home. Set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes when you’re doing some critical (yet easy-to-avoid) business-building activity such as outreach phone calls, updating your website or writing a blog post.

3) Mindset: Set aside time daily (30 minutes at minimum, 1 hour is best) for spiritual nourishment and renewal.

This is perhaps the most important action of them all, as it promotes a calm mind and a feeling of being centered and grounded throughout your day–something you definitely want to feel when you’re marketing your business or tracking your money!

This time can include a combination of personal introspection, quiet time, yoga, meditation, journaling, a contemplative walk in nature, gardening, mindful movement, reading or listening to inspirational material, or other activities that strengthen your inner wellbeing and help you feel peaceful.

I’m a morning person so I like to get up before my family does to have a dedicated hour-plus time for meditation, visioning, journaling and reading from a book that contributes to my spiritual and personal growth. I also read my 3-Year Life Vision Plan each morning while making coffee and doing standing stretches in the kitchen.

Bonus Tip: Choose the 1-3 nourishing activities that truly feed YOU (not the ones that others are doing or the ones you think you SHOULD do) and then stick with it. Again, the key is consistency. Put it in your calendar and just do it. No excuses. 🙂

Be patient with yourself as you’re installing these new healthy habits or samskaras into your life. Don’t give up—and, eventually, they will become part of your normal routine.

Plus, you’ll feel great knowing that you are not only doing something that takes care of yourself, but also benefits your family, your friends, your clients, your community, and your bank account!

Leave a comment below and let me know how these tips have helped you!

My wish For You on the Solstice

My Wish for You on the Solstice

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year!

Today is also Shab-e-Yalda–“Night of Birth”–a Persian Winter Solstice celebration of the longest and darkest night of the year where families gather to eat, drink and read Hafez poetry.

With the New Moon also occurring today, wowza! What a POWERFUL time of “rebirth” we are in.

My wish for you today is that you recognize and acknowledge your own “astonishing light”–the gifts and unique brilliance of YOU and all that you’re here to express, enjoy and share with others.

My invitation to you is that on this “Night of Birth,” use the potent energy of the Solstice/New Moon/New Year time to say goodbye to the old in your life and anchor in the NEW.

Take these 3 easy, but powerful steps:

1) Create a simple ritual for yourself where you release all the disappointments, regrets and dissatisfactions from the past year.

Write them down, then shred or burn them to symbolically let go of those things that no longer serve you. Say out loud to the things you’ve written down, “I release you.”

2) Then, write down 10 or more things you would LOVE for your life in the New Year.

Use the heightened energy of this time to anchor in your new intentions and goals.

3) The final step is to ask and then write your answer to a question I often ask my clients:

What’s the most exciting, fun and expansive vision I can imagine for my life?

This is a powerful reset time. So don’t miss it.

Seize this opportunity to anchor your new intentions and the dreams of your heart, so that you can shine the light of your unique brilliance even brighter in your work and passions!

I’ll be back early in the New Year and have planned many new articles on money, marketing and mindset and ways you can take these to the next level of success in your business, career and life.

In the meantime, I send you my heartfelt wishes–in all the ways you celebrate with your family and friends–for a wonderful and magical holiday full of warmth, love, laughter and light.

Namaste (Sanskrit for “the light in me honors the light in you”),


How to Quiet the Ugly Voice of Comparison

How to Quiet the Ugly Voice of Comparison

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” -Unknown

Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy,” and I agree.

Comparison is one of the most corrosive practices we humans do that keeps us stuck and puts us in a low vibration of limitation, lack and separateness—and, frankly, it’s terrible for our bottom line.

It’s a bad habit that I catch myself indulging in from time to time—probably more than I’d like to admit!

For example, I notice that it comes up often when I’m on Facebook, reading other coach’s emails and newsletters, or attending a networking event.

It’s that split-second moment when I walk into a room and start to size everyone up, evaluating whether I’m better than or worse than (or better off/worse off) than the others there.

I believe this is something we ALL do, whether we’re conscious of it or not!

My friend Sylvia Becker-Hill, who is a brilliant executive change strategist, says that creating a real connection with the people you interact with is one of the most important capabilities in business. But what interferes with feeling connected to others are these feelings of inferiority and superiority.

In other words, the ugly voice of comparison.

Here are a few tips that have tremendously helped me clear the comparison clutter from my mind.

My intention is that these tips help you quiet the destructive voice of comparison and expand your capacity—your attention, focus, energy and love—to living your dreams and the fulfillment of your heart’s desires in every area.

1) First off, become aware of it.

As one of my mentors is known for saying the #1 life mastery tool is to simply “Notice what you’re noticing.”

So when I catch the ugly voice of comparison coming up, I’ve learned to stop, pause, take a breath, and say, “Oh, there’s my old friend comparison again!”

Essentially, you’re saying, “I see you” to the thought without judging that it’s there. It’s only when we shine the light of awareness on what’s there can we transcend it.

2) Have compassion for yourself.

In the moment that you become aware of comparison, recognize that you’re human and that it’s such a common human tendency to evaluate yourself in relation to others. When you do that, you can then extend compassion toward yourself.

I love the Dalai Lama’s Loving Kindness Meditation.

First, extend the loving kindness toward yourself with these simple words:

May I be truly happy.

May I live in peace.

May I live in love.

May I know the power of forgiveness.

May I live in recognition that my life has deep meaning, and good purpose.

Then, extend the compassion toward the other person, especially the one that you’ve been comparing yourself with or judging in some way:

May you be truly happy.

May you live in peace.

May you live in love.

May you know the power of forgiveness.

May you live in recognition that your life has deep meaning, and good purpose.

3) Affirm the Truth about who you are.

The truth is, there is no competition. Ultimately, you are not seeking anything that is possessed by anyone else. So, the step here is to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness in our shared humanity and remind yourself that we truly are “all one.”

4) Cultivate an empowering mindset with empowering questions.

When the ugly voice of comparison pops its head up, once you’ve acknowledged it, shined the light of compassion on it and affirmed the truth of who you really are, then the final step is to ask yourself empowering questions. Here are a few examples:

What if I really believed the Universe was conspiring for my success? What if it really was in my corner arranging and aligning all things seen and unseen in my favor?

How would I live and love my day, my life, from this thought pattern?

Kindly leave a comment below and let me know how these tips have helped you. Also, feel free to share your own tips and strategies for quieting that voice of comparison.

3 Ways to Identify Your Unique Brilliance—and What Makes YOU Stand Out as an Expert in Your Field

3 Ways to Identify Your Unique Brilliance—and What Makes YOU Stand Out as an Expert in Your Field

You are brilliant. Absolutely, positively and fabulously brilliant!But if you’re like me, you’ve struggled to identify that special “thing” that makes you really SHINE and lights you up no matter what you’re doing or who you’re with.

And when we don’t know what IT is, we tend to doubt ourselves, wonder if we’re “good enough” or if we “have what it takes” or even hold back from sharing our gifts and putting ourselves out there. Which, frankly, can be painful and a huge disservice to others—not to mention, ourselves!

Discovering your unique brilliance is the first step in creating an abundant business and life that you truly LOVE.

You may wonder, “Who am I to be brilliant?”

And as Marianne Williamson so famously says, “Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So getting in touch with YOUR unique brilliance, that has been with you since you were born, is key to sharing your gifts and serving the people you are meant to serve—from your clients or customers to those in your close circle and extended community.

Here are 3 ways to identify your unique brilliance:

Think about what you LOVED to do as a child.

Was it performing, being on stage, reading, writing, singing, dancing, sports, playing with animals, being alone in nature?

Write down at least 5 different things that really lit you up when you were a kid—which, for most of us, is a time in our lives when we were the most free and uninhibited.

Now, write down the words and/or qualities that describe that. (Hint: Think about what you loved to do as a kid meant for you.)

For example, one of my clients loved to read and invent imaginative stories as a young child, and for her that meant the freedom to create, unlimited possibilities, as well as inner pride and accomplishment.

As a child, I Ioved singing, dancing and performing in front of an audience, and for me that meant expressing myself creatively, delighting others, and shining my joyful essence. (It’s no accident that my company name is called SHINE, and my unique business brand is a way for me to authentically stand out from other coaches and consultants.)

So what are the words that described what you LOVED as a kid?

Now, think of 3 times in your life when you were absolutely, positively at your best, and write those down.

Look at the common qualities that are in each of these situations, and you’ll start to clue in to the aspect that makes you really stand out as an expert in your field.Remember, your Unique Brilliance is about YOU and not other people. It’s something that’s true for you no matter WHAT you’re doing or WHO you are with.

Once you’re clear on your Unique Brilliance, the more powerful, focused and aligned you become in your business, finances and relationships. The feeling of using your Unique Brilliance is so powerful and motivating that you’ll find you can begin to let go of anything that is NOT it.

And over time, you’ll find that when tasks and activities try to creep in that are outside of your Unique Brilliance, you quickly learn to ditch, delegate or redesign them—so that you are living primarily in your most brilliant zone!

P.S. As always, I want to hear from you! Post a comment below and let me know your thoughts on these 3 tips to identifying YOUR Unique Brilliance.

5 Tips to Make Each Day Positive, Productive—and Profitable

One of the best tools I know of to keep me on track, disciplined and focused is… my calendar.

“Calendarizing” just about everything related to my business—even personal stuff like exercise, meditation, date nights and social time—may sound constricting or rigid.

But, in fact, it’s just the opposite… it’s liberating!

Having appointments, work projects AND personal commitments to myself on my calendar give structure to my day (something I need as an entrepreneur who works from home) and helps me grow my business AND enjoy a balanced life with ease and grace.

If you struggle with overwhelm, lack of focus, prioritizing or just getting the important things done in your biz and life, here are five tips to help you:

1) First off, make friends with your calendar.

Express your “calendar-love” daily by investing at least 10-15 minutes of your time planning, keeping it organized and clutter-free and working for you, not against you.

Google or other online calendars make this sooooo easy. I love being able to easily set “repeat” events like I do for meditation, exercise, marketing outreach and tracking my numbers each day, plus other great features that pencil & paper calendars don’t have. Plus, I sync it with my iPhone, so I always have my calendar with me and can set appointments or schedule things on the go.

Here’s an empowering calendar mindset for you:

My calendar is my friend. It’s here to support me in positive, productive AND profitable ways each day.

2) Make sure everything that’s on your calendar is what you WANT to be there.

Is it packed to the gills with appointments and your long to-do list? Then, look at where you need to build in more buffer or integration time between projects and appointments, as well what things you can cross off your list.

Yes, part of growing a business and building your dreams is discerning what needs to be let go of–or delegated!

Or if there’s too many blank spaces and “unaccounted for” time on your calendar, then you’ll want to start scheduling in those things that are most important to you—such as marketing your business, networking, family and relationship time, and, yes, self-care.

Essentially, you want to ensure that your calendar serves you and not you being a slave to it.

3) Schedule a minimum of 30 minutes of personal one-on-one marketing outreach or dreambuilding time every single workday on your calendar—first thing in the morning is best. Just get it done!

This one simple action has made a HUGE difference in the growth of my business. There’s the old saying, “Little hinges swing big doors.” And when you stay in action consistently each and every day with building your business and creating your dreams, the doors of income and opportunity will swing open wide for you.

Use this 30-minute block of time to make calls, send emails and follow up with former, current and prospective clients for setting appointments and booking NEW business, or taking steps toward your big dreams.

4) Use a timer or hourglass to keep you focused on the project at hand.

This is one of my absolutely favorite tips. Many entrepreneurs like me work from home—and there’s soooo many distractions that can call to us: The laundry! The dishes! Email! Facebook! The online shopping that needs to get done! The list can go on.

So we need support, yes?

To help you stay on track and minimize those pesky distractions, set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes when you’re doing some critical (yet easy-to-avoid) business-building activity such as outreach phone calls, updating your website or writing a blog post.

Use that timer as your little sidekick buddy and as a signal to the Universe that you’re serious about focusing and getting a particular task DONE. And when your mind starts to wander and think about doing other things like checking email or Facebook, you can just take a look at your timer and hear it’s friendly reminder saying, “Not yet, sweetie…”

Then, when your 30 or 60 minutes are up, consciously choose whether you want to keep going or conclude your focused time for the day. (Set a new timer for the desired amount if you’re continuing.)

You can even use a timer for 10- or 15-minute time blocks, too, like I’m doing now to help me finish this article. 🙂

5) Don’t forget to schedule in “YOU” time for spiritual renewal, rest and fun.

Too many entrepreneurs (especially moms with kids and most Type A personalities) can neglect themselves or forget to schedule in downtime when running their own business. But the truth is, when our well is dry and depleted we have nothing to give to others anyway. So it’s critical to schedule in time for rest, renewal, fun and self-care.

When I first started my business and left my full-time job, I couldn’t wait to start taking my favorite yoga class with my favorite teacher on Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m. For the first 6 months or so, though, for the life of me, I couldn’t get myself to go to that yoga class! I tried once or twice, but would end up feeling guilty for going to yoga during “work hours.” (Obviously, the 9-5 grind was so engrained in me.)

I didn’t give up, though. I faithfully kept that yoga class on my calendar, started showing up (guilty feelings and all) and eventually it became a habit—and one that I look forward to every week now.

So just because you set an intention to meditate everyday, for example, and then you take the step of putting it on your calendar to remind you, but end up not doing it… don’t give up! Be patient with yourself—and, eventually, the healthy habit will become part of your normal routine. AND you’ll feel great knowing that you are not only doing something that takes care of yourself, but also benefits your family, your friends, your clients,  your community, and your bank account.

P.S. As always, I want to hear from you! Post a comment below and let me know your thoughts on these 5 tips for making each day positive, productive—and profitable.

5 Practices to "Keep the Faith" When Your Dream Hasn't Come True (Yet)

5 Practices to “Keep the Faith” When Your Dream Hasn’t Come True (Yet)—Part 2 of 2

What do you do when something you really, really, REALLY want in life isn’t happening yet?

It may be a love relationship (like it was for me at one time in my life) or a business or career that’s in full alignment with who you are. Or perhaps for you it’s about having more balance and free time, or a greater flow of abundance–you’re tired of being on the money rollercoaster.

Yes, things can look bleak at times. “When? WHEN will this happen?” you may find yourself crying out. You might go through periods of despair or you may doubt that it will EVER happen. Or worse, you’ve given up on a dream, assuming that it’s “just not meant to be.”

If your dream is a TRUE desire—one that’s in alignment with your highest expression and not just from an egoic wanting place—then there are things you can do to keep you, as Thoreau says, moving confidently in the direction of your dream.

Last month I shared two of my favorite practices that have made a huge difference in my life. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried one or both of them yet, or hear what practices you DO use that help you. Kindly post your comments at the end of this blog article!

#1 – Become 100% peaceful with your situation, your life, your love life, your business, whatever it is.

#2 – Begin a daily praise (or gratitude) practice.

Now, here are THREE more practices, plus a Bonus Practice that includes the 1 powerful word to say yourself when something doesn’t work out as expected:

#3 – Get into action and stay in action.

Being peaceful with everything in your life exactly as it is now doesn’t mean you give up on your dream and not take any action towards it. In fact, it’s just the opposite!

Eckhart Tolle says, “Being at one with what is doesn’t mean you no longer initiate change or become incapable of taking action. Action comes from a deeper level, though, not from egoic wanting or fear.”

Taking inspired action each day is critical to receive and allow what you want to manifest for you. But it doesn’t have to be in a pushing, striving, pressurized, make-it-happen kind of way that can create stress and tension in your body (like I’ve been known to create in myself) as well as emotional unhappiness.

When these feeling of unease and tension arise, my recommendation: just stop what you’re doing. Use your breath or another technique to bring yourself back to center and then take action only from a place of ease and wellbeing.

Then, on a very practical level, I recommend having an appointment in your calendar every single day (or at least 5 days a week) where you’re taking action toward your dream for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Mark it in your calendar. This is your commitment to yourself and the larger vision you have for your life. And, then, make sure you take that action each day!

#4 – Get support from someone who will hold you accountable.

Let’s face it. We ALL need support in going for our big dreams. But sometimes relying on the support of just your friends, co-workers, family members or spouse just doesn’t cut it.

There are those times when we need the support of a mentor, coach, counselor, therapist or another trained professional. Someone who has traveled the path and can take you to where you want to be. Someone who can provide you with structure, support and accountability, and take a stand for your greatness—especially when the voice of your paradigm pops in to say, “I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough, savvy enough, pretty enough, thin enough, educated enough, courageous enough, etc. to really go for what my heart truly wants.”

This has been a critical step on my path. In addition to my own personal daily practices, I’m part of a weekly Mastermind group that holds me accountable. I also receive regular business coaching and training—support and structure—that helps me continually uplevel my skills as a coach and a business owner.

#5 – Surrender.

Do all you can from where you are with what you’ve got. Then, let the rest go. “Let go and let God,” as the old adage says. Trust that the Universe has your back and that it’s all working out for the highest good of everyone.

I say that to myself often, “The Universe has my back” and “The Universe loves and adores and is rushing to fulfill my every desire!”

Trust it will all work out and EXPECT that if your desire is a true desire then it will be fulfilled. Desire and expectation go hand and hand. Remember, your job is the “what,” and the Universe takes care of the “how.”

#6 – Bonus Practice:

And when something doesn’t work out as expected, there’s a very powerful word I’ve learned to say… “Neeeeext!”

Many years ago when I was seemingly going from one “failed” relationship to another and wondering when I was EVER going to meet “the one,” I remember having lunch with a dear friend at the Whole Foods in Marin County. When I was telling him about my current relationship and how it didn’t look like it was going to work out between us (yet again). I remember him saying to me, “Rebecca, if it doesn’t work out, GET EXCITED!”

Huh? At first I was shocked to hear him tell me to get excited about a relationship not working out. But then he explained that it just meant that this wasn’t the guy for me and that someone EVEN BETTER and more perfectly suited to me was coming.

So I practice that now when something doesn’t work out that I really wanted. I allow myself to feel the disappointment, anger, sadness or whatever feeling is there. And then I start to reach for a glimmer of excitement or enthusiasm, knowing that something even better is coming my way. This thinking prevents me from staying on the frequency of the “problem” when things go wrong and to even get excited so that I can say “Neeeeext!”

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. Do you use any of these practices? What other practices do you recommend to “keep the faith” when a big dream, something you’re really longing for, seemingly hasn’t happened yet? Comment below!

5 Practices to "Keep the Faith" When Your Dream Hasn't Come True (Yet)

5 Practices to “Keep the Faith” When Your Dream Hasn’t Come True (Yet) – Part 1 of 2

Chances are, there’s something in your life that you really, really want—a big dream–but it hasn’t yet manifested for you.

Perhaps it’s an intimate love relationship you’ve been yearning for, a new direction in your career, greater financial abundance so you can live in deeper alignment with your values (like buying only organic food or sustainably-made products), a dream trip to Italy with your family, or an overall feeling of aliveness, ease and wellbeing in your body.

What the heck do you do—because giving up on the dream isn’t an option, right?—when something you truly want hasn’t come true yet?

Here are five of my favorite practices that keep me going when my heart really longs for a big dream:

1) Start with this practiceBe 100% peaceful with your situation or life exactly as it is now.

Just a few weeks ago I was in a low point with a particular situation in my business. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to FIX it. “Make it happen, Rebecca. Try harder,” I demanded of myself. But each time I tried, I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. The self-induced pressure was mounting, while my body and emotions were crying out in pain.

Then, I had a moment of grace. I read an article in my email inbox where the author shared how she was facing a similar situation, and she decided the best thing she could do was to “be 100% percent peaceful” with the situation no matter what. A flood of tears came pouring out of me. I realized how much I had been pushing.

The first insight I got was to “relax and surrender,” to not resist <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>what is. And the second insight I received was to trust—trust that somehow, some way this situation will work itself out.

Eckhart Tolle, in his bestseller A New Earth says, “Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the Universe.”

So, the first step is to love what is. Accept it and claim 100% peace for yourself in the situation.

2) Praise the good.

And I mean do this FOR REAL. Everyday. Mark it in your calendar and commit to it.

How many times have you heard that gratitude is the #1 practice for increasing the flow of good in your life—whether it be money, relationships, opportunities, new clients, etc.?

Well, I’ve heard it countless times. But what I discovered with myself is that I’d start a gratitude practice, and then I would stop. I’d pick it back up again, do it for a few weeks, a few days, and then I’d stop again until the next reminder. So now I have a committed “Praise Practice” every single day. It’s in my calendar, and I have reminders that pop up to help me install this new habit in my everyday life.

The reason expressing praise or gratitude is so important is that the latest neuroscience research shows that our brains have actually evolved into having a “negativity bias.”

Rick Hanson in Hardwiring Happiness says our brains act like Velcro when negative experiences happen–and they act like Teflon for the positive ones. That means that when something negative happens in your life–someone quickly cuts you off in traffic or your spouse or partner says something that hurts your feelings or you’re in a restaurant and the waiter is rude to you, your brain will grab on to that experience, sometimes even replaying it over and over.

The research also says that when you have a positive experience–like looking into the eyes of your child or pet or someone you love, or smelling the rain, or you get a raise or a new client, your brain doesn’t naturally hold onto that experience. It quickly slips away, the way eggs easily slide off a Teflon-coated pan.

Knowing that we’re literally hardwired for negativity, for looking for what might go wrong, what do we do? This is where the practice of gratitude—or praise, as I like to call it—comes in.

Wallace Wattles in <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>The Science of Getting Rich says this about being thankful: “The more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme when good things come to us, the more good things we will receive, and the more rapidly they will come. And the reason simply is that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch with the source from which the blessings come.”

So, commit to a daily Praise Practice to help lay down those new neural pathways for your brain AND stay on the frequency of what your heart truly desires vs. the negative self-talk of “Why hasn’t this happened yet? What’s wrong with me?”

Start with these practices and let me know how it goes. Add your comments here on this blog!

Part 2 to come in June. Til then, keep the faith and keep SHINING!