Archive for September, 2012

30 sep

Law Firms and Businesses Donating to Charity Attract More Local Business

JennaSmithAs a law firm, you are always trying to attract business clients. According to the experts at LexisNexis law firm marketing, many businesses think you have all the bases covered. They’ve got websites, legal blogs, newsletters, advertisements in the newspaper and trade magazines, but there is still an area they may have forgotten; one that has helped attorneys gain a number of reliable clients in the past, but seems to be falling by the wayside in the current legal industry.

That is the act of becoming involved in your local community and giving back to charities and non-profits.

Giving, donating time and money to organizations that need the help in your community can substantially help both your community and your legal firm’s marketing efforts. Hold on! This is not to say you should volunteer to give back to your community, with lucrative intentions in mind, but instead you should think of offering the community help, and in turn your firm will be recognized, and become better known in your community. You establish yourself as an expert in your field, other community leaders begin to look up to you, ask for your advise and help; and this, in turn, can bring you more business legal clients.

Find Your Cause

Your first step is finding a non-profit or charity you want to help and then putting some free work into to help make it better. You can volunteer your legal help, serve on the board of directors, and even get your employees involved in offering hands-on help that will help grow your social network and position your firm in a very positive role within the community.

What Do You Do If You Have a Time Constraint

If your working most of the time and don’t have much time to donate, you may want to offer monthly monetary contributions or offer a monthly percentage of your fees. You could even offer a certain donation percentage to any charity that interests you, which in turn allows you to speak or offer a workshop to community business leaders who are also members of that charity. This allows you to grow your client base by helping you associate with local leaders, but also helps the charity with the funding it needs.

Get the Office Involved

You can also get employees involved. Everyone likes to help if given the chance, and if it doesn’t take up too much of their time. You can start a blanket and sweater drive. Ask the office personnel to help gather blankets and sweaters to give to homeless shelters in the name of your law firm. Offer to make emergency care packages, or buy school supplies for local charities that help low-income families.

Offer the Information to Other Potential Clients

Potential clients like to know what kind of a law firm they are dealing with. By letting them know that you are a community leader, organizer, and that you help other organizations get ahead, you could hold a higher potential position among companies who are looking for a law firm to represent their needs. You can let them know of this service you offer by giving a link on your website titled “Our Community Services” or something to that nature. Then on the page list photos and articles that show your participation with local charities, and the results you have helped them obtain.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on September 30th, 2012 in Career, Finances | No comments

27 sep

The First 30 Days of Getting in Shape, Even with Health Problems

JennaSmithGetting in shape is important, but it can be very difficult to get started, especially with certain chronic health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. A diagnosis of any of these does not give you a free pass not to exercise. In fact, any of them will make it even more vitally important to get started on a new way of life. The first thirty days of a new exercise plan is the hardest, but once you make it to the end of that month, you will be feeling better and more importantly will be on your way to much better health.

Things to Do Before You Get Started

Before you even choose a workout at all, it is important to set up an appointment with your doctor. There, you should talk realistically about your limitations for exercise. For instance, you might be asked to refrain from lifting heavy weights if you have certain types of heart disease. Diabetics will be told to be extra vigilant about their blood sugar levels and will be cautioned to choose a glucose meter that is reliable to make that task easier. All new exercisers should be instructed to get new, comfortable shoes that are appropriate to the activity and to know the warning signs once they get out their and moving.

Start Slowing and Carefully

No one wakes in the morning and runs a marathon. Many people train for years before they run their first event. If you are just a beginner, choose something that will be easy enough to allow you to finish, but challenging enough to work up a little bit of sweat and increase your heart rate. (Heart patients may be given a target heart rate and asked to wear a heart rate monitor). A walk around the block should be an achievable goal for you to start with, adding distance, speed or inclines as you build up strength and stamina.

Your exercise program should include strength building exercises and flexibility increasing exercises to make it well rounded. Don’t worry about making a huge investment in equipment – the beginning stages are your times for exploration. Once you figure out what kind of exercises work for you, then you can make those investments.

Stay Energized With the Right Foods

What you eat is just as important during this first thirty days. While you are trying to increase your exercise time, you also have to start changing how you fuel your body. This is especially important for diabetics who may be faced with issues like rapidly falling blood sugar levels if they exercise too much and eat too little. Make sure that you are making one small change to your regular diet per week and it won’t seem too overwhelming.

For instance, drop one processed meal item with fresh fruits and vegetables per day, setting your goal to getting at least four to seven servings of fresh produce every day. A wide variety of these foods will give you the nutrients you need without being bland or boring.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on September 27th, 2012 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments

22 sep

Healthy Lifestyle Controls Type 2 Diabetes

ECarrolltonIf you have Type 2 Diabetes, you have numerous options for controlling this disease. Many doctors prefer to put their patients on medications like Actos, but these medications can have serious side effects. For example, Actos has been associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer and congestive heart failure.

While your doctor may push medication on you for your diabetes health, there are several steps that you can take to help reduce or even remove your reliance on medication. If you can improve your health naturally, you may not have to worry about taking medications like Actos.

1. Get active. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can improve your diabetes health dramatically. While 10 percent may seem like a lot, if you calculate it out, a 200-pound man would only need to lose 20 pounds. Simply adding a short walk after dinner at night, or getting out and being more active during the day, can help you on your journey toward weight loss and help you manage your diabetes.

2. Watch your glycemic index. If you’ve never been a label reader, now is the time to start. The glycemic index helps you rank foods by the amount of sugar they contain. Foods that are low on the glycemic index are the foods you need to be eating. While you can eat foods that contain more sugar, this intake needs to be monitored and kept to a minimum. Once you know your target glycemic index, you can begin planning out your meals to make sure you are keeping your diet within your limits.

At first it may take a little time to adjust to the change, but as with many habits, once you get into it, it will become much easier. In time, it will be second nature to choose the foods that are healthy for you and your diabetes health.

3. Integrate more raw foods into your diet. A diet rich in fatty, sugary foods is a recipe for disaster and can make your symptoms worse and make it harder to manage your blood sugar. Try incorporating more raw vegetables and fruits into your diet, and reduce your reliance on starches, fried food and sugary drinks. Once again, the transition can be tough, but give this diet a chance and you’ll start to see results.

4. Learn to manage cravings for sweets. We all have at least a small sweet tooth, but instead of letting this hurt your diabetes health and make your sugars hard to control, find new ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Stay away from fake sweeteners, and learn to use small amounts of honey or even fruit when you get the craving for something sweet. If you find this difficult, you can still eat the sweets you like, just as long as you manage your portion sizes.

Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes doesn’t have to be a life-long sentence of being dependent on medications. With the right diet, plenty of exercise and the willingness to change your lifestyle, you can see amazing results!

Elizabeth Carrollton uses her background in journalism to write for DrugWatch.com. Much of her work at Drugwatch includes editorials pertaining to diabetes management, along with developing alternative solutions to control the conditions. Elizabeth is dedicated to helping consumers that are affected by the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter and prescription medications and medical devices.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Elizabeth Carrollton on September 22nd, 2012 in Diet and Fitness, Health, Uncategorized | No comments

18 sep

Help Create a Smooth Shift

ZulmaCarbajalThere are many huge shifts going on around the world right now. Especially recently. What is happening is that what no longer works is breaking down. While there are many people who will be stuck in fear and experience the worse end of it, there are many others who will not notice the shift because they are aligned with the energies of trust and love.

Admittedly, it is not easy to be aligned with trust and love when you are going through extreme challenges, but that is what is going to take to go through this transition smoothly. What will also help is that you share my blog and other sites like first30days.com that tell the truth and not focus on the illusions of scarcity, doom, and gloom.

As I have mentioned in other articles in my personal blog quantumlifechanges.blogspot.com, by keeping yourself aligned with love and trust you get others to do the same. Even just with your presence. But also since you will be vibrating at such high energy you will be able to help others in many other ways; financially, emotionally, physically, etc. You don’t help anyone by focusing on your troubles or theirs. I put together the following guidelines to help you stay out of low energy frequencies and create a smooth shift towards evolution.

Keep Yourself At Peace:

1. To break negative patterns and to be able to handle challenges in a more peaceful centered way try meditation. You don’t have to do it for a long period of time or at a certain time. If you can do it throughout the day in between your activities you will see a difference in your energy and you will handle your situations better. Just close your eyes and listen to your breath for at least two minutes.

2.Go for a walk once a day preferably in a park or somewhere away from street cars and loud noise. Ofcourse you can do it at home too if you have a treadmill and it will be more convenient for you. Listen to inspiring music or music that helps you relax while you walk. When you walk feel good chemicals are released into your body from the brain which help you handle life in a more positive and peaceful state.

3.Don’t let yourself get involved in negative conversations or news. Especially if you already suffer from anxiety and have extreme fears. This might mean you will have to stop spending time with energy drainers or at least reduce the time spent with them. It will also be necessary to stop watching shows on TV that make you experience low emotions.

Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

1. Don’t let your thoughts run wild. In order to create a better experience you have to take better control of your thoughts. Ofcourse it is impossible to know what you are thinking every moment of the day, but you can tell if you are thinking negative thoughts or positive thoughts based on your emotions.

2. So that your mind is “occupied” with thoughts that will serve you and therefore not allow thoughts that are keeping you stuck, practice affirmation saturation. Some people say affirmations do not work. But in my experience they have worked at the very least to keep me away from thinking about the doom and gloom and instead on what I want to create. Also, I learned from the Law of Attraction experts that affirmations help change your subconscious so that instead of bringing you what you don’t want you begin attracting what you do want. If you have read some of my other articles in my personal blog, you know that your subconscious was programmed as a child. If your caretakers were stuck in a scarcity mentality, feared God or had negative beliefs about the opposite sex, even if you consciously know they are ignorant beliefs, your subconscious will continue to bring you evidence of what was programmed when you were a child until you change the programming.

3. Practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude keeps you focused on what you do have and on what is working in your life instead of what is missing and not working. I have to tell you that if you have shelter, running water, clean water to drink and food, you are doing much better than most people around the world. Even here in America there are families with young children who are getting their utilities shut off for not having enough money to pay their bills. Yet the people that most complain are those who are living comfortably.

If you would like more information on this article or would like to get a copy of my Law of Attraction ebook coming out in November, please contact me. View my blog quantumlifechanges.blogspot.com to get my email address. I also give phone and email sessions depending on your preference. The first session is free which may be all that you need.

Posted by Zulma Carbajal on September 18th, 2012 in New Directions, Uncategorized | No comments

14 sep

Six Ways to Make Moving Easier

MovingThe good folks at Homeinsurance.org recently published this article, “Six Ways to Make Moving Easier,” that we think is tailor-made for you.

Here’s the good news: You found the home of your dreams and it’s finally time to start living there. Here’s the bad news: You have to move before you can get to the fun parts. Moving can be a headache full of packing, coordinating various services and utilities, and carrying load after load of heavy furniture and boxes, but it doesn’t need to make you lose your cool. With these tips, your next move will be as close to painless as possible.

Hire movers: If you choose to move your house or even an apartment by yourself, you’ll wish you had hired someone halfway through the job. Skip the hassle of heaving everything around yourself and trying to bribe your friends to help, and just hire professional movers. They have experience packing boxes into trucks and lifting heavy furniture. Full-service movers will even pack your belongings for you. Shop around for the best estimate and services that fit your needs.
Have a yard sale: As you start trying to pack up all your possessions, you’ll probably be surprised (and slightly horrified) by how much junk you’ve accumulated over the years. You’ll likely come across things that you forgot you had, don’t need, and don’t want to waste a box on. For these items, it’s best to just get rid of them. Holding a garage or yard sale is a great way to pick up a little extra cash for the big move and cut down on the number of boxes you’ll need.

Dedicate a notebook to the move: You’re going to have a lot to keep track of as you start planning your move. There are the phone numbers for the moving company, electric company, phone company, cable company, etc., estimates, recommendations, receipts, and many more things you’d never think you’d have to hold onto. Do yourself a favor and get a planning notebook as soon as you start looking at new houses. Future! You will be grateful.

Label everything: We mean it. If you think you’re going to be able to remember where everything is or identify boxes that have “Misc.” scrawled on the side, you’re in for some frustrating unpacking days. For the sake of your sanity, label everything and be specific. Rather than just saying “Bedroom,” also include “bedding” or “nightstand drawers” to be clear. Some experts even suggest labeling each box on all four sides so you can read it no matter which way it’s facing without having to unstack everything.

Have your packing supplies handy: So you’re on a roll, ready to tape up some boxes you’ve packed, when you realize the packing tape is nowhere to be found. Next, you run out of boxes and have to go buy more. And what about when you get to the fragile items in your house? Poor planning can interrupt your packing and reduce your efficiency drastically. If you know you’re going to be packing all day, make sure you have more than enough boxes, tape, packing peanuts, and plain newsprint so you don’t have to start and stop again and again.

Know where the toilet paper is: You’ve got to pack strategically, and this means packing all of the things you’re going to need first into one box that you put in the moving van last. You don’t want to have to tear through boxes frantically just so you can go to the bathroom. Besides having toilet paper handy, you might also want to include paper towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, important documents, paper plates, and plastic utensils. Plan what you’re going to pack last in advance so you can set those items to the side rather than in the wrong box.

(Here’s the link to the original article: www.homeinsurance.org/6-ways-to-make-moving-easier/)

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by First 30 Days on September 14th, 2012 in General, House and Home, Uncategorized | No comments

11 sep

Yes or Yes: How to Make Fewer Decisions

RenitaKalhornA married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age.

The husband responded, “When we were first married we came to an agreement – I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And now, after 60 years of marriage, I can truthfully say that we have never needed to make a MAJOR decision.

He’s on to something.

Everyday, throughout the day, we’re faced with hundreds of decisions. Major or minor, each one requires brainpower as we process information, weigh the alternatives and make a choice. Eventually, this leads to what researchers call decision fatigue and the harder each decision becomes. (If you think about the last time you bought a camera, a car or even a new toothpaste, you know what I’m talking about.)

At that point, our judgment falters and our brain starts to take shortcuts, like doing something reckless or doing nothing at all. (This helps explain why ordinarily sensible people make that impulse buy at the checkout counter and why married politicians send inappropriate photos on Twitter.)

Thing is, if we’re in reactive mode simply making decisions as they pop up, we’re using up precious brainpower on trivial decisions, like what to eat for breakfast or which movie to download. Then, when it comes time to make decisions that actually have a lasting impact on our work and relationships, we’re pooped.

Make fewer decisions

Leo Widrich, the co-founder of Buffer, a fast-growing start-up Buffer, has adopted a very deliberate strategy for decision-making: make less of them.

“If someone suggests a place to get dinner, I say yes. If someone asks to do something on the weekend, I say yes. I don’t own any clothes apart from white t-shirts (and one black Buffer t-shirt), so I don’t have to decide what to wear. I listen to the same music I’ve always listened to, if someone suggests some new music, I say yes and listen to it.”

Of course, there are times where the default is “no” but Leo’s streamlined the number of decisions he has to think about to those he believes will make a difference to his long-term success and happiness.

Get rid of redundant thinking

Another way to simplify your life is by reducing redundant decisions and automating your schedule.

Make a list of the activities you want or need to do on a regular, repeated basis – team meetings, client prospecting, monthly report-writing, yoga class, poker night. Then designate a specific day or time for them in your calendar. This dramatically simplifies the process of figuring out when you’re going to do them – and also makes it more likely that you’ll do them (cold-calling, I’m talking to you).

Ryan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, demonstrates this disciplined approach by structuring his week according to business area: Monday, he focuses on Product issues, Tuesday on Video & Teaching, and so on.

Rather than making your life rigid and fixed, automating means you spend less mental energy on making the same boring decisions over and over, which frees up creativity and allows you to be spontaneous where it counts.

Now it’s your turn: how can you apply these strategies to YOUR life?

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on September 11th, 2012 in General, Uncategorized | No comments

11 sep

Improving the Health of Your Skin and Hair

JennaSmithGetting a new style is seemingly harder for men than it is for women. There are tons of attractive styles for men to experiment with, and they can create a new you. Shaving in a certain style can alter your appearance to be sophisticated, bad boy or even romantic. You can go from grungy to sleek. Changing your style can be an entirely new lifestyle experience to reinvent who you are.

Getting A New Look

Browse through celebrity photos to find a look that suits your intended goal. If you currently don’t care about your appearance, then there’s a lot of possibilities. If you want to go from nice guy to bad boy, then try a style like Johnny Depp’s. A top-notch shave cream and a razor will make all of the difference in getting those perfect lines.

Reinventing Yourself

Everyone goes through periods in life where they just want to change things. Whether you are getting a professional job, retiring or just starting grad school, you should revamp your look. Certain occasions call for a new hair style.

Changing Your Wardrobe

Your clothes should match your new hair style and facial-hair style. If you dramatically change your look, you need to go all the way. Don’t keep dressing preppy if you have a grungy look.

Experiment

Experimenting with your skin and hair is a great way to find out what really works for you. Facial hair grows quickly. You can try a new look out every two weeks to get a feel for what you want to do long term.

Skincare

After you shave you should use soothing balms to ease redness and irritation. Shaving properly will minimize irritation, and using a high-quality shaving system will get rid of most discomfort. You should still treat your skin well and apply after-shave creams for the best results.

Maintenance

A shaving kit will help you maintain your look. Maintenance is often the hardest part. Quality tools will make all of the difference in how you shave and feel about shaving on a regular basis. Once you try something beyond drugstore tools, then you will never look back.

Changing your skin and hair to create a new you is a fun way to feel good about yourself and change your outlook on life. Confidence goes a long way in making your life happier and more fulfilling. Try something different for once, and you won’t regret it.

Posted by Jenna Smith on September 11th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comments

11 sep

What Are Your Rules?

RenitaKalhornA few weeks ago, at the Dark Knight shooting in Aurora, Colorado, there were a number of media stories about Jamie Rohrs who went to see the movie with his girlfriend and their two children.

When the shooting started, he tried to retrieve his son but eventually jumped over the balcony and fled. “It just felt like the worst thing ever because my son’s still in there,” he told ABC News. “My girlfriend is still in there. I’m out here. Who leaves their child there?”

Rohrs got a lot of flack in the press and from bloggers for being a coward, especially since another man, 19-year-old Jarrell Brooks, stepped in and helped his girlfriend and children to safety (getting shot in the leg in the process).

Obviously, this was a surreal and unusual crisis, and it’s not really fair to conjecture – sitting safe at home — whether we would have behaved more courageously in the same circumstances.

In the heat of the moment, rational thinking goes out the window, unless you’ve prepared in advance. That’s why the US military has a six-article code of conduct providing soldiers with guidelines on how to behave during times of war, in case of capture and interrogation, for example. And the Navy SEALs have long had an unwritten code: “leave no man behind,” dead or alive. That means, even under hot pursuit by the enemy, if any of their men fall, they waste no time in waffling or debate, they go back. Pretty unambiguous.

Why we need rules

Most of us will likely never face such extreme life-or-death circumstances. Still, having a prescribed set of rules – a personal code of conduct – even for the more mundane aspects of life, can have a powerful effect on how you carry yourself on a daily basis and in your interactions with others.

Streamlining the number of decisions you make helps you focus on the ones that will have the most impact. Rules, if you create them as a conscious reflection of your values can reduce the number of decisions you have to make, which means less redundant thinking, stress and regret, and quicker action and clarity. And because they’re your own, not imposed on you by someone else, you’re more likely to pay attention.

What would George do?

George Washington had a list of 110 rules called “Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation” to govern his behavior. (They were actually penned by French Jesuits sometime around 1595 but he did copy the entire list by hand, and follow them as closely as possible for most of his life.)

If you want a more practical and relevant example, check out the 12 rules that Craig Ballantyne, a strength and conditioning coach and successful Internet entrepreneur abides by.

My personal rules are a work in progress: here are 10 that I have currently. I review them every day during my morning practice and, at a glance, I’m reminded of how I want to live my life.

1. If it feels scary, gotta do it.

2. Make decisions from where you want to be. Most people think if they get what they want, then they’ll do things differently. That’s backwards. In order to get what you want, you first have to become the kind of person who would have/do that. It starts by making different decisions

3. Be provocative. That’s right: no more “good girl” trying to please everyone. As Tim Ferriss says, “Doing anything remotely interesting will bring criticism. Attempting to do anything large-scale and interesting will bring armies of detractors and saboteurs.” Or, if you prefer your wisdom from Colin Powell: Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted.”

4. Always be learning. The main criteria I use when evaluating opportunities– for work and fun – is: will I learn something new?

5. Err on the side of “over-connection.” Too often my default setting is not to greet or reach out to someone because I don’t want to “bother” them. That’s just dumb. You don’t see dogs apologizing for being too friendly.

6. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Whether it seems like it or not, people are doing their best. If you hold fast to your belief in them, they might just live up to it. (p.s. It also helps avoid premature accusations and back-pedaling.)

7. Committed but not attached. This phrase is my go-to mantra whenever there’s something I really want. It means I give 100% enthusiasm and effort but I don’t get attached to the outcome. (I used this a lot when I was in sales and it helped me stay calm and neutral – and, paradoxically, get better outcomes.).

8. Question your assumptions. Just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because I’ve always thought something doesn’t mean it’s true. I’m reading Grace to Race, the story of Sister Madonna Buder, the 80-year old nun who started running at age 48 and has since run 325 triathlons including 45 Ironman distances. My assumptions about age and human potential — out the window.

9. Make self-care a priority. This one is so ingrained, I don’t even have to think about it. No matter how chaotic life gets, I make sure to eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep.

10. No family left behind. In Jamie’s case, he was lucky – how awful would he have felt if his family hadn’t gotten out of the theatre safely? I’m learning a lesson from him.

Your turn — what are your rules?

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on September 11th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comments

04 sep

30-Day Life Re-boot

LimiSoulRadioMy good friend Holly Riddel, invited me to be on her radio show a few weeks ago and I gladly accepted. (She and I met at a small Wayne Dyer retreat at his place in Maui, a few years ago.)

Her show is called LIMI Soul Radio, LIMI stands for Love Is My Intention. Beyond being a great, natural interviewer and host, her passion is also about creating amazing jewelry. Check out her site, www.hollyriddeldesigns.com.

I personally have two of her delightful Inside Out rings, where the stone is actually on the inside of the ring, facing inwards. Only you know it’s there. Every stone represents a divine quality: love, courage, self nurturing, passion….etc.
I’ve worn them to big events, TV shows, and felt like it was a pact I had with myself when i looked down at my ring. She makes each ring herself, putting love and her beautiful energy into them.

She decided to do a 30-day life re-boot and had hundreds of people from all around the world participating. We had a lovely conversation about what makes people really change, how to manage all the different changes we are facing in this special time of the year with so much going on. It’s fun, light, engaging and, yes, very human and a very authentic chat. Enjoy and please share. www.blogtalkradio.com/limisoulradio/2012/07/28/limi-soul-radio.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on September 4th, 2012 in Health, New Directions, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments

01 sep

Exclusive Interview with Ariane on Life Changes

I was happy to be interviewed by a cool new site called www.24thletter.com. It’s an exclusive, members-only community, but I begged them and they let me share with all of you the interview I did. My good friend, Janera Soerel, asked me some very interesting questions about one of my favorite subjects — change and managing transitions in our lives.

Janera Soerel: Our chat today is with Ariane de Bonvoisin, a self-styled Chief Change Optimist, and founder of First30Days. Like most of us, Ariane’s life has been through many changes, but her strength has been to study the commonalities we experience when we go through major adjustments and to share her best practices with the chronically inflexible. Ariane, we are delighted to have you with us today, and look forward to your insights on how to best manage transitions.

Ariane de Bonvoisin: I am all yours, I love all questions about this topic.

JS: I’ll just jump right into the questions. You are the Guru of Change. Do you believe there is virtue to committing to a decision and ploughing through the difficulties? Or when is change the best option?

AdB: “Guru of Change,” you are funny! I am a big believer in being committed to a decision and at the same time being very open to changing my approach. So, the reason “why” I am making a decision is why to stay the course — why I want to start a business, why I want to lose weight, why I want to write a book.

The “how” is what is open to change along the way. I tell people to stay very much in touch with their intuition. How does something feel? I think life, the universe, God — whatever we want to call it — is always trying to give us guidance. The decisions that I’ve not pursued until the end often turned out to be ones that were more ego-based.

JS: That’s very interesting. Sometimes though it is difficult to hear that voice. Do you have any advice on how to access intuition?

AdB: Sure, intuition is something we all have — even children. Intuition speaks loudest through the body! Do you feel tired? Agitated? Does your stomach feel tight? The body knows what is best for us; it is wired for truth. We just think that our minds know best! So we disregard the signs our body is giving us all the time.

JS: You’re right, we need to live more in our bodies, and less in our heads. Getting back to life’s transitions: in your experience, what changes are the most difficult?

AdB: All changes are hard because they involve some element of the unknown. We want certainty, security, to feel safe. Underneath it all, the hardest changes are the ones that touch our identity, how we see ourselves in the world. For example, “I am married” to “I am divorced.” “I am employed” to “I am unemployed.” Anything we attach the words “I am” to is a bit dangerous as life loves shaking things up in that department! Basically, anything you attach your self esteem to that is external — for most people that’s their relationship and career — tends to hit the hardest. We need to find the part of us that doesn’t change, the detached observer of all these life changes and transitions. Then we feel we can handle anything. That’s more of a spiritual journey and something internal.

JS: What happens to people who don’t yet have that deeper internal understanding when they’re confronted with an unpredictable change that comes out of left field? How do you advise those people to manage the surprises?

AdB: People feel their whole life has fallen apart when they don’t realize they are so much more than this change. I think you can prepare by not being too attached to anything and having the awareness that change is the only constant in life. It is the law of life, as JFK said. Your work, health, relationship, money — everything will change. People will come and go. Awareness is always the beginning of change. Then I would take it a day at a time. Change is hard when we blend in the past, present, and future in regards to this change. Change has its own timeline, so we can’t speed it up and get out of the uncomfortable period. Also, resisting change is what causes the most change! Try to accept the change even though it may be painful. If you argue with reality, you lose!

JS: Your life has brought you many changes, and you’ve recently moved back to New York. You went on two global trips of discovery, the first when you quit Time/Warner, which culminated in you coming back to New York and founding First30Days, and the second in 2010 from which you’ve just returned. What inspired the second trip, and how do you see First30Days evolving now?

AdB: The second trip! Ha, I felt a longing to get into the unknown: no plans, no control and let life lead the way. A week before I left NYC, I had no idea still where I was going. I found a real intimacy with God during this time. Not having Ariane’s plans, but God’s plans for Ariane. (When I say God, I mean anything you are comfortable referring to!) I also wanted to find a different place to go write my next book, get closer to nature, observe human beings, connect to the simplicity of life, joy, love. I wanted to start living all the self-help and spiritual principles I’d been reading and writing about.

JS: That sounds blissful! How long were you away, and how close to your internal self did you get?

AdB: I was gone for nearly two years — from India, to Australia, South Africa, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mozambique. I did most of the traveling and exploring by myself and then later on with my boyfriend, although you are never really alone I think! The greatest relationship you have is with your Higher Self; you become your own best friend and you stop the disapproval and learn to appreciate things.

JS: Can you tell us a bit more about the new projects on your plate? It sounds like you’re mostly focused on creating content. Do you also coach people individually?

AdB: I love writing, so yes I am writing a lot! I’ve just finished an ebook: “What I wish someone had told me about writing a book.” I’m also launching a new site called arianestudio.com which will feature my blog, books, events and a spotlight on interesting things for people on a spiritual path and also fully living and working in the world. And I’m building an iPhone app called Mindful365, which helps people live consciously one day at a time. I do coach some people yes. I have done less of it since I’ve been traveling, but still love the 1:1 connection and seeing people really transform in areas that are important to them.

JS: It sounds like you’re back in the New York rat-race with all the activities on your plate. How do you manage to balance the spiritual practices with the external demands on your time?

AdB: NYC is the perfect place to trigger me, push my buttons. But I’ve got what I call some “non-negotiables”: things that nothing touches.

JS: Can you give us examples of the non-negotiables?

AdB: I meditate every morning no matter what, and sometimes before going to sleep as well. I also am very committed to staying healthy: green juices daily, not much sugar. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12, and I think what we eat and drink can massively contribute to lowering our stress in a place like NYC. And I remember that it’s never NYC or any place that’s stressing you out. It’s your mind and its stories and beliefs that are doing such a good job at that. So my other non-negotiable is always to be very self aware and observe my reactions.

JS: I love green juices!

AdB: Alone time is also super-important. And yes, green juices rock!

JS: In this new phase of your life, with all these new projects, what have been the biggest challenges?

AdB: Good question! Well, finding a place to live in NYC is never fun. But having solved that challenge, the other is not wanting to get back on a plane and go travel again! I feel this is the time to contribute, give back, share, help, plant seeds. I also feel friends and family sometimes don’t understand your choices, the way you want to live your life. I try to have compassion for them, and not let it throw me off or want to get their approval in some way. And of course, being patient! Being an entrepreneur and a creative type means self-generating your energy and motivation on a daily basis, often without seeing results for a long time. So it’s important to have faith.

JS: This process of balancing friends and family expectations, with staying on your entrepreneurial/spiritual purpose, is one many of us face. Do you believe there is a difference between how men and women balance these demands?

AdB: Men and women go through change a bit differently. Men are more focused on actions, women more on emotions. And in the end, women get through change better usually. All change is emotional. Women are a lot more likely to want to find a more spiritual way of living. Most men are actually very spiritual, but that word scares them; it’s as if it’s not masculine or something

JS: Yes, those men… They’re catching up with us

AdB: We love them!!!

JS: And now, to wrap it up. A more solemn question: life’s biggest transition is death. Knowing that this life will end, what do you recommend our members do on a daily basis when dealing with the small changes?

AdB: Well, knowing that time is passing, my recommendation is this: find work you love, something that lights you up, inspires you. Even if it’s something you do on the side, find a way to contribute, give back, serve your fellow human beings. Focus on your health, in small ways. Yes, get that daily green juice. Have meat and treats on the weekend only, whatever works for you. You get a chance every day to help your body out. Start reading a book, or take a class or something that has you explore your spiritual side, why you are here, what it’s all about. Focus on learning and growing, life is never stagnant if that is your goal. And be kind to yourself, allow yourself to be human. Self-disapproval doesn’t make life fun and is a major obstacle to taking a risk, learning, being creative, loving, becoming enlightened!

JS: So basically stay healthy, have quiet time, and make money doing what you love. Sounds like the perfect formula for a happy life. We have a lifetime to deepen our learning and balance these all out. Thank you Ariane for spending time with us. We loved having you here, and look forward to your new book, website, TV show, and more.

AdB: Thank YOU for being you and doing what you love — you are an example for us. Big hugs and everyone keep in touch please.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on September 1st, 2012 in Ariane, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories | No comments