All ‘Ariane’ Posts

13 jul

The First 30 Days launches in South Africa

The First 30 Days launches in South Africa
I’m excited to share that The First 30 Days book, has been released in South Africa. It is now available in all major book stores.
We put a new and updated cover on it, as you can see, and I added a few goodies to the introduction. The wonderful Redi Tlhabi, one of the most famous talk radio personalities, also gave me an endorsement, which I’m very grateful for. She and I met when we spoke at the Oprah conference in Joburg 2 years ago.
I will be doing some great book launches, some private events, talks and of course TV and Radio to help spread the word.
If you want to interview me, have me come talk at your company, or get in touch for any reason, please do so, by sending an email to contact@arianestudio.com
Thankyou to Jonathan Ball Publishers for believing in me and the potential for this book here in South Africa.
This beautiful country is going through such incredible changes and it is my privilege to help out in a small way, with this book.
If you know someone going through a change, or contemplating making a change, please consider getting them a copy of the book.
Change Positively!!!
Ariane

The First 30 Days launches in South Africa

coverI’m excited to share that The First 30 Days book, has been released in South Africa. It is now available in all major book stores.

We put a new and updated cover on it, as you can see, and I added a few goodies to the introduction. The wonderful Redi Tlhabi, one of the most famous talk radio personalities, also gave me an endorsement, which I’m very grateful for. She and I met when we spoke at the Oprah conference in Joburg 2 years ago.

I will be doing some great book launches, some private events, talks and of course TV and Radio to help spread the word.

If you want to interview me, have me come talk at your company, or get in touch for any reason, please do so, by sending an email to contact@arianestudio.com

Thank you to Jonathan Ball Publishers for believing in me and the potential for this book here in South Africa.

This beautiful country is going through such incredible changes and it is my privilege to help out in a small way, with this book.

If you know someone going through a change, or contemplating making a change, please consider getting them a copy of the book.

Change Positively!!!

Ariane

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on July 13th, 2015 in Ariane | No comments

17 may

Ariane’s Four Talks on Change

ArianedeBonvoisinHello! I’ve just added to YouTube four (4) videos that I wanted to share on Navigating Change. Some of them are nice and short, only five minutes long. If you’ve got a cup of tea and your journal, you can watch the hour-long talk I recently gave on “The 9 Principles of Change,” to a group of 500 executives. I cover personal, professional, health, family, relationship and financial changes. Enjoy and please share with anyone you know who is going through a change, thinking about a change, struggling or helping someone else with a change!

Click here to view Ariane’s Overview of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s Questions about Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The First Principle of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The 9 Principles of Change.

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 Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 17th, 2013 in Ariane, Career, Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Global/Social Change, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments

13 oct

Parenting Kids Through Times of Change

happier_confidenceWe live in transitional times. Each of us is affected by change, whether it be a job change, a relationship change, a financial change or even a health-related change.

Kids feel these changes, too. They witness them closely. For example, often they are involved in the case of a divorce, a death or a move.

I’ve found a few insights that can really make a difference when parenting children during these types of life events. Plus, my personal belief is that teaching them about change is one of the most fundamental life skills to impart to them to be prepared for the years when they’re growing up.

Parents need to get comfortable with change, then your children will be comfortable, too. Kids are a lot less fragile through change than their parents are. Kids often simply reflect how you are feeling, so if they are acting out, it’s because you may have some emotions that aren’t being expressed. If they are anxious, it’s because you are, too, at some level. Think about it, at any moment, you are either being a warning or an example for your kids, how you eat, how you communicate, how you behave, everything you do. They see and feel everything. So regarding the change you’re going through, are you coming from a place of trust and faith or one of fear? Are you coming from your heart and a loving space or from your head and responsibilities? Be an example for how to navigate change. Be positive, accept the change once it’s happened and stop comparing things to what was. Believe in something greater going on, ask for help so your kids see that there are always people ready to help and they/you are never alone. Take some action. Take care of yourself during times of change so your kids see that just because something has changed doesn’t mean your whole life and especially your health will be affected.

The most important thing your kids want is for you to be happy! This is what your kids are yearning for. They aren’t yearning for their old school after a while, or how things were. They want to be in a home that is filled with laughter and love. Get out of the serious box. Yes, a change may be serious, but it’s not so serious that you want to teach your kids that all change is hard, tough, and worth getting concerned about. So yes, if getting happy and doing what you want involves going away for the weekend, going to the gym, taking a new class, going back to work, do it. Your kids will unconsciously and consciously relax when they know you are OK and doing things you love and enjoy. They’d rather you were happy than at home all the time. They’d rather you be happy alone than unhappily married.

Parents need to wake up and place their trust in their children’s inner-guidance system. So many parents tend to over-parent their kids, do everything for them, show them, help them. This is underestimating their innate ability that the same life force that is flowing through you is flowing through them. Wake up their intuition, their instincts. Believe they can figure things out. Ask them how something feels. It’s easier for you as parents to worry about your kids, when the truth is that you yourself are the one that’s worried. Kids aren’t that worried at their core since they are in the present moment, while we adults feel fear and nervousness when thinking about the past and future effect of a change. Teach your kids that they have access to answers on the inside of them at all times–even more answers than Mom or Dad can provide. Their bodies are always sending them signals about what’s the right thing to do.

Teach them that they have a “change muscle.” Kids love knowing this. That there is a specific muscle to be able to handle changes, that they can flex it, use it and it gets stronger with every change they experience–that the body is made for change and that the best of who they are is going to come out during times of change, that life is always giving them an opportunity to grow, to learn something, to acquire a new set of emotions, such as courage, faith or patience when change comes their way.
Teach them “The Change Guarantee.” Write down the following phrase for them, somewhere visible. “From this situation, something good will come.” Start showing them that good things come from change. Go through previous changes that have happened and the good that eventually came. Teach them that life is on their side, that it’s always coming up with new ways to bring something into their lives.

Allow kids to be human and express their emotions. Teach them that its perfectly OK to be sad, to cry, to be angry, to be anything they are feeling. Make their feelings seem right, not wrong. Don’t impose any deadlines on when they should stop feeling something. The same goes for you. It’s good for your kids to see you have feelings. Do not only be in supermom or superdad mode. When they see you are human, sad, scared for a little while, then they feel much safer being the same. Do not try to change what they are feeling. If they are feeling something, reward it.

For more information on the 9 Principles of Change, be sure to pick up a copy of my book, The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier. The change principles equally apply for children of any age.

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 Ariane de Bonvoisin on October 13th, 2012 in Ariane, First30Days Book, General, 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

23 aug

The Highest Pass

HighestPassWell, I never really did think my backside would be prominently featured on a giant movie poster! It was never one of my life goals to be honest and yet, boom — it has happened.

I also never thought I would ever sit myself on a motorbike going 80 miles an hour! I’ve lost friends on motorbikes so you can imagine it wasn’t something I was eager to do. You know those things that you will “never do”? I call it the anti-Bucket List. Those things that you’ve decided, nope, not me. Either because it brings up fear or some other emotion you’re not really up for. I’m talking bungee jumps, speaking in public at an important event, or even something like telling that guy or girl you’ve been friends with for years that you actually have feelings for them. What is on YOUR anti-Bucket List?

Back to the movie. So, riding a motorbike was on my anti-Bucket List. So when one of my best friends, Brooks, an avid rider himself, asked me if I wanted to go to the Himalayas and ride across the highest roads in the world as part of a documentary film, I said sure (that’s my type of thing!) but, I’d happily stay in the film vehicle. I therefore arrived in India, with no riding gear, but excited to be part of this adventure and see these beautiful mountains that hold such spiritual significance as well.

There were eight riders, all guys and another seven guys, all crew, drivers, mechanics, you name it. That’s a lot of men and testosterone for one woman!

Within a few days of the journey getting started in Rishikesh (the birthplace of yoga), I figured, why not try and get on a bike. Was I really safer in the jeep? Was God more present in a car than on the bike? Also, another big reason was that there wasn’t much space for me in those film vehicles while the crew recorded our every move and conversation.

I found a helmet, bright yellow biker pants (for guys, of course, so they were way too big) and one of the guys lent me a spare leather padded jacket. I looked like the Michelin man! “Great,” I thought. My first entrance onto the big movie screen and I look terrible. High-def cameras on me at all times and I had no make up ever. I didn’t even have a mirror for the whole month we were gone and we didn’t exactly wash much! Here began my first lesson in letting go — letting go of wanting to look good, of being a certain way on camera, of how people were going to see me and think of me. Letting go of controlling other people’s opinions of me. Of allowing myself to be seen, exactly the way I was — whether I was tired, sick and suffering from altitude sickness, hungry, wanting my space, freezing, terrified, whatever was present for me. All of it was going to be captured on camera. Vulnerability at its max!

The next big lesson in giving up control came from actually getting on the BACK of the bike. This I can tell you is actually harder than being the one riding it! Roads in India are a massive danger zone. They are filled with people, cows, trucks, kids. There are no traffic lights ever, no signs. People die all the time on them. There is so much going on, the noise, the distractions. And once we started getting out of the cities and into the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, roads turned to snow, avalanches, ice, rocks, dirt, sand, you name it. I literally had to put my life in the hands of the guy who was riding the bike. Brooks first, (then he had an accident and couldn’t ride with a passenger anymore), then Mike. Mike showed me how to ride and feel safe.

When you’re on the back, you’ve got to basically go where they go. So, when they lean all the way right, that’s what you’re doing even though every part of you thinks that gravity is going to make this bike tumble. And tumble I did, a few times. The most pleasant fall being in sandy dunes where the weight of two riders basically sank the bike into the sand!

We traversed mountain peaks, through all weather conditions, altitudes of up to 19,000 feet. We slept in army barracks, monasteries. We ate a lot of lentil soup and drank chai tea daily. We rode over 2,000 miles in about a month. We became a family. We each had very distinct personalities and every day brought another set of challenges, either individually or as a group.

The ultimate lesson was facing death I guess. It was very clear the level of danger we were all undertaking. (We were higher than Base Camp Everest just to give you a sense!) I guess I’ve never had to actually go right into the feeling that at the end of any one of these days, either one of my fellow riders or I might be gone. All I can say is that there is real freedom when you do. When you understand that you are safe no matter what. That you are not the physical body. That you are never really in control of anything. And not to get this intellectually, like “it’s great to overcome my fear” kind of thing, but when your bones really get it, your life is very different.

India changes people. But this experience left me looking at life as something to love and learn from. It was never about becoming someone, making it, being successful, being safe and in control, or getting some approval from the world. Life became about a deep search for truth, for knowledge for what is really worth doing and becoming.

I ended up going back to New York, getting rid of most of my stuff and then traveling the world for nearly two years. Yes, I may end up writing a lot more about this life changing experience! In the meantime, I invite you to look at the trailer www.thehighestpass.com. The movie has been released in movie theaters in LA and Seattle and will be coming to many other cities. I’m also honored to be screening it at Google and Twitter in mid-July.

Posted by First 30 Days on August 23rd, 2012 in Ariane, New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality | No comments

31 may

Important Message from Ariane

happier_confidenceDear Friends and Fellow Change Optimists,

After two incredible years of sending out hundreds of thousands of Change Secrets emails every day, I’ve decided it’s time for a change and will stop our daily correspondence. All great things come to an end and something new follows. “From this change, something good will come,” as by now, you all know The Change Guarantee. There are many reasons for why I made this decision. Among them are these:

Some of you have shared with me that sometimes it’s too much to receive and read an email daily.

It’s a lot to think about, hard to find time to listen to an interview, and so on.

Others have said sometimes the topic isn’t relevant to them so they delete it. Still others have different reasons. I respect them all.

My personal reason is that I’ve been working on some new teachings, a new book and would like to commit to the call of my heart’s inspiration. I am feeling guided to dive deeper into the spiritual path, write about that and eventually speak and teach about what I’ve personally learned.

As a sneak peak, I will unveil a new site dedicated to any of you who are on a spiritual path and want to follow that journey. Please also let others know who are looking for a group of people with what I affectionately call, “A Foot in Both Worlds.” You can go to www.arianestudio.com and sign up for when we do launch later this summer.

If you’re wondering what will happen with the daily email on First30Days, here’s the answer. On July 1st we will stop the daily emails and continue to have more of a newsletter type of connection with all of you who want that. We won’t contact you regularly once-a-week, only when we feel there is some fantastic new content, blog posts from our experts, an inspiring story, an article everyone must know about or an event I may be attending or hosting.

If you dont want to continue to receive any mailings from us, this is a good time to say goodbye and we wish you well.
(You may click here to unsubsribe now.)

Of course, the www.first30days.com site will continue to be a place of support, inspiration, information as well as a community for anyone going through a change. We’ll offer new content, experts and resources.

Blessings and gratitude for what we’ve all been through together,
Ariane

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 31st, 2010 in Ariane, General, New Directions | 10 comments Read related posts in

19 may

The Nine Principles of Change

KripaluSeptember 10–12, 2010 Friday–Sunday

The Nine Principles of Change: How to Make or Face Any Life Change with Optimism

Ariane de Bonvoisin

Adapting to change is the most important life skill you can learn. This transformative workshop with Ariane de Bonvoisin, best-selling author of The First 30 Days, is designed to help you deal with all of life’s changes—big and small, personal and professional. Change is the one constant in life, and you can learn to be resistance-free so you can handle the tough changes that come your way and pursue the changes you’ve always dreamed of.

If you want to breathe new light into your life, come discover

• The nine principles of change
• The beliefs of a “change optimist”
• How to find your “change muscle”
• Ways to recognize and overcome your “change demons,” those negative emotions that
hold you back
• How to create your change support team
• Your spiritual essence and how you can walk the spiritual path as you go through life
changes.

You will leave the workshop with a sense of peace, hope, and strength. The wisdom and skills you acquire this weekend will accompany you for the rest of your life.

Ariane de Bonvoisin, MBA, is the founder and CEO of First30Days, a New York-based media company focused on guiding people through all types of personal and professional life changes. She is author of the best-selling book, The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier. A “change optimist” who loves inspiring people to make the changes they’ve always wished they could make, Ariane has held jobs in business, music, publishing, the internet, venture capital, television, and the nonprofit world. www.first30days.com.

Posted by First 30 Days on May 19th, 2010 in Ariane, Speaking Events | No comments

11 may

The Eighth Secret of Change

happier_confidenceYour Change Support Team

People who successfully navigate change are not alone. They surround themselves with people who can help. And they create an environment that supports their change.

When we go through change, one of the first things we feel is alone. “I am the only one going through this, no one has ever felt this bad, no one has had these three changes to deal with all at once….” These types of thoughts are very common. Many of us retreat. We don’t want to reach out and share what’s going on, let alone ask anyone for help. Our biggest flaw is that we keep thinking we are alone and that somehow we have to figure this out by ourselves: how to deal with a company falling apart because the market has changed; a parent with Alzheimers, a diagnosis, or a pending divorce. Somehow, we think our situation is unique. Very few of us are comfortable with the words, “I need help.” It’s as if these words are weak and yet both personally and professionally, they are a huge sign of power, self-esteem. When was the last time you said those words? Everyone of us gets through a change or a tough time because someone is there for us, closing the gap, cheering us on, showing us the way.

Who is on your change team? Usually it’s not your parents, spouse, or even your closest friends. They all seem to be a bit concerned when you are going through your changes, they prefer to not see you shaky or heading towards the unknown. And yet, most of us turn to these people for approval, help and permission of some sort. Don’t. Pick who you share your changes with. Many times, it’s someone you don’t know as well, or even someone brand new that might come into your life to help with a specific change. That’s normal. It’s not disloyal. When you’re making or facing a change, ask yourself if there’s someone around you that has been through a similar change? What type of people do you have around you? Remember, the five people you spend the most amount of time with have the biggest influence on every aspect of your life, the job you have, how much money you make, your weight, whom you date, if you smoke and so on. Who are your five people? Are they optimists? Do they want you to change? Who should be on your team?

When you are asking for help, remember these two words—Honesty and Specificity. You can receive quality help only if you are being honest about what’s happening for you. Be honest about the addiction. Be honest about the trouble in your relationship. Be honest about the problems at work, whatever they may be. Next, be specific about what kind of help you need from someone. Do you need financial help, a trainer, a therapist, advice on how to get healthy, help on moving or finding a new revenue model? Don’t just assume someone will know how to help or what you need. We are all wired to help each other. It’s part of our DNA. We all feel our best when we are helping, contributing, doing something for someone else. Let people be there for you. Yes, even if it brings up some shame that you aren’t perfect or have things under control. Watch the support roll in once you are able to be open, humble and willing.

There are really two types of friends or supporters that we usually have around us. Friends that get in the hole with us and friends that hand us a ladder and help us up again. The former are people who are compassionate, listen to you, agree with you, make you feel right, or even justified. These people are often loving and don’t want to rock the boat. You need a few of those. But you also need what I call, Real Sources of Help, people who don’t get in the hole with you, who don’t let you rehash your story, don’t allow you to be a victim, or blame, or be weak. People who call you on the truth, what you know, how to change something. These people can challenge you, which is why many of us avoid them. It’s easier to hang with people who don’t ask you why you still smoke, or why you’ve put on all the weight, or why you stay in a loveless marriage or a job you’ve been complaining about for years. Surround yourself with people who really do want the best for you and are committed to seeing you change a situation who may not be working for you. Basically, ask yourself, if the people around you return your power back to you, ask you the right questions, give you a safe place to land and to get unstuck, empower you, believe you can change.

People are essential during times of change, but so is creating the right space in which you live and work. Your actual physical environment can have a huge impact on facilitating change, whether it be in your team, a company, or your personal life. Look at the space you live in and work in. What’s working for you and what isn’t? What do you need to let go of? Remove? Add? What’s missing? What doesn’t represent who you are now, today? You have permission to change your environment, add a new color, a candle, a symbol, a trampoline, a photo, a plant, move the furniture, move homes, move offices. If you had no limits, how would you arrange your physical space to best support you? If it’s at work, what changes can you make? Sometimes when you change your physical surroundings, your inner state also changes. Energy flows. Ideas come. New things happen.

Our lives are all connected to each other, and to other physical objects. It matters whom we surround ourselves with, whom we spend time with, whom we listen to and reach out to. When you change, the people around you change. You may want to change your actual space in some way.

And as a final note, who in your life is going through a change? A friend, colleague, your spouse, your child…. Believe they can change. See them already as having passed through the change. Offer them a safe place to land. Give them permission to do that. Listen and don’t judge. Ask questions. Don’t give answers. Be an example for them of what’s possible, not a warning. When you change, you unconsciously give permission to others to change. When you encourage someone to make or face a change, you lift your own self in the process. Connect and stay connected.

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 Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 11th, 2010 in Ariane, New Directions, Relationships | 2 comments Read related posts in

01 may

Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier: An Interview with Ariane de Bonvoisin

By Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

We’ve all heard it takes 30 days to create a habit. How we relate to those first 30 days may make all the difference. Today I have the privilege of bringing you Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier.

Ariane is also CEO and founder of first30days.com, an organization developed to help people transition through any change, whether it’s career, health, lifestyle, relocation, or personal relationship changes. She has been named MSN’s Life Change Expert and her advice is sought by thousands around the country.

Today Ariane is going to talk to us about why it’s so hard for people to make sustained changes in life, and what we can do about it.

Elisha: Your book seems to have references to mindfulness in it, the act of being present to our everyday lives while putting aside our lenses of judgment; getting in touch with the direct experience of the present moment. How do you see the first 30 days from a mindful perspective?

Ariane: Change is always an opportunity to pause, go inside, listen to our “inner microphone” and be in the present. Our lives get so busy, we live based on routines, we never really “think” we don’t want to change. So when change does happen, either by courageous choice or from life circumstances, it is asking us to be honest with what is, and also what is not working for us and our lives.

Mindfulness is about being totally aware of what our mind is feeding us during change. Usually its one of a few dominant disempowering programs: Disapproval, comparison, and perfection are the main ones. The mind is going to feed us the usual “change demons,” classic emotions that show up as well to the “change party”– fear, doubt, blame, shame, guilt and impatience. Being mindful during change is started by being aware. Aware of what emotion is getting your attention, welcoming it up, asking for its message and letting it be rather than resisting or escaping it.

Moments of change also happen to help us let go of the need for control. Control of knowing an outcome, of how we can speed things up, get out of the void, or this period of uncertainty, the unknown. Being mindful during change is simply about staying with the shakiness. From all change, something good happens. Life is on our side if we just let it be and surrender to it. It knows the way.

Elisha: In your book you mention an important practice of creating a change resume. Can you sum up for us what this is and why it’s important in helping us making real change?

Ariane: One of the 9 principles of change that I discuss in the book, is what I call “The Change Muscle.” People who are good at change know they are resilient, strong and can get through anything. Many of us will say things like, “I am bad at change, I hate change, I resist change,” when the truth is very different.

We have all gone through dozens of changes we have never acknowledged ourselves for — divorce, loss of a loved one, graduation, starting a job, losing weight, handling a health diagnosis, buying a home, moving, having a baby, forgiving someone and so on. We are focused on our professional resume when really who you are is a combination of all the changes you’ve ever made, faced and witnessed.

So I ask people to take a blank piece of paper and start writing these down….soon enough, your page will be filled with changes. Next I ask that you write down the good thing that came from each of these changes so you bring back into your conscious mind the connection between life changes and good things emerging, despite the difficulty at the time. Finally, I have people make a list of what the main thing was that helped them through — was it a person, a belief, their faith, getting healthy, time, doing things for others?

This exercise helps people get their power back. You’re the person that got through all this, so today, even though the change you’re going through now may be new, something you’ve never faced, you are not showing up without any “tools,” experiences, beliefs, ways that you have handled change in the past. You know what helped you.

Elisha: On Mondays I cite a quote or poem and explore its relevance to our everyday life. One post called 5 Quotes that Can Change Your Life listed five quotes from your book that I found particularly interesting. What are five of your favorite quotes from your book?

Ariane:

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~ Gloria Steinem

“The single most important decision any of us ever have to make is whether to believe we live in a friendly universe,” ~Albert Einstein

“Hidden in any misfortune is good fortune.” ~Tao Te Ching

“When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time,” ~Byron Katie

“Be patient towards all that is unsolved within your heart, and try to love the questions themselves…” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometimes I just think of a question, or challenge and just open the book and read the quote that’s on the page. It’s a great way to use the book once you’ve read it.

Elisha: If you were sitting across the table from someone who was having real difficulty with making change, what advice would you give him or her to help make sustained change?

Ariane: I’d identify what the belief, excuse, story or emotion that is in the way and really shine a light on that, get it out of the shadows — what’s being resisted — and get to the root of that. The time before a change/decision is always much harder than the actual decision itself.

People aren’t changed or helped by information, but by inspiration, so I get them in touch with WHY they want to make this change. The why is the fuel, not the “how” or “by when.” Why do you want to leave a job, why do you want to pursue this dream, why do you want to loose the weight, etc.

I’d want to know who was on their “change support team.” We somehow always feel alone when we are going through change and the truth is we all get through a change because of other people being there, and believing we can make that change. And it’s often not your closest friends or family by the way. If they don’t have someone, I’d get them on our site where we have thousands going through the same change.

Finally, I’d get them to take the first step towards any positive sustained change, which is to take care of themselves, their health. It’s the SEED of all change (Sleep, Eating well, Exercising and Drinking water). When you feel healthy, in your body, you get out of your head, your self esteem rises, your power returns, you are moving these emotions through your body, you feel strong. Change happens through the body, the heart, not in the head.

Wow, thank you so much for your wisdom Ariane.

To the readers: As always please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Posted by First 30 Days on May 1st, 2010 in Ariane, First30Days Book, Global/Social Change, New Directions | No comments

25 mar

We Need You

happier_confidenceSome of you who’ve been with us on the site may know about our Talk to Us section. It’s one of the most active areas, where people share their story of change. Stories of hope, courage, stories of despair, asking for help. While we have some very loyal members and our team looks at these daily and post some tips and suggestions, we are now asking YOU to help.

If you are reading this, you are qualified! Really you are. These stories are stories many of us have been through and can relate to. They include job changes, break ups, health issues from losing weight to a diagnosis, losing a loved one, pursuing a dream. money issues…you get the picture.

It’s amazing what happens when we help each other. We all have so much wisdom to share. We’ve been through our share of changes and someone else’s life might really be helped, transformed by something you know and can share.
A few lines, a similar story with some perspective, a quote, a book to read, some love and encouragement that someone else is out there listening and reading. That’s it. Nothing more.

If you are an expert, life coach, have some specific background, share what you know.

Practically speaking, what am I requesting? Check in on the site, daily if possible. See if someone has posted a new story and if you relate to it or can help, post a comment. It should take you five minutes maximum. And it will leave you feeling like you’ve helped another soul. As a friend of mine said while she was going through a hard time, “when I go to First30Days, I feel better. I know I’ve contributed. My day goes better.”

You can see what’s been happening already. Stories generate some passionate responses and discussion and it’s time to make sure everyone gets this help from our amazing community of Change Optimists!

Consider this your new form of “community service.” We all want to volunteer and know what we do matters. Well, here are real people going through real changes who have had the courage to write their stories and wait for help and direction. And while I am describing it, if you or someone you know has a story or a question to share, please do so and encourage others to do so as well. Many people want to help.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on March 25th, 2010 in Ariane, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in