Archive for May, 2010

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 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 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,

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

31 may

Do More of Some Things and Less of Others

JayForteLife is all about choice – we choose to do some things and not others. We have the choice to tread lightly in some situations and not in others. Here is what I mean.

In the living well magazine of my local supermarket was an article about a twelve-year old who worked with her family to limit their trash output to one bag a week. She educated her entire family about what can be recycled, required reusable containers and bags, and insisted on a commitment to reduce the amount of “stuff” the family has. Tread lightly on the planet.

An author friend of mine blogged this week about an elderly man who had fallen on the street, and though a crowd gather around him, no one bothered to help him stand. My friend came through the crowd and helped the man stand, made sure he was fine, then moved along on his way. Don’t tread lightly when it comes to helping others.

My neighbors in Florida funnel the rainwater from their roof into cisterns and barrels, and use this water to irrigate their plants and gardens. They comply with the water restrictions and are careful about how much water they use and when they use it. They respect this resource. Tread lightly with our natural resources.

I was in a Starbucks last week and watched a kid, excited about ordering his own beverage (the parent was in the car), realize to his horror that he did not have enough money with him. The person in line covered his shortfall and the kid’s smile returned in an exceptional way. Don’t tread lightly with kindness.

A friend of mine plans his household errands. He will delay an errand until it can be combined with several others in the same geographic area to use less gas and limit the wear on the car. Tread lightly on the planet.

A friend of mine from New England never misses an opportunity to send a card, make a call or stay in touch. Few people I know value their contact with their friends the way this person does. He celebrates his friendships every day; his friends feel special, valued and important. Don’t tread lightly with friendship.

It is our choice to respond – to tread lightly when it comes to our planet, our resources and our world – and to not tread lightly when it comes to kindness, generosity, help and support.

Since it is your choice, what do you choose? Try these:

- What three ways will you tread lightly on the planet – and how will you share your ideas with others to do the same?

– What three ways will you not tread lightly (be bold) in your service and kindness to others – and how will you share your ideas with others to do the same?

Each of us makes an impact – is it the right impact? Do more of some things; do less of others. Own your impact and share what you know.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. He has just completed his new book, Happiness Matters; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

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 Jay Forte on May 31st, 2010 in Family, General, Health, New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

31 may

Heard It through the Grapevine

JoAnnaBoccardI walked out of the building feeling elated rather than forced out. What could have turned out to be devastating actually gave me hope for better things to come.

The Vice President of the company I worked for had just laid me off. It was not a surprise, but expected since the day they hired a controller. One of the conditions of his taking the position was that his assistant was to come with him. I was the existing assistant, and he didn’t need two.

I was formally given my exit notice, but the Vice President had more to say.

He told me I could never make the money I wanted by working for someone else, and I would always work under the threat of being laid-off. Being a woman you just can’t make the money you want. He used his wife as an example of a woman who was independent, making her own decisions. His wife had a part time job working in the medical field, but she started her own multi-level jewelry business. By creating her own business she also gained independence and freedom.

His parting words of encouragement were to remember that this is an opportunity to change my life, to start my own business, to become self-reliant and to no longer depend on an employer for an income. I felt that this was a challenge that needed to be taken seriously. Of course, I wanted to make more money.


The words he had spoken would lead me on another path, if I allowed and accepted them. What he had said made sense. I had, up to this point, lived a life of dependency. If I wasn’t dependent on a husband for money, then I was dependent on a job. I had not thought that I could create a business or an income for myself any other way.

For the next few days I racked my brain to come up with some logical business ideas. I needed to figure out what I loved to do. Then the questions started pouring from my mind. What could I do? How would I start a business of my own? Did I have enough experience in any field to begin a business? What did I love so much that I would want to do it? Did I have the courage to begin my own business? I spent a lot of hours and days in my head, but was left without a usable idea.


While I was in this thought mode, one of my neighbors stopped by to say hello, and told me he had a word processor for sale. An old one, but it still worked. I decided to buy it, thinking that I could write.

Writing had never been a dream of mine and never something I even thought of doing. The only time I remembered writing was when I was 10 or 11. We had a project at school. We were told to write a short story and the next day read it out loud to the class. At the appointed time, I proudly stood in front of my class and read my short story. I was thrilled to share it with others and excited when they applauded.

Remembering this, I decided to put the wordprocessor to good use. I wrote the beginnings of three novels, a children’s book and a self-help book.

I contacted an editor who was also a writing teacher and of course a writer himself.

He was impressed with what I wrote and said it was nice to finally talk to someone who actually had the talent to write. He then told me not to attend classes, even his, and not try and edit my writing. He wanted me to write creatively and not stop. He would coach me whenever I felt I needed advice or confirmation that I was doing good and he would charge me a minimal fee. All he wanted me to do, was to write, write, and write.

I felt honored that he said those things to me. Though I had been looking for a new way to earn an income, I never considered this a business opportunity, nor did I think about being paid for the books I wrote. Maybe it is a short attention span, but I did not finish anything I wrote. Even so, I loved to write. I loved the words I had written and at times was even excited at the outcome of the story.


Meanwhile, I was out of a job and without a paycheck and I knew there was no feasible or practical way that the writing I was doing would lead to an income. There was no getting around it, I was very quickly running out of money and I had to do something. At the time, I had it in my head, that I would never go on unemployment. I was completely capable of finding a job and would not make the government pay while I looked.

So, I found a job, went to work and resumed receiving paychecks. Instead of writing I was involved in a job. My writing suffered and nearly ended. It was a pattern I repeated and would repeat many times again.


I would like to say that I’ve had a marvelous revelation, but alas I cannot. I still work for a paycheck which is minimal, dreadful and abusive. I write because I love it and because there are so many thoughts and words I must get out. My writing is a source of happiness as is sharing it with others.

I have learned that far from providing instant gratification, writing does not produce immediate success. It is time consuming and the rewards are not quick. I have to finish (and it can take a very long time) before I am paid.

Changing the way I earn money and the amount of money I earn can only happen if I believe. Believing that I can be the master of my work and the money I earn is essential to moving from dependence to independence.


Do you find yourself repeating patterns?

Does it seem impossible to change?

Have you given up a dream or using a talent to work for a paycheck?

Decide how you can make new choices and different choices, even if they are small steps.

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 JoAnna Boccard on May 31st, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

28 may

Although Change Is a Fact of Life, It Is Easy to Get Stuck in the Muck

KathiBurnsLife is about constant change. Sometimes we simply get tired of learning and changing and feel more comfortable staying where we are. This is why it is understandable that people get stuck. It happens to everyone at some point in his or her life.

If you feel stuck in some area of your life, be it relationships, career or health, start by clearing your environment of unnecessary objects. This is an easy place to begin. It might seem insurmountable, but the good news is that all you really need to do is start. And if you have tried and failed to clear your life of clutter, hire a professional. In a short time, a professional can help you move the papers, set up sustainable systems or do whatever else is needed so that you can gain confidence and a new feeling of mastery of your environment.

Meanwhile, you will have begun to remove blocks that were holding you back from a lot more than just a clean shelf. You do not have to excel in every area of your life. In fact, it is not possible. It is not in our DNA to be great at everything. Thank goodness or this would truly be a boring and one-dimensional world. It’s not a tragedy if you can’t figure out how to keep the paper piles at bay or get on top of whatever else is mucking up your life. You are probably great in other areas of your life.

Everyone needs help moving through personal blocks at one time or another. The most successful people in life realize this and quickly hire others to assist them when they reach a personal or career standstill. Masters always hire other masters so don’t feel like you have to move through every life change alone.

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 Kathi Burns on May 28th, 2010 in Career, General, New Directions, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

28 may

Be Flexible

mike_robbinsHow flexible are you? For me, it depends – on my mood, how much fear or resistance I have about something, how attached I am to a particular outcome, and various other factors.

However, as I look throughout my life (now and in the past), I realize that the situations, relationships, and experiences that cause me the greatest stress and frustration, are almost always the places where I’m not being flexible. And, on the flip side, the more flexible I am – the more peace, ease, and fulfillment become available.

Today, more than ever, we are challenged to be flexible – in our work, our relationships, and in every other important aspect of our lives. However, due to our own fear, arrogance, resistance, stress, and obsession with being right, we often end up being inflexible to our own detriment and to the frustration of those around us (or so I’ve been told).

Being flexible is not about being weak, wimpy, or passive. Flexibility is a conscious choice, a powerful skill, and a valuable approach to the ever-changing, always-evolving world we live in. We can be firm in our convictions, passionate about our beliefs, and clear about our intentions, and at the same time be flexible enough to make significant changes and be open to new ideas along the way.

Here are some key elements to expanding your own capacity for flexibility in your life – which will lead you to greater peace, joy, and fulfillment:

1) Let Go of Your Attachment - Whenever we get attached to something – a specific outcome, a particular way of doing things, a rigid opinion, etc. – we are, by definition, inflexible. Letting go of our attachment to something doesn’t mean we negate our desire or intention, it simply means we let go of controlling every aspect of it, forcing the action, and our fixation on it being exactly the way we think it should be. This is a process of conscious “non-attachment” (letting go), as opposed to detachment (not caring).

2) Be Willing to Be Wrong – Most of us love to be right and will do and say just about anything to avoid being wrong. Our obsession with “rightness” and fear of “wrongness” often gets in the way of going for what we want, saying what’s on our mind, and letting go of our fixed ideas about how things are supposed to be. When we’re willing to be wrong (not necessarily interested in or intending to be wrong), we free ourselves up and give ourselves permission to take risks, try new things, and approach things (even really important things) with a creative, innovative, and flexible perspective.

3) Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously - Taking ourselves too seriously (something which I know a thing or two about), creates unnecessary stress, pressure, and worry. When we’re able to laugh at ourselves (in a kind way), keep things in perspective, and remember that most of what we deal with on a daily basis in life is not life or death – we can take ourselves less seriously and thus have a more balanced, peaceful, and creative way of relating to things.

4) Go with the Flow - If we pay attention to life, there is a natural flow that exists (although it may not always look like it or feel like it). The more we’re able to tap into the natural flow of life, trust ourselves and others, and believe that things will work out – the more likely we are to allow things to roll off our backs and manifest with ease. As Esther Hicks says, “Most people are rowing against the current of life. Instead of turning the boat around, all they need to do is let go of the oars.”

5) Get Support and Feedback From Others – The support and feedback of others is invaluable in so many aspects of our life and growth, especially as it relates to us being more flexible. We can learn from and model others who are more flexible than we are. We can also give people in our life permission to remind us (with kindness) when we get rigid, uptight, over-attached, and start taking ourselves too seriously.

Being flexible is something that’s often easier said than done for many of us. However, just as with our physical bodies, the more attention we place on expanding our flexibility the more likely we are to do it. As we enhance our ability to be flexible, our life can and will expand exponentially.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info –

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 Mike Robbins on May 28th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

27 may

Time of Radical Shift: A Look into the Next Cycle of 2010

spirituality_rockpathBy Maurice Fernandez (Evolutionary Astrologer)

Within three short months we see 15, yes 15, major celestial configurations blaze us with change. This is condensed and powerful energy.


I feel compelled to write this note about what we astrologers are seeing coming. We are in the beginning of a very unique time in history that will redefine the foundations of our lives. The astrological circumstances are uncommon and very dramatic. Change is likely to affect every level of our being, even though each person will feel it differently and in varying degrees of intensity. I’m writing this note so that you may make better use of this time and understand what it is about.

As astrologers we are aware of cycles that affect our existence. Because this coming cycle is very unique, I feel it is important to share this information. I will try to keep it simple and not burden you with a long text and excessive details. There are multiple planetary bodies that are gradually forming a very particular and rare alignment. This configuration began to form during the fall of 2008. Politically, that time was when the economical crisis exploded and when U. S. President Barack Obama was elected.

The configuration will move into a second phase during November 2009 and January/February 2010. (Saturn will move into the Cardinal sign of Libra and will form powerful angle to Pluto in Capricorn.) The third phase is probably the most dramatic and intense, and will occur from the end of June to the end of July 2010, when all the factors of the configuration will align together in a cross at the very beginning of Cardinal signs in astrology.

Cardinal signs are the signs of new cycles. The planets in questions are Pluto, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. These planets are slow-moving bodies and therefore it is absolutely exceptional that these slow-moving bodies end up all aligned in a cross on these very sensitive degrees! In normal circumstances, some people go through changes while others continue their routine. Here the alignment is so strong and dramatic that everyone’s life can be considerably affected. It is likely that your life will not be the same by fall 2010! The question that often arises is whether this change is bad or good. The answer is that it depends on the way one deals with the events. A conscious approach can make a difference. One thing for certain, do not expect security, consistency, and predictability during this time. Reality is bound to change fast and so it is better to move with the flow, while remaining conscious of what is going on. Flexibility is one of the most important assets during this time. This influence is analogous to a gigantic wave forming. You can ride on that wave and go farther than ever expected—experience a powerful transformation that can elevate you to new grounds. But this wave can also destroy a lot of what you are currently attached to.

Redefinition may occur in different fields. You may change vocation, relationships, location, mindsets, to name but a few. New people will move into your life, current ones may leave. New ideas and projects will develop and you may feel inspired to completely reinvent yourself! The cards are re-shuffled! This is a time of an awakening, a revolution, an internal and social revolution. Everything is shaking up. Everything.

From November 2009 until August 2010, nothing will stay still. It can be very good, but you have to learn to navigate these changes and seize opportunity when it comes. Don’t try to have it all perfect. Don’t try to keep the cake and eat it. Change can take you to a completely new and perhaps higher level of what you are about, but you will have to let go of your security during this time. It is a time for risk, reinvention, new ideas, new concepts, new vision, and the impetus to make it happen. Marriages may break, jobs and possessions may be lost, people may get sick, and simultaneously, new relationships may emerge, new passion may awaken, a completely new lifestyle is in the making. You are embarking on an adventure whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not.

My suggestion: Make peace with the idea, don’t resist the adventure. If you are accepting it, you will make the best of it. If you fight and resist it, you won’t win. This is what I mean by being open to risk taking. It may be time to take that “plunge!” Risking does not mean giving in to every silly venture. It is about hearing a calling for truth. Things you have denied, postponed, avoided, feared, but things you know were true. This is a time to be more truthful and follow a calling. Collectively, while the forces of corruption and manipulation may attempt to control the course of events, they are bound to disintegrate. Scandals will continue to hit the news. Natural events will continue to shake the earth. At worst, a war may break during summer 2010 or later because dramatic changes can spur fear and conflict. But it does not have to go that way. We are creators of our own destiny in the midst of the given circumstances. As you go through these changes, it is crucial that you take good care of your immune system because as positive as changes may be, they can overwhelm you and weaken your immune system. Eat more healthy, avoid fast sugar, ingest raw garlic and onions daily (sandwich), exercise, take time out of the intensity loop. Do not let negativity take over. These are basic tips that can keep you grounded. Importantly the situation heating up is like a piece of molten iron that can be beaten into a better form-personally and collectively.

Be an ambassador of good and avoid wasting time on trivial details. For example, as we see the earth being depleted and all resources and species dwindling, people waste time arguing if global warming is or is not happening. If it is man-made or not! IT DOESN’T MATTER! What matters is that the natural world is vanishing before our eyes because of our misaligned actions: excessive pollution, deforestation, and peaking toxicity levels are a reality beyond global warming debates. Similarly, the economy is not likely to stabilize any time soon. But perhaps, necessarily so. And so it will be with many other aspects of our lives. You will not have immediate answers. Be patient and keep doing your best. When the cycle will complete, new circumstances will emerge. This cannot be artificially rushed. These dramatic times are an opportunity for us to restructure our lives, personally and collectively. As many things are being redefined, we can relinquish bad habits and attachments, open up to new ideas, and invest in what works rather than settle for immediate gratification. Patience is another essential asset. In this context, do not expect others to change for the better if you don’t do it yourself. We blame the governments and project our frustration on distant “evils,” but fail to open our hearts ourselves. Being proactive may work better than being self-righteous.

IMPORTANT DATES TO NOTE: June 25 to August 5, 2010 November 1 to December 26, 2010.

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS: Understand this is an opportunity for all of us to reinvent ourselves in a better way. Understand there will be a price to pay, something may need to go. If you lose something or someone. Understand this is the sign of these times. Use a crisis to venture into new horizons and create something new. Understand this is an adventure and risk must be taken. Understand that this is not a time when we can expect security. We are in transition.

Listen to your inner truth. Make your life truly happen now. Take care of your immune system. Avoid bad diets in general. They render you vulnerable to opportunistic viruses. Support your friends and family. We all shall need one another for support during this transition time. Cultivate your spiritual practice. This is also important for your immune system. Do your best to do good. Whatever you seed now will have effect now and later.

There is probably more than can be said and explained, but you get the point. An incredible opportunity is arising, now and throughout 2010. This type of cycle has not happened in recent history. We can expect a certain level of destruction to occur-that is the price to pay. But the prospect of experiencing an awakening and creating a better future is now within reach. We are now in the midst of a revolution, a cultural, social, and political revolution. On a personal level, it is a conceptual, emotional, and or spiritual revolution. Truly, it is in the making!

Posted by First 30 Days on May 27th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, New Directions | 2 comments

25 may

Anxiety in the Workplace, Warts and All: Change and the High Cost of Confusion

MichelleKerriganIn business, time is money…so is confusion.

Of all the obstacles I’ve had to overcome in the workplace, confusion ranks in the top tier, especially during change. It can hold you back and delay progress, and often goes undetected because most people hate to admit when they’re confused.

I was one of the key executives assigned to transition Sony Music from paper to digital graphics, a global project that began in the late 1980s, and evolved throughout the following decade.

Sony had just purchased CBS Records, a significant shift that signaled the transformation from analog to digital, from LP to CD, and from manuscripts, typesetting and mechanical boards to formatted files, flowing text, and printed layouts.

We were all used to working with bits and pieces of information on paper–studio credits, lyrics, liner notes, even thank yous scribbled on cocktail napkins. It was a chaotic but comforting process to handle what we called “hard copy”—a tangible document that you stapled together and happily deposited on the art director’s desk.

Most of us had never touched a computer, let alone have one appear in our office. For many of us, digital was foreign, confusing, and feared.

My job was to make the transition in day-to-day operations as smooth and effective as possible—to get employees and management onboard, trained and up to speed, and to share our successes and challenges with the global community.

My boss at the time headed the initiative, and was understandably enthusiastic about getting started, as a lot of money was riding on our success. So, she was thrilled to introduce me to the technology expert who would make recommendations about which equipment to buy, and provide the much-needed training in the computers and programs we used.

However, the moment the expert opened his mouth, we were bombarded with bits, bytes, and megahertz….a litany of information I didn’t understand. Three significant things happened next:

I became anxious…very anxious.

I began to shut down, and mentally started to bolt the door behind me.

I realized the team could react the same way.

All excitement turned to apprehension: does change have to be so painful and confusing?

While his onslaught continued uninterrupted for thirty minutes, I noticed my boss constantly nodding her head in agreement. Our SVP was highly intelligent and innovative, but I wondered how much she really understood that day. I’ve wondered that a lot about nodding heads over the years. Do they truly understand? Or are they disguising confusion and fear? Fear of looking silly, of feeling uncomfortable, of people knowing that you don’t understand what is really going on.

How many people shut the door and bolt it firmly against change because they’re afraid to admit they’re confused?

Those who work with me know I ask a lot of questions. It’s part of what I do. My job is to not let confusion get in the way of change. I feel the fear, but ask anyway. I’ve found that if I don’t ask, I don’t understand. And if I don’t understand, I can’t own it. And if I can’t own it, I can’t help others own it too.

In any organization, change must happen at the individual level long before it can be considered successful at the corporate one. It happens when each person gets it and isn’t confused (or frightened) by it anymore. It happens when resistance turns to excitement and closed doors open to welcome mats.

When I finally got around to asking the expert what he meant, I discovered that he understood technology, but he didn’t understand people. Successful change requires that you do. When you lead, you are responsible to provide an environment for human success: the tools and training to teach, and the support and materials necessary to understand, reinforce, and sustain.

My advice to all change managers (and trainers) is to know your audience and anticipate their needs. Encourage people to ask questions, even when they’re nodding. And, if you’re not sure they’re with you, ask them to explain in their own words what they understood to make sure that they do. Keep it simple, keep it interactive, keep it user friendly, and by all means keep the path to change clear by taking time to confront confusion with understanding. You and your company will be glad you did.

The digital change at Sony was successful and changed the way we worked, and the company grew on all levels: individual, team and corporate. And, for a while, it saved the company millions.

Now I hope you’re nodding your head.

Copyright 2010 Michelle Kerrigan

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping organizations and individuals improve performance and productivity in the day-to-day workplace. A trusted expert who uniquely combines extensive leadership and operations experience with powerful coaching and organizing techniques, Michelle helps clients develop skills and confidence critical to the bottom line. More at

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 Michelle Kerrigan on May 25th, 2010 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , ,

25 may

Change Your Words, Change Your Life

JoAnnaBoccardWhen I was a little girl, I carried a small block of wood in my pocket to remind me that I was a blockhead. That is how severe my belief was in what my father thought I was. That block of wood was shorthand for the word that I then took on as part of my identity. I knew I was smart and creative, but my ideas did not conform to my father’s. The fact that we were both strong willed did not help and often he became frustrated with me, thus the name calling.

I lost my sense of center, my belief in becoming whom I wanted to be. I came away from my relationship with my parents believing I wasn’t good enough for everything I wanted in life. I believed I did not have what it took to create that life for myself.

Starting at the age of 18, I made some bad choices. Rather than improving, the conditions of my life only got worse. For a long time, I ignored the impact these choices were having, and continued to blindly pursue activities that were not in alignment with who I really was. For example, I continued to work in jobs for which I had no passion. I ignored how important money would become.


While recognizing that work has the ability to provide freedom, independence and wealth, I have also seen that working for someone else can be limiting. That is why I made the commitment to become self-reliant and truly free, independent, and prosperous. I’m trying to have freedom and have control over my life instead of just letting my life happen. I consistently work at making better choices.

For me, the path to this self-reliance is writing. I’ve determined that I want to feel passion toward my work, to work from my home, to schedule my own time, to have freedom and independence and to be independently wealthy for the rest of my life. With writing as my work I can have all of this.


I have committed to leaving behind the pattern of blaming others. Blaming any situation or someone or something is ineffectual, and leaves me feeling even more hopeless. By taking command of my life-the good and the bad-I have options and I have a sense of control.


I have learned that changing words and thoughts also changes feelings and thus begins the process of action toward goals. So, instead of “blockhead,” each day I bring to mind words like “artist,” “creativity,” “passion,” “freedom,” and “choice.” As I continue on this journey, I will continue to chart my path by carefully choosing my words.


State your goals and desires in a positive, present, matter-of-fact manner. For example, “I am a self-employed engineer working from my home, with many clients who always pay on time.” This will bring about results as long as these goals and desires are consistent with your abilities, talents and intelligence.

Be consistent in your desires and abilities. Repeat them to yourself several times each day. This is mandatory to getting the results that you want.

Forgive yourself for past choices. As long as you are attached to the choices you made in the past, you will always live by them.

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 JoAnna Boccard on May 25th, 2010 in New Directions, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | No comments

24 may

Conditioned to Think You Can’t

JayForteA friend and I had a discussion this morning about what influences our perspectives. He reminded me of how a 5-ton elephant can be controlled with nothing more than a chain and a post.

When baby elephants are captured, they are restrained by a chain connected to a post, anchored to the ground. Because of their small size, they try to pull free but cannot. They then learn that when chained to the post, they cannot get away – and they remember this. So as they become an adult elephant, very capable of pulling free from the chain, they don’t think they can, so they don’t try. An early memory told them they can’t and now they never challenge it.

We are like elephants. We have early memories about something that influenced us and we bring that perception to today. It could have been a comment, a look or a response by someone that we knew or maybe didn’t know. It could have been an event that backfired like stumbling in front of others and we are now convinced we can never be on stage, in front of an audience, or lead a meeting. We are frequently chained to think we can’t – even though we can. Here is a personal example.

As a kid I had a terrible interdental lisp. When it was pointed out to me, I stopped speaking, tremendously worried that I would embarrass myself. As I started speech therapy I found I had an easy ability to learn a language and to articulate sounds – something I never would have known. I quickly learned a new way to pronounce an “s.” Today, I am a speaker. Imagine. If I had let the terrible events that introduce me to my speech impediment control me, I would have been like the elephant chained to a post, thinking I should be embarrassed about myself and stay out of the public. I would have never chosen my favorite work and my best fit – speaking to audiences about talents, passions and possibilities. I can imagine doing nothing else. I broke my chain. And I found a strength in the process.

Many of us remain captive to “I can’t” thinking, like the elephants chained to the post, because we don’t know ourselves well enough to know how capable and strong we really are. The more we connect to our unique talents, strengths and passions, the more we find our internal strength – the strength that helps us realize our futures are not dependent on our pasts. We are not limited by events that happened to us. True, they influence us, but we have attributes (call them gifts) that help build our courage and our confidence to break our chains and come through stronger, braver and better.

From my perspective, life events are placed as obstacles to help us stop, think about a better way, and get to know ourselves better. When we encounter an obstacle we can act like the elephant – to stand still and give in. Or, we can think our way through it and realize we are more capable than we imagined. And when you do this several times, you develop the courage to consistently do it and life becomes yours to invent.

To help you break your chains, consider the following:

- Think of one “I can’t” situations that currently limits you. Think back to the event that made you feel incapable, unworthy, unable, etc.

- Assess your talents and strengths. What attributes do you have that allow you to move past this limit – what attributes do you have that will help you break your chain?

- What is the first small step you can take to move past this limit – to see how capable you are and to develop your confidence?

- Try one, then another, then another. Then throw the chain away.

There are truly some situations where “I can’t” may be the right response. But we use “I can’t” significantly more frequently than we should because we are controlled or influenced by things said or done in our past. Today gets built today – there is no particular reason why it must be like yesterday unless you want it that way.

What is true for you today? What are your talents, passions and strengths, and how do they give you the confidence and courage to say “I can” instead of “I can’t.”

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. He has just completed his new book, The End of Average; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on May 24th, 2010 in Career, Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Global/Social Change, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

20 may

A Smile a Day, Paved The Way

JoAnnaBoccardAs a child I was told I was shy, so I assumed this must be a problem since I was continually reminded of this flaw. I grew up with a father who believed there were no strangers, that everyone is your friend. I watched him as he waved or spoke to everyone whether he knew them or not. To be like my father seemed difficult and scarey for me, but if he could do it, so could I.


I decided to put myself into a situation in which I was surrounded by strangers, a busy downtown street. Then I walked among these strangers holding my head high and looking into their eyes as they passed me on the street. After I succeeded at this and found that no one would hurt or even scare me, I added on a smile. The earth shattering part faded and after practice it became easy and natural. In my mind I assured myself that I would be safe, that this wasn’t so hard. I then realized that this was fun, genuinely fun.


How was I to ever understand myself if I couldn’t communicate with others? How could I fulfill my dreams if I was too afraid to look beyond my own two feet? By taking control of this area of my life I knew I could do anything I wanted. From this exercise in courage, I received the confidence to speak up, to ask for what I want, to stand up for myself, to do things that without this courage would have remained impossible dreams.


I took command of my life. I took back my power. I changed this part of my life, by changing how I believed, how I perceived a stranger. Change your actions along with your thoughts. The combination is dynamite.


  • Choose something that you would like to do, or someone who does something that you would like to emulate. Those in our lives are there to teach us, we just have to notice and allow.
  • Decide how you can do this, how you can fit it into your life.
  • Then practice. New habits can only be formed if they are repeated and become part of your daily regimen.

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on May 20th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 5 comments