• “Success is not to be pursued;
    it is to be attracted by the person you become.”

    ~ Jim Rohn ~

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    This headline really got my attention this morning: Do You Have Inspiration Deficit Disorder?

    While I’m not a fan of negative labeling, I’ve learned that most people are more apt to first pay attention to the problems in their lives and then how to solve them and wait for inspiration to arrive. If that’s you, stop waiting. What often happens is that we get stuck in retelling the problem instead of taking inspired action and creating an inspiring result.

    For as long as I’ve been researching, speaking, consulting and coaching on how to stay inspired and enthusiastic through challenge and change, one of the most common “Yeah, but” responses I hear from people is that the idea of living an inspired life is a luxury to experience after you’ve slogged through the hard stuff rather than a necessity that will ease you through the hard times – and in some situations even prevent unnecessary hard times that we’ve self-created. What side of the fence is your mind leaning on? Continue reading »

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  • “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
    ~ Napoleon Hill ~

    Yesterday evening at dusk in heavy San Diego evening traffic, I heard a screaming fire engine siren behind me.  As it became louder, I quickly veered toward the right side of the street curb along with a trail of cars in front of me. Within just a few seconds, the major thoroughfare was clear and a firetruck roared through the intersection.

    As I watched traffic clear so quickly, I felt this odd welling up of emotion that initially perplexed me. I flashed on the thought that hundreds of people made an instant decision to act. Now, you might argue that it was to avoid a collision with a 28 ton piece of speeding steel, but you could also choose to think that people were inspired to action because their need to get wherever they were going was less important than helping an unknown person (or people) in distress get the help of the fire and life protection services in our community.

    Perhaps because the relief efforts in Haiti or hard times that have affected so many have been forefront of my mind, or maybe because I am continuously humbled by the goodness of friends and strangers wherever I am, I experienced a moment of grace that still touches me even as I write. It’s these moments of insight and choice, strung together that create more inspiration, meaning and value in my life. What about you?

    TIP: Journal 5 Minutes a Day on Your Immediate Surroundings

    There are so many ways we lose our connection to our Spirit throughout the day, which leads to making unconscious, unhealthy choices and unnecessary stress and burnout.

    Taking the time to reconnect to what feeds our Creative Spirit will always re-energize any project you may be procrastinating or a goal or dream that seems unreachable.

    Over the weekend I participated in Jennifer Louden’s Virtual Comfort Retreat 2010, which included a session with Christina Baldwin, author of Life’s Companion Journal. She spoke of the power of capturing daily moments and journaling about them for 5 minutes as a way to stay connected to what’s real and true in your life, especially when we’re bombarded with so many media messages without even realizing it.

    Use this information for both acceptance of what is and taking inspired action toward what wants to come into being in your life.


    RESOURCE:
    NEW! Enthusiasm Mini-Retreat Journal and Guidebook
    7 Minutes a Day for 7 Days

    I am so excited by what I experienced with the Virtual Weekend Retreat and want to give you a mini version that still has the impact but takes less time per day and fit’s anyone’s budget. The resource I’ve designed for you does all three.

    If you ever find yourself wishing for both a quick-fix energy-builder and a long term solution to low energy, fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety or lack of appreciation in your life, you are going to love this new mini-retreat workbook I’ve created for you.

    The Enthusiasm 7-Day Mini-Retreat Journal & Guidebook builds on my book Living with Enthusiasm. The retreat workbook and journal gets you in the daily habit of doing one EnthusiAction that increases your energy and productivity and adds more joy to your day in a relaxed and easy way.

    It’s fun, and healthy, plus it creates a stronger connection to your Creative Spirit. Share it with a friend or group of friends if you want an even more enriching experience.

    Treat yourself to a week of self-discovery, insight and fun. To find out more click on 7 Day Enthusiasm Mini Retreat Journal & Guidebook.

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  • “Who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
    Actually, who are you not to be?”

    ~ Marianne Williamson ~

    In my program “Staying Inspired Through Challenge and Change,” I’ve asked the question “What inspires you?” to thousands of people over the years. I have heard many amazing and wonderful answers, however, have yet to hear someone respond to the group genuinely, without joking, “Myself,” or “My ability to write,” or “I am an awesome volunteer (mother, photographer, networker…),” or whatever strengths and gifts they embody that clearly inspire others.

    It’s easy enough to understand why: we’ve been trained not to talk about our strengths and gifts and sometimes even hide them so as not to appear conceited or arrogant or potentially diminish someone else who isn’t as talented. But here’s the good news. When we are inspiring to ourselves, we are naturally expressing our strengths and gifts because we’re being our most creative inspired selves, and that naturally inspires others with or without talking about ourselves. If you question this, watch the upcoming Olympics.

    Taking the time to discover our strengths and gifts becomes self-inspiring, especially in difficult times. When life has its way with us in a way that isn’t our way, we have the resources to bounce back and reconnect to the world in a “brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous way.”

    TIP: Answer this question several times over the next week: What inspires you about yourself? If you get stuck, other questions that can lead to the same answers are “What do you appreciate about yourself?” and “What do people tell you they value in you that makes you feel “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Make a list of your top five qualities, strengths, or talents. If you’d like some help with the answers, here are links to two excellent assessments:

    1) Marcus Buckingham’s “Find Your Strongest Life.”

    2) VIA Strengths Questionnaire. There are two assessments available; one is f*ree. Millions of people have taken this assessment, which measures results based on what strengths will bring you the most happiness when you use them. I’ve taken it and highly recommend either profile.

    Once you’ve answered “What inspires me about myself?” then go and ask five people – three whom you know and love and two strangers or new people you meet at a networking event or in the grocery line. Notice the different conversations you have and listen for the inspiration that follows.

    RESOURCE: My friend and colleague Lynn Robinson has a new book that I think will interest you. It’s called LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

    When you know how to listen to your inner voice in times of crisis, you’ll possess an unfailing source of wisdom that will guide you through good times and bad, moving you steadily through the inevitable crises of life and always towards your hopes and dreams. Put the principles of this remarkable book to work, and you will discover that bad times can actually be good times if you know how to listen to your inner voice.

    I also want to be sure you know that there’s a great opportunity if you purchase a copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis. A group of well-known business authors and experts, including myself, have come together, to offer valuable bonus gifts like e-books, audio programs, and tip sheets, to anyone who purchases a copy of Lynn’s new book!

    The promotion is one week only; it ends at midnight, February 14th. So don’t miss out! Purchase your copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

    Once you’ve purchased your copy, then visit Lynn’s Listen Bonus Page to claim your gifts:

    As always, I love hearing from you and I’m…

    Inspired by your presence,

    Mary

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  • “Have the courage to act instead of react.”
    ~ Earlene Larson Jenks

    Did you watch the Grammys? So many amazing performances so full of mastery, so much audience enthusiasm for the art and skill of creating and performing music. Were you inspired? I sure was! And I still am. In fact, I watched all the main performances last night on YouTube, which, actually, surprises me.

    When I stopped to think about what compelled me to revisit performances of musicians, excellent as they may be, whose music I’d never listen to by choice, I realized there was a great practical tip here for creating enthusiasm and inspired action. Can you guess what it is?

    You’re right. When people give themselves completely to their unique gifts and share them authentically and enthusiastically with the world, magic happens. We’re all capable of creating that magic daily, but the challenge for most of us is first of all to KNOW what our gifts are, and then second, to FREE ourselves from our fears and give ourselves completely to whatever it is we’re doing and express our GIFTED SELF. Great performers have learned how to do this. We can too.

    I think of performance artist Pink on that Cirque du Soleil style twirling machine and the flawless performance she gave. Did you wonder, like I did, whatever inspired her to take on a risk like that? In front of 25 million viewers?! Where did her courage to do that come from? How many times did she practice that routine to make it look so effortless? How did she not puke while she was twisting upside down, dipped in water, all the while singing her heart out, and then be able to stand at the end and not just walk but strut confidently off the stage?

    TIP: I have an idea about what moves her that I believe moves each of us to inspired action and Gifted Self moments, which strung together become an Inspired and Gifted Life. I wonder if you agree?  I believe we are all wired to be inspired. And when we appreciate what inspires us, we are filled with a natural enthusiasm that gives us the confidence to move beyond our fears and share our Gifted Self into greater expression with the world.

    Can you think of a time when you were totally and completely your most confident, inspired Gifted Self without worry or fear of what others would think or what might happen? When you were so present in the moment that all you were aware of doing – fully, completely, and enjoyably – was whatever it was that you came there to do?

    TIP: Memorize a Gifted Self Moment and relive it often throughout your day to receive greater inner strength and motivation to act on what is important to you. This energetic space is where your manifesting power, dreams, and Creative Spirit live.

    So what inspirations will you notice, appreciate, and enthuse about with others today to experience and share more of your Gifted Self with the world? Share your thoughts in the comment box and check out the inspiring resource below to help you.

    RESOURCE:

    Ever heard of a Virtual Retreat? This is a really innovative idea and will definitely nourish and nurture your Creative Spirit and help you discover and express your gifts with confidence and grace. I love this: “You will meditate, move, journal, visualize, laugh, and engage your whole body and spirit” all from the comfort of your own home and phone or computer. Get a couple friends together and share the weekend or a few hours together. I’ll be attending too.

    Jen (author of The Woman’s Comfort Book series) is leading this bargain-priced Virtual Retreat with 13 other world famous teachers February 12-14. You can listen live or use the replay/download option at your convenience. Sign up by February 5th and get a major discount plus bonuses and ongoing support included. Check it out here.  Just reading the details will reduce your stress and make you smile. Add your 16-Second Smiling Breath and you’ll really relax.

    NEXT ISSUE: How to get started discovering your gifts and strengths and a great new book for connecting more deeply with your Inner Voice (IV to your Creative Spirit) in challenging times.

    Inspired by your presence…Mary

    PS. Leave a comment on my In The Moment blog by Sunday February 8, 2010 about something in this post that inspired you, helped you, or triggered a new insight and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Marci Shimoff’s best-selling book “Happy for No Reason” and my book “Living with Enthusiasm.”

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  • Click here to listen to the audio version now. Once the audio starts, click back on this window to read and listen at the same time.

    Friday, September 11, 2009 9:32 AM

    Torrey Pines Reserve

    Torrey Pines Reserve, San Diego 9/11/09

    This morning on my walk at Torrey Pines I had the privilege of reflecting back on 9/11/01. I say privilege because I’m alive and so many others are not for reasons that we all know are equally horrifying, stultifying, and mystifying.

    In honor of the families who experienced a loss of loved one, and to remind myself and you, if you choose, of the value of choosing to celebrate and appreciate life and this moment as fully as we can, here is an excerpt from my book Living with Enthusiasm that highlights one woman’s choice to turn her 9/11 tragedy into a legacy of loving service to the world.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Lives Can Change in an Instant

    Acting from our values not only fuels our enthusiasm for day-to-day living, it also allows us to get through difficult times. Our lives can change in an instant, but how quickly we forget until a crisis hits. Knowing and acting from our values can see us through. I received an email from a colleague in the days following September 11 that really brings this point home.

    ———————-
    Date: 9/14/01
    From: Judy-Lee

    Hello friends:

    A friend of mine who lives in San Diego was a victim to the tragedy in NY last week Tuesday. Her 20-year-old daughter was aboard flight 93 that crashed in PA. Below please find her words to the community. She has agreed to have the message spread to the world. Please pass this along so that her daughter Deora can be remembered.

    Thank you.
    One Love,
    Judy-Lee

    ——————–
    Date: 9/14/01 11:28 AM
    From: Debby Borza

    The last few days have been tragic, not only for our country but most directly for the families that lost loved ones during the terrorist attacks of September 11. My daughter Deora was a passenger on United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. She was returning home after visiting friends in New York to continue her education at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara where she was a junior.

    Deora was a bright light. She was a gifted student, a wonderful friend, a kind and generous person beyond description. Where ever she went her light shined brightly leaving behind people who were empowered by who she was being. She impacted her friends. She impacted her schools. She impacted the animals at the Helen Woodward Center and the San Diego Zoo where she was a volunteer. Everywhere she went she left the world shining brightly.

    As a mother, I will miss her terribly. She was my baby. My baby is gone. As an American, however, I am absolutely unwilling for her death to go unanswered. This was a young, vibrant woman who loved this country more than anyone knew. She loved her freedom. She was fiercely independent; a leader. She was the future of this country.

    So here’s my stand. Let this passing be the start of a new conversation that has this world work for everyone. Let us start a new conversation that is all-inclusive, that leaves no one out. Let us start a conversation that is tolerant of all people’s beliefs, that includes everyone’s God, that includes everyone of color, and most of all, that provides a future for all mankind to live in harmony and respect.

    My daughter made a difference everywhere she went. Let this then be our call: To live our lives in such a way that makes the biggest difference possible in the lives or our fellow man, with no one left out. No one! Let her light shine brightly for all people for all time!

    Debby

    ——————–

    Sadly, tragedy, immediately clarifies what’s important to us. Tragically, for some the lesson comes too late. When we know what is most important to us and we are willing to look for and accept the lesson or gift, we walk into a state of grace. Courage rushes in and replaces our fear. Our passion is ignited and we are inspired to share our truth, which brings more light and healing to the world.

    “At the end of our life our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?”  ~Jack Kornfeld

    Music excerpt Once Upon a Time in America: Deborah’s Theme from CD Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ACTION STEP FOR LIVING WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM

    Write out your purpose statement and spend your day imagining these are your last days on earth. How will you live? What will you do differently?

    TIPS FOR LIVING WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM

    • Imagine you’ve been asked to give a commencement speech at your alma mater. Write a 250-word speech stating what you’ve learned about life that is most important, then ask to deliver it to your local high school or college’s senior class. Or send it to your family members and ask them to do the same for you.
    • Make a collage of images and words that represent your purpose statement (clip from magazines and your photo album) or print out a sign on your computer with your purpose statement. Put it on your refrigerator or a place where you’ll see it often.
    • Memorize your purpose statement and use it as a meditation mantra during quiet times or when you’re out walking or swimming laps.
    • Write a family purpose statement. Steven Covey offers a great process to use in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.
    • Write your own eulogy or obituary. Share it with your family and friends or put it in an envelope in your “Important Papers” file for the future. Reread it every New Year’s Eve.

    5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR LEGACY

    • What are/were your parents’ most important values?
    • What single value brings you the greatest joy? Significance?
    • What values do you most want your children to learn? (If you don’t have children, think of the children in your life.)
    • What four descriptive words would you want loved ones to say about you after you’re gone?
    • Who specifically do you need to share your values with?

    If this post has touched you in any way, please share your thoughts. I appreciate the connection and you.

    Love, peace, and purpose, Mary

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  • Bon Appetit and Happy 97th Birthday Julia Child! And thank you Julie Powell, Nora Ephron, and Meryl Streep for keeping Julia’s spirit alive in the film Julie & Julia. It brought back a memory of one my life highlights…

    Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet Julia Child, who was 90 at the time. She was still doing PBS cooking specials, had written 12 cookbooks and taught millions of people that cooking can be easy and fun. She came down from her home in Santa Barbara to promote her latest cookbook at a book signing at The Book Works, Flowerhill (a wonderful independent bookstore adjoining one of my favorite book-writing cafes, The Pannikin).

    I stood in line with more than 300 people for two hours. When I finally reached the front of the line, I couldn’t believe how nervous and excited I was. My goodness, she was even larger than life in person. And very direct and clipped in her responses, which made me more nervous because after reading extensively about the challenges she’d faced in her life including breast cancer and the death of her husband, I’d been planning my question for days and began to wonder if she’d answer it.

    As I got to the table where she was sitting, she looked up at me and sounding slightly impatient, said in her iconic voice, “What are you smiling about?!”

    Feeling uncharacteristically embarrassed, I said, “Getting to meet you, Ms. Child. Would you sign this book for a friend and may I ask you a question?”

    She nodded yes and began to write, so I crouched down on my knees to meet her eye to eye and continued, “How do you stay so inspired and enthusiastic, especially in difficult times?”

    Arms flying into the air and sounding slight exasperated, she responded in her characteristic, slightly off-key trill, “Wellllll, I eat well, I’m passionate about life, and I love what I do! Now what else can I do for you?”

    I offered my hand to shake hers and she gave me as hearty a handshake as someone 50 years younger. (Must have been from all that dough she kneeded over the years!) What a wonderful expression of enthusiasm and a confirmation that doing anything with enthusiasm, especially something you love, not only makes life more enjoyable, but helps you get through challenging times.

    Here’s a short video clip recap of my experience with Julia from a speech I did at the Sharp Women’s Health Conference in San Diego. Bon Appetit!

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  • Have you ever fallen asleep at your desk or had an easier time falling asleep on the couch than in bed? Does your creativity need a boost? Could you use more enthusiasm? Nap your way to success.

    The National Sleep Foundation reports some astonishing facts that validate the power of a nap:

    * 48.5% of Americans report trouble sleeping

    * 46% say their lack of sleep is due to job
    stress and other worries

    * 25% of the 1000 men and women surveyed believe that you cannot be successful in a career and get enough sleep.

    Yikes! Well, the good news is new research reported in the Journal of Sleep Research shows that a 20-minute nap in the middle of the afternoon can be more effective in reducing fatigue and increasing energy into the evening than a cup of caffeine or more sleep at night. Your body is revitalized down to a cellular level with a nap, but not so with caffeine.

    There are two types of naps – a stress-relief nap that focuses on energizing the body and a creative nap that fuels creativity, intuition and enthusiasm as well as revitalizing the body.

    For a stress-release nap, set a timer with a soft ringer for 20 minutes. Slow down your breathing. Follow your breath in and out for the allotted time, maintaining a soft smile on your face to keep the endorphins flowing in your body.

    For a creative nap, follow these steps:

    1. Find a quiet place to rest. If you are at work and if there is no lounge or quiet room, as a last resort, you know where to go. Choose the end stall if it’s available.

    2. Set a timer with a soft ringer and keep a pad of paper and pen next to you. (Just bring a pen if you use the restroom; you’ll already have paper.)

    3. Before your nap, focus your mind on one item you want to accomplish, pose a question to your mind and then let it go. (Writing out your question helps clarify what you want.)

    4. Limit the length of your nap to 20 minutes.

    5. Tell yourself that you will rest for the specified time and awaken relaxed and refreshed.

    6. Do a deep relaxation from head to toe, breathing slowly and deeply, following your breath just like you did in the stress release nap.

    7. Upon waking, record any insights or answers that popped out during your nap.

    If you already have a copy of my book, Living with Enthusiasm, reread pgs. 88-89. If you’d like more ways to tap into your Creative Spirit, turn your stress into success and feel more enthusiasm during your work day, learn more about how to do that with the Living with Enthusiasm Online Self-Coaching program. Try it for a month for free!

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