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Communication Savvy: What’s your style?

Everyone in the world has one of three communication styles. When we’re in a relationship or working with someone who has our same style life is great! That said, when communication styles differ challenges can be endless. Learn the three communication styles and what you can do to increase your savvy!

Brand Matters: What are people saying about you when you’re not in the room?

Think about the leader you admire the most. This person may be someone that’s in your life right now. This person maybe someone from your past. This person could be a political figure, humanitarian or sports player.

What are the characteristics you admire most about this person? Why do you respect them? What does this person do, or what did this person do that makes you look up to them?

Now ask yourself: How often is your name referenced by other people who are asked to think about a leader they admire most? 

If you’re not the leader people think about , why not?

Your leadership brand is everything. And you get to choose what your brand is and how people see you. You get to choose whether people will admire you, loathe you or forget about you. It’s a choice.

What are people saying about you when you’re not in the room?

Here’s the easiest way to build an admired leadership brand:

  • Write your short brand statement.  I want to be known for _________ as a leader.
  • Under your brand statement, make a list of guiding principles for how your intending to show up everyday. These are the physical behaviors that you’re going to choose to demonstrate. Your guiding principles bring your brand statement to life.
  • Read your list in the morning, afternoon and evening. Everyday, evaluate yourself on how you lived your guiding principles. And overtime you will become the leader who people admire most. 

Contact me to learn more gina@ginasoleil.com.

Video Conference Magic: The easiest way to increase engagement with remote teams

It may not surprise you that every person across the globe craves human connection. Everyone wants to feel cared for and cared about by the people around them–including at work.

The number one coaching question I’ve received this week (so far) is, “How do I increase engagement?” Most people are surprised when I don’t start listing engagement tools and surveys. Rather, I simply say, “Turn on your video when you’re on a conference call.”

Magic happens when people see you on video! You become human. And you realize that you’re actually speaking to a real person on the other end of the conference line. When the video goes on people automatically connect at an emotional level. I guarantee, do it consistently for 60-days and engagement will start going up.

Here’s some stats for those analytical minds: 45% of your workforce are visual learners. 40% are kinesthetic learners. Only 15% are auditory learners. If you only rely on phone conferencing 85% of your employees won’t get the message… it makes that video button look a little more intriguing.

Contact me to learn more gina@ginasoleil.com.

 

 

Women in Technology: Overcoming Gender Disparity

A great passion of mine is women in technology, and overcoming the gender disparity we see throughout the technology industry. The gender gap is a BIG problem both from a diversity perspective and from the lens of pure bottom-line results. To all my technology friends working hard to close the gap… these are two great videos that deserve to be watched and shared.

 

 

The Captain of Your Life

Lately the Universe has given me lots of opportunities to rewrite my life’s direction. It feels like daily I’m being given a fork in the road. Do I go left? Do I go right? Do I stand still and do nothing? Knowing that “doing nothing” is still a decision and response to what’s in-front of me.

Here’s what I’ve come to know and understand…

I, you, already know the direction we’re suppose to go. It doesn’t matter what he says, she says, they say… “they” are simply noise in a made up story. Illusion.

You have to go deep inside yourself, under the noise…way way under the noise to find out what way to go. Breath is the only mode of transportation to this deep beautiful place called your truth. And you’re the only captain able to navigate the journey to this beautiful place…you’re the only one allowed in.

Here in this place of truth you “just know”. You know in every ounce of your being where to step, where to move and what direction is right for you. You “just know”.

In this place of truth there is no fear. There is no questioning. There is no worry. And in your truth you understand that fear, questioning and worry are simply tricks of the mind designed to keep you stuck….stale, complacent, depressed, lazy…feeling unfulfilled or worse, trapped. Your mind says, “Maybe if we keep him stuck he’ll forget about his truth and give up.”

Lucky for me. Lucky for you. Our truth never gives up. And the moment you give it the smallest amount of light the game is on! Your truth gets louder. Your truth gets feistier. And your truth says, “Fuck off! I know what I am. I know what I want. I’m in charge. I’m the captain of this ship. And there’s not a fear, not a question, not a worry that will stop me from living this life in my own way according to my own captain’s orders!”

Then you start moving. And then you start running in the direction of your truth. Faster. Excited. Determined. Fearless. And you don’t stop until you’re standing on top of your mountain.

Eyes wide open you stand at the top of your mountain and breathe in the magic. You stand on the top of your mountain and bath in this amazing view called your life.

Here’s your light. I believe in you.

Take Me Beyond My Current Limitations

Many years ago, I found myself standing on the edge of a crane at a county fair in Iowa. Somehow, I thought it was a good idea to put on a harness, be taken up into the air a few hundred feet, and jump head first toward a giant blow up mat with the outline of a dead body staring at me on the way down.

I remember standing there ready to jump. Aside from the outline of the dead body, I saw hundreds of tiny heads looking up at me waiting for me to take the plunge. As I leaned over the edge I heard the guy in the crane say, “On the count of three let go. 1, 2, 3!” I said, “Nope!”

This guy was amazingly patient. He said, “Ok. Let’s try this again. This time, turn around and simply allow yourself to fall backwards on the count of three. 1, 2, 3!” I said, “No way!” Then petrified, I walked away from the edge to where my friend was standing.

My friend said, “Gina, you don’t have to jump if you don’t want to. It’s totally up to you.”

In that moment of choice, something magical happened. I just looked at my friend and said, “Nope.” Then I took a leap to the edge like I was on a high dive, and literally did a swan dive off the platform into the air! Scared to death one minute; the next minute I’m free falling head first.

I had never felt such freedom. Little did I know how life changing that jump would be.

Over the last 20-years I have found myself hanging over the edge of that crane hundreds of times. When I was deciding on whether to get a divorce, walk away from a secure job to start my business, have a baby, go to grad school, walk away from toxic relationships…the list goes on and on. And every time I’m faced with that “big something” that terrifies me, I remember the moment when I took a leap of faith and did a swan dive off the crane that evening in Iowa—and I remember how good it felt after I jumped.

I also remember how many times it took me to jump and why I finally jumped. That memory allows me to give myself a little grace and be patient with my own internal process as I navigate life. It also reminds me that I always have choice. That no matter how restrictive life may feel in the moment, there’s always an alternative. If one choice creates a feeling of restriction or limitation there’s always another option that will allow me to feel free.

For me, it’s not a matter of if I’ll jump; but rather, when I’ll jump. It may take me three tries before gathering enough courage to take the plunge, and that plunge may be in a completely different direction than I originally thought, but I will jump. And I’ll inevitably jump because I know how good it feels to be on the other side and free.

What are you waiting for? Jump.

Do what you love, and love what you do. Gina Soleil provides motivation and coaching for corporate executives. Through her fresh new approach to business, she teaches you how to become the happiest person you know WHILE performing better than ever and successfully mastering work and life. It’s time to live your best life now!

What’s your “big something”?

I spent the greater part of my life looking outside myself for, well, everything. It didn’t matter what it was, I was certain that it existed anywhere outside and away from me. I became a sign seeker, Magic Eight Ball expert and connoisseur of anything relatively magical that could somehow give me the answers to everything I was looking for. This included relationship dilemmas, career woes, family challenges, self-image debacles…literally everything.

I was convinced all the answers I was looking for were floating somewhere in the Universe ready to land in my lap if I just picked the right words, said the right prayer or used the right “fortune telling” tool. There were even moments I searched so hard for the answer that I fell into complete exhaustion, depression and disarray.

Many of you can relate to this “addiction”. The constant search for the answers to your most difficult and challenging life experiences. I believe, this search outside ourselves is one of the greatest addictions in our world today.

After years of suffering, here’s what I’ve learned (the hard way). There’s not a single answer to any question we could ever ask that exists outside ourselves. Every answer to every question lives and breathes inside of us…inside of you. You may not like the answer. You may even get pissed off because the answer may inevitably take you down the road that you perceive as most difficult (so you go back to the Magic Eight Ball hoping to get a different answer). You may even get sick to your stomach because the answer, that you know in your heart is true, is asking you to face your fear and do that “big something” that terrifies you…even though you know that terrifying “big something” is leading you to the exact place your heart will be most happy—the life that is authentically you.

Here’s what else I’ve learned. Freedom is the gift you receive after you do that “big something” that terrifies you. Freedom to be what you know you are inside…or the freedom to discover what you are inside.

My challenge for you today… Go inside, deep in your heart, and ask yourself that question you so desperately want answers to. Then listen for your truth…you will no doubt feel your truth. When your heart gives you the answer, with gratitude say, “Thank you”. And then pull together all your courage and go do that “big something” that terrifies you! And do it for YOU.

Love and Light

You were meant to fly. So fly.

“Sweetheart, don’t let anyone put you in a cage and clip your wings. You were meant to fly. So fly.”

This sage advice was gifted to me by my Dad during one of the darkest times of my life. Years ago I found myself in the midst of an abusive relationship. Emotional. Physical. Psychological. And Sexual. One moment I was getting swept off my feet and falling in love, and a moment later that same man I loved was trying to push me out of a moving car. I was a confident young woman rising through the ranks of Corporate America and in a blink of an eye I became meek, filled with fear and began believing that I was the undeserving unworthy soul he titled me.

I remember feeling as though I was standing in quick sand. Early on I felt something was off, sensed manipulation and even began seeing glimpses of abusive behavior behind “romantic gestures”. I saw it, I felt it and yet I couldn’t stop it. I just kept sinking deeper into the sand until I lost…me.

How could a young woman so strong and confident find herself in an abusive relationship?

On the outside I was strong and confident. On the inside I was hurt, angry, lonely, sad; still carrying feelings of abandonment from my Dad “leaving me”. I desperately wanted to cover up all those feelings and fill the empty space inside me with love. I remember just wanting to feel loved. And yet, at the same time I only knew “physical love” – attention, sex, affection, words of affirmation, external acknowledgement and all the fancy things in life. I became addicted to the pursuit of experiencing this physical love in order to fill the void and cover up the sadness. So when the man showed up with an ample supply of physical love I said yes, give me more! And when the man started to abuse me I stayed, because I was scared to death that if I left I wouldn’t be loved again.

Thankfully, with the help of family and a lot of Divine intervention I got out of that abusive relationship…not absent of scars and therapy. Years later I’m so thankful for the experience because that relationship was the beginning of my journey inward. Twenty years later, I now know what love is…physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. And I have learned that you can only love another person as deeply as you love yourself.

“Sweetheart, don’t let anyone put you in a cage and clip your wings. You were meant to fly. So fly.” The only way out of the cage is through absolute forgiveness and self-love. It took twenty years Dad, but I’m flying.

Love and light.

Unexpected Miracles in 2018

It’s amazing to me how many miracles go unnoticed. We pray for good things to happen. We ask for signs, proof that we’re going in the right direction and even make ‘trade promises’ with the Divine if we can be given exactly what we asked for, “just this one time”. Then we wait, and we wait and we wait. And if we don’t experience what we asked for, in the exact way we asked for it, we begin to doubt. We begin to doubt ourselves and we begin to doubt the Divine…or the existence of a Divine.

What we forget is that the Divine doesn’t always give us what we want but rather what we need. A dear friend of mine often says, “rejection is God’s protection”. Often times, not getting what we asked for is the exact miracle we were looking for…as hard as that is to admit. Life is filled with these little miracles called blessings in disguise. Most of us have had those thank God moments when we reflect back on our life in appreciation for those unanswered prayers, or prayers that were answered in unexpected ways.

The reality is that prayers are always answered…just not always in the way we want them to be answered or in the exact time we want them answered. What is guaranteed is that the Universe will always present you with the exact miracle you need in the exact moment you need it; albeit a lesson of patience and forgiveness or an opportunity to check whether your prayer is a request from the ego or authentically from the heart. Watch out, the ego is sneaky. There are times we ask for miracles that our heart doesn’t even want.

This first week in January 2018, I encourage you to reflect on the miracles you experienced or witnessed this past year. If you reflect from the heart you may be surprised at how many little gems came your way. Looking forward into this new year, I offer you this prayer that will bring you infinite miracles, exponential personal growth and a life filled with beautiful surprises that are far beyond your imagination.

“Show me what I cannot see. Teach me what I do not know. This year I accept anyone and anything as my teacher. And I gladly receive, and will happily experience, any and all unexpected miracles coming my way!”

Here’s to an incredible year!

In the Streets of Sofia, Bulgaria

I’m sitting in the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. A European city filled with hidden gems and almost a feel of Barcelona, Spain…but not quite.

This morning I’m finding refuge and laughter in one place where everyone speaks a universal language and shares the same love for a modern vice…Starbucks! I adore immersing myself in foreign cultures, but for whatever reason this Cafe Americano tastes so good.

My lesson this morning is unity through commonality. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always find commonality with the person or people that surround you. You just have to stop and get curious to find it; when you do unity is inevitable (if even for just a moment).

Today, get curious about the people around you, and find refuge and laughter in the one commonality you share. You may be surprised on how this moment of unity can heal even the most tumultuous relationships.

Kindness Comes Back To You When It Matters Most

As I sit in the Paris airport I’m reminded again of the different cultures that span our world–thousands is truly an understatement. It’s so easy to just jump on a plane and find yourself as the minority in a foreign land.

Appreciation for kindness and patience from others grows leaps and bounds when YOU’RE the one that’s different; unable to speak the language while looking different and appearing confused. You become forever grateful for the kind soul that helped you order the pastery while the cashier looked at you as though you were a complete idiot (this was my experience just a moment ago).

Oh how perspectives change when the shoe is on the other foot. This weekend, choose to be kind and patient to those different than you–that kindness will come back to you when it matters most.

What Brave Leadership Looks Like; It’s Not What You Think

A powerful story about a maverick leader choosing to be the change we need to see in Corporate America. Thank you, Keith for your bravery and willingness to be vulnerable. Now this is great leadership!

By: Keith Narr, Chief Technology Officer @ Cargill

For nine months of the year you can find me coaching youth hockey. There is nothing like watching the excitement on children’s faces when they learn a new move, score a goal or win a game. I learned many of my life lessons on the rink as a kid and I love to share those same lessons with my own children and the children in my community.

Last winter, my Peewee team (12-13-year-old boys) were playing in a tournament in Elk River, MN, USA. Although an average team, we were playing unexpectedly well in the tournament and had a chance at making it to the finals. I was as excited as the kids. On Sunday morning, we were behind five points. I talked to the team before the last stretch of the game…

I complimented the goalie on keeping the game close. To motivate the others to play better, I told them “they played like girls”- a phrase that I had heard a hundred times in the locker room or sideline of sports as I grew up. A phrase that was used to motivate me and my peers to step up. My team went out in the third period; our play did not change, we lost to third place.

Two days after the game, I attended a full-day session about inclusion and diversity as part of the Cargill’s Global IT Leadership Development Program.

We watched a series of Always ad campaign videos called, “Run Like a Girl,” meant to build self-confidence in young girls and confront non-inclusive language and behaviors we considered social norms. I suddenly realized the negative impacts of my comments to my hockey team, “You guys are playing like girls”. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I had signed up to be a role-model. What an eye- opening moment for me! I thought of my own daughters and the confidence that I want them to have. I thought of my hockey players and the positive role-model I wanted to be for them. And at that moment, I chose to own and change my own behavior.

The next night at practice I apologized to the team, parents and players. I specifically talked to the players about why the things I said were not appropriate and why we shouldn’t say things like that. I also had my kids watch the series of videos and had a family conversation about equality and how to make the world a better place. Change starts with us.

Diversity is more than culture, color or orientation. All of us have opportunities to promote inclusion and diversity every day in ways we do not even realize. I believe we are all life-long learners. This new-found perspective has allowed me to be more mindful and create a more inclusive culture both at work and at home. My Peewee team and I may have lost an “important” game but we won an even more important life-lesson that will hopefully stick with all of us for a lifetime.

 

Turn Around And See All The People

I was asked by a client today, “Why do so many companies have problems with engagement?” 87% of US employees are disengaged to be exact.

It’s not rocket science… It’s because most leaders are faced in the wrong direction. Spending so much time appeasing “higher-ups”, Wall Street and making sure that the lastest initiative gets launched that they forget to turn around and see all the people….people who are the bread and butter to the company. Without people you have nothing.

The sure fire engagement strategy is simple. Every executive needs to model a “people first” management philosophy. Walk around and talk to people, care about them and recognize their value. If you’re thinking you don’t have time for this…then you don’t have time to be a leader and should take up a new individual contributor role. Harsh but true.

Today make your top priority taking Suzi out for a coffee to tell her how valuable she is to you and the company. Then everyday after that take a different employee out for coffee and tell them the same thing. Before you know it, I guarantee you’ll have higher engagement, greater profits and happier customers.

The Boomerang Effect

What you put into the world comes right back to you in strength. Be kind to your team and colleagues and they will be kind to you. Show respect and they will respect you. The Universe runs on a system of equal exchange. If you want engagement, performance, appreciation or loyalty from others, you must first take time to invest in them as a human being. There is no other way. So before you jump into fancy million dollar strategies…ask yourself, “How are my actions creating the current environment? How can I show up differently to inspire a different result?” It all comes back to you.

It’s Not Them It’s You 😳

Everyone’s your mirror – the good, the bad and the ugly. What you find annoying or frustrating in others is often showing you the exact part of yourself that you need to work on, become aware of and connect. Hmm 🤔Next time that certain someone is driving you crazy, rather than getting angry get curious! Ask yourself…“What can I learn about myself in this situation? What is this mirror showing me?” Your greatest teacher is always in front of you providing an opportunity for growth.<<<<
onsciousleader

8 Ways to Live Your Best Life Now

There are moments in life when clarity blesses us with its presence. When the skies open wide and we can see the purity of our existence. A euphoric feeling…physically and spiritually experiencing a connection to all things seen and unseen. These are the moments when the veil is lifted and we get introduced to and understand what it truly means to be alive.

To be alive is to be connected. Connection is far beyond relationship. Relationships are everywhere. You’re in relationship with your friends, your family, a significant other and even your pet. Relationships can exist with your co-workers, neighbors and even the barista whose name you never caught.

Relationships come in all forms and show up in all things. You have relationships with things in your life such as your favorite drink, your job, automobiles, money or your home. In fact, most people’s lives are overflowing with relationships; yet we still feel lonely, devoid of that certain “something”, and we desire to find relationships that help us feel complete and alive. What’s missing?

Connection is missing. The reality is you will never feel complete or alive without connection. Life is not about filling your moments with relationships, it’s about creating moments of connection with everyone and everything. Creating so many moments of connection that you yourself become connected to all that is–ultimately becoming one with the entirety of the Universe, God, Spirit, Divine or whatever name you call the creator of all things.

Connection is when relationship transcends the physical and becomes spiritual. It’s not intellectual, and only exists in and from the heart. Your smarts or savvy communication skills or even charisma won’t get you there. You can’t think your way into connection with another human being, animal or favorite “thing”. The minute your brain gets in the way connection is lost. Yet when your connected intelligence is a million times greater than your conscious mind can even imagine.

Connection is the opposite of ego. In fact, if your driven by ego, feel shame, guilt, or fear you become further away from the connection you desire and feel a greater sense of loneliness despite wanting to feel whole. Heart based connection is the only way to live your best life now.

So how do you become connected and alive? Really alive? How do walk through life filled with such divinity that you never again feel lonely or the absence of light? How do have connection with everything around you so that you experience the ultimate life?

1 Authenticity: Authenticity means that you fearlessly acknowledge your ugly parts that need healing and be willing to do the work to heal. Be honest with yourself. You don’t need to tell anyone else the inner truth of your being, but you do need to be honest with yourself and have an honest conversation with your Divine–asking for help. Here’s the reality, you can’t get to a state of connection without help. You also can’t experience a genuine connection with another human being until you remove the dark side of yourself (ego, greed, fear, shame, guilt, resentment, sadness, jealously, etc.) and allow your light to shine.

2 Heart: Intellect won’t get you there. You can’t “smart” your way into connection. You have to get out of your head and into your heart–literally feeling your words, breath and emotions coming from your heart when thinking about, or talking to whichever relationship is in front of you in the moment. This takes practice, patience and quiet moments. To do this you need to breathe deep, imagine that relationship literally sitting inside your heart filled with golden light and genuinely feeling gratitude for that relationship’s presence in your life.

3 Action & Elimination: To experience connection and to live your best life, you have to be willing to eliminate all things in your life that block you from shinning bright. Here’s where the hard works kicks in… you need to make a choice to walk away from the unhealthy relationships and the internal ugliness holding you back. Then you need to actively choose to surround yourself with life-giving relationships that fuel you with the light and meaningful connection you’re looking for.

4 Gratitude: The energy you put into this world is the exact thing you’ll get back–and tenfold. If you’re an asshole, someone else will be an asshole to you. If you’re kind, you’ll experience kindness. Connection happens when you put high vibrational actions such as love, kindness and compassion toward the relationships in your life. When you’re genuinely grateful for all the relationships and experiences in your life the Universe will continue to bring you more relationships and experiences that make you grateful. As your gratitude grows your heart grows! As your heart grows more significant healing happens and you becoming more and more connected to all that is and begin to feel alive!

5 Forgiveness: One of the darkest of all connection blocks… do you need to forgive? Someone else? Yourself? Most often times the first layer of forgiveness is toward others in your life, and the second, deeper and more significant layer is forgiving yourself. Forgiveness is energy. You don’t need to call that person on the phone, send an email or text. The person no longer has to be living. And you don’t need to have a conversation with yourself in the mirror–although you can if you feel guided. Forgiveness is about bringing that relationship into your heart, breathing deep, filling it with golden light and stating your intention to forgive so you can be free. Remember, forgiveness is about freeing yourself.

6 Letting go: This can be the hardest part of the equation. To feel connection you need to let go of all emotions, attachments, situations and relationships that no longer serve your highest greatest good. This does not mean ignore, sweep under the rug or bury deeper. On the contrary, it means being authentic and honest with yourself and the Divine about what you need to release and eliminate in all aspects of life. This takes courage. It requires you to let go of control and trust that the Universe will replace everything you let go with new relationships that allow you to become your greatest self and provide you the meaningful connections you deserve.

7 Commitment: To experience connection you need to put a stake in the ground and commit to doing the emotional and spiritual work it takes to become alive! You need to choose to stay in the game even when times get tough, scary and you’re faced with the dreaded unknown. Equally important, you need to commit to being kind to yourself through the process, and be willing to embrace the emotion, uncertainty and spiritual surprises along the way. Once you commit to a life of connection, light and love, I guarantee you’ll never look back because the experience in this new life will feel too damn good.

8 Self-love: You come first, period! Not your children, not your significant other, not your pet, your job or your friends. You come first. If you’re not taking care of yourself you will never achieve a meaningful connection with anyone or anything else, and every relationship in your life will suffer. Until you can authentically look into the mirror and say, “I love you!” with confidence, and foster a meaningful loving connection with yourself, you will never be able to experience a Divine connection in any other relationship. Self-love is the magic pill you’ve been waiting for, and to genuinely achieve it means you’re actively practicing step 1 – 7 and living your best life now!

Gina Soleil, is a life-sytle and business author, motivational speaker and executive coach. She teaches leaders globally how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit ginasoleil.com and follow her on Twitter.

Are You the 20% Who Will Be Happy?

Life lessons have the ability to shape you into the best image of yourself–if you allow the transformation to happen. There’s always choice. Become the butterfly and experience happiness or fight the current in order to stay status quo. The choice is always yours….

20% of you reading this blog will choose to become the butterfly; clearly understanding that flying is so much faster than trying to walk everywhere you want to go. Why only 20%? In order to fly you need to lighten your load. You can’t take flight while trying to carry baggage that weighs more than your wings.

Baggage comes in the form of emotional suffering: loneliness, resentment, inability to forgive, EGO, unresolved anger and sadness just to name a few. The older the baggage the heavier the weight–even a small little micro experience of unresolved hurt can harden and turn into a ton of bricks.

20% of you will crush the bricks! You’ll take out your sledge-hammer, and with all your might, no matter how much work it takes, you’ll turn every brick into powder until all the heaviness simply blows away in the wind. And then poof! You take flight.

Today is simply reflection…

Are you one of the 20%?

 

 

The Lesson Facebook Taught Me

Sometimes you just need to go off the grid…

In November, right before the election I took myself off social media. As an empath, I needed a break from the emotional energy permeating through the Web. Little did I know what the Universe had planned for me.

I found myself immersed in this thing call ‘quiet’! It was amazing. I hadn’t realized I was living with this constant buzz in my head of information overload until all of sudden there was nothing. Not to mention I found myself with SO MUCH EXTRA TIME. Time was everywhere! I had no idea how much time I was wasting until this little app called Facebook was off my phone.

Let me be clear… I’m not saying Facebook or other forms of social media are bad. In fact, I love it! The ability to stay connected with friends and family via technology is fantastic–until of course it turns into an addiction that gets in the way of being present with real life. Bottom line, social media is a great ‘tool’ until it turns into your love affair. Anyone getting turned on by your phone more than that special someone in your life?

My big wake-up call, aside from needing to break free from the increasing surge of negative energy erupting during the November election, was when my 9-year old daughter started obsessively asking me how many ‘likes’ she got on her photos… Huston, we might have a problem!

So I jumped off the grid, decided to surround myself with authentic life-giving (versus energy sucking) people and began the quest of ‘doing me’. I replaced my Facebook time with working out, taking some classes, travel, focusing on my career, being present with ‘real life people’ and amping up my spiritual practice. The result–magic happened! 6-months later my career has never been better, I’m surrounded with genuine people who choose to put positive energy into this word and I feel great–ready to take on world!

Moral to the story is that Facebook had nothing to do with my woes, but I was using social media to cover up the spiritual healing that my soul desperately needed. I was putting all my energy and effort toward the external elements that may or may not ‘like’ me (along with so many others in this world); rather than looking in the mirror and choosing to take the time to heal the parts of me that were disconnected and desiring to be whole. Social media was simply a distraction so I didn’t have to face what I was really being called to do. And it was a teacher that provided a valuable lesson to help me grow.

Where am I now? Back on social media and loving it! That said, with balance and an understanding that it truly is just a tool to help us connect in this busy world. And for that I am grateful.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

What Zoos Can Teach Us About Employee Performance

I walked into a client’s office yesterday optimistic and full of life. A great nights sleep, healthy breakfast and ahead of schedule. I was ready to conquer the day.

I sat down in my office disguised as a cubicle and jumped right in. Then an unexpected turn of events happened.  After my first meeting I started to feel drained. My Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah pep turned into a series of yawns and random walks around the building to revive myself. No worries, I recovered and got my groove back right before meeting #2. After meeting #2 all shit broke loose. I felt myself completely unmotivated and almost stir crazy. Yikes! I couldn’t even get myself to look at the computer screen let alone get anything accomplished. I was being overtaken by the ugh syndrome before noon! I thought, “Oh, no. What’s happening?”

I started looking around at all the gray–I noticed everything was literally covered in gray. All I could hear was the humming of the air system and florescent lights. Without realizing what was happening all my stuff was packed in my bag and I jetted out the door as fast as possible. I felt absolute relief once I got into my car and started driving away. From there I decided to work from home and the day began to turn itself around.

So what happened at the office? What in the world came over me? I’m not Sherlock Holmes but the mystery was not too difficult to solve.

First, I’m not alone. In fact, there’s a good chance most of you reading this blog have experienced this phenomenon multiple times in your work life. A phenomenon caused by one simple fact–you’re a living human being. Yep, being alive caused me to jump out of the cubical and run for the door. Here’s why…

When you’re at work, you’re no different from an animal in a zoo. Follow me here, it’ll make sense. Have you ever seen a wild animal running and playing freely in its native habitat? They’re happy and performing at their best. Compare that to an open zoo where animals roam in beautiful habitats similar to their natural environment? Not always ideal, but for the most part the animals are relatively satisfied. Now go a step further… Compare the last two examples to a zoo that puts animals in covered cages with concrete floors and glass walls where they stare at the same damn thing everyday. In the last example animals become depressed, slow, sleepy and unmotivated to interact and play with each other. For a human, working in gray cubical land can create the same feeling as being an animal held captive in a concrete cage.

Morale to the story… environment plays a significant role in how productive a person is at work. Air quality, lighting, plants, music, natural light and color all ramp performance up or drive it down into the ground. Even the direction you face in your cubical can play a significant role in how you feel and you’re ability to focus. Feng Shui at the office works. That said, if you don’t have the luxury of designing your office space try these tips to revive your mojo the next time you’re feeling squirrely at work:

  1. Drink water: Believe it or not water is scientifically proven to have the same “wake-up your soul” effect as coffee–but better! Water will keep you hydrated and alert without the crash. By no means am I telling you to stop drinking coffee. I love the stuff! Just keep it balanced and make sure you’re drinking more H2O especially on those days you need to focus.
  2. Just add color: I know, can it get more basic?! Yes, the human mind needs color. Again proven, lack of color is one of the most significant reasons you’re falling asleep at your deck. For you business owners out there, if your office is covered in gray you’re simply asking for employees to fall asleep. An easy fix for those who feel they have no choice, start splashing your work area with colors that energize and keep you moving.
  3. Plants, plants and more plants: Fill your space with greenery! And no, plastic does not count. If you’re scared of killing your new green friend buy a Chinese Evergreen, they’re durable, hearty and can go longer than most plants without water or sunlight. Here’s the deal, plants aren’t just pretty they’ll purify your air and keep you alert. If your office has a no plant policy break the rules and sneak one in any way! Your boss will thank you when they see your performance improve.
  4. Headphones: If you want to keep your groove moving at work start listening to your favorite tunes while cranking away on that spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation. From classical to death metal…makes no difference just so long as it makes your heart sing and keeps you focused.
  5. Go into the wild: Like animals you do better in your natural habitat. If you have the ability to work from home do it. If not, leave the building at least every couple of hours to breathe some fresh air. Even five minutes of fresh air and walking can turn your day around. And for those freeze babies who live in the arctic tundra with me, throw on a hat, coat and gloves and start walking! You’ll be glad you did guaranteed.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter. 

Top 10 Principles of Learning & Change

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A dear mentor of mine just recently shared these principles with her team of 3 1/2 years as she was transitioning to a new role. These principles were gifted to her years ago, and now I feel compelled to share them with you. We are all faced with change, and sometimes the solace we need simply comes from a new perspective.

Top 10 Principles of Learning, Change & Development:
(author unknown)

  • We are all stuck, to some degree. Often the things that keep us stuck are habits, attitudes, beliefs and relationships that were once very important to us.
  • We do not resist change; we resist loss. We are naturally wired to adapt to a changing world.
  • Our past successes often are impediments to moving forward to a new chapter in our work, career or life.
  • Everyone has the potential and ability to make choices now that will have a significant, positive impact on their future.
  • It is the willingness to truly learn that distinguishes a person as having high potential.
  • Most limitations are self-imposed.
  • Trying to improve or fix others is a futile effort that usually ends up annoying them and frustrating you.
  • One sincere expression of encouragement can change a life forever.
  • The most potent step forward usually involves a very difficult conversation.
  • One never becomes a great leader, doctor or carpenter. Those we recognize as great in their field are ordinary men and women who wake up every morning and choose to get on the road less traveled.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

What My Yoga Practice Has Taught Me About Business

By: Charles Edge, Director of Professional Services at JAMF Software

This may sound a little surprising, but yoga and business have a lot in common. Yoga teaches us about depth and focus. But as I’ve yoga can also provide valuable lessons about how to successfully run a business. And not just in regards to emotional IQ. Here are some of the top lessons that I’ve brought to how I do business from my practice.

Make Self-Care a Priority
Running a prosperous business is impossible if you feel down or exhausted. Similarly, a bad mood isn’t good either. If you want your business to thrive, you need to thrive. Yoga teaches you to care for yourself because it is a practice that you do for ‘yourself’. You may have noticed that a lot of times you don’t feel like doing yoga, but when you do it, you’re invariably happy you made that choice. When running a business, always remember to take care of yourself because if you don’t then your business will suffer as well.

Don’t Look at Everyone as your Competition
Everyone in your yoga class has their own yoga practice. There is no point is looking at what others are doing because every pose they do is to bring peace to their mind, not yours. Just because one finds peace in a certain place in a given pose doesn’t mean that you will too. Business is the same; don’t try to do something your competitor is doing. You should do things that make you happy because that is the true path to success!

Set a Certain Goal or Intention
In yoga, we set an intention for our practice. And obviously a business cannot be established without having an intention. Think about your mission, how you want your customers to feel, and what you’d like to accomplish. Have clear answers to all these questions and make sure to communicate that with your partners, clients and the world using social media, as that’s a true message that will resonate.

Find Balance
In yoga, it is important to find balance between challenges, play and restoration. The same goes for business. All work and no play will not get you anywhere as after a while you will start hating your own business. Obviously, this is the last thing you want to feel where a business is concerned. Don’t forget to give your employees flexibility in this same way, as happy and well balanced employees produce better results.

Trust your Gut when it comes to Making Decisions
In yoga, you make your own decisions by going with your gut feeling with each pose and the stress you decide to put your body under for each. You should do the same in business as your body is the best advisor when it comes to making decisions. Not sure about whether you should get into a contract with that client? Listen to your body and figure out what it is telling you to do. The answer is often crystal clear with a little silence.

Take a Deep Breath
One of the most important aspects of a yoga practice is your breathing habits. As Apple recently acknowledged with the addition of the Breathe app, even they are promoting deep breathing. In business, pretty big decisions can be made in less time than it takes to take a deep breath. One of the things I consistently have to learn the hard way is to take a deep breath, or even a few hours, to make a decision. Trust your gut, yes. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t think through each issue that arises as thoroughly as required.

Be Real
Being phony and yoga are incompatible. Yoga demands you to be as real as you can be, and that lesson is very important for business. If you aren’t authentic in the business world, people will eventually notice that and that will reduce your ability to impart change, making you less effective and negatively impacting your business.

Be Patient
Patience is a virtue. We hear all the things about patience and try to be mindful and not rush around in life. But it’s more challenging than you might think. Most can’t do a tripod or side crow in their first yoga class. Daily meditations and practice help to keep you mindful and keep your expectations in check. Because matching expectations and needs with timing are the key to properly planning the future of your businesses.

Innovate the Things
Innovation is necessary in todays changing business climate. Yoga is about training your body to consistently do the poses that have been handed down to us through history. But it’s also about coming up with new techniques to help you get grounded. This might be throwing a little changeup into a Sun Salutation or it might be introducing a new option or feature for customers that surprises and delights existing customers and makes it easier to source new customers.

Push Your Limits
You need patience, but you also need to push your limits where appropriate. In yoga, this means stretching a certain muscle just a little bit more each session, getting better at a pose, getting straighter, deepening a stance. In business, this means going after a slightly larger customer, creating stretch goals, and striving to always be better.

Empathize with Others
Leadership in yoga is instructing. And when you’re instructing it’s important to look around the room and be cognizant of where each person is at in their practice, and inspire your students to keep getting better. Provide gentle reminders to stay within limits, not constantly look around and push harder because the person next to you is better at a certain pose than others, and be willing to change out the plan based on the students in the room. In business, a critical aspect of leadership is to look around your organization and push the boundaries, but not so far that you instill a sense of fear or overwhelm those around you.

And here’s a bonus lesson! Keep going. Perseverance. Patience is one thing, but the ability to keep going, week after week and year after year, to inspire consistently rather than in fits and spurts, and survive the lulls that invariably come over time, that is perseverance. And that is what keeps you going through the good times and the bad.
Follow Charles Edge on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cedge318

The Corporate Vortex: We’re Not in Sedona Anymore

downtown-minneapolis-skyline-from-marquette

I recently went back to Corporate America. No, I’m not giving up my writing (obviously), but it was time to move forward with a new experience.

Over the past five years I’ve immersed myself in teaching, writing and speaking about how to create a workplace where people are energized, feel good and are happy. And how to create a work-life people love. Through my books and writings I’ve gained a reputation as the “energy girl” who pushes the envelope with discussion topics like spirituality, meditation and mindfulness at work. Now it’s time to live it–an author is only as good as the sum of their experiences.

Since jumping back into the corporate vortex (that is certainly not Sedona, AZ) here’s what I’ve learned. “Living it” is fucking hard! You can read, write and practice mindfulness techniques sunrise to sunset, but at the end of the day living it is far from easy.

I have found myself becoming my own worst client–unexplained depression, exhaustion, no time for self and a spinning mind that replays people’s perceptions of me and my performance. I don’t tell anyone this–it’s my little secret. On the outside I look like a professional confident woman people look up to. How little they know. Oh, and I automatically gained 10 lbs! How did that happen? Yep, cafeteria food, long hours at my desk, no time to workout and lack of sleep. Hell, I’m living the American dream!

Last week I had a “come to Jesus, come to Buddha moment”. A friend of mine so generously held up a mirror and said, “Wake the fuck up!” Okay, he was a bit more polished than that, but I heard, “Wake the fuck up!”.

Simply put, he reminded me that I had it all backwards. I’ve been giving all my energy, “my all” to this company and giving nothing to myself. (Now listen up, this is key…) I’ve been fitting my entire life into my corporate job rather than fitting my corporate job into my life. So much so, that for the past four months I’ve literally given up everything that I love–everything that makes my soul sing. For god sakes, I even gave up writing!

I’m not going to pretend that after one conversation I’m fixed and have all the answers. On the contrary… I’ve just begun my journey forward, and I have no doubt that every step forward will be a lesson that we’ll all learn from together (because I’m going to write about it).

You see, I’m on a mission. Together, we’re going to crack this nut! We’re going to figure out how to live as healthy well-balanced spiritual beings in a corporate world that’s anything but balanced or spiritual. We’re going to learn how to master mindfulness in the workplace and reclaim our calm–reclaim our life!

Lesson 1: My personal mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of humanity by making the power of good the driving force in business throughout the world. The “power of good” won’t come from forcing change in corporate process and operating models. The power of good will happen when we all figure out how to live as healthy well-balanced spiritual beings in a corporate vortex that is anything but spiritual and well-balanced.

Bring it on Universe! We’re ready.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

What You’ll Find in the Opposite Direction

digging_in_b

Dig, dig, dig…

It often feels like all we’re doing is digging. Digging out of debt. Digging out of emails. Digging out of whatever mess we may be standing in.

If we’re not digging we’re catching up. Yep, always on a quest to catch up. Catching up with sleep. Catching up with laundry. Catching up with work.

And let’s not forget about “wanting”. When we’re not digging or catching up we’re on an endless marathon trying to grab everything we think we “need”. A new car, a new relationship, a new pair of jeans, a new house, a new friendship, a new career and a new thing to want.

Then we find ourselves having to dig out of all that new stuff we wanted so desperately. Too much of this, too much of that. We say…”Time to purge. Where did all this stuff come from? How did I get so much shit? I can’t believe I ever wanted this. What I really want is…” The cycle continues.

The cycle continues and we still aren’t happy. In fact, now we’re unhappy, maybe even depressed, and exhausted because we’re spending all our time digging out of something, trying to catch up and running a race to get that next thing we want. We say, “Ah, if there were only more hours in the day I could accomplish everything I want.”

Let’s not even go down the road of how much time we spend on our phones in-between digging, catching up and wanting. Where’s joy?

Pause.

What are we doing? No, really, think about it. What are we doing? What would happen if we all stopped digging, catching up or wanting what we didn’t have? What would happen if we chose to face the opposite direction–to see everything we already have, everything we already are, as desirable and enough?

In that moment we just might find more time, peace or even love.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Failure Is More Important Than Success

success-consists-of-going-from-failure-to-failureAs an entrepreneur of ten years I’ve learned all too well what failure feels like. The perpetual wheel of reinventing myself has been the only constant in my life. Ups and downs, highs and lows; the roller coaster of perceived failure can be exhausting.

I deliberately use the word perceived. Isn’t failure the exact purpose of life? We’ve all been bred to strive for success, attain perfection, sacrifice our dreams for obligation and “win”, but we forget that failure is a necessary part of success.

I love this quote from Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Brilliant. All too often we view success and failure as polar opposites, when in reality they’re one in the same.

Success happens when we go outside our comfort zone, stretch ourselves beyond recognized limits and experience new people, places and things. Success happens outside “normal”, and the only way to reach it is to walk though failure without losing your enthusiasm.

Success and failure are symbiotic–without one the other is not possible.  So whatever your perceived failure is right now embrace it. Maybe you’re experiencing failure for the first time, or maybe you’re sitting by me in the roller coaster of ups and downs. No matter the number of failures in your tally box, know that each failure is simply a message that says, “Congratulations, you’re living life!” Then take a deep breath and get ready to walk through your next failure knowing you’ve already achieved success.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

3 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Published By: David Fralinger                                                  

Have a nagging suspicion your employees are a bit disillusioned? Disenchanted? Just plain bored? They may be suffering from acute employee disengagement, and they’re not alone.

In fact, recent Gallup polling has identified an estimated 30 percent or less of the US workforce as actively engaged in their work—a dismal reality for employers concerned with innovation and productivity.

The cold hard truth? If your workers are disengaged, your company’s losing money.

Engaged employees feel a passionate connection to their company’s mission and values—a connection that compels them to innovate, problem-solve and think outside the cubicle. Increasing employee engagement is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary to maximize productivity and bolster morale within your company.

So what are some ways you can wrangle your workers away from their Instagram pages and into your office infrastructure? Industry expert, Gina Soleil, sheds some light on specific strategies that promote engagement and foster employee trust.

Untitled picture peacock

Expert: Gina Soleil
Site: GINASOLEIL.COM

 

Soleil believes openness and transparency are vital components for increasing employee engagement. She views transparency as “choosing to convey the truth in it’s entirety, absent of any PR Spin,” and openness as “the willingness to become vulnerable and exercise courage by sharing the truth with the masses—because it’s the right thing to do. In other words, honesty is the best (corporate) policy.

“When done right, key messaging is not only 100% truthful, but gains loyal support from employees because people feel trusted and believe the business has their best interest in mind. If employees have a gut feeling that information is missing, or incorrect information is being communicated, they’ll fill in the blanks. If that happens (and it will), a business then will have to manage misinformation, gossip and employee fear.”

Be honest with your workers. Once lost, employee trust can be difficult to restore, and a persisting lack of trust promotes a culture of discomfort. Infuse your key messages and virtual communications with Soleil’s transparency and openness.

Untitled picture 3 stooges                                                                          Source: Dilbert.com

Avoid the mutiny. Tell the truth.

Still unclear on how to foster that feeling of solidarity and motivation in your office? Soleil has you covered. She’s crafted a practical check list that can help you create an engaging environment for your employees.

1: Executive sponsorship: A culture of openness and transparency starts at the top. You’re the leader of your office, so don’t neglect to lead by example.

2: Have a strong communication plan: A strong internal communication plan “becomes the check and balance of truth and integrity,” says Soleil. She recommends designing your intranet as a core vehicle with the intention of “communicating truthful information that impacts employees, the community (local and global), and the earth.”

3: Employee Involvement: Your workers want to feel relevant. Without a sense of inclusion, their motivation dwindles. Soleil recommends creating employee-based intranet communication teams that generate video content, post content, interview employees, etc. “The overall goal,” she says, “is to support employees in their quest to make the intranet ‘their space.’”

In today’s high-speed environment, enduring employee engagement is critical. Harnessing the communicative power of your company’s intranet, and applying Soleil’s strategies for increased openness and transparency with help you engage every member of your team—persuading them to abandon their status updates and rejoin the social community you’ve created.

Untitled picture chickenSource: http://www.agentinengagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Maslows-Hierarchy-and-Employee-Engagement.jpg

 

About Gina Soleil:

Gina Soleil is known for her fresh new approach to business. For nearly two decades, she has been leading teams through transformational change within Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Today, she is a published author of Fuel Your Business: How to Energize People, Ignite Action and Drive Profits, blogs for Huffington Post, and is a speaker, coach, energy practitioner, artist and business owner. Her expertise is creating a workplace where people are energized, feel good and are happy—and demonstrating how to create a work life they’ll love. Soleil lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit GINASOLEIL.COM and follow her on twitter @GinaSoleilWorld.

The Secret to Conquering Fear in Business

2255781557_d7148597a7_zWhen it comes to healthy communication and engagement in business fear is your worst enemy. Fear paralyzes people’s ability to do their best work. It has the power to put us in a cage surrounded by a professional life (and personal life) we don’t want. And it forces companies to make poor decisions; spending money that doesn’t need to be spent.

Reducing fear is the greatest cost reduction a business will ever experience. Reducing fear is what unleashes full human potential. When employees are fearless, regardless of position, they communicate courageously, are innovative, perform at their highest level and positively contribute to the success of their team. When employees are at their best, the business automatically saves more, makes more and experiences greater success in return.

Fear is the reason dysfunctional cultures exist. Oftentimes, rather than people making the right or ethical decision, they succumb to their fear of possible loss. Fear that sounds like: If I make an unpopular decision I’ll lose my golden handcuffs. If I put people before profits I’ll be seen as weak or lose respect. I’m too old or too young to “rock the boat”. Many people would rather work in misery than face their fear. The result is an American workforce that’s 70% disengaged (Gallup).

If a business wants to win in today’s market it has to help its leaders and employees alike get their head out of the sand and face fear head-on. To conquer fear you have to get personal. When everyone in the business takes the time to conquer their fear the business will become unstoppable, and there will be nothing it can’t accomplish.

Here are 5 ways you can begin conquering your fear in business. 

Name your fear:
Write down all your fears. It’s amazing how many of them will go away once you physically write them down. Once you write your fears down, rate their potential in becoming a reality on a scale from 1 – 10. If there’s a high potential, brainstorm options and actions that will allow you to overcome the possible outcomes. You’ve now turned fear into a project that you can manage and work toward overcoming.

Stop calling yourself a victim:
The only person you’re a victim to is you. Here’s the reality: you’re smart, talented, worthy of the position you hold and you deserve to be free from fear. You have complete choice and freedom over your thoughts, attitude and behavior. Other people’s choices are not yours to own, so don’t allow outsider’s perceptions to hold you back from conquering your fear and moving forward in healthy productive ways.

Own your core beliefs:
Fear is usually a direct refection of negative core beliefs–what we believe to be true and the story we tell ourselves. Negative core beliefs stem from our past experiences and create self-sabotaging thoughts in our present life. Examples include: I’m not good enough because… I’ll never have enough money because… I have to take care of everyone because… The list goes on and on. Take a moment to write down what you believe to be your negative core beliefs, and then ask yourself how your beliefs are fueling your fears. Then for each negative core belief write a positive affirmation and say it daily. An example: I’m talented, valuable and worthy of all good things.

Write down your desires:
What do you want? Fears block us from getting what we want by creating mental roadblocks that self-sabotage our goals and dreams. To get what you want you need to remove the fear standing in your way. Go back to the list of fears you wrote in the first exercise, and write down the desire each fear is blocking. Next, cross out each fear on the list so all that’s remaining is your desire. Then for each desire write a statement of gratitude, as though you’ve already received exactly what you want. I guarantee, reading your statements of gratitude daily will fuel a change in you that will kick fear to the curb! An example may be: Thank you that I have the career I’ve always wanted because I did the right thing and stood up for myself and my team.

Practice:
Conquering fear is all about practice, and applying these techniques consistently is the secret. Fear will always try to sneak itself back into your life, and that’s okay because you’re human. That said, the more you practice the easier overcoming fear becomes, and you’ll begin to give less power (if any) to the fear that once held you back from the professional and personal life you want.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How to Make Love in the Boardroom

redefining-love-work-foster-sense-connectionPeople are looking everywhere for ways to feel valued and appreciated. We want to be surrounded by other people who are mindful of our needs in a way that says, “I hear you.” We want to be in the presence of other people who joyfully give us the freedom to be authentic and walk in our truth. We want to feel honored by other human beings with acts of integrity and compassion. We want our creative expression to be celebrated and recognized by others, to be forgiven easily without judgment, and to have other people take responsibility for their own actions. To sum it up in one sentence, in our personal lives we say, “I want to be loved.”

In business we don’t call it love. Oh no, that wouldn’t be politically correct. The word love may not go over well in the boardroom. Heaven forbid we use a word that might make people feel uncomfortable. Ironically, the very thing that makes people feel uncomfortable is the exact thing every human being in business is looking for from their leader and company. Rather, in business we call love “engagement”. You see, when people feel loved they want to give love. In business, we call this exchange of love “discretionary energy”—and this discretionary energy is evaporating from business faster than the speed of light.

Today people feel the void of love more than ever, and most businesses have yet to acknowledge the reality that the only way to have an engaged culture is to have leaders who show-up and live high-character values. Values that include: mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, and responsibility. In other words, having leaders who are able to show acts of love. It’s only then that people will become fully engaged and the business can create a high-performing culture.

What gets in the way of leaders being able to show acts of love?  Fear of becoming vulnerable.

Vulnerability is the magic ingredient to showing acts of love and receiving the love that others show. Not only is vulnerability the magic ingredient, it’s the hardest thing for a business to attain because it requires not intellect but heart. Vulnerability is the willingness to do something without a guaranteed result, having the courage to be imperfect, having the ability to be kind to ourselves first, and believing that the things that make you most susceptible and weak to the world are what make you most beautiful. The key to joy, love, and happiness is vulnerability.

In business, vulnerability is overshadowed by fear and shame. As a means of survival and protection from fear and shame people have become experts in denial. We pretend things that are uncertain are, in fact, certain; we pretend we are what we’re not; we put ourselves on a conquest to prefect our existence. All the while, at the core of our human nature, we want to be vulnerable and feel connected. We want to feel loved.

Together, vulnerability and living high-character values is the way forward in business—it’s the solution to employee engagement. Vulnerability is the only way people feel loved, and living high-character values is how love is shown. That said,vulnerability always follows character–it will never happen the other way around. When leaders show up living high-character values, exhibiting acts of love, the culture begins to feel safe. When a culture feels safe people are willing to let their guard down, become vulnerable and give love right back to the business.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profits. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil at ginasoleil.com and follow her on Twitter.

Workplace Stress: The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century

Stress has been called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year. – businessnewsdaily.com

4471686868_d8c256d94f_zIt’s no surprise that workplace stress is a bigger problem today than even 10-years ago. In the 1990’s the term work-life balance was coined to describe the solution for being able to “have it all” and manage it with ease. Time management courses popped up all over Corporate America in effort to help people balance their family, career, health and social life; promising a golden solution via setting priorities, maintaining a schedule and creating time boundaries. People everywhere jumped at the chance to bring solace to their life by way of this new buzzword, but rather than balance many found themselves taking on more and feeling greater pressure to perform better in all areas of their life. The result…more stress.

In the early 2000’s, the phrase smart-hard work surfaced due to 80 million Millennials (those reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) entering the workforce. Smart-hard work was the business solution for accommodating the Millennial characteristic of performing at higher levels when able to work around the clock–on their own time in their own way. The concept of smart-hard work came on the coattails of ROWE (results only work environment). ROWE was Corporate America’s response to the early 2000’s push for a more engaged workforce–measuring people’s performance based on results rather than time in the office. Corporate’s motive for participating in ROWE was increased engagement–a quantifiable link to profit. Both smart-hard work and ROWE was yet another promise to employees that work-life balance was finally within reach. However, rather than balance, people found themselves yet again taking on greater levels of responsibility and feeling increasingly more stressed.

As the 2000’s progressed, two seemly catastrophic occurrences hit Corporate America. The first being the great recession. In 2008 and 2009 the US labor market lost 8.4 million jobs. Throughout the country the corporate mantra became “Do More with Less”. Those who were still employed found themselves working around the clock in effort to keep up with business demands that required them to take on the responsibility of two or three jobs–resulting in dismal cultures and workplace stress levels hitting an all time high.

The second occurrence was the rise of technical advances. New smartphones, tablets, aps and sophisticated enterprise wide systems promised cost savings, efficiency and finally work-life balance via the connected world. Doing more with less was now possible with a click of a button, but yet workplace stress continued to rise. People found themselves connected to their work 24/7 while a new societal addiction crept into homes and businesses throughout the country. As people spent more time with their heads down looking at their phones, checking email and texting around the clock, online gaming, and living through social media their lives shifted to overload and interpersonal relationships suffered. Work-life balance continued to feel like a pipe dream.

In 2013 Gallup announced 70% of the American workforce was disengaged, and the World Health Organization estimated workplace stress costing American businesses up to $300 billion a year. As we welcome 2016, both statistics are a harsh reality and each continue to rise. So much so that stress has been called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization. An epidemic that will be one of the most significant challenges businesses face over the next decade–a threat to engagement, productivity, retention and looming health care costs.

To combat the stress epidemic businesses and schools alike will need to start teaching stress reduction skills such as mindfulness and meditation–skills that are proven to reduce anxiety and stress and increase focus and resiliency (Harvard Health Publications).The reality is that the stress factors of today’s work-life will continue to increase. Chaos will continue to surface. And progression guarantees new challenges that will no doubt contribute to engagement dilemmas and continued workplace stress. The solution is to help the American workforce attain a calm state of being and reach true work-life balance.

Although introduced in the 1990’s, work-life balance is needed more today than in the past 30-years. For the sake of both human health and business productivity, we need businesses throughout the nation to actively support people in their effort to reduce stress and find a healthy “balance” in their lives. That said, the definition of work-life balance has evolved. As once believed, it’s not attained through external factors (work schedules, technology, process, policies, etc.), it’s an internal state of being. True work-life balance is a calm mind and body that allows someone to navigate decisions and challenges, honor their personal values, show compassion for others and perform at optimal levels with joy and ease. 

For businesses, this means meditation training will need to be included in leadership programs and executive coaching. Mindfulness will need to be part of team meetings, incorporated into value systems and taught to employees at all levels. Environments, schedules and cultural norms will need to reflect compassion and kindness, and opportunities for people to “get away” and relax will need to be readily available far beyond what can be found in corporations today. Employee health will need to be owned and supported by every executive throughout the business.

In order to overcome the health epidemic of the 21st century, Corporate America needs to turn its attention back toward helping people finally achieve true work-life balance. It’s then and only then that the United States will begin to win the battle on workplace stress, collectively improve engagement and achieve a workforce that’s healthy enough to move our nation forward.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48276340@N06/”>Daryl Cauchi</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

 

What makes you grateful?

GratitudeOver the past few weeks I’ve been reminded about the importance of gratitude. Are you taking time to count your blessings and acknowledge the people, things or situations in life that keep you safe, loved, laughing or even fed?

It’s easy to be swept away into negativity. And it’s even easier to blame that negativity on something else. It’s raining out. It’s cold. I’m tired. So and so did such and such. The list goes on and on. Are you allowing yourself to be sucked into a perpetual cycle of negativity? Are you playing the victim to life’s circumstances that you have no control over? Negativity creates a very dark place to live. Wouldn’t you rather play in the sun?

Gratitude is the fastest way to pull yourself out of a negative spiral. And regardless of the situation there is always something to feel grateful for. Rather than succumbing to negativity choose to be grateful for the beauty in your life. I guarantee, the more grateful you feel for the blessings that exist in your life the more you will have to be grateful for in the future. Being grateful attracts more to be grateful for.

Today, I encourage you to create a list of the things in life that make you feel grateful. Today, I encourage you to walk away from the dark side and choose to embrace the light.

A short list to get you started.

  • I am grateful for my feet because they allow me to walk.
  • I am grateful for my skin because it allows me to feel.
  • I am grateful for my eyes because they allow me to see.
  • I am grateful for my breath because that means I’m alive.
  • I am grateful for the trees because they allow me to breathe.
  • I am grateful for the clean water I have to drink because I know there are millions of people who are thirsty.
  • I am grateful for the food in my fridge because that means I’m not hungry.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

The Benefits of Having a Positive Attitude

By: Kristian “KG” Goldsmith 

imagesI’m sure there some skeptics who will read this and probably not agree with me. However that’s great because these are the people that holds us back from reaching our goals. Otherwise referred to as the naysayers. There is so much we can benefit from having a positive attitude, not to mention the profound effects it has on our quality of life.  Some peoples attitude towards life is also a reflection about their attitudes towards themselves. There has even been scientific studies done proving that the benefit of have an optimistic or positive attitude contributes to many health challenges. Like cancer and health problems creating  personal joy on a day to day basis means we live happier and healthier.

When you think about gratitude it gives you a powerful influence on your outlook. No matter how bad things get focus on the small blessings. This helps you shift your thought process and focus in a positive direction. You will begin too worry less about anything you currently don’t have or want.

Choosing happiness and being happy is not about circumstances or any other uncontrollable forces. It’s about making a decision. Then making up your mind to be happy about the decision you have made, plus not dwelling on it.

Take a look at your view on problems. Instead of looking at them as problems view them as challenges. The definition of the word problem means:( something that is difficult to deal with: something that is a source of trouble, worry. difficulty in understanding something: a feeling of not liking or wanting to do something). If when you hear the word problem and your view is like this your energy is already drained before you make any attempt to repair what has happen. By substituting the word challenge here is what you hear:(a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill and strength.) Seeing an experience as a challenge will focus your attention on a positive outcome with very little effort.

As we go through life with many challenges and being pulled in many different directions we forget to stop and smell the roses as they say. We are always rushing to get to some place where we still have to get in line and wait again. We have to remember to embrace the journey we have taken to get where we are at today and reflect on life’s simple pleasures. Focusing on simple pleasures allows us to have a sense of balance in our life.

Surround yourself with optimistic people and their influence will feed your sense of optimism. The positive attitudes of people around you can be very powerful force for you and them. Try to list the things you are truly grateful for daily before going to bed each night. Then last but not least, minimize your exposure to negative influences around you. This could be friends family or even coworkers or simply stop watching, reading or listening to the news. You will find it to be much easier to be optimistic and focus on the positive things in you life. Here is one of my favorite quotes: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” Lyndon B. Johnson

The Magic of Mango Pancakes

I have to tell you, I’ve been feeling a little blah the last few days. Maybe I’ve needed some sunshine, more sleep (don’t we all) or a mini vacation. Whatever the reason, all I know is that I’ve been dying for some inspiration. This morning I even woke up saying, “Come on Universe inject me with some kind of energy boost–PLEASE.”

Then around 10:00 am I drove past my favorite little Cuban restaurant Victor’s. The moment I saw this turquoise shack I immediately got a craving for their signature mango pancakes–a giant pancake filled with butter, syrup and mangos with a hot coffee to boot. Absolute heaven.

I walked in and was immediately welcomed by Cuban music, bright fruit plastic table cloths and over 55 years of graffiti all over the walls. I instantly found my body relax as I practically skipped to a table in the back corner. Suddenly I felt alive!

As I ate the pancake and drank my coffee I tried to recall my last personal adventure.  You know the kind. An adventure where you explore the world outside the “normal” routine of life. And my last adventure was months ago. It doesn’t matter how exciting a routine might be, any routine gets boring and has the power to zap energy when it goes on too long. That was my problem, I needed to shake things up and give my soul something different to look at–graffiti and magic mango pancakes did the trick.

Are you feeling blah? Well, if you’re in the neighborhood come join me for pancakes. If not, get outside your normal routine and shake things up. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Courage Comes Through Suffering

IMG_0261I love when a fortune cookie delivers profound messages at the exact right time. The other day while sitting at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant I received this message, “Courage comes through suffering”. I immediately thought, oh fuck. A message of truth, yes, but not a message I want as my fortune.

As I sat in quiet thought staring at the fortune I was reminded of my suffering over the years: being born deaf, growing up with significant health challenges, an abusive relationship, family cancer and bankruptcy just to name a few. Suffering is not foreign to my life, and if I’ve learned one thing from teaching lessons on suffering it’s that the master teacher is always the master student. I have also learned that suffering is a universal right of passage through life. No one goes untouched, and we all have a story of suffering that has transformed our lives.

It’s in our suffering that we experience moments of vulnerability that allow us to be shaped into a better human being–preparing us to reach our highest potential. Suffering has the power to unite people of difference, elevate compassion and multiply kindness shown throughout the world. It not only provides great courage it’s an igniter of great change.

The beauty of suffering is that it doesn’t just provide us courage it gives us an opportunity to find it within ourselves. For this reason I welcome it into my life with ease and grace. I don’t always like it, but I am learning to be thankful for its presence because without suffering I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Simple Joy on a Saturday Night

IMG_0273It’s not often life stops long enough for you to exist in absolute peace while simply taking in the joy around you. In these moments you know you’ve been given a precious gift. A gift I hope each of you receive during this holiday season.

Like most of you my life is filled with responsibility, hustles from one thing to the next, a filled calendar and a mind that is constantly on the move. Even as a mindfulness coach, I find myself struggling to schedule five minutes to just sit, relax and breathe–let alone consciously take in the simple joys that surround me. Tonight was different.

Early this evening amongst the busyness of the holiday season, my eight-year-old daughter turned off the TV, walked into the kitchen and asked if we could just hang out together. Now let’s be clear, she was watching her favorite, “How to Train Your Dragon” episode that she begged to watch right before this freak occurrence. I was shocked. In my head I’m thinking, hell yes!

Then a beautiful thing happened. I dropped everything I was doing and time stopped. We went outside and blew bubbles in the cold and blew bubbles in the kitchen. Yep, I’m the mom that lets my kid blow bubbles in the house. We baked pumpkin bread. Albeit from a box, we still did it together. And we giggled while taking 100 selfies that barely turned out. Tonight, time stopped and I relished in the simple joys of complete imperfection that surrounded me. What a gift.

This holiday season my one wish is that you all take time to stop and relish in the simple joys surrounding you. For many people this is a difficult time of struggle and pain, and for others the race of the season can be exhausting. Find solace in the simple joy that comes your way. From a bird outside your window, an artistic swirl the barista put in your latte to that little one (human or pet) that wants a moment of time with you to play. Take notice of the daily gifts of joy that come your way.

Happy Holidays!

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

SELF LOVE

We live in an era filled with pressure and expectation. We’re on a constant chase to prove we are something we often don’t even want to be. We spend more time keeping up with the Joneses rather than keeping up with our heart. And we find ourselves on an endless search for what will bring us happiness, all the while ignoring the one and only place we’ll ever find true love–inside of us.

Today, may you open your eyes when you’re looking in the mirror to see the most important person in this world to love. And may you choose to love yourself first, and celebrate not only who you are but who you have yet to become.

Here is a beautiful poem to serve as a reminder as you walk through your day…

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Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

How to Fall in Love with Patience

313445714_1f055832eb_bWe all grew up hearing the saying, “Good things come to those who wait.” Yep, sounds great on paper! That said, when we’re in the midst of having to exercise patience in order to get what we want just thinking about that statement creates an eye roll and frustration. Ugh! Who wants to wait an endless amount of time for that thing? Maybe you’re waiting for that next job promotion, a vacation you can’t seem to afford, that perfect house, a baby or big love. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 88 having to be patient for what you want can, well, suck.

That all said, here comes the wisdom. As torturous as having to be patient may be, it’s in the moments that require us to be patient that we become our greatest self. Patience is one of life’s great lessons, and what we learn during those agonizing moments is in reality a precious gift. The gain far outweighs the anguish.  Learning to love patience is the secret to life.

Here are 3-ways to fall in love with patience:

Let Go
Life is a river, and you always have choice. You can choose to fight the current; putting yourself in a position where you’re constantly having to swim and keep moving so you don’t drown–a choice that exhausts the mind, body and soul.  Or, you can choose to let go of control and let the current take you down the river with ease–enjoying the view while floating on your back and being shaped by new experiences. Yes, there may be a waterfall (that’s life), but it’s much easier to survive a waterfall when you’re not already exhausted from fighting the current. When you do let go the wait becomes easier, even enjoyable, and in return you’re often given something far better than you imagined.

Breathe
Your breath is your solace and refuge. Breath can cause you to hyperventilate or put you into a deep relaxation. It’s a more powerful detoxifier than working out, and it’s your best friend when life is requiring great levels of patience. As a daily practice take notice of how you’re breathing. When you’re in the car, sitting in the office, going to the bathroom, standing in line or visiting your favorite getaway spot practice breathing and feel the anxiety lesson. Take a deep inhale through the nose, down into the belly and slowly exhale through the mouth. Repeat this breath exercise multiple times throughout the day and you’ll naturally find yourself becoming a more patient person.

Gratitude
Moments requiring patience gives you the gift of time.  The best use of time is taking notice of the blessings in your life and saying, “Thank you.” More often than not, when you’re having to be patient you become fixated on the very thing you don’t have RIGHT NOW. It becomes an obsession, and that obsession can create a negative spiral in all areas of your life–making the wait even more difficult. By turning your focus on what you already have and are grateful for you begin to attract people, things and situations that are positive and healthy for your life–making the wait that much sweeter.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Photo credit: Foter.com creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

3 Ways to Live in the Right Now

right-now-logoAre you missing out on what’s in front of you right now because you’re too busy waiting for what may never happen?

It’s great to have dreams and aspirations. In fact, my motto is shoot for the stars! Go big, because you deserve everything your heart desires. That said, be careful that you’re not letting life slip by because you’re too focused on the prize.

Life is filled with winding roads. And if you learn to stay in the right now and enjoy the moments in front of you, each road has the ability to take you places that far exceed your imagination. That said, if you’re too busy with your head down in your smartphone, trying to control every gnats ass detail that comes your way, you may find yourself waiting for something that never happens and miss the moments that create a happy life along the way.

Here are 3-ways to live in the right now.

  1. Get an accountability partner: Let’s not fool ourselves staying present is hard! An easy step forward is to ask those closest to you for help. An accountability partner can be anyone–friends, a spouse and/or even your kids. Ask them to help you stay present (in a kind way) by reminding you to put your phone down, letting you know when you’re getting borderline addicted to a task or have them simply say thank you when you make a decision to spend time with them in the here and now.
  2. Get outside and walk: It’s amazing how fast Mother Nature can bring you back to reality. A little fresh air can whip anyone back into shape. Even walking outside five minutes a day can provide a lesson and practice time for remaining present. Here’s the key: leave your phone at home! Consciously go outside and pay attention to the birds, trees, grass or snow. Say hello to people walking past you–and mean it. Challenge yourself to focus on the activity in front of you rather than letting your mind drift away from the here and now.
  3. Create “phone hours”: You are the only keeper of your time. If you don’t respect your time and space no one else will. Nowadays, the number one life distraction is our smartphone. Choose to put your smartphone away during a schedule time each day–a minimum of two hours (when you’re sleeping does not count). Use this time to do something worthwhile and memorable. Play with your kids, spend time with your dog, meet a friend for coffee, read a book or go for a walk.

You owe it to yourself to create time in your day to just “be” in the right now. When you make the choice to put yourself and your time first good things always happen. Now go let the Universe surprise you.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to feel good at work and in life! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Escape the Great Tragedy of Life

havannaOften the great tragedy of our lives is that we don’t take time to notice.

Frank MacEowen, Author of The Celtic Way Of Seeing

Our lives move so fast that we often don’t stop long enough to notice the beauty around us. When we do stop we often find the exact thing we’re looking for… joy, happiness, love.

In 2006, I traveled through Argentina. During this time I was in the throws of Corporate America and moving faster than the speed of light. Everything I did, thought or pursued was on a time clock — and if it didn’t revolve around my email and task list it fast became a back-burner item. Immersing myself in the South American culture wasn’t going to change that…. so I thought.

My first week in Buenos Aires I had an appointment at 9:00 am. Waking up late I rushed into the coffee shop down the road and asked for a latte to go. The man behind the counter just stared at me. Frustrated and stressed because I didn’t want to be late, I again asked for my latte to go. The man again just looked at me and calmly said, “No.” My response, “What? I have a bus to catch and an appointment to get to. May I please have my latte?” He just looked at me,  pointed to a table by the corner window and said, “Yes, but you’ll drink it over there.” At that point I was on edge, stressed out and wanted my damn latte! So I agreed, and thought to myself, I’ll just quickly chug it down for the much needed caffeine and then make a run for it. I took my latte (like an eight year old who didn’t get her way) and sat at the corner table by the window. 

Then the Universe did what the Universe does… the moment I sat down and began to relax I was offered a profound life lesson. As I stared out the window of this quaint South American coffee shop I began to notice this little thing called life.  Shopkeepers were sweeping their sidewalks, neighbors greeted each other with a smile, children played on the corner laughing and the birds were feasting on breadcrumbs outside the shop. Even the strangers walking passed the window smiled at me as though it was their most important task of the day–and what I learned that morning is that it was.

I have tremendous gratitude for that coffee shop barista who clearly understood what I did not–the great tragedy of our lives is that we don’t take time to notice life. Everything we’re looking for… joy, happiness, love… exists in the moment we are in. No matter the storm or stress, serenity can only be found when you take time to sit by the corner window and notice the life that surrounds you. And remember, that smile from the stranger is the most important task of their day.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

60 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in (Almost) 60 Years

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVnAAAAJGQ3NDk2ZmQwLTQ2NTQtNDFhOC1iOTg0LWRkODBmNDJmYjg0YQBy: Maria Shriver
Journalist, Author & Activist at Maria Shriver
Original Post

I’ve been thinking about birthdays…especially mine as it’s this week!!! In our family birthdays are a big deal. There is always a homemade cake, balloons, cards, a fun celebration of the gift of life.

The truth is, I love any excuse to have a party and I especially love to celebrate others. But it’s always been a bit harder for me to celebrate myself; it pushes me outside my comfort zone. But with the encouragement of my friends and family, I’m changing that. I’m allowing myself to be celebrated…even writing that feels weird…but I’m going with it and going for it!

[What if ‘Aging Gracefully’ Isn’t Your Style? (And How to Discover What Is)]

So as I stand on the cusp of a new decade, I’m focusing on all the gifts in my life and on all the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. I’m happy to say I’m looking forward to the next frontier, even though I admit I don’t really have a master plan for what that entails like I did when I turned 30…that’s okay though, because since then I’ve learned that life interrupts the best of plans.

Friends and family die without warning. You can end up disappointing yourself and others. People you counted on don’t come through, but then again — total strangers can also show up and guide you to places you never imagined. Life is indeed a magical mystery.

[6 Simple Ways to Incorporate Giving Into Everyday Life]

So in its honor, here are 60 life lessons I’ve learned along my journey. I shared some of them with my kids this New Years, whereupon they burst into tears and asked me if I was dying. Lordy Moses.

I share them with you now in the hope that they might help you on your own journey to live more authentically, to live more of life without judgement of yourself and/or others, so that when the time comes for you to go, you have fewer regrets about what you didn’t do and more pride in what you did.

[Watch Maria Shriver’s Architect of Change Conversation with Ann Romney]

  1. There is nothing about life that’s predicable, so stop trying to predict it.
  2. Find every excuse you can to celebrate it.
  3. Love the age you are and stop wishing you were a different one.
  4. Stop worrying about what others think. It’s a huge waste of your time.
  5. Stop wondering if God is listening, just have faith He/She is.
  6. Be grateful to anyone who has ever loved you or tried to love you. I know I am.
  7. Know that shit will happen in life. You think you will not be able to withstand, but you can and you will.
  8. Be kind to your body, it will be with you for life.
  9. Believe me when I tell you: diets are a waste of time. I’ve tried them all.
  10. Don’t believe people who tell you they can eat anything and still be so skinny! They are fibbing.
  11. Moderate everything but laughing.
  12. Don’t be scared to be a parent, trust your heart.
  13. Make friends with your children’s friends. They’ll make you laugh and give you valuable intel.
  14. Keep a pair of clothes from high school. Not to check if you can still fit in them but for the memories they hold.
  15. Hold your children over and over again and then let someone hold you.
  16. Get smart about money as early as possible.
  17. Save money from every paycheck.
  18. Buy comfortable sheets, you’ll spend a lot of time in them.
  19. Know that no matter how smart you are, you cannot change someone else.
  20. Stay out of other people’s business. Dealing with your own is a full-time job.
  21. Be kind, cause everyone is struggling.
  22. Don’t engage in gossip, it always bites you in the ass.
  23. Don’t mistake gifts for love.
  24. Stay in connection with your childhood friends and introduce them to your grownup friends. Make yours a generous tribe that’s connected not only to you, but to each other.
  25. Spend time alone when you are young so it won’t scare you when you are older.
  26. Write thank you notes to people for their time and their wisdom. See both as a gift.
  27. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. And at least once, look into someone’s eyes for five minutes straight. You will learn something.
  28. Sit down to family dinner every night. If you can’t do it every night, make Sunday night family night.
  29. Play games with your kids (my favorites are Capture the Flag and Uno).
  30. Give your kids a Get-Out-Of-School pass to use for a special day with you.
  31. Keep an open table and an open mind.
  32. Be of service.
  33. Travel with your kids. It will broaden their horizons and strengthen their bonds.
  34. Don’t assume anyone is better than you or you are better than anyone else.
  35. Don’t ever sit out of an election. You have the gift of living in a country where every vote matters. Use yours.
  36. Learn how to turn off the critical voice in your head as early as possible.
  37. Every year write down your regrets then burn them and leave them where they belong: In the ashes.
  38. Listen to your gut. It knows more than anyone else you are asking for advice.
  39. Practice prayer/meditation. It will keep you in check with yourself.
  40. Never think your work life is more important than your family.
  41. Don’t think bad stuff won’t happen to you. Learn how to push through. Head up, shoulders back.
  42. Don’t allow anyone to shame you.
  43. Get good at forgiveness. You will need to practice it throughout life.
  44. Know that forgiving doesn’t mean going back to what was. It means going forward with love. You get to decide what that looks like.
  45. If you want forgiveness, ask for it.
  46. Get good at letting go.
  47. Don’t expect people to be perfect. You are not…neither are they.
  48. Learn how to communicate in your own home. If you can’t find your voice get help.
  49. Don’t think that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
  50. Therapy isn’t a waste of time. It can save a friendship, a marriage, your life.
  51. If you marry and it comes to an end, don’t let anyone tell you you have failed. Be grateful for the love you had, the memories you made, the lessons you learned.
  52. If you have a pity party, make it short and then move on.
  53. Don’t see yourself as a victim, see yourself as brave.
  54. Be brave enough to write your own story … and then rewrite it.
  55. Be brave enough to try love after you heart has been broken.
  56. Spend time in nature, it calms your mind.
  57. Spend time around people who see you, who celebrate you, who want the best for you.
  58. Stay connected to your siblings and don’t come between them and their partners. My four brothers are my past, my present and my future … and I like all of their wives.
  59. Take care of your parents when they age, it’s a privilege.
  60. Have faith that your best days are ahead of you. That your next frontier will be your most fulfilling time. And that you deserve to be seen as good enough just the way you are.

#PassItForward

The Possibility of Everything

possibility-MediumAre you open to all possibilities? Or have you put yourself into a small box labeled, this is how it has to be?

There’s a million ways to live your life, and the world is filled with opportunity and possibilities that far exceed your imagination. You don’t have to look very far to see possibility rise around you, but you do have to be willing to step outside the small box you may have turned into your life. I’m not saying your life is small. Your life may be big. I am saying that the Universe and the possibilities that exist for you are much larger than any box you could choose to put yourself in. If you’ve been feeling that there must be something different, something more, or something better out there for you then its time to step outside and go explore.

Here’s an experiment for you today. This morning as you’re headed to work consciously leave the box at home. Before you walk out the door, step into your office or sit through another meeting say out loud, “I’m open to all possibilities, and I now receive all good things into my life easily and effortlessly. Surprise me Universe!” And then get ready to have some fun! Because when you’re genuinely ready to open yourself up to receiving new possibilities the Universe always delivers.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

The One Choice We All Have

dd889008-88f9-468a-abe5-f06b33dbfd74-mediumWe all have a choice on what kind of energy we want to give to the world. Are you a giver or a taker?

Givers feel good to be around. They offer support, encouragement and love when the person beside them needs it most. They choose not to give their shit to other people; they own what’s theirs and take responsibility without complaining. Givers don’t talk about other people negatively, they don’t gossip and they don’t find joy in someone else’s weakness–givers give love, good vibes and strength. Being a giver is a choice. There is no neutral ground here. If you’re not a giver you’re a taker.

Silence is oftentimes the most powerful contribution a giver can make to the world. In a media filled gossip brewing society where people are sucked into viewing everyone’s “good life” on social media, silence is of huge value. Be a giver. Be silent. Choose not to share negative stories, post slander, encourage content that’s disrespectful to another human being or bash groups in order to get your point across. Choose a quieter road. Choose silence.

Givers are respectfully bold in the face of adversity. They choose to stand up for the little guy, the underdog and those experiencing less fortunate moments. Givers choose compassion, but they never enable–because they understand enabling takes away the opportunity for another human being to become their highest potential. Givers choose to reach for the hand of another human being so they can walk forward together, stronger as one.

Givers create the healthy energy that makes your home, office, community and our world a better place. When the next moment of choice arrives (and it will), what will you choose?

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Thank You Encourage Her Network

1781883_881815898573092_4300827763038315812_nI spoke at the Encourage Her Network- Encouraging women in life, family, and business! Signature event on Monday. Thank you Shannon Johnson for giving me the opportunity to be in the presence of such an amazing group of women!

I invite you all to check out Shannon’s Encourage Her Magazine. This girl is worth keeping tabs on; she’s changing the world one woman at a time. Keep shinning!

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

The Power in Putting Your Phone Down

The Power In Putting Your Phone DownI did something crazy last night. A complete act of the subconscious. Before I went to bed, I turned my phone off and plugged it into the charger. That’s not the crazy part. Here it comes… I never turned it back on.

Like most people I have my morning routine. After waking up I immediately grab my phone. I do this because there may be pressing news that I should know about. After I read the texts that came in after I went to bed, I check Facebook (of course), LinkedIn, Twitter, and email. Sometimes this is a good 30-minute time suck before my day even starts. Then I look at the clock and say, “Oh shit! Look at the time.” I get out of bed and begin my day. No worries, I still have my trusted companion with me at all times.

As my morning progresses sometimes I find myself getting a neck cramp because I’m looking down at my phone so much. Yep. No judgement. At the rate our society is going the Chiropractic industry is going to be booming with new clients. We’re all going to be walking around with a hump on our back and a phone stuck to our forehead in the next 20-years. A scary reality.

My daughter tells me I have two favorite sentences, “Just a second… I’ll be right there.” This apparently comes out of my mouth repeatedly throughout the morning as I’m catching up on the latest social media updates. She also has a favorite sentence, “Mom, did you hear me?” This sentence is usually said with some frustration 5 (sometimes 10) minutes after she heard me say, “Just a second… I’ll be right there.” Ah, the normal morning routine. And I wonder why we frequently miss the bus and I end up having to drive my daughter to school. Hmmmm. No need to go into the details of my afternoon and evening… It’s pretty much the same.

So last night I did something crazy… I never turned my phone back on. This morning I woke up, realized what I didn’t do, and then intentionally didn’t turn my phone back on. I left my love companion on the desk all by itself. I did gasp a bit and thought, huh, I kinda feel free. 

This morning was different–better. My daughter and I took our puppy for a walk and we talked. We hung out at the local coffee shop and we talked. We strolled through the neighborhood and we talked. When we sat down to have our breakfast I asked her what she was grateful for. Her response, “I get to hang out with you.”

Thank you Universe for the wake-up call. My phone is still turned off.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

7 Ways to De-Stress Using Nature

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This time of year always reminds me of the power of nature. As the leaves change color and the air turns crisp it’s hard not to notice the magic of Mother Earth. Just stepping outside and taking a deep breath can cure fatigue, center focus, inspire new ideas, improve depression and provide a lighter perspective on life.

In our 24/7 connected world we can all benefit from a dose of nature. Most people today suffer from some level of exhaustion. Responding to family needs, running to and from various appointments, and trying to keep up with social obligations, fitness aspirations, job responsibilities and relationships can create an over abundance of stress and anxiety. If you’re not keeping your well-being in check everything from ulcers, headaches, insomnia and sickness can lead to even greater fatigue. So what’s the solution? How can you remain in a constant state of well-being; able to enjoy life to its fullest? Rather than looking for the next pill the pop, try using the elements of nature to reclaim your calm.

Here are 7 ways you can use nature to de-stress and find your happy place:

  1. Air
    Step outside and simply breathe; feeling the breeze on your face and fresh air in your lungs. Take a deep breath that fills your belly full of life-giving oxygen. The greatest detox we can give our body is a strong exhale from our gut. It’s in our exhale that our body rids itself of toxins (both energetically and physically). Most people breathe in short shallow breaths that cause stress levels to multiply. Deepen your breath with the air of nature and automatically notice yourself feeling on top of the world.
  2. Wood
    You are made of energetic matter. Just like a light socket that needs to be grounded with copper to function, you too need to be grounded to function. Wood grounds. When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed grab a piece of your favorite drift wood, pine cone, or oak branch to calm yourself down. When you’re holding the piece of wood, imagine roots from your feet growing deep into the ground like you yourself are the tree that piece of wood was from. Taking one minute to do this grounding exercise every morning and evening will turn your stress and anxiety into relaxation quickly.
  3. Water
    Have you ever needed to jump into a bath or take a shower to wash the day away? Most of us have had days when we’ve needed to take a shower at least twice. Water is a natural purifier both energetically and physically. Water helps you feel light, allows ideas to come to you easily and brings your mind to ease. The next time you’re in the shower consciously imagine any unhealthy energy being washed from your body (going right down the drain), and imagine the water replenishing you with healthy light-filled energy that helps you relax and take life in stride.
  4. Dirt
    If you haven’t already, make friends with the earth substance that makes all life possible. Dirt is life giving and rich with energy. Simply dig your feet and hands into the soil to receive the health benefits. Dirt naturally helps us ground, reduces stress and detoxifies our body. With winter months coming, fill your home with plants and simply place your hands on the potted soil while saying thank you to your favorite green companion for purifying the air you breathe.
  5. Fire
    It’s hard not to fall into a meditative trance while staring at an open flame. This time of year is ideal for bonfires, wood-burning or gas fireplaces and candles. Challenge yourself. Set your phone alarm for 5-minutes, and while looking at the flame repeatedly breathe in for 4 and out for 7.  I guarantee at the end of the 5-minutes you’ll feel whole and centered.
  6. Sun:
    Next to dirt, the sun is the  greatest provider of life. Just stepping outside feeling the sun on your face is enough to turn a gloomy disposition into an optimistic view of life. The sun is food not only to trees and plants, it’s food for you! The action is easy… If the sun is shinning leave your computer, phone or tablet and take a walk. Soaking in the sun’s rays will put you in your happy place in no time.
  7. Stones
    You are made of energetic matter, and so are the stones of the earth. Your energy vibrates at a certain frequency. Sometimes you vibrate at a high frequency and sometimes your frequency is low–your mood and health follow suite. When you hold something of a different frequency in your hand your frequency changes. Stone, rocks, crystals of all kinds give you the opportunity to alter your energy. If you’re feeling strung out and all over the place hold an agate, rose quarts or that rock you found on your hike — they each provide soothing energy that will help bring you down a notch. There’s no “right stone”, go explore and play. If you see a stone that speaks to you pick it up and allow it to help you feel clam and relaxed throughout your day.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How to Get off the Crazy Train

crazytrainWe’ve all heard the definition of crazy: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. For some, it’s easier to ride the crazy train than remembering to breathe. Our addiction to crazy influences how we approach our job, health, and relationships. Crazy is everywhere!

Every crazy thought, word and action contributes to a brew of perpetuating life complaints that create an overflow of negative energy–negative energy that fuels the momentum of more crazy and fills your life with more of what you don’t want. Crazy makes you ask questions such as, “Why do I keep attracting that same type of relationship? Why can’t I get ahead at work? Why does my body still feel this way?” It doesn’t matter the life topic, nothing will ever change for the better unless you choose to get off the crazy train.

Here are five ways to get off the train of crazy and start attracting the things, people and situations in life you actually want:

  1. Break up with Crazy: The first step in getting off the crazy train is admitting you’re crazy (we all are). If you find yourself asking, “Why do I keep attracting…” then you need to break up with crazy.
  2. Make a Crazy List: Create four buckets that include family, job, relationships and health (you may have more). Under each bucket write a list of your usual crazy tendencies… thoughts, actions, complaints, etc. Then ask yourself, “Which of the tendencies that I  wrote have the power to bring me joy and which create turmoil?” Be brutally honest. Then cross out all your tendencies that create turmoil.
  3. Make a New You List: For every tendency you crossed out, replace it with an action that has the power to bring you joy. Then re-write your New You List and post it someplace that’s visible to you at all times. Put it in your purse, in your phone, on your desk, coffee table or refrigerator. It doesn’t matter where you put it. What matters is that it’s visible.
  4. Commit to your New You List: Eeek! The word commitment is enough to make most people run for the hills. Here’s the deal: you can’t get off the crazy train unless you commit to making YOU your  #1 PRIORITY. This is where the work comes in… If you truly want to attract something different (something better), you need to commit to doing the new you actions on your New You List everyday.
  5. Say It, Do It: All new actions start with your thoughts. Every morning, afternoon and evening read your New You List out loud. Then ask yourself, “How am I honoring my list?” It’s amazing, magic happens when you take the time to read the commitment you’ve made to yourself out loud–it’s one of the fastest ways to “program” your mind with new healthy thoughts and behaviors. After you read it, challenge yourself and do it!

Moral of the story: your reality is a direct reflection of the thoughts, words and actions you choose to put into the world. If there’s something in your life that you want changed, it may be time to take responsibility and get off your crazy train.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker, coach and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Be F#%@ing Brave

12107802_538565726300676_4173133001635049253_nI love this image. Bravery. It’s the playbook for a joy filled life. It’s your ticket to happiness. And it’s the answer to overcoming fear and reaching your dream. Sometimes bravery is silent and sometimes it echoes from a mountaintop for the world to hear. It comes in all different shapes and sizes, but the end result is always the same… confidence, empowerment, strength and an earned right of passage to a place where life is lived to its fullest.

What does bravery look like to you? How can bravery conquer the movie in your head, change that relationship or improve your job? How can bravery settle the turmoil in your gut or give you energy to stand tall? Whatever bravery looks like to you, do it. You deserve it. You’re worth it.  And no one else is going to do it for you. Be fucking brave!

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How You Add Value to the World

EmilysQuotes.Com-advice-success-value-intelligent-wisdom-Albert-Einstein

What is your value?

We live in a society that more often than not predicates success and value based on physical achievement, materialism and societal placement. From childhood on we’re swept away with rules and silent norms about fashion, body image and possessions. We often become so fixated on how to accumulate more “stuff” or pay for the “stuff” we have that we forget about the value we ourselves add to the world.

It often takes great catastrophe for someone to shed away enough of the facade to see their true value. Death, life transition, sickness, financial downfalls, these are just a few significant tragedies that have the power to open our eyes and help us understand that we alone are enough. In fact, we alone are not only enough, we are brighter, more beautiful and contribute to the world in more meaningful ways once all the noise of made-up societal expectation is silenced. One might say that it’s in our suffering that we’re given an opportunity to come alive and experience real life.

Value is measured by how you show yourself to the world. It’s in the kindness you show to another human being who’s making the journey through his or her own suffering. The time you spend with someone who needs your words of wisdom to give them an extra boost in life. The compassion you show in times of adversity, and your ability to forgive someone–including yourself. Personal value is measured through acts of love.

It’s in our moments of suffering that we understand the truth of personal value. Because it’s in our moments of suffering that we need someone to show his or her value to us. So today, take time to reflect on the moments of suffering that you’ve been gifted with throughout your life. Have gratitude for those moments of silence. Then ask yourself, “How did the value of someone else help carry you forward? And what is your value to the world?”

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Energy Wellness @ Work

Wellness-Soul-ClearingEnergy wellness is the new engagement strategy.

Let me be clear on the topic of energy: I’m not talking about eating better, sleeping more, working out, or adding another “must do” to your schedule. Yes, all those things are important to being a healthy human being, but when I’m addressing human energy, I’m addressing the energetic frequencies that radiate from your body and impact those around you and the rest of the world. Modern science has proven that we are all made of energy. No longer can we argue the fact that we all have energy that radiates from our bodies like exhaust fumes from a truck, or like the steam from a freshly baked apple pie; you can’t see or smell it but it’s everywhere, evoking emotions and thoughts of either disgust or delight. We can compare your personal energy to garlic, an herb that has the ability to seep through the pores of our skin, filling a room with its aroma: People either love you or hate you for it; they run toward you or can’t get away from you fast enough.

Here’s an example of how unhealthy energy looks in your everyday life. Think about that person you know who, for some reason, makes you want to run for the hills as soon as she comes toward you. This is a person, when you’re around her, who makes you feel as though you just got slimed. Her presence makes you feel suffocated, depleted, and exhausted. It’s as though this person has the ability to take any negative emotion she might be thinking or feeling in the moment and dump it over your head until you have to jump around and shake it off. Ugh! Some of you might be thinking about your mother (just kidding, Mom), or that colleague you dread having on team projects. But I have bad news: The brutal reality is that for some people, this person is you! Fact. And if you’re exhausted, and being ruled by sabotaging thoughts and emotions, the energy you’re giving to other people is toxic, and is wreaking havoc on everything within your world.

Through energy everything in our world is connected and one. For those of you who like analogies, this can be compared to a body of water: Your business is like a flowing river, and every person inside your business is a water molecule that makes the river whole. Every thought, word, action, and emotion from each person changes the molecular structure of the river. Now, if you have a bunch of Yodas working for you, this can be absolutely fantastic! If you don’t have Yoda on the payroll, and you’re like most businesses that have normal human beings who are exhausted working for you, your river is polluted with the same green slime from the previous example—and you can’t eat the fish! If to improve engagement, you have to figure out how get every person inside your business operating on healthy human energy. It doesn’t matter how tight your process, systems, and management structure might be, if you have toxic human energy being dumped into the river, and employees don’t have the energy to perform, you won’t achieve squat. Create a culture of healthy energy and there’s nothing a business can’t accomplish.

Here are 3 entry–level ways to improve energy wellness in the workplace: 

  1. Teach people about energy wellness. The concept of human energy is ancient, but the idea of energy wellness in the workplace is brand new. Have a class, brown bag lunch or simply make the topic a point of interest on the intranet. People need to learn the basic energy management techniques that can help them refuel, re-energize and become re-engaged in the culture. Awareness alone will generate curiosity and get people inspired to try something new that will bring life back into the culture.
  2. Change up the environment. When it comes to energy environment is key. Nature, color, light and fresh air are essential to human energy. The fastest way to suck energy out of anyone is to stick them in grey cubical land with recycled air and fluorescent lights. Don’t worry, if I just described your workplace there’s hope. Easy energy fixes include: plants (lots of them), opening the blinds and windows, adding new decor with vibrant colors and having a running water, rocks and collaborate seating arrangements throughout the building.
  3. Get leadership on board. Leaders in a company set the tone of the culture. If leaders are energetically unhealthy, that toxic slim will permeate through the culture and drive down engagement faster than a tsunami. Leaders need to be the champions for energy wellness in the workplace, early adopters of energy management techniques and environment changes. Additionally, leaders need to be held accountable to showing up to the workplace with high-character and learn how to create a workplace where people feel they have the permission and protection to rise to their highest potential.     

Who Is Your Authentic Self? (share your story)

Gina Soleil (2)Over the last three months I’ve been living a great lesson of authenticity. And once again I’m reminded that the master teacher is always the master student. The Universe is always generous in the giving of opportunities that test our acquired skill of self-actualization. And once we become aware of the learning, we’re immediately provided with an opportunity to teach the lesson to others in effort to make this world a better place. Imagine the potential evolution of humanity if we all took heed and applied the lessons of others to our own lives.

Over the past three months I’ve experienced a sort of “writers block”. And like most writers, I became frustrated with my inability to generate ideas, stay focused and see my chicken scratch as blog worthy — let alone book worthy. I frequently felt like a Champaign bottle that desperately wants to become uncorked and free to spread joy. Yet, my writers block continued…and the pressure multiplied.

Then the Universe did what the Universe does… One by one people began entering my life asking questions, offering different perspectives and challenging my ego. For the first 89 days I became an expert at responding with, “Yes, but…”. My ego managed to turn every offered opportunity to become free and uncorked into an opportunity to remain stuck, stagnant and contained. I kept moving forward allowing the pressure, frustration and disappointment in myself to build. My response to myself simply being, “Ah, this must be how things are supposed to be right now. Maybe it’s just not time for things to happen for me.”

Then one day I was offered a mirror. A gracious friend said, “Here’s what I see…. You’re doing this, but every bit of who you are is this…” Then I looked in that mirror and said, “You’re exactly right. And I’m not living my authentic self because of fear.” Thinking to myself, maybe it won’t work. Maybe they won’t like me. Maybe who I am isn’t the value the world needs. And then my ego popped in and said, “This stagnant box feels comfy, why would I ever want to leave?”

For a moment I wrestled with the woman I am the woman I want to be. For a moment I saw these women as two separate identities–one who was me and one who lived free. And then all of a sudden it hit me… While looking in the mirror and reflecting on my fears I realized that no fear is worth blowing out the light that burns inside me. In that moment I made a decision to own my worthiness and become one identity–my authentic self.

I’ve now made a declaration to myself. No more excuses. No more “what if’s”. What I am I am. I will stand solid and strong in the here and now as a beautiful force of light that will change this world–honoring before all else my authentic self. And just like that I became uncorked. My gift to write again flowed free because I gave myself permission to fearlessly show the world the real me.

The more people who share their story with the world the more people we set free. Who are you? What’s your story of authenticity?

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Dream Big; Set Yourself Free

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Have you forgotten your dream?

If you could choose a new career or way of life that made your heart sing, what would it be? Dream big. Skies the limit. And money is no object. What would your heart want you to do?

As a child, the world was your oyster. Everything was possible, and endless possibilities were everywhere. Most of the time you didn’t even wait for someone to tell you whether you were right or wrong–you just went for it. The game of make-believe turned your world into a haven of creative bliss. One day you were a doctor and the next a rock star, dancer or sea captain. Every moment brought a new adventure that changed your world and made your heart sing. Pure freedom fueled days of laughter, a light spirit and a smile as big as could be.

Then you grew up. Imagination and creativity became structured. And structure put you into a box crafted by societal expectations. Money became a driving force, and “things” became a model of joy and happiness. Exhaustion replaced freedom, and freedom became heavy—noted only to describe rights, laws and rules. Rules, silent or publicly displayed, that were created to provide more structure and direction as to how you should live and behave. And one day you turned around and realized you forgot what your heart actually wanted to be.

It’s time for a personal revolution. You were born to create, imagine and be free. You were born into this world to live that big dream. You know the one….it never goes away. And as soulfully deep seeded as it may be, in moments of silence it awakens inside of you and asks you to play. Are you listening? Or, are you still searching outside yourself for that “something” you think that will make you happy?

Today, do one thing that sets you free.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

True Leadership: Courageous, Compassionate and Vulnerable

flower-in-cement-smallest-blog-nymucdLet me start by saying, “You are a leader.” It doesn’t matter where you sit, what your title is, if you have people reporting to you or how much you’re being paid. Maybe you’re part-time Joe cleaning the toilets, or maybe you’re sitting in a cubical wondering if anyone knows you exist. It doesn’t matter the box you think people put you in, or the box you put yourself in; you are a leader. And there is no one person who is better or more important than you.

Our society has created an industry of “leadership development” with fancy rules and sophisticated terminology one must know in order to be a great leader. In businesses of any size, the word leadership often separates those “who have arrived” from those “who have a way to go”; creating a perception that those in leadership are special. In fact, there are special meetings for these special people, and these special people get special perks. One of which is special training on how to be a great leader. And if you’re really special, you get to even sit in mahogany row with a window.

Let me break the news to you…true leadership is not granted by special made up rules created by someone higher-up in a business. Many people sitting at the top are not leaders at all. Yes, they may be management. They may have been given authority, title and money to run a portion of the business. And they may have participated in hours of leadership development courses in order to help them become a great leader. None of which makes them a leader. These fancy privileges will never cultivate the authenticity, vulnerability and courage exercised by a true leader. In fact, these special privileges, driven by our society’s ego, are often the very thing getting in the way of true leadership.

We all have a true leader within us. Wherever you are in this moment, scrubbing floors or sitting in mahogany row, you can make a choice to exercise your true leader within to change a business, your life or the world. Your energy, intent and actions have tremendous power, and when fueled in a specific direction with courage, compassion and love that power can overcome and accomplish what is perceived as the impossible. Be careful, some of you are thinking, “You can’t run a business on courage, compassion and love alone.” You’re right, you can’t. That’s what management practices and processes are for. Don’t confuse them.

True leadership is having the courage to stand up and walk toward your fear in order to make your life and the life of others better. It’s having the strength to accept yourself exactly as you are, messy and full of baggage, in order to help others gain the strength to accept and value themselves exactly as they are. True leadership comes in our moments of vulnerability. It’s in our moments of vulnerability that we stop long enough to see the people in front of us as human beings–beautiful human beings that together have the collective strength to change the world.

You are a leader. No books, buzz words or special perks needed. Today, make a choice to stand up and walk toward your fear of vulnerability. Accept and love yourself exactly as you are–beautiful, strong and full of life accomplishing ability. Then be a true leader and reach your hand to someone who needs help seeing their strength and beauty. In that moment, as one, walk forward to accomplish the impossible.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Leadership Transparency: How to Show the World You’re Human

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Great leaders understand the power in human-connectivity and the importance of personal transparency.

Leadership transparency is about showing up to the workplace authentically and allowing people to see that you’re human. It’s about connecting with people on a personal level and having courage to become vulnerable. Leaders who value personal transparency show people they care through both words and actions, and they clearly understand that leadership effectiveness comes not from “driving numbers”, but from having strong one-on-one relationships with the people on their team and throughout the business.

Leaders who are transparent are liked and respected by all; generating a following of people who want to work for them no matter what area of the business they’re leading. People want to know their leaders are human. In fact, the perception of leaders not being human is incredibly harmful to the business, because people only connect to other people who show their vulnerability and have a genuine desire to be in authentic relationships.

If you have leaders in your business choosing to avoid transparency and human-connectivity, they’re fueling your business with toxic energy. No one wants to follow a leader who chooses to not show people they care. If they do, it’s out of fear, and they will leave that leader as fast as possible and never look back. In the meantime, performance and engagement will be a constant uphill battle that’s impossible to win.

Moral to the story… If you’re a leader, take off the mask and show the world you’re human. Your team and the business will thank you for it.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How to Communicate and Get Results

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Destination Mapping is a communication process that works! It’s designed for one-on-one conversations, written messages and any presentation no matter how small. The process can be used by anyone who wants to become a better communicator, eliminate costly errors and/or have easy conversations that actually get results. Although the process is designed for business, it’s just as effective when used in personal interactions.

Here’s what the mapping process looks like.

  1. State your true intent. This should be the first sentence out of your mouth or out of your pen. The intent is why you’re communicating. The intent may be to change minds, provide information or create action. You need to make sure your intent is positive. If you’re not confident that your intent will be seen as positive to the person(s) receiving the message, don’t communicate the message. If you do, people will know the intent is sour and you’ll contaminate the culture of your business.
  2. Give people the destination up front. If the communication is successful, where will it get you, the people receiving the message and the business? Everyone loves to jump right to the how before making the destination crystal clear—that’s like asking someone to get into a car and drive without telling them where they’re going. Before you jump into thehow, you need to clearly state the where.
  3. Paint a vivid picture of the destination. Even in a one-on-one conversation you need to paint a picture of the destination. If you don’t, it’s no one’s fault but your own if the communication fails. A vivid image describes what the destination looks like, feels like and tastes like. This is how you help people emotionally connect to the message. When people emotionally connect they want to support you. If you skip this stage all you have are sterile words and an apathetic message that goes nowhere.
  4. Give the roadmap. Here’s where you share how the destination you just vividly painted will be reached.  If you want to reach the destination, you need to be crystal clear and provide step-by-step directions. That said, stay flexible and be willing to make changes–your way is not always the right way.
  5. Ask for input. Ask for input and be willing to incorporate the feedback—there may be a hundred different ways to get to where you want to go. If you are unwilling to ask and receive input don’t communicate the message at all. Healthy cultures thrive on reciprocity. Businesses that have a healthy culture understand that everyone’s feedback, regardless of the person’s level within the business, is important and should be taken seriously if the business wants to move forward successfully.
  6. Ask for commitment. No matter how small the communication, everyone giving or receiving the message has a role and needs to make a commitment—but they’re not going to make it, and follow through, unless you ask for it. The commitment might be as easy as agreeing to read the information, complete a series of tasks or be a sponsor and influence change from the top. Regardless of the commitment, if you don’t ask for it you’ll never get what you want.
  7. Do your part and follow up. Lastly, follow up with everyone who received the communication, gave you input or made a commitment. If someone gave you input, you need to let her know how you incorporated it, or provide specific reasons why the input was unable to be used—the reasons need to be valid and make sense to everyone involved. If the intent of the communication was to create action, then the follow-up needs to clearly state the progress. And if a commitment was made, send an e-mail to everyone involved that summarizes the agreement. Most importantly, let people know how much you appreciate their input and effort toward the destination.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.