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.

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.

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.