Happiness Is Key to Unlocking World-Class Success—Optimism is Everything.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.—Albert Schweitzer

Success is a matter of interpretation. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Success can take on many forms or mean different things, to many people, personally and professionally. To some, the bigger the better. The expression: “go big or go home”, comes to mind when thinking from an entrepreneurial mindset. For me, personal growth is success. That every day I learn something new, about myself, about life, about how each of us have a purpose in this vast planet, something to contribute and that I, in some small or big way may have a part in the success of a vision in the grand scheme of things.

Hello my beautiful souls! While corporations pride themselves in lifting economies, I will strive myself to lift your spirits, celebrate and elevate the creative genius that is you! This world is full of great thinkers, yet happiness is thought of as the ultimate end goal often the result of external rewards or accolades. Success should not be a noun describing an end-result, an accomplishment of an aim, but a feeling. The feeling you get when you nurture the concept of a book for example and you work hard on it for months, maybe years—you enjoy the highs and lows of writing—the epiphanies along the way and then you write the last sentence, you type that last period on your manuscript—oh what joy that is, what a sense of accomplishment!  Nothing is more rewarding than the hard work put in and the happiness and joy you feel along the way—this is success! Happiness for me, is the beautiful feelings cultivated from the big and small moments, the blood, sweat, tears and love poured on a masterpiece. No titles, no hiding behind large offices, or expensive toys—success is to be empowered by connections made, fueled by passion always offering support, spreading the ultimate enthusiasm—this is what my perception of success should feel like.

The painful reality is that very few have limited themselves to inviting into their world a vision for ‘success’ or a what a potential or level of success would be like; worse yet have denied themselves the capability that success is within us all, that we all have the ability to realize and materialize into our world in achieving optimal success—perhaps they feel underserving of that success. Sadly, most of us operate from a perspective that: Life operates on life’s terms. That we are surrounded by a multitude of realities playing out in our world brought on by others. Circumstances, events, playing on emotion become our superficial realities. The result of these realities becomes what you see in the mirror. Ruthless, hard, drained, deceitful-always trying to stay ahead, hungry, competitive—all drawn from fear. True success relies heavily on what you perceive that success to be for you, success may be having optimal health always, great friendships—a solid marriage, from an entrepreneurial mindset, it might be overcoming challenges and rising above amidst adversity—you hold a strong vision for yourself of possible outcomes—a reflection of your truth. Do you view the world from a face-value perspective—what you see is what you get? Or are you more of let’s imagine it and go after it—the world is full of possibilities kind of visionary—that anything you imagine has the potential to become a reality! And what a wonderful way to view life from a lens that the world is our playground and the life we dream ourselves is ready for the picking as soon as we are ready, as soon as we consciously choose to follow that dream, and begin to take part in that process of joyfully creating a life that reflects our highest value—it will remain dormant until you make the decision to choose it—to follow your path, to follow your truth.

Learning to use your imagination faithfully on any project without the trappings of ego, is essentially the secret to truly creating the ultimate experience you wish to experience in this lifetime. Following your bliss; submitting to your ultimate truth, is the only way one can achieve greatness. It is what makes the Sir Richard Bransons, the Warren Buffets, the Tony Robbins, of the world—these innovators simply tapped into a set of principles—their truth proven time and time again by their personal experiences materializing into immense success. Their start began with an immense desire—a vision. A vision so strong they each assumed it as a ‘wish fulfilled’.  Now let me be clear, to say that these men are geniuses, or anyone out there accomplishing their vision of a dream to a high degree and call them geniuses is simply to place them in a certain category when having a discussion, it is not to say these individuals have a specific gene that makes them geniuses. They are geniuses because they have tapped into an awareness; drawing from personal experience, viewing their successes and failures as tools necessary to navigate life in remarkable ways. Through their heroic efforts, these visionaries, these bold thinkers have managed to ignore critics, have done the unreasonable, they push the envelope and seize glorious opportunities as they show up—not always on their schedule, but they have learned to listen to their gut—their intuition, never steering them wrong. They show up courageous and fearless, speaking their truth from a place of authenticity. Ready to succeed.

So yes, dream, follow your heart and soon your body will follow—always staying true to yourself. But is this enough to feel successful?  Many, go out there, plant their stake, break ground, fill beautiful buildings with active minds and souls from all over the world and they get busy. Anyone can show leadership behaviour, but are they equipped with all the tools to properly navigate the ship? Strong leadership translates into increased performance outcomes. Ineffective leadership can stifle an organization’s ability to reach its full potential for success. So why do many businesses fail when it comes to receiving that health check in leadership scores? We all lead in some form, in our homes, our families, our friendships, our relationships, our workplace—to be effective leaders we need the right perspective. The most successful organizations grow leaders throughout their organizations—know your role. Everyone needs to be accountable for their role within their place of work, their home, their relationships. The word lead in leadership means to guide, to influence other individuals, perhaps in teams, or organizations, or in your personal life, your family, your friendships, and relationships—the success depends largely on approach or the set of leadership principles these ‘leaders’ will choose to successfully navigate their business life and personal life. Research tells us that great leaders are not a hereditary genius but most likely characteristics that can be developed with the proper tools, education, environment, healthy perspectives, often creating opportunities along the way. Successful leaders never miss an opportunity to elevate, give praise often, add value by counting their blessings. Have the awareness to recognize that everything that has happened to you, was necessary to get you where you are today—to become the genius, kind soul you are today. Success is not a popularity contest—enjoy the moment—be present always. Share your success—embrace change and all its mess, and open yourself to the brilliant life you are meant to have—happiness will be sure to kick into high gear and what a beautiful feeling to share.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.—John C. Maxwell

When discussing success, I feel it equally important to discuss leadership, as we all need to learn to behave as leaders not only in our work environments but in our personal lives as well. In fact, showing up as a leader in your everyday life, will certainly transcend the rest. People want to be a part of an organization that allows them to bring their gifts and talents to work on a daily. To be heard. How pivotal for any organization to have powerful creative conversations from the top CEOs to the youngest freshest minds, sharing visionary insights at all levels, having the boldness to tackle challenges with pure optimism—it is infectious, next level of authentic excellence—it is the formula to exceptional success. With excellent leadership comes excellent relationships. I cannot think of the most satisfying feeling than to feel you are contributing to something big, to feel engaged with your team, to feel that your contribution is worth something. It makes me feel alive and want to produce more. A leader, that promotes this healthy work environment, comes from a mindset of feeling quite successful in their own lives; optimism is infused, and they wish to bring more of that to their place of work—their baby. Interesting choice of word don’t you think? Often, I hear entrepreneurs refer to their projects, their business, as their baby. I wonder, if they are truly taking care of their business(es) like they would an actual baby? I know it is a metaphor but having cared for two babies in my lifetime (I am referring to my daughters of course), I must tell you, there is a lot of nurturing involved. In addition, to all the nurturing and teaching, all is done with a great amount of love. The love you pour into a family, particularly a young child, is like the amount of sun and water and yes love, a flower needs to grow. Without a parent’s love and guidance, a child will have a difficult time growing to its potential. In addition to parenting, I have also been blessed with the opportunity of mentoring, working in supervisory level type positions in the corporate world and I too have poured all my love into my work to ensure that bosses, peers, colleagues, teammates received my personal excellence, always—this is me showing up, this is me loving myself!

So, what are we doing to our businesses are we mass producing? Building for the sake of banging out a quick fix, a product that may or may not last or worse yet, because of rapid growth in technology, are we just mindlessly adding too many options—confusing consumers? What happened to quality and value? Our success comes from creating positive cultures within our establishments knowing we are making a difference not only with our product but in the lives of the individuals who support us, contributing to this planet hoping to leave it a little better than we found it—that is the feeling of success! You see when we lift others, when we inspire, we offer a genius that knows no boundaries, this optimism is infectious, in turn our families (in business and in our homes) conjure this discipline, this immense feeling of remaining brilliantly focused on their endeavors, creating, adding value, dreaming bigger and voilá the whole world gets to experience greatness, separating genius from the rest. Be remarkable at what you do. This is genius at work! This is building success from within!

You might have the right product, the right project or idea but do you have a vision of what that success might look like for you? Do not forget to take your dose of humility wherever you go. You might be making truckloads of money, you might be the number one producer and your confidence is unparallel, but what is your legacy? Nobody likes arrogance. A wonderful quote I came across that sums up humility is: “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.”—Jesse Jackson. I think we are too eager to get to the finish line, an idea is born, and we cannot wait for the world to see our creation, but along the way, we forget the ‘our’ in our creation. Oftentimes, leaders of organizations forget that a vision is only a vision until you get an army behind the scenes and with their support, that vision materializes. It is imperative that as visionaries, leaders, consumers, that we become aware, of the brilliance that surrounds us, at home, at work, every establishment that we have the good fortune to visit or do business with. It is easy to get to the end result relying on so many, but how quickly we forget the beautiful souls supporting us along the way, that in the end we only take notice of our pockets; rather than seeing with clarity, the forces helping our dream unfold. Taking notice of such courage, strength, love, kindness is to awaken the hero in you, trusting the course of life and simply unleashing greatness! This togetherness, this feeling of community, building together as a whole is the success I am referring to. It takes a village to raise a child—your child, why not offer security, love, encouragement—breathe life to your passion but raise it, with world class level of care in order to achieve world class level of success!

So, while goal setting is incredibly important in setting yourself up for success, I would like to share with you the following set of principles that will assist you and offer you guidance to feeling accomplished and successful while revolutionizing your life with the people you work with, the loved ones you live with, and with those you get to encounter every single day with whom you share this journey called life:

  1. Self Love. There is nothing you cannot accomplish when you have practiced self-love.
  2. Dream. Visualize. Let it take hold of you and act.
  3. Devote time to your dream—no one else will. What will that end-result look like? Be sure to include how this service will benefit others, will benefit the world? To leave the world a little better than you found it. Schedule time to work on you. Exercise, meditate, affirmation, dream, map out your goals. Journal. What is written, gets done!
  4. How does that success feel? Everyone gets caught up on end results, and outcomes, the materials they wish to acquire, but forget how they wish to feel along the way or when that ‘dream’ is finally realized, how did they intend to feel. Do you wish to feel joy? Do you wish to feel peace? Do you wish to feel love? It is wonderful to achieve the materials success brings with it, but why is it that when all is said and done, why do most not necessarily feel successful once they get there? For most, while building their empire, it is a whole lot of busyness, stress, worry—is this what success feels like? Success is not a destination, it is one of many journeys in life at the end, love is the feeling we all wish.
  5. Always act with kindness. Be optimistic about your vision, your dream, your project, your home and the life in it. Kindness, optimism is infectious—soon others will follow, you cannot fail.
  6. If you feel you are the smartest person in the room—then you need to find new friends, and yes, a new perspective. It is not necessarily that you are the smartest person in the room, perhaps you are not engaging with those around you. Everyone has something to offer—be open to discussion, invite intellectual and fun conversations—all promote healthy environments. We should always strive to learn new things. Become a world-class listener. Soon, the creative juices flow and genius arrives!
  7. Do you! Stop following the crowd. Be bold take action toward your dream, honor your specialness, step into your authenticity regardless of what the critics might think—the world will be a better place once you do.  
  8. Be respectful. Just as you think you earned your respect—so should your colleagues and teammates, be respected. These are mothers, fathers, members of congregations and communities—treat them with respect; I am sure they have earned it. Treat everyone you meet as you wish to be treated. When you bark orders and talk down to people—it makes one wonder how you see yourself and those in your household? It costs nothing to be kind and respectful, yet it will pay dividends manyfold when you trust and believe in your team.
  9. Encourage a safe and positive environment—compliment often. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate and elevate those you get to work with and have relationships with. The universe will often shower you with opportunities to shine—be your exceptional self always!
  10. Create the ultimate product or the ultimate experience. Commit to your craft. Whatever you are selling, whatever the service, whether at home, at work or life—make it world-class. Create the ultimate experience. To do this, you must ask the right question: How can I give more, do more, be more? The focus should be on how to provide more value—this is untapping to unlimited possibilities in creating the life you deserve, the life of your dreams. Lead the field in what you do. Over deliver always. Stay true to your vision.
  11. Embrace failure. Learn to fail fast. The more you do, the more opportunities to fail at, the more growth you will experience, the grander the mastery. You will know happiness once you experience pain and adversity.
  12. Practice gratitude. The daily practice of gratitude cultivates a positive outlook—beneficial for our brain and wellbeing. Compassion and kindness are the benefits we receive when practicing gratitude—it is certainly a great motivator in the workplace.  Expressing gratitude for growth opportunities, including challenges, new experiences, offering positive supportive feedback to colleagues and staff.  Reflect often. Are you aligned with your deepest beliefs? What is a game changer for you?
  13. Unplug. Go back to nature. Excessive media use is not good for us physically, mentally, or emotionally. Unplugging improves quality of life. Reduce (stress), recharge, renew and be present.
  14. Always keep learning. Journal often (if you are not able to daily), listen to podcasts, not just in your field in everything—as you know more you achieve more—you become legendary. Have gorgeous conversations with masters.

I know my list looks very lengthy, but that is because I always have so much, I want to share. Often, I over share but it is because of the love I have for you—I want you to succeed. When you succeed, we all succeed. The world is a better place.

I have touched on some of the points listed already in the paragraphs above, and I will take the opportunity to touch on some of them further in the following paragraphs because I feel they need a little more elaborating—that’s me again over sharing😊.  Above all else, before you can succeed at anything, you must first know and practice the power of selflove. To align to your highest level of excellence self-love must be your starting point. Detecting your authentic values early on is key. Have a relentless devotion to working on your personal mastery, to develop a trust and have faith that you are built for success—ready to accept whatever the universe feels is necessary for growth—always trusting the course, knowing when to let go of situations, circumstances, relationships, that no longer serve you, inviting change necessary for the new and better to take root and rise above. Empires can easily crumble when there is lack of self-love. No 3-step, 5-step or 10-step guide to success will truly work if your world within, is a mess, your foundations are weak, the way you view yourself is from a space of neglect, a place of detest, not loving the skin you are in. I have neatly elaborated on this topic, in my November post: “The More You Clean Up Your Inner World, The More Beautiful Your Outer World Will Be.” Everything begins from within—the doorway to success is inward not outward. I am not referring to being self-absorbed, or narcissistic, viewing the world with a sense of entitlement—this is just acting from fear. When you do nothing for yourself—the world owes you nothing.

As a young girl entering the workforce, I took pride in my image; how I conducted myself in public, at work and with my colleagues and teammates. My morning rituals always start with meditations, affirmations, stretches, a shower and some more feel-good affirmations all the way to my office. I do not leave my home unless I am well put together—it is how I respect myself. I always arrive to work with the right mindset and always early or on time. I am at my desk ready to work, ready to tackle the never-ending demands of my work. Even as a teenager I always made sure I dressed well, looked professional in school and at my part-time jobs—it is how I showed up, ready. Many organizations adapt titles identifying individuals with high level of responsibility running their operations such as a CEO, COO, VP, CIO, CFO, their vision will drive the company’s success and profitability, these are the big weights that strategize, plan, and collaborate to keep an organization operating smoothly and efficiently. But what if their world is running from a mindset of lack? What if their world is running from a space of pain and rejection? Will these big weights produce success? Are they in a position to rise higher than the person they see in the mirror every day and do they have it in them to take that business and its operating mechanism (staff and all tools in it) to an exponential level of success? And when and if they manage to rise, will they stay there long enough, be consistent, are their foundations strong enough to build excellent business relationships, groom excellent leaders within the organization that will see growth amid challenge and conflict? Self-love is the master tool that will help any leader rise above darkness, work through pain, work through challenges—a leverage necessary to rise to astounding success. Love, mistakes, hurts, pains and all, is what you open yourself up to when you practice self-love and become equally accepting of those flaws from your colleagues, teammates, family and friends.  Just as many motivators speak to creating goals, and schedules to get optimal results for success, how many of us think of working on ourselves? Do you love yourself enough to get up early and take care of you? Do you honor yourself, appreciate who you are as a human being? Are you being kind to yourself and in turn are you transcending that kindness to others? If you are not kind to yourself, if you are not loving yourself, expect nothing from anyone else. Be kind. Self-love is such an important part of life—it is how your life and the world reflect on the outside. If you feel deserving of love, of kindness, if you are honoring yourself, taking care of your body, this is self respect—soon others pick up on this and offer you respect. When you love yourself, you offer that love and kindness to others—its what this world needs more of right now. I cannot see the success of any organization if the culture and environment is one without love? The more love you pour into yourself, the more love, you will pour into your work, love tends to overflow and wouldn’t that be a wonderful place to work and produce—this is success.

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy.—Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

When reflecting on success as a feeling, the most important principle here is gratitude. Be grateful that you get to practice something you love every day. Remember that what you do positively affects countless people. Being thankful and having a positive attitude allows you to create a better and happier environment—gratitude always comes from a place of love. The way you are in the world is a deep reflection of the way you are with yourself—be grateful. You have worked hard to get here, if we are discussing organizations, it is important to reflect on the collaboration of a team that got you here, that assisted with the execution of your vision. When your love comes from a place of gratitude, to be grateful of all your experiences, the good, the dark, the painful, it cultivates a behaviour that reflects your deepest beliefs. When you take care of yourself and consistently work hard to become a better version of yourself (this takes daily practice and daily work) you will keep self-promises—never disappoint (yourself). By expressing gratitude, we learn to appreciate what we already have instead of always being in search for our happiness; in search for that something we think is missing in our lives; often leaving us feeling unfulfilled. This goodness, this gratitude, will only serve to give you more of that which you find deserving, because you are being true to yourself, true to your heart.

We must go into the world each day and be our best selves, live our best lives—life offers daily opportunities to lead with humility. As you awaken, you free yourself from all attachment while enjoying the pleasures of this world where fear is no longer a source of reaction, love in its place. It is only then, that something infinitely greater starts taking root, with love as your source you can begin to make real contribution towards bringing about a better, safer, kinder world. Your outer world then, becomes the quality of your language, your thoughts, the extraordinary value you hold for yourself—all mirroring your inner world—this is the guide to greatness. Take every opportunity to shine—show up a true leader and success will be at your fingertips!

It is my truest wish that you succeed immensely in every aspect of your life, including your business endeavors, that as we shine inward, planting seeds for success, that we collectively start making real contributions and that as we transform our individual lives and become superstars in our craft, that we stay devoted to making a world of difference in creating a more compassionate world, staying committed to leaving it better than we found it while living a rich purposeful life! You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life—be the light of the world! Remember to offer love and elevate everyone in your life, work life, and those you have the opportunity to meet today. Offer much love to your family and friends (everyone is extra hurting), give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, stay kind and true to yourself.

To the beautiful powerful you,

Ana Spano

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would be incredibly grateful if you would help it spread by forwarding it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. I am now on IG, come join me there @anaspanowriter! Thank you!

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WHEN YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEART

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hello beautiful souls! It is my wish that you and your families are healthy, safe and that your homes are filled with peace, love, happiness and yes, lots and lots of joy—it is good for the heart and soul! As we lived through 2020, there were many words used to describe the undeniable disappointment of a year. Words like difficult times, uncertainty, challenging, tough times, have all been used in every ad during 2020, every poster, every commercial to describe a time when the world stood still. A global pandemic was not only on the agenda for 2020; unfortunately, there was much despair stemming from political battles that laid bare racial inequalities; we cannot deny the financial crisis suffered by many, a collapsed economy, record breaking climate disasters, the despair, the heart-wrenching cries all over the world; many of us watching in disbelief as we cried along suffering our own hurts. None of us were spared the cruel reality of 2020, our lenses were in full view of all there is to see when all the glitter and sparkle is shadowed by darkness. I am sorry for all your hurts; all your pain, sending you much love, healing and hope for harmony and peace.

After much reflection, and healing, we must move on. It is time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off from the rubble, wipe the tears off our beautiful faces and follow our hearts—it has a way of knowing what is good for us. Our hearts always know how to steer us from moments of crisis and help us find the silver linings. Yes, it was painful, at times it seemed that only darkness prevailed; the good never to return. Strength, courage, resilience is what we found underneath all that rubble. Alas we made it through together, we held each other up; love our beacon of light, offering encouragement where there was none—a force to be reckoned with. For me, it was more of taking my power back. I have always been an influencer of a positive mindset (that is my tagline😊). I love making everyone around me feel good about themselves, about what they are doing, what they hope to create—I am always there to support the positive! “Follow your heart,” I always say. 2020 was about letting go of the things that no longer served me and my spirit, and more about following my heart. You see when you tune in to the news and all the negativity in the media, it has a way of playing itself in your life, in your world and if you give into it, it becomes your reality. I understand the importance of the ‘news’ and social media to stay connected to all things around the world. It is good to be informed, but are you processing the information with the right perspective? And please, I say this with great love and respect: take every news, every announcement, every message with a grain of salt. Listen to it; understand it, do your research and move on, do not allow it to consume you. Be consumed with love, good spirits, joy instead. If your occupation deals directly with the news and or has some affiliation, then, that information must have more of an impact on you; it is information you need to do something with, as for the rest of us, we are simply observers, praying, taking action if there is a call of action to be taken, to make this world and leave it better than we found it, but for the most part, we observe, we take the lessons and move on. When you have a gloomy picture of what the world looks like, you will automatically block any potential growth, you will be unreceptive to any assistance the universe may offer as a positive potential in your life. To observe, does not mean you accept the way things are, you are simply staying on your path, your journey, taking what serves you. We all have our responsibilities; we all have our endeavors; remember to always pack a lot of kindness and much love to take along on your journey(s).

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”–Mahatma Gandhi

Resilience, strength, courage, kindness, empathy, gratitude should be words going into 2021, these are the lessons learned. Our perspectives certainly took a shift as a result of 2020, some in unpredictable ways. There were many creative shifts in our work/life environments, holding meetings online, courses online, there was an explosion in online shopping more than ever—all are time saving techniques, that also prove to be economically beneficial for some. If 2020 lacked hope, it certainly offered clarity for many of us. It has taught us value to person, places, moments and services—at a time where for some, was non-existent. During this darkness, we witnessed innovation, moments of kindness, heroism, lessons of gratitude, a longing for togetherness with family—these are our silver linings. It is important that we turn our thoughts on the positive impact 2020 brought with it; that we do not forget the sacrifices, the losses, and cherish the lessons learned, take what was meant for you and start 2021 with a vision for success. Taking accountability for past mistakes is a start, strengthen your commitments to change—education is key.

So, my beautiful souls, what is it that you wish? What do you desire? During lockdown, my daughter and I watched a few shows (I know not productive, but we certainly enjoyed our time together😊); one such show is: ‘Lucifer’. Upon getting himself involved with assisting the local police in solving cases, the role of Lucifer is to essentially make people tell him their deepest desires, it is through these “confessions”; offering vital clues, that would ultimately lead to uncovering the crime. Why do I bring up desire you ask? And for forgive me, ‘Lucifer’ was the only show that came to mind when referring to stating our desires—it is practically the whole basis of the show, the context of desire is truly quite humorous, so my apologies in advance if I am offending anyone, it is certainly never my intent. You see, following your heart will never defy you, it will never let you down, it will expose your truest, rawest form—it is also what fuels you. When you have a specific wish, or hunger, an idea inspired by spirit (not thought), you are immediately lifted to a higher level. It takes over you, there is an undeniable persistence moving you toward your intended purpose. Immediately your conscious and subconscious move all events toward your intended outcome—it is to follow your bliss, a path you feel compelled to follow. Risk, fear, doubt are no longer your truths when you follow your heart. True love, true inspiration, is born in the face of adversity as a result of listening to your heart. A determination like no other; a propelling force catapulting you to your truest desire—your inner truth, your deepest fulfillment in life—your purpose.

 It is why problem-free successful people, succeed—they have an ability to express their true desires; their mind and body go after it! Successful people only see solutions and with clear intention go after what they have expressed their true desire to be, they function at higher speed because they do not allow doubt, fear in their space, they function with extreme confidence, a burning desire to manifest their intended purpose, fueled by passion and love for their project. Following your heart is refusing to dwell on the circumstances that life has dealt, not allowing it to stop you from going after what you intended, refusing to look at life with dissatisfaction and accepting its cruel conditions as a necessary force, moving mountains obstructing your path to your highest intended purpose. Success is set in motion by clearly affirming or stating your desire, it will come to fruition if you ask (State what you want, be bold, be clear—what do you desire?), it is the intention set forth: I am passion, I am love, I am kindness, I am abundant—a spiritual path leading to your ultimate heart’s desire. When you set this intention, you could never fail!  Be willing to state boldly what you desire and ask, ask, ask; for in asking, so you shall receive, my dear one. I will always pray for guidance, for resolution, always accessing my highest spiritual guidance—my intention always for good, to serve others, always for peace. I think most are dissatisfied in their lives, because they are too busy focusing on all the materials and lacks in their own lives and mostly because they are not clear with what they genuinely want forgetting to go within. Be bold, state with clarity and the universe shall provide. This poet expresses perfectly, the importance of clarity when expressing your truest desires:

 
I bargained with Life for a penny,
 And life would pay no more,
 However, I begged at evening
 When I counted my scanty store;
 For life is a just employer;
 And gives you what you ask,
 But once you have set the wages,
 Why, you must bear the task.
 I worked for a menial’s hire,
 Only to learn, dismayed
 That any wage I had asked of Life,
 Life would have willingly paid.
 

—Jessie B. Rittenhouse

So off from your couches, get up from your messy beds, and messy lives, and set the right intention for a new year of hope. Trust that all will be well and affirm your deepest desire, listen to your heart and follow it. I assure you; joy is what will follow. Have the courage to admit that you are here on purpose. That your life has meaning if perhaps too many; or one human being whose life will forever  change upon meeting you. Know that you are who you are meant to be, and the world needs you to be where you are now—be present always. One word, one small action—has a lifetime of impact. Are you that public speaker offering encouragement and motivation? We all sure need a little encouragement these days. Perhaps you are a poet; a wordsmith, that will capture that feeling, that emotion marking a historical moment—a moment of unity. Maybe you have an idea that has not yet materialized to physical form—we all have that touch of genius in us, that gift, and sometimes it is just being at the right place at the right time offering a kind word to a stranger—whatever your genius embrace it, be bold and take action, let it take hold of you, if it is for a higher good then go after it! I am currently finding my way through writing. It is my way of offering healing to those vulnerable, to those living uninspired. You see, I worked for many years representing the kindest souls who happen on a period of darkness in their lives and it was my purpose at that time, to assist them in salvaging, perhaps, whatever hope they still had left and help them strengthen their faith. Most of the time, I would listen with my heart, put pen to paper (or maniacally type) and compose a well-written letter (usually 3 – 5 pages 😜) to insurers, and lawyers offering my clients’ stories—no battle, no argument, simple empathy and compassion, entailing a lot of reasonable requests that would assist my clients bringing them comfort in their moment of crisis. I set my message out with good intention, I wrote from the heart—I felt the words as I typed them out. What would follow, almost always would be a quick and simple resolution. No, unnecessary lengthy battles were not my style; it certainly did not do much for my clients who needed their strength to nurse their wounds; to regain their confidence; they had already lost so much. I am excellent at presenting an argument when necessary, but to be argumentative all the time, constantly bickering and quarreling is simply not me. As a side note, be mindful of what you are putting out in the world, if you are constantly arguing your way through life; life has a way of ensuring that everything you attain, must be obtained through argument that is simple law of attraction. For me, I best impress my opponent with truth, transparency and a whole lot of kindness. So, I guess I was able to finesse my skill as a writer, while keeping a full-time position; a job a took great pride in doing for thirty years. I am still on the search; I know I love helping others—serving others is my why, my motivator; to offer kindness, compassion—this has always been my truth. I don’t know where my writing might lead, the fates have taken care of that, I just have to trust, observe, always looking through the eyes of my soul. For now, I enjoy the journey. I do not need to know the how right now, just be, each day becoming a better version of myself as I follow my heart. 

If putting food on the table is what is keeping you from your passion, then moonlight—do not give up on your dream entirely. Experience has taught me that in order to live an inspired life, you must be doing the thing that inspires you. You could have a full-time position for example that pays the bills, but on your spare time, tap into your creative juices, do what fuels your passion, what creates that fire in your belly. For some, it might be taking pleasure in writing, or music perhaps, maybe you are an excellent baker, or that poetic photographer, capturing every image, every experience allowing us to take hold of a beautiful memory; a moment in history; beauty, a joyful moment, such are the works of the beautiful images I am privileged to share in this blog; from such talented amazing photographers—their work a universal language that speaks to the heart. I think that it is important for our sanity, that we continue to nurture our creativity. Do not let your circumstances dictate how your future will unfold, or how much or how less joy in life you have, be sure to listen to your heart—do what moves you, what makes you alive! We all have our moments in life when we feel stuck and although we may not be able to change our current circumstances, we certainly have a choice of how we react to these circumstances, it is in times of adversity that we must dig deep, turn to faith, trust, and always, follow our heart. I understand that this is where most of us get stuck—not knowing ‘the what’ causes worry and anxiety, when it comes to our careers especially, this is where trust is so very important, trust that you are being enough, trust that you are where you need to be—it is finding that sweet space where peace and harmony reside—tapping into your inner knowing, not thinking from your head (or ego) but from your heart. All it takes is believing in yourself, in your gifts, not looking to the outer world to provide certainty. Fine-tune the extraordinary instrument that you are, be bold in knowing when to push your own limits—ride it out see where it leads, rest assured only good will come from it. Learning to view life from the right perspective will change the way you experience life ultimately impacting what you can achieve regardless of circumstance, environment, or limits placed on us by others about what we can achieve. The unknown is where the magic lies—follow your heart.

To lead a successful life, a bountiful life, you must first understand your external influences (how or why you were taught to view life a certain way, or what you see yourself capable of achieving), expectations set by family, society, mostly ego. Thinking with your head is never the way to success, it might be why you have not yet found that ideal partner, the promising career, it might be why you have not achieved peace in your life. It is good to set goals, but all potential, your purpose comes from dreaming the ideal life for yourself, first—so, dream. Once that spark sets off, and you feel it, there is no stopping you. No, you see your heart, is made up of all the beautiful things you put in it, love, compassion, beauty—its originating source constantly giving. You attract into your life what you feel from within. When we think with our hearts, and if we know we are love; a divine creation, there is no room for all the gloom-and-doom naysayers—they will have no impact on the vision you hold for yourself and intentions you set for your life and that will be reflected in your physical outer world. The universe is filled with abundance and prosperity, it is limitless, when you draw from the universe, this space of love, kindness and beauty you set an intention of harmony to the highest level, the highest creation of infinite possibilities. When you follow your heart, you tend to look past judgments, failures, instead by extending love and respect, that energy will return to Source, it will return to you. I may have strayed a bit with my writing, but that is what writers who write from the heart, do😊. We have so much to share and express, it may come out all convoluted at times, but you get the gist. It is not organized thought, it is emotion we feel, we express through our writing, we hope, we dream—our goal: to reach to as many with our message and in this case my message is love—follow your heart.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”—Wilma Rudolph

I will get personal right now: Listen, you can argue all you want, create excuses as to why you are failing at life, blame social issues, politics, conspiracy theories, etc., you need to take a closer look at your inner self, tap into awareness, an awareness that allows you to shift your focus from thought to feel. Once you understand fully that what you think about is what expands, you start selecting your thoughts carefully.  It is why I surround myself with beautiful books, I feed my mind and soul with peaceful messages and it is all I can think and speak about, regardless of what is going on in the world. You learn to feel and become that which is persistently in front of you. Following your heart is why we get to experience such beautiful art, music, enjoy the blockbuster films, or that song where the lyrics, music and performance perfectly combined, express that magical feeling touching us all deeply. Following their heart, is why these individuals master their craft and pursue their dreams—not allowing anyone or anything get in the way of that dream. And no, I am not referring to following ‘one’s passion’, everyone one of us can develop a passion for any field we have profound expertise in and make excellent money at it. No, what I am referring to is that little tug you get on a daily, that fire in your belly when you speak of something that you know so much about, or when you get that flood of euphoria and you start writing and writing to your heart’s content—you work on something that gives you pleasure, most importantly gives you joy. To do or create something to the full extent of your desires, to experience full joy while you are creating is following your heart. So, while there are many articles and blogs out there expressing views on why pursuing one’s passion may not be advisable to the masses when putting food on the table is a priority, I am merely here to express that following your heart on a daily is the way to living an inspired, peaceful, joyful life! I too, had a career in law, which I was passionate about, offering guidance to clients, writing often, mastering my craft, fine tuning my skill—a skill that now has found its way to how I express my love for life. So, while you are out there working away, paying your bills, perhaps you pick up that guitar on the weekend and finally write that song that the world is waiting to hear, or finish that book that has been sitting in that laptop screaming finish my character composition already! Life has a way of expanding our vision, broadening our horizons often teaching us the necessary skills, developing our passions, fine tuning our craft, then topping it off with magic! Don’t worry it will come to you, just follow your heart.

“Let your desire for pleasure and your desire for feeling good, be your only guiding light.”—Abraham Hicks

If you are feeling lost; unfulfilled, it is probably because you are not following your heart, you are too caught up on following the crowd—following someone else’s dream. Do what inspires you, do what lifts your spirits. Close your eyes and feel what you wish to experience in life.  That is the beauty of yoga, the practice is to quiet the mind and feel your pose.  If you think about the pose you wish to achieve—it will be difficult (and yes, painful ☹) but when you feel, let your body flow, with breath, you relax into your desired pose—all is achievable! I will often play music when I am feeling a little uninspired. Usually, it will be all music by Marc Anthony—salsa is my jam😊! Somehow, the universe has a way of ensuring I hear the right song when I most need it. Lyrics in a song often have a way of transporting you to the feels, the emotions, not necessarily the artist was hoping to inject, but what you; the listener, depending on what you are living, is willing to take from that song, that lyric, maybe even that famous quote from a movie. A few days ago, it was that kind of a day and I came across a song by ‘New Radicals’, the song is: “You Get What You Give.”  It speaks to having the music in you and not letting go of your dreams. The most impactful lyric in this song for me was: “This world is gonna pull through…Don’t give up you’ve got a reason to live…Can’t forget we only get what we give…This whole damn world could fall apart, you’ll be okay, follow your heart…you’ve got the music in you…don’t let go…you’ve got the music in you…” Again, I ask that you take what is meant for you—that is the beauty of perspective! Listen with your heart. We only get what we give; so, give with all your heart, life has a way of giving back plenty fold and if you have hit rock bottom—I know you still have a heart, so give kindness, give love—follow your heart.

Looking for a little inspiration, a little motivation (hey who isn’t these days) take some time to yourself, maybe an hour or two and…

 Follow Your Heart…
 Take a walk on the beach if you are fortunate enough; take in that ocean breeze and dream;
 inspiration will find its way—follow your heart;
 For us northerners, we might settle for a brisk walk in that freshly laid snow (there is something about that crunchy snow I love), just you and your thoughts in that cool brisk air;
 a peaceful mind, a peaceful heart;
 surrender to the flow of possibilities—follow your heart;
 For those of us who seem to love the indoors and hide from the cold, sit by the fireplace, drink hot cocoa or coffee, read to your heart’s content, look for the wonderful in everything;
 the world is filled with beauty—follow your heart;
 Dance to your favorite jam, rock, jump, it’s all good—follow your heart;
 If you are a painter, a creator of beauty; digital or other, take out your paint brushes, your easels, your pencils, your laptops, your musical instruments, and create;
 step into your power—follow your heart;
 For love is best enjoyed when it is unexpected, unpredictable, and spontaneous. What you intend in your thoughts with passion,
 you will act upon and ultimately create—follow your heart;
 You see, it is not about the challenges, the struggles, the dark moments,
 we experience when we are led by passion;
 It is knowing we no longer wish to be unhappy; it is by following our hearts’ truest desires, that we spare ourselves the regrets, the “what ifs”, the anxieties;
 it is taking that leap of faith to a life beautifully lived when we,
 follow our hearts. 

—Ana Spano

So, my beautiful souls, as I sit here typing away on my kitchen counter, looking out my window watching the gentle snow coming down, dreaming and following my heart, it is my wish to bring you hope, to offer some cheer and light to your temporary darkness through my writing, my words, my wishes, my prayers. Hope lies in dreams—never forget that.

Dream, desire, ask, pray because life has a magical way of getting you from here to there, always remember to ask and state with clarity your deepest desires, by following your heart, you will get to where you need to be. We are magnificent beings, equipped with all we need for our many journeys in life, to live rich, wonderous, beautiful lives—we need not look far, for everything is already within us. I will leave you with a beautiful quote I came across by George Burns, “The heart is a temple wherein all truth resides.”

Your life is beautiful, make it spectacular—follow your heart!

Remember to offer love to everyone, with Valentine’s Day around the corner—please give extra love! Offer much love to your families (everyone is extra hurting), give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, stay kind and true to yourself.

To the beautiful powerful you,

Ana Spano

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would be incredibly grateful if you would help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. And now I am also on Instagram. You can follow me there! Thank you!