When I see you Smile…

“A Warm Smile Is The Universal Language Of Kindness”—William Arthur Ward

The mood is somber, in this very quiet, cluttery boardroom as staff awaits word on the end-of-month sales quota reports. As staff sits, fidgeting, wondering how they measure on the leaderboard, that almost always affects the ‘talk’ prepared for managers and SDRs, palms are sweaty, brows furrowed for what seems like an eternity—a nail biting moment filled with much unwanted anticipation. Finally, the moment of truth…a senior representative walks into the room, bringing with him: a million-dollar smile. He cracks a joke, taking the edge off removing the stressful tinge of what is known to be such a high intense season. Shoulders relax, everyone in attendance lets out a sigh of relief, as they begin to enjoy the rest of this powerful meeting; a meeting that no doubt will be a positive boosting employee engagement, as all healthy internal competition must be when working and collaborating toward a common goal.

Hello my beautiful souls! April sprung with much unwanted ‘cold’ and May has now arrived hopefully bringing with it some warmer weather. There have been some birthdays that have been celebrated in my family these past few weeks and we hope to finally smell Spring in the air! Although it has been a bit of a cold start, knowing that warmer weather is around the corner, I feel everyone just puts up with the lingering cold weather, in hopes that sunny warmer days are ahead. And with it we will see some warm smiles and oh, how I love to see smiles on peoples’ beautiful faces! It has been quite some time here in Toronto and Vaughan that we have had the good fortune of witnessing some beautiful smiles, as masks become less and less mandatory, and if everyone is being safe as to when to apply mask wearing—it is lovely to see the beautiful smiles once again! Do you agree? Our faces serve to express our many emotions but the most powerful and profound facial expression of them all—the smile.

Smiles are powerful. The scenario I described in my introduction, might resonate with those working or living the corporate life. There are no words needed, once the ‘big boss’ walks in with his / her million-dollar smile; this will certainly set in motion the mood for the kind of meeting it will be, maybe even the week or month ahead. Is this not true? There is something to be said on Julie A. Walker’s quote: “A smile is worth a thousand words.” There are many moments, when only a smile is needed to shift a mood, bring ease, sooth the soul. I can think of a few places where a smile is truly welcomed; hospitals for example is a wonderful place to welcome a smile by caring medical staff, or someone paying a visit to a family or a friend in a hospital setting. Perhaps you are visiting an elderly relative, this is also where a smile is most generous—they are always so eager to catch a glimpse of a smile or a quick hello from anyone; this simple gesture means the world to them. For those working in the service industry, as waiters / waitresses, baristas, reception, customer service—never underestimate the power of a smile, it could be the difference in saving someone’s day, getting that acknowledgement from the higher-ups, and you might even get that once-in-a-lifetime tip by a very caring but very observing patron!  For me, a smile, says a lot about someone, it represents, kindness, love, happiness. It will certainly bring my guard down, in a world currently filled with so much devastation. It is certainly the antidote to discouragement, the tonic to a stressful day, the sunshine to a gray day; bringing hope to those who are feeling hopeless and defeated.  

For first time mothers: you are about to give birth to your first child, not knowing what to expect, you pace, you lie down, uncomfortably, shaking, failing at any attempt to smile—your doctor walks in; a familiar face, always a good sign in moments under pressure, he flashes you a smile, and calmly tells you to breath further adding: “don’t worry, everything is going to be alright,” just keep breathing, baby is doing fine, in a few minutes you will have your bundle of joy in your arms. You cannot help but to smile at this thought. What happened? Understanding that this is a scary experience for first time parents; the doctor, used his human skills, and remembered to flash a smile, letting you know all is well (even if it might not be), but that kind smile, that soft voice, eases any first-time mother, and helps make the once scary process a little more joyful and less terrifying.

Whatever your profession, remember to tap into that human side of you every now and again—it could make a difference for someone facing medical challenges, or to that would-be top biller in your organization that perhaps had an off week, or that lost soul roaming the streets looking for comfort from anyone willing to offer it. Everyone deserves an opportunity, and a smile might just be what they need to offer that confidence, that support; shift their perspective turning their life around with a single, kind smile. There is a reason why there are many songs and quotes on the topic, because smiles offer kindness and that is what the world needs a lot of today. A smile could be the start to a beautiful romantic relationship. It never disappoints and it needs no translation. You can visit any part of the world, flash that wonderful, kind smile, and you are headed in the right direction. While a smile may open the door to opportunities, offering inspiration; studies also show that a smile may offer your mind and body a variety of positive benefits for your health, your mood—it may even lengthen your overall lifespan. Did you know that the muscles we use when we smile, trigger our brain to produce more endorphins—the chemical that relieves pain and stress? This is yet another reason to smile and while you are it, as you increase your mood-enhancing hormones, it will also decrease stress-enhancing hormones including cortisol and adrenaline—say goodbye to high blood pressure! The benefits are limitless when you choose to smile, I choose to smile often because I simply love smiling, because it makes me feel good and I love that it is contagious! Overall, a smile will make you more attractive, so keep smiling!

My mom has always been and still is my inspiration and the reason why I smile always. I can honestly say, I have never seen my mom, never not smiling. Through hard times, bad times, dark moments in life, she always managed to smile. She was up before dawn, being a single mom, it must have not been easy, but she managed, worked long hours, was a wonderful provider and taught us to laugh and be joyful always. That is how I carry out my life, living by example; having survived the corporate world, after being in it for thirty years, I must say, I faced all challenges with a smile on my face always. One of my top rules in life is to enter my workplace with a smile—ready to greet and tackle, my day. Entering an establishment with a smile is always such a great way to keep the momentum of pleasantness throughout your day. As you greet everyone you meet along the way, with a nice gorgeous smile, you will find your experiences to be more pleasant, conversations uplifting. Yes, of course, it helps making a quick stop at my favorite place for hot cocoa before getting into the office—it is always a nice treat to help ease into a day filled with paperwork and whole lot of mental fatigue. (I hope my barista is there ready to greet me with his friendly smile, letting me know: I matter!) By choosing to smile as I enter my workplace, it lets my colleagues know, it is OK to enter my office and share with me the events of their day, perhaps an opportunity for me to cheer them up! This is our purpose after all: to lift others! I fail to understand why it is so difficult for employers to foster a positive environment by choosing to encourage staff rather than knock them down. Will it motivate staff to be harped on first thing in the morning and have the coffee taken away from them because they faltered this month? Production is all about motivation, a simple gesture such as a smile, a “good morning” drastically improves the attitude in any work environment, it helps motivate others around them, while increasing productivity. Why is this not a standard in ‘TOP leadership 101’? Happiness in a workplace environment is a win-win for everyone as it not only leads to success in a workplace but in the personal lives of all involved as well.

There are so many beautiful songs that include ‘SMILE’ in their title or the lyrics setting the mood for a wonderful positive and inspirational vibe! And who does not want to be inspired? The most infamous song simply titled: ‘SMILE’ was inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s instrumental theme soundtrack to his 1936 film: Modern Times. A beautiful film of a story told by Charlie Chaplin telling his audience to cheer up noting there is always a bright tomorrow just as long as you keep smiling. Although the song was not put into lyrics until 1954 by songwriters John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons—they relied on Charlies beloved spirit and image who often kept us laughing in the face of sorrow. Since its original use, ‘SMILE’ has been recorded by numerous artists, like Michel Jackson, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland and many others. A simple smile let’s that recipient know that everything is OK. Without words, a smile gives someone that confidence, that support to tackle trials in life, allowing them to see light once more. As the song says:” You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just…smile.” Believing in the power of smiles, will get you through obstacles, challenges in life, win battles, and influence people to live happy moments in life, in the face of struggles, making life that more beautiful!

“When I see you smile… I can face the world…I can do anything”, ahh, the beautiful lyrics of yet another song, that might be the most popular wedding song back in the day released in 1989 by Bad English titled: ‘When I See You Smile’.  The lyrics speak volumes to how powerful a smile is; a symbol of friendship, peace, kindness, a smile is quite powerful—this simple gesture could influence on so many levels, forever changing the way you look at life—at your future partner in life. A smile will shift a perspective on any situation—by simply making things better, letting you know everything is alright—it is the ultimate remedy! Og Mandino said it best: “A smile remains the most inexpensive gift I (you) can bestow on anyone and yet its powers can vanquish kingdoms.” Perhaps the most beautiful smile is the one on a bride’s face—it is the most beautiful curve on a bride’s face! A beautiful compliment to a wedding gown.

It has been a tough two years, losses suffered, challenges, breakdown in communication from families, businesses, governments, but even with the pandemic as an omnipresent backdrop, life went on; life goes on, if only you would choose to smile; I won’t promise that it will fix everything in your life, but it is a positive start to get you in the right momentum, to getting you to a better tomorrow, one smile, one kind word, one heart beat at a time. The darkness we lived for two years has cracked us wide open, we have lived our most vulnerable moments—for all to watch. Our hurts—our weapons that allowed us to face our next challenge, from this hurt, from this pain our communities were able to draw inspiration—to live our lives the way we intended through the ups and downs—all of it. The dream is the hope that we remain together as survivors in the face of division, as warriors in the face of hatred, to be kinder humans in the face of pain, loss, sorrow. As May draws in, it is my hope and wish that the good weather, and as communities begin to unmask safely, that we do it; one smile at a time, one hug at a time because following in Mother Teresa’s footsteps: “Peace begins with a smile. “

Keep yourself vibrationally in tuned with who you are and remember to smile if you need a little pick-me-up, kindness will always be reflected. If you add a smile to how you think and how you view the world it will only serve, to experience a much kinder, gentler, forgiving world. So, keep smiling, try and keep your head up to the sky, face your challenges with kindness, be contagious with your smile, you never know who might need it more! Always giving yourself the utmost unconditional love along the way!  You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life; your confident smile will only help you feel more empowered and what a wonderful way to feel right now! Remember to stay humble and offer kindness, elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity and great privilege to meet today, with a simple smile. Be the person you wish to meet—be an excellent example of a human. Offer much love to your family and friends, give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

Celebrating the beautiful powerful you,

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!

What is Your Story?

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity,”—Tahir Shah

As I scour the plentiful social media outlets, the endless headlines, negative and positive, I can not help but wonder: what is the behind story of that individual whose name is being plastered all over the news? I have written in the past, about knowing people’s backstory before placing judgment, (although judgment gets you nowhere and must never be part of your practise), make assumptions, or downright feel we truly know someone in any given scenario. I am not suggesting that knowing someone’s story will change a negative outcome and spin it to a positive, but it will certainly change your perspective and offer a better understanding of where something may have gone wrong.  The perception of the act will certainly be altered; the act will remain a negative but, in my opinion, the back story always offers an opportunity for forgiveness.

Hello my beautiful souls! February flew by, my Christmas tree is down and out! I took my Christmas tree down in February when I initially started writing this post.  It was my intent to post this article in February but life happens…. I experienced a painful moment in life—the loss of my little furry friend of 16 years. She was the life of our home, always, getting our attention whenever possible. She was energetic, playful and boy did she love her food. She was petite, and was a perfect esthetic match to our home, her colors flowed beautifully in our home with a pinch of strawberry blonde near her floppy ears. We miss her dearly. My heart aches where her little paw once rested. It is hard to believe that our house is left with such a large void, an emptiness brought on from a painful loss of such a little bundle. But life is like that, it offers moments of joys, highs, and lows, we just need to be present every moment, ensuring to take it all in. Her departure was quick, no suffering. The last few months before her demise, I especially paid attention to her cues in what she wanted, when she wanted a hug, a cuddle, playtime, or we simply stared into each other’s souls quietly. I am grateful to have experienced being a #DOGMOM, it truly taught me to appreciate these furry little creatures; I often refer to as: Martians—they are so sweet and lovable!

When I initially set out to write this article, it was my intent to start by saying farewell to the Christmas cheer while taking every moment in—no rush. Why is everyone in a rush to move to the next event—savor every moment, every minute—life is gorgeous, it is not a race, it is meant to be enjoyed! But life, through a wrench, and instead I write about saying goodbye to my sweet furry friend. How fitting, to discuss moments; seasons in life, that should never be rushed. Cherish every moment, every second with loved ones—these are special gifts. For me, the Christmas spirit is not meant to be rushed—it is meant to be savored—a moment in life, I wish would last forever, so my tree stays for as long as I need it to. It is a memory in time, transporting me to when I was a little girl and my sister and I were newly arrived in Canada; imagine how wonderful, and joyful I felt at the age of six seeing this magnificent tree filled with Christmas presents right to the very top! It would be the first Christmas we would experience snow, cold, and truly be the centre of attention as my mom was the only one among her friends that had kids—her adult friends yearning to please two little girls, wishing they could experience Christmas through our innocent, joyful eyes! It would be every year after, that I would celebrate Christmas in the most wonderful, sweet, giving way, because of that very special first Christmas here in Canada back in 1975. You see, our stories, our experiences, tell a lot about why, we act, react, and do the things we do. Not all Christmas before or after could have been perfect, some may have been sad (because that’s life), but I choose to only remember the one that brought me joy and warmed my heart, and it will forever be the reason why I love celebrating Christmas so much! And I pass on this Christmas cheer to my girls.

Christmas is not the only reason why I am so full of spirit, I also enjoy music—all music, it is good for my soul! If I could, I would listen to music 24/7, but I have to think of my family—they would disown me if I had music playing on my magical Bose speaker; you see, for me, music is meant to be listened at a moderate volume, not through earbuds, instead have it fill a room, it is the purest form of art and meant to be appreciated by all listeners, engaging us in the most deepest ways, transcending us to a deeper emotional level—it is an important part of human existence. Music enriches our lives by connecting us to decades and even a century past—a treasured gift offering us the opportunity in the present to understand the past; unique sounds, melodies, ingeniously crafted that transcends the years, bonding us one beat at a time. The beauty of music is that everyone’s experience is different by the emotion conveyed by the singer, chords, the notes, the meaning of the song produce an emotion unique to the listener determined by our past experiences. A note, a melody, a lyric might transport you to a time in your life that makes you happy or sad; music is a direct expression of beauty; it can carry us through the darkest of nights bringing you tears of joy or tears of sadness it all depends on your perspective—your story, your past hurts, your joys. A single song can capture a meaningful moment in your life while it can be entirely meaningless until context is provided—the story behind the meaning of the song to you. A song can have many interesting interpretations until context is provided and can be appreciated for different reasons by different people, resulting in different experiences—and this is gorgeous! When I am seeking inspiration, I know I will find it in music.  

If you ever have the opportunity of riding in my car with me, you will have to endure music from all eras; it is what gets my heart pumping! It is the coffee to my morning! Once you meet me, and you get my backstory you will then get a sense as to why I am so hyped for so many reasons, particularly why I appreciate and love Christmas and music so much. Sadly, we never get the opportunity to know even the slightest tidbit about someone when in passing, our lives are not meant to fit in a 3×5 cue card pasted on our foreheads, instead what we see are blank faces, wardrobes that may or may not appeal to us, occasionally we watch someone have a melt-down and wonder what happened? Where did it go wrong for them? Will it happen to me? But what is their story? Why did they falter?  Every choice has a consequence. Every character a story. Success depends on the actions that we take, the intentions we set in motion. Our stories often shift our perceptions—allow it; shift, evolve and commit to your own growth.

It is fascinating knowing that not only music but even the slightest scent will transport you to another time when you were… (you fill in the blank). Again, this is part of your story. It is wonderful exploring your roots, understanding why you do certain things, or see certain actions, rituals, traditions in a certain way, maybe it is an ancestral thing—and that’s your story! Perhaps that is why I truly enjoy watching NFL football, I mean I am manically obsessed, and I love that my daughters are now sharing that love. We watch every game, dissect every play, every coach, every player, particularly all quarterbacks. So, it may not be fun watching football with us because we do not have one team that we particularly root for (not since Montana retired), but we seem to root for a lot of the underdog teams, quite possibly because we fall in love with their stories. Every game is filled with passion, emotion, and loads of excitement.  For me, it is more than stats; when I look at a player, it is about heart. The dedication and focus these players bring to the sport is exhilarating—pure joy to watch! There are teams who have not made it to the Superbowl in quite some time, because of a “curse”, or a rivalry between players, coaches, owners, that has gone on before I was born! (I know that long!) When you are a neutral party as I am, watching football, I can understand why there are teams that play extra hard when up against certain teams (I mean it is a bloodbath out there.). At times, I may sway a certain way for a particular team to win because maybe they deserve the win, that shiny ring that lets them know all the sacrifice, all the defying odds, overcoming versatility, was all worth every sweat, blood, and tears! They show their passion, grit, emotion—they leave it all on the field—an all-deserving attitude, in my book is a winning team. Before that QBs greatness, there is sacrifice—a maniacal level of focus and commitment that is paid with emotion and true sacrifice. A spectator who simply watches the game looking out for their team might miss out on the meaning behind that “win” for an opposing team and simply get upset that their team “did not win”. I am here to tell you there is life after loss—your team has a chance again next year.

After seven rings, the man in the arena, may end a season in his life, and start a new story. Those of you who follow football know I am referring to. Tom Brady’s story is one full of adversity, hard work, extreme sacrifice, his hype focus in everything he does from training, personal and career is what makes him legendary. If you are not a fan of his, you just choose to see a player with horseshoes, loads of luck and annoyingly in the way of your team achieving ‘their greatness’.  When you learn that his story is not about easy breaks, or first round picks, then you begin to really understand and appreciate, his level of hunger, and obsessive need to acquire that ring time and time again. Tom, has earned his place in that arena—no argument there. With NFL draft right around the corner, I am excited to watch and read about the new additions joining the NFL family, to observe their super strengths and get to know their stories that got them there. What was that journey like?

That is the magic of life, we are forever weaving beautiful stories, the complexity of life always allowing us to pivot where we must, giving our experiences meaning—forever intertwining—keeping our stories limitless as long as we feel the beat of our heart. But enough about football, as life had something planned for me for the month of February, I am a little late with my football analogy (so my apologies) but I chose to keep my work in progress, as our stories are essential in inviting people into our world, helping others understand our essence, what we are made of, why we think, why we do the things we do. Equally important are the places we visit, the rooms we think in, dream, create—they house our stories beautifully and although we change—these places remain keeping the memories of what once—alive! Our experiences shape us, we start one way, and then we learn that it is not how we wish to be seen, or how wish to be in this world—and so we change.  The change, the pivot, then forms part of the greatness that is to come, what unfolds then becomes part of a legacy left behind—your story.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”—Henry Ford

I love finding out what makes people “tick”, just as much as what makes someone so giving, so gentle, showing kindness every opportunity, they get. I felt compelled to share the importance of knowing someone’s “story”, especially with the many strands of diversity felt in the world today some brought on by a very real pandemic raging from social issues, political divides, global/ environmental change, highlighting the more subtle challenges faced by families facing work-life challenges today as a result. The present pulse of this planet is not all painful, these circumstances nothing but opportunities for those in decision making positions to tap into creative ways removing some of the barriers, offering us the opportunity to come together to offer solutions. Education is the key to success. My philosophy is that we are all here for a purpose. With this understanding, this awareness, I hold no judgment to those pursuing a life and living it as they choose. In some cases, radical change is being made, directly and indirectly—some arguments irrelevant to the cause, but eh, in the spirit of protest I guess anything goes(?) I will fight for a cause, walk with you to help promote positive change in a manner that is pro-peace, pro-love, but I refuse to engage in activities that are ‘against’ something often promoting ‘hateful’ behaviour because to do so, is to engage in the very thing most protestors feel their fight is about, ultimately infringing on my peace and everyone involved. The key to a positive change, is education—to understand all issues as fully as possible. To fully understand is learning to listen. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Don’t choose to remain—expand your vision, by allowing and accepting those who are different than you. What if we take the time to learn and listen to the story behind a positive or negative result? Educate yourself, see what history tells us happened 100 years ago. What was the result then? We must always strive for improvement, it is never about resisting change, it is always about moving forward with change in whatever form, keeping the safety and good health for the highest good of all. We must value ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and we must do our part to protect what we work so hard to build, that includes our relationships—all is relevant—all form part of our story. It is only human to protect the lives of the ones we share. The stories we tell ourselves are in the present—the legacies we leave behind are a gift to future generations. If fear is what is keeping you from moving forward, then seek opportunities to expand your viewpoint. Invite healthy discussions that will assist in building trust and acceptance. The solution is not to go out into the world and show your worst face, your ignorance on any given topic, please tell me your worldly knowledge is not pinned to a 12×15” sign spewing fearful, negative and hateful messages, how is this a step forward for the good of any cause?

The word inspiration means: “in-spirit”. That is our purpose collectively: is to inspire or be inspired. If you are busy surfing social media, and it leaves you uninspired then, I am here to tell you that you are not using your time wisely or seeking the right inspiration. STOP feeling threatened by what others appear to be doing and START working on your own happily ever after. If you are feeling too afraid or perhaps your joy, your peace, have been taken away for reasons out of your control, learn to take small steps to start spinning your successful story. Here are some helpful hints that will help you start:

  1. STOP looking at what others are doing or not doing. What do you want to do? What would you like to accomplish? Visualize it. Fantasize it with every fiber of your being (include, feelings, smell, touch). See it in your minds eye.
  2. Meditate – calm the busy mind. Extremely helpful if suffering from anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. The idea is not so much as to “quiet” the mind, but become aware of your thoughts. The more you practise meditation, the more you slow down your thoughts enough   and learn to become laser focus on things that matter.
    • Also, practise visualization of the life you wish to lead through meditation and practise gratitude every morning and evening.
    • By calming the mind, you will learn to better receive information, answers to your daily challenges—hence this will ease your frustration/anxiety.
  3. Work on YOU – master your craft. If you do not know yet what that craft is, work on improving yourself, find a skill, learn something new—get your creative juices flowing. LOVE what you do and do what you LOVE. Be an inspiration by doing what you love.
  4. Be a good listener. You will notice people are often giving us clues about their, likes, dislikes, their hurts, their joys—listen. Learn to be a better friend, parent, sibling, employee, employer, spouse—this can only be achieved by offering someone your devoted attention. Learning their story helps develop compassion offers us an opportunity to be inspired.
  5. Introducing a new activity, a new routine might be just what you need to put the spark back in your eyes and beautiful mind!

My story is that I was once a #DOGMOM of a 12lb. Yorkshire terrier Maltese. My heart swells watching pet videos, because in loving my little ‘Buttercup’, I learned to appreciate the unconditional love pets give. I have compassion for others who are going through a loss of a pet or loved one because it is a painful experience. They are missed, they are loved. This is part of my story. My story also includes being a mom, a wife, a writer, a corporate professional, a friend, a daughter taking care of her aging mom, loving my friends; there are many strands you can pull, take apart, in many directions—one truth remains throughout—am I a good person? Am I kind? Am I loving? For me, the answer to all is yes, but there is always room for improvement!

In life, we may hold various positions professionally earning us a certain set of figures, we may hold many titles within our respective fields, we may also live in certain homes, lead a certain lifestyle, we have political views—but it does not define who we are. When a story resonates with the reader, listener, or spectator, when we add circumstances to context, and add these fillers to the stories we hear, it often offers the listener/observer that inspiration in whatever form they seek—a belief in our motives, characters, and capacity to reach the goals we set out to seek.

Stories are beautiful to our everyday life, we take great pride in living our stories, they are unique, they are ours, they are home to our hurts, our joys, our strengths, our struggles. As we go about life, we learn to appreciate our own stories, we embrace, we reflect, we love, we forgive, we get inspired, hopefully we offer inspiration along the way. When someone invites you in and shares their story, you must take it with great privilege, as you have been given an opportunity to understand that individual on a whole other level; an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, to love. Sharing our stories make us vulnerable, in that vulnerability comes great power. The key to our well-being, are the stories we tell ourselves, our interpretation of them, the perspectives of an optimistic life or one full of demise—which do you hold true for yourself? The key to a well-lived story; a well lived life is to find meaning in the progression from one event to the next. Happiness is the result in cognizing every experience is necessary for growth.

Our ultimate triumphs, our success in life is found in how we deal with our challenges—who we end up being reflects our experiences. The people we help along the way, the places we go, the homes we build, the everyday interactions we have all become part of our stories that form part of our memories. We must always remember that we must never give our power away—no man or woman has the power to dictate anything over you. Be proud, be wise, live the life that you feel you deserve, honor yourself—everyone has a story worth sharing. Whether it’s the Queen of England, the ultimate influencer, the greatest NFL player of all time or the awesome barista who manages to get your morning beverage on point every time—everyone has a story worth sharing. We just need to open ourselves up to receiving their interaction in our lives, in whatever form that may take.

It is with great urgency, that I share this message with you, to bring an awareness to the role we all play everyday in the lives of those whose path we cross daily. Life is a gift. We are here to interact with everyone, our paths for ever intertwining. Make the most of it, share great moments, compassion, empathy, keep learning not only from your daily experiences but from those you have the privilege to meet. Life is meant to be lived—you only get one, so be sure your story is messy, and ready to be told and shared with those who show great interest, with those who share compassion.

March is the month when spring officially begins; it is a month of new beginnings—often offering blasts of all seasons in one month to remind us of the seasons, and emotions past, while at the same time offer appreciation of the hopeful season; moments that soon turn to new experiences and memories ahead! My wish is that you enjoy the remainder of March and be sure to keep safe in everything you plan to do, keep in mind that you share the planet with others who may be vulnerable who may be hurting, who are defenceless in the face of the current temporary darkness and as you go about creating, sculpting, spinning your beautiful unique story, that you are mindful that NOT everyone is privilege to your story in the first five minutes of meeting you, but you certainly have so much to offer in the first five minutes of any encounter to simply be the best version of yourself and leave this planet a little better that you found it. Always remembering the importance of feeling joy and happiness in whatever you do! 

Keep yourself vibrationally in tuned with who you are. How you think and how you view the world affects the story that will be told about your life. Ultimately you have control of your narrative—accept that it will not always be perfect; it will be messy in the middle—that is the best part—it is what makes you human!  You get to make choices about how to clean it up, change it, design yourself a life you deserve, and by telling your story you learn to see the beauty in your own life! Write your beautiful script and live out each chapter by being present—always giving yourself the utmost unconditional love along the way! It is never about re-writing your story that will make you better, but how you view yourself and your limiting beliefs that will help the healing and keep you growing. A powerful story leads to a powerful successful life!  You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life; be sure your story begins with how empowered you feel and are! Remember to stay humble and offer kindness, elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity and great privilege to meet today. Be the person you wish to meet—be an excellent example of a human. Offer much love to your family and friends, give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

Celebrating the beautiful powerful you,

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!

Celebrate Life—Enjoy everything!

“Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.”—Seneca

In life, we go through a series of seasons some dark some offering hope. We also have the privilege of experiencing the change in seasons. Are you a lover of the warmer seasons? Maybe you enjoy and worship the sun? or perhaps you are more of a snow worshiper embracing the cold and beauty of snowfall? The variations of seasons are a result of change in weather, ecology, and sunlight or lack thereof. Similarly, the seasons of our life experiences are also affected by the many changes we go through, brought on by our emotions, environment, affecting our many perspectives. We also celebrate the many festive seasons; some we love, some not so much—all offering us the opportunity to create lifelong memories. Success, however, is a season in our lives offering much reward inward and out. When we meet our goals in life, when we move ahead in our respective professional career paths, we certainly feel the need to celebrate and why not? we certainly earned it! It seems to me, for most, that is where the celebration ends. We celebrate our successes, our ‘rights’ in life but we forget to celebrate the little things, the everyday mundane, the everyday laughter, joys, love, beauty!  Celebrate it all—this is living a purposeful life, seeing the beauty in everything. Each new day holds a wonderful new surprise for you, all you must do is be ready to receive it. It may not always come in the form of joy (or in the form you expect it), but it will certainly expand you and open your heart making room for more beauty.

Hello my beautiful souls!  November has arrived bringing with it the spirit we all need as we head towards the most celebrated season of all: Christmas! It most certainly is my favorite time of the year! It is a time to reflect, to write in my journal of what was, what hopes I have for the New Year, and what gives me the most joy, my heart fills with love as I write what I am most grateful for while celebrating the highs and lows of a year gone by.  I have many things to be grateful for, my family is priority of course, but I am extremely grateful for the friendships I have the great privilege to be in company with—they are a blessing in my life! The start of this month has been a moment of great reflection for me, and a moment of expressing gratitude; having had the good fortune of meeting up with my friends whenever possible, in a safe manner of course, to simply enjoy a good meal, a good laugh, excellent company; it certainly helps heal the soul!

Nothing gives me more pleasure than, spending time with dear friends whether for a small birthday lunch, or a simple brunch to catch up, or perhaps a couple’s night with two of my dearest oldest friends—my heart is filled knowing that I have such wonderful kind-hearted friends. I came across some beautiful quotes on friendships as I wrote this article, here is one by Paramahansa Yogananda: “There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.” These difficult times has shown me just how truly special my friends are; I am humbled in experiencing the fine balance of giving and receiving, sharing great love and support for one another, ready to lift each other up, to provide kindness and support during a time of healing, during a time of loneliness, a time of simply reaching out for company and warmth—I celebrate and value good friendships.

So, celebrate your achievements, applaud your triumphs, but be mindful that the most beautiful things in life are not associated with money or fame or the things we see with our physical eyes—but rather the sweet memories of the little moments in life that make us feel special, that make us feel love. I have made it a point in life to always be myself around others never compromising my authenticity. I love who I am, and every day I discover something new. Discovering who I am, is and has been the most important adventure of my life. I discover myself in the friendships I make, the relationships I have, the experiences I choose to participate in—I embrace it all! I celebrate my uniqueness, my true authentic being, flaws and all, I celebrate the challenges that come my way, by facing fear head-on and I have the humbleness of celebrating my failures, and imperfections, allowing me to appreciate the world with eyes wide-open—I open my heart and embrace all that it is, I become more compassionate of the world around me.

As we move from what was the most perfect fall weather here in Toronto, with its beautiful fall colors, bountiful harvest and warmth of the holiday and traditions, we now move to the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season and cheer, perhaps a quieter tone less hustle due to restrictions, but a bustle of a season no-less. There will be plenty to do, baking, decorating, wrapping, and spending time with our loved ones. Since the pandemic, I find that things have slowed down, which is a plus; yes, service is slower because of limited help and limited capacity (I hope everyone is conscious of this, so please be calm on your outings), but due to this down time, it has also made more time for family and if you are like me, I love having my little family at home with me, watching movies, ordering in, and just enjoying good conversations. Less “hustle” is better. I now decorate with purpose and intention—no rush, it is all about how I wish to decorate, how I wish to organize—I am no longer consumed with how fast it needs to get done. It is beautiful to go about life being deliberate with your intentions. Do you agree? I celebrate, my time and space, to be able to appreciate every thought, every movement—time is our most precious gift. There is no “right time” to start existing. There is no “right time” to learn the lessons that needed to be learned to create better futures—the right time is always the present. The pandemic may have brought a lot of dark moments to many, but it also brought moments of simplicity—slowing down time allowing us to truly appreciate every moment, every experience and everyone in it. I celebrate experiences, memories, and the precious time necessary to make them!

What the world needs to celebrate more of:

  1. Celebrate FAMILY. Making memories is the best movie experience in life, the best past time, anyone could ask for. Yes, we all have our quirks, our differences, our highs and lows—make the most of it!  LOVE is the key to everything! When you smother love to everything, it all falls into place and memories is the precious result. So, hug, call, virtual call, a loved one and let them know just home much you appreciate them in your life because in the end, family and love is all that matters.
  2. Celebrate your TRIUMPHS and your LOSSES—everything is necessary to make who you are and where you want to be in life. Embrace darkness, embrace challenge, embrace change just keep moving. Losses and darkness are meant to be experienced for growth, just be sure to stay in awareness, shift, evolve and commit to your own growth—don’t live in regret, resentment, fear—know there is life after loss.
  3. Celebrate ALL SEASONS; those we have the pleasure of enjoying outwardly by showcasing fabulous fashion wear, blessings, and good cheer, and the moments in life responsible for shifting our perspectives.
  4. Celebrate KINDNESS. Every morning I get up, I wish kindness on this world. It is the magic that makes life, gentler, more enjoyable. It is wonderful to visit an establishment and receive a smile; a kind soul opening the door for me—it lets me know all is OK in their world and it is wonderful they are passing along that kind vibration on to me.
  5. Celebrate PEACE. My wish for everyone is to experience peace always, it is always at the top of my prayers because it is everything to have peaceful moments in life. It is right up there with optimal health. I read somewhere that: the way to peace is through radical acceptance. Celebrating our differences is not only pivotal in our growth as humans but it helps us understand and learn to accept and co-operate with one another, reminding us how committed we are to progress and evolve as ONE in harmony. Peace is what I strive for in my personal life all day, every day. Having peace in my life; in my household, let’s me know I have the right partner in life, excellent children, a loving family—all is well in my world. I invite it always with open arms.
  6. Celebrate GOOD FOOD. We should also add celebrate good conversations because where there is good food, good company always follows which invites good conversations. My daughter and I will search up new recipes and try one at least once a week.  It is wonderful looking up our favorite chefs; some pros, some simply gifted following their passion and love for food, and we try to recreate these mouth-watering recipes in our little kitchen. Since the beginning of time, the sharing of food, has and always will be part of human history. “To break bread together,” captures the deliciousness that is food, that is as powerful to forge relationships, bury our sorrows and provoke nothing but good laughter.
  7. Celebrate CULTURAL DIVERSITY. Enjoying good food, becomes even more delicious as we allow our palates to savor the wonderful flavors from many parts of the world. That is the beauty of living in Canada, there is so much culture to be savored. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience the diversity in cultures; to find out more about what we have in common rather than what separates us and to enjoy all the beauty in our differences as well! Understand, welcome and celebrate different traditions, beliefs, cultures, and histories—they help shape society.  
  8. Celebrate LOVE. There is something about this beautiful feeling that we generate, so profound, so intimate, so magical, letting us know that all is well in the world. There is no single way to practice love—every relationship has its uniqueness. When we experience LOVE, it is to have faith, and when we have faith, we learn to trust. To invite love into your world is to know GOD, to know Source, the Universe, to believe in something greater than you. And from this place of love, inspiration flows—allowing you to see a future without obstacles, trusting all will work out for you. When we LOVE our perspectives shift from a lack mentality to an abundant one, we begin to look for more wonderful things, more wonderful experiences—see the world the way it is meant to be, full of beauty.

As Tom Peter says: “Celebrate what you want to see more of.”  Celebrate Life! If you believe in a higher good, Source, God, The Universe—ask yourself: why have we been put on this earth?  Are we here to only feel fear, sorrow, losses and hide in a corner; to limit ourselves to what we want to see and feel in this world or are we here to experience the joys, to live life to the absolute fullest? We were given eyes, and senses to feel—see and feel the beauty in everything; like an artist respects every line, every detail, every curvature, so too, must you learn to see the beauty in everything you do, in everything you experience. You are the architect of your life, create all the beauty you wish to see in it; see and feel your way, attract that which you wish to see in your outer world.

It seems to me that most, sit on the side lines, looking through the window watching life go by, always looking through a lens, when you could be out there participating, taking the life and world around us, experiencing it wholeheartedly, being fully present in the excitement of creativity! Stop looking at the world, stop looking at life, through the lens of your life experiences—your old hurts, personality, and conditioning—this only keeps your world limited. Life has taught me that every situation, person, place, thing, in our lives may be seen through one of two lenses: fear or love. Which do you choose? Recognizing that nothing in your outer world must change to begin to see the life you wish to participate in—by simply changing your perception of what you are currently seeing, refocusing the lens of your inner world; learning to view life through the eyes of LOVE, you will begin to attract more of what you wish to see in your outer world. The lens of kindness and love are key to your future successes! I am a believer in kindness—I always offer it.

Since we are on the topic of kindness; to offer an update on my basement fiasco (Read my blog on the Path of Least Resistance): yes, kindness prevailed! The wonderful independent insurance adjuster, that took over my claim came through for me with loads of kindness. Everything has been approved, mold removal and all! I will trust that the restoration process will go well, and I will have my basement back in time for Christmas (fingers crossed)! I must trust and have faith because everything always works out for me. What did I do to shift my perspective? Although I suffered a significant setback, with damage to my basement, going through the headache of dealing with insurers, contractors, etc. I could have easily set myself further on a downward spiral for a series of events leading to more disappointment, instead, I contemplated, looked for kindness in everyone, looked for the good in every experience (even if it looked bleak at the time☹) and I allowed the flow, I did not allow worry or anger block my path of least resistance and all lead to a positive resolution! I stepped into the flow, allowed it to take me where it needed to, I took the path of least resistance, listened to my inner knowing, letting me know that all will be taken care of and I allowed the people that presented in my life resulting from this event; this experience, to do what they needed to do. For now, I may not understand the reason why this happened, but I don’t get caught up in the “why’s”, I am sure the answer will come to me, if not perhaps for my writing process and share with you my little miracles! Let’s celebrate a shift in perspective and most importantly let’s celebrate kindness!

I am beginning to appreciate the month of November a little more—as a Canadian, not really having any holidays to celebrate during this month; a quiet month sandwiched between Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations and of course Christmas ahead—our final celebration of the year, November has quietly snuck up and has become a month of reflection. It is there to allow time to draw up lists for things that need to get done in the upcoming weeks, it allows me to journal and gather my thoughts, reflecting on gratitude of the months gone by, it also allows me to take a breather and simply be without any pressure.  I will celebrate November as a month to get my thoughts together, enjoy activities with purpose that will allow me to be purposeful in my actions and be more present in enjoying the season ahead. Thank you, November, I celebrate you and welcome you with open arms!

As you embrace November, and you work on wrapping things up for the year, and as you safely go out shopping or gather with friends to celebrate the season, take in life with a different perspective—live it intentionally! It is wonderful to celebrate the seasons gone by but be present in everything you do—the now is all that is available to you—trust that everything happens for you, that it happens in a timely manner and learn to enjoy the synchronicities in life happening for you in the highest good.

As Christmas closes in, my wish for you is that you embrace the weeks ahead with good cheer, no stress, no worries, just the simple feeling of love in your heart and have fun at it because that is what life is meant for! To enjoy everything, to celebrate every moment, help each other out, and have loads and loads of fun! I sit here on my kitchen counter, writing, hoping you will enjoy reading the tidbits I share from my journey, while enjoying the Christmas music in the background because it warms my heart, it inspires me, and I celebrate Christmas music/songs in every language. Say goodbye to seasons past, old hurts and never lose your sense of adventure, discover new ways to view the beauty of our everyday life experiences those we share with our families, friends, strangers and most importantly those we share with ourselves, while discovering who we are. So, dance, laugh, enjoy the deliciousness that is food, that is love, and go out there and share your best self with the world. As the song says: “Give Love On Christmas Day.” Except, find it in your heart to give LOVE everyday—the world needs more love. Celebrate the beautiful wonderful you because you have a lot to celebrate for!

My wish is that you enjoy the remainder of November and the joyful season ahead! Be sure to be safe in everything you plan to do, but most importantly feel joy and happiness in whatever you do!  Feel the spirit of the season with great amazing vibes!

Keep yourself vibrationally in tuned with who you are, always giving yourself the utmost unconditional love! You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life! Remember to stay humble and offer kindness, elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity and great privilege to meet today. Offer much love to your family and friends, give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

Celebrating the beautiful powerful you always,

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!

Energy Vampires

“People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely. ”—Hans F. Hansen

In the spirit of Ghoul season, let us discuss these pesky Energy Vampires that leave us feeling drained, often keeping us from enjoying our work or more importantly, our personal time in the most positive way. I refer to these Energy Vampires as ‘energy suckers’ or ‘sucking-all-that-is-fun-out-of-life’ suckers!  What is going on with these people? What is the frame of mind that drives them daily? It is important to be aware of your energy, always value your emotion as it plays a vital role in your well-being. It is not necessary to cut all ties from these energy sucking vampires but simply be aware; never allow yourself to get caught up in the drama of their perception of disappointment with events occurring in their lives. Always know Source; the Universe, has your back, spinning beautiful synchronicities and serendipitous events sometimes leading you to difficult events, difficult relationships; the highs and the lows that let you know that you are not necessarily away from your path but learning important life lessons before experiencing the ‘magic’, the wonderous and beautiful silver linings of a current darkness. Embrace everything.

Hello my beautiful souls! Halloween is here and my wish is that your mood is not as dark as your seasonal Halloween decorations with all its intended creepiness. So, what is your mood with your fellow co-workers, family, and close relationships? Do they suck the life out of you? Do certain events in life drain you?  We must always be ware of these energy vampires because when we allow ourselves to get too deep in a situation or circumstance, we might have a tough time shaking it off, leaving us feeling down about ourselves for days to come. I have always somehow subconsciously created a personal energy shield around me for protection from these energy vampires.

Energy is everywhere; we are the ultimate gatekeepers of our own energy. As co-creators on this planet, we have the power to choose how we want to feel on our journey and the experience we wish to have. There are times, however, when we might be a bit pre-occupied, and we let our guard down unintentionally, or intentionally allowing these nasty low energy critters to take hold of our mood! I read somewhere that our thoughts and actions are constantly shaping and reshaping neural pathways in our brain. In fact, there are studies that suggest that much of our behaviour is contagious. Imagine a web of energy brain patterns from those we spend a significant amount of time with, ignite and take hold of our energy space; these waves of information, or patterns of emotions, infiltrate and we become synchronized. Yikes!  That is spooky! However, if the individual you are surging power from has natural high energy or is high powered with positivity, that may be a wonderful experience (depending on the time-of-day😊) but not so fun when the other is low, low in their thoughts, their emotions, leaving you spent at the end of your visit. I also read however, that when it comes to negative energy; it is by choice. Something to think about. Higher energy prevails as higher energy always converts the lower energy—it is wonderfully contagious and very much welcomed! I am very familiar with high energy; my daughters will tell you, I was horrible at putting them to sleep when they were younger because of my high-strung energy. I would overwhelm them with high energy, and it would be hours before I could sneak back to my room and get my 2hr. sleep (☹).  My husband on the other hand—knocked them right out in seconds! Now why can’t my energy powers be used to jolt my entire family into participating with the house cleaning, errand running and meal prepping? This is a mystery, one that I will devote my time to figuring out.

In his book, ‘The Happiness Advantage’, Shawn Achor, author, and researcher, shares how much our habits, attitudes, actions are quite contagious. In his words, his research illustrates how; “actions spread through a complicated web of connections to infect those around us.” His research has led to support that everyone’s influence extends to people within three degrees—our influence is powerful! Shawn refers to involuntary actions or mimic actions to ‘mirror neurons’ which effect not only our physical actions, such as when witnessing a pin prick and our bodies react as if we are physically feeling the pain, but also affecting our emotions. We are constantly assessing the mood around us and acting accordingly, such as a contagious smile. Our brains are constantly processing the feelings of those around us. When I walk into a room, I immediately scan the room for the vibe, what is the general mood? I take in the body language observe those having conversations, to sense the tone, the expression, etc. When we do this, when we scan the room, our bodies are subconsciously absorbing and mimicking what we see. I do not know about you, but I cannot watch a fight seen on the screen without immediately reacting to a hit or impact as if I am physically feeling the pain, my body jerks into motion.

“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.”

Emotions have impact, so does overt negativity which can infect a group of people—so mind your precious energy! If you are particularly in a low mood, or anxious, a negative mindset—it will have a ripple effect to your well-being (hence my fall of June 2021 and my leaky basement also in the same month, coincidence? I think not) and we all know ‘negativity ‘does not work to anyone’s benefit so why allow it to take over you? As Eckhart Tolle describes it: “Negativity is the psychic pollutant.” We have all experienced such pollution from relationships, our work colleagues, our bosses. Have you ever attended an office meeting optimistic to grow your potential and your boss decides to bring his low energy ‘pep talk’ to the meeting, bashing whoever is in their path, bringing all moral to its lowest? Why do individuals in leadership roles choose to sabotage their businesses this way? Are they not aware that the more they feed employees with negativity, a negative environment—one that does not offer support, one that does not offer growth, one that does not allow for potential growth by an individual in their team, only attracts undesirable outcomes? Refrain from poisoning your environment! Through the power of emotional contagion: overt negativity can infect a group of people almost instantly. For you on the receiving end: change your level of consciousness by becoming more present in your life, be accountable for what you allow in your energy space, it is your life!  What do you wish to experience? Know that your environment, conversations, relationships are purely cosmetic, hold yourself accountable, learn the lesson and move on. It is not about you but about what you need to learn.

Do not bite from the poisonous apple loaded with anger and fear. These are the disruptors of our emotional well-being.  Are you aware that these disruptors trigger or influence us physiologically and not always on a positive? The intensity of pain that you feel, depends on the level of degree in resistance to what is currently being experienced, now, in the present. Choose to change the movie you see in front of you each day. Are you choosing to feed your mind positive messages, watch beautiful images, that offer motivation, letting you know that all things are possible, thrusting you forward in the most positive way? When we choose to model high-performance habits, everyone around us benefits. Workdays will be smoother, more enjoyable, staff and colleagues more at ease in the workplace, more importantly the result is always a more productive scene.  Here is how to invite more positive light to your soul:

  1. Awareness – Be aware of your actions and mindset—all have a ripple effect. There are no limits to how powerful our behaviour, mood, actions, affect others—be the light.
  2. You must Be Present – recognize that NOT all negativity is bad but perhaps a lesson, a message for you to work on “you”.
  3. Choose Happy – when you choose to surround yourself with things, people, events, that make your soul happy, the positivity is quite contagious, your vibration is lifted, and success is a by-product. Everyone benefits from a positive culture.
  4. Meditation – if you find you have had a particularly uncomfortable situation / experience that has left you drained, feeling fearful, anxious—Mediate!  I cannot stress enough how important mediation is to your well-being.
  5. Spend time being Proactive than being reactive. STOP resisting life and focus on how you wish to feel your way through life.
  6. Keep Active – physical activity and fitness protect our health, boosts our immune system, and creates healthy brain waves that keep us energized and elevates our vibration. A healthy and positive mindset keeps low energies out!
  7. Music / dance – movement is always amazing for the spirit such as listening to uplifting music whatever that is for you! And with fun music there must be dance. Dance to your heart’s content!
  8. Gratitude – I cannot stress the importance of gratitude- being grateful for every moment, experience, relationships—it is truly the perfect antidote to keeping low energies out!

As I write this post, I choose to shift your mindset in what started a topic on energy vampires to lifting your light, to lifting your spirits. Even your Halloween Spirits! You see every fiber of my being is about supporting well-being. I take a proactive approach to life in everything I do, it helps with inviting healthy cells in my body and in my relationships. I am not living my truth if I write on how to resist something that you perceive is not good for you, for we are all here to experience everything, by embracing contrast we learn to grow, we learn something about ourselves and we choose whether to be light or darkness in this world. It is important that you be aware of the environment you choose, the conversations you hold physically and mentally because their intensity on either side of the emotional spectrum will materialize in the pleasantness and unpleasantness that you are currently living today. Our behaviours significantly influence others—be responsible in what you choose to allow in your experience—all is predetermined. When we choose high-energy emotions and desires, we will solve all our problems, build worlds together and co-create a magical magnificent world! Let us give praise for the Spirit of light-heartedness and happiness and plant the seeds for success!

Energy vampires is not only about other people’s energy but the vibration you intentionally create resulting in your experience. What thoughts are you choosing to give energy to? What we choose to focus on or give our attention to is very important. Be present in your actions and allow the joy of simply being in all that you do, flow effortless.

I have observed that photographers are in a unique position to view any given object or living thing from many different perspectives by simply switching out a lens, lighting, or the angle in which they choose to shoot from—how fascinating!  As humans, so too, do we have that ability to switch our many lenses from compassion, to fear, to beauty and sometimes annoyance—but it is all good, we are just participating and sharing space in this beautiful experience called life.  If you wish to be and feel beautiful, choose to see the beauty in everything! If you choose to be in constant joy, offer a joyful experience, a light heart to everything you do! Focus on the action you wish to experience not the destination or result. Like a photographer you must only see what is directly in front of you to enjoy the view with every ounce of your being, adding adjustments to when you need it. Each time you choose to step out your front door with a clear, calm, and peaceful mind—nothing will enter your space that does not match that vibration. When our minds are clouded by hatred, selfishness, jealousy, anger, frustration—nothing good may come from this, your hopes, dreams, wishes will not reveal themselves to you until you are in the right frequency, the right high positive light!  Stop blaming others for your misfortunes, your low mood, you might be surprised that you might be the one putting out bad vibes to others—sometimes we are our own worst enemy. A simple mediation might be just what you need.

We have a strong knowing that guides us—learn to listen to it! Patience is the largest lesson to learn in life, in my opinion.  Learning to wait and see what Source; the Universe, has in store for you and watch all the beauty unfold. I recovered from my fall completely and as for my basement, I know it will be taken care of because I have faith and a knowing that humans desire kindness most of the time, I just wait for that good vibe to kick in and allow the flow of kindness and goodness to all involved.  My experience this summer taught me I had to refocus, recalibrate my vibration, tap into the right energy, and invite all the wonderful synchronicities that will work their magic to ensure that I am feeling who I am and what I want to see in my world! For now, while my basement undergoes restoration, (and I temporarily have no access to my washer and dryer) I take my high spirits and lovely smile to the nearest coin laundry and spread good vibes. (If you have no context in reference to my leaky basement, read my last blog on ‘Taking The Path Of Least Resistance’.)  I patiently drive with my load of laundry, to the appropriate tune of the season: “I Always Feel Like Somebody Is Watching Me” because someone always is—so be watchful of what vibe or action you put out there! My wish is that you enjoy your Halloween season and be sure to be safe but most importantly feel joy and happiness in whatever you do!  Feel the spirit of the season with great amazing vibes—keep watch from those pesky energy vampires unless it is the little vampires showing up at your front door with their hungry excited eyes—be sure to give out the best candy and your best smiles always! Keep yourself vibrationally in tuned with who you are, always giving yourself the utmost unconditional love! You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life! Remember to stay humble and offer kindness, elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity and great privilege to meet today. Offer much love to your family and friends, 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,

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!

The Classic Do-over

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”—J. B. Priestly

When we are young, we are so full of energy, we are invincible, we think we have all the time in the world, our skin is supple—we thrive! We run carefree, convincing ourselves we can do anything, the world is our playground (or at least our back and front yards were😊). We dream worlds but somewhere along, as responsibility sets in, we tell ourselves a different story and we eject the wings that once had us flying and forget to dream. As we get into our forties it hits us: “I ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘woulda’. But why didn’t I?” It seems life has a way of playing a cruel joke on us, giving us all the energy and vibrancy, early on in our lives when we do not know what we want for ourselves. Our stories may even take away our confidence early on, so we now have loads of energy and no confidence—bummer☹. I would say, it is around ‘forty’, and we have lived a few years, that we shift our perspectives, we gain our confidence—or we simply don’t care at this point what others think and we begin to speak our mind, and go after the things we should have when we were younger; except for most, we lack the energy or we convince ourselves “our ship has long since sailed”, we talk ourselves once again out of that ‘dream’ that must only remain…a dream buried in the ashes of the past. Life would be perfect if we could meet somewhere in the middle. To have our youthful looks, vibrant youthful energy—where there is no room for awkward and embarrassing, to relive a day, that pivotal moment in our life, where we choose different, we choose to fix problems steering our current life in a different direction. But is different better? Will it change what we see in the mirror?

Hello my beautiful souls! Welcome back! I hope you are continuing to keep safe, soon this will all be behind us, and I cannot wait to finally see beautiful smiles once more—something I deeply miss, for now we continue to do our part and keep practicing safety. So how about it? Would you welcome a do-over in your life? I do not know why this theme, kept popping up for me these past few weeks, so I decided to write about it—perhaps it may be a reoccurring theme in our collective minds, born from the darkness that is our present, these unusual times, having us locked up for too long and our wheels on overdrive, thinking, wondering, daydreaming—”what if”? I have no regrets in life. I was student council president, I was quite outgoing (and still am), I spoke my mind, always. I have always been playful, but life has a way of pausing you. OK, the personality was there, the confidence was there, but I chose to marry young, so life took my dreams in a different direction. As my perspectives shift, I see my narrative starting from the end and working my way backwards—to catch up to my past and continue where I left of—does this make sense? I did not marry young to have kids, I married my high school sweetheart and managed to get that check mark, together we worked hard and paid off our mortgage at a young age ✅ check. I eventually had the kids; two beautiful intelligent young women ✅check, I did the career thing ✅check but what is missing? Perhaps it is the fulfillment thing…that is missing. Life will have you believe, you missed out, that perhaps you messed up along the way, or if you had chosen a different path, it might have been better, but that is not always true, is it? It all depends on your expectations and your perception of what that “perfect ideal” life looked like from the perspective of your adolescent mind. What picture did you hold for yourself? How did you view your life unfolding? Is the current mundane, stagnancy in life getting you down? And you know what I think of expectations—they do not do us any good, so toss it! This is when we should get in touch with our goals once again, to offer a little inspiration and much needed motivation. Yes, we might have to rethink our goals as they might have changed since our priorities are constantly changing as we ride the wave of life, our perspectives change so we replace what no longer serves us and find a new dream! It is time to get out of our heads and think with our hearts just like we did when we were kids—only participating in those activities that bring us joy. We did not waste time thinking how we were going to spend time; we just ran towards our joyful moment only following our heart. The important thing is to work on how we wish to feel the next thirty, forty, fifty years from now. Forget your old hurts, pains, regrets and open your heart—live there for awhile. Just feel LOVE in a new kind of way, the way you dreamed it would feel. Feel JOY, be in its constant state of childish play, carefree, vibrant energy.

Life may not offer us a do-over, and as for a reset button we can only keep looking, but it certainly offers us plenty of opportunities to make better tomorrows. That is the beauty of life—you get one!  There is no wrong or right way, you are meant to experience it all! Mistakes, embarrassing moments, moments of sadness, failures, joys, laughter, success to experience it fully! As we participate, as we embrace, we learn, we grow, with each experience, we become a little wiser, knowing what we like or don’t. When we experience it fully, we learn to embrace the moment, embrace change, learn from it, and move on—this is how emotions come to be. As our perspectives shift, we start inviting into our world different things, different experiences, stirring up different emotions. By nature, I am an individual who rarely tries new products, I am a: “Why fix what ain’t broke”, kinda person.  Do not get me wrong, I am very open-minded to experiences and things, but when it comes to products, maybe it is something I cannot bother to try the alternative. Maybe some things are meant to remain, and that is my thing—my version of permanence in my life. I am ready to go off into the world and experience it all but leave my products alone😊.  My husband on the other hand loves trying new products and on the rare occasion he goes grocery shopping, he will come home with a new product…what?? In most cases, I will like the product, but I will continue to buy my old brand and combine the two—that’s me 😜. Is it the familiar thing? Is my mind not ready to let go of the old? My husband, will however, have a hard time inviting new experiences in his life, he has difficulty with change in that respect—do not invite new emotions it does not go well with his anxiety, but he is learning to allow and accept change and understands that it is good. So maybe, it is a good thing that for most of us, we get to make the bigger decisions later in life, when we know better (at least we think we do). There is that contradiction (in life) I talked about: “Follow your heart but don’t give into emotion when making a decision;” “Go and make your tomorrows happen but be patient, be still and allow the fates to intervene.” Huh? I know, no wonder the majority feel lost—not knowing which way to go. I guess what I am trying to share with you is that the best decisions are made with an awareness of what you are getting yourself into, patience with yourself and a whole lot of accountability. To tackle life and go into it knowing the repercussions of some of those decisions and be willing to accept them as experiences necessary, be ready to hold yourself accountable for those repercussions so that if something does not turn out, you are not blaming everyone else but yourself. And by “knowing better”, I am not necessarily referring to, intelligent decisions (that’s boring), no what I am referring to is: the feeling behind the task at hand. Think about it: if you have lived forty years of your life and you have engaged in personal, and professional relationships, you have engaged in life in general—you must have a fairly good idea of what you liked or did not like from those experiences—so why repeat it?  Embrace the perfections and imperfections—it is all relevant, it all has a purpose. How would you know to not want relive a moment or want a particulare thing in your life, if you did not already live it, if you did not already experience it?

“The more value you add to the lives of others, the more valuable you become to them.”—Hal Elrod

When you make it your mission in life to fill yourself up of all that is good, a good heart, kindness, love, peace, joy, then your outer world will only reflect that which you have inside. It is not the other way around.  You must never think that once your outer world changes, then you will start feeling better about yourself. Do not fall into that misguided perception that you will only feel good, that you will achieve happiness when your outer world is good. As we get to experience the “good” and “bad” moments in life, the emotions born from those moments and we become a little wiser, we start filling our shopping carts with things that are of more value instead of things that temporarily fix our mood. Our younger selves loved filling our carts with ‘crap’, with senseless ‘stuff’ we thought would fill our hearts and would make us happy. Now we are a little older, much wiser—all that stuff no longer serves us. We begin to understand that materials are wonderful to have but they certainly do not fill us, they keep us wanting and needing more, always. As we acquire our large and small ‘stuff’, we forget to be grateful along the way.  Forgetting this small but impactful practice of expressing gratitude and appreciation for all experiences including the smallest of moments, is what keeps us in the ‘need’ always striving for more in our lives, that is not always on the positive. When we fill ourselves with love, peace, joy and feelings of gratitude, that can only come from loving experiences, family, loving friends, that add value to our lives, then the materials become less significant—your narrative then becomes more of, “How may I serve? How may I bring more value to my life, and those I love?” When you are full of love and gratitude, your heart is open—you become a magnet attracting more of the good that is currently filling you; abundance, love—love for yourself and your loved ones. Many aspects of life can leave us feeling overwhelmed, trapped at times. When we pivot our thoughts, and learn to stay the course, trusting the process, allowing life to do its thing, always participating, embracing the flow, we learn to enjoy doing life, no matter what it has in store for us. Remember life happens for you NOT at you.

Our thoughts have a way of creating an illusion, often fear based—a way ego keeps us from realising our potential, our body soon follows and begins to operate from a survival mode, the body then becomes the mind and emotion. As we live the mundane, the responsible life, we forget to feed our minds new dreams, new thoughts, new emotions—we get stuck, our bodies then work from reaction mode, the subconscious level of whatever emotion you fed it in the past: anger, frustrations, fear, resentment, pain, suffering. If your body continues to function from this subconscious level long enough—this is when illness materialises into your present. Bitterness is what keeps you from flying. It is also, what keeps you living in the past—an illusion you created that was probably your perception of a “better life” than the one you are currently living, or a memory of a made-up future you thought was right for you. When we remove the imaginary constraints, we ourselves create, we no longer feel beaten, we remove the walls around us, we worked so hard to put up because of fear, because we gave a person, place, or a moment (high or low) more credit than ourselves. It is time to break that fictitious ceiling, do not give it power in letting you believe what you do not deserve, what is rightfully yours—that something is beyond your reach, be “the more” in your life. Do the deed, be fully present and detach from outcomes. Instead, let constraints be the force that drives you to your next dream, your next goal.

Allow me to continue with our shopping cart analogy, what shall we fill it with? What will make me happy right now? As I navigate the streets of my little town, I realise I am not driving a ‘G-Wagon’, but I have a car ✅check. I have never been a Mercedes-Benz ‘kinda gal’, but that ‘G-Wagon’ sure looks sweet! No, it will not bring me joy, but it will put a smile on my face as I take a drive around the film district in Toronto, with all their high-end boutiques and fine dining😊. Something to work towards, maybe my taste will change in the next five to ten years.  I mentioned I have a mortgage-free house, that certainly is sweet. I have done some traveling, mostly the Caribbean. I know, I know right…not a bad life. My shopping cart is still empty except for the G-Wagon that is perhaps a maybe, but my heart is full.

Throughout, I have kept my body somewhat fit. I have never made weight an issue, so it is not. My health is optimal because what I put my attention to, I will attract in my life. Whatever I give energy to and attention to will come back to me. Why give what I do not want, energy? My experiences create emotion, and I know emotion is energy in motion, it is fluid—it is energy moving through my body, meant to be felt and released, so I stay focused on the good.  My positive outlook on life takes care of that for me. I am always full of positive energy, and I am convinced that this energy is what keeps me healthy and fit, always burning the excess I do not need in every aspect of my life that includes stress. I exercise in the morning releasing all the good endorphins and dopamine elevating me to my highest good, and I eat what I want. I could enhance my diet with some healthier choices. I am working on it. I recognize that I want this body to last me for many more years to come, so I must do better—accountability ✅ check. My body is my vehicle that keeps me mobile, taking me wherever I need to go, independently, so I must keep it in check. I gain a healthy check mark on health and fitness although I will ensure to do more—there is always room for improvement! Holding yourself accountable for your choices in life is key. Do the deed, recognise it needs to get done, and enjoy doing it! When you learn to view limitations as a driving force, striving for success in whatever you choose to do, giving up is never an option. Let’s not stop at fitness goals, what life goals do you have? Not having money is no excuse—make your miracles, opportunities are always surrounding us to make us better in business, as individuals, you just need to decide that you want them, failure is the opportunity to begin again—reach beyond your grasp—life certainly has a way of rewarding you.

Having a corporate life was fun and I was deep into it for over thirty years. I learned a lot, my bosses were never my mentors as it turned out, but they certainly made work life interesting, and that’s OK, life is my eternal mentor. Always revealing itself to me, teaching me to put in the hard work, keep planting seeds and you will get rewarded, life tells me. Life has taught me and continues to teach me that kindness will open many doors. All you must do is show up every day, support others, surround yourself with good people, and the universe will be kind and generous with you. Never take anything personal, we are all learning here, take the lesson learned and move on. I will say with certainty that I gave my 1000%, always gave more value than my worth, I have no regrets, I stayed in the corporate scene until it no longer brought me joy. Love is the secret. Love for your work, love for your peers and love for yourself, loving what you do, loving life and who you are in it, that is the engine that will keep you going full steam ahead. Working in the legal sector had its challenges but nothing compares to married life. Now marriage is hard work—no one said it would be easy, nurturing your relationship is key, pour a lot of love into it, and it will not disappoint. Life throws many challenges, you must learn to keep your head above water, grow from the punches, face it full force, just learn to breathe and together—enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey! I should know, I have enjoyed thirty wonderful years with my high school sweetheart! Sure, it was hard in the beginning, with our different views, different cultures and it got even messier when we threw kids in the mix. But here we are with two beautiful girls, one graduated ‘with honors and distinction’ and her younger sister, on her way there, having made her way on the Dean’s list already just entering her third year of university. This is our pay off! This is what we put our heart, sweat and tears and the universe has a way of rewarding us! Nice fat check mark under family ✅ check! So, nothing to add to my cart but the G-Wagon so far and my heart continues to be full.

I may not have all the zeros in my bank account as I would hope for, but I have done quite well for myself, and I still have my sanity—that is a big fat ✅ check! So, what is it that most of us look for? Why is it that most think they have missed out on? What are you hoping to find in those finance magazines? An even better question to ask is: “What will you do when you accumulate all the zeros in your bank account?” Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong in going after financial abundance, heck it is wonderful to attain financial freedom but who do you hope to become? Do you love who you are now? Do you hope to love yourself even more? Do you hope to love more?” So, maybe you do not own a car, but you are able to get around, and maybe you have money for transit or transportation in whatever form (Hey it beats paying for gas, insurance, and maintenance.).  If you wish to join us insurance payers, don’t worry you’ll get there just set the right goals, it is never too late😊.  Maybe you are married, you are busy being mommy, caregiver, balancing a job, and you somehow forgot yourself along the way. You became mommy to everyone including your partner, what happened? Or maybe you married your sweet-heart that stole your heart all those years ago, which is great, you lost your nerve along the way and now you are 40, 50, still sitting in that cubicle—not the expectation you had for yourself, huh? What happened? You both forgot to continue to dream, to re-draft your goals, and map out new ones, but there is still time. There is always time to become more, to add more value to this hurting world. The universe always offers an opportunity to check-in, checking out should never be an option. Familiar is wonderful. To have a life-long partner, someone that knows all your quirks, who makes you laugh, and is there to hold your hand and catch you when you fall. Why would you give that up? Because guess what? when you finally make it—it will all be worth it in the end. The late nights, the tears, the hurts, the sacrifices, the pains, the bumpy roads, all shared together as family—the value of family is priceless! Marriage should never be about losing yourself but becoming more together, it is about finding more of ourselves.  But this is where familiar should end. To live a fulfilled life, different must be your new norm—to think greater than how you feel. You see what I mean about contradictions—you must learn to navigate through them, knowing when to apply, when to sail, when to change course. Stop being addicted to the same emotions, the same experiences because you will only continue to create the same predictable future. Do not wait for tragedy to strike before you decide to begin to make necessary changes, invite wonderful challenges, invite different, to live a joy-filled and inspired life.

So, maybe there is no reset button, but we could all benefit from a little pause, take the time to reflect, inspect our wins, our losses, our triumphs our mishaps, take the lessons learned and look forward to better tomorrows. That is what COVID did to us, it offered us a moment of ‘pause’. To take a moment to think about what you were doing right before the world stopped. What were you doing, where were you headed? What did you think was happening at you? Maybe you were in a dead-end job, hiding behind a pile of paper, never allowing yourself to realise your true potential. Maybe success got all the checks, but you were not allowing for the necessary pauses in life, to check in with yourself, to appreciate the little things, including family. As we go about our lives, we tend to tell many different versions of our stories—those we tell ourselves and those we tell or show others. These pauses in life, show us to embrace all the imperfections in our lives, perfectly woven in our stories that only serve to add more value to our experiences here in this lifetime—to be more than you were. Our losses, our challenges, perfectly placed, divinely timed, to offer us strength, light after dark. Learning to love ‘the you’, after darkness, after challenges, after brokenness. We only gain the gifts of trust, faith, love, humility when we experience life through our authenticity and in this authenticity, we experience life in its truest, rawest, form embracing its imperfections never questioning it. When we learn to live our authentic lives, we experience exponential growth, a growth that only comes from trusting the flow. You stop resisting life, resisting change, taking on the challenges as badges of honor to be worn, unveiling a better version of yourself—one of more value, always.

You get one life, live it fully and completely! We have choices in life, learn to lead with your heart and fill yourself with beauty, love, peace, kindness. Your soul has the map to your destiny it will only reflect to you what you put into it. What was meant for you will always be there until you are ready to tap into it—opportunities will never pass you by. When you look for wonderful things, you will only find more of them. Your inner world must be filled with what you want to see in the world. Learn to let go of the chaos that surrounds you and go within. Learn to let go of illusions placed there by your material mind, by ego, and learn to listen to your heart. Do not go chasing success or a version of success because you feel that is what you should do or because society says so or because of a false perception says it’s the way. Breathe, dig deep connect with your heart and do what you love, success is a by-product of that love, of that force. When I have a pressing question and don’t know which way to go, I will close my eyes, and listen to my heart. I will ask the question and feel what is right for me. If feelings of frustration, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed come forth, then I know that it is not for me. If faced with a new experience and feelings of peace, joy, butterflies, fire in my belly, excitement overtakes me—then it is right. Life gives you plenty of opportunities to re-invent yourself, pivot, and live your best life in the truest form. Live it for you, not for everyone else. Life has taught me that I must like my own company, I like to sleep with the person that I am, no matter who sleeps beside me. I laugh, I love, I give more of myself, always.

Maybe now is the time, you take that leap of faith into that relationship you longed for, or that career opportunity you thought you were not good enough for, maybe today is the day you learn to look past your selfish needs and go after your true desires, that dream that keeps you up at night, learn to let go of needing things into your life and place your focus on your wants, dreams, desires that fill your heart and soul! You see, it is never about a do-over, it is about seizing moments. There is no right or wrong, if it was meant for you and you dreamed it, it is never too late—your dream life is simply waiting for you so step into it! So maybe you did not get to publish your first book at the age of 20 or even 30, perhaps 50 or 60 is more of what the universe had in mind for you. Ronald Reagan best said it in his quote: “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”  Stop spending your days chasing your moments, be in the moment and let your moments, your successes chase you. There is no other place to be, then here and now. Embrace it! Recognise that whatever happened in your life or is happening, needed to happen and unfold in the manner that it did. If you are not feeling joy right now, it is simply time for you to go back to drawing table and re-draft a new dream, shift your perspective, and see what the wizard has in store for you! Enjoy your freedom if you have it, read, write, dance, create! Enjoy your children, partners, pets—it’s all good😊, but the secret to a well lived life is that you enjoy whatever you have the privilege and opportunity in life to do!  Do not get lost in your head, with thoughts of “what-ifs” and “needs” or perceptions of what you think the “perfect” life is; visions placed by your inexperienced mind. You have lived a few moments since then, a few tears, a few joys—so what do you want to feel right now? How has your life experience enhanced that future joy, that future love, has it added value to your life?

In writing this blog, like many writers, you experience moments of enlightenment, that help elevate your writing with that personal touch so that your audience is so much more engaged, intrigued by your personal experiences allowing for that connectedness that I often talk about. When you begin to view the world from this perspective, connecting to person, experiences, places, it is when you learn to act from compassion and empathy, you no longer view yourself as separate. You embrace all moments as experiences necessary for your growth. On this very writing journey, I had a moment of pause, my peace was interrupted with a moment of bringing awareness to my present being. As my town began to re-open businesses that had been shut for a few months, I decided I wanted to venture out of my cave and safely allow myself for what I thought was much needed shopping time (mostly for my girls) having summer upon us it would be nice to embrace it with summer dresses and to also offer my support to the community. It turns out, the universe had something else planned, and what should have been a joyful shopping spree, turned out to be a painful afternoon of licking wounds and an inability to sit, sneeze or laugh.  I suffered a significant fall on my way, knocking the wind out of me and leaving me incapacitated for more than a week. Suffering significant bruises as my patches of honor, on my upper thigh, contusions to my ribs and my entire upper left side including lungs were inflamed and unbearable to touch. Oh yeah, it was pretty bad; a senseless fall, its ramifications begging for my attention.  This was my pause; this was my moment to learn to sit still and allow others for once take care of me—something I seldom accept. To put myself higher on my list of priorities.

Canada is said to have two climates when driving, the challenges of winter driving and construction season☹. Summer is here and construction begins. I may start on one road, but ten minutes in, be told, you must detour. So, I pack a lot of patience, water, and wonderful music to enjoy my unplanned excursions. As I drive along, I notice some beautiful homes I never seen before, maybe some parks and wonderful people walking their pets—a wonderful site. Once you learn to relax and become ONE with life, the unraveling will stop and you will soon realise that all the hiccups, the missteps, the aches, the tears were necessary to bring value, to make you more valuable—a sacred loving nurturing gem, to appreciate moments that much more. You see, it is never about what you think you missed out on, but what you found instead. Choices made by you, a path leading you to more value, more memorable moments. If you had a different vision of what you currently see in the mirror, then pivot your thoughts, change the narrative starting from within, soon your outworld will reflect at you what you wish to see in your physical world. Once you stop the illusion of denial, lacks and limitations—stories told by you, and put on the lens that shows you that wisdom comes at a high price but leaves you empowered ready to take on life with clarity and acceptance, living in joy. If you keep looking down at that half-empty glass, you will miss out what the universe is revealing to you now! Let go of your struggle, stop living in the past and immerse yourself in this experience, be opened to receiving what is yours—you just need faith and trust in the flow!

So where does that leave my cart? Let’s just say the G-Wagon will be on my wish-list under want category and “fun I deserve” in the not-too-distant future because why not? In life, once you have done all the hard work, recognising time is the most precious gift, you allow yourself the gifts of truths, humbleness and yes, you allow your wants to become your needs because you deserve it! I don’t really need a G-Wagon but it will be a fun replacement for my past Toyota and Mazda moments and experiences. They certainly served their purpose, offering space for diapers, baby furniture and endless toys, and yes, babies, they were the smart economic decisions made by two very naïve unsuspecting parents. They housed, the joys, the tears, the “for sures” and bumps and bruises along the way, the “I’m all in” moments. This new dream—I will keep under ‘fun’, exciting, beautifully disguised and dynamic—one of value in my journey of self discovery, a decision made by a very present me.

So, it is not about a do-over or a reset in life, it is about making choices and liking the choices you make because you have to live with it. Never fall for the: “You get one chance in life so make it right”, no, you get one life—live it with all the rights, wrongs, messiness, imperfections and successes—embrace it all! Life is a chaos and amid that chaos and all the randomness; it never fails to surprise you; an unexpected event occurs thrusting you forward, leaving you breathless, just be sure to be present every step of the way—the key is having no regrets. Sometimes life will slow down just enough and remind us we are all connected fate always working its magic letting you know you grew into the individual you were always meant to be. Every morning is the start of a new day, your opportunity for a do-over, to start anew to add more value than the day before. You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life! Go live it! Invite uncondition love into your life, into your world, it will never disapoint!

Remember to stay humble and offer kindness,  elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity to meet today. Offer much love to yourself, family and friends, 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,

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!

Life does not give you a round table.

“Our story may have any number of endings, but its start is a singular choice we make today,”—Faisal Khosa

We are movie buffs in my family, we enjoy all genre, but what we most enjoy is discussing the films afterwards. If there is a behind-the-scenes available, of the movie we just watched, we will watch the making of the masterpiece with an even greater sense of excitement, to get an in-depth understanding of the different elements at play; physical work, stunts, art, co-ordination and watch it all come together. Recently there are segments referred to as ‘The Round Table’ and these are discussions that involve the heart of the project, the inspiration, the source—the vision. Actor, camera man, director, script writer all gather around and have these in-depth discussions, an opportunity to offer the many perspectives, each sharing their vision of how they visualized a scene unfold, more importantly how that vision, that inspiration, affected a particular scene, impacting the overall effect of the movie. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a ‘round table’ moment an opportunity to meet with all your teachers in life? to discuss what was it that inspired you or did not?

Hello my beautiful souls! Welcome back! I hope you have been keeping safe and healthy and I thank you for doing your part in ensuring that everyone is safe in your respective communities including your loved ones. So how about this topic? To have a ‘round table’ opportunity to discuss events, emotions, experiences, life lessons and how each affected you? If you have read my previous posts, you are already familiar with my perspective: that we are all spiritual beings having a physical experience. It is a wonderful way of viewing life this way, to know that we are all here for a purpose and that is to experience everything, and through that experience we can only experience growth; our journeys are many—our path one and that is: a path for love, peace, joy. Along the way, we must experience darkness, trials, hardships, hard work to ultimately realize our purpose. We eventually get there don’t we? We just need to believe in ourselves, in our higher purpose, go with the flow, act, accept, allow the flow and one day we have our ‘aha’ moment and we begin to see life under a different light: a life of favor and victory. We are the directors of our lives, we must visualize what we want to see materialize in our world, everyone around you, you have attracted by your triumphs or fears—you choose how you wish to see these teachers play out in your respective scripts—your life. If you are learning then you are on the right path, you are accepting life’s challenges as learning curves, setbacks as pauses in life that need to happen to get you ready for your next triumph.

As I write this blog I am reminded (well my daughter reminded me, but I would have eventually gotten there 😊) of a a wonderful heartwarming book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” authored by Mitch Albom. I read this book so many years ago—its message, timeless. It is a story of a war veteran suffering his own demons, working at an amusement park caught in the trappings of his limited thinking. Once filled with optimism, he finds himself living his later years filled with nothing but loneliness and regret. In an attempt at saving a little girl from a falling cart, Eddie, suffers a fatal accident and is sent to heaven where he meets five people that had a significant impact in his life, giving him the opportunity of understanding the lessons learned along the way, lessons he was not able to see at the time due to the veil of his physical lens. Lessons of love, connectedness, forgiveness, loyalty, the precious gift of time. If such an opportunity arose, I for one, would not want to wait until my passing to speak to my teachers. What if we were given that opportunity at some point in our lives to meet the characters in our stories? to get in their headspace and listen to them share their perspectives as to why they said or did the things they did and in turn we also had the opportunity to express our reactions, effects, and impact, their actions had in our lives. What a wonderful way to process life, would you not agree? to have a moment in your life where you would invite these healthy discussions and see them as observer, recipient, and the one doing the action—breaking the third and fourth wall as you watch the replay of the scenes in your epic life unfold. To observe and be observed, to act and react and speak while the act is being done—to get a sense of why certain events unfolded the way they did. What a different world it would be?

“Dialogue is used to reveal not what we want to say, but what we are trying to hide.”—William Monahan

Life is meant to be lived, it is a gift, an absolute privilege. We are here to experience, good, bad, dark, light. The secret to living a purposeful life is to experience it all, allowing and accepting change, the flow, never resisting. All too often we spend our days, waiting for that opportunity, that sign, a wide-open path—if only, then I will know, then I will do, then I will _________. We meet many of our teachers along the way, in our journeys, some lessons we get, most we dismiss as moments lost—heartaches, unconquered challenges—failures. We reach forty, maybe even fifty and the universe says: “It is time my child to sit with your teachers to see just how many lessons you resolved and how many were missed due to your limited thinking.” Imagine, to be able to sit at a round table and have full open discussions and look at the reel of your own life play out in front of you as you watch yourself repeating the same error multiple times. In that case, it would be multiple teachers showing up in your life, teaching you the same lesson in many variations—how slow are you? Did you not get it? These were errors essential for growth, but you resisted and the unpleasantness of the lesson continued showing up in your world over and over because you got hung up on making the error, or you could not forgive, or you simply did not know how to shift your perspectives and rather than moving on and growing from it, you allowed it to manifest in your life many times over—always wondering: “why me?”—a director’s nightmare. If something continues to show up in your life, do not dismiss it and feel it is something you must learn to live with because it is forever your misfortune, have an honest conversation with yourself, learn to develop that personal dialogue, and truly answer why certain people or situations continue to show up in your world, especially if they are unpleasant ones—do not just accept it as a permanent in your life. You always have a choice to move on. We all have a choice of how grand or how small our lives will be, keep the flow going.

An elementary school teacher, a musician and a CEO sit at your round table. This sounds like the line from a bad joke, but it happens to be individuals in your life perhaps that had some significance; an impact, that forever altered your life’s path. What do you say? How does that conversation start? What questions are pressing? What is the reaction you hope to have? Here are three individuals holding the key to some answers to your life. There are many perspectives at play here, yet you are only looking for one answer—the key that unlocks the path to your vision of success, that may include: love; a vision for favor in your life. When I watch movie film experts at a round table event, they seem all inspiring, there is so much wisdom to gain, everyone has a role to play, all drawing from an inspired vision—like a flock of birds, they all feed of each other, one seed at a time. That seed; an inspiration, that sparks another creation eventually leading to a masterpiece. There is much excitement in that room, their eyes dance as they share their part in this gem of a film, no matter how grand or miniscule their role, but how impactful that interaction was—and in that moment, a moment of connectedness, everything is meaningful, every spoken word, every action or non-action all have part to play to give life to this perfection—a block buster success! It is wonderful how they learn to trust the flow, trust the eye of the director, collectively a genius unfolds, and everyone simply allows the project to go where it needs to go. Will you be smiling at your round table? Do you allow events to flow through you or do you resist? Are you following your heart? The answer to these questions should be an emphatic: “Yes!”

The beauty of being a human is that we have ‘free will’. We have choices, in life, we participate in those choices every minute of our existence. We have a choice on how we choose to react to the circumstances triggered by people we love, or those we tell ourselves we dislike; people like the grade schoolteachers, the musicians, and CEOs in our lives. Now, if we can break the third wall as we go about our life stories and observe every perspective not just our own but from those, we have the pleasure of interacting on a daily basis and learn to understand why they chose to express themselves a certain way, or why they treated you a certain way, or why they were simply non-existent in your life when you thought they should have had a more significant role—now that is some magic waiting to happen. To witness these actions as they happen and making conscious choices is quite empowering.  Such enlightenment, or from a spiritual perspective—such an awakening, could simplify your life for the remainder you have here on earth. By remembering to accept, people, circumstances, events, situations as they occur, you are stating that: “This moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be.” By remembering that our teachers show up in our lives when they need to, and if we are frustrated by a situation, remember that you are not reacting to that person or situation but to your feelings about that person or situation. It is never about the other person; it is about what you are meant to learn. Learning to hold yourself accountable for how you feel or how you allowed yourself to feel in a particular situation and then shifting your perspective so that blame is never on the teacher or even yourself, but the lesson that needed to be learned is a fascinating way to view life—an opportunity for the creation of a well lived life! A director’s cut to re-do a scene, may be your pause in life—an opportunity, for forgiveness, forgive yourself for allowing yourself to feel whatever emotion does not resonate with you, and move on. Next…Action!

Do not wait until you are on your deathbed to realize the meaning of life—to realize you were living on purpose all along. Live life deliberately, full of love, joy filled, completely. Learn to view life for what it is: a path of self-discovery, personal growth, we are forever a “student of life.”—forever changing. If you are not learning, you are not growing. As Leonardo DiCaprio says, “Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” Live success by following the deepest desires of your heart. Your teachers are simply there to illuminate your path, it will not always be good, but it is a path nonetheless; all you must do is participate and the universe has a way of rewarding you. Stop spending your days chasing your moments, be in the moment—take it all in. You are the creator of your own script, stop blaming missed opportunities on those who you perceive wronged you; failed you—no one owes you anything—learn from everything. You are here to create your own masterpiece, you are the director of your own life experience—start taking more risks, accept challenges as growth, stare fear in the eye and walk the path of least resistance. Commit to following your own path, no judgement, just experiencing the flow of life with ease. Remove the need of blaming others for your misfortune, placing judgment only heightens emotions of fear and anxiety, as you set your intentions out into the universe you awaken, you wait for a season of favor, thus manifesting your heart’s true desires.

So, life does not give you a round table, but it is wonderful knowing that we all have free will—that life is a privilege and it best lived when we choose love over the course of our lifetime. Why choose to stay in darkness? If you are the director of your own life, how will that conversation in your minds eye unfold? How do we get behind the eyeballs of our teachers? That is the beauty of life—it is in the not knowing. We participate, always acting, growing with challenges. Even if you do not have a dream yet, or perhaps unsure of what it is you want to do or should be doing, the only thing you must be sure to know is how you want to feel living your days here on this beautiful planet and that is all life requires you to do—that is it! Do we want to feel love? Peace? Joy? Kindness? That is the only round table conversation you get in life, the healthy dialogue you engage with yourself right before you step out into the world each day. If you are brave enough and wish to engage in physical conversations with your teachers in life—then all the power to you! You might be disappointed however, keep in mind that the characters we meet, are following their own path, (remember they are also on their own journeys) if their vibration does not resonate with yours—they simply will have no business staying there for long—they are simply there to fulfill a purpose however small or big. A moment of connectedness, karmic, serendipitous, perhaps but a moment. They move on, and you continue your path…cut! Next! Lesson learned! I feel the best personal dialogues are through journaling. You create, you write, you feel, you erase, you forgive!

My wish for you is that you be fully present in the excitement of creativity. Many of us go through our days without a sense of purpose—there is no excitement when nothing is fueled by passion, intention, or inspiration. Happiness is the key to success not the other way around. If you are still finding your footing in this vast world or where you fit in, in your own script; draft your screenplay, make all sorts of notes of how you wish this masterpiece to unfold. What is the legacy you hope to leave behind? How do you wish to show up in the world? What value do you hold for yourself and what value do you wish to add to the world? Because you see, a properly executed ending gives you that graceful exit. It is recognizing all relationships in life, learning to let go when they no longer serve you; never denying its validity or past importance in our lives. So, dream, dreams never seem to have bad endings. I will end this message with a beautiful quote by Napoleon Hill, “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” Not to sound contradicting, but life is a series of contradictions is it not? I must add this: never live your life with an ending in site but live a life of ‘continuing’. Until you write the last page on your script, you will never know the ending so continue to grow always, add more value always, your life is worth writing and worth living!

You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life! Remember to offer love and elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity to meet today. Remember to lead with humility, love yourself immensely, enjoying the pleasures of the world with an open heart! Offer much love to your family and friends, 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,

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!

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

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