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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