Control or Service?

Some people are deemed “control” freaks. I got to thinking about that. I was watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy and there was a patient that had OCD and Cristina, a very strong, very “A” personality person was tending to him. He said that they were alike. The difference is that she had found a constructive way to channel her energy as a surgeon and his energy took the form of OCD which is just another “A” personality type of control. Hmmmmm???

If you have someone in your life who always wants to drive, who wants to be the host, who is always making themselves available for the family and friend events that arise at the last-minute, perhaps they just want to be of service. Yes, they may have some control issues too but, think of the whole person. Are they also philanthropists? Are they volunteers? Do they find pleasure in the planning and organizing of things…any thing?? So cut ’em a break! Cut yourself a break – if you are this person.

I am that person. Yes, I like control, for various reasons. However, I also, enjoy having people to take care of. I enjoy having a hand in serving a group of people and educating them about themselves. I love the ah ha moment! Is that control? NO! I love to serve. Most people think I am selfish and self-absorbed. I’m a single woman with no kids, of course I’m selfish and self-absorbed. Who else do I have to think about? That is why I am of service. In service, I get to help. I get to be a mother, a nurse, a counselor, a friend, another set of hands, a neutral party, an unbiased sounding board, and so much more. I also get to grow myself because I have put myself in a position of follower and as I’ve said before, the best leaders, know how to follow. There are so many opportunities to practice.

Stop and think before you judge. Not every control freak needs to be in control all the time. Sometimes they just want to be of service.

So let them.

Go! Be! Do!

5 Things Mentally Well People Do Differently?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

You spend time focusing on going to the doctor when there is a cough or a fever but what about your mental health. While more people are seeing therapy, more than 30 percent of people who suffer from depression, still do not receive treatment. By simply purging your past, you can reduce stress and anxiety which can also alleviate some of the physical issues you may be experiencing.

What I mean by purging your past is not simply to “move on”. That is what a lot of articles would tell you but you have to do the work.

1. Forgive your wrong doers (including yourself)
The first thing you must do is make a list of all the people you feel have wronged you and why. Then, it is important to forgive them. In my book, 28 Days to Happy, I recommend writing them a letter and then burning the letters. (send them if you dare) It is also important that you forgive yourself for anything and everything up to today. Start the next phase off with a clean slate and let your past experiences be the lessons that help you make different decisions going forward.

2. Set Realistic Goals
When setting goals, it is easy to focus on what you want to accomplish but the first step is actually to acknowledge where you currently are. REALLY ARE! Here is where the “H” in the H.A.P.P.Y. principle is useful. When you Hear Your Truth, you admit where you really are personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually and build a plan from your true reality. Goal setting on a false reality will only produce false results. Success will come when you plan based on a solid foundation.

3. Say No
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….No is a complete sentence. We get caught up in trying to spare someone’s feelings by explaining our decisions but no explanation is required. You do what you do for your reasons. However, to make things easier, if you use the ACT method, you may feel better about saying no. Acknowledge their request, Communicate your situation and what you need to do first, then Tell them when/if you can help them.

4. Avoid Self Medicating
It is easy to over eat, over drink, get every OTC medication on the market to quickly achieve whatever you are trying to achieve but stop it. The best medicine on the market today is sleep, exercise, and laughter.
You may think you don’t need eight hours of sleep per night and maybe you don’t but chances are you need more than you are getting. A great way to catch up is to have one day when you sleep until your eyes open. Exercise is another one that even I say Yuk Yuk Yuk! To this I say, just move around. Dance while you clean, walk further to the door, or simply walk a couple of miles a day and let that be the end of it. Lastly, laugh. Comedy shows, comedy television, YouTube, and really just laugh at all the silliness that happens out in the world. The next time you want to get mad at something stupid someone did, just laugh at it. It’s good for your health.

5. Ask What and Why?
Before committing to something or someone, ask yourself, what do I want to get out of it and why am I doing it. I recently signed up for an event and as the date approached, I asked myself, why am I going? What do I want to get out of the experience? Is it personal, professional, or simply fun and social? I couldn’t answer the question. I even researched the event to remind myself why I opted to go. Still no spark. I ultimately decided not to go and worked on some things that were on my mind. I felt great. I got to relax at home and I was productive in the process. Don’t be afraid to change your mind, especially if there is no financial investment.

In addition to these five habits, mentally well people also seek help when they need it. Confiding in a good friend or going all the way and getting a good therapist is extremely important. In today’s climate, it is mission critical that you incorporate good mental well being as much as you include balanced eating and exercise in your routine.

To learn other tools or discuss coaching, go to www.thehabitofhappy.com and see all the upcoming live events and other opportunities coming soon.

The Tortoise and the Hare of Building your Business

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

Many successful people like to say that if your business isn’t making money then it’s a hobby. That is true…only if you are not working to make money with it.

Every business has a beginning. In the beginning…there is no money. Most of the time. Other times, there may be money but then there may be bankruptcy. Our current president Donald Trump and possibly one of our most referenced presidents Abraham Lincoln both have gone bankrupt. So have Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton Hershey, and Stan Lee to name a few.

I belong to the National Speaker’s Association. It is a great organization to help speakers with their speaking business. When I go to the monthly meetings we are constantly being told that you’re nothing unless you are making money. The speaking business, in addition to not being a traditional business, it is a relationship business more than a product business. Relationships take time to grow. A new speaker being told they are nothing unless they are making money, or that they need to change their topic because, “no one will pay for that.” demonstrates the exact opposite of the purpose of most speakers – motivation! Motivation to live a better life no matter what their topic. Most speakers speak to inspire. They speak to educate but they also speak to inspire.

So let me take this moment to say to all of you who are busting your ass on two or three jobs and still finding the time to create, write, sell, promote, and market your dream business. Not to mention, still take care of your life and your family………….
KEEP GOING!

I can’t stand platitudes and all the sayings people say to motivate. I’m going to tell it to you straight. Just keep going. Make a plan, work your plan. Your job is just corporate sponsorship until your dream is profitable. Here are five steps you can do right now that will help you keep going:

1. Hear your Truth about what you really have and what you really need to be successful. Is it money? Is it time? Is it help? Say it out loud. Own the truth about it and make a plan from that reality. It may hurt a little. It may make you sad and feel like giving up but don’t. Just give yourself a clear picture of what your actual reality is.

2. Print out a blank calendar for the next 12 months. Don’t wait until the beginning of the year, do it now or at least the beginning of the next month. Put action items in the calendar (calls, product development, ideas, everything). Plot it out as best as you can. If you can visualize it, it will be easier to start working toward it.

3. Slow movement is still movement. Even being still is fine. It’s falling backwards that you need to manage and that is still no reason to stop – just adjust. Take breaks. Don’t act like you have to do something every single day. You don’t. If you can…do. But if you need a break, take it. That’s the thing about dreams, they never go away. You can always go after them. You can always achieve them. They aren’t going anywhere – you just can’t quit.

4. Be consistent and ask for help when you need it from people you trust. Everyone can’t support you because they don’t get it or they can’t get it. It’s not their fault. Entrepreneurs are special people. Find people that think like you do. Not that agree with you but like minded entrepreneurs. They get it.

5. Don’t wallow in the defeats – be sad but don’t wallow. And celebrate your victories. Every new client, new product, a goal that was hit, a milestone you didn’t think you’d see. Celebrate YOU!

Here’s a bonus – pass it on. If someone comes to you for advise or help. Give it to them. There is plenty of abundance to go around. Cheer them on, give them resources, just let them know you understand. That will serve you too.

Remember – the hare was fast but the tortoise was slow, steady, and THE WINNER!

Go! Be! Do!

Mother’s Day

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

Mother/daughter relationships can be beautiful but some, if not most, mother/daughter relationships are challenging. One of my favorite books is “Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl – The effect of fatherlessness on African American Women.” It is one of my favorites because it is a really good book but it is also my favorite because it is one of the few things that brought me and my mom together. I remember having such a great time discussing that book with her at the time. I learned how different her relationship with my grandfather was. There was a clear difference in how he treated his daughter and his granddaughter.

Mother/daughter relationships are tricky but no matter what your relationship is with your mother, it is critical to your own mental and emotional health to understand your own limits while still spending value added time with each other.

Today my relationship with my mother is loving and cordial. I believe that some of the ways we have hurt each other are irreversable but I’m happy to say that inspite of that, we have a relationship of love and laughter and for the most part, an adult respect for each other.

So what do I want to offer you with this Mother’s Day message? Well, first of all, if your mother is still with us, spend quality time with her. Technology has made it possible to do “Face Time” or “Skype” if it’s inconvenient to physically be together. My mother and I have Mother/Daughter day once a month. I drive to her and we spend the day together. Committing to that time means that we are committed to work on our relationship. Which takes me to point number two.

Don’t take for granted that because you are family, you just wait until birthdays and holidays to connect. I am not saying you have to call each other every day although I know some people who do that. I’m suggesting that you make a purposeful effort to check in, share your life, and participate.

Now what if you don’t have a relationship with your mother for whatever reason. My guess is, if that is the case, there is some healing needed there. That has to be your healing work. It’s easy to say, “If she would just _______” or “I can’t support her because______”. Whatever may be happening, it is your own feelings around it that you must work on and move forward from there. That is where the H.A.P.P.Y. process helps you get to real feelings that may be buried. However, it is your choice. You don’t have to if you don’t want to but once she’s gone, there are no do overs.

Lastly, if you have lost your mom – find a special way to honor her. Think of something significant to you and her and once a year honor her memory.

Make that day mean something for you.

No matter what your history is with your mother, remember – she did the best she could with the information she had at the time.

Now…it’s up to you to make your life what YOU want it to be.

Be Amazing!

Go! Be! Do!

What does RESURRECTION mean in your life?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

This year Easter falls on April Fools Day. It almost feels like it shouldn’t be allowed to fall on that day. Easter is the observance (not holiday) of the resurrection of Christ. As a Nichiren Buddhist that grew up Baptist, I think about resurrection a little differently these days.

Every spiritual practice speaks to resurrection in different ways. For the purposes of this article, I’d like you to take religion out of the equation and think about the things in your life that you would like to resurrect. What in your life has died and needs to come back to life? Is your FAITH strong enough to resurrect the real YOU?

I grew up being told to grin and bare it. That made me believe that life is supposed to be hard. So when I hated every job I ever had, when relationships inevitably failed, when I was sad, I heard “grin and bare it.” For the better part of my adult life, that is how I lived. Living that life with Anxiety Panic Disorder with Depression made sense so why fight it. So….I didn’t – Until I did! I woke up one day and after years of observating other people around me, I decided, I want to know what happy feels like. The difference for me is I actually don’t remember being a happy kid. I remember being ambitious but not necessarily happy so what was I going to resurrect? I resurrected my true SPIRIT! Today, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I am singing, writing, speaking, teaching, acting, and even exploring areas of my life that I never thought to explore. My spirit is full and happy.

At the core of any spiritual practice, it is your SPIRIT that is pure. Your SPIRIT that is authentic happy. Your SPIRIT that lives. You live a human life but we all search for SPIRITUAL joy, and peace, and balance. The IDEA of all goodness and gratefulness in all things.

Like the lotus flower that thrives in mud; Nichiren Buddhists believe that the “bad” stuff is what makes you stronger. That doesn’t mean to go in search of the bad stuff but when things happen, that is when you ignite your Buddha nature. Christianity asks believers to fall on faith. There is nothing new in Dogma; we all know the stories and the scriptures. Now it’s time to turn the mirror onto you.

I often ask you to HEAR YOUR TRUTH. What do you miss about yourself? Did you used to laugh more? Did you used to trust more? Did you see a different life than the one you are living? Did someone tell you that you can’t do something because of your life condition, your age, your responsibilities? Do you have faith in YOU?

If the answer is yes – great! Then start to fight for your SPIRIT! Take time to really remember or think about what brings you joy that is not external. That’s right…It can’t be your kids, your spouse, your career, your material possessions. What, if you only had yourself, would bring you joy? What feeds your spirit? On this day of resurrection, resurrect YOU! Take one step, and then another, and then another.

However, if the answer is no – then, I have faith that that’s just how you feel today. All I ask of you is that you get help. Talk to a trusted friend. Someone you can be completely transparent with. See a therapist. If it is not covered in your insurance, there are lots of places that work on a sliding scale. Today, just decide to go in search of happy.

Mark 16:6 – He is not here; he has risen.
Daisaku Ikeda said, “Leave behind the passive dreaming of a rose-tinted future. The energy of happiness exists in living today with roots sunk firmly in reality’s soil.”
Look at your reality and dare to envision the reality you want.

If you’re still not sure you can do it, here are a few success stories:

  • At age 30 Oprah Winfrey was between jobs.
  • Vera Wang decided she wanted to be a designer after her wedding at 40 years old.
  • Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name, which eventually became a mark of culinary authority.
  • After struggling with financial difficulties, partial mental handicap and death of her mother Susan Boyle became a famous singer at the age of 47.
  • Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at age 78.

Enough said…Now Go! Be! Do!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Ashe and Amen

Are You Talking Yourself into the Poor House?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

What are your feelings and your self talk around your finances? Your view of your self worth may be stopping you from reaching your financial goals.

I have read so many articles that will tell you to use affirmations, create a vision board, or meditate and pray for the money you want in your life. Well, I believe in the law of attraction so, while those techniques do work, you will still miss the mark if you don’t first believe that you deserve or can get the amount you are aiming for. I see this a lot in business pricing. So many new businesses under value their product so they charge less than they should. Most coaches will tell you that’s not good. I disagree. You have to crawl before you can walk. If you don’t believe in the price you’ve set, you can’t achieve it and therefore, will continue to miss the mark.

When you are setting your goals, make them mean something. Create the lifestyle first. That will lead you to how much it will cost. What does your perfect world cost? Also, if you do choose a random number, don’t put any judgement behind it and don’t let other people make you wrong for that number. It may be low to some but to you, that is a number you believe in for your reasons.

When you are living the Habit of Happy, you hear your own truth and acknowledge your own feelings about it. Remember…it’s YOUR truth!

So let’s go back to the issue of self worth. How much are you worth? There is a great exercise to start you on the path to feeling comfortable with your worth. Now let me start by saying, very few people get paid what they are worth on their job but for the sake of this exercise, use your current salary. Take your current salary and figure out how much you are worth a minute. (annual salary / 2080 = hourly salary / 60 = amount per minute) It may surprise you. Have fun with it. Play with the numbers and see how much you would make if you changed the amount per minute. ( $$ x 60 = hourly salary x 2080 = annual salary)

The second exercise I must recommend is to watch The Joy Luck Club. To date, that is the best movie I have ever seen about self worth. If you haven’t seen it, you are in for a treat. If you have seen it, you know what I’m talking about.

The last exercise is to practice changing your verbiage around money. Instead of saying, “I can’t afford that”, say, “That’s not in my budget.” Instead of saying, “If I win the lottery, I’ll quit my job” say, “I need to earn $_________ to quit my job.” Instead of saying, “I can’t make a million dollars”, say “I want to make a million dollars doing _______________.” Instead of asking, “how much is that?”, say, “I’m willing to pay $________ for that.” You get the idea. Go to https://www.facebook.com/habitofhappy/ and share some of your positive self talk around money.

And here’s an added bonus – read books and get some workbooks and download some apps to track your finances. I have found Dave Ramsey a great resource and read The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. If you want to go one better, get a financial planner.

When you are living the Habit of Happy, you have done the work on yourself and are confident and non-judgemental about your choices. Take this time to get your financial house in order and stop having the money conversation. Don’t limit yourself to a specific dollar amount. Focus on being rich enough to do what you want, when you want, the way you want. Take control!

Now….Go! Be! Do!

Aren’t you tired of your Side Hustle? You should be Doing What You Do!

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

So often we settle into a job or career by default. Let’s face it, we are taught that we need to get a job, not that we need to acquire income. Acquiring income implies something very different than getting a job. It also lends itself to be more open to earning a living doing something you love and have passion for rather than just being able to pay bills and survive.

We all must pay our dues but if you started paying your dues in a field that you love, by the time you hit mid life or sooner, you would probably be happier. A 2017 Gallup Poll says 85% of people hate their job and especially their boss, 70% of that is in the United States.

Why is this number consistently high? The reality is that it doesn’t matter. People do what they do for their own reasons. The question you want to ask yourself is, am I part of that 80%? Well….Are you?

If you have a side hustle, hopefully it is something that brings you joy. Some have a side hustle to compensate for what their regular grind doesn’t cover. Man! You are working way too hard. Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life”. So…what do you love doing? Can you make a living at it? Don’t just say no. See if someone else is making a living at it. If someone is then you can too.

When I was young I dreamt of being the next Whitney Houston and in Jr. High, I gave myself the nickname Debbie II, after Debbie Allen. She is a triple threat, singing, dancing, and acting and I had always planned to be that person too. I even got a chance to audition for Debbie Allen once. I was going to be “fierce” like she would say in Fame. Well, as you can guess, I choked. I hadn’t stopped pursuing my dreams yet, but eventually I did. I did what most people do, I got a job. I got a lot of jobs.

I’ve been working since I was 16 years old and I am now 49. To this day, the longest job I’ve ever had is just over 2 years. I know right? Something is wrong with that. Now to be fair, I was lucky enough to be laid off a lot but, I was always thankful when that happened. I felt free and relieved. What is wrong with that picture? But, true to my home training, I always went back to looking for and acquiring, a job.

After 40, that began to change a bit. I was finally tired of the duel edged sword of working a job I hate and still being broke. That didn’t make any sense to me. At least if I’m going to do something I don’t want to do, surely life would be comfortable and fun right? Nope! Is any of this resonating with YOU? Be honest.

In my 40’s I began to discover me. I aggressively attacked my depression, I became more social by joining organizations that spoke to what I wanted to do with my life like Toastmasters and I got a commercial agent. I could feel my younger artist self fighting for position over my traditional, “you need a job to make a living”, self. What began to happen is my true self began to win and my internal voice was finally beginning to lose! Because of that, there were a couple of times, I risked it all on myself. As a result, I wrote two books, have spoken all over the united states, and have won awards for doing what I love. To be fair, I have the luxury of no kids and no spouse so I do have more freedom than most but I am also saddled with being the only breadwinner so if I don’t kill it, I don’t eat!

The last and final time I went back to a traditional job was in 2015 but this time it was a conscious business decision. You know how people say that they do what they have to do for their kids? Well, I did what I had to do to grow my business. I gave myself two years and I took a job making less than I was used to but it was more than unemployment and more than I was bringing in. It kept me hungry so I would stay inspired to continue to grow my business while working a full time job. I used vacation time to do training on the side, I spoke at events on evenings and weekends, I partnered with others as well as joining industry organizations like NSA (National Speakers Association) and ATD (Association for Training and Development) to get me closer to the people doing what I wanted to do and to learn this business as a business not just as a spectator or a novice. All this, while still being responsible for my traditional job.
Then the job did something unexpected. I got stock options when I was hired. I had no idea what that meant for me. I figured they didn’t mature until the 5th year so I didn’t think anything about them. I knew I wasn’t going to be there for five years so it didn’t matter to me. Then, I learned that they can serve me before my 5th year tenure. A plan was born!

This was unexpected money. However, there is a price for cashing in stock because it shows as income and remember you do have to pay taxes on that.

Truth be told, I wanted to quit after my first 6 months but I stuck it out and was even planning to stay one more year just to wrap up the projects I was doing and to really give my life and my business a solid footing but 7 weeks before I quit, I hit my limit. There is always that straw. That one too many things, one too many times. I hit mine and an even bigger, stronger, more purposeful plan was put in place! Now I had an exit date! I still wasn’t totally clear on how but I knew when and the pieces that might make it possible if they all lined up the way I envisioned.

Mostly it required patience and when you are a hot head like me, it’s hard but, I trusted my maturity and the plan. Anytime something rattled me, I thought about the plan and the countdown to freedom. I even downloaded a countdown app on my phone. I reminded myself that this time has to be different and if I follow the plan, I will not have to do this anymore, ever again! That was it for me. I was ready to be free enough to live my dreams on purpose. On November 10, 2017 I quit!

I walked away with only five maybe six months worth of savings (again, still hungry enough to work for it) but it felt great. Today in addition to working at home, I go work by the beach or at the park. I wrote most of this article at the park with a view of downtown Culver City while sipping Starbucks with a little jazz in the background. That is living and working the habit of happy!

Now it’s your turn. If you followed any of the steps from the last article or went to www.thehabitofhappy.com to purchase my book 28 Days to Happy, you may have started to work on your H.A.P.P.Y.! That means you have tapped into your truth. If you haven’t, now’s your chance. Think about what is really true for you in your professional life. Are you doing what you love? If yes, fantastic! If no, it’s time to work out a plan:

1. What would you do if you could do it for free and everything else was taken care of? Remember, no judgement, shoot for the stars. (write it down or make a list)

2. When can you start doing it? (if it isn’t already your side hustle) Think this through. Print out blank calendars if you need to. The roll out doesn’t have to be perfect just get started so you can start getting feedback. Think of everything you need to do it. Remember to include an exit plan if you will need to leave your current traditional job to live your dream. If it requires certification of something that takes longer than 3 – 5 months to start, begin by mapping out your plan and join an organization or get around people doing what you want to do so you can start getting support and resources to help you on your journey.
If speaking or training is something you’d like to do, reach out to me at leslie@thehabitofhappy.com and I will be happy to give you a free 30 minute consultation on how to move forward.

3. This last step is just for you. Start visualizing your life as if you are already living in your happy. Go test drive the car you want. Go look for office space. Start planning that trip you want to take. Create a mock balance sheet to show your net worth. Do a vision board of all the elements of your H.A.P.P.Y. life. See your success clearly!

Studies have shown that disenchanted, burned out employees developed heart disease at a 79% higher rate than those who liked their job. It’s time to say NO MORE! No matter what you do to earn income, you should enjoy it and it should not take two, three, and five jobs to accomplish the life you want. Like any career, there will always be aspects that you don’t like but overall, you should love what you do. You will be healthier, have better personal and professional relationships, and most of all, you will always live the HABIT OF HAPPY!

Until next time…Go! Be! Do!