Category Archives: advice

Living Purposefully and Achieving Personal Mastery

Personal mastery is the result of setting goals and achieving success and is rooted in continuous self-improvement, especially towards gaining a competency in skill or knowledge.  Some people have large lofty goals like surpassing Bill Gates’ net worth of $79.2 billion or creating an Oprah-sized media empire. Others may have specific target goals like losing five pounds, getting into shape or having a peaceful home life.

Regardless of one’s goal, an important fundamental task for achieving personal mastery is purposeful living.  Or establishing clarity around what you are doing, why you are doing it, and understanding the greater benefit of what you are doing. The best way to get that type of clarity is through a personal vision.

Creating A Personal Vision

A personal vision is basically big picture thinking.  It’s the concept behind your goal setting because it shows you where you are headed and can provide all of the possibilities of many directions that you can travel.  If you don’t already have a vision for your life, the best way to identify one is connect with yourself, your inner being, and began to picture an image of the future that you would like to have.

Here’s a very quick mindfulness exercise to try: Try closing your eyes and actually seeing yourself as the person you want to be. What are you doing?  What can you see? How do you feel? Are you alone or with others? How are people relating to you?  Embrace this image and when you are ready, open your eyes. Now back in the present moment is where the real work begins.  This is often the hardest thing for many people to do, but write down what you saw.  Doesn’t have to be fancy words, just describe it in your own words, and this is the beginning of crafting a vision for your life.

If you ask anyone you admire how they accomplished their level of success, and they will emphatically tell you they set a goal for themselves, created a plan, and worked hard at mastering specific tasks. At the core of their goal was a personal vision with an anticipated outcome. Yes, there may have been some life detours, but the vision remained constant, and this is a person who is living on purpose.

Committing to Self-Discipline

Another key element of personal mastery is self-discipline. Just like a runner preparing for a marathon, one must be disciplined enough to follow an exercise and running regimen to ensure their body is trained and prepared to endure the rigors of the race.  That’s the same type of motivation required for mastering personal success.

I recall sharing my vision of running as an example of goal setting in a study skills class of high school students. I told them that in my mind I see myself running, but I never take action. I have the vision and can see me running but I lack the self-discipline to commit to running. I explained that self-discipline is holding yourself accountable to do what is right to meet your goals and objectives in life.  It motivates the action that is necessary to fulfill your personal vision and stay the course.

On a personal note, I still hold steadfast to the vision of running, and have begun small steps to motivate myself towards that end. Your approach towards achieving self-discipline may be to just jump in and just do it, as the Nike slogan suggests.  But always do what works best for you.  No one else is the best indicator of your heart’s desire, capabilities or personal circumstances. It’s better to feel good about your vision, goals and progress than set up false expectations and later abandon the vision forever. When you stay the course, no matter how long it takes, that’s personal mastery.  And in time, you will also have a great story to share about overcoming obstacles to achieve personal mastery that will be a motivator for someone else.  That’s real purposeful living when your experiences positively impact change in someone else.

personal masteryIn Summary

The desire for personal mastery begins with awareness of purposeful living.  Next, a personal vision is the roadmap to guide your living.  And lastly, self-discipline promotes the action that is necessary to achieve success.  Wishing you all the best towards your own discovery of personal mastery.

Enjoy (And Visualize)!

51 Weeks To Go and Counting

BELIEVEWith one full week of 2016 in the bag, I’ve noticed the trend in my social media circles to claim one “power word” rather than resolutions.  It actually makes a lot of sense to me, and hopefully to you, too.

With good intention, people make resolutions they plan to commit to in a new year. But once the holiday season is done and people get back into their daily grinds, resolutions can often fall by the wayside. Some people have become so disappointed with making resolutions, that they don’t even make them anymore; they just roll into the new year hoping for the best.

As my 23-year-old son pointed out to me, “People can resolve to improve at any time of the year, so it’s not a big thing.”  Responding with Mother Wisdom, I told him, “Yes, young wise one but the new year is like an automatic reset for many people to try again to accomplish something meaningful.”  Then I shared with him the trend of the Power Words, and he actually agreed with me that doing this seems more intentional, purposeful, and easier to commit.

The thing with identifying a Power Word is it can transcend any moment or area of your life.  For instance, if you choose “Thrive” as your power word, it can apply to goals for eating healthier and exercise.  Even if you messed up on a diet, your power word can be a constant reminder that any small accomplishment, like walking the stairs, is a move in the right direction. Thrive may even mean seeking a better paying job because you learned a new skill, or spending more time with a loved one just because.  It’s all thriving and you set the bar for what that means in your life.

So I picked two words that resonated with my spirit, BELIEVE (for the good that flows all around me) and FREEDOM (from anything that doesn’t serve me).  It is my intention and purpose to believe in the possibility of whatever my heart desires, because I know it’s poimg_2317ssible, and to be free from ANY thing, person, idea or thought that doesn’t serve my highest and best. Ironically, after I christened my words as part of my 2016 mantra, the word “BELIEVE” surfaced immediately in an image that adequately expressed my sentiments.

So what is your Power Word for 2016?  It’s never too late to pick one, or even change or add words. It’s for your personal edification to serve as a “compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps,” according to the One Word 365 community.  I recently learned about this social media community as I began to research the purpose behind the movement, and am sharing for anyone who may be interested (preview at http://oneword365.com/).

So here’s to your highest and best throughout 2016, to live with intention and purpose ALWAYS.

A Story Unsung: Getting Started

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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.  ~Maya Angelou

Yes, everyone has a story inside of them, especially women. Some stories are subtle, some are encouraging and empowering. Some explain and others teach. But all great stories have some level of conflict. You know when things didn’t work out exactly the way you originally planned. That’s usually your backstory.

So why would anyone really care about your story? Why does it matter?

While we all have our own stuff, it is never unique to just us. Our unique life experiences are what shape us into who we are in the moment, and there is always someone that can relate on some level.  More notably, Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How To Get Away With Murder, recently shared her story.  In Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Rhimes recounts her personal struggles with weight and moments of insecurity and fear. While her story offers perspective into who she is and what shapes her creative edge as a storyteller, it is also a relatable story with many layers that speak to all women.

So, yes, your story does matter, and you don’t have to be a prolific storyteller, TV show creator and executive producer like Shonda Rhimes to have merit. Hundreds of thousands of people successfully write and self-publish books, a few who come to mind are Shelley Hitz with Author Audience and Kristen Joy of The Book Ninja, both of whom I met at a marketing conference last year. Some people use editors, like me, to help relate their story of life, love, fear, loss, betrayal, opportunity and discovery.  I’m sure this sounds familiar?

The key for you, however, is recognizing the merits of your experiences so you can begin shaping your story. Here are a few ideas that can help you get started:

  • Journal writing. You may not be quite ready to share your story with the world.  However, journaling providefemale-865110_1280s a more intimate and private option for expressing emotions and experiences. This can often be therapeutic and help to shape ideas for self-analysis and self-discovery.
  • Freewriting. You have to begin somewhere so just begin documenting your story in your own words. Grammar and spelling is not important. Just begin writing whatever thoughts/ideas emerge. Generally, freewriting involves a set time to write continuously without interruption.  Through this process, an unintended story may emerge that may have more impact than your original writing goals.
  • Outlining. If you require a little more structure, an outline will help to organize the flow of your writing, especially if you already know the story you want to tell.

So counting on you to get started with your story. Happy writing and let me know if you get stuck writing and need some help @divaninawrites or email me at divaninawrites@gmail.com.

Love and Peace Always….Ann

Your Best Life Now, co-starring YOU, directed by YOU

© Faithiecannoise | Dreamstime.com - Be The Director Of Your Own Life, Chase Your Dreams

© Faithiecannoise | Dreamstime.com – Be The Director Of Your Own Life, Chase Your Dreams

Everyone gets stuck in life at some point. However, what’s most important is attitude, perspective and self-motivation to see beyond the moment. That’s definitely easier said than done when a dilemma is staring you in the face, but you are the co-star and director of your own life.  Read on as Life Transitions Strategist Dr. Rhonda Anderson offers her perspective for being positive and staying motivated with a simple and easy technique.  

Self-Motivation: Getting Yourself Mentally Fired Up About Your Dreams                                  by Dr. Rhonda Anderson

Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today. – Author Unknown

We all have dreams and goals we are trying to achieve and at times it can become a challenge to move forward. Many times there will be no one around to speak into you or tell you to keep going, and self-motivation will have to become your best friend. Self-motivation is simply defined as being driven and able to do what you need to do without having to be influenced by others. I know from experience and I have had to rely on self-motivation to propel me forward in my endeavors.

At any given time, you are surrounded by people who do not understand what you are trying to achieve or that are really not very supportive of you in the first place. This can be depressing and can weigh you down. For me, being plugged into God and being able to motivate myself has been beneficial when I have experienced loneliness, failure, fear, or just felt like I could not move forward. Today, make a real effort to get a positive mindset, become confident in who you are, develop a hunger for what you want, and stop allowing set-backs to keep you from moving forward.

One of the best ways to change how you mentally think about yourself is adopting positive thinking and writing a personal vision statement. A personal vision statement describes who you are and all of the great qualities you bring to the table. It can be that you write your personal vision statement and place it on the mirror in your bathroom. We are always admiring ourselves in the mirror anyway, now add saying your personal vision statement aloud in the mornings before leaving the house and in the evenings before bed. You can also record your statement on your cell phone and listen to it whenever you need to pump yourself up!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Rhonda Anderson of A Scholar's Touch

Dr. Rhonda Anderson

Dr. Rhonda Anderson is a Life Transitions Strategist and the President/CEO of A Scholars Touch, LLC (AST). Her practice specializes in Life, Education, and Business coaching. AST serves youth (ages 12-21), adults, and entrepreneurs with obtaining success both personally and professionally. Please visit AST on the web at www.ascholarstouch.com. Follow AST on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+.

Be Happy in 2015

The first day of the year is always a good place of new beginnings and newfound or renewed commitment towards creating a healthy and prosperous life and being focused on what matters the most in life. That’s why it was no surprise to receive invitations to 1) participate in a bowl burning ceremony and to 2) a dinner celebrating the unity of friendship. While regretfully I was not able to make either event, I was truly appreciative of the thoughts and sentiments.

Image found at http://jasminbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Burning-Bowl-Ceremony1.jpg

Burning Bowl. Image source: http://jasminbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Burning-Bowl-Ceremony1.jpg

I was familiar with the burning bowl ceremony and believe that I participated in something very similar many years ago. If you are not familiar with the ritual, it is a fire ceremony that can take place indoors or outdoors in a ceramic bowl, fire pit, fireplace, anything that can safely contain the fire. It often takes place on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. The purpose is to release negative thoughts, hurts, resentment, and anger from the past to focus on conscious awareness and clarity of love, life, health and prosperity. The concept is to write down on a piece of paper whatever negative thought that you want to leave in the past and to place the paper into the burning bowl. The symbolization of the activity is the smoke carrying away the negativity into the atmosphere to allow for clarity and awareness for the remaining 364 days. It’s a cleansing or releasing of everything you no longer wish to burden your heart and spirit with.

For many people, the intent is great but when real life challenges hit after the honeymoon of the Christmas holiday season and New Years Day, it’s easy to forget to stay in a place of peace and awareness. And we know that people just want to be happy or otherwise Pharrell’s catchy song, Happy, would not have sold over 12 million copies to become one of the best-selling singles of all times while inspiring videos from all over the world of people dancing in the street and feeling free to just be in the moment to the song.

So beyond the ritualistic moments of the first day of the year, there are some easy and simple ways to remember to stay in or return to the moment daily. The key isn’t necessarily what time of day you do it, but what works best for your schedule. The goal is to just be consistent, conscious and aware on a daily basis, even if only for 5 to 10 minutes. It has to be likened to nourishment like eating or drinking water.

So just commit to ONE thing because most of our lives tend to get full and busy.  So consider one of these if you don’t have ideas of your own.  But  mainly, whatever makes you feel happy and feel good inside.

Prayer…whether it’s reading scripture or speaking aloud your hopes, dreams and desires for the day, prayer is grounding and creates focus.

Meditation…allowing your mind to clear itself devoid of anything and just soak in the moment either silently, with music, or guided. Especially in the spring, I love to lay in the bed really quiet before I arise and just listen to sound of the birds chirping while I contemplate and visualize my day.

Music…inspirational, gospel, kid’s song, feel good, whatever makes you smile and be appreciative for the moment you are in, just hit play and listen to it while showering, getting dressed, driving, exercising or cooking.

Yoga/Exercise…stretching your body and releasing tension and sweating out any negative energy.

Signing onto Happify…a science based-approach to inspire happiness through quick fun-based activities, tools, and skills that can increase happiness on your pc or as in app on your phone.

 

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year With $25,000

PP sweepstakesSo you promised yourself to start the new year on a healthy note.  One way you can do that is by purchasing quality name brand discounted vitamins and herbal supplements from online retailer Puritan’s Pride! Over the years, I have purchased all types of health and beauty products including liquid acidophilus, argan oil, vitamin e oil, essential oils, and crystal deodorant and body spray, to name a few. The products are always discounted with free shipping and are delivered generally within a few days. And as a bonus through January 31, 2015, you can also enter the Puritan’s Pride sweepstakes. Even if you don’t purchase anything, you can enter the sweepstakes by sharing your email address. It’s really that simple, the same way that 2015 should be for you.

Here’s to best wishes for happiness and good health everyday, and especially good luck in the sweepstakes.

Men, Relationships and Masterdating

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Dating has its challenges and becomes even trickier during the holidays. Factor in an awkward lack of dating skills and one could find themselves alone and lonely. With back to back holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, News Year’s Eve, with Valentine’s Day arriving shortly thereafter, it’s no wonder a single person can feel helplessly hopeless. But then there’s online dating, and that, too can be challenging, especially for someone newly single from a marriage or long term relationship. According to dating industry stats at datingreviewsites.com, men seem to take the biggest hit when meeting someone online because they make 80% of the initial contacts with only 25% response rate. That’s a lot of rejection and pressure if a man is really seeking a serious relationship. It would lead a man (and women) to wonder what he could be doing wrong.

According to relationship expert George Reagan, dating for a man is all perspective, preparation and having a game plan, he shares in his new book Masterdate: The Handy Guide to Internet Dating for Guys. The 150+ page book is a quick read and fun “how to” guide with a lot of practical advice and solid information such as writing a good online profile, tips on how to effectively search online for someone with common goals and interests, how to easily relate to women, writing the first email, and what should happen during your first meeting. George is an excellent, methodical and prolific writer who mastered success in online dating and wants to share his secrets with guys about how easy, fun and rewarding dating can be. I will admit that initially I was turned off by the title “Masterdate” because I thought he was presenting an innocuous sex guide cloaked under the guise of dating tips and would be a tongue-in-cheek dating advice tips. For example, he includes highlighted sections throughout the book called

Relationship Expert and Author George Reagan.  Follow him on Twitter at @masterdate48 and @writerreagan

Follow Relationship Expert and Author George Reagan on Twitter at @masterdate48 and @reaganwriter.

T&A but it’s really his effort to share his exciting Tales/stories and Advice so guys don’t make some of the same mistakes he initially made. I quickly recognized that George is marketing genius for creating imagery, illusion and interest in his book. After all, sex is a major goal for men and successful dating helps them eventually reach their goal, so George speaks their language to keep the interest. But what George has really created in 13 engaging chapters is a no-holds barred honest male perspective on dating that begins with asking men to become their own harsh critic. Any man that is truly serious about getting out of a dating rut or just to begin dating again and finding love, will not want to put this book down. Even as a woman, I found it to be a very insightful look at dating from a male perspective and have recommended it as a resource for men inquiring about love advice.

With 2015 knocking at the back door, what are you waiting for? If you know a man (a sibling, best friend) struggling with the dating scene or new to dating, he may just need a nudge, so here’s a great gift to share this holiday season. After all, everyone deserves #finding4reallove, and Masterdate provides the required knowledge, technique, and advice to effectively prepare them for optimum dating success.