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Is Money the Source of Your Joy?

You may have noticed recently that I’ve been sharing a lot about the launch of my co-authored book, Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy – I’m SO proud of the brave stories that myself and the other authors shared about their tragedies and triumphs in life that have marked their journey! (And I have to admit that it’s pretty darned cool that we hit 4 (yes, four!) Amazon best-seller lists during the first few days of our launch, and that it’s inspiring thousands of women around the world. 🙂 ).

And what I’ve noticed while being part of this project and inside of the conversations with my clients and others who I’ve been talking with is that the concept of joy is often misunderstood. What is joy? What creates joy in my life? What are the barriers to joy for me?

As I’ve been in these questions with others, what I’ve learned is that often times people are making a connection between joy and money – that, in essence, once they have more money they’ll be able to then be joyful.

While I’m not judging how/what people think, for me this is a HUGE mistake in terms of being able to attract joy in our lives. We’ve got it backward!

What do I mean? When people believe that when they have the money first, then they’ll experience joy they are waiting on an inanimate object to show up and create what they want in their lives.

Instead, what if we chose to create joy in our lives first, and then as we walk around our lives happy and full of energy, accepting and being grateful for the amazing things that we already have, then we were able to attract more money into our lives?

YES, it actually works this way!

It is our “inside job” to choose joy first, and then generate the irresistible energy behind it that has us walk around our lives glowing and radiant which is like a beacon in our world to attract the abundance that we say we want.

So it’s not about working hard first to create the money so that we can then have joy. We get to decide how/when we’re going to create joy in our lives, and then let the energy of that unleash into our space and the world and wait to see the amazing money manifestation machine start clicking away.

Not sure just yet if you’re buying into this process? I understand, so let me share some personal examples to illustrate my point.

Example #1 – I’ve known since I was a young child that I was born to teach. And as an adult, I’ve realized that not much gives me joy than to support others in learning something new and possibly even breaking through something that’s holding them back. So, I’m always in “teaching” mode and listening for opportunities to contribute because it creates such joy for me that my head hits the pillow at night fully satisfied that I made a difference. As a specific example, a few years ago I spent hours upon hours creating a free event for others called The Financial Health Telesummit – it was filled with financial experts talking about different aspects of financial health (taxes, financial planning, insurance, etc.) and supporting others to learn more about those financial concepts and take action in their lives to educate and empower themselves around money. You might notice I said it was a free event; I made no money directly from it (although I share the information now as an information product), and I dove all in with my heart to make a difference. The result? 8 new private clients in 35 days (and not one of those clients came from the telesummit either – they just “randomly” showed up!) and by far the best financial month I’ve ever had in my business. And it was joyful and fun to do every single minute of the program!

Example #2 – This past month (October 2015), I had so many opportunities it felt a little daunting at the beginning if I’m honest. The book launch, opportunities to speak at a big conference and in other places, and personally speaking I had some incredible opportunities to take leaps of faith and create the life of my dreams without understanding the outcome (which can be scary). And all throughout this time I was immersed in the idea of cultivating joy and I spent a lot of time revisiting how I wanted to create joy in my own life…and my personal insights were powerful. The results this time were equally profound as I sensed my joy quotient rising and the financial results in my business have begun to substantially grow as well.

In both instances, I focused on JOY as my intended outcome – I allowed myself to enjoy the process and by simply being with what I was doing the results were amazing.

Funny how both times I was focused on joy first, and then the money came. I didn’t focus on the money first and then joy showed up. 🙂

So I invite you to think about what would create joy in your life, and how you can start doing that for yourself today. Not tomorrow, not in one week – TODAY. Life is now and it doesn’t wait for us; every moment matters and it’s never too soon to begin cultivating joy in our lives and creating the lives of our dreams and manifesting the amazing abundance that we all deserve!

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How to Surrender and Manifest Greater Abundance in Your Life

Is it just me, or does anyone else really dislike the concept of “surrender“?

For someone like me who for most of her life has been accustomed to proactively taking charge, thinking about sitting back and letting things flow initially gave me heart palpitations.

I mean, how does anyone get anything done if they’re surrendering? Doesn’t it feel out of control? (These are the things I would wonder when people would tell me to “let go” and “surrender.”)

While I used to think this way and be afraid of surrender, now I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of it in combination with taking action. As a business mentor once said to a mastermind group I was a part of, “pray and move your feet.” Said differently, be clear about what you want in your life and take steps to be a proactive participant in the process of creating your life.

I’m also starting to learn that knowing how to surrender is a pivotal part of manifesting abundance. Without surrender, it often feels like you’re pushing forward instead of riding the natural waves of life. Pushing feels like trying to control things, when at the end of the day as I’ve learned the hard way, control of anything in our world is a complete illusion. Yes – you can be a proactive participant in the process of creating your life; No – you cannot also create everything specifically to your liking. You must allow the mysteries of life to surprise you.

I’ve even started to study surrender (see the great book I read recently in the picture above) and the art of manifestation. As I’ve studied these topics, I’ve boiled down some basic steps to manifesting and creating abundance as follows:

  1. Have what you have – Many people would refer to this as the practice of Gratitude, and at its basic core it means to appreciate what you have already created. This step is critical in the manifestation process, and from what I’ve experienced creating abundance in your life when you’re not grateful for what you already have is near impossible. In essence, why would the Universe give you more if you don’t already love what you have now?
  2. Create space – I strongly believe and have experienced time and time again that when you don’t have space in your life for the abundance you want, that it has nowhere to land. Space can be defined as physical space, emotional space, or even mental space. So if you live with various forms of clutter surrounding you, it’s time to clean it up. If you’re feeling emotionally drained from people in your life who keep asking more and more of you, it’s time to draw boundaries and perhaps even put an end to some toxic relationships. And if you’re experiencing high levels of stress, it’s likely time to clear out some mental space to reclaim a more peaceful energy for yourself.
  3. Pursue inspiration vs. doing what you “should” do – We all have many commitments in our lives, particularly as it relates to our professional lives and our family lives. The truth is that for people with jobs you wouldn’t be paid for very long if you didn’t do what was asked of you, and if a mother didn’t take care of her children there would be circumstances there as well. This step refers to the importance of pursuing what inspires us and lights us up as this will generate a positive energy that has a higher likelihood of attracting amazing things into our lives. And while it may not be possible to shift 100% to pursuing inspiration in this moment due to existing responsibilities and commitments, I invite you consider a concept of “crowding the plate” that my business mentor taught me. When we crowd our plate, we are slowly (and over time) adding inspiration to begin to edge out commitments and responsibilities that we are no longer aligned with, which raises our vibration to attract more of what we want.
  4. Don’t be attached – There is a formula shared in the book “Ask and It is Given” that is simple – ask for what you want, the Universe provides it to you, and then you allow it. Notice how I said it is simple, not necessarily easy. Some people don’t receive things well when they show up in their life (especially if they believe they don’t deserve them), and sometimes they’re attached to what something should look like and therefore refuse what shows up because it doesn’t match their expectations! Detaching myself from the outcome of what arrives in my life has been, by far, one of the biggest adaptations I’ve needed to make to allow abundance. This adjustment was necessary because ultimately when we refuse what we are given then the Universe gets confused and frustrated and stops delivering what we ask for (because really, why bother right?)

When I choose to follow the steps above, there’s something magical that takes place as the opportunities that arrive in my life are perfectly aligned with my skill set and abilities. And when that happens, I’m able to serve others in a powerful way and share my gifts which gets that abundance machine all fueled up to manifest amazing things.

As has been true for me, life is truly about what Barbara Stanny referred to in her latest book as “receptive surrender.” And while Ms. Stanny defines that term specifically in her book, Sacred Success, my interpretation of “receptive surrender” is that when we’re able to focus on being present and release our need to control (i.e. surrender), the Universe can use the space created by surrender as a place to deliver our dreams!

After years of fighting it, I’m finally ready to put down the sword and allow the life of my dreams to arrive…how about you?

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Abundance Goes Far Beyond Money

Traditionally, when most people hear the word “abundance” they immediately think about money. And while that would seem to be the most common understanding of the word, as I’m finding out more and more often in my own life it is a very small part of how we can truly experience abundance.

Abundance can come in the amount of joy we have in our lives, in the amount of love we have for others, in the amount of beauty that we see in nature, and in the exciting and unexpected mysteries that pop up in our everyday lives and enchant us. And quite honestly, I could go on and on and on about how many other places we can see abundance!

However, in speaking with my clients when we talk about abundance they understand it in concept (as in, how they could see it or experience it in their lives), yet they have trouble either generating it or seeing it once they’ve generated it.

So what can be done to increase the amount of abundance that you are experiencing in your life? I’m glad you asked! I’ve been in the question of how to do this for myself for the last few months and here are the key steps that I’ve been practicing that have been working for me:

1) Chase inspiration – There’s something about the high energy and positive vibration of being in an activity that you love and could spend countless hours doing. It creates joy in your soul and often times allows you to offer the best of yourself to the world as you step out of over-thinking (which many of us do, myself included!) and into a place of flow and ease. From this place of flow, you’re best able to clearly understand what next step is best for you and you act as a lightning rod for new and exciting opportunities to show up.

2) Surrender – This is the hardest step for me, by far! Yet I am reminded almost daily to surrender my ideas of where my life is going and what is best for me. As Marianne Williamson says in her book, A Return to Love: “God’s plan works, yours doesn’t.” For those moments when you find yourself struggling to figure everything out and you can’t see how it’s all going to work out and you’re feeling those thoughts of scarcity and fear, just remember – you can surrender anytime and the natural self-organizing and self-correcting pulse of the universe will take over and guide you. When we’re able to surrender, it allows for answers and opportunities to show up that we couldn’t have ever dreamt of in our brains! (PS – this is not only a daily occurrence for me, sometimes it’s an hourly occurrence or every 10 minutes…it depends on the day. I’m still working on this one myself for sure.)

3) Be mindful – You may have heard the phrase “thoughts become things” and I am a firm believer that we create our own reality with our thoughts. So, for example, a few months ago I was experiencing thoughts of fear, and guess what showed up in my life – scarcity! When I was able to shift my thoughts to a more positive outlook (which took some heavy focus, let me tell you), what showed up was much more joyful and peaceful.

4) Practice presence – This step is the key for me to be able to take the other steps I’ve mentioned so far. When I slow down enough to create quiet space, it allows me to gain clarity on what inspires me, where I get to surrender, and what thoughts I get to be mindful of and shift. There are many ways I create quiet space including meditation, reading, hanging out at the local park (where the landscape is gorgeous!), journaling, and working out (it clears my head and has me focus on my body).

For me, the practice of each of these steps has supported in shifting me away from a feeling of scarcity toward abundance and joy. And while some of that abundance has been showing up in my bank account, I can honestly say that the majority of it has been showing up in how I feel in my body, how clear my mind is, and how many creative ideas I’ve had and how much I’ve been able to enjoy the small moments that show up in my day.

Each of these steps is simple in concept, yet not necessarily easy. It takes a dedicated focus, commitment, and practice to create the wide range of abundance that each of us has access to – we only need to take the time to tap into it!

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Shifting Away from Scarcity

Every once in a while, we get an unwelcome visitor who knocks on our door – SCARCITY.

He’s not a very fun houseguest. In fact, I’ve experienced him as a downright nuisance and intrusion when he shows up. (And for some reason I envision him as a male energy…so we’ll go with “he” for right now, ok?)

Yes, it happens to me too. Anyone who is taking themselves on and is growing and expanding their relationship with money and breaking through to a new level of financial consciousness is likely to run into some roadblocks on their journey. And sometimes those roadblocks are labelled with a big S-C-A-R-C-I-T-Y.

Within the last month or so, I’ve been really focused on growing both myself and my business. And like everyone else I have fears about whether or not I’ll fail, and sometimes I have fears about what will happen when I succeed too. One of my favorite quotes of all time on this very topic is from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The reality is that feelings of fear and scarcity feel real when they are happening. And so the question, at least for me, becomes what can we do to move through those feelings and get back to our best selves and the work that we are here to do?

As I’ve taken big steps forward over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to also be present to the fear and feelings of scarcity that showed up in my life. Some days it felt like I was taking hits from every side, and other days I found quiet pockets of peace in what felt like a storm. Along the way, even in the harder moments I was aware of consciously working to move myself through the challenging feelings of scarcity and shifting back to a more productive and abundant energy.

While there are many tools that I use to shift my feelings when they are less than pleasant, there are 5 consistent things that I do when I’m wrapped up in feeling fearful or scarce (and sometimes that relates to money, sometimes that relates to time, or sometimes that relates to me not being enough for whatever I’m up to):

  1. Breathe – Yup, back to basics here. Often when I’m feeling tight or fearful I realize that I’m not breathing fully. So I stop what I’m doing, and breathe deeply in and out for at least 5 minutes…and sometimes it’s more like 10!
  2. Focus on what you’re grateful for in your life – I remember a few years ago when someone taught me that fear cannot co-exist with gratitude for very long, and that accessing gratitude can quickly shift us away from feelings of scarcity and/or fear. I didn’t believe it at first, and after years of practicing this when I’m feeling down I can attest that it works. I don’t stay fearful for very long after I spend time honoring the amazing things in my life.
  3. Take care of yourself – It may seem obvious, however often times when scarcity pays a visit I realize that I’m long overdue for some sleep, some exercise, or maybe even for some pampering and self-care like a massage. I’ve come to think of it like this – when we aren’t taking care of our greatest asset (ourselves), we aren’t able to access our full power and abundance and we often quickly get dragged into energies that don’t serve us.
  4. Meditate – This goes along somewhat with the deep breathing, although for me there’s a distinction in meditating as for me it allows me to quiet the noise in my brain and any negative or unsupportive thoughts that are traipsing through there at the moment . Whether it’s simply sitting still and focusing on my breathing and visualizing what I want in my life for 15-20 minutes, or listening to some guided meditations (these are two of my favorites: Getting Into the Vortex and The Secret to Attracting Wealth), I experience calm and quiet after meditating that stems the energy of scarcity that is present.
  5. Hold off on making any major decisions – This is less about doing something and more about not doing something. Making major decisions when you’re feeling off-kilter can sometimes introduce an energy into the equation that isn’t helpful. So any time I’m feeling fearful or like scarcity has me in his grip, I am clear that it’s not the best time for me to make any major choices!

Navigating through feelings of fear and scarcity is never fun, however it often results in powerful insights and wisdom once on the other side. So the next time the scarcity monster knocks on your door, know that you have the presence and power to invite him in and politely ask him to leave after you’ve gained whatever insight that you were meant to.

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Writing a Financial Letter to the Universe

Often times I write about the more practical aspects of money management like using your cash flow intentionally, saving money, or getting out of debt. And while each of those is a critical component to building a strong financial foundation and improving your financial health, sometimes it’s also important to look at your finances with a bit more of a spiritual approach.

If you haven’t yet picked up on the fact that I’m equally spiritual and practical, then let me bring you in on the secret now. Yes, I love numbers and systems and processes and spreadsheets. I also am a student of the laws of the universe and enjoy coupling my logical thinking with the more mystical forces at play in our world.

So how can all of this apply to you and attracting more abundance into your life? Great question!

You write a financial letter to the Universe.

Yup, you heard me – you’re going to sit down and get clear on what it is that you want and what it is that you’re willing to do to create what you want!

There’s a great book named “Ask and It Is Given,” and in summary it offers a 3-step formula: 1) Ask; 2) It is given; 3) Receive.

As I’ve been reminded myself in the last few weeks as I’ve drafted my own letter, the critical first step is to be intentional in asking for what you want and finding clarity around what your goals are.

Intention (noun): 1) a course of action that one intends to follow; 2) An aim that guides action, an objective.

I’ve been clear over the last few weeks that my intention is to create a few key things in my life: 1) abundance through my business (financially speaking and also opportunities); 2) clearing space and decluttering; and 3) treating my body well with healthy food and regular exercise. So, in a way, you could say like the definition above I set aims that have guided the actions that I’ve taken in my life.

And the results have been amazing! Simply by focusing on what I want, having the faith that it will show up (and not being attached what it looks like when it arrives), and allowing it into my life I’ve found new clients, my body is feeling much healthier and I feel stronger, and overall I’ve been able to create not only physical space but also a sense of space for amazing opportunities to arrive.

The 3-step formula I mentioned before can easily also be used when it comes to your finances. If there’s a specific goal that you have in mind, then get clear about what the goal is and include it in your “letter” as a request. And then step back, start taking action steps on your end toward your goal and/or commitment, and see what happens. Watch for additional signs to take action on along the way as creating your life is a co-creative process for sure – it’s rare that you make a request and it just shows up on your doorstep without any additional input or action from you (although I’ve seen something pretty close to that, so who knows, anything is possible!).

What do you really want in your life that you haven’t yet asked for and would like to have happen? How is money a tool that could support you in pursuing and achieving your goals? How can you leverage this 3-step formula to enhance the abundant feeling in your life and improve your financial health?

While abundance has a wider definition beyond money, a critical component of abundance is about having access to the financial resources that you need/want to create your life. And while the Universe is a powerful force, it won’t act on your behalf on its own- so be intentional and ASK!

And once you’ve asked simply let the rest unfold…and receive it all into your life with gratitude.

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