When people talk about visualization strategies it is often in the framework of seeing yourself as you want to be when you are at your goal. This is certainly important as one part of the visualization process since if you don’t know where you are then you won’t know the steps you need to get to that destination. However, there are smaller steps to visualizing success that can help you make the right decisions every day of your life. Instead of just focusing in on the huge mega plan, you also need to spend time seeing yourself being successful in the details as well. Continue reading
To our Intent.com friends and family:
This week, my good friend Jack Canfield — originator of the famed Chicken Soup for the Soul book series — is announcing the definitive guide for those of us who want to become more successful in our lives, careers, finances and relationships.
It’s the 10th Anniversary Edition of his classic success book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be — and Jack has assembled a series of unique gifts when you purchase the book online during this initial launch period. Continue reading
A common fear amongst writers and other creative sorts is pouring your heart and soul into your latest masterpiece only to have it ripped apart by way of criticism and negative feedback. This is especially true in the digital arena where people often sling mud at strangers from behind their keyboards without batting an eye. I’ve seen this fear actually paralyze many talented artists from really going for their dreams and putting their work out there. In my own writing, I used to find myself playing it ridiculously safe, careful not to stir the pot too much or offend anybody. Continue reading
As someone who was blessed with good schools in my hometown, the education needs of others has often slipped my mind. Sure, living in cities after college had made me aware of multiple teacher strikes, as well as the calls to reform public schools. Still, having gone to public school myself, and afterwards a four year college, I wondered if perhaps it wasn’t the schools, but the neighborhoods, family units, and other factors that were more responsible for young students’ struggles.
That mindset, however, was entirely changed after aimlessly turning on DirecTV’s Audience Channel to discover the documentary, Commonwealth. The documentary follows the plight of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s oldest city, after 24 of their public schools were shut down in 2013. Educators, parents, and students themselves go on to discuss the disturbing fact that Pennsylvania spends an average of 400 million dollars per year in order to build and maintain their vast prisons (a number which is only growing). Students and teachers alike claim that in essence, the prisons are built for the youth of the city, who are given little to no chance to avoid incarceration as they are shuffled through the public education system. Horrifying details – such as a test administered to third grade students help determine which children are more or less likely to become criminals – emerged as I continued to watch the program.
Soon enough, I found myself investigating education not only in Philadelphia, but in my own city, Chicago, and elsewhere across the country. Documentaries such as Teach, which discuss educators in public schools, their triumphs and their struggles, and David Guggenheim’s first groundbreaking documentary, Waiting for ‘Superman’ were added to my list. Though Waiting for Superman has come under criticism recently, all of these documentaries at their core raise awareness for the cause of improved public education.
Education reform should be a much discussed issue, even for those who aren’t yet worried about their own children’s school system. In a country where many, widely different and uniquely talented students are subjected to standardized tests and curriculums that leave little room for exploring fascination and grooming each student’s interests, and where much emphasis is placed on acquiring a college education (which is often too expensive or leaves students in years of debt), we seem to be hanging our youth out to dry. Too many times we’ve heard others comment that they would hate to be graduating from college with the current job market, or they’re concerned about the economic troubles our future youth will be handed upon entering their adult lives.
So, for the sake of both my own and young students’ futures, I have made the intention to focus additional efforts on educational needs. Of course, one of the first steps is participating in local elections and concerning myself with the education platforms of politicians running for office. Many education decisions are made at the state level, meaning choosing a president with a focus on bettering schools is not nearly as effective (though it helps!) as voting for officials closer to home who have the interest and the ability to more quickly enforce changes within the schools closest to you.
Beyond that, I plan on opening myself up to the opinions of others – not just lawmakers and enforcers, but the teachers, students themselves, and administrators who face education struggles on a daily basis. It seems clear to me that these are the people who would have the clearest ideas regarding what education policies work, and which are leaving students to struggle. Supporting those educators, through better pay, better supplies, or whatever else they may require, will only benefit our young students and future workforce in the long run.
Finally, I intend to guide my own philanthropic efforts toward volunteering with after school programs and other activities that given students the opportunity to explore passions that may not be emphasized, or even available, within the public school system. You can too, it’s not as time-consuming as one may think! Whether it’s assisting with an after school sport, offering to help raise funds for your local school’s art and music programs, or even speaking to students about your own unique career, and how you got there, your efforts could inspire and help cultivate a young kid’s dreams!
by Rachel Kossman
It is my intent to stay positive as I search for a writing and web-editing job, but I’m struggling. The job search is time consuming, frustrating, and seemingly endless. It can often be fruitless for long periods of time, which is a truly demoralizing feeling. I feel as though a black hole is swallowing every cover letter and resume I send out to the interwebs.
I told myself I would do at least three things a day, even if they’re small, to forward my job search – sending out a networking email, writing a follow up message, searching LinkedIn for connections, starting a posting, or sending in an application. It was manageable, and there were days where I did twenty tasks, not just three. I was chugging along, gaining optimism the more I put myself out there.
Then, I got an interview for a full time gig I could easily label my dream job. A phone interview led to an in person interview, which led to a second in person interview, and then a cross-country phone call with a third employee. I thought I had it in the bag. All my energy and excitement hung on the prospect of this job. Yesterday, they gave it to somebody else.
So now I’m back to square one. Slowly plodding away, one task at a time. This time, I’ve upped my expectations for myself: at least five tasks a day. It has only been three weeks since the interview process started, but it feels like ages ago. I’ve lost my steam.
I want to stay focused and determined as I look for people and companies who will believe in my writing abilities, and pay me for the content I produce. But with this experience of nearly nabbing my dream job — being told I’m great, but not quite great enough, it’s seeming even more difficult to remain positive.
Everyone told me job searching would be hard. But isn’t the truth that things aren’t really hard until you experience them yourself? Everyone told me how much I would struggle, and part of me knew that I would. But I said to myself “It’ll be a challenge but I can manage, it won’t be that bad!” And that statement seemed true when this interview opportunity came along. I had worked hard, and it had seemed to pay off. But now I’m feeling down, and it seems like my hard work has landed me nowhere, and I’m struggling.
California’s unemployment rate is nearly eight percent. With a statewide population of just over 38 million, that means more than 3.5 million people are out of work and looking for jobs. And that doesn’t include the folks who are working a job they don’t want, and are searching for another position on the side.
I have to remind myself that I’m not the only person facing this battle.
I have to remind myself to stay motivated, and not let my frustration and sadness get the best of me, because those emotions don’t lead to productivity, and what I need right now is to keep moving and working toward my goal.
I have to remind myself that instead of a retail or waitressing job that pays little and wears your body down, I have found an amazing nanny job for a wonderful family that pays my bills in the interim.
I have to remind myself that I’m in always sunny Los Angeles, so having an irregular schedule with days that don’t start until 5 PM means I can hike with my golden retriever in the mornings and still have the afternoons to work on job applications.
I have to remind myself that even though this feels like a giant back step, it’s a great sign that I scored an interview for a job I truly wanted, and that has to mean there are bigger and better opportunities out there for me.
I have to remind myself that if three tasks a day (and on good days, many more) led to that opportunity, pushing myself to do five will only help me succeed faster.
And I have to remind myself that I’m only 25 (with my entire life to work) and that regardless of whether I’m job searching for one more month or six more months, in the scheme of my life, this will only be a blip.
Rachel is an aspiring writer and journalist, born and raised in Los Angeles. She lived in Boston for six years, where she attended Northeastern University and wrote for Boston.com and the Boston Globe, Her Campus, Bay Windows, South End News, and Tech Target. Rachel spent much of 2012 backpacking and blogging her way across South America. Follow her on Twitter @rachelsarahsays, and check out her blog on RachelKossman.com.
As time goes on, an increasing number of people have started leaving their cars in the garage and grabbing their bikes instead. As populations grow, streets become more crowded. Rising gas prices make driving in a car more expensive. Cabs can cost a fortune, and nobody enjoys riding the bus. That leaves a lot of people looking to their bikes for transportation. But what cities accommodate such a decision? Let’s check out some of the most bike-friendly cities in the USA.
Madison began turning itself into a bike-friendly city around 1972 during an oil crisis. Since then, the cycling situation has consistently improved. The city now has a well laid out network of paths off the street as well as bike lanes all over the city. Madison draws some of the top cycling companies thanks to its bike friendliness such as Planet Bike and Saris. Motorists have gotten used to the cyclists over the decades. The city has also implemented a “Safe Routes to School” program designed to help children safely walk and bike to class.
If you head just outside the city, you can find pastoral and hilly terrain, which is great for riding. Also, if you’re into competition, Madison hosts the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon, which usually draws around 2,500 each year and has one of the most difficult bike courses in the country.
San Francisco, Calif.
This city has recently become one of the biggest biking places in the country. It’s not just cycling enthusiasts; it’s the business men too. Twitter–headquartered in San Francisco–claims that 25 percent of its employees use their bikes to commute. The company even leased a building near one of the main bike-ways to help accommodate them, and probably to encourage others to join.
Recent innovations in 2010 included 20 miles of new bike lanes, 25 bike parking corrals and traffic signals to help give bikers right-of-way. These led to a huge increase in cycling over the past five years; around 71 percent more. But with those increases in cyclers came a rise in bike crash statistics, despite the heightened level of safety offered by these lanes.
In 2011, Chicago got Washington’s progressive transportation director, Gabe Klein. Together with the new mayor, they set an ambitious agenda to refuel the city’s bike network. The call the plan the Streets of Cycling 2020.
One of the main goals of the plan is to install 100 miles of separate bike lanes in the next four years. So far, they installed a protected bike lane on Kinzie Street, which only took six weeks. Fifty one percent of traffic during rush hour now consists of bike riders. Elevated railways should soon become bike paths, and the bike-share system should soon expand to 5,000 bikes.
The bike culture in Minneapolis thrives thanks to the Stupor Bowl Alley Cat Race, wintertime cycling tours, the Bicycle Advisory Committee’s thousands of volunteer hours, and a general enthusiasm for biking around the city. What started off as a simple cultural phenomenon has now become a community attitude. It’s made the city one of the best places to cycle in the country.
You’ll find the 4.57 mile Cedar Lake Regional Trail as one of the largest biking trails in America. The trail also connects to other biking and walking paths. It’s got two one-way bike lanes and a pedestrian lane running from the Mississippi River through the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field and into the suburbs in the west.
Portland has long-held the title of best biking city in America. It often serves as the only American city on lists of the world’s top places for cyclists. It’s the only big city (with a population of over 600,000) to earn a “Platinum” status from the “League of American Bicyclists” thanks to 180 miles of bike lanes and 79 miles of off-street bike paths.
You’ll find a bike-rack or bar just about anywhere you go in the city. In Portland, sometimes it seems as if bikers have more control over the road than cars. When huge groups of bikers roam the streets, cars simply have to back off and wait for them to get through. Motorists have spent so much time around bikers, they’ll often let you into the road when no bike lane exists.
If you’re looking for a place where you can rely on cycling, you can’t go wrong with any of these cities. Find one that sounds like it best suits your riding style and enjoy fully embracing the healthy lifestyle.
As humans we are drawn to other humans. We find comfort and strength in bonding together to form close knit groups that keep in mind the interests of the entire group rather than focusing solely on the needs of any one individuals. We call these groups communities and we create them in nearly every aspect of our lives; our neighborhoods are communities, at work we may have another close knit community and via the web, we can have communities based on common interests not bound by geography. With community playing such a key role in our lives, it seems like a natural step to create financial communities. This was the vision that Josh Siegel had in 2003 when he founded StoneCastle Partners which has grown to be one of the largest and most respected firms in Community Banking.
“It’s the purest of banking,” Siegel explained recently in an interview with Deepak Chopra for the series One World on Newswire.fm. “All they do is they collect the local dollars of people like us, they put in together and give it to a person in their community; its very community oriented. Its starting a business, it’s buying their first house. It’s doing something very connected and personal.”
These community banks are not only better in terms of the personal touch that they provide; they also tend to do a better job fiscally as well. “They lose less money, believe it or not, than the money center banks, they earn a better rate of return for their investors and they do more good,” says Siegel. In other words, they do everything that the larger mega banks do but on a manageable scale which allows them to be more successful.
It’s a simple and refreshing model; one that keeps a community’s money in that community and making sure those dollars are working for the people who need them. Josh recounts unusual stories of community banks helping in towns where natural disasters have hit without focusing on how they will recoup profits. Why? Because the banker is a member of that community and has a personal connection to the people with whom he does business. It is the humanization of fiscal responsibility. Banks don’t have to be the huge, profiteering machines that they so often turn into. Banks can and should treat people like people. It’s not just a pipe dream. Josh Siegel has proven that it works.
You can see Josh’s entire interview here.
Everybody has a dream in their heart. They stem from our unique gifts which are part of our higher purpose here on this earth to share with the world. When the life we’re living is not in alignment with this calling, it can result in feeling less than happy and fulfilled.
But, it’s not always easy to muster up the courage to go after your dreams and break status quo. What if you fall short? Where do you even begin?And those who do find the strength to go for it sometimes give up too soon upon realizing it’s more difficult than they imagined. Things aren’t happening as fast as they “should.”
I’m here to tell you – don’t give up on your daydream! What that little voice inside is telling you and the direction your heartstrings are pulling you is some not-so-subtle guidance on how to live your life with intent and purpose. If you want to be ridiculously happy, you have to follow the calling and live and breathe your truth.
But how? It takes time, persistence, flexibility, focus, energy, and a darn good sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either. As an unconventional 7-figure CEO that runs multiple business ventures, I have fallen flat on my face plenty of time. And, yeah, I’ve even felt like throwing in the towel a time or two. It sucks when the Universe punches you in the gut. But, it happens to the best of us. And, there is usual a pretty major lesson and opportunity for growth within … if you stay open to it. In these instances along my journey, I got up, brushed myself off, and kept trying. And, in the process, I learned a thing (or seven) about what really limits our success and learned how to overcome these blocks. They’re not what you typically hear about or learn in business school, either. While business savvy is important, these truths touch more on the spiritual side. They can help elevate your success to a whole new level.
How to Overcome the 7 Biggest Blocks to Success
- Don’t stop believing. Not believing in yourself & your vision will kill your dreams faster than you can say “hold on to that feeling.” (That’s a Journey reference for you young folks reading this!) Belief is the cornerstone of every successful person’s repertoire. When you don’t believe in yourself, other people energetically pick up on it, as will the Universe. You attract more of the energy you put out, so you don’t want to be putting out a lot of self-doubt and other negative and low-vibe thoughts. Self-love and confidence, on the other hand, are very high-vibe and will resonate with the Universe in a way that allows you to more easily bring your vision to life. Many people start out with a strong belief, but allow it to wane when the going gets tough. In trying times, it is important to always go back to the “why” behind what you’re doing. What impact do you want to have in the world and on your life? How do you want to feel as you go about your day? Are you more focused on the cause or the applause. Reconnecting with these pure intentions will help you stay connected to your dreams and vision in a positive way.
- Fix financial woes. Whether it’s not having clarity on what you need to make vs. what you need to spend, or not understanding the amount of capital it actually takes to start-up and fund a business, running out of cash is a very common reason that many businesses go under. But, digging even deeper, many people have money “issues” at a subconscious level. Perhaps it’s the notion that making money is not spiritual (as money being the ‘root of all evil’ is a common misconception), or it could be a deep-rooted belief that one is not worthy of financial abundance. These limiting beliefs are often a show-stopper when it comes to aligning your purpose with earning a living. As a result, dream-chasers can end up packing it up and heading back to day jobs they don’t love (That is, of those who weren’t too scared to risk leaving in the first place). Taking the time and making the effort to have a clear understanding of financials as well as uncovering and healing any deep-rooted money blocks can exponentially increase the likelihood of business success and financial abundance.
- Don’t quit before the finish line. Some people will never know how close they really were to success because they threw in the towel right before their big break. Times will get tough and you will be tempted with every ounce of your being to call it quits. And, there might even be times when that is the right decision. But, more often than not, if you are following your heart, you probably just need to look at things with fresh eyes. What makes one successful is digging in when you really feel like giving in and giving up. Instead of calling it quits, get back up, dust yourself off, be open to the lessons you are blessed with, revamp and try and try again. You wouldn’t train for a marathon and then give up a mile before the finish line. No way! Walking, limping, or even crawling across are perfectly okay. Same goes with your life and dreams. Just don’t give up!
- Bust through internal blocks & limiting beliefs. Energy-sucking thought-vampires come in all shapes and sizes. Much like the money “issues” that often come up, there could also be some deep-rooted beliefs that you will never be successful or that you don’t deserve to be. Or, perhaps it is your own greatness that scares you the most. These beliefs often stem from childhood and we might not even know they are there. I find that self-reflective journaling and meditation are highly effective tools to help bring these destructive thoughts to the surface so you can heal them. Find a quiet spot to mediate and before you begin ask yourself “What am I most afraid of? What is holding me back right now?” As you sit in silence, the voice of your heart and soul can rise up over the negative chatter in your brain. Be open to whatever thoughts come and go in your meditation and simply label them “thoughts.” When you are done, take your journal and allow the feelings and observations to flow out of you through free-writing. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Just let it all out. When you’re done, reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself. It can be pretty eye-opening and life changing!
- Listen to your gut! At any given point, we have at least a hundred other people in our ears: friends, family, business partners, random strangers on the internet. Many of them mean well (some not so much), but they all have opinions about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. While it’s always a good thing to keep an open mind and give some value to the thoughts of others, at the end of the day: You are the guru. Always! We all have our own internal guidance system built-in. When we learn to become still, we can clearly hear the gentle guidance of our heart and soul. Learn to take what others say and do with a grain of salt and, instead, follow your own intuition. It will never lead you astray.
- Be adaptable. We often find ourselves out there trying to steer the river instead of just going with the flow and allowing the current to take us along for a ride. We get so attached to the vision in our own mind that we sometimes forget we are actually co-creators in our lives. Yes, I believe in taking accountability for our own actions and that we can manifest our own reality. But, at the same time, there is so much in our lives that is completely out of our control. Once we learn to become easy-going and less-attached, we soon realize that the Universe has an even greater plan than what we originally intended. What does that mean to you? Sometimes the plan has to change. You need to be willing to re-write again and again. We must learn to hold our vision and dreams ever so loosely (like a cute baby chick). Imagine what happens when you squeeze that baby chick too hard. (Oh no! Right?) The same thing can happen to your dreams. So, be easy. Learn the art of unattachment while striving for achievement. It’s a delicate dance.
- Be in alignment. When you’re listen to the calling of your heart and soul and what you do is alignment with your truth, amazing things start to happen naturally. Otherwise, it can seem like nothing is going like it should. This would be the equivalent of getting up and doing something everyday that you don’t love … just for a paycheck. Figuring out a way to line up some of your passions with your work is the recipe for a happy and fulfilled life. When you combine the use of your talents with fulfilling your purpose, the impact you can make in the world as well as your own happiness have limitless potential.
Of course, business savvy is always a plus when it comes to turning your dreams into reality. You need to bring a unique offering to the table or have the ability to solve problems and a strategic business plan that covers all the business nuts and bolts. But, there is so much more beyond the physical world that also plays a major role. When you combine both the practical and the metaphysical, you become a powerful creative force to be reckoned with, you dream-chaser you! Now go make some magic happen. xo
(To learn more of these strategies at a deeper level and turn your passion and purpose into profits, join Dawn Gluskin’s six week online course: The Time is Now! Registration is now open. Also, join the Type-A Zen movement by signing up for email inspiration & following on Facebook and Instagram.)
I am a child of the West. More specifically, I am a child of the United States and the mentality of answering a question is deeply-ingrained in me. I often think back to when I was in school, third or fourth grade and the teacher asked a question. I can still see the class, all boys, in sport coats, dress shirts and ties as we collectively raised our hands, we knew the answer. We wanted our teacher to know that we knew.
Someone was picked and the answer was given and then, it was on to the next question. When I worked on presidential campaigns, John Kerry in 2004 and Bill Richardson in 2008, I would sit at the edges of the rooms as the press asked questions. Q&A sessions are the core of journalism. You couldn’t possibly just have a “question” session where a question was left to float and linger; nor have there been many great ‘answer’ sessions where everyone gathers around and shares an answer to a question that was never asked.
We grow up and we want the answers. Why does she love? Why did she stop? Why did this happen or that? We hire therapists and read the books. We seek answers in the stars, our friends, and our family members. Today, in the world of electronic connection, there has to be an answer to every text; there has to be a response to every post and every email.
Not only that, we often read the simplest of pieces of communication over and over for an answer. We want to know why the person sent it; what’s the logic for the use of wink and not a smile. We pull layers off of layers and try and see what lies underneath. We need to find the answer.
Almost two years ago, I set out on my own journey to find out what happened to my father who had died in Southeast Asia in 1984. This was also less than a year after my mother had died in my arms in a hospice in Arizona. I set out with a mission. The impetus for my leaving was a dinner I had with two close friends in Cape Town, South Africa while on a business trip there. “Go” they each told me, “go find out. It’s what you need to do.” I remember sitting at restaurant, as the waiters bustled about. I remember the feeling of the crowd and the room. I remember thinking, ‘yes I will go.’ So I went.
I learned an enormous amount on my journey. The journey concluded with me being back in that same restaurant last week while back in Cape Town on another business trip. I sat there and thought about what I had learned and what I hadn’t.
I left on my journey with my Western sense of “I need to find the answers” fully intact and front and center. I thought if I worked a bit harder, if I went to one more place that my father had gone to back then, if I stood on one more street corner where I knew that he had stood, I could find the answer. Any answer. An answer to how he felt when he was there. An answer to how he felt when he died. Something.
What I learned is that you should always go on your journey. We each have something that we have either always wanted to do. A place that we went to when we were young that we have wanted to go back to. Or perhaps we want to see where our parents were from, or where they met. We could want to see where someone near and dear to us lived, or died. It can be as far reaching as traveling Southeast Asia as I did, or as simple as wandering an old neighborhood where you grew up at night.
Go on the journey.
But go, not as I did as Westerner looking for the answer, though I suspect that you will leave that way. Go as the Burmese and African friends that I met along the way would go. Go knowing that the answers are elusive and not only are they elusive, the questions travel with you.
When you learn to live with the questions all day and all night, you realize that the answers don’t matter nearly as much as you once thought. When I was in Burma, I would get emails from my friends from the States, ‘did you find out what happened to your father?’ But no one there ever asked me that. They knew that it wasn’t the answers that mattered so much, but the journey itself. And living with the questions.
I wish I could go back to the classroom of my youth and when the teacher asked a question, instead of shooting my arm up and seeking to be the one with the answer, I would be the boy who sat there and just thought about the question.