Book Review: Time Management In 20 Minutes A Day

Book: Time Management In 20 Minutes A Day – Simple Strategies To Increase Productivity, Enhance Creativity, and Make Your Time Your Own

Author: Holly Reisem Hanna

Key message of the Book: Time management is not a “fit-for-all” set of systems, tools and disciplines. Finding the right practices and tools involves a lot of experimenting, as the author discovered in her own life. The book is a quick read with simple strategies that helped author Holly Reisem Hanna to increase her productivity, creativity and overall well-being as a busy mom and entrepreneur. Holly’s strategies include:

  • Setting daily goals & 30-minute time blocking for all daily activities (especially when we all tend to under-estimate the time needed to complete a task), starting with highest priorities.
  • Reduce digital distractions that could lead to mindless scrolling and un-necessary fear of missing out.
  • Evaluate priorities on a regular basis by doing brain dumps, re-assessing what’s urgent versus non urgent, a short-term versus a long-term goal, and assigning realistic deadlines to all.
  • Simplify, declutter, delegate, batch, and automate whenever and wherever possible.

One specific learning from the book:  Two items worth highlighting are:

  1. Time blocking: the author recommends 30-minute blocks with each “day’s errands, appointments and must-do tasks, starting with your highest priorities”. The strategy is effective because “having a scheduled time for each task lets you know exactly how much you can realistically take on each day, making it easier to accomplish each task.” The practice is presented as something that could be done at the end of each day for no longer than 10 minutes.
  2. “Stop doing” list: in addition to a to-do list, the author is also recommending a “stop doing” list to identify habits, activities and tasks that should be let go off: ” When you get crystal clear on what you don’t want in your life, you become more focused on the things that you do want.”

One favorite quote from the book: “You only get one chance with time; once it’s used up, it’s gone forever.”

One favorite passage from the book:

“When it comes to perfection, the bottom line is this: Stop putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve some unattainable standard. Give yourself and others grace and consider how you feel and what you want to be remembered for – then learn to let the rest go. You are the only one who gets to decide what is a priority in your life and what is not. Do not let an unrealistic mind-set or someone else’s definition of success dictate your task list or your sense of well-being!”

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Book Review: Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Book: Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Author: Dr. Travis Bradberry & Dr. Jean Greaves

Key message of the Book: Emotional intelligence is a critical skill that anyone should be looking at strengthening with research and numerous studies having found it to be “the single predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence” as per the authors Dr. Bradberry and Dr. Greaves.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the set of four skills – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management – grouped around two competencies: personal competence and social competence.

  • Personal competence is “your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.”
  • Social competence is “your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.

The four above-mentioned emotional intelligence skills can be expanded by applying specific strategies. For example:

  • Self-awareness is the ability to “accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations” and can be improved by a number of strategies including allowing yourself to feel both negative and positive emotions, keeping a journal about your emotions, understanding and tracking the source of your feelings and triggers, revisiting your values and whether your emotions and behavior are in line with these values, observing the effect your emotions have on others around you, and seeking feedback from others. As we can’t escape our emotions – “your hard-wired emotional reactions to anything come before you even have a chance to respond” – we can only strive to become more self-aware.
  • Self-management: is the ability to “use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively” or “to actively choose what you say and do” and can be improved by strategies such as deep breathing, making your goals public, sleeping on a situation before taking action, setting aside time in your day for problem solving and thinking, taking control of your self-talk, visualizing yourself succeeding, and building good sleep habits.
  • Social awareness: is the ability to “accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them.” Good strategies for expanding your social awareness include greeting people by name, watching body language, and practicing listening and empathy.
  • Relationship management: is the ability to “use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully” and can be expanded by being open and curious, acknowledging other person’s feelings, sharing feedback, showing care, increase transparency on your decision-making, providing constructive and direct feedback, aligning your words and actions with your intent, and taking the high road when entering tough conversations.

One specific learning from the book:  If there is misalignment between your emotions and your words, you could be in a situation where you might be sending a mixed signal that can cause mistrust or confusion in a relationship. The authors explain how the best way to deal with this is to “use your self-awareness skills to identify your emotions and use your self-management skills to decide which feelings to express and how to express them“. At times, “the best bet is to explain what’s happening (i.e. “If I seem distracted, it’s because I can’t stop worrying about a phone call that went awry this morning”).”

One favorite quote from the book: “Getting to know yourself inside and out is a continuous journey of peeling back the layers of the onion and becoming more and more comfortable with what is in the middle – the true essence of you.”

One favorite passage from the book:

“Since our brains are wired to make us emotional creatures, your first reaction to an event is always going to be an emotional one. You have no control over this part of the process. You do control the thoughts that follow an emotion, and you have a great deal of say in how you react to an emotion – as long as you are aware of it.”

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

The Goal Achievement Iceberg

Sunrise on the Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, United States

Achieving goals follows the iceberg theory – achievements and accolades are externally observable similarly to the iceberg floating over the surface of an ocean, but the underlying behaviors, supporting meeting these goals, are like the part of the iceberg which is beneath the water.

So what does reaching goals mean? The response includes:

  • Being committed enough to make concerted efforts and take specific actions towards the achievement of a set goal. You can engage in blue-sky thinking, an approach discovered by psychologist Charles Garfield, which entails looking at your life as if there are no limits to what you can achieve. But a goal doesn’t (always) need to be a lofty target. It can simply be an improvement you wish to achieve in an area of your life. Another way to look at goals is an unorthodox one, that Mel Robbins, a New York Times best seller author, podcast host and renowned coach, suggests: pay attention to any feelings of jealousy you might harbor; “jealousy is blocked desire” (e.g. by your fears, doubts or overthinking) as per Mel, thus it can serve to identify goals you might not have considered or allowed yourself to dream about. Furthermore, commitment means doing the work, often times, the very hard work, to meet your goal. It ultimately means taking responsibility for defining and adjusting a plan for goal execution and staying honest about your progress against your goal.
  • Acknowledging that it is not about the goal itself, it is about the process and growth required to get to your destination. This mainly means to focus on things you can control. Map out steps, milestones or specific actions required to reach your goal and enjoy making progress on a mapped-out itinerary. Especially when it’s about a goal you cannot fully control (e.g. a promotion, buying a property, or getting married), it is fundamental that you focus on achieving the growth associated with that particular goal rather than getting attached to meeting it under some subjective or random timelines. The risk of missing a goal is higher when the focus is not on how to grow yourself to the level of your goal. Furthermore, a set goal might require a more profound type of growth, encompassing multiple areas of life. For instance, expertise and great knowledge in a professional sector might make someone a great individual contributor, but without leadership skills and presence, that individual’s career opportunities will likely not expand to positions of leadership. Likewise, succeeding professionally in a way that burns bridges with others, or at the risk of strained family relationships would challenge the notion of success for that individual.
  • Expecting to get discouraged or make mistakes when on the journey to achieve a specific goal. The path to achieving goals is rarely linear. Steven Handel, author of Small Habits, Big Changes makes the point that “our patience is strongest when we have a healthy expectation of future difficulties and obstacles. Get ready to be challenged. Get ready to make mistakes. Get ready to fail. And make sure you are ready to keep moving forward no matter what happens.” These moments of discouragement are when re-commitment to what drives you the most is necessary in order to not give up on your goals. It is also a time when you might need your support network the most and when surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can be the lifeboat in a stormy ocean.
  • Celebrating and owning your achievements. This might seem cliché but moving from one goal to another without acknowledgement of what you might have just accomplished can lead to burnout and life dissatisfaction. It is for your own healthy self that you mark meeting your goal in a celebratory way. Remember how much you wished for your goal to become a reality and how hard you worked for it. Would you celebrate your kids or best friends if this was their accomplishment? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”, isn’t it? It is not only about a symbolic celebration, but it is also about owning your achievement, which could be a process in itself. It might entail not succumbing to some impostor syndrome or arrogance that might surface, or not going back to some old-sabotaging patterns of thinking or behavior.

Setting and reaching goals are an important part of life. It doesn’t mean everything is good 100% of the time and goals are always achieved. But it is ultimately a lifestyle which leads to more fulfillment, peace, presence and success over time. When you are clear about your values-driven goals and pursue them in a healthy way, you reap more meaning and happiness in life. And chances are that the people close to you are also happier around the best version of yourself. In summary,

“Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.” – Zig Ziglar

Guest Article: Tips for Navigating Life’s Crossroads: Managing Major Life Transitions

Photo via Pexels

By Guest Writer: Donna Erickson

Donna Erickson is a retired public educator. She created Fit Memory with a few friends as a way to promote wellness among senior citizens with the hopes it will help inspire others to make the most of their golden years.

Life is full of changes and transitions, both abrupt and gradual. Learning to roll with these changes and adapt is key to thriving in this complicated world. With the right mindset, habits, and resources, it’s more than possible to navigate major life changes and come out stronger on the other side. Whether it’s moving to a new home, starting a business, dealing with the death of a loved one, or overcoming an  addiction, each challenge comes with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. Keep reading to learn coping strategies you can use as you face change in your own life, courtesy of Growth Is A Journey.

Navigating Life in Addiction Recovery

Life in addiction recovery can feel foreign and new. While this can be refreshing, the change often comes as a shock to those emerging from addiction. Facing a sex addiction for example can be incredibly challenging and involves making some major changes to your lifestyle and regular habits. Embracing recovery is a significant transition. Look for online resources that can offer support and guidance as you enter this new chapter of your life.

Making the Transition to Business Owner

Becoming a business owner is another major life transition that can be challenging to adopt. Make sure you’re ready for this leap before jumping in. explains that you have to be ready to supervise yourself, as you won’t have anyone to answer to. While this can be freeing, it also requires self-discipline.

Starting a business also involves taking on risks. While risk is inevitable, you can take steps to reduce your level of personal risk. For example, forming an LLC is a great way to protect your personal assets and decrease the financial risk involved in launching a business. If you’d rather not hire a lawyer, you can form your LLC on your own with the help of online formation services. Just be sure to review your state’s specific LLC rules before taking on this task.

Refresh Your Environment

When life feels topsy-turvy, a change of scenery can help clear your head and make room for a fresh start. Consider downsizing to simplify your life. This will help you refocus on the things that matter most to you! Downsizing means less cleaning and maintenance, as well as fewer financial obligations. And with just a little effort, you can find a home that still contains highly sought-after features that will allow it to retain its value down the road, such as a laundry area and a backyard.

Prioritize Your Mental Health

Caring for your mental health during major life transitions is not about self-coddling but about building resilience. Aim to develop coping strategies that help you weather stress rather than escape from it. For example, explains that gardening is linked to improvements in well-being and perceived stress. Getting outside and digging in the garden is great for restoring your ability to focus and calming the mind. Consult online gardening resources like HomeGardenHero for product recommendations and plant care tips.

Learning to accept change is another valuable way to support your mental health as you navigate life’s ups and downs. Most of us are naturally resistant to change. However, accepting change is far easier than fighting it. Consider new opportunities that might arise with the transition you’re facing. Visualize what your new future might look like and open your mind to possibilities you might not have considered before this change.

While navigating major life transitions can be challenging, the right mindset will help you overcome anything. Remember to prioritize your mental health and find ways to cope with stress, like picking up a gardening hobby. Whether you’re dealing with the transition into recovery from an addiction, starting a business, or moving somewhere new, look for online resources that will offer support as you embrace change.

Growth Is A Journey believes that we’re all on a journey so we might as well enjoy it!

Book Review: 100 Ways To Motivate Others

Book: 100 Ways To Motivate Others, How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy

Author: Steve Chandler and Scott Richardson

Key message of the Book: 100 Ways To Motivate Others is a synthesis of leadership traits and principles that a leader ought to exhibit in order to motivate others to achieve desired results. A practical guide in leadership, the book includes powerful and condensed insights with truths and myths about motivation and leadership, as well as many inspiring real-life stories and anecdotes. A leader who motivates others is not a leader who controls them, but one who knows himself/herself well and acts intentionally, in a way that is inspiring to these around him/her.

For instance, great leaders who motivate others are these who:

  • understand the need for providing real and regular feedback, and the power of thoughts and of continuous learning;
  • know that self-discipline and focus are to be learned like a foreign language and are not innate traits;
  • get input from their people;
  • don’t confuse stressing with caring; are “ruthlessly” optimistic and replace worry with action;
  • manage agreements and not people;
  • don’t “focus first on trying to be liked” but “on the practices and communications that lead to being respected”;
  • don’t try to be right all the time;
  • teach others to embrace challenges and changes as they arise, to master problem-solving and do what’s required.

One specific learning from the book:  It can be draining to have pessimists in a team – these individuals who seem to perpetually complain and have a negative attitude about everything. To motivate such individuals is to inspire them. The real work is not on the pessimists to change but on the leaders to seek ways to become an inspirational figure in a pessimist’s life. Inspiration is more powerful than constructive criticism because “victims and pessimists hate to be fixed, hate to be corrected, and even hate to be taught things, because their whole position is defensive.”

Another specific learning is about inspiring “inner stability” for others even under circumstances that are always changing. People generally yearn for stability and leaders can offer that, not by looking outside themselves but by finding stability and calm within themselves in the “inner enthusiasm for work“. Doing your best as a leader every single day is a source of stability even when external changes occur: “Does anything motivate people more than to be in the presence of a leader with inner stability and self-esteem?”

One favorite quote from the book: “Masterful, artful, spirited leadership has ways of bringing out the best and the highest expression of self-esteem in others”.

One favorite passage from the book:

“You will really enjoy motivating others if you start thinking of your life as a mathematical equation. […]

Here it is:

When you are positive (picturing the math sign: +) you add something to any conversation and meeting you are part of. That’s what being positive does, it adds.

When you are negative (-), you substract something from the conversation, the meeting, or the relationship you are a part of. If you are negative enough times, you substract so much from the relationship that there is no more relationship left.

When you are a positive leader with positive thoughts about the future and the people you lead, you add something to every person you talk to.”

Steve Chandler & Scott Richardson, 100 Ways To Motivate Others

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Book Club: Small Habits Big Changes

Book: Small Habits Big Changes, How the Tiniest Steps Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

Author: Steven Handel

Key message of the Book: Transformational life changes and long-term improvements are achieved via the collection of small habits we integrate into our daily routines. This is because big changes never or rarely happen overnight; as per the author, changes are “often slow and gradual” and dependent on our daily actions: “Often, it’s not any single act that will completely change your life, but the consistency and the persistence of a habit that leads to real consequences over time.”

Big SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals are a valuable way to push us forward, but they become a reality or a means for transformation when they are accompanied by specific tactics, systems and routines … which enable us to get from state “A” to state “B” on the long-term.

As part of this framework, the author describes several essentials we ought to pay attention to, create and re-create in our lives – on a regular basis – for self-growth and self-improvement. These include (1) what morning and nighttime routines we develop; (2) the basics of sleep, diet and exercise, which are critical for sustaining positive habits and good performance, and (3) the systems we put in place, which can turn into a lifestyle, if pursued consistently.

One specific learning from the book:  In the self-improvement literature, there is a lot of talk about “going outside of our comfort zone” – by pushing our boundaries and conquering our fears. That is good advice; however, it does not mean that “staying inside our comfort zone” is always bad. The author makes the point that going outside our comfort zones often times comes with costs and stress, and it is equally important to give ourselves “permission to take it easy and “chill” out”. In other words, is it important to understand what activities enable us to relax and recharge, especially after sustained levels of effort. Building relaxation into our days and lives is as important as hard work and building disciplines and systems for focused efforts.

One favorite quote from the book: “Think Big, Act Small”.

One favorite passage from the book:

“Our patience is strongest when we have a healthy expectation of future difficulties and obstacles. Get ready to be challenged. Get ready to make mistakes. Get ready to fail. And make sure you are ready to keep moving forward no matter what happens.”

Steven Handel, Author of Small Habits Big Changes

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Productivity Tips For A Lifetime

World-class athletes and successful entrepreneurs easily come to mind when thinking high performance and that is rightly so. However, the reality is that we are not all to be elite athletes, scientists and Nobel Prize recipients…. High performance can be defined as an above-average ability to create results with the resources, skills and talents at hand. Irrespective of what these results look like – e.g. gold medal at the Olympics or a successful swim meet – there is a pattern that can be observed across individuals sharing this way of living and being.

While there is a lot to write and say about high performance and productivity, the following ingredients stand out for high performers:

Clarity in what they want to achieve: Clear goals are the starting point for high performance. High performers know that it is important to be clear on what their goals are, and if they find themselves unclear about their long-term aspirations, they start with short-term goals. They think in terms of what is it that they want to change, improve, or do over the next few months or year(s)… Or they simply think about their top priorities as an initial set of goals. Ultimately, high performers understand that goals drive priorities and that’s when higher levels of performance start. High performers also understand the pitfall of attempting to go for too many goals at the same time- which is a set-up for feeling overwhelmed or for giving up on goals.

Drive and determination: High-performers are driven individuals. They like to challenge themselves, keep growing in what they do or areas of interest to them, and hold themselves to high standards – not for the sake of fame, acolytes, a promotion or more financial wealth, but because they are intrinsically pulled to reach new horizons and their potentials. Their determination might be anchored in a genuine desire to help others around them or achieve a particular outcome that would make a difference (e.g. a cause); in some cases, this desire came about after a negative experience such as a dysfunctional environment or a traumatic event. Even if such past experience was and might remain a source of hurt or grief, it is the experience in itself that has transformed these individuals, acting as a catalyst for extraordinary levels of determination and strength, and for finding purpose. It is what psychologists refer to post-traumatic growth. But not all high performers have trauma in their lives. High performers have drive and determination, fueled by the understanding of and acting upon their unique set of values: e.g. if someone values providing support to unprivileged kids in under-developed countries for instance, his or her efforts will be fueled by this desire.

– Focus and removal of distractions: High performers know they need focus. Anecdotally, as a high performer myself, I recall how as a kid excelling in school, my parents always told me to focus on school, while they took care of the rest. This might seem mundane; but they did that with a lot of sacrifices. That clear direction – to focus on school at the time- built a habit in me to stay focused on and be responsible for my number one goal. High performers also understand very well that one focus killer is multitasking, a performance myth over the last decade. Studies show that tasks take in fact longer when multitasking and ultimately performance is hurt. High performers are also not shy about shunning social media, another enemy of focus, or removing distractions in their environments. For instance, they understand that social media creates a risk of mindless scrolling, brain fog, and zapped energy levels (same as lack of sleep!) and might revert more often to social media breaks as a way to re-energize, be more present and gain some time and energy back for their own goals and the relationships they want to prioritize outside a virtual environment.

– Planning systems that lead to new disciplines and tactics: High performers know that having a good memory and to-do lists is helpful but not an enabler of sustained high performance – sooner or later, such system fails or overwhelms. High performers are typically using planning tools (e.g. planners) to enhance performance via the regular exercise of writing down specific goals and targets for each day, week, month and year, with thought-through tactics and timelines for achieving them. Planners also typically include a regular progress review which helps to identify challenges, breaking points, areas of concern and improvement, as well as to experiment with new disciplines and tactics. High performers understand two big realities. First, high performance cannot be achieved overnight. Second, good habits, disciplines and tactics have a compounding effect (e.g. reading 20 minutes to a young kid translate into 121 hours or 5 full days of reading in one year). Likewise, negative habits compound with higher costs over time including negative outcomes such as disease, addictions or depression.

– Self-care and fun: High-performers are not overworked and stressed out, although there are certainly blind spots with being a doer or times when these feelings might be present. High performers understand that sustained high performance requires rest and relaxation, and having fun … they are, after all, human beings and not human doers. A common denominator for high performers is that they are finding or attempting to find genuine ways to take care of their souls, minds and bodies. For some, fun might look like a party with friends, for others, it is reading a book or going on a hike. And besides understanding what their self-care and fun needs really are (and experimenting with that), high performers are also carving out this area in their planning and strategy.

High performance is not an ability we are born with, but one we need to use and strengthen … just as a muscle. It can start with the framework above and continue with refining a high performance recipe that works for you, some days with more determination, other days with more disciplining….

Ultimately, the conduit for high performance is the understanding that we are responsible for our own actions and that, as per actor and comedian, Julia Louis-Dreyfus,

“The best way to make a difference in the world is to start by making a difference in your own life.”

The Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

Happy New Year!

2022 is coming to a close and whether you are a fan or not of new year’s resolutions, vision boards, and alike, a minimum of reflection and introspection is due as part of our evolutionary human nature.

So here is my brief reflection for 2022.

2022 wasn’t an extraordinary year by external feats. On the surface, it was an ordinary year at the risk of calling it quite plain – same jobs, same kids routines, some local or regional outings and some new and old friendships. When I count some heartbreak and COVID, the balance could be negative although that is an exaggeration.

However, upon more careful reflection, 2022 was a gift in its ordinality for two main reasons. First, anything that becomes ordinary in our days and lives constitutes at the end the foundation which anchors us during storms of life and propels us for growth, new experiences, breakthroughs and success. Second, without the distractions of the extraordinary, the ordinary takes us on a journey of constant appreciation and examination of what we hold dear in our lives, and what serves and energizes us in the realm of “ordinary” things, people and experiences.

While I envision 2023 as an extraordinary year with many extraordinary experiences and success, 2022 showed me the gift of an “ordinary” year.

Therefore, whether our 2023 will range on the spectrum of ordinary or extraordinary, or somewhere in between, my hope is that every one of us will see the gift in it.

There are two sayings that I love for the beginning of a new year:

  • “Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant”
  • “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” 

Happy New Year!

Life Lessons

I love birthdays and new years because they are packed with anticipation, excitement and hope for what’s ahead.

Entering a new decade of life calls for a longer reflection. So what have the last decade and life to date taught me the most?

Impossible is possible. I am not referring to physical miracles but to the fact that there is so much to give and receive in this journey of life, decade after decade, some of which not even part of our wildest dreams or design of life. This is because life has an embedded potential to get transformed and grow beyond our expectations and imaginations. This is why growth is a journey which often times starts with us taking an initial step, oblivious to the unimaginable transformations, breakthroughs and growth that can be found on the other side of taking action.

Challenges and negative emotions are a part of life. As much as we long for perpetual happiness, life happens and with it, challenges, frustrations, grief, anger, and sadness. The more we try to ignore or dismiss our negative feelings and experiences, the harder it becomes to go through them and emerge stronger as result of these feelings or experiences. In fact, looking back at defining moments in my life, some are loaded with heartache. We cannot control what life throws at us, but we can use these experiences as catalyst for growth, to shape our identity and bring out the essence of who we are and who we can become.

Love and self-love are mandatory ingredients for walking the valleys and mountains of life and what makes us human. Irrespective of our starting points and experiences in life, love and self-love are a conduit for fulfillment. This can be the experience of becoming a parent which from a day to another expands the definition of unconditional love in a most profound way. Or simply the experience of forgiving one self or another person which might require us to confront some of our past experiences, limiting beliefs or mistruths that no longer serve us. And when self love or love for another is found again, giving and receiving love are an act of genuine being, which helps bring the best in ourselves and these around us.

Environment matters. What and who we surround ourselves with have a strong influence on our thinking and actions. And our thoughts and actions ultimately define our characters and lives. We might not always be at liberty to choose our environments, but we can aim to have the discernment to amplify the positive encounters, experiences and relationships in our lives. It can be the brief interaction with a stranger who offers us a compliment on a day we feel lost. Or these friends who seem to always know to share a word of encouragement or wisdom when we most need it. Or these individuals in our lives who are a source of challenge when we might find ourselves a little too complacent or unaware of the need to grow.

And no matter what your own life reflections might be, there is one truth that applies to us all as per an often quoted saying:today is the first day of the rest of your life“. Make it your day…!

Book Club – The Gap and The Gain

Book: The High Achievers’Guide To Happiness, Confidence, And Success By Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Key message of the Book: When it relates to our goals and happiness, there are two ways of being – in the gap or in the gain – based on what our reference point is.

  • If we measure ourselves against an ideal, needs and wants, we function from a state of gap, lack and frustration.
  • If we measure ourselves against our starting point, we appreciate our progress and accomplishments, which puts us in a state of gain.

When we are in the gain, we are more likely to extract uses, lessons, and purposes from our experiences, in other words, we are turning our life experiences into either wins or learning. This type of living becomes a catalyst for more impactful and meaningful GAINS.  To practice our “GAIN” muscles, we need to build the habit of journaling and measuring our top gains, as well as defining what our desired gains for the future are.

One specific learning from the book: 

  • Personal development: The self-determination theory says that a crucial aspect of motivation and thriving is autonomy: “The more independence and ownership you take for yourself, your circumstances and your life, the more self-determined you will be.” In order to become self-determined and intrinsically motivated, we need to define our “success criteria”, our “I’m being happy/successful when” versus “I will be happy/successful when…”
  • Leadership development: We can help others see and appreciate their own gains by (1) asking them about their recent progress and (2) pointing out to them their progress. When we are in a difficult situation, we can help others find the GAIN with questions like: “What is the GAIN in this?” Or “How can we turn this into a GAIN?”.

Favorite quote from the book: Happiness is a byproduct of realizing that you are the destination”.

Additional resourcesHome – Gap And The Gain Book (

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Truth Or Dare

From time to time, a few moments before my son’s eyelids close for a good night sleep, he challenges me to “Truth or Dare”. It was one of these moments that got me thinking how powerful this challenge could be in a grown-ups world.

Imagine “truth or dare” applied vis-a-vis our actions, relationships, emotions,…


Truth in acknowledging our emotions and feelings, sometimes by finally discerning through what our bodies and minds might be telling us.

Truth in acknowledging our shortcomings, as well as of those around us, without compromising nor losing compassion or the will to find a way to make things better or make ourselves better.

Daring to act on that gut feeling even when there seems to be so many reasons for not following through with it; or daring to take that first step even if the full staircase is out of sight.

Daring to listen to who we are, even if that means experimenting with actions and reactions to get to the bottom of our true selves.

Daring to live life fully, during both valleys and peaks, by striving to grow from each encounter and experience of life, and perfecting the recipe of love for life, oneself, and those around us.

“Truth or dare” because today is the day that is given to us to break free from our old selves and grow closer to who we are meant to become.

Welcome Hiatus

It has been several months since my last post. A hiatus wasn’t in my plan, but it came about with the inability to find time for my creative self initially week after week, then month after month. It is not in my high-performer nature to lack intention, but this unintended break has taught me to let myself experience life in a more spontaneous and compassionate way.

Welcome hiatus. Why?

It takes self-compassion and love to allow ourselves to sit with our emotions and needs, and quiet down voices that no longer serve us.

It takes self-awareness to know that we might be drifting away from something or someone and stay in peace about it.

It takes reconnecting with who we are and responding to life, people and events in sync and acceptance of ourselves, our values and boundaries.

It takes love for ourselves and/or others to prioritize what the real needs might be, even if or even when it takes a journey of discovery, mistakes, victories, disappointments, and new excitement.

When we pause, we allow ourselves to reflect and course-correct. When we pause, we take ownership of our own lives and actions. When we pause, we reconnect with the better parts of ourselves and our humanity.

A hiatus thus becomes a stop for purposeful living.

Welcome hiatus, welcome life.