Spiritual Awareness in a Digital Age

People today seem to prefer exploring spirituality and choosing elements that work for themselves and their lives. Instead of ascribing whole sale to a “religion”, they are searching for meaningful practices that encourage personal spiritual awareness.

There seems to be a willingness to try things out, experiment, and keep what works.

As a business owner, CEO, or employee looking to break free from the 9-5 grind, you might have gone through some version of spiritual exploration yourself. As a human, you know what it is to feel frazzled, overwhelmed, and constantly attached to your phone or other device.

You can find podcasts, trainings, tutorials, seminars, and retreats designed to help you plug in (and unplug) while discovering new spiritual truths. There isn’t time to dive into all of those things in a single post, so let’s just consider the retreat environment.

You’ll likely be in a secluded, or at least somewhat out of the way location. You’ll have access to peers, as well as a spiritual leader or two. The Beyond Your Brain retreat, for example, is led by Christine Comaford. She also has a sort of spiritual assistant to support both her and participants. A retreat will likely be quiet, and hopefully a pervasive sense of peace will fill the area.

Beyond that — who knows what you’ll encounter as you seek spiritual awareness!

Meditation is likely. Perhaps a sound bath, a guided journey, a set of journal prompts. You may encounter nature bathing, prayer, group sharing, energetic alignment, or visualization.

There may even be a sacred text, or perhaps some sort of sacred music.

Wondering what some of those things even are? You’ll want to be sure that you provide the most essential retreat element – an open mind. Spiritual retreats don’t work if you need the science, facts, and logic behind every single thing that happens.

Each day of your retreat will likely be varied. You’ll want to do what you can to turn technology off and truly be present.

You’ll find that without the vibrations, alerts, and distractions of modern technology, you’ll actually be able to be fully present with yourself. This allows you to also be present in the space you’re in, and with those around you.

For example, at the Beyond Your Brain retreat, participants are encouraged to keep technology off. If it must be used, you’re asked to refrain from accessing it in a community area.

If you go into the experience with a truly open mind, you’ll find yourself doing and experiencing things far beyond what you ever could have imagined. What you continue to implement once back in your own home? That’s up to you!

The only person who can truly decide if a particular practice is a good idea for you and your life is you.

Open your mind, and see what feels like a good fit.

A few other retreat takeaways:

  • You can walk away from or release anything in your life that isn’t serving you.
  • When you’re open to the practice, you can ground yourself in any place or time and see an increase of inner peace and calm.
  • You can trust yourself to make powerful, right decisions for your own life.
  • Going technology free will clear your mind and is a worthwhile practice to continue at home.

Interested in trying a retreat that minimizes technology while also incorporating spiritual elements? You might find the Beyond Your Brain retreat to be right up your ally!

Decrease Shame with These 3 Tips

decrease shame

You want to decrease shame in your life. And why wouldn’t you? If there’s anything that dampens one’s ability to create new businesses, products, courses, or materials…

It’s shame. 

It seems that many of us find ourselves minimizing our lives, quieting our voices, or hiding our talents. Why? We worry about what other people will think, say, or believe about us. 

And all that worry leads to shame.

So how can we decrease shame?

Here are a few tips and tricks that have been known to help you free up your time and energy for bigger, better things:

  • Deep breathing

The simple act of taking long, slow breaths can decrease negative emotions by calming your parasympathetic nervous system. You’re essentially stopping stress in its tracks. This gives you a chance to clear your head, shake off your doubts, and hold your chin up high.

  • Healthy movement

The longer you trap your body in stillness, the more stress and tension will build up  inside. If you’ve been sedentary for quite some time, you might not even realize the impact it’s having on you. By getting up and getting going, you can create actual movement and flow within your physical body. Sometimes you can break up an internal block by engaging in physical activity.

  • Quiet meditation

Stilling your mind, quieting your soul, and connecting with yourself in a deeper way is bound to lead to good things. Many of us avoid that sort of connection with ourselves, however. If you actually lean in to who you are, you’ll find there’s a lot to be proud of. And since shame tends to be fairly deep rooted, you’re going to have to dig deep to start rooting it out.

(You can get more tips here if you really want to dig into this!)

The difficulty, however, is that pursuing things that are good for us can create even MORE shame. We fall into the trap of believing that we don’t deserve the time and energy it would take to slow down, breathe, move, or meditate.

Jennifer Knapp, of Shameless Solutions Inc., shares that when she first started trying to incorporate more forms of pleasure and self-care into her life, she struggled. It was only when she realized that she had internalized the belief that she had to “earn” pleasure that things started to change. Finally, she realized that what she needed “were shameless solutions, resources that would remind me that I deserve to experience the  exquisite, tingles-licking-up-my-spine moments that I craved as often as possible. “

If you’re looking to decrease shame in your life, you’ll want to practice some tried and true strategies. But in order to do so – you have to realize that you deserve a bigger, fuller life.

A Scientific Source for Health Information

What’s the source of your health information?

There is a lot of confusion in the world about what it means to keep yourself and your family healthy. And even though most of us would love to feel we have a trusted, scientific source for health information, it’s hard to know whose voice we can count on.

Depending on the day of the week and the source your intel, you may be hearing that you absolutely must…

  • Go meatless
  • Do Keto
  • Do a cleanse or juice fast
  • Absolutely do NOT do a cleanse or juice fast
  • Workout 5x a week
  • Only do HIIT workouts
  • Stop running
  • Start running

And on and on and on.

When does it end?

Technically, never. Because of our unprecedented access to new information, groundbreaking studies and newly developed tools, and the fact that anyone can post anything online, there will always be an excess of information. Some of it will be wonderfully helpful…some of it will be nonsense.

So the true question is: How will you tell the difference?

Well, the first step is to identify a trusted, scientific source for health information. 

Quick tip – Buzzfeed, your Facebook timeline, and the guy who seems to live at the gym are not scientific. And even if you sometimes find great advice from those sources, you can’t truly know which parts you’ll be able to actually trust.

Relying on anything that happens to cross  your social media feed is simply asking for trouble! However, if that’s where you like to consume content, you could consider following reputable accounts that are known for dispersing scientifically backed data.

For example, @yourvitalscience is an Instagram account dedicated to providing scientifically proven data that will have a positive impact on your health and wellness.

Vital Science is a trusted, scientific source for health information

Much better to follow and engage with reputable organizations or individuals than with whoever (or whatever) is trending!

Once you’ve identified a trusted source or two, you should listen, engage, and ask questions.

  • Have you always wanted to try a particular nutritional regime?
  • Wondered about the best workout for your body type?
  • Stressed over how sleep/water/movement you actually NEED for a healthy life?

Read up, and reach out. 

Ask your questions, especially when they pertain to new “discoveries” or health advice that seems to be bucking the trends and going against what has previously been held to be true. You don’t want to miss out on the latest and greatest…but you don’t want to get taken in by bright lights and flashy headlines either.

So…you’ve found a trusted, scientific source for health information, and you’re making it a point to follow and engage. You’re already on your way to weeding out poor quality information and becoming healthier! Now what?

The next step is to actually implement what you learn!

Most of us are well aware that hydration is absolutely essential for our body’s systems and our overall well being…yet how often do we struggle to get even the minimum intake? Sometimes we don’t need NEW information; we need to actually implement what we already know.

What would happen if you listed the top three pieces of health advice that you know to be true, and then actually DID them for the next month? 

Let us know!

 

Significant or Meaningful – Defining Achievements

Would you classify your most important achievements in life as being significant, or meaningful?

Dov Baron, significant or meaningful achievements

Honestly, this isn’t a distinction that had ever crossed my mind prior to previewing Dov Baron’s newest course, All At Once. In one of the modules I experienced, however, Dov asks participants to create a list of significant achievements. This is a starting point – that particular module guides you through the process of defining the purpose of your achievements, which is either significant or meaningful.

As a bit of an “achiever” myself, I was happy to oblige. I cranked out a set of accolades I felt pretty proud of, mostly related to my education and work experiences. As a model student and stellar employee, I felt good about my list of significant achievements!

Next up in the course: considering how much time and energy went into the pursuit of those fetes. Then contrast that against the level of impact the have on my current, day-to-day life.

Hmmm..

The reality is, a LOT of time and effort when I was directly pursuing them. However, there is very little current relevance now that they’ve been “achieved”. I have a set of plaques and certificates buried in a box somewhere, I suppose. They’ve mostly just replaced all the childhood trophies and ribbons I ended up discarding as an adult.

Dov was getting at this point: many of our “significant” achievements are meant to gain status, approval from others, or some sort of validation.

They aren’t necessarily things that are aligned with our greatest desires, and they rarely hold long term value that deeply change our lives. What DOES create daily impact?

Meaningful achievements.

As you may guess, this second type of success may not have come with much attention. You’ll likely never even find a place for it on a resume. In terms of emotional impact and life importance, however, they can’t be beat!

Meaningful achievements rank much higher than those things we pursued for their significance.

It’s probably not a groundbreaking discovery that the things most meaningful to you may not be the things others look to when declaring whether you’ve “made it” or truly succeeded. However, the All At Once course led me there in such an organic, authentic matter that the principal truly lodged itself in my brain. 

Now I find myself considering new opportunities or pursuits NOT through a lens of how they will look on my resume. Instead. I’m looking now from the perspective of someone who wants to use their finite amount of time, energy, and resources to pursue things that will be meaningful to me, both today and in the future.

When held side-by-side, there doesn’t seem to be much of a question as to whether I’d prefer my primary achievements to be significant or meaningful.

Dov’s latest course, All At Once, is launching in September! You can find more of his books and products online.

 

Decreasing Truancy One Student at a Time

Back to school is upon us!

Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt was recently part of a drive that provided over 1000 pairs of shoes, hygiene kits, and school organization kits, 250 bus passes, and 1000 backpacks to students. This was all part of the Back to School rally, a gathering designed to provide encouragement, support, and supplies to students and their families, as well as to continue her work connected to decreasing truancy.

Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt was recently part of a drive that provided over 1000 pairs of shoes, hygiene kits, and school organization kits, 250 bus passes, and 1000 backpacks to students. This was all part of the Back to School rally, a gathering designed to provide encouragement, support, and supplies to students and their families, as well as to continue the work of decreasing truancy.

 

A bit more difficult to quantify than shoes and backpacks?

 

The preparation and support meant help kids flourish in the academic world. So many students today struggle in school; they feel socially isolated, academically “stuck”, or simply incapable of changing ingrained patterns that may have existed for years (or generations).

 

Dr. DeWitt believes that she can help.

 

Her own background includes a difficult relationship with school, and she’s able to deeply relate to students and parents who find themselves struggling through their experience. She understands that truancy and lack of supplies isn’t about kids being “bad” – it’s often about generational poverty, lack of resources, and a need for greater support.

 

This initiative for Oakland students is about more than just dropping off supplies or serving pizza. Her goal is decreasing truancy and turning around low graduation rates, an achievement that would change lives and futures.

 

Based on her own experiences, as well as feedback from her community, Dr. DeWitt is pursuing multiple initiatives. Some, like the Back to School rally, are hands on, community-centered events. Others are created in boardrooms and offices, reforms that are garnering support because they are needed.

 

Our students deserve to have every single available advantage. 

 

They deserve to feel safe and supported in their schools. They deserve to be well fed, and able to focus on classroom content, not hunger pains and empty stomachs. They deserve to be seen and heard, to be treated with respect, to be reminded that their lives matter.

 

Dr. DeWitt believes that every child deserves the chance to make something of themselves. 

 

One way she’s working to make that happen is by being active in the community, going so far as to join in walks, knock on doors, and have real conversations with families. She wants to make a difference in a way that makes sense, responding to needs that locals have (instead of assuming she knows the best ways). One thing she does know for sure, however, is that decreasing truancy is absolutely essential. 

 

Her work is vitally important, and every single child whose life has been touched is proof that it truly matters. 

 

You can read more about her work here.

 

Neuroleadership Training & Organizational Growth

The neuroscience behind leadership and growth.

Christine Comaford is an industry leader who is well versed in neuroleadership training and organizational growth.

Christine Comaford is an industry leader who is well versed in neuroleadership training and organizational growth.

I find that I admire people who are prolific content creators, business builders, and world shapers. 

By prolific, I don’t mean penning dusty manuscripts that most of the world ignores. And I’m definitely not talking about people riding a shooting star to the top, only to disappear into the Bahamas with their profits.

Prolific entrepreneurs are those people who show up again and again, always with something new.

A course, a book, a workshop, a way of connecting. A strategy, business plan, or deviation on the way things have “always been done”. They have a knack for wading through what “is”, while always thinking of what could be. They have a unique way of understanding themselves, as well as the world we live in.

These are the people who really aren’t that worried about anyone else’s opinions. That’s because they’re putting their time and energy into building themselves. They invest in courses and personal development, and are dedicated to the idea that no one should ever stop growing.

So, in general, I’m talking about the best and brightest entrepreneurs. They’ve probably failed once or twice (or a dozen times), but it’s never stopped them from growing and developing.

More specifically, I’m talking about Christine Comaford.

I personally hadn’t heard of Christine until a few months ago, and I’m so glad we connected! If you’re in the same boat, let me fill you in.

Christine is a Leadership and Culture Coach for SmartTribes institute. This is an amazing organization that specializes in neuroleadership training and organizational growth. 

Christine has founded five previous businesses that she went on to successfully sell (including two successful financial institutions sold to Union Bank). She’s also authored three books, all of which received a variety of accolades and best seller list honors. 

What impresses me even more than those personal successes, however, are the amazing contributions Christine has prioritized throughout her career.

Her current business, SmartTribes, has a charitable arm that donates 5% of their annual revenue to charities. She’s served as a board member and advisor on over 36 companies. And she’s served as an angel investor for over 200 start-ups that needed financial capital to make their vision into reality.

My favorite thing about Christine is that her path to the top wasn’t very straight.

She dropped out of high school to become a model, then veered into religion with a 7 year run as Buddhist monk. After that, she entered Microsoft as someone who wrote testing applications. Her climb to the top was filled with interesting detours, surprising twists, and, I’m sure, many failures along the way. And I have to believe that not one moment of the journey was wasted! Christine’s expertise as a coach, and her passion for neuroleadership training and organizational growth, surely connect to all of these previous life experiences.

In a world that seems set on steering everyone onto a narrow path, Christine’s journey reminds me that it’s okay to take a detour. She sparks inspiration, a glowing example of someone willing to try something crazy, different, wild, eccentric, and questionable.

Another lesson she exemplifies? When something is no longer aligned with who you are, it’s okay to leave it behind. You’re free to start the next pursuit, and ultimately, to succeed at something completely different!

Christine Comaford is a prolific entrepreneur whose journey easily inspires us.

Her career path offers a beautiful reminder that there is more than one way to achieve success.

Definitely check out more of her work, especially if you find yourself intrigued by the idea of neuroleadership training and organizational growth.

Be the Leader in Your Life

It might just be me, but “economist” and “emotional intelligence coach” don’t seem very connected. 

Perhaps if I was meeting an old married couple, a classical case of opposites attracting, I wouldn’t think much of it. But Anne Beaulieu is not a couple. She’s a single entity, and on top of those two titles, she’s also a multilingual speaker, bestselling author, translator, and CFA (the professional designation used to refer to a chartered financial analyst). Anne not only teaches you how to be a leader in your life – she exemplifies being one in her own.

Anne Beaulieu - Be a Leader in Your Own Life

All of these juxtapositions were so intriguing, I felt I had to learn more.

With a bit of digging, I found that Anne grew up in a rural area. She read the French Larousse dictionary to pass the time, and eventually went on to live in China. She obtained an M.A. in Economics, graduated from the Authentic Speaker Academy, and more.

Due to her high caliber resume and exceptional skills, it wouldn’t seem out of place for Anne to be hidden away in a mansion, out of reach (and out of touch) with the rest of us. Instead, she’s incredibly accessible. She speaks, writes, and teaches. In fact, her recently announced financial course, “Set Yourself Free”, provides an opportunity to get on a weekly coaching call with Anne herself! 

What does she attribute her work in emotional coaching to?

Well, her breakthrough started with a small question, posed by Dov Baron at a leadership retreat:

 

“Who are you hurting by playing small?”

 

She realized that she had to be done doing small things and protecting herself from the pain in her past. In honor of everyone in the world who needed her to show up BIG, she had to stop playing small. So she did. Anne asked Dov Baron to mentor her. She broke down the walls she’d put up to keep old pain at bay and faced her fears. Then she turned around and helped hundreds of others do the same. After learning to take leadership in her own life, she realized that we all have the capacity to be leaders on our own lives.

Anne’s transformation was about far more than herself; it was about impacting the world.

Today, Anne uses self-awareness and relationship management coaching, along with motivational speaking engagements and self-empowerment workshops, to spread her message of emotional equality across the globe. She works with everyone: business professionals, students who need to be mentored, parents trying to do their best in a modern society that comes with as many challenges as it does advantages.

Although she has dozens of workshops and speaking topics that she regularly uses, her message boils down to this:

Be the Leader of Your Own Life.

With Anne’s tools (and example) as an inspiration, I’m seeking to do exactly that.