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Tag Archives | Self-Help

Light a Fire under Your Dreams and Passions: Read Fire Starter Sessions


When I find something fabulous, useful and inspiring I have to share. That’s the job of a curator of ideas, right.

I happen to be crazy about my new favorite book, “The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms,” by Danielle LaPorte. It’s an absolute must read for anyone looking to find their way to higher creativity, igniting their passion for work and life, achieving greater success, clearer purpose and sustainable life satisfaction.

Be warned! Danielle has a kick-ass style - simultaneously encouraging, inspiring, and motivating. This style appeals to me, and in fact, her style is why I was drawn to Danielle’s blog in the first place. She asks thought-provoking soul-deep questions, gives great real-world examples, and shares her mistakes and victories.

Fire Starter Sessions opens your mind to insightful revelations about yourself, your work, and your life. It offers you so many nuggets of inspiration and motivation that I couldn’t write in my journal fast enough. And perhaps most valuable of all, she leaves you with things to think about, decisions to make and steps to take to get you going on your path. I like to think of this book as my personal life success coach in hardcover…

So, I’ll leave you with the publisher’s review that I think aptly gives you a peek into the books genius…

The Fire Starter Sessions is an apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing guide to defining success on your own terms.

As the creator of–deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,” Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons have been read by over one million people. Bold but empathetic, she re-frames popular self-help and success concepts:

: Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress then the craving for balance itself.

: Being well-rounded is over-rated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.

: Screw your principles (they might be holding you back).

: We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

On a separate note…Stay tuned for details on a special project I’m working on celebrate my birthday next week to spread some wisdom and give back…more on Monday…

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Why Its Important To Reexamine Everything You’ve Been Taught

Reexamine all that you have been told in school, or in church or in any book. Dismiss whatever insults your soul. ~Walt Whitman

Dear old Walt has it right. We internalize what we’re told and what we’re taught from childhood on, in school, in church, by our parents, and our peers. We know intellectually that we are a sum of our experiences, but we don’t often stop to question whether what we’ve been told feels right for us.

Taking the time to reexamine some of our beliefs through the filter of whether they “insult our soul,” can provide great insight into the areas of our lives where we feel stuck, frustrated, or discontent. Think about all of the “truths” you believe.

Do they resonate with who you are now? Or do they feel a bit like someone else’s standards?

It may sound a bit like we’re embarking on a New Age journey to enlightenment, but it’s really just learning to think for ourselves, to take ownership of the ideas that are “ours” and to discard the ideas that were pushed into our brains, but really belong to someone else.

Learn to question what you have been told or taught

The most obvious place to look, of course is in our political and religious beliefs, but what about other more subtle messages…

Which careers are “legitimate” and which aren’t

What constitutes a “waste of time”

What a good marriage looks like and what the defined roles are

What makes someone a “good parent

What exemplifies an appropriate work ethic

How money should be managed and how much we need to be making a “good living”

Our standards of organization, cleanliness, health, and beauty

What goals and dreams qualify as appropriate for us and which are foolhardy “pipe dreams”

Self-examination can be scary. We might be afraid of what we’ll find, but the valuable insights into our limitations and obstacles, our successes and failures, all those things that stand in the way of our goals, is well worth a little discomfort. Don’t you think?

Do you have any insights to share?

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It’s All in the Attitude: Choose it Wisely

What attitude have you chosen today?

Have you chosen to be Optimistic? Curious?  Generous? Patient? Cheerful?

Or did you choose to show up Complaining? Frustrated? Resentful? Angry? Critical? Bitter?

They’re all valid choices. The wondrous thing about freedom of choice is that we get to choose how we experience our lives. We may not always be able to choose the circumstances, but we can choose the attitude with which we experience them.

The other fabulous thing about freedom of choice is that we can change our mind at any given moment. If your day didn’t start out so well and you don’t like the way you are feeling right this moment, try on a different attitude. In this one aspect of your life at least, you always have the power.

What attitude will you choose today?

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The Secret to Creating Positive Habits


Forming new habits is hard; breaking bad habits can be even harder. Trying to change our patterns of behavior isn’t easy once we’ve become accustomed to doing (or not doing) things a certain way. That’s why they’re called “habits.”

The main reason so many resolutions fail is not using the right strategy. You can stack the odds of success in your favor by understanding the nature of habit and by following a clear strategy.

Assess the habit you want to make or break

Observation is key to understanding the habit or lack of ability to create the habit you want. The three components are the Trigger, the Action, and the Pay-off.

Determine the Action

  • What habit do you want to create/stop?
  • What is the specific action that is happening or that you want to happen?

Determine the Trigger

  • Think about what happens right before the action.
  • What situation, person, thought, or circumstance triggers the action?
  • If you’re creating a habit, what could you use for a trigger?

Determine the Pay-off

  • Why do you do this action? Or why do you want to?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What are you really looking for?

Make a change

Change whichever of these is the problem.

Break a habit:

  • Think of a different behavior that will give the same pay-off.
  • Question if you really want that pay-off.
  • Change or remove the trigger.

Create a habit:

  • You know the desired action.
  • Can you think of a trigger you can use or create that will remind you to take the action?
  • Make sure your reward is strong enough.

Two examples

The afternoon candy bar – During the midafternoon break you hit the vending machine for your daily Snickers bar.

  • Action – The action is pretty clear here.
  • Trigger – What happens right before? You look at the clock, others in the office are taking a break, your stomach grumbles.
  • Pay-off – What is the real pay-off? Are you hungry? Bored? Tired? Need to get away from your desk?
  • Solutions – go for a walk, eat a piece of fruit, close your office door, etc.

Morning exercise:

  • Action – Get your butt moving.
  • Find a trigger – Put your sneakers by the side of the bed or in front of the coffee maker, arrange to meet an exercise buddy, set a reminder on your phone, etc. For me it’s the school bus. Every morning, when my son leaves for school, I wave goodbye, grab my sneakers and go. Odd trigger, but it works.
  • Make sure the pay-off is strong enough – Fitting into my skinny clothes isn’t strong enough for me, but staying healthy, strong, and active for my grandson (and future babies) is. Grandma in the rocking chair doesn’t cut it for me. He loves to bounce and giggle while he’s in the jogging stroller and I carry him in one arm while I vacuum with the other – he weighs a lot, so I need some muscles. As I age, I want to run up and down the soccer field or run around the bases without getting winded, ride bikes, go hiking and more.  This is very important to me…important enough to lace up those sneakers when I’m dying to sit and have another cup of coffee…

Some important tips

Change one habit at a time – You’ll see the best results if you focus on only one habit at a time. We only have so much energy and attention to spare. The secret is to build one habit on top of another, letting one success propel you to the next. Momentum is a beautiful thing.

Make it defined and doable – Be very specific about the behavior to be changed. I want to run a marathon, lose 20 pounds, earn more money are goals, not habits. Habits are specific behaviors done consistently that form a pattern. Take a walk every day, do my most important task before I check e-mail, go to bed by 10, make my bed every morning, be on time for appointments, those are all habits.

Small and simple – Smaller is generally easier. Sweeping change is incredibly difficult. Gradual and lasting change starts with small changes and builds. Exercising for 20 min., then as that becomes easier make it longer. Instead of getting up or going to bed an hour earlier, try moving it up slowly. Swap out the afternoon cookie, then tackle the late night snacking.  

Accountability – Track your success (or failure) as you go along ( on paper or electronically.) Tell someone and ask him or her to check in on a regular basis. Get a habit buddy. Establishing accountability strengthens our commitment and acts as incentive.

Most of us have a list of habits we want to change, but we just haven’t been able to get it done. Contrary to popular opinion (usually our own) it’s usually not because we’re lazy or weak-willed, it’s just a matter of having the right approach.

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6 Things You Can Do When You Find Yourself Getting Frustrated

We all get frustrated, irritated, darn annoyed at times. People, situations, problems, interactions, all can cause us to feel frustrated. We may not be able to avoid frustration, but we can minimize the impact it has on our life. It’s what we do when those feelings of frustration arise that makes the difference.

Acknowledge your frustration. 

The more you try to deny, push aside, or ignore your feelings, the louder they get. Don’t try to minimize or explain away your irritation, just accept it. You are annoyed right now! That’s a fact. There. Done. Over that hurdle. Now you can move on. Sometimes simply acknowledging and naming your feelings is enough to help them dissipate.

Create some distance.

Don’t just try to ride it out, give yourself a breather. If you can, remove yourself from the situation – end the conversation, get up away from your desk, leave the room, shift to a different activity, and take a walk. If getting away isn’t an option, create some mental distance – shift the topic of conversation, work on a different task or project for a bit, put on some music, even just deliberately taking  a few breaths and consciously releasing the tension in your body will work.

Ask the tough questions.

Do you have a part in creating your frustration? Are you judging someone or something through your own filters? Is it really yours to be frustrated about or are you taking on something that isn’t your business? Is there something you did or said that you shouldn’t have? Or something you didn’t that you should have? Why are you so frustrated? Don’t flog yourself. Blaming isn’t constructive; simply recognize your contribution.

Take action.

Is there something you can do to alleviate your frustration? Is there a discussion that needs to happen? Is there some action you can take? Is there something you can do to prevent the irritation from occurring in the future?

Get it out.

If there’s nothing you can do, perhaps you can at least write about it in a private journal or confide in a close confidant, (make sure they are trustworthy.) For some, activity works; sweat it out at the gym, walk it off, garden it away, whatever works. Cleaning works for me – you know I’m frustrated when the house sparkles. Find what works for you.

Let yourself off the hook.

No guilt, no berating, or judging yourself as unreasonable or impatient. We’re human, imperfect beings with feelings, needs, and wants. We get frustrated when those wants or needs aren’t met, when things don’t go as planned, when our feelings or opinions get trampled on. It’s just a part of life.

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