The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success Challenge

yogaI was listening to comedian Ali Wong last weekend, and she said, “You know you’re getting older when your Kindle library is full of self-help books.”

Umm, GUILTY! That is totally me right now. For the past year, Kendrick and I have been committed to reading self-development books together. It seems like every week I find another Amazon box on our doorstep, with that telltale rectangular shape only meaning one thing…Kendrick has ordered another book.

It started out as a challenge of his last summer…to read 50 self-development books in one year. The more he shared with me, the more I could see how excited he was about what he was learning. I started reading the books too, and that’s when it became really fun, because we were able to discuss the material together.

Reading together this past year has been one of the most beneficial things for our marriage. We’ve not only been able to grow as individuals, but we’ve been able to grow together as a couple. As we move into parenthood, I believe 100% that this is preparing us for that journey. We could read all the parenting and baby books out there, but if we weren’t taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually first, then it would be pretty hard to put what we were reading into practice. Children learn by example, and I want to set the best example for my children as I can. The best way to prepare myself for that is by educating and aligning myself first. If they witness us taking care of ourselves in these 3 categories, then they will be more likely to carry out the same actions themselves.

Kendrick and I recently finished reading Deepak Chopra’s “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success”. It was a quick, easy read with a lot of great takeaways. Personally, my favorite law was The Law of Giving which we’ve implemented at our personal training studio, Studio K-Fit.  One of the things Deepak says is that, “If you want affluence; give affluence. If you want money; give money. If you want love; give love.” My thinking growing up was that, “Once I become financially successful, THEN I can give more to others.” Instead of realizing that I was already incredibly blessed, I thought I had to have an extraordinary amount of money before I could make a difference. Ever since starting the Rowing For Meals initiative a couple years ago (you can read my blog post on that here), Kendrick and I have witnessed so many more blessings pour out than we could have ever imagined. We went from sponsoring the meals on our own, to having our clients match the meals with us! What a true testament to Deepak’s words.

If you haven’t read this book, I highly suggest picking it up.

I have a little challenge for you to kick-off September. I will be participating in this challenge myself, and want to encourage you to put one of these 7 laws into practice starting today!

September 1The Law of Pure Potentiality

  • Practice non-judgment today. Begin your day with the statement, “Today I shall judge nothing that occurs” and through-out the day remind yourself not to judge.

September 2– The Law of Giving

  • Today, give a gift to one person you will encounter; this could be a compliment or a flower.  If someone gives you a gift, gratefully receive it. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.

September 3– The Law of Karma

  • Today, perform a random act of kindness. Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Showing others happiness and success ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.

September 4The Law of Least Effort

  • Practice acceptance today. “Today I will accept people, situations, events, and circumstances as they occur. I will take responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. I know that taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything, including myself.”

September 5– The Law of Intention and Desire

  • Today, make a list of all your desires. Carry this list with you wherever you go. Look at it before you go to sleep at night. Finally, surrender your desires and trust that when things don’t go your way, there is a plan much greater than you could have ever imagined.

September 6– The Law of Detachment

  • Today, commit yourself to detachment. Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be as they are. Do not rigidly impose your idea of how things should be. Do not force solutions on problems. Participate in everything with detached involvement.

September 7The Law of Dharma (aka Purpose in Life)

  • Today, make a list of your unique talents. Then, ask yourself, “How can I serve?” and “How can I help?” You have a purpose on this earth, and your unique talents are meant to be shared with humanity.

 

What’s your favorite self-help book? We’re always looking for new recommendations! Feel free to share in the comments below 😉

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The #1 Self-Help Book Everyone Should Read

2015 was one of my favorite years yet. It marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life-one of personal growth.

It’s been almost a year since I left my office job and joined my husband Kendrick to run our personal training business. However, it wasn’t as clear at that point what my next step would be. Kendrick was my rock and encouraged me to take the time to be in solitude- read and write and not just jump into another job. As I reflected on my previous role, I realized that it wasn’t the best use of my skill-set. I am a people person; and I wasn’t able to shine because the job did not match my abilities. I also learned that just because you are a nice person, does not mean that everyone will like you. I struggled to fit in and looked for approval in the wrong places. It hurt to know that there was nothing I could do to make someone like me- that simply being nice was not enough.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that’s okay. It’s okay that not everyone likes you. I’ve also learned this past year that my time spent with people is precious. We only have a certain number of hours in the day; and if we’re spending time with people who are bringing us down, we’re only going to become frustrated and lonely.

“It is better to spend time alone, than with the wrong friends.” -Jim Rohn

There was one book that I read in 2015, that completely changed me. It was John Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. I picked up this book shortly after I left my job last April. At first, it was really tough to read. Not in the literacy sense, but in the emotional sense. I felt like John was sitting in my living room and speaking directly to me. I started making it a daily ritual that when I got up to eat breakfast and have my coffee, that I would read a chapter of this book. It helped give me understanding that this period in my life was happening for a reason…and I could choose to let it pass me by, or I could be intentional.

 

The Law of Diminishing Intent says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

That is exactly what I did; I changed my direction. This is what I learned..

  • Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself. -Dennis Waitley
  • Self-Esteem is the Single Most Significant Key to a Person’s Behavior
    • If you believe you are worthless, then you won’t add value to yourself.
  • The Value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us
  • In the end, it isn’t what we are that holds us back; it’s what we think we’re not.
  • Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
  • We will never change our life until we change something we do daily.
  • Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

“God’s gift to us: potential. Our gift to God: developing it.”

  • Our history is not our destiny.

If you spend your time with people who subtract from you, who belittle or undervalue you, then every step forward that you attempt to take will be difficult. But if you find wise leaders, good role models, and positive friends, you will find that they speed you on your journey.

  • If we live life with the intention of making a difference in others’ lives, our life will be full, not empty.
  • The greatest gift we can give to someone is our own personal development. 

That’s why I feel so compelled to be sharing this with you!

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I hope you feel inspired to pick up this book, and share it with a friend. I always love a good book recommendation, so feel free to share your self-help favorites below!

xo

3 Ways to Develop Confidence

“Angela, you could be a great tennis player if you were more confident in yourself. The only thing that’s holding you back is you.”

I’ll never forget these words that were spoken to me back when I was in 7th grade. After retiring from gymnastics, I took up tennis and started private training with a coach. His name was Tom, and he was sought after as one of the best tennis coaches in the Valley. As soon as he spoke these words to me, I knew he was absolutely right. After leaving gymnastics, something changed in me. I had dedicated so much time to mastering the sport; and now, those skills no longer mattered. I was learning a new sport…and I often felt frustrated that I was starting from the bottom again.

 The summer before my freshman year of high school, my parents moved us to a new school district. I decided to join the tennis team, to make some friends before the first day of school. That year I tried out, I made the Varsity team! I couldn’t believe it. Going through tryouts and then getting selected, gave me confidence that maybe I would never be the next Anna Kournikova; but I was good enough to play with girls 4 years older than me, and that was something to be proud of.

Over the years, confidence has still been something that I struggle with. I think part of it may be that I’m a people pleaser; and because of that, it’s hard for me to be confident in myself when other people aren’t acknowledging my talents. It sounds a bit selfish when I think of it, but in my stubborn mind, I feed off of that approval.

In my blog post, “From PA to CA, What I’ve Learned“; I shared that one of the things I’ve learned in the past couple years, is how important it is to invest in personal growth. That could be reading a self-help book, listening to an educational podcast, taking a class, or spending time journaling/writing. Recently, I listened to a great podcast called “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes“. He was interviewing Joe Polish, a master marketer who rose to the top and founded Piranha Marketing Inc. (Joe also has a podcast titled, “I Love Marketing“.)

It was from listening to his words, that I was inspired to write this blog post. I hope you get a chance to listen to it, and it inspires you as much as it inspired me!

3 WAYS TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE

1. Have Faith

Faith has played a significant role in my life, and without it, I would not have the sense of purpose that I do.

Living in the Bay Area, I’ve observed a real loss of faith.  Most allow fear over faith to take over and guide their lives. People are stressed out, unhappy, anxious, selfish, and fearful…fearful that they won’t be able to keep up. Fear diminishes confidence.  But, when you have faith, you can trust that everything’s going to be okay–God has a plan for all of us…even if we can’t see it right away.

2. Fake It

Have you heard of the phrase, “Fake it til you make it”? Well, in this case, Fake it til you believe it. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is pretend. If we start “pretending” to be confident, soon enough, those positive phrases and encouragements we repeat to ourselves will start to sink in. When I was struggling in a tennis match, and had doubts that I couldn’t win, what sabotaged me was my own mind. Those negative phrases, that told me I wasn’t good enough and destroyed my self-confidence.

Beware of negative self-talk. Remember: Feelings are not facts. If you tell yourself, “I’m a horrible tennis player”, that’s not necessarily a fact. That is a feeling that you have, and the dangerous thing about feelings, is that they can lie to us.

3. Develop Rituals 

“You don’t think yourself into confidence, you ACT yourself.”

It sounds silly, but our daily habits greatly impact our attitude and performance. It’s important to develop positive habits whether it’s taking a minute to be grateful for what’s around you, getting a good night’s sleep, eating clean, exercising or meditating. Part of being confident is taking care of ourselves, fueling our body properly (this may be sleep, exercise, or nutrition) so that it can run effectively.

These actions can greatly affect your confidence throughout the day. Don’t you want to showcase your best self??

Start with these 3 practices and take it one day at a time.

Stay true to yourself, always.

xo

holiday party

 

 

 

From PA to CA –> What I’ve Learned

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My first “selfie” in California

Today is my 3 year anniversary since moving to California. It still is pretty crazy to think that at 23, I picked up and left everything and everyone I knew – for a relationship that was so new and vulnerable.  People always ask me if it was hard to leave Pennsylvania…and I say yes of course, because my family and friends were there- but to be honest, the fact that I was moving to California, and not Wisconsin for instance.. made the move so much more appealing. I mean, I grew up watching “Laguna Beach…and dreamed what it would be like to work at a surf shop and take weekend trips to Cabo with my best friends.

The first time I traveled back home, after living here for 6 months, I realized how different it is…living on the west coast vs. the east coast. Yes, there are some main differences…the biggest being cost of living..but what fascinated me most was the difference in myself.   This is what I’ve learned…

1) Be the change you want to see in the world. 

Living in the Bay Area isn’t for the “homebody”. It’s fast-paced. People are constantly innovating. Creating. Connecting. Inspiring. Leading. You never know who you will meet living here. That guy standing in front of you at Starbucks could be a billionaire. The woman whose children you babysit could be married to the CEO of some dotcom. You may just see Mark Zuckerberg out running on your favorite trail… you get my drift. The coolest part is, I feel like that energy rubs off on you…how could it not?? When you are surrounded by people who are shaping our world, it makes you think twice about what your role is and what you’re doing to contribute.

2) Being busy doesn’t equate to being happy.

I hear time and time again, “I’d love to do “xyz”, but I’m just so busy.” One of the frustrations I had when I first moved here, was finding people who were willing to invest time in becoming my friend. It seemed that no one had any time…and if they did, you had to schedule it months in advance. I used to think that they must be living happy, full lives but the longer I’ve lived here, I’ve realized how many people are stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, and unhappy…and the biggest culprit is their schedules. This leads me to my next lesson…

3) You have the Power to Choose. 

My husband read a great book titled “Your Greatest Power” by J. Martin Kohe and shared some insight with me. As adults, we have to take responsibility for the choices and decisions we make. We live in a society where we have the freedom to choose, but most people don’t take time to think about how their choices will impact them or their family. We find ourselves saying “yes” to everything…thus loading our schedules with commitments that we don’t even want to be at.

4) Invest in Personal Growth. 

After reading “Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine, I had a moment of enlightenment. I learned that there are “Saboteurs” as he calls them in your brain. They are your automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with their own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interest. My personal Saboteur? The Pleaser.

“The Pleaser compels you to try to gain acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering others constantly. It causes you to lose sight of your own needs and become resentful of others as a result. It also encourages others to become overly dependent on you. Its lie is that you are pleasing others because it is a good thing to do, denying that you are really trying to win affection and acceptance indirectly.” -Shirzad Chamine

OUCH. That definitely wasn’t easy to read. But you know what? It helped me to grow. It helped me to understand the feelings I have when someone has taken advantage of me, and how my actions may have played a role.

(I’ll save my favorite self-help book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential” for another blog post…otherwise this could get lengthy.) 😉

5) Ignorance is not bliss. 

On the east coast, it takes a little longer for new movements to take root. (Kendrick’s dad still gives us grief about buying organic eggs.)  Although I recycled (for the most part), and I never littered or caused any intentional damage/harm to the environment…I never really cared to become informed on things like “agricultural pollution” and “sustainable farming”. It wasn’t until Kendrick and I watched “Food Inc.” and “Cowspiracy” that I started to realize how ignorant I had been. Let’s be honest…those documentaries aren’t intended to make you feel good; they’re not supposed to be a light-hearted film that you turn off and go back to normal life. They’re supposed to drive you to act…to re-evaluate the choices you make so that your kids, and grand-kids can live in a world that’s better than the one we live in. (Ps- if you haven’t seen these films, I HIGHLY recommend them…and while you’re at it, watch “Living On One Dollar” and “That Sugar Film“.)

6) Less is More. 

I’ve noticed Californians live in mostly smaller homes (due to super high prices) which forces them to be very efficient at maintaining only the important stuff.  We’ve been brought up to be consumers; “to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to please people we don’t care about.” I never realized how much stuff I possessed, until I was forced to live in a smaller home. You start to realize…living in a bigger home, means more space for more stuff. (If you really want an eye opener, read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“.

The beauty of living in California is living outdoors…where it’s sunny almost every day of the year. Going back to #1, California is definitely a place for those with an active lifestyle. Kendrick and I love hiking, biking, and being outside. We’ve had many talks about what is important to us; and living in an area where we can be outside (without freezing) is at the top of our list. Living in a smaller space makes me more aware of what I bring into my home, and what I decide to keep. There are less places to hide things, thus you’re forced to evaluate your stuff.

 

There you have it…my 6 “lessons” since moving to California. I wake up every day and feel so blessed to call this place my home. Kendrick and I live less than 2 miles from our fitness studio, and are surrounded by so many amazing people who love on us and make us feel like family.

Here’s what’s happened in the past 3 years…

 

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First time in Vegas-dinner at the Paris hotel

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Here’s to many more adventures!

xo