When I first went totally blind, I was fiercely independent. I insisted on carrying my own bags, finding my own way, all the time, no matter what. I quickly learned, I was setting myself up for failure, disappointment and bitterness.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re trying to get ahead is not accepting support. To accomplish your goal and achieve whatever success you’ve set out to achieve, you need to be the best you possible. But you put yourself second and jeopardize your success when you refuse support and reject proven systems and methods that can help you get to where you’re going.

When you deny yourself much needed, valuable support, it looks like you are making a sacrifice for the greater good. You’re being noble, responsible, reasonable, logical… Or you’re being strong, independent, confident, demonstrating your competence… That’s what I thought I was doing- I was proving to myself and everyone else that I, a blind woman, can do it herself- thank you very much.

However, when you don’t get the support you need during the process, you breed resentment. You are much more likely to resent having to give up everything you gave up or lost out on or resent the people around you because they aren’t helping. And, if you don’t reach your goal (which is all too likely when you go at it totally alone), you start to resent life itself.

Success is sweet, but it’s even sweeter when you are surrounded by support and can share and celebrate your success with others.

You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone. Get the support you need so you can do it and actually be happy not only when you get what you want, but also while you’re in the process of getting there.

To me, the human spirit is the essence inside each one of us that makes us push boundaries, strive for change, that seeks justice and equality, that knows what’s true, right and good, that strengthens us to endure, that connects us to everyone, that makes us feel for suffering people on the other side of the world, that fuels our passions, that sparks our desire for innovation and betterment, that drives us to create beautiful works of art in various forms, that enables us to overcome and accomplish unheard of feats. It’s the stuff we’re all made of! So, are you accessing the human spirit and using this natural essence to fuel you? If not, why not?

I believe that each one of us can access this wellspring of inspiration, strength and hope to be our best and highest self- the self that expresses our maximum potential. It is when we access this place that we are able to overcome the obstacles we face and find success and happiness with ease and grace. I believe this is possible for everyone. Undoubtedly, it is the primary reason I went from literally wanting to die and thinking my blindness would prevent me from experiencing love, happiness, success and financial independence to loving my life and having all the things I once thought impossible for me. Once I tapped into the tremendous power that is the human spirit, I knew I had to share it. That is why I speak, write and coach. It is my way of not only sharing my story and gifts, it is my contribution to helping raise the overall level of happiness and success in the world and making a real, substantive difference in lives.

Accessing the human spirit can change the course of your life. It certainly did for me and has for my clients as well.

Do you ever feel crazy for following your dreams? Do you have a big vision for your life and ever just feel like throwing in the towel? Do you ask yourself what’s this all for? Do you ever feel like giving up? You put yourself out there time and time again to no avail. You step up to the challenge, stretch yourself a little further, invest in yourself one more time, and nothing seems to be happening- or at least not in the way you hoped…? And, then when you try to walk away from your dream, your heart breaks because you know with every fiber of your being the difference you were meant to make is tied up in fulfilling that dream and making your big vision a reality?

If you’ve ever felt this way, know you are not alone. I feel this way too. And, I know continuing to work toward your dream, despite obstacles, in the face of adversity and seemingly without support or immediately visible results, is a choice. It is a painstaking, heartfelt choice based purely on instinct and intuition- or what I call blind faith. Your family and friends may look at you crazy and simply don’t understand why you keep at it like you do. I know how this feels and I get why you keep on keepin on. I’ve done this multiple times in my life and every time I come out the other side stronger, happier and more grateful. Knowing this still doesn’t make the process any easier.

What does help make the journey more graceful is trusting in yourself and the innate power that you possess. When you fully embrace the fact- and it is a fact- that you are the only one that can be a definitive expert in you, you are accepting your responsibility as a co-creator of your life. In other words, you are not only living life, you are empowering yourself and creating the life you’re living. Choosing this path and walking in blind faith is no easy task- don’t let the self-help gurus convince you that it’s a cake walk or that they know what’s best- they don’t, they may have a process and can offer invaluable support, but only you know what your heart is calling you to do, be and share. Walking in blind faith is not easy, but it’s so worth it.

I believe in you and the tremendous power of the human spirit that lies within you. It is something we all possess, but don’t always tap into. Start tapping into the power of the human spirit. It is a resource that is right there waiting for you.

Admission time – I, Angela Winfield, am a chronic procrastinator. That’s right. I’ve managed to get a lot done and continue to accomplish a great deal, but, no doubt about it, I am a chronic procrastinator. It creeps in less and less, but it’s something I still deal with from time to time. IN fact, I procrastinated writing this very post!  And, if you’re wondering, yes, it is the very reason I’m writing about procrastination. Do you want to know my secret for putting an end to procrastination and getting it done? Then, read this!

First, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons you might procrastinate. There are three common reasons.

1.  You work better under pressure

2.  It’s a difficult, boring or downright dirty task and you have zero desire to do it

3.  It’s a big, important task and you don’t know where to begin and don’t want to screw it up or do it wrong

Any of these sound familiar to you? They most certainly do to me.

Then there are the outright lies you tell yourself: “it won’t take that long to do”; “I’ll get to it right after I finish this thing I’m doing right now”; and the list goes on. I’m guilty of this too.

Ultimately, when you procrastinate, you end up feeling stressed, disappointed, angry, guilty and a whole host of other self-directed negative emotions. I’ve been there and even though you feel this way when you procrastinate, the bad feeling isn’t enough to stop you from procrastinating the next time no matter how convinced and committed you are when you declare “I’m never going to do this to myself again!”. And, you always declare that- don’t you? I know I did.

The traditional advice for stopping procrastination includes publicly declaring your goal, getting an accountability buddy, putting some skin in the game by making a stretch investment so there’s money at stake, breaking the task down into tiny doable pieces, and so on. These are good techniques and can help at times, but they simply won’t work for putting an end to procrastination in the long run. The reason they won’t work is because they don’t get you started. Isn’t that what procrastination really is – delaying getting started or restarted on a task?

The traditional techniques are aimed at adding more pressure. This is a problem because, not only might pressure be one of the reasons you procrastinated in the first place, the traditional techniques are based on choosing to be driven by avoidance of fear, embarrassment, shame and disappointment. When you avoid what you don’t want, you lose sight of what it is you do want to create and experience. Too often, people spend their time, energy and actions running from and avoiding what they don’t want that they never get clear on what they do want. Without connecting to what you want, you will never connect to the energy and emotions that naturally, motivate, inspire and fuel you to start. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for harnessing what we typically think of as negative or draining emotions we want to avoid. But, quite frankly when it comes to dealing with procrastination, I don’t want a technique that makes me feel pushed, obligated or shamed in to doing anything – who does?  And, I especially don’t want to feel pushed into doing something I know I have to do or even something I want to do, but don’t know where to start.

So, how to put an end to procrastination? Get yourself started and propel yourself forward by generating constructive, fueling energy and emotion like motivation, inspiration, enthusiasm and excitement. How you ask? Launch my 2-step procrastination power plan? It takes less than 5 minutes.

Step 1: Get quiet for 30 seconds to 1 minute and connect with what you’ll gain from completing the task. Ask yourself questions like, “why did I put this task on my list?”; “what type of person will I be or what characteristics will I have/demonstrate by completing this task?”; “how can I express myself and my core values by completing this task?”

Step 2: Remember your theme song from my earlier post? Sing it baby, in your head, out loud or play the song if you have it at the ready.

Keep this easy 2-step plan at your desk, near your computer or where ever you do your work so it’s ready and waiting for you when you need it. Do it now, no procrastinating! Trust me it comes in handy and will jumpstart you out of procrastination and into action! Let me know how it works.

Just let go… Relax… Release control… Go with the flow… let things unfold… Has anyone ever given you this sage advice? I’ve gotten this advice so many times – most recently in Panache Desai’s book, Discovering Your Soul Signature,201404-orig-discovering-your-soul-320x180 which I’m in the process of reading – and it’s great advice, but it goes against all my instincts. Secretly, every time I hear this advice one part of me says “Ahhh, that’s a beautiful idea” and the other part says go with the flow, you’ve gotta be crazy! I’ve gotta keep this ship movin’!” If you’re at all like me, keep reading because I’m going to tell you exactly how I learned to let go. And, I’m still learning because, for me, when it comes to letting go, it’s a conscious choice I make.

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I like control – especially when it comes to making and executing a plan – when my family goes on our annual holiday getaways, you can rest assure that I know the best restaurants in the area, available activities, I even draft up a day-by-day itinerary. Yes, I do this! Really relaxing, right? Micromanaging and exerting control in this way has definitely served me well in my life and career just as I have no doubt planning and paying close attention to detail has served you in your life. But, it also can lead to rigidity, frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned. I’ve certainly experienced that! So, what to do? How do you let go and still make forward progress?

Let go of the idea that the plan is the way it actually is or must or should go. You don’t have to let go of the plan. Keep the plan (and I’m not just saying that because plan is one of my 4 master keys for success, which it is — I’m saying it because having a plan is important. But, it’s more important to not only realize, but internalize the reason and purpose of the plan and keep the plan flexible and fluid. That way, you are present in your life engaging, authentically and in real time, with all you encounter. What I’m saying is instead of letting go of the plan, let go of your attachment to the plan. Have a clear core intention and hold true to that intention. Things are not always going to go as planned. You know that. There will be obstacles, detours, unexpected challenges as well as unexpected opportunities and adventures. If you are overly attached to the plan, you’ll overlook and miss out on all of the richness of life. Having a plan helps you stay on course or get back on course when you encounter an obstacle or when you take a detour. Always remember, your plan is the starting point, not your destination. It’s a guide for one way to get you to where you want to go, but the plan isn’t what you want to experience – you want to experience your intention.

How do I apply this when it comes to my near obsessive vacation planning? Well, my intention is to have fun and enjoy the company of my family not to be the schedule mistress. I still make a plan because it is fun for me to learn about where we’re going and I do genuinely enjoy it, but I no longer email my planned agenda out to everyone and I no longer expect events to unfold exactly as I planned. Instead, I use my plan merely as a guide and stay open to whatever opportunities that come up and whatever makes my intention of having fun reality. Sometimes, all goes as planned, most of the time it doesn’t, but regardless I hold true to my intention and have fun and enjoy the company of my family, which was the whole point of the plan in the first place.

So, let go… relax… release control… go with the flow… let things unfold… And, embody your intention. It feels incredibly good!

Just the other week, the two social marketing guys I’m working with sent me Danielle Laporte’s new book, Desire Map (which , by the way, contains some pretty good content).

desrire-map

The note read: “Angela, I am way overdue on this, but here is a gift from me and John Wayne. It is Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book . . . “

This note got me thinking. Why on earth did he qualify their gift in this way? Way over due?

Maybe for them because they decided to gift the book to me some time ago. But, from my point of view, I was delighted to receive the gift. Overdue? I don’t think so. It was right on time.

First, this gift just like any other gift wasn’t due to me. And second, I welcome and appreciate gifts whenever they come to me.

As I thought about it longer, I realized that apologizing when we give gifts, isn’t really that uncommon. How many times have you given a gift and started with “they didn’t have the one I wanted to get you, but…”, I wanted to get you…”, “I’m sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner…”.

I know I’ve done this more times than I can remember. Most recently, I caught myself doing it this past weekend. I had planned to surprise my husband by taking him to see Alton Brown’s Edible Inevitable tour. It was a perfect surprise. My husband and I are both foodies and my husband is a huge Alton Brown fan. By divine chance I found out the tour was coming to town and my husband had absolutely no clue – even when he checked the website, for whatever reason, it didn’t show that the tour was coming to our area. When I called for tickets, the meet and greet tickets were sold out. So, I got regular tickets. I still was giddy because I knew how much he would enjoy it, but I had a pesky, nagging thought that gnawed on my mind from the time I bought the tickets to the day of the show- “the meet and greet would have been so much better”.

When it was finally time to reveal the surprise, guess what? I had a strong urge to tell him about the meet and greet and how that’s really what I wanted to get him.

Yep, I wanted to apologize for not getting him the particular tickets, even though it was out of my control – the meet and greet tickets were sold out. I wanted to tell him how I wanted to do more. I wanted to prove to him of how thoughtful I was and how much I love him. However, by succumbing to that urge, I would have diminished the gift I was giving.

How often do you hold yourself back or minimize your efforts and actions by apologizing and thinking, well, I wanted to do this, that or the other thing. This limits the joy we feel from giving, and dampens the success of a well planned surprise, and more often than not it causes the recipient to reassure you that your gift is perfect. And, that’s the crux of the issue – the need for reassurance. Giving requires you to be vulnerable. When you give, you really are putting yourself out there. And, that is the true gift of giving – sharing a bit of yourself with the recipient.

When we apologize or make excuses for our gifts, we unwittingly limit ourselves, hamper our ability to experience joy, and, ultimately, reduce the power of our gift. Part of this stems from the well known saying that “it’s the thought that counts”. That’s a nice saying, but let’s dispel that myth right now. When it comes to giving and sharing, that’s a lie. Thoughts of being kind and generous warms the heart, but the unapologetic act of giving what we are able to, uplifts the soul of both giver and receiver regardless of the size of the gift. Think about it, would you rather hear your friend tell you how she thought about planning a huge surprise party for you with all the trimmings, but couldn’t pull it off for whatever reason, or would you rather spend an hour of quality time enjoying the company of your friend? I know which I’d prefer.

When you give, don’t be ashamed or hold back. Maybe the next gift will be “bigger” or “better”, but the gift you have now still is a gift and still is meaningful and powerful. It deserves to be shared and valued for what it is – a generous offering of love and appreciation. It’s not the size or timing of the gift, it is the gift of giving and receiving the gift. That is where the power and joy resides. In the act – the exchange – in the simple saying of “here, I got this for you”.

The time to share your gifts is now. And, the important thing is that we share them. The recipient always is ready to accept them. This is true not only for material gifts, but for our unique personal talents and gifts as well. Our gifts, in all their forms, are meant to be given and shared.

So, when you’re the giver, give and share your gifts unapologetically; when you’re the recipient, receive gratefully, humbly and knowing the gift arrived right on time.

google-plus-hangout-600x367Join me for a Google Hangout interview with @Bob Sima tomorrow.. RSVP Today please… http://bit.ly/1A327VD

The power of this man’s voice to open your heart and touch your soul… whieu! He held me spellbound and after I heard Bob Sima sing for the first time, I literally gave him the keys to my house and welcomed him in – that’s before I ever even talked to him person to person!

Then, when we did meet, he effortlessly helped me find my own singing voice, I wrote a song and I got to sing it with him! I’ll tell you the whole story during the hangout… I knew his music had to be shared with the world and I felt called to be a part of that movement. And, the thing I love most about Bob’s music is that it’s not just music with a message, it’s GOOD music with a message. His music inspires me and I’ve been grooving out on it almost every day for almost a year- it doesn’t get old. And, to top it off Bob, himself, is a generous, beautiful soul. I’m so thrilled to interview him and hope you can be there. http://bit.ly/1A327VD

Yes, that’s right, my dear. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s all about you. Sound self-centered? You’d better believe it is and you’d better get used to it if you want to create a positive impact in this world while living a life you love. Depending on your outlook, that might sound like a bad thing to you. I’ll tell you why it’s absolutely not…

Because you are going to be with you for the rest of your life. Where ever you go and whatever you do, you’re always going to be in the company of yourself. So, why not dive right into the heart of you? You do want to be the best you possible, don’t you? Well, that’s all about you, my love. It will have a tremendous impact on others, but when it really comes down to it, it’s all about you. And, I’m not talking about your typical self-centeredness. I’m talking about being centered in who you are and what you stand for.

Even when you are all about service and caring for other people, it’s still all about you. You say, that can’t be true, being of service isn’t about me, it’s about helping others and doing good. I ask, doing good, based on what? The answer is it’s doing good based on YOU – your own understanding of yourself, other people, the world, how it operates and what you believe to be good. It all comes back to you. Even if hundreds, thousands or millions of people agree with you, your choice to accept and recognize the common good as something that resonates with who you are and what you do most certainly is about you. It says something about you. Don’t feel guilty, embarrassed or ashamed about it. Own it. Love it and celebrate it – ‘cause it’s you – the real, live, authentic you. Let it shine.

To do this, you have to move from self-consciousness to self-awareness. You have to stop being overly worried about what people think of you and start getting to know and love you. You’ve got to figure out where you end and other people begin. Yes, we’re all connected- that’s the human spirit in all of us, but we are not one in the same. We are our own unique expressions of life. So, you’ve got to be the definitive expert in you. That doesn’t mean closing yourself off and shutting out valuable feedback from others. It means having the compassion to allow yourself to be honest with yourself about your strengths, gifts and talents, your flaws, weaknesses and challenges as well as your attitudes, values and beliefs.

Until you get it’s really about YOU, you’re just a person running around doing good. But, when you get it’s all about YOU, doing good becomes an expression of who you are, the actions you take and how you choose to live your life. The difference is that, if you aren’t self aware enough to realize that you are at the center of what you’re doing, you will get exhausted, frustrated and angry. You likely will judge others and not understand why they aren’t hopping on board with you and doing good in the exact same way. But, when you realize where and how you fit in to what you’re doing, you not only show up more powerfully with much more ease and grace, you also are able to attract attention and support from all different types of people you never thought you could.

So, get in the center of you and make what you do about you- today and everyday!

John Lennon sang, “you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” I know Lennon was correct and I’m not the only dreamer. So, where are the rest of you dreamers and want-to-be dreamers? I know you’re out there. If you’re one, can I please get a woot woot?! Jay-Z and Lennon – come on – gotta love that! 😉 Okay, I’m having too much fun today… But, instead of dialing back on the fun, I’m asking you to join me in it. And, I’m totally serious about that – where are all the dreamers?

Remember being told as a child by a parent or teacher that you could be whatever you wanted to be? When did you stop believing that and start believing you are only defined by the roles and labels placed on you? You’re more than a parent, a professional, significant other and all the other roles you play. You know that. And, I know there are bills to pay and stuff that has to get done, but you can’t forget it’s your dreams that propel you onward and upward. It all starts with a dream – all the way from the founding of the United States of America, The Civil Rights Movement right down to the beginning scene of Pretty Woman(remember that movie?) and even the success in my own life. It all started with a dream.

It takes courage to be a dreamer – especially as an adult. I know that first hand – when I share my dreams, I often get awkward silences, strange looks (I don’t have to see it, I can feel a strange look as well as a smile) and plenty of “get reals.” But, you know what? If I took those naysayers’ advice and “got real,” I wouldn’t be an attorney, I wouldn’t own my own home, be a real estate investor, write, speak, coach or share my message, I probably wouldn’t even be alive. These roles really weren’t for me, they only existed in my dreams. I got real and it got me depressed and suicidal. I started dreaming and living into my dream and I got happiness and success. Which do you choose – getting real or dreaming? If you get real, you get what you’ve got or what other people tell you that you can have. If you dream, you get it all because, when you dream and live into that dream, you create your reality.

What’s your dream? I want to know. I want to help you live into it and make it your reality because it is possible. So, please, can I get a woot woot?!

Here in the U.S.A., we’re getting ready to celebrate Independence Day – the day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which represented the end of the control, authority and jurisdiction of Britain over the colonies. My question for you, have you signed your own personal Declaration of Independence in your life?

What’s got authority over you? What’s controlling you? How independent minded and clear about Y.O.U. (your own understanding), values and goals are you really?
For a long time, my blindness controlled me. It determined how I acted – shy and withdrawn, what I thought was possible for my life – loneliness, isolation and financial dependence, and how I felt about myself – totally unworthy of love, support or anything positive. And, when coaching clients first come to me so many are controlled by what they are “supposed to” want, what success and leadership “”should” look like and how they are supposed to act. It breaks my heart to see such beautiful, strong, talented women being oppressed by a ruler that doesn’t understand who they are and what their heart and soul wants them to be and do. That’s when we dig in and declare their independence once and for all. Then, we create, design and build a system that works for them.

Independence isn’t about being a lone wolf – nobody’s truly alone. True, it’s you alone who can do it, but you can’t do it alone. Every giant leap of blind faith requires a support “N-Network” (the 4th of my master keys to success). Declaring your independence is about taking a stand for freedom – freedom from what you don’t want, freedom to do and be you and embracing the essential support of like-minded people.

Did you know that signing the Declaration of Independence was considered an Act of Treason? After signing the Declaration, John Hancock remarked that Congress must now “all hang together”. Benjamin Franklin replied, “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

I’m inviting you to commit an act of treason, be a trader to the status quo, and hang together with me. So, go ahead, declare your independence from whatever’s controlling you. Do it, today! I want to celebrate you this 4th of July! I’m declaring a independence and creating a new nation where success, happiness and thriving is the norm!

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