Tag Archives: values


How Gratitude Transforms You

While on a cruise to Mexico a few years ago, I read a spiritual book called One Thousand Gifts. First chapter in, my list of the 1000 things had begun. It was uncanny how just being observant to what is and being thankful for small things (such as having someone else make my bed, the smell of suntan lotion, the white foam on a wave) changed my perspective on things. As I continued to read the book, I kept adding to my list hourly — intentionally looking for things I may not have previously seen as “gifts.” It took me three full days to finish my list and in that short time…

It Transformed Me

You may argue the fact that I was on vacation or maybe it was the sunshine and the margaritas. I thought the same thing, so I started the list again when I got home. I ended that year with over 500 more!

There is something about having a number as a goal that makes it a transforming game. The discipline of making yourself keep track encourages you to look throughout your day for little gifts that scream gratitude! My list includes everything from my mom’s voice and the steam from my morning tea to the breakdown of the car and the disappointment of a cancelled trip. Even the hard and stressful things you experience take on new meaning when you look at them with new eyes.

Why Leaders Struggle

People rarely leave jobs where they are appreciated. When there is a genuine appreciation of a person’s talents and contributions, there is low turn over, better outcomes and greater efficiency. Leaders primarily struggle with gratitude because they have already moved on to the next challenge. Their mind is moving the ball down the field to the goal line. Thus, they forget to vocalize their appreciation or recognize what good is happening all around them, because they are already down the road to the next fire.

Consider the firefighters who put out a huge fire. As they are dealing with the last of the hot embers and beginning to clean up, suddenly another fire breaks out across town. Leaving a clean-up crew behind to finish the job, they race across town and save a child just in the nick of time. Of course, they are held up by all the media attention and reporters; thus they return to the firehouse pumped up on adrenaline ready for more. What are the chances they go back to the clean-up crew and thank them for what a great job they did? It’s not that they are not grateful, they just got busy doing another life threatening feat.

What We Want From Our Leader

We want our leader to be out in front taking on challenges, putting out fires, and fixing what’s not going right. That is their strength and unique ability.

AND we also want them to take a few moments to reflect on what has been successful thus far, vocalize their gratitude for the diversity of talent and contribution of their team, and celebrate progress being made along the way.

It is usually not a natural thing for a leader (although wonderful when it is) to be intentional about vocalizing their praise and appreciation. Yet, it is transforming when they do. It transforms them as a leader and it absolutely transforms the people and the culture. Let’s be honest: it will only happen if there is intentionality. If you want it to work, it requires a measurable goal to track to with a meaningful return.

Consistently focusing on gratitude forces you to change your perspective and look for things that you would usually pass over.

What are YOU grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Your Coach,




How Can You Simplify?

In this very fast paced world, it seems impossible to simplify our lives. But think about this, how much time and energy do you waste on the unnecessary? How much time do you waste because you can’t find things? How much energy do you waste telling yourself all the things you should do? How much time do you spend having fun? We often make life much more complicated than it needs to be and somehow we have convinced ourselves that our lives must be filled to max. We over schedule our lives, and then wonder why we feel dissatisfied. In turn, we end up spending the majority of our time on the things that don’t matter to us. Here are some strategies to help you weed out the unnecessary and simplify, simplify, simplify.

The Top 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

1. Extend your boundaries.

It is okay to say no. If you are not comfortable committing to a task or something doesn’t feel right to you, then don’t do it. We often get in trouble because we ignore our gut feelings, and most of the time it leads us down the wrong path.

2. Drop your to-dos.

Drop the to-dos that have been on your list for a couple of months. Get rid of those tasks that you keep telling yourself that you will get done but you always find something more interesting/important to do. If you have not done them by now, they are not important and draining your energy.

3. Remove clutter.

How much time do you waste looking for things? Do you have stuff that you need to get rid of? The more cluttered your space is, the more stressed you are going to feel. When you remove clutter, get rid of stuff that you no longer need, and give objects a home, your life will run more smoothly. In addition, you will create a space for new things to enter your life.

4. Develop your values.

Determine what your values are and live to those values. We often feel conflicted because how we are living is out of sync with our values. For example, if your number one value is family and your job requires you to work 65 hours a week is it any wonder that you feel unsettled and unhappy? When you’re clear about what is important to you, it will be easier to let go of things that don’t fit.

5. Examine your beliefs.

What are your core beliefs? Some of your beliefs may be limiting your ability to let go of tasks and projects that don’t add value. If you believe that you create value by being busy, it is much harder to let go of tasks. If you believe that the only way to make money is to work hard, then you will always work hard. Remember, we look for circumstances in our lives to reinforce what we believe.

6. Create priorities.

Determine the 1 or 2 things you want to accomplish within the next year for your career/business, home life, relationships, and self. Work only to those priorities. If your goal is to develop a new income generating product line, that is where you should spend significant time focusing your attention. It is very easy to get distracted from our priorities, because there is so much information out there that inspires our interest. How often do you get diverted to other projects and never finish what you were originally working? What happens? The year goes by and you did not accomplish any of your objectives. When new ideas do excite us, get an idea notebook and write all of your new ideas down for future projects. One note, if you find yourself working on everything but your stated priorities, it may be time to reexamine what you think you want.

7. Give yourself permission to relax.

We live in a culture that has taught us that relaxing is the equivalent to being lazy so we have created lives that are bursting at the seams and don’t give us time to think. There is another way, give yourself permission to relax. Revel in doing nothing. Give yourself time to just think and do nothing. You will be amazed at all the new and interesting discoveries that come to you.

8. If you’re struggling, let it go.

If something is a real struggle, or you can’t come up with a solution, drop it for awhile. Giving yourself a mental break will allow your brain to rest and therefore create new ideas. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and had an aha? This happens for two reasons, 1) because you are relaxed, and 2) because you were not trying to direct your brain’s thoughts. Giving yourself a mental break from a challenge is a great way to consciously create that aha.

9. Take care of yourself.

Isn’t it funny that we take better care of our cars than our bodies? Take care of your body and mind. Eat things that bring you a sense of energy and lightness. Eat to fuel your body. Exercise your body to reduce stress and clear your mind. Exercise your brain with new activities. This will go a long way in helping you feel more calm and relaxed.

10. Have fun.

Why is it so hard for us to have fun? Make time each week to do something that brings you joy. Do something completely silly. Have fun with yourself. Laugh. Forget all the other stuff for awhile and just have fun. You will feel a whole lot better.

Your Coach,




This piece was originally submitted by Jennifer Ottolino



What’s Your Personal Foundation?

Who doesn’t want to accomplish more in life? Don’t most of us want more time? More money? More love? More satisfaction? Yet, isn’t our tendency to go for it rather than simply having it all come to us?

A strong personal foundation includes 10 distinct stepping stones which, when linked together, provide a solid yet personalized base on which to build one’s life. And, in a world which sometimes appears to be built on quicksand, we all need a personal foundation on which to depend.

These 10 stepping stones of a Personal Foundation are:

  1. A past which you have fully completed.
  2. A life which is based fully on integrity.
  3. Needs which have been identified and fully met.
  4. Boundaries which are ample and automatic.
  5. Standards which bring out your best.
  6. An absence of tolerations.
  7. Choosing to come from a positive place.
  8. A family which nurtures you.
  9. A community which develops you.
  10. A life fully oriented around your true values.

Anyone who is living a meaningful life must have a strong personal foundation so they can afford to look up at the stars instead of down at their feet. Having a strong personal foundation allows a person to fully use their skills and resources, because instead of constantly worrying about the fundamentals of their life, they are free to focus on the task at hand. The process of building a personal foundation also teaches a person how to eliminate and prevent many common problems that are usually thought of as an expected part of life.

A skyscraper doesn’t start at street level. In fact, the taller the building, the deeper the foundation. This holds true for people, too.

What is YOUR personal foundation? If you need help defining your values and purpose, we are here to help! Visit us at shandelgroup.com

Your Coach,


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Worry is a False Sense of Control

Everyone has fear. The courageous learn to not listen to fear. Instead they choose to take action and press through to do what’s right.

The cowardly learn to listen to fear. They choose either passivity or control to hide behind — and ultimately compromise their values resulting in a boring meaningless life.

Either way it’s a choice. Your choice.

False Sense of Control

Remember I gave up worry for Lent? Well, choosing to not worry is nothing short of a miracle every day. Yes I fail sometimes. But what I notice is that when I stop myself, whatever I am thinking about is not that urgent, rational, or even real. When I stop the thought, nothing in my life changes!

You know why? Worry is trying to control the future, which clearly cannot be done. When we are anxious it is never about the present, it always about the future — and our need to control it.

Worry is a big fat lie and a false sense of control — which is addicting if you haven’t noticed.

Today on a coaching call, I had a client share about his victory over anxiety. He shared that his “A-HA” was that he is really good at solving problems and even better when it is a crisis. He is sometimes at his best in those situations. Therefore, why worry that something might happen when, first of all, it rarely ever comes true, and secondly, when it does, he is the man for the job to solve the problem quickly and efficiently. He has his joy back.

Learn to Trust

It’s true. We have what it takes to solve most problems! We all struggle with different fears, depending on how we are wired. Your fears may not even faze me, while my fears might make you laugh.

In my fast from worry, I am learning how much I suck at trust and lean heavily on worry for a false sense of security and control. However, I am learning the great lesson of trusting in something bigger than myself for that 3% of negative that might happen, and to leave the 97% behind (or at least for tomorrow to worry about LOL).

Live Fearlessly!

I often will ask my clients, “What if the fear of ______ (name area here) did not exist in your life, then what would you do?” The answers that pour forth are so amazing and life-giving it always gives me goosebumps. Try it right now and you will see what I mean.

Dismiss worry from your life! Or at least try it out for a few weeks. Join me for the next two weeks! Do not allow yourself to worry and see what happens!

Oh and one more thing. This entire epidemic of fear is the reason our theme to the 6th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit is FEARLESS! Send your women to it! Seriously you need to invest in the women in your life in this area of being courageous and bold in all areas. It is Friday, May 2, 2014, and here is a special promotional code for my personal discount when you register: tlc2014. SEND YOUR WOMEN!

Let me know your thoughts below.

Fearlessly Your Coach,


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Leading from WHY

WHAT does your organization do?

HOW does it do it?

WHY does it do it?

The WHAT question is pretty easy to answer. Whether it builds widgets, disseminates information, or directly serves people, you spend your time day-to-day supporting WHAT your organization does.

The HOW question invites you to consider HOW you make the WHAT happen. It’s a list of the primary processes used to create the WHAT.

The WHY question has a much less tangible answer. It resides in the emotional framework of the organization. It’s more about feelings than words.

Organizations are conceived from a vision that originally lives in the head and heart of the founder. This vision is the founder’s efforts to define the feeling that has inspired him/her to create the organization.

The degree to which an organization clarifies that feeling, the WHY behind the WHAT and the HOW, is the degree to which it can successfully connect with its consumers.

The two Steves, Jobs and Wozniak, conceived Apple based on a singular belief/feeling: Every individual should have the power to challenge the status quo. Their products have consistently put that power into the individual’s hands.

Apple burst into the awareness of the culture with the first big-budget Super Bowl commercial in 1984.

Nothing in this commercial talked about Apple’s WHAT or their HOW, only their WHY. Those who are motivated by challenging the status quo have been the loyal first adopters of Apple products ever since.

Leaders of organizations are only leaders because they have followers, internally and externally. Followers are not committed to WHAT organizations do, or even HOW they do it. They are only committed to organizations whose leaders have clarified WHY they do WHAT they do, and consistently articulate it by WHAT they do and HOW they do it.

WHY matters.

Inspired by Start With Why by Simon Sinek

-Mary Beth King


R.E.S.T. Your Journey to Vibrant Health

We are two weeks into the new year and I bet you are doing fantastic on your resolutions and goals. In fact, specifically how are you doing on your 2014 health goal?

Kimberly Ruby is our guest blogger this week, sharing her wisdom on vibrant health in the new year. You will find the R.E.S.T. theme comforting if you are a True Life regular and, I hope, challenged to go that extra mile to apply it to your health.

Kim knows her stuff. She is a Certified Nutritionist at University Compounding Pharmacy in San Diego, CA and has been in the wellness industry for over twenty years. She has been facilitating one of the longest running weight management support groups in the nation, meeting weekly for ten years strong. She’s appeared on several local news channels with her informative and lively health segments. Kim is also one of my oldest and dearest friends and I could not be more thrilled to share her article featured in this month’s edition of Refreshed magazine with you.

Your Journey to Vibrant Health

by Kimberly RubyKim Photo

Choose Your Attitude.  A very wise and highly respected Dean at my college also happened to be my Student Government Advisor. We worked side-by-side with the other elected college students, ensuring 1987 would be the best year my fellow students would experience.

Many of us had financial hardships, others health issues, and some academic challenges.  Our Dean, however, motivated every one of us to excel far beyond what we thought possible.  His famous saying when we became discouraged was, “have an attitude of gratitude”.  He would teach us to look up, thus taking the focus off ourselves.

What a perfect way to begin a new year, by choosing your changes with a grateful heart.  As a Certified Nutritionist with a compounding pharmacy, I’ve met with thousands of patients faced with every “health opportunity” imaginable.  I’ve observed how attitudes, family support, and the ability to be flexible have affected outcomes.  Specializing in weight management with my patients, January is my favorite time of year. People are eager to change and seek professional accountability and expertise. I thrive in guiding my patients in a more vibrant, joyful way of living life. Utilizing visual props, illustrations and acronyms has always been popular with my patients in allowing them to grasp the concept that they can re-create their own health!

Lasting change begins with R.E.S.T.

Lasting change begins with R.E.S.T.  Shandel Slaten, a highly successful Executive Coach, is retained by top business owners to conduct “corporate interventions”. She created the R.E.S.T. process to support long-term, sustainable change.

Thankfully, Shandel permitted me to adapt her corporate application of R.E.S.T to a personal wellness and healthy habit model, which has the ability to yield lasting wellness results. Let’s explore this simple, but effective change-tool. First though, unplug, turn-off, and move away from all screens and focus.  This is your time to take a “media fast”! If it’s clarity you want, you’ll need to quiet your soul to optimize the benefits of this process.


Right now, as you’re reading this column, how do you feel physically? Do you remember a time when you had more energy, your joints weren’t bothering you, and you had more flexibility and balance? Are you experiencing frustration because of your changing health? All of these “truths” are called your factual reality.


Pen in hand, now begin to write 3-5 core values that are non-negotiable, priorities in your life. Examples: being present for your family, spending quantity and quality time with your spouse or loved-ones, staying out of debt, work satisfaction, transitioning into new life opportunities. Then ask yourself, based on where your health situation is, “Am I able to honor my core values?” Do your daily health habits create conflict or support wellness? You cannot honor your core values if you are not living in optimal health.

Strategize the Future

Here’s the great news. In taking the first step to evaluate your goals for 2014 by honestly examining where changes need to occur, you will be able to determine a strategy for change, either in slow incremental steps, or in leaps and bounds. Naturally, your personal family physician knows you Adult-Platebest, so in making any dietary or exercise adjustments, seek their guidance first.  Enlist an accountability partner, a counselor, a nutritionist, or a support group. If you really want something, you will find a way; if you don’t you will surely find an excuse.

Think Long-Term

Ask yourself, “What do I really want for long-term outcomes in my personal health journey?” “What must I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to achieve and support my core values?” Determination and motivation fuel sustainable change. But it’s also important to remember most people fail as “Lone Rangers” in permanent behavior changes. There you have it, R.E.S.T but never retreat!

Lastly, be focused yet be flexible. Change rarely happens without a few set-backs.  When my patients confess their “unhealthy” behaviors, I remind them we always have another opportunity to return to what we really want for the long-term. It starts today, one thought, one behavior, one victory at a time.

Over the next year, I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with you and if there’s a topic you are interested in, please email me at kim@ucprx.com and I may address it in a future column. Oh yes, and whatever happened to that Dean at my college that touched so many lives? He and his wife became very successful publishers, had five amazing kids and are the most authentically grateful people I know.

 Kimberly Ruby


The Trick to Recognizing Your Own Rationalization – Clarity #35

Think about a time when someone on your team questioned a decision you made. What was your reaction? Chances are, at the core you experienced fear — which shows up differently for each of us: Fear of failure. Fear of looking incompetent. Fear of rejection. Fear of being misunderstood, to name just a few.

So the next morning, you know the decision — and whether it was a good or bad one — it is going to come up. How do you prepare for that meeting? If you are like most, you spend an exorbitant amount of energy concocting an airtight defense. What is your presence in the meeting? You enter in with your armor on, defenses up, and you steamroll the team “with facts” into believing that I’m not a failure. Let me prove to you all right now why I am not a failure.

We must train ourselves to see this pattern. To increase our self-awareness and notice quickly when we are in this state of fear, which leads to rationalization.

If you’re a person with high self-awareness, how would you approach this same meeting? With confidence that you have the facts and context of what happened, courage to let everyone voice their concerns — knowing that this is not personal, it is an issue — and humility to realize you may have a blind spot. You’ll go into the meeting, address the negative feedback, state what happened, reassure the team of their good intent, and allow others to speak into the situation.

Remember, you will never have it all figured out. In fact, if you’re a true evolving leader, you will always seek out new challenges where you’re a bit over their head. People who don’t, become irrelevant quickly. (You know them by the way they refer to their past and how great they used to be.) And that means you will make mistakes, poor judgment calls, and wrong decisions.

Self-awareness is a journey, not a destination. If you truly want to grow your business, your team, and yourself, then be quick to recognize when you rationalize and even quicker to own it, adjust, and keep moving in humble confidence.

Want to learn more? Check out the entire article highlighted in my current newsletter here. Leave a comment and receive a free EQ assessment.

Your Coach,

curious not judgmental oranges

How Judgmental Are You?

“Somewhere it is written that parents who are critical of other people’s children and publicly admit they can do better are asking for it.” — Erma Bombeck

This Erma Bombeck quote got me thinking about how judgmental we all are.

What amazes me is how we do not see this trait in ourselves — we only get angry about it in others. Think about the last time you said or thought, “That person is so judgmental.” What is that saying about you? Yep, you are judging them for the way they are judging. And the cycle goes on and on.

One of my passions to help people live with purpose and have a positive, joy-filled life. Once leaders discover judgment and negativity in their lives, they’re the first things they want to tackle — in themselves, their leadership team, and their organization.

Next time, we will explore the root cause of judgment and ways we can avoid being critical, crank, and chronically negative.

So, how judgmental are you? And would you like to work on being more joyful?

Your Coach,

Do you trust yourself? Truly trust yourself? Clarity #30

Do you trust yourself? In week #30 of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, asking the question today takes on an entirely new meaning.

Trust is a word that is often taken for granted. It is a very delicate “thing” because it is either growing or eroding. That is why I am continually challenging leaders to invest in their self trust, the leadership team trust, and the organization’s trust. It makes or break … EVERYTHING! Continue reading

2012 Goal Setting: Find Your Theme and Write It Down

Each year, I have the joy of providing you a new way to think about goal setting for the upcoming year. Whatever you do, please do not make any new year resolutions! Simply have a vision, know your core values, align your goals to your core values, and determine the action steps.Â

For 2012, instead of setting tons of goals and having a complex plan, how about coming up with ONE challenging goal that becomes your theme, and then add just a few others that you need as your dashboard to keep yourself aligned to your big vision?Â

In the last three years I have had one personal goal as a theme and it took all my energy to just stay on task to that one thing!! It may look and sound easy, but if it is the right one it will stretch you all year long.

Like anything that is simple, it takes some work upfront to gain the clarity that is needed to determine your #1 theme.

5 Ideas for Finding Your Theme

1. Reflect. Take some time to reflect on 2011 and where your current course of life is taking you today. Â What worked really well for you last year and what didn’t? Ask yourself hard questions and write down your answers.

2. Â Evaluate Values. List your top five values and grade yourself on how you are living and honoring them in all areas of life: Â Professional, family, health, financial, key relationships, spiritual, physical, emotional, community, etc. On a scale of 1-10, how are you honoring each value in each area? Then list what it will take to honor each value at a level 10. If you don’t know your values, take Life 301 in January! No excuses!

3.  Start, Stop, Continue. In 2012, what are 3-5 things you want to START doing, 3-5 things you want to STOP doing, and 3-5 things you want to be intentional to CONTINUE doing?.  Bonus: Ask your spouse or partner what they think you should start/stop/continue.

4.  Align to Your Purpose.  Take a moment and see how you are lining up to your defined personal vision and purpose for your life. Are you on track and aligned?  What needs to be done in 2012 to get your actions aligned and on track to the big vision you have for your life?  What habits have crept in? Where are you compromising your integrity? How is your energy being drained? Who charges your battery?

5.  Write It Down. You’ve heard the statistics. If its not clear, specific, and written out — it rarely happens. Therefore, how can you simplify your goals into 3-5 for the year, with the no. 1 goal being clear and at the forefront of your mind?  Once you have the top no. 1 goal and a few more, it’s time to put action steps in place. The first action step is usually what you must say “no” to in order to say “yes” to your new goals. Next comes setting up the S.M.A.R.T. goals with action steps and dates for desired completion.Â

Feel Stuck?

My favorite exercise for goal setting when all else fails is to write your holiday letter a year in advance. Tell the story of what you did in 2012 as if it was in the past. It is remarkable about what comes out of the creative exercise.

It Takes Patience

I have learned the importance of this reflection time, and have set aside time to get away for a few days to just think, reflect and plan. Right now, as I write this, I am on my personal retreat. Today I journaled 11 pages and then read a novel, worked out, and wrote my newsletter. Tomorrow I am going through a bunch of exercises like the ones I suggested above. I don’t have my own goal yet, but it will come.

There is no magic to this process. You will know the answer when it comes. I remember in 2010 it was TRUST MORE. That seemed like a dumb goal even though I really knew I needed that in my life. Oh my goodness, it was a challenge the entire year, AND it was life-changing for me!

3 x 5 Cards Are Key

I like to write my top goals down on a 3 x 5 card and place copies in strategic places. On one side I put my personal and other side professional. In big print. Simple! That way I see them and don’t let them get away from me. I just found something I wrote for 2011 and I had to laugh at myself. Only the things I wrote down on my 3 x 5 got done. Â Honestly, I forgot about the rest.

Do You Have Clarity?

If you do not have a copy of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters now would be a good time to pick it up and find a subject that will challenge your thinking. Â You have what it takes so go do it and of course I would love to hear your theme!

To assist you to keep on track and inspired join our brand new True Life Quote of The Day email launch.