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Believe it or not, it is possible to create an incredible, fulfilling and peaceful life no matter what your circumstances. The more you learn to look at and identify how things affect you, the faster you will progress on your own personal journey toward total fulfillment and joy. The most significant changes occur as you begin to "honor" yourself and start making decisions and choices based upon what is best for you. The surprising thing is that as you begin to think of yourself first, your life will be richer in all areas, including your relationships. What I'm talking about doesn't look anything like "selfishness" in traditional terms, and the results are quite different. As you begin to think about yourself first, you become a freer, more loving and giving person. Somehow it works that way. You have to trust the process. This is the beginning of a journey that will last the rest of your life.

September is a wonderful time of year for new beginnings. With the carefree days of summer over and kids back to school, you can finally get back to working on YOU. It seems appropriate that this month we'll look at:


Here are ten areas you can begin looking at. You probably can't work on all ten at once, however, just becoming aware of them is a beginning in itself.

1. Get clear on what your ideal life would look like if you could create it any way you want.

If you sat in front of a blank canvas and were able to "paint" a picture of your ideal life, what would it look like? Where would you live? What kind of car would you drive? How would you look? How would you spend your mornings, afternoons and evenings? What would you do for a living?

You need to decide what your perfect future would look like. If you don't, you’ll miss out on so much that life has to offer. It would be like deciding to go on a trip, packing up the family, but never choosing where to go! Pretty silly, right?

Here's a fun project. In a couple of pages, write out what your ideal day would look like. Begin your story when you wake up in the morning…..and finish it at the end of the evening. Once you've finished writing out your perfect day, read it every morning and evening. Don't worry how far-fetched it may seem. Picturing yourself in your perfect world over and over again is one of the most powerful tools you can use to begin changing your life in that direction.

Once you have a clear picture in mind, think about what small changes you can make right now to begin making your life look like your vision. Making these little changes sends a powerful message to the universe that you're serious, strengthens the power of your vision and the potential for its fulfillment. For example, if you see yourself exercising on a daily basis, looking fit and trim, make sure you're doing some type of exercise now - even if it's only walking around the block once a day. If you see yourself waking up peacefully to a quiet breakfast of croissants and fresh fruit with time to read or meditate, do it now! If you see yourself with lots of free time for fun with your children, start taking the time right now! Play games with them, take them to the movies, shopping, whatever, but start NOW! The more you take the actions that are within your power, the quicker you'll get there.

Anyone who has reached high levels of success and created a wonderful life did so in their imagination first, even if they weren't aware of it. You can too!

2. Choose your priorities.

One of the most common challenges I see when working with clients is that most people have far too much going on. They’re starting a business, raising a family, volunteering their time at their place of worship, cooking gourmet meals and keeping a perfect house, running the children to lots of extracurricular activities, etc. Whew! We put more and more on our plate... say yes, yes, yes to things, but never take anything off! The result is burnout, confusion, guilt, stress, low self-esteem, and not being GREAT at anything!

Most people can only have one or two main focuses. For most moms, one main focus is usually their family. Then they can pick ONE other; maybe their home-based business, being the PTA president, or a full-time job. But if they try to add additional things, everything suffers!

3. Saying no.

Have you ever automatically said "yes" to something and immediately wished you hadn't? Without even thinking about it, we say yes because we're concerned people won't like us, we may offend someone, worry about what they'll think, etc.

When you begin to say no to anything less than your highest and best, you will experience freedom as never before, and go from being the victim of your circumstances to creating them.

Once you have determined what your highest priorities are, it becomes much easier to say no. There will still be other things going on in your life, but you can't give massive amounts of time and energy to anything unless it falls into one of your two main priorities.

4. Eliminate things you've been tolerating.

They could be little, seemingly insignificant annoyances to major complaints. It could be the kitchen cabinets are unorganized, a messy handbag, the car door that squeaks. It could be a job you've been procrastinating on like the taxes, paying bills, etc.
Tolerations zap your energy, drain you, cause you to feel guilty, not good enough, overwhelmed, and make you feel less attractive to yourself. They also affect deeper areas like self-esteem, and being inhibited instead of "free". They're like brakes slowing your personal growth.

Knowing how powerful this principle is, I almost always begin work with a new client or group by doing a "fresh start" exercise. I encourage you to do the same! First, list between 60-100 things you've been tolerating or "putting up with". Sometimes it's easier to do this if you think of your life in categories like home environment, work environment, health, habits and relationships.

Give yourself the gift of an entire day or weekend totally focused on getting rid of as many of these tolerances as possible. The rewards awaiting you are well worth it! Actually, this is the quickest, most surefire way I know of giving someone an incredible surge of energy!

5. De-clutter.

Pack rats, make sure you're sitting down! Another common complaint for the majority of people I work with is that they have way too much "stuff". Sometimes this actually stems from a "poverty" mentality or deep-rooted fear that if we get rid of something, we may someday need it and wish we still had it. The fact is that we have way more stuff than we actually need. The feeling of spaciousness and organization is worth more than the guilt we're carrying when we have clutter all around us.

One of my favorite principles is “creating a vacuum”. It works like this. You're tired of your "stuff" whether it's clothes, home decorations, office supplies, kitchen utensils, etc. For whatever reason, they are no longer satisfying to you. They may be unattractive, inefficient, just plain useless, etc. It may even be a client you’re tired of dealing with! They need to be replaced. But there's no room for the new until you get rid of the old! Begin practicing the "vacuum" principle and get rid of the stuff you don't love to make “room” for what you really want. You’ll be surprised what begins to happen!

6. Make time for yourself.

Most of us are on the go constantly and never take the time necessary to recharge our batteries. Whether it’s one evening a week, one weekend a month, or ten minutes a day, we need time to get away from it all. That's when we get the creative ideas we need to change our situation. Maybe you have a challenging circumstance on your mind and you can't seem to find a solution. If you give yourself some time to sit, relax, and be quiet, often the perfect solution will come to you. It was actually there the whole time, you were just too busy to stop and see it! We need time away to see that the situations we face are not as overwhelming as they seem.

I encourage you to take at least 10 minutes a day to sit and do nothing. You’ll become more peaceful, more focused and it will be easier to see the answers that were invisible before.

7. Do what you love to do.

What do you absolutely love to do? What are you passionate about? Is there something that makes you feel totally fulfilled when you do it? Something that brings you great joy and pride? What do people tell you you're naturally gifted at?

Whether it's drawing, painting, gourmet cooking, dancing, interior decorating, public speaking, etc., make sure your life includes time for what you love to do. The rest of your life will run much smoother and you will feel more fulfilled and complete when you bring your own special touch to the world.

If you can incorporate your unique gifts and talents into your business or profession you're even better off! Nothing is more fulfilling than having your life's purpose and profession be one and the same. When that happens, there is incredible opportunity for creating great wealth as well.

8. Set strong boundaries.

A boundary defines what people can and can’t say or do to you, and what you will or won’t do or say.

As you become clearer on your highest priorities and values, you may need some new parameters to operate from. It’s almost impossible to have a successful and rewarding life without clear and firm boundaries in place. Rather than driving people away from you, it enables them to get closer, in the way that you want. Eventually you won’t even need boundaries as people become very clear on what you will and won’t tolerate, and wouldn’t dream of crossing that line.

A common area to set boundaries in is when someone is talking to you in an unfit manner. When that happens, keep calm and address them in a neutral tone of voice. Tell them that what they said is unacceptable to you and request that they apologize. If they act the same way again, insist that they stop talking to you in that manner or you will leave their presence or hang up the phone. If they do it again, leave or hang up. Don’t tolerate unpleasant behavior from others!

On the homefront, there are other boundaries you can establish. If a child makes a mess, they should clean it up. When they’re old enough, they can help with other chores. You don’t have to feel like a slave. If you work from your home, you probably also need to set boundaries around the times you work and when you’re “off”.

9. Build positive relationships.

You need to make wise decisions about your relationships. Nothing will hold you back more than negativity from those around you. At the same time, relationships with people who support, encourage and believe in you are one of your most powerful assets.

As far as the negative relationships, it’s possible that the other person would also like to live up to their full potential, and will grow and change with you as you evolve. If so, great! At the same time, some people might feel uncomfortable as you begin creating a better life for yourself. Give them space to be who they are, but don’t let them drag you down. Set your boundaries and make sure your life is filled with many other relationships that lift you up. If you do this, before you know it, you’ll attract people who appreciate your positive attitude.

10. Reprogram your subconscious mind.

You will be the exact same person five and ten years from now unless you carefully choose the books you read, the things you listen to, and the people you hang around with.

For most of us, our lives today are shaped by the people, events and comments from our past. If we're not totally satisfied with how things are, there's a pretty good chance it has to do with our subconscious mind and how it’s been programmed. It has to do with negative things we've seen or heard in the past, people we've been around, etc. Those experiences don’t have to control us today or in the future. We need to “reprogram” our mind.

Whether you believe it or not, we’re being programmed every day. So much of what we’re exposed to on a daily basis is extremely negative. How do you feel after you've watched TV for several hours? Chances are you don't have much energy, and may even have some new fear added to your already full collection. What about certain individuals you spend time with? Sometimes you need hours or days to recover from their negativity! What about the things you read or listen to? The tabloid papers should be avoided at all costs because they're nothing but lies and gossip - and soap operas will make real life seem boring and corrupt your morals at the same time.

Be wise as you choose what gets implanted into your subconscious. Hang around positive people. Read books that challenge you to become the best you can be. Take advantage of audiotape programs as you drive in your car. Enroll in seminars and classes that will help further your self-development and personal growth. If you seriously work on changing your old “tapes”, your life will be transformed.

Happy transformation!

Mary Jo Wehniainen
Your Virtual Success Coach
“Helping Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Lives”
All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2001

Mary Jo Wehniainen is an internationally recognized professional business coach, sales trainer, motivational speaker, and mother of five small children. She works with business owners, executives and entrepreneurs to reach and surpass their goals while maintaining a balanced, full and rewarding life. Visit
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