5 Steps to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination is a slippery challenge that seems to perpetually lurk around in my life. I’ll be honest and share that I have an on-again, off-again battle with putting off taking action on important priorities or projects. We’ve all got dreams and goals we want to achieve in our day or in our life.  But when we procrastinate, we start to lose our focus, drain our energy and ultimately cause our self-esteem to plummet.

We can procrastinate about obvious things – starting the diet, preparing our tax returns, having the tough conversation with someone we love or cleaning up cluttered areas.  However, we also procrastinate in more subtle forms…. Continue reading

Dealing with the Unknown: 3 Strategies for Handling Uncertainty

Uncertainty and dealing with the unknown is something we all must learn to cope with. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” If that’s the case, are there ways to live with the unknown with a greater sense of mastery and ease? I believe so!

Living with uncertainty certainly isn’t comfortable and can show up on both a macro and a micro level. On the macro level, you may have been hit by one of life’s curve balls like a relationship meltdown, a workplace restructuring, a health scare or some other significant shift in the landscape of your life. On the micro level, Mercury goes retrograde again and your computer crashes right before you need to pull your major presentation out of it. You are working on something that you thought was your heart’s desire, but you …. Continue reading

Mission Possible: 3 Keys to Achieving Your Goals Despite the Odds

Have you ever been told that what you want is impossible to have?

You have a goal or a dream, but those around you – family, friends, experts – tell you that it can’t be done.

If you’ve ever built a campfire, that initial phase of having the spark hit the dry kindling is critical. You need to get more wood to help build the fire so it can get to a critical mass of its own rather than sputter out and die. When an idea catches fire within you, it’s important that you take the right action quickly so you can keep it alive and make it happen.

Deciding to start your business is a spark of an inspiration. But you need the right kindling of where to find the perfect clients and what programs to offer them to stay in business. Being in an intimate relationship with another starts with those initial sparks, but it needs tending and fuel so it can last for the long run.

When you make a decision, particularly those where you feel you are answering a deep calling of your soul, it can initially feel like you’ve signed on for an episode of Mission Impossible. But when you apply these 3 success principles, you can turn that around into achieving your goal despite the odds.

When I recently decided it was time to release my home for a new family to enjoy, I wanted to be able to take advantage of a strong selling market. But I was still in the process of a serious renovation in my basement and walking into an almost-ready home doesn’t make a great impression on potential buyers.

My main contractor thought my time frames were way too tight (they were) and that my request he, his equipment and his team be off the property in such a short time frame was an impossible task. But I wasn’t prepared to settle for a “No.” I made 3 critical choices that helped me get the job done – and you can apply them yourself to any goal you have.

Key #1 – Use Your Vision as Your Anchor

Throughout the renovation process, I held a strong and steady vision of what I wanted and why. I kept visualizing my home as inviting, gracious and ready to be a place of love for a new family. Keeping sight of why I was subjecting myself and my family to this disruption allowed me to keep steady and relatively calm during the ups and downs of the renovation.

Key #2 – Do Whatever It Takes

I am a firm believer in delegation, but to get what you want in the face of the odds being against you, you need to do whatever it takes. As we progressed in the renovation, I could see places that needed shoring up so my goal of having the house ready for public viewing happen.

I did whatever it took. When the walkway needed power washing before the real estate agent had the house photos taken, I was out there at 6:30 am with a contractor sweeping and handling the power washer myself. To make things smoother for the crew in the morning, I would get the shop vac out to keep the site clean even if it was 11:30 pm.

Here’s the beautiful thing about being willing to get your hands dirty and doing whatever it takes. Not only did it help get the job done, it inspired and motivated the great crew of workers I had to do the same.

Key #3 – Keep A Light Heart

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated. When your goal and vision come from a deep place within your heart, it is tempting to take setbacks personally. But anger, sarcasm and blame are like throwing a bucket of water on the bonfire you’re trying to build.

Keep a light heart and instead find the humor in those trying moments. Choose to be compassionate with yourself and others instead of condemning.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

 

Leadership: The One Person You Absolutely MUST Lead

Being a brilliant entrepreneur, a brilliant mom or a brilliant partner requires one thing. To succeed we need to be able to calls forth the best of ourselves every day and in every way.

As the leader of your life, there are so many people who look to you to take their cues: your clients, your children, your partner, your colleagues, and your neighbors. Mompreneurs in particular are often caught trying to find that elusive balance between work and family, between joyful creation and stressful chaos.

But the true test of leadership is this – are you practicing your own internal leadership? Would you be inspired, motivated and decide to follow yourself?

One of my teachers used to say that the first person you must learn to lead is yourself. Attending management courses and reading the very finest leadership literature is good, but the greatest arena for learning about powerful and lasting leadership is … within yourself.

Having a strong and resilient emotional foundation is a key ingredient to one’s success and impact. So I believe we must always be willing to do our own emotional homework to ensure that this internal foundation is strong enough to hold the business we desire.

Here are some tips to help you diagnose and up-level your self-leadership!

1.  Do an Integrity Check

Do a scan of your life to see if there are areas where what you are doing is different than what you are saying. Are there places where things feel out of integrity? Are you tolerating things that are incomplete? Are you walking your talk? It might be finishing up a product, making a call you’ve been avoiding, or letting clutter overwhelm your office. This scan will tell you where you have the opportunity to recommit to the leadership of your life. Write them down and come up with a plan to tackle these areas that are energetically eroding your leadership.

2.  Get in the Driver’s Seat

It’s tough to lead your life, let alone a business, if you allow other people to be in the driver’s seat. Self-leadership requires you to take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, you get to decide where you’re going, the route you’re going to take, and how fast you want to drive to get there. Yet sometimes we subtly concede that driver’s seat position to others – a spouse, our children, a business partner, a demanding client, or a parent, to name a few examples.

3. Perfection is Not Required, Shifting is

Don’t forget that we’re all human, and we definitely make mistakes. So even if you see there are areas where your ability to lead yourself isn’t what you want it to be, don’t despair! Perfection is not required in order to move forward to unleash your brilliance. Self-awareness and a consistent choice to shift out of limiting behaviors or patterns is. Being able to see what’s not working and shift it quickly, and with confidence, is critical so your true brilliance can shine brightly in the world. Learning to lead yourself with confidence and ease is the goal.

© 2011-2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

“Is Dreaming for the Birds? 4 Steps to Make Sure Your Dreams Become a Reality”

Ever have one of those days where you feel like going for your dreams is for the birds?

Your ideas seem to hit brick walls. The doors of opportunity keep slamming in your face. You wonder if you would be better off finding an occupation that at least offered a steady paycheck, or writing off the idea of finding your soulmate forever.

I hear you and we’ve all been there.

It may sounds strange, but you can actually learn a thing or two from the birds and how they birth or “manifest” new life into the world.

I recently had the opportunity to witness a robin family who set up a nest in the vines outside my back door.  For days I watched the comings and goings, fascinated by the whole process of seeing these chicks grow up.

The robin family demonstrated to me 4 powerful manifestation steps that we can all use to manifest our dreams into reality. If you get these steps down right, your chances of success and impact will truly soar….

Stage 1 – Prepare Your Nest

Construction of a bird’s nest is an incredible testament to patience, ingenuity and consistent action. Slowly and steadily the necessary ingredients of mud, twigs, leaves, feathers and “who-knows-what-else were assembled..” to build the nest.

Mama and Papa Robin took great care where to build it too. They tucked the nest securely away in the vines, where it would be safe from the elements and view of predators.

Are you building your life with this same level of care, too? Or are you simply throwing your ideas and offerings out there hoping something will eventually stick.

Instead of constantly reinventing yourself and bouncing from niche to niche—take a lesson from the birds. Build a nest that’s conducive to long-term growth and maximum impact.

Get answers to foundational questions like:

  • What is the highest purpose for me in this lifetime?
  • What are my core values and priorities?
  • Who am I designed to serve and how?
  • What resources do I already have, such as life or work experience, marketing or communications skills, that I can use?
  • What resources am I missing and am I willing to find them?

Gather these “materials” and watch your nest become one that’s ready to support the full manifestation of your dreams.

Stage 2 – Protect Your Eggs

One of my teachers offered the wisdom that as we develop and expand our level of awareness, we need to “protect the eggs of our consciousness.” Your dreams are precious. When you’re incubating a dream, whether personal or professional, you need to be mindful and selective of who you share that dream with. Otherwise you risk your eggs being smashed on the ground.

Dreams need time and care to take root. They need to be protected. I saw Mr. Robin dive-bomb and pursue a hungry squirrel who strayed too close to the nest and chased it into another neighbor’s backyard.

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely path, particularly if people in your social support system are more used to traditional corporate or service jobs. Breaking out of the social norms of your past can be met with disbelief or even disapproval. So beware of dream stealers. Be willing to go outside of your inner circle and plug into a network of other like-minded people who can hold a powerful vision with you, and offer you resources and encouragement.

Stage 3 – Nurture

Now that the nest is built, and the eggs are protected, your fledgling dream must be nurtured. Multiple times a day, Mr. and Mrs. Robin would zoom back to the nest with a beak full of wriggling worms.  Their main job was to make sure the babies were nourished so they could be strong enough to fly out on their own.

What can you do on a regular basis to bring your dreams into reality? Perhaps it’s making a call for a speaking gig, or connecting with a prospective client. Maybe it’s being more discerning in who you spend your time with. What are you doing in terms of your self-care to make sure you don’t end up running yourself down while breathing life into your dream? Take advantage of opportunities to grow with an experienced mentor or support group so your dreams can take off.

Stage 4 – Spread Your Wings

The day arrives when your dreams cannot remain a secret from the world and you need to put them boldly out there in the world. It’s amazing, but the down-covered chicks that inspired this article have already spread their wings and left the nest while I wrote this.

One of the dynamics I love most about being an entrepreneur is that as I grow my business, I grow myself and vice versa. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.

If you know you’ve been hiding out in the cozy comfort of your “nest” or behind your computer, it’s time to spread your wings. It actually takes a lot of energy to play small and keep a lid on your brilliance. If you find yourself doubting whether you can really fly, just remember there are people waiting to be inspired and served by you. You have gifts and talents you’ve been called to bring forth to the world. If you stay cramped in your nest, they may never find you.

Spread your wings and step out on the ledge—it’s your time to fly!

©2011 Carolyn B. Ellis

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Stop Lying, Making Excuses and Blaming – Why You Need to Own Your Results

Guest Article: Carla Young, MOMeoMagazine.com

Ever listen to a conspiracy zealot explain how the absence of proof is even MORE proof of a conspiracy? It seems no amount of evidence to the contrary is sufficient to sway them from their firm belief that the world is out to get them.

That’s what you sound like when you dodge fault in every situation. This idea failed because the system wasn’t set up to allow your success, that campaign flopped because the economy crashed, this big thing never got off the ground because fill-in-the-blank.

The truth is that whenever you say things like “But I can’t do that” or “If only this would change, I could”, you are giving up before you even start. Even worse, you are giving up your power to change your world by leaving it to mysterious outside forces that may (or may not) smile on you.

Why You Need to Own Your Results

Let me be blunt. You can’t change what you don’t own and other than a piano falling on you and other very random occurrences, chances are you own every result. So when you make excuses and blame outside forces that are beyond your control, you get stuck with the same bad results because of the problems you refuse to own.

To learn the 5 reasons why you need to own your results.

#1: You can’t see the real problem – If you don’t own your results (or rather the hand you played in them), you can only see the symptoms and never the real underlying problem.

#2: You can’t learn from what you don’t own – People make mistakes – accept that fact and get over it. The next step is to learn something from it. Start connecting the dots. What was the chain of events that lead to the catastrophic failure? Now you know for next time and that’s a powerful tool.

#3: You can’t fix what you don’t own – You can change everything around the problem, but if you are the cause (or somewhat responsible) the problem will continue to exist because you are the weakness link.

#4: You can’t seek advice on what you don’t own – What is your adviser to say when you tell him or her that all these random bad things just happen to you for no apparent reason? Probably something like “That’s terrible. Better luck in the future.” Owning your results gives you the tools to seek relevant advice.

#5: You can’t move forward from what you don’t own – No ownership means no growth and that means you are suck repeating the same bad habits again and again and again.

Carla Young is Founder and CEO of MOMeoMagazine.com and MOMeoCommunity.com. If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. She is dedicated to supporting moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

Finding Your Balance After Divorce

Q. “My question is really an intricate combination of how to keep myself in balance and go forward instead of wallowing in rumination about being unemployed, parenting three kids (9, 11, & 16) and navigating the mediation process all at the same time! My house is a disorganized mess, my finances are slim and uncertain, and the kids are struggling with self-image, anger and silence. It’s hard to even get up in the morning, especially those days I’m alone.”

A. You are certainly in the thick of the upheaval that separation and divorce can create. I remember those days well and it can be a very bumpy road. Divorce is like having a tornado touch down and hit your life. Every major part of your life – your children, finances, friends, emotional state – feel like they have been strewn about. The stress from all of this is enormous, so I really honor you for asking this question and reaching out for support. While I can’t answer everything you’ve asked here, let me at least identify a key priority area for you and recommend some useful resources to get you started.

There are so many moving parts here, it can feel overwhelming to even know how to begin. The first piece of the divorce puzzle that I recommend you attend to is yourself. Your self-care practices are critical. You can get stretched very thin as you cope with lawyers, finances, children and your own feelings about your separation. The unfortunate thing about divorce is that you’re asked to make such important choices at a time when your emotions are running high. And when emotions run high, the ability to make considered and savvy decisions tends to run low. By ensuring you do whatever you can to recharge your batteries, it will help to stabilize you and support you in dealing with all the other important relationships and issues you are currently facing.

What does that look like if you were to uplevel your self care? Start writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal instead of bottling them up. Simple and inexpensive things like taking a walk in nature or getting yourself flowers can help. Ask for help from family and friends in specific ways. For example, having a clutter busting party at your home might help you get an important “win” in short order. You may want to reach out to trusted friends or a divorce coach for support.

In my award-winning Divorce Resource Kit, I address this subject specifically and there’s even a checklist with 52 easy, inexpensive self-care strategies in it. There are also many tips and principles there to help you create your own road map through divorce, and to help you set your priorities. I would also recommend “The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What To Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce.” This award-winning book addresses many of the issues you are facing with your children, and will help you to cut your learning curve of being a divorced parent considerably.

The bottom line here? Take it one step, and one day at a time. Be gentle and caring with yourself. Don’t try to take on everything at the same time. And above all, don’t reinvent the wheel on how to cope with all the issues divorce is raising for you. There are so many great resources available to help you.

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3 Tips to Getting Over Yourself and Into Action

(If you prefer to listen to the audio version of this week’s article instead, just click “Listen Now” below!)

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” ~Benjamin Franklin

A big challenge brilliant entrepreneurs face is we get tripped up getting in our own way. So with the deepest love and respect, I suggest we all get over ourselves! What do we need to get over? Just a few wee things that stop us from getting into some serious action – things like our perfectionism, our doubts, our
“reasons” why we can’t have what we want.

Have you ever had a great idea blossom in your heart, only to find yourself losing steam and courage? The perfectionism kicks in as you wonder whether the idea will be “good enough” for your clients. Or perhaps you delay product launches because you want to keep tweaking the copy, the packaging and the marketing because your doubt that people want what you have has been taking you down a side road. Maybe you decide you need just one more seminar in something and THEN you’ll be ready to take action. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

If it does, you are not alone

Tip 1. Take Imperfect Action

On the one hand, a desire to offer excellence in service is a beautiful thing. But when getting your products and services out there gets side-lined with a need to have everything be “perfect” that is a problem. Creativity is an energy that needs to stay in circulation. When you stop taking action because you’re tinkering with small details, that creativity and inspiration turns quickly into a form of emotional and spiritual constipation.

One of my mentors says, “Imperfect progress is better than perfect inaction.” Waiting until all your ducks are in a row before you green light a new idea is a way to stifle your brilliance. Your market and the rest of the world are moving and you may be missing out on some valuable opportunities as you tinker to get everything “just right.”

Tip 2. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

Remember there is a whole big world out there full of people who need to be touched in some way by the gifts and services you offer. So keep your eyes on the horizon so you can get the bigger picture.

Getting in your own way means you’ve just narrowed your perspective to only see your own issues and obstacles. And that ultimately robs those people who have problems you can help solve get the relief and solution they are looking for. Plus, it robs you of the ability to be compensated for your gifts and grow your business and influence even further.

Tip 3. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start is another way to get tripped up. To get into powerful action, remember to break things down into manageable chunks. As the story goes, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Keep asking yourself what is the next actionable step you can take, and then take it. That way you won’t let the scale of a project give you an excuse to sit on the sidelines while you figure it all out.

STEP INTO YOUR BRILLIANCE
Scan your project lists – both business and personal. See if there’s an area that is calling out for you to “get over yourself.” Identify one bite-sized piece of imperfect action you can take. Take action on it within the next 7 days.

© 2011 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

Break Free from 5 Common Money Mindset Traps

Many brilliant entrepreneurs live with an internal contradiction that if left unchecked can really hamper their success and impact in the world. It’s the conflict we feel about money.

On the one hand, heart-centered business owners are all about living their purpose, changing the world and leading people to live from an abundance paradigm. But on the other hand, many struggle with conflicting beliefs about money. Deep down in their core there is that old paradigm of scarcity and lack still running the show at an unconscious level. This can sabotage the greatest intentions and best efforts if they are not handled.

Your willingness to transform and transcend any old, dusty, limiting money stories is key to your success. The first step in any transformation is awareness.

Money Mindset Trap #1 – The Belief You’re Not Good Enough

Do you believe you’re good enough? Are you worthy of success, love and abundance? If you hesitated even one iota about answering “Yes!”, you must have taken out a membership in the “I’m not good enough” club. (Most people have too, so you’re not alone on this one!)

How does living with the belief that “I’m not good enough” impact your money? It makes it hard to charge what you’re worth. It’s difficult to really appreciate and stand in the value you offer. You might be reluctant to invest in yourself or enlist support, which in turn impacts your ability to grow your business. Learning to transcend this limiting belief will unlock all kinds of potential for you financially.

Money Mindset Trap #2 – Your Family’s Money Legacy

We don’t just inherit our family’s looks, genetics and traditions. We also inherit a legacy of how our family felt about money. The beliefs, habits, fears and doubts our family of origin had about money has an enormous impact on our own money story.

If you’re a parent yourself, you know that children often do what you do, not what you say. It is important to see with clear eyes some of the messages about money we absorbed growing up. With that awareness, we can then start to create a new family legacy about money for ourselves and our children.

Money Mindset Trap #3 – “But I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”

Another pitfall is the voice that tells you, “But I don’t wanna grow up!” Not knowing how much you spend, falling behind on bills, or being in denial about your debt are clues there’s a rebellious adolescent that would rather have a knight in shining armor come along instead.

Being willing to let our spiritual grown-up take the lead in the money department opens up new thoughts, choices and excitement about your level of abundance. It lets you step into a place of leadership and wisdom with you being a powerful steward and manifester of your abundance.

Money Mindset Trap #4 – Being Rich Isn’t Spiritual

A lot of heart-centered entrepreneurs struggle with a belief that it is not okay to be rich and spiritual. This was a tough one for me as well! We absorbed some money story along the way that to care about money is crass, or means we’re not spiritual enough. We create separation between financial abundance and our soul’s journey.

Yet everything is energy. Money is simply another form of energy. It’s actually an important vehicle that helps you make your life’s purpose a reality, rather than a pipe dream. Most importantly, who you become in the journey of opening to prosperity and abundance is exactly the kind of polishing and stretching we need to realize the greatest YOU that you can become.

Money Mindset Trap #5 – I Don’t Know How

With all of these various money mindset traps going off, it is easy to feel like you don’t know what you’re really doing. How to manifest money isn’t something that they taught you at school. Most people don’t innately have the tools, systems or structures to manage and manifest the kind of financial abundance they are capable of having. We let a perceived lack of skills and knowledge disempower us.

All it takes is the decision to stop letting a lack of knowledge be an excuse for not reaching your financial potential. Take even just one baby step to learning some of the basic skills and tools and notice how quickly you’ll feel aligned and open to financial abundance.

Change and Transition: 5 Brilliant Year in Review Questions

In a world that is fast-moving and filled with challenge, something we can always count on is change. What’s different about the state of change in the world these days is the rate and volume of change. Our world and the issues we navigate in our families, our businesses and our communities are increasingly complex and fast-moving.

One of my favorite authors, Neale Donald Walsh, wrote a wonderful book called When Everything Changes, Change Everything. As he observes, “You’re not going to stop change from happening simply by not making any changes yourself. All you’ll do is stop change from happening the way you want it to happen.”

The good news about change, transition and learning to cope with the unknown is that it is a process that draws out the best in each of us. Getting outside your comfort zone requires you to dig deep inside yourself, and we often discover reserves of wisdom, strength and resilience we may not have known we had before.

As we prepare to ring in a New Year, it’s a time to look back to see what worked well, and what didn’t. It’s a time to harvest the wisdom from the experiences and choices we made so we can apply them to make 2011 the best and most brilliant year yet. I’d like to share with you some of my favorite Brilliant questions I’ll be using myself to welcome in the New Year.

To create your brilliant 2010, I’d like to offer these 5 Brilliant questions.

1. What Do I Really Want?

What are your core needs and desires? If you could wave a magic wand, what three things would you want to see showing up differently in your life 12 months from now. Look over the major areas of your life, like relationship, finances, health, career, recreation and community. Make it as clear as you can. For example, “I want to travel more” is nice but vague. Define it even more. For example, you could say “I want to visit Greece this summer and take an extra long weekend off every quarter.”

2. Does This Bring Me Joy?

Every gardener knows that a key to a healthy plant is to prune it back at appropriate times. If you’re feeling spread thin and approaching things with a sense of dread, chances are you have got some major commitment pruning to do Is what you’re doing bringing you an experience of joy and expansion? Or do you feel a sense of drudgery and heaviness? Become selective about what you put on your plate and look for how you can bring more joy into your life.

3. Does this Fulfill My Purpose?

Is what you’re doing an expression of your deepest gifts? Do you have a secret hankering to do something, but you keep holding yourself back? Write you’re your deepest desires and find one way you can give that an outlet in 2011. Use delivering your unique purpose and brilliance as a key criteria for determining where you spend your time and energy. Once you step into your purpose, you’ll be astonished at how quickly you opportunities will come you way that will support you in doing that more and more.

4. Where Are My Blind Spots?

When you drive a car, you need the sideview mirror to check your blind spot. I see its message that “Objects may appear larger than they are” as really cosmic. Until we clearly see any disempowering behaviors we have, they have a huge energetic pull on us until we get them handled. Is what you eat, procrastination about paying bills, or being a committed conflict avoider a potential blind spot? Write out a list of your blind spots, or interview someone you know and trust to give you the truth to help you round out your list. Keep that list handy so you can navigate your way out of them and refocus your energy in a constructive way.

5. What Do I Need to Release?

The Universe loves a vacuum and will come rushing in to fill it with something new. And so it works with our life force as well. What have you said “Yes” to that you now need to say “No” to so you can create space for what is to come? This may mean releasing limiting beliefs, physical clutter or relationships. Make a list of at least 5 things you know that you need to release in order to open up room for new opportunities to come your way.

© 2010 Carolyn B. Ellis

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it:

Success Strategist, coach and best-selling author, Carolyn B. Ellis, is the founder of ThrivePrinciples.com, empowering you to thrive no matter what your outside circumstances are. To get free tips on turning adversity into opportunity in order to improve your relationships, increase your self-confidence and reach your highest potential, visit www.ThrivePrinciples.com.