April 22nd, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Toxic Beliefs You Need Out of Your Mind

12 Toxic Beliefs You Need Out of Your Mind

What we can or can’t do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our strengths or intelligence.  It’s often a function of our beliefs about who we are.

“The drummer in our band, Nick, is legally deaf, and has been since he was born.  But he can still hear low bass tones and feel the vibrations from the drums and other instruments.  Honestly, he’s such an incredible drummer that most people don’t believe he’s deaf.  Sometimes I can’t believe it myself.”

Those inspiring lines come right out of a live chat conversation I had this morning with Amber, one of our newest course members (she gave me permission to share this with you here).  Amber is an ER nurse by profession, but moonlights as the lead singer in a renowned local jazz band in New Orleans on Friday and Saturday nights.  And as you can tell, her drummer, Nick, is one of her greatest inspirations.

Later on in our chat session, Amber said, “You know, I hate to admit it, but I envy Nick.  I really do!  I mean, I know I could be almost as amazing as him, in so many walks of life, if I could just silence the voices in my head.”

“What voices,” I asked.

“You know, the voices constantly telling me that I’m not good enough, that I don’t have enough, that it’s too late for me, that the naysayers are always right and I’m always wrong, and so forth,” she said.

And as she got deeper into things, we ended up cutting our chat session short and jumping on the phone to flesh things out and get her thinking back on track.

But the truth is, she’s not the only one who feels this way.  Over the past decade Angel and I have coached thousands of people from around the world, with vastly different lifestyles and socioeconomic backgrounds, and most of them suffer from the same exact toxic beliefs Amber does.  So today, I want to build upon my recent article on self-limiting beliefs and share some of these with you – 12 of the most common toxic beliefs we see our coaching clients and course members struggle with, time and time again (see if you can identify with any of them):

Reminder:  Have you checked out our book?  We just released a new bundle pack for “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently” which includes our eBook, audio book, paperback and bonus material on sale for a big discount.  Click here to check it out!

  1. “I’m not good enough.” – Embrace all of yourself.  When you appreciate your flaws and faults, they lose their power over you.  Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.  Don’t be one of them.  What you experience in life starts with your perception.  In almost every case, nothing is stopping you… nothing is holding you back but your own thoughts about yourself and “how life is.”  Your perception creates your beliefs.  Your beliefs create your behaviors.  And your behaviors produce your experience. Keep reading →

April 20th, 2015 - by: Angel Chernoff

10 Things You Must Give Up to Get Yourself Back on Track

10 Things You Must Give Up to Get Yourself Back on Track

If you want to grow and move on to better things, you have to give up the things that hold you back.

Last night, Marc and I received a new thank you email from a longtime reader and coaching client named Kevin (we’re writing about him today with his consent).  He said our book and life coaching sessions helped him and his wife Laura maintain a positive, intentional mindset as they struggled and grew through one of the most difficult periods of their lives.  Certain sections of his email nearly moved me to tears:

“As you know, after injuring my back, losing my job because of it, being evicted from our apartment, moving in with Laura’s parents, nursing my five-year-old through a nearly fatal bout of strep throat, I was stuck in a tragic rut for far too long.  And I was sitting on the front porch of my in-law’s house feeling sorry for myself, yet again, when my old college buddy called me crying and said, ‘Mel-Mel-Melissa, my baby girl, just died in a car wreck.’  And suddenly I felt like the lucky one.”

Kevin then went on to say, “It was the shock of my friend’s tragic loss that motivated me to review four pages of notes I had previously taken from both your book and our most recent coaching sessions.  And this time your wisdom sunk in!  Suddenly a light bulb illuminated in my mind – and it literally changed my entire outlook from negative to positive.  I suddenly realized there were people who needed me to get back up, and infinite reasons and ways to do my very best with what I had.  So I started giving up all the negative things I was thinking and doing that had been holding me back; and then I took a bold step forward, and another, and another.  And it’s been almost a year now, and I’m happy to say you were right!”

If you can relate to Kevin’s situation in any way, and you’re ready to move forward, I want to remind you that TODAY is the first day of the rest of your life.  The road ahead is wide open.  You CAN get yourself back on track!

But first, you have to…

  1. Give up pretending that you have to be who you used to be. – When times get tough, our worst battle is often between what we remember and what we presently feel.  Thus, one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make is when to stay put and struggle harder or when to take your memories and move on.  Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you’ve been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you are capable of being, and the person you truly are today. Keep reading →

April 15th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

7 Ways to Bounce Back from Life’s Inevitable Setbacks

7 Ways to Bounce Back from Life’s Inevitable Setbacks

It’s your choice…  To be positive and free or to be imprisoned by your own negativity.  To live in the past or to be hopeful about the present.

Full disclosure: I set myself a challenge recently, and I’ve been failing at it.

To help motivate a private coaching group Angel and I have been working with, I set a goal to exercise for one hour every day for 90 days straight.  I chose this lofty goal because several of the group members struggled with motivating themselves to get to the gym.  They were inspired by my willingness to stretch my limits.

But I’ve struggled far more than I had anticipated.  With a business to run, clients to serve, a baby in the house, family occasions, and travel, I’ve missed three days in the first month.

It’s such a minor setback, but it’s made me feel a little depressed at times.

Now, as you may know from previous posts, Angel and I have had much bigger setbacks in the past: losing breadwinning jobs, failed business ventures, financial turmoil, having our possessions wiped out by a hurricane, losing siblings and best friends to illness, health issues, and so forth.

What recently caught me off guard, however, is that all these larger setbacks from my past felt somewhat similar to this much smaller setback I’m dealing with now.  This may seem odd at first, but the truth is all setbacks, big and small, burden us in the same ways:

  • Our ideals and expectations don’t materialize. – When we start a new project, a new habit, a new business, a new relationship, etc., we have a picture in our heads about how this venture is going to play out once we get started.  This idea often turns out to be entirely inaccurate.  Life does not go as planned, people don’t behave the way we expect, or we’re not as disciplined as we thought we were when we signed up.  We had a fantasy and mistook it for reality, and we’re left in disappointment.  This letdown can be really discouraging.  Our lives are not what we hoped they would be, and that hurts!
  • Self-doubt overcomes us. – The setback chips away at our ego and causes us to doubt our abilities, our goals, and ultimately our self-worth.  We start asking ourselves questions like: “Why am I doing this?  Is it worth it?  Am I good enough?  Am I worthy?”  This self-doubt never helps, and is really just an additional setback compounded on top of the setback we’re already facing.
  • Feelings of helplessness settle in. – Yes, it’s unfortunate that sometimes things don’t work out, but what’s even worse is being stuck in a victim mentality that prevents us from moving forward with our lives.  Because when we’re stuck feeling like a victim who can’t make it through a few small challenges, we begin to question our ability to do anything worthwhile at all.  And of course, this is just another setback.

So that’s the basics of what I’ve been going through during my recent setback.  And I’m sure you can relate.

The good news, for all of us: there’s hope.  Over the past decade Angel and I have worked with thousands of people all over the globe who, like us, struggle with setbacks of varying degrees.  Through our work, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to bouncing back and making progress.  So today, I hope I can save you some trouble…

Here’s what works:

1.  Accept reality and detach from fantasies.

There are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.  When you roll with life, Keep reading →

April 12th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

3 Ways to Make Your Life Simple and Successful Again

3 Ways to Make Your Life Simple and Successful Again

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”
―Leo Tolstoy

We all have days, weeks, months and – for some – even years of feeling anxious and overwhelmed with the work we have yet to do.  It’s an elusive feeling that aches from deep within.  From the outside, people think you have it all together, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head.  Stress fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day.  You have so many things to do and they never seem to get done.  You always feel a day late and a buck short.  The pressure is intense and overwhelming.

Consider an email I got today from a reader named Gale:

“…the older I get the harder it is to feel peaceful and successful.  I’m a wife and a working mom of two, and the thing is, I know I’d feel happier and more effective if my family and I didn’t have so many extra curricular obligations.  But we do.  I have a weekend job where I teach and lead a youth group my daughter is enrolled in, I help my husband coach our son’s soccer team, I lead a prayer group at my church, and the list goes on and on.

Right now, the only way to get everything done is to sleep less and hustle more, but I’ve noticed that I feel sick and can’t really do things well when I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  And I want to take care of my health as well, so I’ve been sleeping eight full hours for the last few nights.  And inevitably, now I’m terribly behind on everything again.”

I can relate all too well, because that’s exactly how Angel and I felt before we started simplifying our lifestyle.  We were being pulled in dozens of different directions every day and never had enough time to get everything done.  Naturally, we wanted to do a great job with each obligation we had, and somehow we had convinced ourselves that we could do it all.  But the reality was we were stretched way too thin, and thus we were doing a lousy job at everything and completely stressing ourselves out in the process.

So to Gale, and to everyone else who feels this way, here’s the harsh truth you’ve been avoiding:

You CANNOT do it all.  Your plate is too full.  You have to let some things GO!

Unless you want your health to decline and your stress to continue to skyrocket, you must start doing three key things:

1.  Decide what you would put back on your plate if you could wipe it clean.

Our lives get incredibly complicated, not overnight, but gradually.  The complications creep up on us, one small step at a time. Keep reading →

April 8th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

3 Beliefs You Have that Hold You Back

3 Beliefs You Have that Hold You Back

You are the person you believe yourself to be.

“This afternoon I found out I had been accepted to the university of my choice with a full track and field scholarship.  Despite everything my alcoholic mother and her abusive husband put me through over the years – the hungry, sleepless nights I spent in tears due to their relentless negativity – it didn’t ruin me.  With your coaching and guidance, I’ve worked hard to get out of this mess once and for all, and it’s finally paying off.”

That’s the opening paragraph of an email we received last night from Monica, a longtime reader and junior client of ours (she gave me permission to share this with you today).  Her email then goes on to say that she has forgiven her mom and stepfather, but also knows being on her own and taking this next step is a priceless gift.  “Honestly, for far too long the people in my life had me convinced that I wasn’t good enough,” she says.  “And I have no grudges, but I’m so happy I’m able to prove to myself that they were wrong about me all along.”

Monica’s email made me pause, reflect and smile, for obvious reasons.

And although Monica’s circumstances are unique to her, I bet you can relate on some level.  I know I can.  Sometimes the pressure and dysfunction coming from family, peers, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we do things differently, we’re looked down upon.  If we dream big, we’re ridiculed.  Or if we don’t have the ‘right’ job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or time frame, we’re simply told that we’re not good enough.

Monica’s story truly is a perfect reminder for all of us too, even though she’s only 18, because the self-limiting beliefs that get instilled in our minds often arrive at an early age.

Maybe we got cut from a sports team as a child and thus determined “I’m not athletic enough to be fit and good at sports.”  Or we tried to play a musical instrument and were told to practice outside because we weren’t very good.

For whatever reason, we encounter seemingly insignificant moments that drastically alter our mindset for years to come.  It happens something like this:

  • We hear we’re bad at something, or we have a bad experience with something.
  • We avoid trying again for a prolonged period of time, because we want to avoid the potential of more pain and disappointment.
  • When we do try again, we try half-heartedly, so we can point to that and say, “See?  Just as I predicted… it didn’t work out.”
  • We never improve in this area of our lives, because we never commit to doing so.
  • It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we’re left feeling ‘not good enough’ every day thereafter.

Sound familiar?

Well I’m here to tell you that it’s time to break yourself out of this cycle!

How?

By identifying your self-limiting beliefs and proving to yourself that these beliefs are wrong!

Here are the three most common self-limiting beliefs we see our coaching clients and course members struggle with (see if you can identify with any of them):

1.  “Those haters are right about me.”

Don’t let rude people ruin you.  No matter how much negativity is thrown at you by others, there is absolutely no need for you to stay put and partake in the decay they choose for their own lives. Keep reading →

April 5th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Things Stopping You from Moving Forward

15 Things Stopping You from Moving Forward

In a culture that seeks quick results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance.

Be strong, present, and steadfast.

Have you ever told yourself that you’re going to make something happen and then nothing happened?  That’s because you didn’t follow-through.  You didn’t have the right rituals in place – little things you do each day that build up and gradually condition your body and mind to make things happen.

Rituals define you.  All the results in your life come from your rituals.

If you’re out of shape and overweight, you have different rituals than someone who’s physically fit.  If you’re fit, you jump out of bed early every morning and sweat before preparing a healthy breakfast.  If you’re out of shape, you sleep in and eat whatever is fastest and easiest.

This may be a bit of a generalization, but it’s not far from the truth for the average able-bodied person.

In all walks of life, you don’t suddenly become successful.  You become successful over time from all the little things you do every day.

Failure occurs in the same way.  All your little daily failures (that you don’t learn and grow from) come together and cause you to fail…

  • You fail to check the books.
  • You fail to make the call.
  • You fail to listen to your customers.
  • You fail to innovate.
  • You fail to push yourself to do what must be done.
  • etc.

And then one day you wake up and your business has failed.  It was all the little things you did or didn’t do along the way, not just one catastrophic event.

So with this principle in mind, I want to share some weak points we’ve seen plaguing thousands of our coaching clients and course members over the past decade – little things people do every day that stop them from moving forward with their lives:

  1. You change nothing and expect different results. – There’s a saying that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  If you want to improve yourself, you have to try new things to see what works and what doesn’t.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Often the difference between a successful person and a person who struggles to implement positive changes is not one’s superior abilities, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take calculated risks, and to take steady steps forward.  In other words, some people sit and wait for the magic beans to arrive while the rest of us just get up and get to work. Keep reading →

April 1st, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Things to Remember When Rejection Hurts

20 Things to Remember When Rejection Hurts

Be OK with walking away…
Rejection teaches you how to reject what’s not right for you.

As you look back on your life, you will realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected from someone or something you wanted, you were in fact being redirected to someone or something you needed.

Seeing this when you’re in the midst of feeling rejected, however, is quite tough.  I know because I’ve been there.

As soon as someone critiques, criticizes, and pushes you away – as soon as you are rejected – you find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I’m not worthy.”  What you need to realize is, the other person or situation is NOT worthy of YOU and your particular journey.

Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject relationships and opportunities that aren’t going to work, so you can find the right ones that will.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it just means someone else failed to notice what you have to offer.  Which means you now have more time to improve yourself and explore your options.

Will you be bitter for a moment?  Absolutely.  Hurt?  Of course, you’re human.  There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heart break at the realization of rejection.  For a short time afterwards you will ask yourself every question you can think of…

  • What did I do wrong?
  • Why didn’t they care about me?
  • How come?
  • etc.

But then you have to let your emotions fuel you in a positive way!  This is the important part.  Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your story.

Honestly, if you constantly feel like someone is not treating you with respect, check your price tag.  Perhaps you’ve subconsciously marked yourself down.  Because it’s YOU who tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you’re willing to accept for your time and attention.  So get off the clearance rack.  And I mean right NOW!  If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else will either.

I know it’s hard to accept, but think about it…

All too often we let the rejections of our past dictate every move we make thereafter.  We literally do not know ourselves to be any better than what some intolerant person or shallow circumstance once told us was true.

It’s time to realize this and squash the subconscious idea that you don’t deserve any better.  It’s time to remind yourself that…

  1. The person you liked, loved or respected in the past, who treated you like dirt again and again, has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you in the present moment, but headaches and heartache. Keep reading →

March 29th, 2015 - by: Angel Chernoff

10 Questions that Will Change the Way You Think About Your Problems

10 Questions that Will Change the Way You Think About Your Problems

It’s not about having all the answers – it’s about asking the right questions.

The saying “She who teaches others, teaches herself” is very true, not only because constant repetition helps impress facts indelibly on the mind, but also because the process of teaching itself gives greater insight into the subject taught.  Selfishly, this is sometimes the reason Marc and I take on new coaching clients and write new personal development articles, even when our schedules are full.  The strategies we teach help us grow too.

One of the strategies we teach over and over again is self-inquiry – which is basically the art of asking ourselves the right questions.  Why is this strategy so important?  Because the questions we ask ourselves become thoughts.  Thoughts then become words.  Words become actions.  Actions become character.  And character changes everything.

Truth be told, when times get tough and big problems arise, as they inevitably will, it is the strength of our character that sees us through.

And since our character is directly influenced by what we say to (and ask of) ourselves on a daily basis, I want you to think about how you’ve been speaking to yourself lately.  Have you been using the empowering, encouraging words you would speak to a friend?  Or the belittling remarks you would shout to an enemy if you had no heart?  Or the negative remarks about life you might utter if you had no faith?

All day long you speak silently to yourself, and a part of you believes every word.  Which is why it’s important to stay mindful when problems arise, and meditate on these questions:

  1. What could you be positive and happy about right now, if you really wanted to? – Your greatest weapon against stress and negativity is your ability to choose one thought over another.  Happiness escapes from those who refuse to see the good in what they have.  When life gives you every reason to be negative, think positive. Keep reading →

March 25th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things You Do NOT Need to Be Happier in Life

10 Things We All Want that Drain Our Happiness

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no
to the desires that drain you.

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.  I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves.  We look for happiness where it does not exist – in shallow goals and desires – in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people.

Angel and I were recently reminded of this when we met a family of six staying at a hotel in Miami where we were vacationing.  We saw them hanging out in the lobby, sharing stories and laughing hysterically.  So on our way out, Angel and I said hello to them and asked where they were from.  “Oh, we’re from here,” the mother said.  “Our house burned down to the ground yesterday, but miraculously, all of us made it out safely.  And that makes today a day worth smiling about.”

Talk about a wake-up call.  Some people might say they had lost everything, and yet this family knew better – they knew they had it all.  Because there really is nothing like joyful tears and deep breaths after a long, hard laugh with the people you love – nothing in the whole world like a sore stomach for the right reasons and a grateful heart to back it up.  That’s a situation where true happiness is surely found.

And there are many other sources of true happiness as well.  But as I’ve said, there are also lots of common traps – goals and desires that we think will bring us happiness, but actually do the exact opposite.  Recognizing these traps is the key.  In fact, I believe one of the best feelings comes when you realize that you can be perfectly happy without the things you once thought you needed.

With this in mind, consider the ten goals and desires (traps) below and how they may be holding you back.  Each of them is popular in our culture, and thus common in our lives, but rather than contributing to our happiness, they rob us of it.

So say it out loud with me:

“To be happier, I do NOT need…”

  1. To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself.  When you go around pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end.  The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”  That is spot on advice if you ask me.  Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway.  At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives you meaning and makes you feel alive.  And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count. Keep reading →

March 22nd, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

5 Reminders for Finding Strength and Peace in Times of Grief

5 Reminders for Finding Strength and Peace in Times of Grief

“There’s a saying in Tibetan philosophy, “Tragedy should be used as a source of strength.”  My grandmother always repeated this line to me when I was growing up.  Every time I dealt with some kind of adversity, she would graciously remind me that my current struggles were helping me grow stronger.

Sometimes, though, in the midst of chaotic stress and hardship, it’s almost impossible to maintain such a positive perspective.  That’s where the five reminders below come into play.  I review them from time to time to remind myself that my struggles are giving me an opportunity to grow, and to use what I’ve learned to make a positive difference.  Today, I pass them on to you in hopes that they help you find some extra inner strength and peace when you need it most.

1.  Your troubles are gradually improving you.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.  In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
―Maya Angelou

Someday when you least expect it life will blindside you with necessary chaos.  And once the chaos has ended, you won’t remember exactly how it all transpired, how you made it through, or where you found the strength you needed to carry on.  You won’t even be sure whether the chaos has completely ended.  But there is one thing you can be sure about:  When it does finally come to an end, you will be a much stronger person than who you were before it happened, which is precisely why it was necessary.

So let your scars remind you that Keep reading →