January 28th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

5 Ways to Stay Mentally Strong When You’re Not Feeling “Good Enough”

5 Ways to Stay Mentally Strong When You Are Not Feeling Good Enough

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
―Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough?

I bet you do!  I know the feeling.  We all doubt ourselves sometimes – it’s human nature.  And the really crazy thing is, we think everyone else is doing better than us.  But they aren’t.

Every day we’re comparing apples with oranges – comparing our insides with other people’s outsides.  That colleague of yours who’s giving a really smooth presentation to the boss, while you wait nervously in your chair until it’s your turn?  She very well might be panicking inside.  You just can’t tell.

In fact, if she’s truly great, she likely is panicking inside.  Research suggests that the so-called “impostor syndrome” may get more intense as people get better at what they do: the more accomplished you become, the more likely you are to rub shoulders with ever more talented and skilled people, leaving you feeling even more inadequate by comparison.  So, in a backwards way, if you’re concerned that you don’t measure up, that could very well be a good sign that you actually do measure up just fine.

The late and great Maya Angelou, a renowned novelist and poet, once said, “I have written 11 books, but each time, I think ‘Uh-oh.  They’re going to find out now.  I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”  Angelou was an extraordinary talent, but she was also extraordinary in being willing to admit that she wasn’t always confident about that.

And in today’s always-connected world it’s even harder to keep things in perspective.  Our lives are literally unfolding on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  We use these social technologies, not surprisingly, to showcase the best parts of our lives: the beautiful weddings and enviable honeymoons, the finished projects, and the best smiles.  But we forget that we’re only seeing everyone else’s highlight reel too – not the sleepless nights, the failed attempts, the moments of grief and self-doubt.

So with all of this in mind, if you’re not feeling “good enough” right now, it’s time to adjust your thinking.  Let’s go over five time-tested ways to do just that:

1.  Acknowledge that all emotions come from within.

It’s not outside forces that make us feel something, it’s what we tell ourselves about what’s happening that creates our feelings.  People’s judgments, life’s unplanned events, and your unchecked to-do lists are not Keep reading →

January 25th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

7 Habits to Start in 7 Days to Guarantee a Year of Happiness

7 Habits to Start in 7 Days to Guarantee a Year of Happiness

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
―Ayn Rand

In our busy daily lives it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees and completely overlook some of the more obvious activities that can disproportionally affect our happiness levels.  Luckily, we can go off more than just our intuition; there are lots of proven strategies that aim to create the right behavior that leads to a happier life.  Below, we take a look at seven of the more actionable pieces of advice you can start implementing over the next week.

1.  Find meaning in your work.

Last week I interviewed a motel housekeeper in Miami Beach for a side project I’m working on.  “Do you like your job?” I asked.  To my surprise, she smiled from ear to ear and was breathless for a couple seconds.  She finally collected herself and said, “I can’t believe how much I love my job!  I get to make dozens of our guests happy every day and feed my two beautiful children at the same time.”  Talk about a powerful perspective!  Right?

A job is only just a job if you chose to see it as a job.  But there’s so much more to it.  All work is a chance to be of service.  All work is a chance to express your gifts and talents.  All work is a chance to be helpful to other people.  All work is a chance to change the world.  It’s up to you to find meaning in your work, whether you’re a house keeper, whether you’re a police officer, whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re an astronaut, or an entrepreneur.  You must find meaning in your work so that every day you feel like you’re on a purposeful mission.

So I today challenge you: Keep reading →

January 21st, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

8 Toxic Beliefs Most People Think Are Normal

8 Toxic Beliefs Most People Think Are Normal

It’s not the circumstances of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs about what those circumstances mean.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I had tunnel vision and expected life to be a certain way.  I studied my failures until I lost sight of my successes.  I surrendered my dreams to feel a sense of comfort.  I held tight to my fears and shielded myself from love and happiness by refusing to put myself out there.  And as I did all of this, I sat back and wondered why life was so miserable.

Obviously, I was very lost.  My own toxic beliefs and ensuing behaviors had gotten the best of me.  But after some extensive soul-searching, lots of reading, and diligent daily practice, I learned to do things differently, and I found myself again.  I tell you this because I know you struggle with similar inner demons – we all do.  Sometimes the ideas and habits we get comfortable with end up killing us inside.

As a veteran life coach who has now spent the better part of a decade coaching thousands of people online and offline, I realize that many of the toxic beliefs I struggled with earlier in life are actually quite common.  I have literally seen the same toxic beliefs surface in the lives of new clients over and over again.  Here are eight of the most common ones you need to be aware of:

  1. The present is indicative of the future. – When things aren’t going well there’s a tendency to extrapolate and assume the future holds more of the same.  For some strange reason this doesn’t happen as much when things are going well.  A laugh, a smile and a warm fuzzy feeling are fleeting and we know it.  We take the good times at face value in the moment for all they’re worth, and then we let them go.  But when we’re depressed, struggling, or fearful, it’s easy to heap on more pain by assuming tomorrow will be exactly like today.  This is a cyclic, self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you don’t allow yourself to move past what happened, what was said, what was felt, you will look at your future through that same dirty lens, and nothing will be able to focus your foggy judgment.  You will keep on justifying, reliving, and fueling a perception that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Keep reading →

January 18th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

4 Unconventional Steps Extremely Successful People Take in Life

4 Unconventional Steps Extremely Successful People Take in Life

All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.  And the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Over the years, Angel and I have had the privilege of working with dozens of extremely successful people.  The key thing that separates them from the crowd is their unwavering self-discipline to actually get the right things done.

I’m betting you have stuff you want to do — stuff you know you should be doing.  But it doesn’t get done.  Why?  You need to go from dreaming to doing… but it’s difficult to get going.

You want to excel more at work, get better grades, learn a new skill, get those six-pack abs, or spend more quality time with your family… but it’s not happening.  Instead you just procrastinate.

So what can help get you going when you’re not motivated to achieve your longer-term goals?  What’s the secret?

Angel and I have observed a simple four-step process repeated consistently in the habits and routines of the most successful people we know.

The first step, believe it or not, is dreaming.  We’re all pretty good at that — but it’s only part of the process.  In fact, if you do it wrong it can actually make things worse.  Here’s how to do it right…

1.  Dream (But Don’t Stop There)

Everything starts with a dream.  But if that’s all you do, you’re in serious trouble. Keep reading →

January 14th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength

12 Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength

“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.”
―Bob Dylan

At some point, you will come to realize that living the good life involves some amount of necessary pain, and that there are more flavors of pain than ice cream and coffee combined…

There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind ‒ graduating, taking the next step, walking out of a familiar, safe situation and into the excitement of the unknown.  There’s the giant, whirling pain of life upsetting all of your big plans and expectations.  There’s the little sharp pains of making a mistake, and the more obscure aches of success, when it doesn’t make you feel as good as you thought it would.  There are the vicious, backstabbing pains of betrayal.  The sweet little pains of finding others who are worthy of your time, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn.  There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend or lover and help them face their problems.

And on the best of days, there are the subtle, tingling pains you feel throughout your body when you realize that you’re standing in a moment of sweet perfection, an instant of great achievement, or happiness, or laughter, which at the same time cannot possibly last ‒ and yet will remain with you for the rest of your life.

Everyone is down on pain, and when we experience it we usually say we’re having a bad day, because we forget something important about what we’re going through: Pain is for the living – for those of us who still have the chance of a lifetime.  Only the dead don’t feel it, because their time is already up.

So with this in mind, here are twelve smart ways to turn all your daily wounds into wisdom and strength:

  1. Admit to your emotional pain, so you can deal with it and heal. – Emotional pain is less dramatic than physical pain, at least from the outside looking in, but it is more common and also more difficult to bear than broken bones.  The frequent attempt to conceal emotional pain increases the burden.  Don’t do this to yourself.  Sure, it is easier to say, “My leg is aching” than to say, “My heart is broken,” but that doesn’t mean your heart needs less self-care then your leg.  If fact, the exact opposite is true. Keep reading →

January 11th, 2015 - by: Angel Chernoff

25 Ways to Stop Feeling Overworked and Overwhelmed

25 Simple Ways to Avoid the Trap of Overwhelm

by Tess Marshall

The best time to relax and regroup is when you don’t have time for it.

There seems to be an outbreak of overwhelm on this planet.  Everyone believes they have to be busy, on the internet, and on the go every second.

When you feel overworked and overwhelmed, stop and listen to the stories you’re telling yourself about your time, your work, and your life.  In order to change your feelings, you have to change your thoughts.  You could say that your problem with overwhelm is all in your head!

We forget that life happens in the moment.  Nothing else is real.  We only have to live in the now and work on one thing at a time.

Overwhelm doesn’t exist.  It’s an illusion – a story we tell ourselves that offers us an excuse to get out of what we don’t want to do or don’t think we can do.

But we can choose to live our lives one choice and moment at a time.  If you’ve been feeling overworked and overwhelmed lately, the tips below are for you.

  1. Begin each day by doing your most difficult task first.  Set your timer for 30 minutes and begin.  Usually that’s all it takes to get going.  Work until time is up.  You’ll feel less distraction and fear.  You’ll have progress to celebrate.  And with momentum behind you, you’ll be ready to take the next step forward.
  2. Be proactive and get organized.  Clear unnecessary clutter.  Eliminate all but the essential that gives you value.  Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.  And be sure to take 15 minutes at the end of your day to clear off your desk; then list your three most important tasks for the following day. Keep reading →

January 7th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things Self-Loving People Do Differently

10 Things Self-Loving People Do Differently

The most powerful relationship you will ever have
is the relationship with yourself.

You can be the most amazing human being in the world and everyone sees rays of light, love and genius when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that external admiration doesn’t matter one bit.  I know because I used to look at people who were successful and happy, and wonder, “What’s their secret?  Why can’t I be that way?”

After a long struggle of dealing with failures, addictions, and self-loathing, I educated myself and came to realize that the reason I couldn’t be happy like the people I envied was that I didn’t love myself the way they loved themselves.

For me, shifting from self-loathing to self-love has been profoundly healing.  Now I see happy, successful people and I smile, knowing that their lives are products of a series of decisions that support their well-being.

Truth be told, every second you spend doubting your worth, and every moment you use to criticize yourself, is a tragic loss – a fresh moment of your life thrown away.  And it’s not like you have forever either, so don’t waste any more of your seconds; don’t throw even one more of your moments away.  Today is the best day to start loving yourself.  Here are ten things self-loving people do differently:

1.  They tell themselves they’re good enough.

This might seem overly simplistic, but it’s absolutely vital.  Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like your aren’t.  Because sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.  And you Keep reading →

January 4th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Last Year

12 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Last Year

This is a new year.  A new beginning.  And things will change.

Are you tired of dealing with the same type of headaches and heartaches over and over and over again?

Seriously, it’s time to purge some bad habits as we begin a New Year.  It’s time to learn from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and let your errors be of commission rather than omission.

Remember, you ultimately become what you repeatedly do.  If your habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.  Here are 12 common examples of the latter that stole happiness from hundreds of our coaching clients last year:

  1. Sticking exclusively with what you already know. – When you stop learning you stop living a meaningful life.  This is the truth.  Life’s richness does not come from always residing within familiar and comfortable territory.  It’s when you venture out, away from the familiar, that you grow stronger and more capable.  You must hold tightly to your core values while at the same time opening your heart and mind to new ideas, feelings and experiences.  Your own perspective will become clearer when you look at things from different angles.  Find ways to provide a healthy challenge to your current understanding of life, and you will discover and experience far more of life’s magic in the year ahead. Keep reading →

January 1st, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Ways to Live a Year with No Regrets

15 Ways to Live a Year with No Regrets

It’s a 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.

With 2014 now behind us, I’m sitting here on the eighth anniversary of a dear family member’s passing, thinking about the last conversation I had with her.  With a soft, weak voice she told me her only regret was that she didn’t appreciate every year with the same passion and purpose that she had in the final two years of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  “I’ve accomplished so much recently,” she told me.  “If I had only known, I would have started sooner.”

Her words have been a pulsing wake-up call to me ever since.  And today, I hope they help change your perspective too.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are: “It might have been.”

So with a New Year upon you, realize that you have a priceless opportunity!  Forget the past year.  Forget your age and what could’ve or should’ve been.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations and no regrets.

Here are 15 great ideas to get you to December 31st, 2015 with a smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment in your heart…

  1. Be the leader of your own journey. – There are far too many capable people who don’t pursue their dreams and goals because they let their fears, or others, talk them out of it.  They give up before they even try and simply let life’s river flow them downstream.  Choose to be stronger than that.  Choose to swim upstream when you have to.  Choose to do the things in life that move you.  Let others lead small lives.  Let others argue over small things.  Let others cry over small wounds.  Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands.  But not YOU.
  2. Embrace uncertainty. – Sometimes what you don’t want is exactly what you need.  Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.  Some of the most incredible chapters in your life won’t have a title you feel comfortable with until much later. Keep reading →

December 28th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

20 Quick Reads that Will Change the Way You Live, Love and Work

20 Quick Reads that Will Change the Way You Live, Love and Work

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
―Oscar Wilde

Based on a recommendation from an old friend, who also happens to be a psychologist and a successful entrepreneur, I read John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward this past week.  It was an interesting self-improvement book all the way through, but the one section that really caught my attention was about a social experiment based on research by G.R. Stephenson.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center.  Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas.  One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as she reached out to grab a banana, she was sprayed with a torrent of cold water from a hose.  Squealing, she scampered back down the pole and abandoned her attempt to feed herself.  Each of the other three monkeys made similar attempts and each one was drenched with cold water.  After making several attempts, they all finally gave up.

The researchers then removed the water hose and one of the monkeys from the room and replaced her with a new monkey.  As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed her and pulled her down to the ground.  After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, she finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.

The researchers continued to replace the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in the others would drag her down before she could reach the bananas.  In a short time, the room was filled with four monkeys who had never received a cold hosing.  None of them would climb the pole or allow other monkeys to climb the pole, and not one of them knew why.”

Now, if it were possible to ask those monkeys why they wouldn’t climb the pole, or allow any other monkey to climb the pole, I bet they would say something like, “I don’t know.  That’s just how things are done around here.”

Does that sound at all familiar to you?  Do you ever catch yourself thinking about the difficult endeavors in life that you’re too scared to try, not because each task is impossible, but because you’ve never mindfully evaluated if there was a smarter way of achieving them?  How has social conditioning, old rumored problems, or just your own negative thinking about what is and isn’t possible for you held you back?

No doubt, one of the greatest challenges in life is being your best in a world that’s trying to keep you in line with everyone else.  And sometimes it really is our own thoughts that hold us back more than anything.

So with this in mind, it’s time to read or re-read our twenty most popular posts (based on the number of reader views, shares and comments) from this past year.  If you give them a chance, each one of these posts has the power to help free your mind and get you back on track to living at your maximum potential.

  1. 20 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough – Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.  Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or time-frame, we assume we’re just “not good enough.”  But that’s simply not true. Keep reading →