June 15th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.

When you add up nearly a decade worth of online conversations with our community of readers, the live events we’ve hosted in support of our book, and thousands of one-on-one coaching sessions with clients, Marc and I have a lot of experience when it comes to helping people find and resolve the pain points that have been holding them back.  But I am still frequently surprised by the interesting ways people frame questions about their challenges.

Last night a reader named Karla sent me an email that caught my attention, simply because the subject of her email was: “Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do” (An interesting title for an article, I thought.)

Part of Karla’s email read:  “I love your book.  It has helped me get through some seriously tough times.  But even though I’ve made progress, I often struggle with emotional weakness.  I persistently resist what I know I need to do for myself.  So I was wondering, what do emotionally strong people NOT do?  The reason I ask is that I’ve spent a lot of time implementing positive habits in my life, but I haven’t really focused on removing any (parallel) bad habits.”

There are a million ways to answer this question (especially as it relates to Karla’s unique life situation), but since emotional weakness is something all of us struggle with at times, I figured I’d take a stab at answering Karla’s question in a general sense, for all of us.

Here are some things emotionally strong people don’t do:

  1. They don’t let negativity and drama get the best of them. – Your brain is a radio transmitter.  It broadcasts thoughts, directions and vibrations into your life – you get to choose the station it’s tuned to.  Emotionally strong people understand this and tune out negativity to make room for positivity.  Be wise enough to follow in their footsteps.  Walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
  2. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. – Emotionally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them.  Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life, work on changing what can be changed, and keep in mind that life isn’t always easy or fair.  In the end, happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them.  So look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left. Keep reading →

June 11th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

You have to do hard things to be happy in life.  The things no one else is doing.  The things that frighten you.  The things others can’t do for you.  The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward.

Why?

Because those are the things that define you.  Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.

Of course, the hard things are often the easiest things to avoid.  To procrastinate.  To make excuses.  To pretend like they somehow don’t apply to you and your life situation.

But reality always rears its head in the end.  And the truth about how ordinary people achieve immense happiness and incredible feats of success is that they step out of their comfort zones and do the hard things that their more educated, affluent and qualified counterparts don’t have the courage, drive or determination to do.

So for your own sake, start doing the hard things TODAY.  I guarantee, you will be blown away at just how remarkable you really are and just how amazing life can be.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. You need to take small chances every day. – It’s the best way to face any problem, crush every fear and overcome life’s greatest challenges.  And you get just about as many chances in life as you’re willing to take.  So never let your fear decide your future.  Take small chances every day, one step at a time.  Some will work out and some won’t.  But good choices or bad, if you never take these chances, someone else will build your life for you.  And you don’t want that.
  2. You need to worry less about what other people think of you. – A beautiful life is about spending your time passionately, being happy with who you are inside, and not worrying about everyone’s petty judgments.  If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for everyone’s approval.  You don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart. Keep reading →

June 8th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to keep things in perspective and deal with them.

We all have days, weeks, months and – for some – even years of feeling anxious and uncertain.  It’s a vague feeling you can’t quite put your finger on.  From the outside, people think you have it all together, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head.  Emptiness fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day.  You set goals but they never satisfy your ego.  You always feel a day late and a buck short.  The search can seem almost endless.

And a question continues to spin in your mind:  “Why can’t I just be happy?”

The good news is you don’t have to live like this.  There is a better way to view the world that will lead to what you seek.  The first step, though, is to stop searching.  You will never find happiness by continually looking for it in another time and place.  When you focus on the lack of something in your life, what you want will always elude you.

Angel and I often tell our coaching clients they’re doing so much better than they give themselves credit for.  Most of us are so busy trying to make something big happen, we forget to pause and appreciate all our little victories.

Rather than dwelling on what’s missing in your life, start looking at what you have.  This isn’t just about material possessions; it’s about all the goodness in your life.  When you focus on the abundance you already have, the negative feelings that come from lacking something else gradually fade from your conscious.  Living isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be enjoyable when you start to see the good instead of focusing on the bad.

Having trouble seeing the goodness?  Here’s a list of things you have to smile about – some obvious signs you’re doing just fine in life:

  1. You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful.  All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
  2. You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.  You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree. Keep reading →

June 4th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
―Elvis Presley

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak or wrong in any way.  Sometimes it simply means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move forward with your life.

And that’s precisely what we discuss in today’s video blog…

Video Blog Post:

Give Up to Move Forward (video transcript):

1.  First and foremost, give up the excuses you keep reciting to yourself.

Because all the excuses and explanations in the world won’t do you any good.  They won’t add any value to your life or improve the quality of it by even the slightest margin.  To fulfill your calling and get where you wish to go in life requires more than just thinking and talking.  These feats require focused and sustained action.  And the good news is, you’re perfectly capable of taking whatever action is necessary.  You just have to choose to actually do it.

No one else can succeed for you on your behalf.  The life you live is the life you build for yourself.  There are so many possibilities to choose from, and so many opportunities for you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.  Now is the moment to actually step forward.

Sooner or later, one way or the other, you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have.  When you let go of the past, forgive what needs forgiving, and move forward, you in no way change the past, you change the future. Keep reading →

June 1st, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

10 Forgotten Truths to Help You Get Through Hard Times

10 Truths to Help You Get Through Hard Times

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair.  These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom.  People like this aren’t born; they develop slowly over the course of time.

Angel and I have worked with thousands of these incredible people over the past decade, both online and offline, through various forms of coaching.  In many cases they came to us feeling stuck and lost, unaware of their own brilliance, blind to the fact that their struggles have strengthened them and given them an upper hand in this crazy world.

Truth be told, when hard times hit, and the challenges you face are great, you can either let your situation define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you.  The choice is yours to make.

In today’s article I want to remind you of a few powerful, yet easily forgotten truths that will help you choose wisely and grow stronger even through the hardest times…

1.  Pain is part of life and love, and it helps you grow.

So many of us are afraid of ourselves, of our own truth, and our feelings most of all.  We talk about how great the concepts of life and love are, but then we hide from both every day.  We hide from our truest feelings.  Because the truth is life and love hurt sometimes, and the feelings this brings disturbs us.

We are taught at an early age that all pain is evil and harmful.  Yet, how can we Keep reading →

May 28th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

30 Lessons to Excel in Life in Your 30s and Beyond

30 Lessons to Excel in Life in Your 30s and Beyond

“The trouble is if you don’t spend your life yourself,
other people spend it for you.”
―Peter Shaffer

Every summer, like clockwork, after high school and college graduation ceremonies send new graduates trotting off into the real world, Angel and I receive a few hundred emails from eager late teen and early 20-something subscribers (subscribe here) that basically ask the same fundamental question:

“What do you suggest I learn or work on now that I’m out of school and on my own?”

Obviously, a comprehensive list of important lessons and life skills could be infinite.  And over the years Angel and I have written several articles like “18 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18” and “25 Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old Self” geared to give the 18 to 22 crowd something positive to think about.  But every time we write an article like these for the youngsters, we inevitably receive a few hundred more emails that say something like, “I loved the article, but what about an article for my age bracket?”

So today, for graduates, 30-somethings, and beyond, here’s a list of general lessons and life skills Angel and I work on every single day – a list worth growing into and working on for the rest of your adult life:

  1. You have to stand beside yourself, 100%, every day. – Self-respect, self-worth and self-love.  There’s a reason they all start with “self.”  You can’t receive them from anyone else.  You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, ATTRACTIVE enough, and STRONG enough.  Believe it!  Own it!  And never let insecurity and negativity run your life.  There will always be someone who tells you that you can’t do something.  Your mission is to smile and prove them wrong.  One smile at a time.
  2. Nothing great ever comes from a comfort zone.  Period. – If you want to stunt your growth and feel stuck in the same place forever, keep making excuses.  If, on the other hand, you want to stop feeling trapped, you have to start doing things that make you uncomfortable – things you aren’t very good at.  There is no excuse for remaining stuck.  There is no excuse for doing the same exact mundane things over and over again.  Life is too short.  Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.  What a disgrace it would be for you to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of your full potential. Keep reading →

May 25th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things You Need to Say Before it’s Too Late

10 Things You Need to Say Before it's Too Late

Be brave.  Say what you need to say.  When you don’t speak up, there’s a lot of important stuff that ends up not getting said.

About a decade ago a coworker of mine died in a car accident on the way home from work.  During his funeral several people from the office were in tears, saying kind things like, “I loved him.  We all loved him so much.  He was such a wonderful person.”  Of course, I started crying too.  But I couldn’t help but wonder if these people had told him that they loved him while he was alive, or whether it was only with death that this powerful word, “love,” had been used without question or hesitation.

I vowed to myself then and there that I would never again hesitate to speak up to the people I care about and remind them of how much I appreciate them.  They deserve to know they give meaning to my life.  They deserve to know I think the world of them.

But this wake-up call taught me something even bigger than that.  Not only did it teach me to speak up to others, it taught me to speak up to myself too, about my attitude, my self-respect, my dreams, and so forth.  Because the harsh truth is, we never know.  We never know when everything will change.  When great opportunities will pass.  When everything we take for granted will be taken away.  We don’t know when later will be too late.

Don’t let this reality depress you; let it motivate you.  Let it push you to say what you’ve been meaning to say all along, to others and to yourself…

  1. “I love you.” – Love rarely ever knows it’s own depth until it’s taken away.  So don’t wait around.  If you appreciate someone today, tell them.  If you love someone today, show them.  Hearts are often confused and broken by thoughtful words left unspoken, and loving deeds left undone.  There might not be a tomorrow.  Today is the day to express your love and admiration.
  2. “Thank you.” – For my 17th birthday, many moons ago, my grandfather on my mom’s side gave me four used flannel shirts he no longer needed.  The shirts were barely worn and in flawless condition, and my grandfather told me he thought they would look great on me.  Sadly, I thought they were an odd gift at the time and I wasn’t thankful.  I looked at him skeptically, gave him a crooked half-smile, and moved on to the other gifts sitting in front of me.  My grandfather died two days later from a sudden heart attack.  The flannel shirts were the last gifts he ever gave me.  I regret the small thing I didn’t say when I had the chance: “Thank you Grandpa.  That’s so thoughtful of you.” Keep reading →

May 21st, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

6 Questions that Will Save Your Relationships

6 Questions that Will Save Your Relationships

When you don’t ask sincere questions and talk it out, there’s a lot of important stuff that ends up never getting said.

Video Blog Post:

6 Questions (video transcript):

“Hey, what’s going on?” Marc asked.

“Not much,” I said.  “And how was your day?”

“It was OK,” Marc said…

And just like that our conversation would be over.  For the longest time, this is exactly how Marc and I initiated conversations with each other at the end of long workdays.

Sure, we greeted each other and asked a couple questions, but they weren’t the right questions.  They were meaningless inquires that were stale and thoughtless.  And, not surprisingly, our conversations went nowhere.  Which, in time, ended up hurting our relationship.

Thankfully, before it was too late, we learned to communicate more effectively.  We learned that if we really wanted to deepen our relationship – if we really cared to know what’s going on in each other’s heads and hearts – we needed to ask better questions, and then really listen to each other’s answers.

Specifically, we learned that we needed to ask questions that carry this fundamental message:  “I’m not just checking the box here.  I’m asking you because I really care how you feel and what you have to say.  I really want to know YOU.”

So today, we want to help you ask questions that will save your relationships Keep reading →

May 18th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

9 Things Happy Couples Never Think

9 Things Happy Couples Never Think

“There cannot be a relationship unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is understanding, patience, and persistence.”
―Cornel West

It’s easy to make a relationship more difficult than it really is.  Angel and I work with coaching clients every day who do just that.  But we don’t try to change their relationships, instead we help them change the way they think about their relationships.  And that’s precisely what I want to touch on in today’s post.

If you feel like your relationship is sinking, it’s a perfect time to get rid of some thoughts that may be weighing it down.

Here are nine such thoughts to stop thinking, for your relationship’s sake:

1.  “My relationship with him/her will solve all MY problems.”

The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.  If you’re not comfortable enough with your own inner truth when entering a relationship, then you’re not ready for that relationship.  Because you are incapable of loving another unless you love yourself, just as you are incapable of teaching someone else something unless you yourself understand it.

Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of someone else loving you.

2.  “We should be the center of each other’s universe.”

A good relationship happens when two people accept each other’s past, support each other’s present, and encourage each other’s future, without trying to micromanage any of part it.  So don’t rush relationships, especially those that feel overbearing.  Find a partner, and friends for that matter, who encourage you to grow, who won’t cling to you, who will let you go out into the world, and trust that you will come back.  And always pay them the same courtesy.  This is what Keep reading →

May 14th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Tiny Thoughts Crushing Your Biggest Dreams

20 Tiny Thoughts Crushing Your Biggest Dreams

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.

The mind is your battleground.  It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides.  It’s where half of the things you thought were going to happen, never did happen.  But if you allow those thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your life.  You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into depression, and into defeat.  I know because I’ve been there.

What can be done?  To start, say this to yourself every morning when you first wake up:

“I’m letting go of all the negative feelings, fears and thoughts from yesterday.  I have no room for them!  I will focus only on positive thoughts and resolutions today.”

And then practice what you preach.  It will gradually make a difference in your life, guaranteed.

Because truthfully, there is so much about your fate that you can’t control, it makes no sense to neglect all the things you CAN control.  You can decide how you spend your time, whom you socialize with, whom you share your life, money and energy with.  You can pick your words and the tone of voice in which you speak to others.  You can select what you will eat, read and study every day.  You can choose how you’re going to respond to unfortunate situations when they arise, and whether you will see them as curses or opportunities for growth…

And most importantly, you can choose your thoughts, which dictate pretty much everything else.

Train your mind to see the good in everything.  Positivity is a choice.  The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

In other words, you are what you think.  You can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.

Here are twenty thoughts it’s time to change:

  1. “My dreams and goals can wait.” – Live a life you are proud of.  In the end, your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things that don’t matter to you.  We never tell ourselves that we will never live our dreams.  Instead we just keep talking about how we will start living our dreams tomorrow.
  2. “I don’t have time.” – Bottom line: “I don’t have time,” is really just another, perhaps politer, or perhaps naive, way of saying, “It’s not that important to me.” Keep reading →