May 11th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Rituals Happy, Successful People Practice Every Day

12 Rituals Happy, Successful People Practice Every Day

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
―Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every day Angel and I work with coaching clients who say all the right things and then do the exact opposite.  They hope to experience growth, but they resist change.  They want less stress, yet they indulge in drama.  They long for better relationships, and then they refuse to trust anyone.

In other words, what they say they want and what they do with their time are hopelessly disconnected.  And the two will never meet without intervention.

It’s important to note, though, that I get it.  I understand where they’re coming from.  I used to make the same mistakes.  Change is hard to deal with.  Needless drama can be addictive.  Relationships take a lot of work.  I’m sure you can relate.

In a nutshell, when it comes to working hard to achieve a substantial life goal of any kind – earning a degree, building a business, fostering a relationship, raising a family, becoming more mindful, or any other personal achievement that takes time and commitment – one thing you have to ask yourself is:

“Am I willing to spend a little time every day like many people won’t, so I can spend the better part of my life like many people can’t?”

Think about it.  We ultimately become what we repeatedly do.  The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing – growing happens when what you know changes how you live.

And isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?  That’s the power of daily rituals.

Here are twelve daily rituals for long-term happiness and success:

1.  Exercise your integrity.

Living with integrity means:  Not settling for less than what you are capable of.  Communicating clearly and asking for what you want and need from people.  Speaking your truth, even when others judge you for it.  Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your morals and values.  Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.  And, of course, always doing the right thing, even when it’s hard, and even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Keep reading →

May 7th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

6 Strong Signs it’s Time to Let Go

6 Strong Signs it’s Time to Let Go

You will never achieve what you are capable of if you are
too attached to the things you’re supposed to let go of.

Many people believe holding on and hanging in there, infinitely, are signs of incredible strength.  But there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go, and then to actually do it.

In today’s video blog post we’re going to take a look at some signs it might be time to let go.

Video Blog Post:

Signs it’s Time to Let Go (video transcript):

1.  Someone constantly expects you to be someone you’re not.

A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences.  So be cordial, but don’t completely change who you are for someone else simply because it’s what THEY want, or because it’s what THEY think is best for you.

If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back.  It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by pretending to be someone else.  It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where somebody else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be. Keep reading →

May 4th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Questions that Will Free Your Mind from Negativity

20 Questions that Will Free Your Mind from Negativity

In the long run, the simple questions you ask yourself on a regular basis will determine the type of person you become.

“Today, I miss who I was.  I miss the girl who had something to be proud of.  I miss the girl who was genuinely happy in her own skin.  I miss the girl who was innocent and free and thought for herself.  I miss the girl who would look in the mirror and not see every flaw.  I miss the girl who didn’t let the negative words of others bother her.  I’ve transformed myself to make everyone else like me.  But now I don’t like me.  I really miss who I was.”

That’s the opening paragraph to a long, heartfelt email I received last night from a reader named Lori.  Her email goes on to, inadvertently, describe nearly a dozen self-defeating questions she asks herself on a regular basis – questions I know for a fact she doesn’t even mean to be asking.

Negativity often breeds not from the answers we receive from this world, but from the questions we ask ourselves every day.  Like Lori, if you ask negative questions, you will get negative answers.  There are no positive answers to:

  • “Why me?”
  • “Why didn’t I?”
  • “What if I’m not good enough?”
  • etc.

Think about it.  Would you allow someone else to ask you the demoralizing questions you sometimes ask yourself?  I doubt it.  So stop and swap them for questions that push you in a positive direction.  Here are some ideas to get you started…

  1. What could you be grateful for and positive 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.
  2. What’s one problem you’re thankful you don’t have? – Smile right now; not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have, and all the problems you know you don’t have. Keep reading →

April 30th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

18 Reasons to Give Up Trying to Live Up to Everyone’s Expectations

18 Reasons to Give Up Trying to Live Up to Everyone’s Expectations

Your needs matter too.  Don’t ignore them.  Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.

A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people who are perhaps incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing “what’s expected of you,” is a sure road to a regretful existence.  Angel and I were on this road once, but I’m happy to say we’re paving our own path now based on our own needs, morals and values.  And today I hope to inspire you to do the same…

Do more than just exist.  We all exist.  The question is: Do you live?

Angel and I eventually realized existing without ever truly living was not what we wanted for ourselves.  So we made changes – we gradually embraced all the points discussed in this article and never looked back.  If you are in the same place we once were – seeking approval from everyone for every little thing you do – please take this post to heart and start making changes today.  Life is too short not to.

  1. First and foremost, you are not obligated to live up to everyone’s expectations. – Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.  And you are under no obligation to give others what they expect.  Period.  Do things because you care.  Do things because you know it’s right.  Don’t just do things because everyone else expects you to.
  2. Expectations just get in the way of great life experiences. – Don’t let expectations (especially other people’s expectations) get in your way.  Truth be told, the unexpected is often better than the expected.  Our entire lives can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK. Keep reading →

April 27th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

9 Things You Should NOT Have to Give Up to Be Happy

9 Things You Should Never Have to Give Up to Be Happy

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
―Honoré de Balzac

“This morning my best friend, Karl, confided in me that he’s having trouble playing a depressed character in our school’s end of the semester play.  ‘Call me one of the lucky ones,’ he said.  ‘But I just have no emotional tie to the role, and I know it’s hurting the quality of the character I’m trying to portray.’  The kicker, Karl is one of the kids, just like me, who constantly gets picked on by the popular jocks at our school.  We’re always being called names, but Karl never lets it bother him.  He loves who he is, and he’s happy.”

Those are the opening lines to an email I received this morning from a reader named Darin.  The remainder of Darin’s email discusses his personal struggle with finding happiness.  “I feel like I’ve given up too much in the pursuit of happiness,” he says.  “And it’s only recently that Karl has helped me come to grips with the fact that there are some things I should NOT have to give up to be happy – like giving up my time and energy worrying about the hollow words of teenage bullies.”

Darrin’s words hit home with me, not only because I once let a high school bully get the best of me, but because I know all of us, in all walks of life, have taken a wrong turn in the pursuit of happiness a time or two.  And all of us could use a bit more of Karl’s innate self-confidence and poise.

So my hope is that this post helps serve as a reminder:  Although sacrifices must be made, you should not have to give up…

1.  Your God-given truth.

There will always be people who refuse to respect you – the way you look, the way you talk, the things you say, the styles you enjoy, your beliefs, your interests, your loves, etc.  In other words, they won’t support you in being true to yourself.  The good news is, it’s up to you if you want to let them mess with your character, or if you would rather stand up for yourself and accept yourself just the way you are.  I beg you to choose the latter. Keep reading →

April 23rd, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

6 Easy-to-Steal Rituals of Extremely Successful People

6 Easy-to-Steal Rituals of Extremely Successful People

We ultimately become what we repeatedly do.

Over the years Marc and I have studied the lives of numerous successful people.  We’ve read their books, watched their interviews, interviewed them ourselves, worked with them, and researched them extensively.  We’ve truly learned a lot from their stories.  But above all, we’ve learned that most of these people were not born into success.  They simply did, and continue to do, things that help them realize their full potential.  In other words, they follow a set of prolific rituals.

In today’s video blog post we’re going to take a look at six rituals you can steal from them and immediately implement in your own life.

Video Blog Post:

6 Easy-to-Steal Rituals (video transcript):

1.  Do the work… practice, practice, practice your craft!

Sure you can be good with a little effort.  You can be really good with a little more effort.  But you can’t be great, at anything, unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort for a set amount of time every day.  It’s as simple as that.  Scratch the surface of any successful person with incredible skills and you’ll find someone who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.  There are no shortcuts in life.  There are no overnight successes.  Almost everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle, which states that it Keep reading →

April 20th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

40 Little Ways to Find Happiness in What You Already Have

40 Little Ways to Find Happiness in What You Already Have

Happiness is an attitude we act upon.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happier and stronger.  The amount of work is the same.

“My body sometimes feels sore, but it works.  I don’t sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to experience another day.  My wallet is not full, but my stomach is.  I don’t have all the things I’ve ever wanted, but I do have everything I need.  I’m thankful, because although my life is by no means perfect, it is MY life and I choose to be thankful in it, as I continue to do the best I can.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 7/20/1977.  It’s one of a few entries I photocopied a decade ago, and still have hanging on my bulletin board today.  And it continues to remind me that happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are.  It’s not about making massive breakthroughs every minute… sometimes it’s simply about being, appreciating, and making small tweaks.  And you can almost always enjoy the things you have and make the best of the events happening around you if you decide firmly that you will.

No, life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.  You just have to…

  1. Embrace your humanness. – Do not endlessly search of sanctity, sacredness, and purity – these things are found after this life, not in it.  But in this life you can search to be human – to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to dance, to get lost, to be found, to love and to lust… to be so unapologetically and beautifully human in every imaginable way.
  2. Realize your greatness. – Contrary to what others may say, you do not need to rise to the top, or be the cream of the crop, before you can feel great about yourself.  For you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues.  You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace. Keep reading →

April 16th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself

25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself

Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life,
not what’s best for everyone else.

When I was 16 years old and too young to fully grasp the sensitivity of the situation, I interviewed my grandmother’s friend, JoAnn, who was terminally ill, for a school project entitled “The Speed of Life.”  About five minutes into the interview I began questioning JoAnn about her illness and her life situation.

“So,” I tried to delicately ask, “What is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?”

“Well,” she replied, “What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?”

Whoa!  In an instant, JoAnn’s response opened my young eyes to one of life’s greatest truths:  Today is the oldest each of us has ever been and the youngest we will ever be again.

In other words, life is short and the clock is ticking.  It’s kind of scary, but it’s true.  If there was ever a perfect day to stand strong beside your values, your ambitions, and what’s best for you, that day is today.

So today I challenge you to…

  1. Never stop stretching and improving yourself. – Always dream and shoot higher than you think is possible.  Do not bother trying to be better than your peers or predecessors.  Try to be better than you ever knew YOU could be.
  2. Never stop listening to your own inner voice. – The unhappiest folks are those who care the most about what everyone else thinks – those who let everyone else drown out their own inner voice.  So stand strong beside yourself.  There’s great freedom in leaving others to their opinions. Keep reading →

April 13th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Things to Stop Letting People Do to You

20 Things to Stop Letting People Do to You

Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.

This past Sunday, while we were enjoying an afternoon barbeque at our friend Sara’s house, her 16-year-old foster child, Cody, received a visit from his biological mother – a woman who has been in and out of prison and rehab her whole life. Although Sara was a bit reluctant about it, she let them talk in the family room alone, and we eavesdropped from the kitchen just to make sure everything was okay.

Cody’s mother was extremely rough around the edges and almost immediately started bringing up hurtful memories from the past, and then told him, “I wish I could go back in time and raise you again, to change who you are and give you a better upbringing.”  Just as Sara was about to walk into the room to interject, Cody calmly replied, “I’m perfectly fine, thank you.  I’m proud of who I am.  Maybe you should go farther back in time and change who you are instead.”  And then he walked her to the front door and politely asked her to leave.

Cody’s response impressed me on so many levels.  It takes a lot of courage, especially at 16 years of age, with a rough upbringing, to tactfully stand up for yourself.  And he handled himself with grace.

So whenever you’re dealing with a difficult or hostile person, remember how Cody handled himself.  Take a stand.  This is your life.  You may not be able to control all the things people do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.  You can decide not to let their actions and opinions invade your heart and mind.  And above all, you can decide whom to walk beside into tomorrow, and whom to leave behind today.

It’s time to…

  1. Stop letting people drag you into needless arguments. – Never waste your time trying to explain yourself to people who have proven that they are committed to misunderstanding you.  And don’t define your intelligence or self-worth by the number of arguments you have won, but by the number of times you have said, “This needless nonsense is not worth my time!” Keep reading →

April 9th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

4 Good Reminders When You’ve Had a Bad Day

4 Good Reminders When You’ve Had a Bad Day

I have learned that life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to push forward even when times are tough.

Sometimes I catch myself staring at the people around me – studying their gestures and expressions.  I wonder, “What’s their story?  What are they searching for?  What makes their heart beat with happiness, with sorrow, with fear, and with longing?”  And then I ask myself, “What thoughts might Marc and I post on this blog to inspire them, and to remind them that, even on the toughest days, our hearts all beat for these same things?”

Today, in our latest video blog, we want to share some of these thoughts with you.  Because when life gets stressful, we often forget the things we should remember, and remember the things we should forget.  So here are some good reminders for those bad days when you need a little extra motivation:

Video Blog Post:

4 Good Reminders (video transcript):

1.  YOU are okay.  You are just a little stronger now.

Having a bad day?  It’s okay.  YOU are okay.  But now you’re a little stronger than you were yesterday.

Put your hand on your heart.  Feel that?  That’s called ‘a purpose.  You’re here today for a reason.  Don’t give up and don’t give in.  And above all, don’t let one or two dark clouds cover the entire sky.  The sun is always shining on some part of your life.  Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward. Keep reading →