Radiance Factor on VividLife Radio debuted with Anita Moorjani

Recently-Updated2It was an amazing first week for my new radio show The Radiance Factor on VividLife Radio. I can’t thank you all enough for listening, your wonderful feedback, and of course the show’s producer Shayne Travis and my guest Anita Moorjani for sharing their inspirational gifts.

I was very excited about debuting the show with Anita as she exemplifies the message of awakening to our true beauty and sharing it with the world that I hope to make the theme of every show. After battling cancer for 4 years Anita was near the end of her fight; her body was covered in tumors, lungs filled with fluid, in a wheelchair and only able to breathe with the help of an oxygen tank she slipped in to a coma.

At that time Anita was given hours to live by doctors and in the midst of this experience, she was given a level of clarity and peace that told her you will you not die, you will LIVE…you will LOVE yourself…and teach others the power of this amazing gift. She was felt connected to herself and everyone else on a deeper level of pure love that she ever felt imaginable. Anita was reconnected with friends and relatives who had gone on given lessons beyond forgiveness to a level of unconditional acceptance and inspired to return to share these blessings with others.

Upon waking from this coma she healed herself from her Stage 4 cancer and documented her experiences and lessons in her NY Times bestseller “Dying to be me…” which has also been featured on Wayne Dyer’s PBS special “Wishes Fulfilled”, Fox and Friends, CNN, and more.

While we talked about her experiences that surrounded her awakening it was the many takeaways from her life before and after that I want to be sure to share with you:

  • The first lesson Anita shared was that she felt much was that so much of our sickness self-imposed pressure that we place upon ourselves. The pressure to conform to societies, customs, and the beliefs of others that are not in alignment with ourselves, manifests inside of us to make us physically and mentally ill. On the “other side” love was unconditional, it transcended race, beliefs, gender, and the message to gain was that in order to enjoy this life we should work to move beyond these pressures.
  • Along with that came the powerful lesson is self-acceptance. Throughout her life she was bullied, discriminated against, and in turn, joined in the fight with others by beating herself up. Like many of us, she was steeped in self-doubt and buried in question that left her thinking; Why am I so harsh on myself?  Suppressing my creativity to please others?  Seeking approval?  Tough on myself? Before you can see the beauty in life or others you have to start by seeing the beauty in you! The beholder right?
  • Next was her awareness to the power of acceptance which came from a feeling of reconnection to her father with whom she had a difficult relationship and who had died 10 years earlier. This experience provided insights into both our relationships on Earth and to those spirits who have gone on that forgiveness is not enough. To forgive someone still acknowledges the wrong between you, unconditional acceptance however gives power to the connection between people that releases each of you to love freely.

The most meaningful lesson Anita says she learned from being at death’s door is that unless we love ourselves, nothing else in our lives can function at their best. The amount of depth, meaning, and joy we experience in my life is in direct proportion to how much love we have for ourselves. The amount of love, kindness, patience we have for others is also directly proportional to how much love, patience and kindness we have for ourselves, because we cannot give others what we ourselves do not have. And, unsurprisingly, the amount of love, respect, support, and compassion I receive from others is also in direct proportion to how much of the same I have for myself.

Her life is much more joyful and meaningful now, and she says she has much more love to share with others than ever before, which she does unconditionally.. But most important, she now understands that if we do not express our authenticity, the Universe will be deprived of who we came here to be.

Be you, as you were meant to be.

You can listen to the actual radio broadcast with Anita Moorjani here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vividliferadio/2013/09/10/anita-moorjani-dying-to-be-me

And then…I flipped off the Father of Motivation

By Nancy Levin

goldstarsticker2It was 2am on November 17, 2007…and I was determined.

I was producing two events with Wayne Dyer back-to-back over the course of a weekend. He spoke in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, and then the whole crew of us flew to Detroit where he was to speak again on Sunday afternoon. By 10pm, we were all settled into our hotel rooms in Detroit. Then my phone rang. It was Wayne, and he was in a panic. It was his briefcase, he told me. He couldn’t find it, and he was sure he’d left it somewhere en route from Atlanta. Everything was in that briefcase, he told me. Notes and books for his lecture, notes for the next book he was writing, money, and more. He couldn’t even think about getting on stage the next day without it.

At that point in my life, I was still chasing all the gold stars. Still seeking all my validation externally, which I received primarily through my work as the Event Director at Hay House, which is where I received the most love and accolades. I aimed for perfection, and generally achieved it. This situation was no different.

I was going to figure out where that briefcase was if it killed me.

I thought back. Wayne only used his briefcase at the actual events. We’d literally left the stage in Atlanta and gotten into a van en route to the airport, so he’d had his briefcase then. I had a hunch it was still in that vehicle. I called the car company and was told that the van wouldn’t be back to the lot for another hour.

No problem, I told them. I’d wait and call back.

I called an hour later the van was back, but the news wasn’t good. The dispatcher told me he’d checked and the briefcase wasn’t there. I begged him to go back out and look again. It was dark out, I figured; maybe he’d just missed it. I sat on hold, praying it was hiding under a seat. Lo and behold, I was right! The dispatcher came back and told me he had the briefcase in hand.

It was now close to midnight. Wayne called me again, and I told him I’d located the briefcase and was working on getting it to Detroit. I told him he should go to bed and not worry. He was relieved and appreciative, but still anxious—he didn’t know how he was going to get on stage without his notes and books.

I asked the car company if they would put an employee on a plane first thing in the morning to deliver the briefcase. No suck luck; traveling with someone else’s bag had become illegal after 9/11. I called FedEx, UPS, DHL and every other carrier I could find in the phone book, but it was a weekend everyone was off the clock. I called airlines to ask about freight and cargo shipments; once again it was a no-go because it was Saturday night. I called my travel agent, Andrea, who was on California time. But even putting our heads together we couldn’t come up with a solution to get the briefcase from Atlanta to Detroit by 2pm when Wayne was supposed to walk on stage.

I had a reputation for achieving the impossible. I had set my own bar so high that even though it was the wee hours of the morning and I could see no resolution, failure was still not an option.

I had left messages for some seemingly back-alley messenger services, and tried to watch TV until they called back. But at a certain point I just couldn’t sit there doing nothing any longer. At 4am I got dressed, walked downstairs, and asked the bellman to get me a taxi.

In the back seat, on my laptop, I bought a round round-trip ticket to Atlanta. I sent emails to my staff with instructions for setting up at the venue and getting it all going with without me. We were expecting 2,000 people and I wouldn’t get there until about 30 minutes before showtime, but I couldn’t care.

Based on my experiences that day, I do believe that Detroit and Atlanta are the biggest airports in the whole world. I had to go through security, get to my departure gate in Detroit, fly, go out to Baggage Claim in Atlanta where a guy from the car company was waiting for me, retrieve the briefcase, go back through security—where they questioned and groped me because I had only just arrived in Atlanta minutes before and was only traveling with a briefcase—get to my departure gate, fly again, get out of the Detroit airport, get into a taxi and get to the event venue.

Sitting in my seat, on the runway on my way back to Detroit, I called Wayne.

“Hi. I’ve got your briefcase.”

“Where are you?”

“That’s not important.”

“You’re not in Detroit, are you?”

“You’ll have your briefcase before you go on stage.”

“Nancy, did you do something crazy?’

“Wayne, just go to your Bikram Yoga class and I’ll see you soon.”

We have a little ritual when I introduce Wayne on stage. The last thing I say is, “I know he needs no introduction, but please welcome to the stage one of my most favorite men in the world—Wayne Dyer.” He comes on, the crowd goes wild, he gives me a hug, and I whisper “Have fun!” in his ear. But that day he held onto me so I couldn’t walk offstage. He turned and told the audience the whole story. How I had gone above and beyond the call of duty, stayed up all night, flown to Atlanta and back to retrieve the briefcase he left there. He explained that there was nothing I wouldn’t do, at any cost, to make whatever needed to happen happen. He even shared what had happened a few minutes earlier, when I had returned the briefcase to him.

I had gotten to the venue just a few minutes before Wayne’s car pulled up. As he stepped out of the car, with throngs of fans surrounding us, I smiled and extended my arm with briefcase in hand. Jokingly, he put up his hand as if to dismiss the offer. “Oh, I don’t need that!” he said.

And then, without missing a beat, in front of all those people, I flipped off the father of motivation.

And now, 6 years later, I have reconciled with resolving internally what I had been seeking externally. I am beginning to believe that I am loved for who I am, not for what I do. And I have finally stopped chasing all the gold stars since I know that no amount will ever be enough. While, most importantly during this process, I have discovered that I am.

I’d love to hear from you…please share your story of chasing gold stars and/or knowing that you are enough!

xoxo
Nancy

The Best Foundation for Your Beauty

Image

By Michelle Phillips

One of the most common beauty questions women find themselves asking is, “What is the best foundation?” This seemingly shallow but daunting question is the subject of countless articles, TV segments, and conversations, in which we are totally engrossed. And as much as generations may have searched the world over for a miraculous product to give them the “perfect” look, let the search be over.  The perfect foundation for your true beauty doesn’t get applied to you on the outside, it lies within you and radiates out!

So at this point you may have a new question, rather than “What is the best foundation”, you may be wondering “How do I develop mine?” The start of that answer is remarkably similar to how we select the best makeup.  Have ever looked in the mirror while trying a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow and it made you smile? By looking in that same mirror for the natural beauty that is you, and simply smiling, you are creating a layer of foundation. You are putting on a foundation of self-love that could never be found at a makeup counter.

Look again. Do you see the beautiful color of your eyes? The depth of your soul behind them? Take a moment to make a mental note of all the beauty that you see in just those eyes. Now go a step farther by actually writing it down. Are there wrinkles around your eyes from years of smiling, sun, laughter, and tears? Continue through the features you love on your face and move on to your body. If you are having trouble finding the glory of you, remember how each of these amazing parts serve you on your journey.

When you are done collecting all of your beautiful external qualities the real foundation building can begin. Take a minute to think of twenty of your most gorgeous internal qualities. It can be your sense of humor, generosity, curiosity, adventure, caring, intelligence, or anything else you think makes you unique. This is a very important exercise because even more than your facial features or fingerprints, it is this combination of personal attributes that makes you a one-of-a-kind work of art. You are a stunning original that has never been done before and never will again in this exact form.

As you discover and build your “foundation” you will find that you radiate a new, deeper beauty that can’t compare to the mere external. You will begin to experience some of the very important differences between a cosmetic foundation and a deeper spiritual one.

First, is the strength of the foundation itself. While the makeup layer may be microscopically thin, the spiritual foundation spreads far and wide across every aspect of your life. In addition, at the end of any day, you can wipe away your makeup and the thin veneer of so-called beauty is gone. Meanwhile, your beautiful internal qualities continue shine bright.

Also, makeup styles may change with the times, your age, complexion, and for any occasion, but the enduring power of your passion and compassion, courage and character, never go out of style.

Once you have taken the time for this self-discovery you can start to build a life of authenticity on this foundation. It is with this strength of knowing who you truly are that will afford you a life based on what you think and feel, according to your values and purpose. This is a life of true beauty that can beyond any trend and that only gets better with age.

Michelle Phillips is a celebrity makeup artist and Life Coach, speaker, and author of the bestselling beauty and self-esteem book from Hay House, “The Beauty Blueprint: 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of Your Dreams”. http://www.michellephillips.com

A Recipe for Being Your Best Ever You

620516_15148005This recipe has been passed from generation to generation and is one of our world favorites.  You may not need all of the ingredients to make this recipe, so mix up some of the items on a daily basis and follow the instructions below.

 

 
Items Needed:
You
20 Cups of Laughter
15 Cups of Grace
10 Cups of Peace
10 Cups of Love
7 Cups of Elegance
5 Cups of Courage
3 Cups of Patience
1 1/2 Cups of Determination
1 1/2 Cups of Acceptance
1 Cup of Humility
1 Cup of Confidence
1 tsp. of wisdom
1 pinch of reality

Allergy Alert: This product was not manufactured in a facility with any fear, jealousy or doubt.

Step 1.  Stop thinking everyone else has it better  
You know it when you think it: “They drive a cleaner car, have more cash in the bank, have a bigger shoe collection, a better job, a book deal, a better body, a new baby,” or whatever else you may appear to see or think you see or assume is true of someone else’s life.  Everyone’s life around the world appears to be perfect with the exception of yours. There are days when you might catch yourself glancing at the marks on your walls thinking the house across the street is perfectly unscathed. But whose reality are you really seeing? Upon closer inspection, you will likely discover that no one’s life is perfect and for every cleanest, best waxed car ever there is a crumb somewhere else.  So it is important to focus on yourself and only yourself with respect to your own life and world and to evaluate ONLY how you are doing in this life of yours.   We keep the word perfect out of our vocabulary here at Best Ever You.  It says Best Ever You, not Perfect Ever You.

Step 2. Moments Matter
How are you using your precious time?  Are you living a life awake, aware and with purpose and intention or are you just moseying along? Are you in the present moment or are you in some future moment of worry or some past moment of regret or trying to reclaim a past glory moment.  Nothing is worse than missing a moment. Think of the parent on the ever so important phone call or sitting at the computer as their child is trying desperately in any way to grab a moment of their real presence and attention, but the parent just nods and barely acknowledges the child or worse gets angry at the child.  Think of the moments you wish you could steal back and replay with your parent or parents who have now passed. Think of the moments you wish you could bring back when your kids were younger.  Life is a priority.

3. Find Your Why
It takes a look within to learn and practice and be your Best Ever You. It is important to understand that it is a continuous process.  There is always a moment to be your best or help someone be their best. When we become engaged, consumed or perhaps overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities it is easy to let ourselves slip into the behaviors or habits that are less than our best. We live our daily lives facing a continuum between best and stressed. Our environment can become cluttered, we may not sleep as well, we may make choices that reduce our positive energy and generates more of a stress based response to our daily life. These are all clues that something needs to shift. If we took a minute to write out what our life looks and feels like when we are feeling our best we would find there are indicators that we can follow to monitor our well-being.

Stop and think.  What is your reason?  What is your why?   What inspires and motivates you?

4. Examine Your Positive Self
When you look in the mirror, what do you say?  When you are in a room are full of people, what are you thinking or how do you behave? Are you spewing venom on yourself and killing your self-esteem.  Quick. Find the antidote.  It’s the power of positive thinking.  Inject yourself with powerful positive language and live on.  Say positive thoughts and words like “I am beautiful.” “I am loved.” “I am capable.” “I accept myself.” and “I am worthy.”

5.  Create Your Best Life 
Each day, each hour, and each moment we have the opportunity to stop and to reassess how we are feeling and start over. Examine the areas of your life that you wish were different and begin each moment to be your best. Sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive our free Create Your Best Life Coaching tool. Visit this link to get started. http://www.besteveryou.com/get-started-create-your-best-life.htm This will help you identify those key areas that create stress versus joy.  What changes are you going to focus on? Here are some clues that some specific areas of your life need attention:
-Physical environment: Is it cluttered or neat and organized?
-Physical health: Are we eating, sleeping, and exercising?
-Emotional reactivity: Do we have the ability to calmly respond versus react? What is the status of relationships? What’s you fun factor?
-Spiritual energy: Is there something meaningful and purposeful in our lives? Are we inspired?
-Social: Are we engaging with others? Do we have a sense of community?

6.  Discover Your Values and Create a Value System for Yourself
This can be tricky as we age, as the values that we were raised with may not be the values we grow into.  Our lives and our value systems are dynamic and change. What values do you have that direct your big picture decisions? If someone gave you a limited life expectancy would you be able to say you are living today, the way you would want to for the remainder of your life? What would change? What do you want your children to understand as most important or what do you want people to remember most about you? These questions alert us to whether or not our values are aligned with our actions and lifestyle. If values aren’t aligned, asking ourselves what is true to who we are, can redirect us and bring new awareness to what we seek to change.

7. Practice Wellness
How well are you taking care of yourself? Are you treating yourself well? What is wellness to you? Do you feel fit? Are you satisfied with how you feel? Are you eating well?  Are you exercising?  Are you stepping into your closet and having a cringe-factor moment where nothing fits? Practice wellness.  It may be part of a new value system you implement for yourself.  Practicing overall wellness has more components that just your jeans fitting on any given day.  Wellness is an overall way of choosing to live.  It’s eating healthier, mindset, exercise, and finding a way for yourself where the internal critical and worrying voice(s) quiet.  It’s being ready for the big event now, for example, instead of seeing the event six months down the road and going on a crash diet for it.  It’s a way of always being. It’s practicing wellness habits that help you feel your best each day.

8.  Discover the Power of We and Us
The power of we begins with you. We think you are amazing and awesome in every way, but life is not all about you.  It’s about us – together.  Ask someone today, “How can I help you?”  You’ll be amazed at the responses.

-What have you done for the world lately?
-Are you showing up when you are needed?
-How often do you do something for others just because you want to – not because it’s expected?
-Do you do things for others and expect nothing in return?
-Do you turn off that voice that nags at you when you can’t believe you did something for someone, but they did nothing for you in return?

9. Manage your behavior(s)
Who we truly are at our best is often reflected in how we behave. Does our behavior match our values? Do we respond to situations versus react? Are we generous and understanding versus critical and judgmental? We usually operate somewhere on a continuum each day depending on how calm and aware we are of what our wise inner voice is saying. When we aren’t able to hear that highest self-talk, we often neglect our self-care and turn to external calming sources. When we have tendency towards over-indulging it is usually triggered by this imbalance and not hearing our wisest messages coming from within. Quiet awareness and examination of our daily circumstances and their influence on our behavior can help us get back into focus of our best self.

10. Failure & Pain are Teaching Moments
How many times have you stopped yourself from trying something because you were afraid you wouldn’t be good enough? How many times have you hit your thigh on the corner of a drawer before you walk a different route or stop, pause and shut the drawer first in awareness that it is open and you’ve been through this before?  We learn from failure or disappointment.  Moments can be wake up calls and it is important to tune in, listen and adjust your life and behavior accordingly.

On a deeper level, when we pass through a crisis that brings fear and anxiety and sadness or whatever strong emotions that come, eventually, the realization that we can learn something and be a better us from the experience comes to us. The sooner we quietly assess a situation from a place of strength, the sooner we make the best choices for our lives.

 11. Laugh at Yourself
Have you laughed at yourself today?  We are each our own stand-up comedian routine if you stop and think about how funny life can be.  Sometimes there is even humor in the darkest of moments and sometimes that humor guides us to see the brightest days.  Laugh at yourself.  We all do some of the silliest things.

12. Surround Yourself with Love 
Side step naysayers.  With even the slightest of change, comes a force around you trying to help you stay your very best same as always person.  You may think to yourself one day, “Self, I just don’t want to be this way anymore.” As a result, you start to make changes.

Naysayers are people who make fun of you or try to stop you from making changes or who want you to give up. They may not even know how they are as sabotaging your efforts because they are out of touch with their own struggles. They’re often people who are trying to break the cycle themselves or have yet to acknowledge their habits. They aren’t wrong to think the way they do, but their thoughts just don’t fit yours anymore. Breaking free from their influence can be difficult. The only cook that needs to be in the kitchen is you.

13. Make Small Lasting Changes
Take one thing – a thought, an idea, a value, or a belief – and make that one thing a focus point. Allow yourself ten minutes each day in silence to write, think, or ponder whatever thoughts come up around this one thought or idea. It’s amazing how just one small change can have an everlasting ripple effect leading to bigger changes. Many people make repeated attempts, create resolutions, and demonstrate efforts to try to bring themselves to center. This generally doesn’t work well and usually the opposite effect occurs. In order to create lasting, transformative change, usually you must find your center and then adjust your lifestyle.

14. Find Your Best, Most Peaceful You
Peace rests within your heart. When your heart speaks, it is very important to tune in and listen. It’s your own internal peace guidance system.  Find what makes you peaceful. Just be YOU. No one can take you away from you.  You are you.  We are each unique with our own special talents and gifts.  Who are you?  What is your: Who? What? Where? When? and Why?

15. Figure out What Money Can and Can’t Buy
Money can’t keep you alive forever. Money has a deceiving way of appearing to make our time here easier.  Does money buy love?  Money buys things, but do things matter?  Are you better than someone else or is someone better than you because of their things and money?  Does money buy better behavior and peace within? Truly, does the person with the most toys win?  Does the lack of money cause you to not get the attention or recognition you need as a person?

Just what is the point of money?

It’s a discussion with ourselves that not many of us have and yet it remains one of the most argued about topics around us.  From governments to your own home, money is a battle ground topic. Are we here today to help make the world a little bit better than when we leave it or are we here to just take, take, take and never give?

For many people, money is a source of always wanting more.  You can always hear folks saying, “If only I had $450,000, I could……  If only I had $1,000,000 I would…”

Handling and dealing with money issues starts with a belief that it can be better, no matter what is happening in your life such as job promotions, inheritance, job loss, wage cuts, downsizing or ill health.

Regardless of financial situation or circumstances there are many different ways to find happiness.

Giving away our power to be happy based on any one thing only defeats us. It’s not about our money. It’s about how we make meaning from our circumstances and how we direct our energy. Some of the most generous people in the world barely have enough to eat, but they share what they have.

Money is really a compound issue of wants combined with reality combined with circumstances all mixing together to make you a manager of money whether you like it or not.

How are your money managing skills?
Think about your real life needs for a moment.
Today I have ____________.
I’d like to set a goal of earning ________________.
Specifically, I am going to do that by doing _________________.

Then each year, these sentences grow, change and alter with another set of circumstances invading those sentences called LIFE.

My reality today is that I got promoted at work and I can _______________.
My reality today is that I received an unexpected bonus and I can ____________.
My reality today is that I am in the hospital and actually spending ____________ rather than me earning ___________.
My reality today is that my septic tank broke resulting in a bill of ____________.
My reality today is that my child is going to college next year, resulting in a bill of ________________________________________. (Notice that line is longer than the others!!)

You can see how complicated money is and how we use it. Think about your life with respect to money, what you dream, what you need, what you want and what you actually have and how you manage that and find happiness within.

RECIPE NOTES: 
Your favorite family recipes are passed from generation to generation.
The recipe cards are tattered, torn or sometimes so secret they are memorized.
Excellent recipes remain with us and feed our mind, body and spirit, creating our best.

People Showed Up Here For What You Have To Say – So Say It

Kate-SpeakingThe clock was dangerously nearing 12:30pm. Tummies were grumbling. Butts were getting sore from sitting too long. Blood sugar levels were dipping.

My talk, Money: A Love Story, was supposed to end the morning session. But the audience’s (and my own) need for a break were obvious.

So I whispered to the organizer:

“I don’t have to speak today. Let’s just take me off the agenda so we can stay on schedule, or at least I’ll just speak for 5 minutes instead of 30.”

It seemed logical. We were running over. There was too much information to cover in too little time. I would just take myself out and make it easier for everyone. Done and done.

During the lunch break I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the headlining speaker, who’d flown in from Florida to share his expertise with the group.

He said:

“Kate, I heard you asked to be removed from the program or to only speak for 5 minutes. There are people who have driven here to this event to hear you and what you have to say. You will speak for your full time because what you have to share is important.”

The familiar feeling of tears pooling atop my bottom eyelids was there. It was one of those moments of great recognition.

My topic that day was about the importance of valuing ourselves in order to make more money and become a better money manager. Money is all about what we value, and we have to start with ourselves.

Yet, in asking to be removed from the program, I had slipped into an old pattern of undervaluing my own contribution. I was throwing myself under the bus, once again. (We really do teach what we need to learn.)

Sometimes being conscientious of time, resources, and others’ needs is a way of covering up the fact that we don’t value ourselves enough.

When we’re not giving our contribution the credence it deserves, we:

  • apologize for taking up too much space
  • make ourselves small (sometimes literally by scrunching ourselves up or crossing our legs and arms too tightly)
  • keep our hands down even when we have something to say
  • keep our mouths shut
  • take only 15 minutes of the 30 minutes given to us
  • volunteer to be taken off the program

I’m so grateful the gentleman I was sharing the stage with that day said something to me to remind me to honor my contribution.

In the end, I gave my full 30-minute talk and many people came up to me and told me that it was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

Take-home message:

If you don’t speak up, you could be preventing someone from hearing exactly what they needed to. (Tweet it)

So . . .

Show up.

Speak up.

Grab the mic.

Take your time.

Take up space.

Turn up your volume.

Stand up tall.

Sing loud and proud.

Shake what your mama gave you.

And keep yourself on the program.

5 Tips To Help You Recover From Perfectionism

photoAs I headed to Albany, New York last week to film a 90 minute public television special, as well as 6 hours of additional DVD content that would be included as part of the PBS fundraising pledge package, I knew I was walking into a situation that was completely out of my comfort zone. I so wanted to feel like I was going to just nail it on that television set, that I would get it all perfectly right on my first try, that I would wow everyone with my professionalism and TV chops, that everyone would come to me later and say, “Lissa, you’re a natural!”

So I loaded myself up with expectations, hoping I’d get it right, wanting to impress my producers and please my publisher and all that jazz. Naturally, heaping myself with expectations of perfection only left me feeling stressed and overwhelmed in the months before the film date. And then, suddenly, I was backstage, about to appear before a live studio audience to deliver what I hoped would be a perfect performance. (No biggie.)

Permission To Be Imperfect

Suddenly, inside my head, I heard the soothing voice of Brené Brown (with whom I just did a free teleclass – you can listen to us here). When Brené was about to appear on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, she wrote herself a permission slip, which she hid in her pocket. The permission slip said, “Permission to be imperfect.” So right there, back in the wings, I wrote myself the same permission slip, and when I stood in front of that studio audience, I told everyone to bear with me because I was about to give an imperfect performance.

I then proceeded to royally flub up several times, stuttering over my words and misreading the teleprompter. Fortunately, the special was prerecorded! All I had to do when I screwed up was stop, admit my mistake, and try again. The audience had even been prepped so that if I said the same thing twice, they were supposed to pretend they were hearing my hopefully wise words for the very first time!

What If Life Had “Do Overs?”

After a few mistakes and do overs, I said to the audience, “Wouldn’t life be great if we were allowed to just pause and get a ‘Do over’ in other aspects of our life?” And then I realized I’ve done just that. I married imperfectly – twice – and I’ve now been with husband #3 for almost eleven years. (Do over! Do over!) I wound up unhappy in my job as a practicing physician, so I went through a massive career change. (Do over!)  My health broke down because I wasn’t caring for my body or my mind, but I was blessed to get a do over in my health and am now down to half the dose of one of the seven medications I was once taking.

I have been pausing, admitting my mistakes, and doing life over again time after time! And this, I’m realizing, is one of the essential keys to a happy life.

The Pressure Of Perfection

Perfectionism can be a real joy killer. If I had been too afraid to appear imperfect, I might have stayed in two unhappy marriages or kept a job that was sucking the life out of me.

Perfectionism can also be a barrier to intimacy, as well as a potent form of self-sabotage. If I had been committed to trying to give a perfect performance in front of the live studio audience, I might have missed the chance to giggle and connect with the audience the way I did when I flubbed up my words and exposed my imperfections. They might have wrongly assumed that I had it all together, when the honest truth was that I was terrified to be doing something so far outside of my comfort zone. As soon as I let go of the expectation of perfection in myself, my whole body relaxed. I could be imperfect! And I would still be good enough…

I realize that’s what it really comes down to. When I’m too focused on being perfect, it’s usually because, deep in the shadows lies a basic lack of worthiness. Some part of me thinks that, if only I overdeliver, I’ll finally be good enough.

But beneath that shadowy part of myself lies something deeper, something more true, something I call my Inner Pilot Light, and that part of me know that I am – and YOU are – inherently worthy simply because we all have sparks of Divinity within us, and we don’t have to prove anything in order to earn that worth.

Excellence Or Perfectionism?

I notice in myself this struggle between the quest for excellence and the tug of perfectionism. Where is the line? How much striving for excellence is noble versus how much is just ego, rearing its overfluffed head?

Heading into the filming of this public television special, I was aware that, yes, the stakes were high. Yes, my publisher had invested a lot of money to produce this special. Yes, a lot of people will view it. And of course, I want to do a good job.

The same was true in my career as a doctor. A person’s life is on the line. The stakes are high. You don’t want your surgeon to be one of those medical school slackers who swears by the “C=MD” formula! But is it really necessary to push yourself to be top of your class like I did?

Here are my thoughts on how to tell the difference.

5 Tips For Avoiding Perfectionism

1. Give 90%.

90% of the pain of perfectionism comes from trying to eke out that last 10%, when 90% is pretty damn excellent.
 
2. Choose ease.

If you’re finding yourself pushing, striving, trying too hard, or if your work becomes burdensome, you feel the pressure piling on, and you’re in “fight-or-flight” all the time, you’re edging beyond the desire for excellence into perfectionism territory. As Christiane Northrup taught me, try being less sperm, more egg.

You’ll know you’re really in the flow when you’re doing great work, but it doesn’t feel like struggle, when you get winks from the Universe, things line up easily, and the quality of your work doesn’t suffer – you just didn’t have to suffer in order to achieve great things.

3. Know your inherent worthiness.
 
As long as we look outside ourselves for validation that we are enough, we will always be tempted to overdeliver. Try repeating affirmations that remind you that your value lies within. “I am more than enough.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
 
4. Send your Gremlin to time out.
 
There’s a voice in your head that can be a nasty bastard. I call it “The Gremlin,” and it’s the voice of your fearful, insecure inner critic.  If you’re not maxing out your output, giving to the point of depletion (and for many of us, even then!) your Gremlins might be tempted to wage war.

Instead of letting your Gremlins get the best of you, listen to your Inner Pilot Light and know that you don’t  need to be perfect. In fact, as Brené Brown teaches in The Gifts Of Imperfection, your imperfections are actually the gateway to intimacy, the way people can relate to you. Who can relate to anyone who never makes mistakes? (BO-RING!)

5. Set goals but release attachment to outcomes.

It’s one thing to set the goal of delivering a genius manuscript or a standing ovation performance or a gold star sales report or a successful surgical outcome or the desire to win the case/ land the client/ get the deal. It’s another to place your sense of value in how much you achieve.

Instead, do the best you can (well, 90% of your best) and then let it go. Trust. Have faith. And lean into your own sense of inherent worthiness.

Are You A Perfectionist?

Tell us your stories…

Imperfectly yours,

What is True Beauty?

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As a makeup artist, I’ve made a career out of working with both celebrities and regular people from all walks of life. It has been my job to make these men and women look and feel their best before appearances on TV, film, and the stage. As I worked to get my clients “camera-ready,” I began to see a clear connection between who these individuals truly are and how that translated into their outer beauty.

I realized that the magical “it” factor we all search for as women had nothing to do with finding the right shade of foundation or being a size 2, and it went well beyond mere celebrity status. There was something more, and I wanted to know how to get it.

And so my journey began. I kept working on helping women look beautiful while searching even harder to find the secrets to actually being beautiful. I spent years trying to understand what made certain individuals such rare standouts. My hope was that if I could figure it out, I could combine that knowledge with my expertise as a stylist and makeup artist and bring this life-changing beauty to others. 

One day as I arrived at the CBS station I worked for, the morning-show producer caught me as I came through the door.

She wanted me to come up with a beauty-and-style segment to appear on the newscasts from time to time. And not only was I supposed to help create it, they also wanted me to host it! My dream had always been to work behind the scenes making women feel beautiful, but I realized that this new opportunity would allow me to reach thousands of women at once.

As soon as I agreed to step up to the challenge, my mind immediately raced in a million directions.  I could help people learn how to become more beautiful! I was ecstatic!

Of course, I couldn’t have known it then, but this assignment would not only be the catalyst for me to achieve my lifelong dreams, but would also prove to be the beginning of a brand-new me. Within weeks, I received my first assignment: find a woman who needed a makeover and create a segment around her. Instinctively, I shied away from choosing someone who could just use a new haircut. I wanted to find a woman who needed a makeover on a much deeper level—someone who needed to feel beautiful, not just look beautiful. 

Near the TV studio was MacDill Air Force Base, and many of the soldiers stationed there had just been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of those left behind were women, and the stress and worry they had to bear was unimaginable. With their husbands risking their lives fighting for our freedom, these military wives patiently survived the daily grind of working, and raising their children on their own.

I instantly knew that they were the ones I wanted to work with, and that I was going to do more than one makeover. This was a way I could show my appreciation for their unselfish “call to duty.” So together with a team of stylists from my salon, we updated hairstyles, cosmetics, and even wardrobes. Everyone on my team worked diligently to lift the spirits of these special women.

As often happens when you serve another, your own spirit is lifted. I began to see beauty in a new way.

Once the makeovers were complete, the women were videotaped, and those recordings were then sent through a webcast to their husbands overseas. The entire experience was heartrending and beautiful. I cried along with them as the couples connected via cyberspace, and I watched in admiration as these brave and exquisite women conveyed their love.

I observed, I learned, and I understood: True beauty is not what is on the outside; it’s what dwells deep within our hearts, in the essence of our beings. The only thing makeup can do is enhance that true beauty.

From that day on, I no longer defined beautiful as a hairstyle or a look. I viewed it as a woman glowing with love and living a life of purpose.

…then I’ll be happy!

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by Celebrity Makeup Artist, Self-Esteem Coach and Best Selling Author Michelle Phillips

We’ve all said something like this, “When I lose weight, find the right guy, or get a better job”…then I’ll be happy.  For so many of us there is a little voice inside that makes us think having what someone else has, or what we don’t have, will make our lives better. 

We look at the people around us; friends, colleagues, even celebrities, and think that if we could just have a perfect partner like they do, perfect kids, maybe even perfect bodies, we could finally be happy. But what is “perfect,” and are the people who have it happy? Will we be if we attain it? The answer is more than likely no, so what should we do?

Comparing ourselves to others is totally natural and it is also normal to want to be better or improve ourselves. But chasing perfection, especially someone else’s, definitely won’t give you a fair chance at feeling good about being you. Not to mention that perfection is unattainable and striving for it will only leave you disappointed, so stop. 

Long before I became a Life Coach I was a Celebrity Makeup Artist and could always tell just by looking at someone what is going on in their life.  I could tell a wide variety of things from their skin, eyes, smile, the way they stood, spoke, and the way they took care of themselves.  

It’s simple, if you don’t feel good about yourself and your life, it manifests in your image and you have to admit, you are all fully aware of it when you look in the mirror.  Unfortunately the growing trend is people trying to cover up what is going on inside by getting work done on the outside. Our “quick-fix society is turning to Botox, plastic surgery and fad diets rather than doing the inner emotional work that could create lasting “beauty” in our lives.  For example, over the last few years, I have been working with a plastic surgeon who sends me clients that feel that once they got “work” done they would finally find the level of perfect happiness they were searching for. Thankfully, by coaching patients towards a holistic transformation instead of yet another let down from searching outside of themselves, they found the perfection they were searching for…internally. As a result, they lost weight and began to look better because they were finding their bliss within. 

Rather than dealing with symptoms let’s go a little deeper and try to figure out what is creating the feelings of inadequacy that are driving us. All of us want to look good, feel good, have a great life- I am in total agreement with looking good on the outside, but to achieve that I recommend a different approach. 

  1. Find gratitude for what you have- What if your life abruptly changed tomorrow and you lost everything? How badly would you want to have your life back the way it is today?  Start a gratitude journal. Write down what you are grateful for and take time to make note of the beauty in your life each day. 
  2. Start being happy today- If you are constantly thinking about tomorrow you never have a chance to enjoy today. Where can you create your happy moments for now? Take time to smell the roses!
  3. Make sure your life is your own- Are your decisions and goals your own? When we live the way we think we should instead of the way we could we grow resentful. What could you do and where in life could you live more authentically?  
  4. Stop comparing yourself-   What if you were the trendsetter of your own life?  Would you feel less pressure?  Worry? Doubt?  It’s okay to hold yourself to a higher standard as long as it’s yours. 

The bottom line is that it is okay to strive and grow and to want more as long as you enjoy the ride.  Check in with your goals to make sure they are yours and remain grateful every step of the way. When you do, an authentic power and beauty will be yours to radiate!

 

About Michelle

Michelle Phillips is redefining beauty! By combining her years of experience as a top Celebrity Makeup Artist and Stylist with powerful self-esteem tools, she has created a unique process that is transforming women across the globe.  Throughout her career, Michelle’s job was to create the illusion of perfection on camera, and like so many other women, she strived for the same illusion of perfection in her personal life. Along the way though she became disillusioned with the world of “beauty,” and saw this same struggle in the hearts of women everywhere.  Michelle saw that women’s quests for perfection were leading to feelings of inadequacy that they were trying to cover up with external fixes like new haircuts, makeovers and fashions, and when that didn’t fill the void, many turned to plastic surgery, dangerous diets, anti-depressants and sleeping pills. She said, “Enough!” and created a process to discover true inner beauty and radiate it outward! 

Today Michelle Phillips shares her Beauty Blueprint process in her speaking programs, TV and radio host, and bestselling author of The Beauty Blueprint: 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of Your Dreams (Hay House, 2011).  You may have seen Michelle on TV shows and networks such as; Oxygen Network, We-TV, HGTV, TLC, CW, KCAL-LA, Fox13-Tampa, Daytime, or speaking on the Power of Women Tour and “I Can Do It!” events with inspirational icons Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay.  She has also been heard on Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius/XM, Hay House Radio and many more. 

 

Love the body you have…TODAY!

by Celebrity Makeup Artist, Self-Esteem Coach, and Bestselling Author Michelle Phillips

Love the body you have today!

It’s no small secret that women don’t like their bodies. In fact, I’ve been doing a little research and I am sad to report that recent statistics say that more than 80% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Even more troubling is that 65% of young girls think they are fat and are already dieting. Ladies of all ages, this has got to change!

As a celebrity makeup artist and stylist the first things I usually hear when when working with a client is “can you cover this up” or “could you make me look 10 pounds thinner?” With the right makeup, lighting, and airbrushing anything is possible in front of the camera, but in real life- the Life Coach in me has to take over from there. That bit of “cover-up” is best if it comes from inside.

I can tell you from working with hundreds of women that the latest diet or workout won’t be the key to having a body you love. Believing in who you are, and in how you look… is the foundation to achieving what you truly want out of life. I know this isn’t always an easy thing to do but freeing yourself of negative thoughts is a huge step towards living a truly beautiful life and achieving a healthy body. The first, and possibly the most crucial step on that path though, is to start loving the body you have right now.

Here are some suggestions to do just that:

Create an “I love myself because…” list 

First, write down 20 things that you love about yourself.  Your list may include your personality, kind heart, your sense of humor, compassion, smile, elbows, feet, etc.   Include your talents and achievements, or various ways you’re proud of yourself.  If you have trouble with this exercise think about what your best friend would say about you.  It’s time to be your own best friend!

Take notice of the beauty around you

Take a deeper look at nature surrounding you.  It may be a tree, mountains, clouds, the moon, butterfly, a flower…is it perfect?   Does it have imperfections, maybe a few blemishes on a leaf? Start to notice the beauty around you.  Train your mind to let go of the “imperfections” and revel in what makes things uniquely beautiful.

Delete Negative Self-Talk 

Every time you hear yourself talking negatively about how you look…STOP!  Who needs another critic? Instead, turn that inner dialogue into positive self-talk.  You have the power to focus on what is great about you right now by deleting the negative thoughts whenever they show up.

Appreciate your beautiful body 

Women are familiar with their face but not necessarily their body.  Start to look at your body in the mirror.  Study your shape and find the beauty.  Notice how your body supports you and your daily life.  Our bodies are beautiful vessels that transport our gorgeous souls.

Cut the tags out of your clothes! 

Don’t buy a closet full of clothes that are too tight for you to fit into hoping that you’ll be in them soon – those are just guilt garments that don’t make you feel good when you open your closet. Buy and wear clothes that fit the body you have today.  They call it a “fitting room” for a reason.  Size doesn’t matter; it is all about how you feel in your clothes.  By dressing the body you have today will help increase your self-esteem and in-turn unnecessary weight will begin to fall away.  When you feel better about yourself, you take better care of yourself.  It’s that simple!

Whose Voice is Running in Your Head?

ImageAre you so accustomed to the voice running in your head that you don’t even realize it’s not yours? Is it possible that voice is making your decisions for you without you even knowing it?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go shopping with Michelle Phillips to re-evaluate my personal style. She was pushing me to look at clothes that were outside my comfort zone and I was feeling really triggered. All sorts of fears were running through my head – what if she does all this work and I still can’t get myself together? What if there’s nothing that’s going to look any better than what I’ve got now? I was driving myself nuts!

Finally, I’d had as much clothing-inspired craziness as I could take. We figured a change of venue was in order, so we went into a shop that has funky, inexpensive jewelry. As Michelle pulled out necklaces for me to look at, I turned each of them down in turn. I finally said to her, “I don’t like costume jewelry, it doesn’t look classy or elegant enough for me.” As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized they didn’t feel exactly right. Is it true that I don’t like these cool, funky necklaces? I admire them on other people and wish that I had things like that to wear. So why, when presented with the opportunity to purchase a few pieces at a really great price, did I turn them all down?

Is it true that I don’t like costume jewelry? No.

Is it true that it’s not classy or elegant enough for me? No.

So what IS true? My mother doesn’t like costume jewelry! It’s not classy or elegant enough for her! And I’ve soaked that idea in so totally that I didn’t even realize it wasn’t my own idea! I’ve spent the last 15 years admiring something (my own thoughts) and reviling it (someone else’s thoughts) at the same time. Talk about making me nuts!

My mother’s way has been to find one good piece, save for it, and then wear it every day. Which is absolutely fine – FOR HER! I, on the other hand, like more variety, which is absolutely fine – FOR ME! The issue was that I was making my decisions based on someone else’s rules. As soon as I realized and verbalized the issue, it disappeared. I was free to purchase a really fun necklace, and I put it on right away…and I’m sure that I’ll enjoy wearing it for a long time to come.

So who’s making your decisions? Next time you say you don’t want to do something, or that you don’t like something, ask yourself – is that really me? You might be surprised what you find!

Leah Carey is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share.workshops that help people strengthen resilience through writing, sharing, and performance. For more info go to www.leahcarey.com.  You can read her blog at www.TheMiracleJournal.com.