Living a soul-driven life. 

There’s an exercise I often lead with people I coach that reveals a surprising truth: most of us don’t really know what we want.

In this exercise, I ask a simple question: “what do you want?”

And then I repeat this same question over and over again.

In the first minute or so, the expected answers come out. Those generally are the things that are top of mind, the things they want most immediately, like wanting more money or new clients or other material things. In their minds, if they were to have those things, they would be happy and fulfilled.

But then, when they have finished listing all the material things they want, and all the success they desire, they become a bit emotional, sometimes tearful, and begin to go deeper.

They become silent.

They gaze at me with curiosity and unknowing.

They begin to mumble, they slow down enough to begin hearing their soul’s voice.

This is always a precious moment. A sacred opening.

It is in this moment they realize that what they really want most is a life of real purpose. A life filled with intention, fulfillment and inner peace.

I call that a soul-driven life.

It is in this moment that they begin to pay attention to what really matters most to them.

It’s easy for us creative types to lose sight of our soul’s voice. That’s because our creative free spirit gets drowned out by the monkey mind chatter that our ego consistently broadcasts. Our work becomes consumed with solving other people’s problems and along the way we become less creative and less in touch with who we really are.

Our ego is doing a great job at wanting more, wanting faster, wanting bigger. It gets so loud that when it doesn’t get what it wants, it has the ability to create a dark cloud over our lives, resulting in depression and hopelessness. This dark cloud can turn us into self-doubters or worst, fear-based people-pleasers.

Our ego is constantly wanting. And the louder our ego is, the further we get from living our soul’s purpose.

We live in a media-driven culture that sends us constant messages that we are not enough. Our ego eats these messages up like a starved animal. If only we had that luxury car or that fancy house or that big name client, our life will be better. We believe this campaign and beat ourselves down for not achieving the milestones we supposedly were meant to achieve. We compare ourselves and suffer.

What you want will always come from somewhere. It will always have an origin. What you want will either come from your ego or from your soul. The question is, which one are you listening to? Which one is driving your life?

There’s a beautiful parable I once heard about a grandfather talking with his grandson and he says "there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear."

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

Our ego wants to look good, to win, to be right, to succeed, to be known, to be in control. Our ego wants to receive for the sake of receiving. And the more it gets, the more it wants.

Soul is pure. Soul is the essence of our being. Our truth. It is who we truly are underneath the mask we so carefully and masterfully created in order to cope with the world. It is the part of us that lives behind our ego, the part of us that is divine.

I spent many years of my life unconsciously driven by ego. That brought me success, accolades, and wealth. But at the end of the day, much of that achievement didn’t bring me real happiness. I found myself running on a hamster wheel, feeling unfulfilled by my work, depressed and exhausted.

That’s when I stopped running and asked myself “What do I really want?” And guess what? I had no idea either.

All I knew was what I didn’t want.

I didn’t want to feel like I’m swimming upstream. I didn’t want to keep running on the hamster wheel for the rest of my life.

When I stopped to ask myself this simple question, that's when my soul journey began. 

We tend to focus so much on what our ego wants and forget to focus on what it is we need that truly matters. We fool ourselves thinking that what our ego wants is what we need and yet when we achieve those things we think we want, we often realize that we are still empty inside.

Our soul, in its purest divine form, wants to create, to influence and serve others. And when we live in a soul-driven way, we get to do just that and get more than what we want. We get what we truly need. Meaning, fulfillment, and inner peace. 


What stands in the way of change.

Have you ever faced a time in your life where you wanted to make a big change and yet, you were too terrified of making it happen?

Maybe you wanted to end a relationship or start a new business, or perhaps change careers?

Whatever change you desire, there is one thing that will always slow you down and keep you stuck from making it happen.

The fear of the unknown.

Did you know that this fear actually has a name? Xenophobia. Derived from the Greek word 'Xenos' meaning “foreigner or stranger” and Phobos which means 'morbid fear’. This fear is totally irrational and yet, so many of us have it to some degree.

So, why do we feel afraid of stepping into the unknown?

A lot of it has to do with the way our ego works. Our ego likes to be in control and unless it feels safe and secure, it will partner up with our imagination and start playing the “what if” game.

“What if I make a mistake?”

“What if it’s worse than what I have now?”

“What if I fail?”

Sound familiar?

The problem is that we can never win this game. Our ego is so sophisticated and sneaky that we actually begin to believe the negative outcomes of our “what ifs”. We become focused on imagining worst case scenarios and worry ourselves into action paralysis.

Ten years ago I was in this exact same place.

After a thriving twenty year career as a designer, I woke up one day to realize that I was done.

And then my ego freaked out.

My design firm was highly profitable, we were working with some of our biggest dream clients and by now I’d built myself a solid name and a trusted brand in the industry. I’d be crazy to give that all up, right?

Yet, underneath all that, deep inside, my soul was feeling crushed.

I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like if I wasn’t designing.

What could I do?

How could I make enough money to sustain my current lifestyle?

What am I even good at besides designing?

My Xenophobia was out of control. In fact, it brought on a depression that became my norm. A state I don’t wish on anyone.

Even though I felt I was done with being a designer, I wasn’t willing to admit it. My ego was gripping on in fear of losing control. For three years I found every excuse to push through my days. I felt stuck, unhappy and unmotivated.

I finally sought help. I hired a coach who masterfully and lovingly woke me up and guided me towards making the decision my soul was waiting for me to make.

After close to a year of deep coaching and spiritual clean up work, I mustered up the courage to take a risk and close my firm even though I had nothing else lined up.

I learned to trust the unknown.

But I also learned to trust something I became disconnected from over the years - my creativity and my power. Through our deep work together I reconnected with that part of myself that was dormant and once that woke up, I was able to drown out the negative “what ifs” soundtrack and begin hearing the positive ones.

“What if everything will actually work out better than now?”

“What if I will make more money than I ever had as a designer?”

“What if I find joy in fulfillment in whatever happens next?”

These were motivating “what ifs,” questions that lifted up my spirit and brought hope and curiosity. Once I was able to ask these questions and believe in my power and creativity to make anything I want happen, making the decision to close my firm and moving on wasn’t so much of a challenge anymore.

My coach helped me raise my belief in myself. He helped me raise my self-esteem and learn to identify and stop listening to the negative voices of my fears.

Once I took action on my decision, it was amazing to see how things unfolded so quickly from that point on. It was as if the universe was waiting for me to make a move so it could begin to shower me with opportunities.

In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t waited three years before making a big change in my life. Only because of the depression I experienced along the way. But on the other hand, my own transformational process has given me incredible tools and insights into helping the people I coach change their lives in unbelievable ways.

Nowadays, when I’m faced with wanting to change something big in my life, it doesn’t take me three years to do something about it. That’s because I learned to trust. The faith I have in my creativity and my in power is strong enough to move me forward towards making a change.

And so can you. Things will always work out for you if you let go of your fear and listen to what your soul wants. Be soul driven in your decisions and everything will always work out. That’s a promise.


The truth about mistakes.

I used to fear making mistakes. So much, that it turned me into a perfectionist.

This fear of making a mistake held me back from taking risks. Because mistakes meant failure and failing was not acceptable. Not in my book.

What a silly belief.

Making mistakes gives us a chance to learn something about ourselves. A chance to improve and to grow.

It’s been said that the most successful people are the ones with the most failures. Successful people don’t stop at their mistakes. It’s not a matter of number of failures, it’s where you stop that makes the difference.

Mistakes give us insights and direction. They can also offer deep insight and wisdom as well.

We don’t make mistakes, we make choices. Sometimes these choices work, sometimes they don’t. When they do, we call them luck. When they don’t, we call them a mistake.

Nobody is afraid of making mistakes per se. We are afraid of the consequences of making the mistakes and that is what actually holds most people back.

We don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make us. They make us stronger, more resilient and wiser.

When we make a mistake, we get a chance to learn something about ourselves. We get an opportunity to improve and to grow.

I believe the fear of making mistakes is rooted in the school system we grew up in. The school system (and society) condition us to believe that mistakes are bad things and should be avoided at any cost. Our school system instills a fear within us by punishing us for our mistakes instead of praising us for our accomplishments. We develop a belief that making mistakes means that we have done something wrong.

When we learn to walk, we make mistakes. If we fall nobody punishes us, we simply get back up and keep trying. Same thing happens when we learn to talk. We pronounce most of our words wrong, but we were corrected with love and support.  With this positive reinforcement we learned to talk better.

Having some fear of mistakes can be a good thing, it can help to improve performance. However, excessive fear causes problems; It keeps us stuck and feeling small.

When we begin to embrace our so called “mistakes” and view them instead as wrong choices.  This can then start leading us to begin embracing in learning new ways to make better choices.  We can begin to give ourselves permission to take bigger risks in our life.

You can only go forward by making mistakes. So why would you want to avoid them?


Are you a leader or a people pleaser?

Becoming a leader has its price. There are those who will love and support what you do and then there are those who will not be so kind. The haters. 

A couple weeks ago I was put to the test as a leader when a hateful, angry email landed in my inbox from one of the subscribers to my mailing list.

This email was so verbally violent that it caught me off guard. The person who sent it was angry with me. She called me names, she made fun of me and belittled my writing. It was one of the most hateful emails I've ever received. 

I’ll be honest with you, this was not pretty. I was surprised to see how much this email disturbed me and threw me off my game. 

Even though I constantly receive tons of positive comments and feedback from people who read my writing, this one negative response suddenly took center stage. It was so violent and ugly that it triggered me in a way that I didn’t realize was still possible. 

Does this happen to you sometime? Do you find yourself focusing on the negative and missing out on all the good things that are actually happening? 

In a way, this email was a gift. After the initial shock and disbelief that someone would take the time to craft such a hateful message and send it, I remembered what I’ve learned about people who judge and bully. The negative comments someone makes is all about them, and not about me. 

It would have been easy for me to enter a hateful space with this reader and reply in my own violent, ugly way (which is what I initially wanted to do…) but as a leader myself, I didn’t want fear and anger to lead the way. After taking a moment to breathe and think about the situation, I realized that this person was in deep pain. The way I show up in her world clearly triggered something that caused her to lash out. All I could really be is compassionate to her suffering, wish her love and move on. 

If I had made this incident all about me, if I had believed everything she said, what kind of a leader would I be? 

To be a powerful leader you can not come from a place of people pleasing. You can’t care so much about what others think. The minute you do that, you are giving your power away. 

Sure, there will be people who disagree, who see things differently, and maybe even say hateful things about you. However, if you are truly committed to who you want to be in the world, and believe that what you have to give is valuable; you can ignore the haters, stay focused on your own path, and lead from a place of love and power.

Being a committed leader requires you to be strong. It may not always be easy, but your strength and resilience is what will inspire others to be leaders in their own lives. 

This incident only showed me that there is still some work I have to do around cleaning up some of my own people pleasing tendencies. It reminded me how much people pleasing can be a default way of being. This tendency shows up with almost every client I coach. The need to please everyone and look good can be a self-created prison that holds us back from becoming true leaders.  

Does pleasing people get in the way of you becoming a powerful leader?


It takes time for success.

I have one major pet peeve in life - people who waste my time.

You see, time is the most valuable thing I have. More valuable than money. I will never get back lost or wasted time, but I can always make more money. Every minute of my life is a precious one and I am the kind of person who likes to make the most out of life, so I treat my time with honor and respect.

Arriving late is a way of saying that your own time is more valuable than the time of the person who is waiting for you.

Time is a valuable gift, and if someone throws your gift away, why would you want to keep giving them more gifts?

I used to have friends who would joke about the way I manage my time. They would call me "anal retentive" or “rigid”. Those people aren't my friends anymore. That's because the way they treat time in their life is in a loose, unconscious way. They would constantly be late for our dates with lame excuses and often forget we made plans, resulting in needing to reschedule at the last minute. After a while, that type of behavior became exhausting and eventually those friendships faded away into obscurity.

Integrity and respect are the two most important values I look for in my relationships, both personal and professional. The way a person treats time will be a direct reflection of the level of integrity they live in, as well as a way to recognize how present, conscious, and dependable they are.

When you study the common traits of successful people, you’ll discover one thing in common - they have all mastered managing how they treat time. They manage themselves and their relationship with time in a way that’s respectful.

Successful people make conscious choices every day as to how and with whom they want to spend their time. They actually take the time to think about time. They know when to say no, they keep their word, and when life happens (and it always will) and they aren’t able to, they will still honor their word in a way that respects the relationship.

Mutual respect must exist in any healthy relationship. Time is a way to measure the level of respect that exists between people. Respect is like air. When it’s gone, it’s the first thing you will notice.

My most successful, long term and healthy relationships all have deep mutual respect as well as a mutual understanding that the way we treat the time inside of the relationship is a reflection of the respect we have for each other.

I know that I am part of a small group of people who think and live this way. I know this because people are often surprised when I show up on time or when I meet a deadline. We’ve become a culture that lives in such a fast paced way that being late has become the norm.

Being on time goes beyond my relationship with others. It also is a big part of maintaining a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle. The way I manage time with myself is key to my happiness and well being. I create time that is dedicated to the basic things I value (and need) in life, like exercise, meditation, meals, and sleep. This forces me to be diligent with what I say yes and no to. I make choices of how I spend my time according to what I value.   

“I don’t have the time for…” is a poor excuse for not taking ownership of your life. It is victim thinking. It may feel like you don’t have the time to devote to things you want and yet I bet you find yourself wasting precious time watching mind numbing TV or scrolling the Facebook feed.

We all have the same twenty four hours in a day. How you choose to spend them will determine the quality of your life.  

Over the years of coaching creative people, I learned that they have a different relationship with time according to their personality type. They have their own time consciousness because they perceive reality differently. They are, after all, artists.

Creative people tend to treat time like a huge pie that can be sliced into an infinite number of pieces. To them, time is always expendable. As long as they are having fun, there is always enough time. They keep adding one thing after another and  pretty soon, they have trouble being on time or meeting deadlines. And then they procrastinate because getting down to details is not fun. It’s not surprising that so many creative people feel stuck.

The good news is that just because someone treats time in this way doesn’t mean they are unable to change. I’ve seen people turn around and completely shift how they organize their time when they realized that the key to their success was in their hands.

What it takes is a commitment to want to change and the work that is required to make it happen.

Managing time may feel like hard work. And sometimes it is. It can feel unnatural, restrictive and limiting. But the outcome is worth it. I promise you more powerful results, better relationships and deeper fulfillment from every day of your life.

Your mentoring challenge: For the next thirty days, become one with your calendar. Be on time to everything and keep your commitments to yourself and others for thirty days. If you are unable to keep a time commitment, honor it. Do whatever it takes to make it right.