I seek to provide transformation to others and to experience it personally on a daily basis. As a story consultant, my mission is to help transform the message of the storyteller into one that resonates with their audience on a deeper level, uplifts, creates change, and to leads the storyteller to a sale.
How do we create transformation through the telling of story? After writing my book, “Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success,” I always seek ways to elevate my own message. I find that by being open to transformation in my own life, I better understand how to pass it on to others. My goal with every seminar, every one-on-one consult, and every life experience is to identify how story can encourage change in the way that we see things.
When I teach or guide, my intention is to take the storyteller to a deeper place of understanding the why. Focusing on the why leads to transformation. Three whys that have significance in this process are:
Why does the writer want to write the story?
Why are they the perfect writer for the story?
Why does the central character want what they want? Or, Why do they want to achieve the goal?
Understanding the why adds emotional fuel to your story. When we feel and understand your whys, we feel your story. It’s a similar equation for entrepreneurs who need to tell and sell the story of their brands.
When I see films, watch TV, or read a non-fiction book, I’m seeking a sense of transformation. I have a desired outcome in my mind. When I can feel the why behind what the screenwriter or author is trying to say, and I understand how it applies to my own life, transformation happens. I am a junkie for transformation through story.
This year, two books that have stood out and led me to transformation are The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday and The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits and Change Your Life, by Marcos Borges.
Ryan Holiday wrote his book is to guide people through using obstacles to their advantage versus getting bogged down by them. I love his quotation: “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” His book illuminated the path to my own transformation because I understood the author’s why for writing it, and I understood my why for reading it. I wanted to learn from past leaders who encountered apparently insurmountable obstacles, what they did to get through them, and what they learned along the way. This book transformed how I view my own obstacles.
While Ryan Holiday’s book led to emotional transformation, The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits and Change Your Life by Marcos Borges brought about physical transformation in my life. I read this book because so many of my friends who have faced cancer believe a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to go. I understood the author’s why for writing it and my why for reading. I tried the 22-day program and loved it! In addition to my internal health, I wanted to see results. The food was amazing and I loved the physical results. The fact that the transformation led to a desired visible result made it even more fulfilling.
In film and TV, the desired outcome is to transform audiences. I’ll forgive a writer almost anything structurally if I feel transformed by the story. I recently saw Ricki and The Flash. I was curious how Diablo Cody would tell the story of a woman who left her family, since this is such a counter-intuitive life experience yet it happens in the world. I wanted to see if I could understand the why behind Ricki’s action as well as Diablo’s why for writing it. In life, we make bad choices that often lead to negative outcomes. What I took away from this story was that despite deep dysfunction and mistakes made, family is family. No family is perfect and we can find meaning in the imperfections when there is love. The question I felt being asked was: Can we find redemption by fulfilling a role that we left behind and find peace in the process? I did expect that the story would go deeper into the why behind Ricki’s choice to leave in the first place, and there were parts of the story that I felt could have been stronger. However, the story did reach me. I felt her regret. I felt compassion for Ricki (played so brilliantly by Meryl Streep). I understood why she wanted what she wanted. I teared up at the end. I felt the transformation because I felt like I understood why the story was written. This is what story is about.
There is an endless market for story because all of us, in our own ways, seek to explore and understand life. By understanding the whys of story, you allow us in, you transform, and you create change.
Do you want to change your story in the New Year? What do you want your story to look like? What if you could learn to use the tools of story to create the life that you want? I’ve been obsessed with understanding and studying how people change their lives. I like to believe that we all want our story to reflect the type of life that we want to live. I feel that by being the active protagonist in our own story, we can create change by aligning the actions that we take with the outcome that we desire. I am going to share four actions that I took that led me toward personal change and changed my story in the process.
Since writing my book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success, I’ve been really conscious of the things I wrote about in my book, how action equals outcome when it comes to changing our story. For me, all of the change that I wrote about in my book was focused on the professional side of my life, rather than the personal side. After hitting what I see as my “all is lost” moment, when I lost my job of 15 years, I was able to clearly see that to produce the type of change that I wanted, I needed to take action. I outlined all the steps I took to turn my “all is lost” moment into the best thing that could have happened in my life. I found success again, only, this time, I was a conscious author as I created and redefined my professional path. I understood from being a studio executive/story analyst for all of those years that personal actions equate to outcome. When the wrong actions are being taken, you don’t get the outcome that you desire. So, I aligned my actions in the business world with the outcome that I wanted. My focus was on stopping isolation and creating community through the telling of story on a global level. Everything that transpired over the last 7 years, as I built my business, falls under this umbrella. My focus was clear and my actions aligned with my outcome. Everything in me wants to teach people how to be the active hero in their own story so that their story can reflect the type of life that they want to live.
I was motivated to write this blog was when I received an email from a reader. They wrote:
“I’m reading Change Your Story, Change Your Life, and it’s as if you wrote this book just for me. I have often wished I could be a character in one of my stories so I could just rewrite my life and reading your book makes me think that I really am. Only that story is my life.
I’m at one of my ‘all is lost’ moments, so it’s hard for me to see very far down my road, and I’m hoping your experience will help me map out a course of action that will let me breathe again.”
I loved the truth in this person’s message. They wanted to know how to create change after going through an “all is lost” moment. While in my book, I go into actions that I took to change my professional story, what I teach also applies to your personal story. Here are some actions that I’ve taken to change my personal story.
These are four actions that I recommend taking to change your story: take a wellness vacation, create a healthy eating system, create a workout routine, and connect through internal desire. These actions can foster change on a physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional level.
- Take a wellness vacation – I went to Rancho La Puerta.
- Create a healthy eating system – I did Paleo Delivers and Isagenix.
- Create a workout routine that garners results – I started doing 10,000 steps a day.
- Connect through your internal desire – I fell in love.
Take a wellness vacation. I would say that one of the biggest actions that I took this year that created change was going to Rancho La Puerta. This is a place that focuses on the idea of “renewing your mind, body and spirit on a journey to true wellness.” This choice, this action, is what led me to a greater consciousness of understanding change from within. This is everything that my brand for my business is about. It is also something that blends into my life. The development of story comes down to the development of self. So, by participating in the activities, exercise classes, nutrition and health classes, hikes and meditations, at Rancho La Puerta, I was able to bring it home with me and learn to take stronger actions that led me to greater outcomes. What I learned was that taking a vacation that allowed me to purely focus on wellness was one action that could bring about very positive results.
Wellness Options at all budget levels – Esalen, Miraval, Canyon Ranch, Willow Day Spa, Argyle Salon and Spa.
Create an eating system. Another action that I took that brought about healthy change was I tried different eating plans so that I could pinpoint a system that worked for me. I did Paleo Delivers. I actually did this before I went to Rancho La Puerta. This was an action because it allowed me to really understand food, portion size and healthy choices when it comes to my daily eating habits. The food was outstanding. It opened up my time wise because I didn’t have to worry about cooking, shopping, and figuring out calories and nutrition. I did this for a few months just to see how it made me feel and to learn. It definitely took me a step in the right direction. When I got home from Rancho La Puerta, I started doing a system called Isagenix. I learned about this from Sherry Catlin, who created the Body Bar. I met her when I was at Rancho La Puerta. What I learned with Isagenix was that I had a system in play that worked for my life and supported my desire to be in the best physical shape possible. I needed a system like this. I found that the products tasted so good and the outcome took me in an even stronger direction.
Eating Systems for all budgets – Veestro (vegetarian), buy a Paleo book by Danielle Walker and prepare food at home, Zen Foods Diet delivery, Healthy Chef Creations
Create a workout routine. I learned at Rancho La Puerta that movement is the key to staying young. One action that I took when I returned was that I got a Fit Bit and an Up By Jawbone. This way, I was able to track the steps that I took everyday. I set a goal for 10,000, and I was able achieve this. This simple change in action has changed my life in a monumental way. It helped me reevaluated my exercise routine. I began driving less and walking more. I figured that in NYC, they walk. Why not walk in LA? By walking instead of driving mixed with my exercise routine, I am able to attain my goal on a daily basis. I also started a combination of spinning and yoga. I spin at Soul Cycle. This has added a whole new level of physical activity to my life. My favorite instructors at Soul Cycle in West Hollywood are David, Angela, and Rourke. Their words motivate me from spirit. They make me want to do the physical work even more. With yoga, my favorite instructors are Jake Ferree at Equinox and Aura Yoga and Matthew Reyes at Yoga Hop in Santa Monica. The last action that I took with my physical regime was that I have a personal trainer, Yancy Berry, at Equinox. I found that this helps me to keep a physical routine in place with weights. By taking these actions, I’ve been able to better align with the physical outcome that I desire.
Workouts for all budget levels – Walk, do the stairs at Montana and Ocean in Santa Monica, do weights at home and get some Body Bar DVDs
Connect through internal desire. I fell in love. One action that I took to attract the kind of love I was seeking was that I started focusing on what I wanted internally with a relationship versus just externally. I wanted spirit, intellect and joy. By understanding my internal desire, it helped to attract the type of relationship that I knew I wanted to experience. I like to believe that the universe hears us and brings us what we need when we’re ready. I met Chris when I was speaking at The Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii. I knew him for two years before we started dating. One of the things that I love about our love story is that had I not lost my job, I would never have created a business that led me to speak at The Big Island Film Festival, and I would not have met the love of my life.
In closing, there are so many actions that we can take to illicit change in our lives. Many of these actions involve little to no money and just doing the emotional work from within. I share my personal stories with you in hopes that they can inspire you to create the change you want in your own life. The key to changing your story is aligning your actions with the outcome you desire.
When it comes to your business or your life what is your message? This was the question in focus at the recent Experts Academy seminar. Eight hundred people gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara to learn from one of the top business trainers in the world who teaches how you can use your message to lead people to a higher place. Attendees came from every area of business and about a third of them came from countries around the globe. The energy was electric and contagious. The desire and hunger to learn more about this topic was palpable. The audience congregated to listen to one man, Brendon Burchard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book “The Millionaire Messenger.” I questioned whether one man could influence a group this size into tapping into their inner expertise so they could formulate their message and change the world in the process.
Brendon’s story is what drew me to this particular seminar. Brendon was able to take not one but several “all is lost” moments and transform them into an empire that is now an eight-figure business. Brendon’s “all is lost “moments included the breakup of a relationship, two car accidents (one which was nearly fatal), and going bankrupt early on in his career. His story demonstrates to me the strength of the human spirit. I am drawn to Brendon because of his authenticity, his results and his message.
Another motivator to take this course was to conduct research for my upcoming book “Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.” I wanted to see if seminars like this one could truly inspire change in people. I was a little skeptical at first but also hopeful. On a personal level, my hope was to gain insight into how I could expand my business, Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., from storytelling in the entertainment industry to storytelling in the business world. I believe in the power of my message to help entrepreneurs and business owners understand how to tell their story in a way that connects their message to their clients or customers on a higher level and leads to their desired end goal. During this seminar, I witnessed Brendon teach the entire audience how to take their messages to a whole new level of clarity and understanding.
Seeing Brendon’s style of teaching in action made me understand why he is making eight figures. He understands what it means to be an expert and a businessperson. He acts from his spirit, not his ego. His knowledge and the way he is able to express it is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life. He makes it all sound so simple. For example, he takes powerful taglines and repeats them over and over and has the audience repeat them as well. He conditions you for success by having you do constant exercises that help you absorb the lesson, gain confidence in your delivery, meet other people, and move through your fear. He has a gift for breaking everything down into a “framework” and taking you from not knowing or not being totally clear to understanding exactly what he means and how you can put it into place in your life and your business. You leave his seminars feeling like you can deliver your message, help move people to a higher place and create tremendous wealth in the process.
Brendon is a protégé of Tony Robbins. Tony’s message had a pivotal effect on the path of my career. His audio series empowered me to find my niche around 20 years ago and climb up the corporate ladder. It all started with setting a strong foundation of discipline and belief. Now, I love that someone who learned directly from Tony is teaching us all how to move our businesses to the next level through the power of our message.
I walked in feeling skeptical but hopeful and I left as a total believer. I am excited to apply all of the lessons I learned during the seminar to my own business. I will be attending future seminars because I believe in the power of Brendon’s message to effect change in individual lives and in the world. He awakened something in each person who attended. I can’t wait to see all that is going to evolve in my own life and the lives of others from this one seminar. I give so much gratitude for this experience. This event fit right into the concept I am exploring in my upcoming book: you have the power to change your story and change your life in the process.
The idea that we are all evolving or that we all have the ability to evolve to a higher consciousness is a hot topic in the media. Authors are taking us on a journey into a deeper awareness of ourselves. Lecturers are covering concepts like how to find joy and true happiness and how to help us lead a more authentic life. We are learning the lesson that all the answers lie within. We are discovering the beauty of looking inside ourselves instead of externally for our happiness. The concept of being able to find real fulfillment inside is a gift. It makes you feel all your prior hard knocks in life happened for a reason — to move you toward something greater. It seems that people of all ages are moving into this place of awareness. I question what the key is to evolve to this place since we all seem to arrive at different ages and points in our lives.
It feels as if there is an invisible realm full of guides who are keeping score of our individual falls and triumphs. It’s as if once our falls begin to outweigh our triumphs, we begin to evolve. We are humbled. We are vulnerable. We may first try to distract ourselves with things like work, exercise, shopping, alcohol, drugs or anything that numbs us to the pain. When we tire of the distractions, we finally are free to move toward something more meaningful. We reach for books, listen to talks, share authentic connections, attend concerts and the list goes on. Our intention is just to feel better; we may even be on the quest for a quick fix. But what we soon recognize is that there is no quick fix to evolving. In story, I coin this as the character shifting from ego to spirit after going through a number of obstacles. In life, I think we go through this shift from ego to spirit on a daily basis. If we are truly evolving, our friendship with the spirit grows stronger. The ego starts to lose ground and begins to feel neglected. This is when change begins.
When we begin to trust our instincts and our vision clears so we may see the full potential impact of our present-day choices on our future, we begin to transcend. When our pain outweighs our pleasure, something has to shift. We recognize that sometimes the choices we make positively or negatively affect others and as we evolve we become more aware and adept at thinking before making decisions. When we actually move into something more, we think about how our choices and our goals could help the greater good. We move into a heightened place of awareness or higher consciousness and we begin to absorb and interpret the sights, sounds and experiences of our life in a new, more evolved way.
I just returned home from a magical experience at a place called Miraval. It is just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. The buzzwords I heard at this place were “mindfulness”, “being present”, “finding your joy”, “breathe” and “moving in a more authentic direction”. The people vacationing there came full of stories and, more impressively, full of hope, as well as vulnerability. Miraval is one of those havens where people can go when they want to dig deeper into themselves and grow to a place of deeper awareness, a place of more. There are life-affirming lectures of all types, a huge array of spa services, every type of exercise imaginable and part of your daily room rate goes toward a massage. On top of that, the food is excellent, served in well-portioned, charming arrangements that are very reasonable calorie-wise. As if that was not enough, it is all-inclusive, except for the alcohol (i.e. once you pay the daily room rate, you do not have to tip). In other words, you can just let go and not worry about anything other than being present or breathing. Miraval also offers a wide array of activities (some of these are at an extra charge) that are designed to help you move past your fears and to feel the gift of evolving.
Since I am currently exploring this concept of how our goals cannot only benefit ourselves but the greater good as we evolve into something more, I plan to do a series of blogs that discuss some of the books that have fallen into my lap at the perfect time – those books that you read at the exact right time in your life – that explore this idea to help guide you to a stronger place of being. This is a message that benefits us all. It is an important one. We all have felt or feel the desire to evolve into something more.
It is amazing how art inspires art, in particular when you attend a film festival, take in each artist’s perspective, and you see what works and why it works. The experience awakens something inside of you that can help you further define your own art. This was an invaluable part of my experience at The Big Island Film Festival this past Memorial Day weekend. Whether I was watching a short film or feature length film, I could see the heart of each artist was out in the open, ready to be absorbed by those who were open to receiving the message behind the art. One of the incredibly talented filmmakers I met while there was Korrina Sehringer. Her feature length film, “Shouting Secrets” received The Audience Feature Choice Award.The film revolves around a gathering of an Indian family due to the illness of their mother. The Audience Short Choice Award went to the short film “Hi Honey” by Peter A.M. Henderson and Kelly Winsa; it’s a comedy that centers around a woman turning 40 who reflects on a romantic life of waiting and asking permission for what she needs. Both films were my favorites of the festival. It was inspiring seeing the films and the filmmakers gathered there to celebrate their accomplishments with one another.
Last year I was invited to attend this year’s festival and do a workshop called, “Writing The TV Spec and Pilot Script.” My journey took on an added twist when I contacted Leo Sears, the festival’s organizer, four days before my arrival. Leo told me that the celebrity honoree had dropped out due to last-minute family matters. In an effort to help Leo, I immediately told him to go to my website, look at the list of my Storywise Podcast Interviews, choose any of the writer/producers on the list and that I would see what I could do to get them there. Leo wrote me an email with DING, DING, DING in the subject line. In it, he said that the choice was right in front of him. He wanted me to step in to replace the celebrity honoree. This would mean that I would be honored at a reception and get first class treatment at the hotel reserved for the celebrity spot. I told Leo that I would love the opportunity and that I appreciated his invitation.
The idea of being the celebrity at a festival – while I was there to celebrate the accomplishment of others – brought a mix of emotions for me. I was replacing the handsome David James Elliott, so I knew there would be those who might be disappointed by his absence. My mom suggested that I open with the line, “I know that you’re all disappointed that he is not here, so am I.” Fortunately, I was welcomed with such open arms by Leo and his wife and co-organizer Jan, that I never had to do this. I arrived at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel and was taken to the “Gold” floor, where the concierge greeted me. Breakfast, cookies in the afternoon, and snacks in the early evening were all a part of this magnificent experience. The room was gorgeous and had a breathtaking view of the ocean. But not only was I there for the festival and to teach the workshop – I was there to write several chapters of my next book so the surroundings could not have been more ideal. Waking up to the ocean is a gift to any creative endeavor.
The morning after I arrived, I taught my class to a wide range of storytellers hungry to learn about TV. This made my heart very happy. As part of my seminar experience, I like to ask the group to take part in an exercise called “Log line for your Life.” The stories that came out in this group about what inspired their art really touched my heart. It made me remember once again why I love doing what I do. There is no greater experience than hearing stories from other artists about what inspired their art.
Every night of the film festival there were events that brought together filmmakers and filmgoers to celebrate one another and applaud the accomplishments that got them there. On the first night, the festival hosted a “Meet the Mayor” cocktail party. It was quite an experience. There were several other events including the reception for me plus another for fellow honoree and actress Eloise Mumford (THE RIVER). I attended all the events, because I knew I wanted to truly soak up the experience so that it could influence my own art and the writing of my book. My daily routine consisted of waking up at 4:00 a.m. and writing for 3 hours. Then, I’d take a two-mile walk on the beach and meditate. Then, I’d come back to have breakfast and write before I’d go to watch all the films. From a creative perspective, it was a dream situation to find inspiration.
I was honored to be interviewed by a couple of media outlets while at the festival including Dick Hershberger, who published a wonderful piece in the West Hawaii Today newspaper headlined, “Film Fest Honors Former TV Exec, Well-Known Story Consultant.” Another highlight was being interviewed by Damon Tucker, a popular blogger on the island. Going into this festival experience, I knew that I wanted to inspire all storytellers I came in contact with to draw from within and learn exactly what their truth is. I also wanted to share some stories and learning experiences I came away with from working with an iconic mentor, Aaron Spelling. It was such a beautiful and memorable experience.
To sum it all up, art inspires art. While at the festival, I watched over 25 films (some feature length but mostly short films). I also mingled with filmmakers and continued to discover what inspired their art. I’m happy to say that I wrote 17,000 words of my next book. Furthermore, I absorbed other artists’ message, I expressed my views, shared stories, I fine-tuned my message, and created my own art by listening to the heart of each artist.
Higher consciousness: Is this a state that we will all become familiar with? Is it part of our destiny? As an author and a Story/Career Consultant, I study and am fascinated by the concept of how we move from ego into a higher consciousness that benefits the greater good both in our lives and through the stories that we tell. How do we move into a higher consciousness? What has to happen in our lives? I’m always seeking to further understand this shift so that I can help writers identify the shift in their own lives, in order for them to know how to apply it to the stories they write. I feel that writing from a place of higher consciousness is the key to affecting universal change through story.
I have found, from reading about others who have gone through this kind of transformation, a common story point in the experience – what I refer to, both in life and in story, as the “all is lost” moment. In scriptwriting, this is a moment when the central character is as far away as possible from achieving his/her goal. In life, we hit this type of moment when our world appears to suddenly turn upside down. We lose our balance. Part of our journey back to balance, I am learning, is directly linked with reaching a higher consciousness.
To reach the desire to move toward a higher consciousness in my own life, I feel like I had to hit my “all is lost” moment; it came after losing a job that I had for 15 years with two sister companies. At that moment of loss, I realized that I had become married to my career after my divorce years before. When I lost my job, it felt as if I was going through a second divorce. In finding a new direction, I knew that I had to find something deeper that meant more, spiritually. It took me losing all that was (i.e., the past tied to ego) to motivate me into venturing into all that could be – the infinite space of possibility. I find that behind the personal stories of many authors/screenwriters, there is a moment like this that causes the same type of transcendence. This is why we connect to what they write.
L. Steven Sieden is the author of the book, A Fuller View: Buckminster Fuller’s Vision of Hope and Abundance For All, which explores the life shift of “Bucky” Fuller – a wise visionary, architect, inventor and motivational speaker ¬– after he hit an “all is lost” moment. For the first part of his life (before the shift), Bucky had served as an officer in the Navy during World War I. He got married and experienced the birth and untimely death of their first child. He then went through a major business and financial failure with his own construction company. As a result of that endeavor, Bucky lost all of his money as well as the investments of his friends and family. Sieden writes, “With the loss of his construction company and the birth of his second daughter, Allegra, Bucky found himself stranded with a young family in 1927 Chicago. He had no money, no job, no formal education beyond high school, a reputation as an unsuccessful businessman, and no prospects for the future.”
Sieden continues, “Extremely dejected, he seriously considered drowning himself in Lake Michigan. It was then that Bucky had the famous mystical experience that transformed his life. He realized that he did not belong to himself, and consequently, did not have the right to end his own life.” Then Sieden goes on to explain, “In that cosmic flash, Bucky suddenly understood that he (like every human being) belonged to Universe, and he committed himself to an experiment that provided the foundation and context for his every action and decision during the next fifty-six years. He decided to embark upon a lifelong experiment to determine and document what one average healthy individual with no college degree and no money could accomplish on behalf of all humankind that could not be achieved by any nation, business, organization, or institution, no matter how wealthy or powerful.”
Justine Willis Toms, guest commentator in Sieden’s book, adds, “One concept of Bucky’s that remains a touchstone for me over the years is that we can all be ‘trimtabs’ – that is, we can play a role in changing the course of things. A trimtab is a small device that is part of the rudder mechanism, which plays a crucial role in controlling the direction of a ship or an airplane. The metaphor was so important to him (Bucky) that ‘Call Me Trimtab,’ serves at the epitaph on his gravestone.”
DeAnne Hampton is the author of The New Human: Understanding Our Humanity Embracing Our Divinity. Explaining her own shift into a higher consciousness she writes, “As I began stepping back from my egoic restlessness and dropping into an emerging essence that responded to my anxiety with more inspired thought and creative possibility, I was given graceful mirrors within my routine that allowed my physical energy to grow in equal proportion to the conscious work that I was doing and engaging within the higher realms. Enthusiasm grew as I created the space for more nothingness to enter, accepting that as my consciousness expanded from within, my ego that enhanced itself from without would become extremely uncomfortable.”
DeAnne adds, “I began to seek a new counsel within that increasingly guided me in conscious action to balance doing with being. Curiously, without knowing what it was, friends and colleagues started noticing a new glow, a radiance emerging that I would come to understand as the light of my inner being, hungry for spaciousness and room to grow… I no longer belonged to my self, I was suddenly swept up by my own higher intent to know my Self: the formless, creative, intelligent force of my spiritual essence.”
I was mesmerized by these two depictions of the life shift into higher consciousness. These books helped to increase my own awareness and understanding of how better to teach the idea of transformation into a deeper place of being – a place where we can each become a “trimtab” and, in the process of doing so, effect change in ourselves and in the world.
“Alignment” is a word that intrigues me this month, and it is a term that’s becoming increasingly relevant in our cultural consciousness. The word has such a positive feeling to it. If we are “aligned” correctly, things just seem to work. This could pertain to self, to relationships, to business, to your car, to the planets…the list goes on and on. The challenge is figuring out what connotes proper alignment for you.
In story, I believe that you should start with a specific incident that throws your central character or characters out of alignment. What often follows is a series of escalating obstacles, a turning point and an “all is lost” moment, all compiling together to get the character back in line with his goal, aligning him with his destiny. Are you in alignment with your destiny?
In life, at any given moment, our world can turn upside down. Most of us go through periods when it feels like we may have taken a wrong turn. We often fall out of alignment with our core self. On a spiritual level, I believe that our gut instinct is there to help us get back into alignment.
Having clarity of intention is key. Do you know what your goals are? Do your actions really help you reach those goals? You have to learn to calm the chaos when you’re out of alignment in any given situation and properly judge what you need to do to get back into alignment. We can all be active in achieving our goals.
Start by aligning your self. Be true to who you are and what you want. Be willing to utilize and grow from your fear rather than empowering it and letting it deter you from getting to where you need to go.
In the book THE VORTEX: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships, Esther and Jerry Hicks explain the “30 Minute Energy-Alignment Process,” by writing, “In doing this Energy-alignment work, your point of attraction will not only yield to you activities and rendezvous with good feeling people, places, and things — but your ability to experience the delicious depth of them will be dramatically enhanced. Rather than doing things and going places to try to make yourself feel good, deliberately get to feeling good — and let all those things and people and places come to you.”
Adding depth and positivity to your life will help you be in proper alignment with your destiny, and that’s when you’ll begin to work towards your goals and things will start to fall into place.
As a Story Consultant, I am always on the search for words that add meaning and emotional depth to life experience. I came across two words that do just that in the book, ZEN HEART by Ezra Bayda, “Being Kindness.” Ezra writes, “We think that we need approval. We think that we need to be loved. But, as usual, we have it backward. As we mature spiritually, we discover that we don’t need to be loved–, the real need, if you want to call it that, is to love. To love, or to live from Being Kindness, means that we’re living from our natural being — from the Zen Heart. But to learn to live from our natural kindness, we usually have to work with what gets in the way, which, in large part, is our deep seated and pervasive need for approval.” These words have had such a profound affect on me as I experience the rush of the holidays. If we operate with the goal of being kindness, it opens up a world of possibility and allows us to experience things on a more positive level.
Recently, I saw the true effect of kindness. I am the Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge, a diversity program structured to prepare finalists for the experience of being staffed as a television writer. At the end of our last class, I wanted to leave each of the finalists with a positive thought. So, I had each person in the room describe one thing they loved about every other person in the room. It was a way to get them to express themselves in an open forum but to also tell each other what their thoughts are. It was a truly amazing experience. Seeing their faces light up as they received nothing but positive reinforcement is a moment that I will never forget.
Another great tip mentioned in ZEN HEART to keep in mind for the holidays is the “Three Breaths Practice.” Ezra writes, “The Three Breaths Practice involves injecting a conscious pause in the middle of our usual state of waking sleep, a pause that lasts for the duration of three full breaths. Here’s how it works, whenever you ‘come to’ for a moment, you make the conscious intention to stay there for at least three full breaths. You don’t necessarily focus on the breath itself, but bring awareness to your entire experience in the moment, whatever it may be.”
What if we went into the holidays and the New Year with “conscious intention” in everything we do? Whether it’s a meal with our family, a get together with friends, a party or even a business meeting, if we consciously think about what our intention is and how we would like to make the other people in the situation feel, the results could be a lot more fulfilling. The key to the success of your conscious intention is my favorite two words of the season, “Being Kindness.”
The journey from the corporate world to the private sector is a life affirming and worthwhile experience. It means going from a secure paycheck to relying on the belief that the universe will deliver. You learn more about yourself, your strengths and what you’re really made of while traveling down this path. In the book, WHAT WOULD GOOGLE DO?, Jeff Jarvis states, “We no longer need companies, institutions or government to organize us. We have the tools to organize ourselves. We can find each other and coalesce around political causes or bad companies or talent or business or ideas. We can share or sort our knowledge and behavior. We can communicate and come together in an instant. We also have new ethics and attitudes that spring from this new organization and change society in ways we cannot yet see, with openness, generosity, collaboration, efficiency. We are using the internet’s connective tissue to leap over borders..’
What does all of this mean to you? It means that there is no better time to start – to build something that is all yours and represents your beliefs, your knowledge and your values. It’s about finding your niche and cultivating it. You can create something from scratch. You can apply what you loved about your job and market it in a way that appeals to the masses. You can do what you love for a living. It is about believing.
My journey after being in the corporate world for over 15 years started with a course at Esalen in Big Sur called “Completions and Transitions” with Mary Goldenson, the author of, “It’s Time, No One’s Coming to Save You.” It was there that I was able to reconnect with myself, my core values and what I wanted in my life. Through many thought provoking exercises as well as being part of a great group, Mary helped me to see and believe that there was a way.
After that trip, I analyzed the market. I researched everyone and anyone who was doing anything similar to what I wanted to do. I looked at my own experience and made sure that my work background supported my company concept. I tapped into my relationships and set up informational meetings. I found a phenomenal website designer in Suzie Roth of Suzie Roth Designs. She has been my saving grace in this whole experience. From here, I started developing a brand. This was one of the most rewarding parts of my journey. What message did I want to send out about my business? I came up with Developing From Within, my belief being that the stronger we are inside, the more access we will have to our stories which makes us stronger creatively.
I am using my story to motivate you into believing. I’ve had so many people contact me wanting to get information on how they too can start their own businesses and redefine success on their terms. If this is right road for you, you can do it. The key is creating a niche that fits your background and work experience and then doing what it takes execute it with clear vision. The internet has been one of the most useful tools in my experience. Some of the websites that I find to be invaluable are; www.constantcontact.com, www.googleadwords.com, www.prwebdirect.com and www.summitconsulting.com. It is about focus, determination, courage, commitment to the process and discipline. Above all, belief in yourself is an ingredient you cannot do without. If you believe in this, anything can happen.