49. Courage

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela (7/18/1918-12/5/2013)

In this life we are constantly confronted with circumstances and situations which fear seems to lead us away from where our hearts were carrying us.  I know in my own experience it was fear that stopped me from taking a chance or investing my time in something I felt drawn to do.  I do not believe that fear will ever leave me completely but I know that my reaction to fear will dictate what I leave the universe in my wake.

I think that courage and bravery can come in so many ways, luckily there have been some incredible examples that have walked the path of courage before us to show how truly strong we can be.  I know the feeling I get on the other side of a challenge or an obstacle is such a great uplifting experience yet it still takes faith to conquer the next opportunity in my path.

Today I intend to face one of my biggest fears by leaning on the experiences of my fellows and my faith that I am making the right choice in my life.  By making a conscious decision in this moment I believe I am setting forth the motion needed to follow through on my commitment.  When it is time I will choose bravery over weakness and faith over fear, knowing the results will be exactly the way they are supposed to be.  It takes lots of risks to learn the truth about fear, today I will grow in understanding and effectiveness.

Affirmation: In this moment I choose courage over fear!!!

Call To Action:  I s there something in your life that you know inside yourself that you need to conquer?  Why not make today the day that you choose courage over fear?  The more courageous choices we make the better suited we will be to face the certain challenges ahead, today is the day to put in some practice and tell us how it goes so that we can all grow through each others experiences.

38. Teach The Positive

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Brooks Adams

During one of my clinical rotations I was assigned to a behavior health clinic. Teaching is one of the most important roles as a nurse, and one of our assignments was to teach “something” to an assigned group of patients. I was assigned to a group of young adolescents who exhibited signs of depression through the act of cutting. Knowing that many of these patients were not actually trying to kill themselves but were merely trying to mimic the physiological changes that occur with the sympathetic nervous system, I knew a standard power point or lecture would have been useless.

I needed to get them engaged and make them feel that fight or flight response through a non-life threatening outlet.  In an attempt to imitate the rush felt with the fight or flight response I gave them all an ice cube and instructed them to hold it tightly in their hand until it was completely melted.  At first they laughed, but as time went on they began to feel a familiar sensation, the sympathetic nervous system began to kick in. Their breaths became quicker and shallow and their hearts began to beat faster. During this time period we discussed the reasons behind the urge to cut, the way it made them feel during the act, how they felt after, and what they could do to replace the urge. I did the exercise with them, which developed trust, giving them the ability to open up and express their feelings with me. This was a simple, but compelling exercise because it gave them the power to stop without the repercussions of a life threatening scenario.

I was able to create a fun and engaged, but serious, learning environment providing tools that could help deviate from lethal masochistic behaviors. I will never know the true outcome from my teaching, but I am confident I made a positive influence.  I can think of so many times that a positive attitude made all the difference between weather I was able to accept a lesson or disregaurd it.  What I know today is that my role is to bring the most positive parts of my life experience to others so that they can experience some of the same joys that I do.

Affirmation: I am a teacher, and I will continue to positively influence those around me.

Call to Action: Make a vow to replace a negative action with a positive action in your life.  Follow this up with sharing your results with those around you, so they too can make a positive change that will have an affect on life’s eternity.

35. Engage

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”   — Leo Buscaglia

We all have an innate desire to be loved or feel important from the time we are born all the way through the time we die.  I use the word important synonymously for the word love because when we are feeling important we feel meaningful and significant which plays an important role in the intense emotion of love.

I am prior military, and I specifically remember this period in my life with an abundance of love. The first time I put on my uniform with crisp starched creases and spit shinned boats I held my head up higher than I have ever held it before.  I felt a surge of goose bumps make their way from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. My eyes began to swell with fluid and I knew if I blinked tears would stream down my face and it would show weakness, so I stared off into space without blinking and thought about how my actions will afford people the opportunity for freedom.  After boot camp I flew home in my uniform and strangers approached me and shook my hand, thanking me for my service.  To this day my response is the same. I blush, smile and nonchalantly say you’re welcome. This small gesture by these strangers made me feel loved and important; they made me feel like my existence had boundless meaning.

During my time of service my day-to-day life seemed routine. I felt I was living my life just like others my age, in reality I was experiencing a whole different way of living.  As a veteran people frequently ask me what my job was in the Navy. I explain that my rate or job title was a Boatswain’s Mate, and one of the duties is to drive the ship. Immediately they become enamored that someone so petite could do such a job. I further go on to explain that I was a master helmsman and that while I may be petite I can drive a nuclear aircraft carrier better than Vin Diesel can race a car in Fast and Furious.  Being able to reminisce over this period in my life I am able to realize and put into perspective all the accomplishments achieved, giving me a surge of significance. Without the innate desire to feel important and loved I would have never been able to obtain life with such meaning.

Small conversations such as these can make people feel their worth. Through worth, love can be empowering providing a building block for growth through positive energy.

Affirmation: Today I will make a stranger or a loved one feel important. I will put a genuine smile on their face and make them feel the energy that radiates from love.

Call to Action:  Engage in a conversation with someone you see frequently but whom you have never spoken with. When asking someone how their day is really take the time and engage in the conversation, ask questions and make them feel like they are the only living soul that matters for that moment. Let a stranger know that you appreciate who they are and what they do. Make those around you feel important.

34. Support

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Heads up CYLF family, today we are going to do some heavy lifting.

Right about the time I turned 15, for a number of reasons, I  began to obsess about suicide. It lasted for about 4-5 long dark months. Obviously I did not act on those thoughts, but they are near and dear to me today because I can relate to people that are suffering from those ideations.

The topic of suicide has entered my life the last three days which is odd because I do not dwell or discuss it often. Tuesday, during a meal with about 12 people, the epidemic of veterans committing suicide was discussed. Wednesday, I talked to a friend and we talked about the importance of support for people struggling with suicidal thoughts. Yesterday as I was driving home from a busy day this came on the radio.

In the 3 minute radio report Antoinette Tuff was able to talk to, and bond with a would be school shooter. She was able to make a real and personal connection through a quick conversation about suicide. About a minute into the report I started bawling as I was driving down the interstate.

It might have been because I was tired, hungry, or maybe all those memories of the 15 year-old me came rushing back. The two profound facts is that Mrs. Huff continued talking to this man even with a gun in his hand, and she told him she loved him. It was a true example of love for a complete stranger.

If you are struggling with this here is a link to find help. The organization is called To Write Love On Her Arms.

We can make a difference. Through connection, love, and understanding we are able to show each other life can be bigger than any material gift or possession.

Affirmation: Today I connect with my fellows through Love in order to understand them better. The collective, we will hold and raise each other up.

Call to Action: Make an effort to reach out to another human being. Call an old friend, buy a stranger a meal, or say thank you to a co-worker for something. We never know when our positivity and enthusiasm towards life will touch another’s soul. Please share how someone has touched your soul, or how you were able to make a difference for someone.

33. Willingness

“The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.” – Barbara Sher

Over the last week I have been in constant thought about the idea of willingness.  I had heard a story about how Socrates tested Plato’s willingness to seek knowledge by drowning him.  To only explain that it would not be until he was as willing to fight for knowledge in the way that he was fighting for breath could he continue to learn.  This example at first glance seems a harsh way to get a message across but it carries so much weight for me right now.

I believe today that I can effectively create just about anything I want out of life.  This belief comes from all of the changes that I have seen manifest over the last several years of putting change at the forefront of my life experience.  Without a doubt every avenue which I have taken the time to identify, the willingness to change it and the effort required I have gotten results and my life has gotten better,  As I write this now I can see several other areas where I feel change could be good.

If I honestly ask myself why I am in the same place I was when I recognized that a change would be desirable in certain areas the answer becomes very clear.  I simply have not become willing enough to work on them.  I may talk about them and start to believe the lie that I am doing all that is necessary to change them, but I am not.  If I really want a change in any area of my life I need to consider the lesson that Plato learned that day.  If I truely want my current situation to change I should focus on it with the willingness of a drowning man.  Only at that point can I say that I gave it everything I had.

Affirmation: In this moment I am willing to do the next right action.  (immediately followed by action)

Call To Action:  Years ago I would talk about wanting to get back in shape and I never did yet I would complain about my physical status and make excuses.  At some point the excuses got old and something needed to be changed.  I worked on one thing, being willing.  Willingness brought on a commitment that has not left me since.  What are you still waivering on?  Are you being honest about your effort?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get the result you want?  Please share your experiences with us.

29. Experience

“What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print.” – Isadora Duncan

Last weekend at a resort in Phoenix Arizona several thousand people gathered together to celebrate their lives and inspire the lives of others.  I was blessed to be a part of the planning and culmination of this event and could not be more proud of the results that were apparent throughout and after the weekend had passed.  Part of my job in putting this event together was to get the word out to people so they would not miss out on the experience of being a part of something so big and beautiful.  I recognized I can share a concept and an idea, I can do it with love and enthusiasm, but a concept will never have as much weight as an experience.

My life today is so much different than when I was younger, thanks to some very vivid experiences I have been graced with.  These experiences gave me the ability to see how my choices were giving me a life I no longer wanted.  When I look at my life in reverse, all of the great changes have taken place came as a result of some experience that opened a window of willingness to take action for a change.  I often see people who are begging and pleading for a change and I do my best to tell them how the changes in my life have taken place. Sometimes, I feel so strongly about these things that I want to scream at the top of my lungs to help inspire someone but then, like this weekend, I am reminded if the words could help someone change then no one would have issues or problems.

I know today, life is what I make of it and the best I can do is help others get out in the world to have their own experiences.  My life happens out in the world and the only way I can capitalize on that is by becoming a part of it as much as I can.  The world is waiting for all of us when we step away from this page.  With a little bit of action maybe this will be the Friday that you truly change your life.

Affirmation: A good life is not just a concept; today I will take the action to make it my actual experience.

Call to Action: This is the juice as my friend would say.  Every week we share an idea that can inspire change.  What this week calls for is going out and being that change and sharing with us the results.  I know what my next step is and today I am going to choose to take it, the result will be an experience that I can build on to.  The world is waiting for you.

19. Do What You Love

Do what you love, you will be better at it.  It sounds pretty simple but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this right away.  -LL Cool J

One night last week I was down at the ballpark enjoying America’s past time.  The home team was winning so I had a smile on my face.  We were sitting in the bleachers and had some hot dogs; not too bad for 20 bucks. At our stadium they have a big 50/50 raffle that I tend to donate to, there are employees of the park that walk around the isles during the game and help sell tickets to raise money for their cause and also for the cause of one lucky winner.  When the man came by this week I knew I recognized him but could not place him right away.  He looked really happy and I realized that’s why I was having trouble placing him. It was an old roommate of mine and the whole time I lived with him he never looked happy. Sure he smiled, he was happy at times, but his overall demeanor was less than thrilled on a regular basis.

I was so taken back with his 180 degree personality shift I wasn’t really sure how to react. When he came back around later on in the game and I told him he looked really good and really happy. He replied, “That’s cause I love this job! I have always wanted to work for a baseball team.” He went on to tell me he wanted to work for another team eventually, but for 162 days a year he works at his dream job. He doesn’t have the position he hopes to have someday but he is very happy to have his entry-level job.

I think about how he looked when I lived with him and how he looked at his new job and at first thought I am amazed. When I took some time to think about what he said and the situation as a whole It really rang true what they say, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life again.”  I am following my dreams today which was not always the case and I am certainly not yet where I want to be but I have started to take the first steps to my dream, just as my old roommate has.  My truth today is the same as his, I am doing what I always wanted to do and it makes me happy.

Affirmation:  I am now willing to let my fears fall free me so that I can start to be who I always wanted to be.

Call to Action: I think it is very easy to get stuck in a situation that is “good enough” and never take that risk to follow our dreams.  All dreams that are realized start with small steps and commitment to the path that it takes to get there.  I know you have some dreams, maybe today is the day that you take the first step and feel some of the joy that comes with doing what you want.

job love

14. Winner

“The odd were against us, but we deserve to be where we are.” – Steve Gerrard

I was struck by an amazing thought the other day while I was out for a run on a beautiful afternoon.  It came like a flash, and I was filled with this sense of duty and purpose, in that moment I was at perfect peace and was fully aware of the greatness of my life and experience.  The thought that I had was simple and I know that I have had it before but like most things it would stay for a bit and then fade, as a result I would forget one of the most amazing things that truly can inspire me at any moment. The thought “I am truly blessed to be alive, the chances of me getting to be must be astronomical.”  What I knew after thinking that was that I am grateful for this chance today and this experience and I want to make sure that I am showing that gratitude in every moment of my life.

For the past week or so I have been revisiting this idea, enjoying the feeling that comes when I think about how special I really am to have this chance to experience life and also how special everyone else is who has gotten their chance as well.  As usual I wanted to look a bit deeper into what the odds really are, did I really hit the lottery already? Have I already been granted the greatest gift the universe can bestow.  So I hit the internet up for some answers.  First I would like to say that I have gambled in my life and I know that a 1 out of 100 chance is pretty poor odds.  Furthermore my chances of winning the powerball seem so unlikely but they are around 1 in 175,223,510.  Now my odds of being born at this time in history are about 1 in 6000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000, that is 100 zeros if you wanna count.  I would call that the not a snowballs chance in hell number.

But here I am!  Writing this to you and there you are.  We are the winners!  We are enjoying this thing called life. Life is filled with all sorts of experiences but it seems that when I take this idea of how fortunate I am into them, regardless of how they make me feel in a moment, I am still one of the biggest winners this world has ever known.  It seems so easy to get down and live completely separated from gratitude for this gift, but constant recognition of this divine miracle seems to be an amazing way to connect to what is the real truth in this world; You are so special and amazing beyond measure, you make a 1 in a million chance seem like child’s play.

Affirmation:  I am so blessed to be right here right now.

Call to Action: Take some time throughout the next several days to feel how special you are.  With that feeling in mind how will you celebrate your victory?

13. Step to the Plate


“God gets you to the plate, but once you are there you’re on your own.”

-Ted Williams

Spring is officially here, which is easily my favorite season. Not only because of the weather, but every spring brings us a new baseball season. If you’re like me when you are watching the art of baseball everything just seems right in the world. The perfection displayed on a baseball diamond is a magnificent thing to witness.

Watching the game is one thing, participating is another.  I am writing this because a few days ago, not on the ball field but in the game of life, I was thrown a curveball. The end result was a big swing and a miss.  I immediately found myself irritated, frustrated and mad.  Why did I deserve this curveball?  I try to participate in life everyday and do my best to grow as a person at the same time embracing the the life I have been given.  I thought how dare I get this for my efforts?

After stepping back and reviewing the situation with some close friends of mine I realized that I was not unhappy with the curveball, I was unhappy with myself for not being prepared for it.  After all, is not life full of curveballs?  I would be naive to think that life is full of nothing but fastballs right down the middle of the plate.  Therefore I found myself asking why was I not prepared for the curve?

Upon a little more reflection I also realized that my life is full of fastballs right down the middle.  My problem had become that I was not embracing them as I had thought I was.  I was not swinging for the fences of life.   Today I will fully embrace the easy fastballs that life deals me and be aware to not take them for granted.  I will also prepare myself for that big sweeping curve that will someday come my way again.  With some simple practices of gratitude and humility I will fully participate in all aspects of my life.  With some action and practice no matter fastball or curveball I will always swing for the fences.

Affirmation:  I am ready and prepared for anything that comes my way today because in this moment I am whole, loved and supported.

Call to Action:  It is easy to see how an unplanned and unpredictable situation can really startle us in life but it really is through those times that we get a check as to how rightly we are living.  Have you had any curveballs thrown your way lately?  If so how did you adjust to get a better perspective on them?  Please share so that we all can follow your footsteps of growth and change.

In continuation of building our community of inspiration, I hope you enjoyed our third guest submission. This year, the last Friday of each month a guest writer will have their submission posted.  If you have a thought, stance or story to share please send it to our email @ changeyourlifefriday@gmail.com

12. Connecting

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last weekend I had the chance to travel through several states and log many miles with a group of people in a van.  Over the course of the weekend we were able to go through several stages of growth together since we all had a common goal on our journey.  At the beginning of the trip it was a bit awkward because the group was comprised of 11 people who knew each other mostly as acquaintances.  At some point everyone in the van started to get out of their shells through accepting the group and the role that we all had collectively as well as individually.  The music inspired conversation which turned into jokes and joy for everyone involved.  At some point we also came up with a chant made us smile and turned some heads which finished with the phrase, “No Regrets.” We continued to bond and by the time we returned it seemed that we didn’t want to part since our conversations continued to deepen throughout the journey.

Over the past several days since the trip we have all seemingly found reasons to get together and relive the moments that we shared on our trip and also make new memories together.  I really feel that once we all started to let our guard down and talk about our lives honestly and from the heart our little community began to bond in a very beautiful way.  The most interesting part to me when I look at this experience from the outside is how we all grew once we freed ourselves from judgement and accepted each other and our mission.

I think the lesson that I learned and that I want to share with you is that I find so much growth for myself through the times I spend with others.  I also find that there is not much that is more inspirational than to see someone else grow and change in front of my eyes.  When we left I am certain that we were all thinking about our goal for the trip but I feel that it was in the journey that we found the most growth.  The only way that this can happen though is to get involved and take an active role in the lives that we have been given.  I am so proud of my new crew that took that chance at being uncomfortable and put themselves in a position to show me once again that I am completed by the people that I surround myself with.  Thank you all for being a part of my experience, I love my CYLfriday crew, No Regrets!

Affirmation: Today I embrace my journey. I make memories and connections with all who I come in contact with. I love the idea that all people can be old friends when I let them in.

Call To Action: Share with us a recent time that you have had deep meaningful conversation with someone other that a dear friend. When was the last time you were vulnerable, and the result was something unpredictable and beautiful?

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