“Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.” -Dale Turner

My heart sinks every time I talk to my brother because his life is under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol has become his out, his “honest communication,” his excuse, his best & only friend, his world away from his reality. He is almost fifty years old and literally has become an alcoholic within the last ten years. How does that even happen? He didn’t even drink before that! What!?! Conversations with him have turned family against him, his children don’t talk to him anymore and he is creating more and more of a burnt bridge to anywhere he remotely is. Slowly but surely no one will be able to reach him. It is a sad reality.

I thought about the phrase, “Under the Influence,” and it began to hit me that life is a constant influence. What influences are you allowing to rule? What influences are you living? Are you an influence for good? Are you under the influence of light or darkness? Are you under the influence of good or bad relationships? Are you under the influence of addictions, whether they are food, shopping, drugs, lying, drinking, media time, gaming, etc. It is even easier to get sucked in to various avenues of influence because the world seems to attract the weaknesses that exist within us.

Would you say that you are aware of your influence? How are you around other people? What kind of energy do you carry? Do you lift and build or pull others down? Do you judge or shame? Do you gossip or hate? What do you say to others? Are you an influence of positive or negative? Think about it.

Again, what influences are you under? What influence are you? What influences you? good or bad. Look at your life.

My brother who has a drinking problem has been in a very serious life eddy and it has been hard for anyone in our family to pull him out. He drinks and drinks, sends text that say F*** you to my dear mother and other family. He has no respect for others and it is so hard to see him spiral under such an influence. He often uses the excuse, “it makes me be honest with my feelings.” He will call me so drunk and never remember our conversation. It is so hard. But, the saddest part is how it has ruined his relationships with his children. He could be such a positive influence within their life, but he chooses alcohol every time. It is a vicious cycle of such a mind-numbing, life-stealing, heart-breaking, addictive influence.

What is influencing your life??

How are you spending your time?

Be selective of who you spend time with, what you do with your time, where you spend your money, what influences you allow in…what you are filling your life with. Every single decision you make…it is a choice. It will have a direct influence on you, whether it is good or bad. Think of it like this. Do you think you will feel better by getting lost on social media for hours or taking one of you kids out for a one-on-one dinner conversation. What about tv time—would it be better spent getting lost in a reality show of hot bodies all vying for shallow intent or a documentary where you will learn something and expand your mind? Honestly, influences are all around you, so you have to be aware and make daily decisions on how, what, where and when your influences will sway you for your life.

“In every day, there are 1440 minutes. That means we have 1, 440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” -Les Brown

“We have a responsibility to influence the people in our lives to be the best possible people they can be: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” -Henry Cloud

I have talked to my daughter numerous times about this topic. She is in her second year in college and the campus she is on has been a challenge on various levels. My daughter is a very outgoing, bubbly, positive light of a person, but the time she has been there has been very lonely. She has found people don’t have the social skills to reciprocate her positive energy. She is constantly filling up other people with kindness, compliments, connections, bringing people together, planning gatherings, etc. Only to have everything feel very one-sided. It has been very tough.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” -Napoleon Hill

We had a conversation about influence and how she needs to just keep trying to be that positive influence, to continue shining a light and doing those things that will help fuel good…to plant good seeds within those people around her. She continues to strive to just be an influence for good. Sometimes you just have to plant the seed and have patience that it will grow into beautiful things across the campus. She is a leader, so it is in her nature to influence for good. It is a great gift that she has been given. Sometimes it might be hard to open the gift, but with the right intentions—good things come.

How can you be a positive influence for others? According to the Keller Institute, There is an ever-increasing epidemic of unhappiness in the world. There are 580,000,000 people Googling “How to be happy?” People complain, find fault, reject, criticize, and ridicule. Often for no reason other than they have found this the best way to get attention. Or perhaps they believe this is their only option for action. But there is another way to get attention or to find additional options. You can get others to respond to you with excitement and eagerness. How? By using positive influence. Positive influence is the impact you have on another person (AND yourself) by pointing out strengths and virtues. It is how you are, what you do, and the power you have on others to value what is best within themselves. Positive influence helps a person be better today than they were yesterday.

“If you can’t be your authentic self, you are connecting with the wrong people, they are wasting your time and holding you back. Meaningful connections require you to be your authentic self.” -Dr Henry Cloud

Strive for authentic connections. Ask people great questions, be genuinely interested in their life/stories, seek to understand their personal journey. Find those stepping stones through care and conversation that will bring authentic connection. I am always talking to my daughter telling her that questions are the building blocks to friendships, deeper relationships, etc. She is always afraid to ask deeper questions and I continue to push her to that authentic part of her that is vulnerable to share and let others in. We are all a work in progress, but with those connections comes greater influence, respect, care and deeper authenticity as a person.

Be positive. Be aware of the energy you carry. Do people truly want to listen or be around people who complain, vent, brag, negatively gossip about others, put down people in conversations, etc. Do your best to keep your conversations in a positive direction, listen, build, be aware of the energy and influence that you are sharing. You can FEEL what you are giving off or sharing with others. Is it good or bad?

Be kind instead of needing to be right. We are human. Everyone wants to be right, but being right is always putting yourself first and not listening or being aware of another person’s needs, voice or feelings. Kindness comes in as a equal.

Lead by example. I always tell my daughter, “Be the kind of friend you would want.” Begin with you. Put good out into the world, lead with love and others will notice and follow your example.

Be exquisitely present. How you listen, they way you resist the urge to talk over someone, avoid distractions (phone, texts, other people, etc), your eye contact, the genuine care you place in your conversations will make people feel seen and heard. Your influence with them will be reflected. It is the golden rule…treat others how you would like to be treated. It goes the same for being present with someone…listen with intent, truly listen to what is being said, don’t think about your response, just BE there with the other person.

“By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.” -Edwin Elliot

Do you. When you are freely sharing your gifts, your enthusiasm, your light….then it also allows other people to see your vulnerability and feel like they can be more themself. When people can be who they authentically are, that is when things begin to change, which leads to groups of people using their gifts and talents, which brings greater influence and bigger changes.

Share your purpose. Thousands of people today don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life.  And others believe in a life purpose but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it.  Those with positive influence feel otherwise.  They have found that there is a purpose to their life, and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “mess into a message,” or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others.  People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside – unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this time. -Forbes. Love that! mess into message.

Always be a beginner. I love this idea…to always be learning and growing…always a beginner of something. I have lived most of my life this way. I LOVE learning and have challenged myself to take various community education classes to grow. Whether it has been teaching a yoga class, taking a photography trip with strangers, meditation, writing, art, Irish dancing, Sailing, etc. There are so many things to learn in this life…that is an incredible influence, in itself. You can always be learning and loving the process of becoming better by just beginning.

Share your visions and ideas. The world only changes by the ideas and visions we can create. Nothing changes without the influence of artists, creators, visionaries, those willing to expand their thinking and share it with others.

“YOU have the power to make a favorable. impact and a positive difference in the world just by being YOU.”

Those are a few ideas to get you influencing others. But the real work begins with you and what influences you are under and how they effect your world. Look at where you are, what you want from life and be selective in the process of what you allow into your life. The people, the circumstances, the environments, the choices, the mindset, your self-talk, the way you communicate, the way you dress, the way you live…there is an influence in all things—be aware and choose the best directions for your life. It is your life. Make it the best possible adventure you can live. It begins with YOU.

xoxo Peace, Love and Light to you. -H

Little things BIG wins

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things. -Charles Chestnutt

Today is a great day to share some personal gems I have come across in the past week. The picture above illustrates that so well. When you find little treasures on a beach, you pile them in your pockets and carry them home. I do that with rocks, agates and life gems of wisdom that seem to endlessly abound from so many great places. Seek and find them. Here are some of my favorites I found. enjoy!

My husband and I have been listening to Matthew McConaughey’s book, Greenlights while we have been commuting here and there through life. It has been a fun ride learning about his journey. At one point he was talking about roofs and how they are a man made thing and that we need to not create ceilings for ourselves, the dreams we have, the lives we live. We need to look beyond.

Reach beyond your grasp. 
Have immortal finish lines and 
turn your red light green 
because a roof is a man made thing.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

I love this thought, of how we, as individuals seem to construct personal limitations of what we can do. We begin to tell ourselves that we can only rise so high or go so far in life. That if we step beyond our own boundaries we will not be safe. We begin the life lies that end up ruining so much that life has to offer. When we begin to believe that we are powerful beyond measure, that is when miracles begin and life opens doors to greater places within us. Love that. DONT put a ceiling on yourself. Reach beyond within your own mind for those higher places your seek.

The easiest way is to dissect success, is through gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working. Appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969

Gratitude has this incredible power to almost fix anything. When we feel an energy lag in our life or feel things are not going quite right or we hear complaints or whines—-gratitude has a beautiful chime that can wash away and change the energy in a moment. It is almost like an instant switch, a brighter light that turns on a new perspective, a greater awareness, a place that awaits for a simple, thank you to help balance everything.

We are all made for every moment we encounter. Whether the moment makes us or we make the moment. Whether we are helpless in it or on top of it, the predator or the prey, we are made for that moment.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

A few of our family mottos: Just show up and play full out. Always do you. Say yes to things that will challenge or help you grow and always look for opportunities to be of service–especially when we get stuck in ourselves. Life is a series of moments & it is how you make them, how you respond, what you say in the moments and the feelings you follow. Life can try to trip you up, throw curves and hurdles, highs and low points, but it is how you handle it. Do you come out stronger? Do you break, but then figure out how to rebuild a little better and brighter. It is also more importantly, the energy you carry and live by. As Matthew says, the predator or the prey, your energy of who you are, what you allow to propel you, the insecurities you let own you, the thoughts you think, all play a factor in your life. You either make the moments count to your best ability or you don’t. You walk away feeling energized or you feel let down by the encounter or experience. Moment by moment, life takes you on a ride, it is how you live it that makes the moments matter most.

Those were a few of my favorite lines. The book is full of fun stories, wild rides, colorful language, great insights, an enjoyable read. The audio book is Matthew reading, so he makes the stories truly come to life. Highly recommend–you will take away some good things for your own life. Even his energy and charisma is contagious.

Speaking of CHARISMA—this takes me to another treasure to share. A podcast, called The Good Life Project. This is a great place to find incredible interviews with all types of people who have come from various places, projects, books, institutes, award winners, etc. You will definitely find some worthwhile interviews of great things to learn.

I recently listened to the podcast with Zoe Chance, teacher at Yale, author of Influence is your Superpower. When I ask people which influence skill they’d like to develop, the most common response by far is “charisma.” When I ask them to define it, they tell me, “It means people pay attention to you” or “It means you have a lot of presence.” But why do we pay attention to charismatic people? What are they doing? A dictionary definition of charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others,” but as a tool for influence, that language is awfully vague. Yes, charisma gets people to pay attention to you, but it’s not just any kind of attention. You wouldn’t say a guy running through the office in his underwear is charismatic. People who try to make themselves the center of attention just become annoying.

The first paradox of charisma is that trying to be charismatic has the opposite effect.

Most of us, most of the time, aren’t consciously trying to be the center of attention. But we can fall into this trap subconsciously, focusing on ourselves in ways that are anti-charismatic. Humor me for a moment and try this exercise.

In each row below, guess which group uses the word “I” more often.

Leaders…or followers?

Older people…or younger people?

Richer people…or poorer people?

Happy people…or depressed people?

Angry people…or fearful people?

Better students…or worse students?

Men…or women?

According to analyses of formal and informal conversations, speeches, emails, and other written documents, people in the groups listed on the right-hand side tend to use “I” and other first-person pronouns more frequently and by a large margin. In a book called The Secret Life of Pronouns. He found that people who feel they have less power or lower status tend to use more self-referential language. Sometimes the gap has a basis in reality—followers must take orders from leaders, and the poor are less powerful than the rich. But unconscious linguistic patterns derive more precisely from feelings of personal power—or lack thereof. -Yale Insights

A few of her other tips: Just ask for what you want, Be okay with saying No and the magic question to always get what you need…WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?

To be a BIG INFLUENCER, she says to do one thing with every person you encounter—CHOOSE to like them. It may be hard, but find SOMETHING to appreciate about that person.

Finding a Happy, HEALTHY BALANCE with Positive Psychology. Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project also shared some great tips about a MODEL FOR NOURISHING…a well being theory called PERMAV [Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishments, Vitality]

Pursuing these things is the best way to happiness…not just pursuing happiness.

POSITIVE EMOTIONS: Negative emotions are inevitable but you need to learn how to move through it to avoid getting stuck in this state.

ENGAGEMENT: Being fully absorbed. Finding flow in something you are aligned with. Ask yourself, “What makes me lose track of time?” Do more of that!

RELATIONSHIPS: Studies show LOVE is the key ingredient for positive relationships. Those can be chosen family, biological, friends, partners…romantic love, companions, compassionate love (could be a stranger you feel empathy or compassion for), attachment (relationship for a length of time–ease or connection) He suggested doing an exercise of Arthur Erin—2 people, 36 questions that connect. He also suggested doing a Friendship Text Roulette—flip randomly through your contacts and send out a loving message(s).

MEANING: Purpose. In service of others, something that benefits something or someone beyond yourself. You will experience the Givers Glow.

ACCOMPLISHMENT: or Achievement. We are more alive and better beings when we are actively setting a goal or seeking to achieve or do something. The movement towards something that allows us to feel we are alive and on purpose. The feeling of progress and competence is incredibly powerful. Accomplishing things that truly matter to you as an individual. Not just going up some ladder of success. Doing the things that matter to YOU. It is about rising up your own ladder. Accomplishemnt tied to a personal reason of why is what we are looking for.

The above is all BRAIN, thoughts….But what about the BODY? You need to have the body in alignment with the thoughts and actions or you are missing something huge. They feed back to one another and if you don’t connect the two, it will be a dis-service to you truly feeling alive and flourishing. That is why they added VITALITY.

VITALITY: The feedback mechanism. The way the mind and body communicate with each other. So, what can we do for the body to help it truly come alive? It all comes back to simplicity. No hacks, new pill or diet fad–the basics. Nutrition and nourishment—how we FEED the body. Also, MOVEMENT. We are not built to be still…not moving. Have some MIND STILLING practics and good SLEEP.

ALL good TREASURES to be found. Little things that can make an overall BIG difference in our lives. DO GOOD. BE GOOD. LIVE WELL.

Peace. Love and Light to you. Always SEEK good things that lead to HAPPINESS. -H

Are you an ‘influencer’?

unnamed-1Yesterday I heard a very thought-inspiring phrase said by a character on a television show. There was dialogue about someone being a “follower” to a blog and the other person stating, “I am more a leader.”

I LOVED that.

In this day and age there are so many new social media lingos, trends, “influencers”, your “audience.” People have their own “avatar” that represents who they are or what they look like. You also see what people are “feeding” (different streams of content) to others. We have “tags” and we have phrases like FOMO (fear of missing out). The list goes on and on in the social media avenues.

My question—what influences YOU?

Are you among the crowd that spends hours on social media outlets to get lost in the “compare and dispair” situations. Do you see what old friends are up to and it fuels different emotions or feelings about what they are doing or where they are in their life. OR do you find inspiration in various videos that are shared? What influences you?

There are so many influences going on in our world at the moment. We are connected via social media more than ever because it has become almost a necessity. We have been locked in our homes for months. We have this ongoing fear of unknown illnesses. We have bands of people hurt and struggling to make sense of so many struggles from race to racing to leave areas that are full of fear and rage. There is anger. There is hope. There are an abundance of feelings that are bubbling to the surface of this little planet and the people in it.


51y+Z1ukSKL._AC_SY400_My question—what can you do? You are just one person. 

ONE person who can heal. ONE person who can send LOVE. ONE person who can be LIGHT. ONE person who can love over fear. ONE person who can have HOPE. One person who CAN and will INFLUENCE in either LOVE or FEAR. It is YOUR decision. How you live is influencing more than you know. Begin with people around you—send LOVE and LIGHT in all you do and that will begin a beautiful ripple effect…or a butterfly effect.

Well…have your heard of the BUTTERFLY EFFECT? EveryTHING has an effect. The question is, Will you have positive or negative effects?  Will your purpose be from your personal truth?

I LOVE Andy Andrews work & in this clip he tells about the butterfly effect. Its amazing! Its a ten minute clip worth the watch. He also has many incredible books that weave true stories with life lessons.


PLEASE WATCH THAT VIDEO!! It is exactly what YOU need TODAY. YOU have INFLUENCE. LIVE your TRUTH. Follow your heart in LOVE not FEAR.

Peace be with you today and always.

xoxo  -H

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