Finding What Make You Come Alive photo Shannon Cassidy

Finding What Makes You Come Alive

Do you look at what your organization or company needs and try to fill that need? Sounds like a wonderful practice, right?

Or do you look at what you have to offer and try to use that talent in helping your company?

Howard Thurman, an influential African American author, philosopher, and civil rights leader said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

Have you come alive in your gifts or talents? Do you use those in your occupation? Take a few minutes and think through these four questions. See if you can put your finger on what makes you come alive.

  1. What do I do with ease while others may struggle?

Just because it is easy does not mean it is your purpose, of course. But a good way to discover what gives you joy is looking at the tasks or assignments that come easily to you. In the same way, if you struggle with a certain ability, you can be sure it’s not something that makes you heart beat faster. Listing what you can do easily is a good place to start on the road to living fully.

  1. What are the compliments I have received more than once?

Your friends and family are a great resource you have for finding out what makes you come alive. Listen to them. They will probably tell you again and again if they notice that you are good at something. Ask those closest to you what they see you doing with exuberance and joy.

  1. What can I imagine doing for 10,000 hours?

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, quoted neurologist Daniel Levitin, “The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything.” So what could you imagine doing for that many hours – or what have you done that is on its way to 10,000 hours? If you’ve been spending that much time at it, it probably helps your heart come alive.

  1. What energizes me and what exhausts me?

List the activities or tasks you have done the past couple of weeks. Beside each, write “energize” or “exhaust.” As you look back and analyze your list, make note of any patterns. As you evaluate how you’ve felt after each task, the things you do that make you come alive will emerge.

Once you have realized what makes you come alive, use that knowledge to make your life, and the lives of those around you, more valuable. If you concentrate on what makes you fulfilled, you will naturally meet the needs of those around you, simply because you will be drawn to those needs. Rumi said, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.” The world needs our heart when it is made alive.



Are You Ready for a Big Change in Your Life? Shannon Cassidy photo

Are You Ready for a Big Change in Your Life?

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”—Leo Buscaglia

Many of us made New Year’s resolutions a few weeks ago. So many of us have been tempted by now to throw in the towel and quit. Many of us have.

It’s easy to make resolutions when the calendar says we should think about doing that. But how do we know we are truly ready to make a significant change?

Are You Ready for a Big Change in Your Life? Answer These Questions to Find Out.

Are You Going Through a Life Upheaval?

If you are experiencing an upheaval in your life, be it professional or personal, it is an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself. You can capitalize on the upheaval in one of two ways: learn while doing more of the same or take a new path. If you are having inklings that your need to find a new way, it is good to trust those instincts. A major life upheaval is nothing more than an invitation for growth while setting new strategies into place to make life what you want it to be.

Are You Tired of Merely Surviving?

Going to work, paying the bills and living day-to-day can get extremely frustrating, especially if you think there is more waiting for you. If you think this is you, you are probably ready for a change in your life.

Are You Bored?

We all get bored from time to time. But if you are experiencing boredom on a regular basis, it might be your heart and your mind begging you for a change in your life.

Lynn A. Robinson, M.Ed., is one of America’s leading experts on the topic of intuition. She has said, “Boredom is one of those messages from your intuition that change is needed. It’s a signal that your energy is being drained and that something new needs to happen.”

Do You Have Specific Goals?

A sign that says you are probably ready to change your life is that you have clearly identified your goals. You’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and you know you have goals.

So what are they? Do you have a personal interest you’d like to pursue? Are you looking to start a new career? Are you hoping to gain more skills? Are you wanting to start a small business? If you know what you want to achieve, then half the battle is already won.

Get some advice, research online, or choose a short course to introduce yourself to a network of people who might be able to inspire you and help you. If you have already identified your goals, then this is a sure sign that you are ready for a big change in your life.


Small Changes Big Results Ripple Effect photo Shannon Cassidy

Small Changes, Big Results

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa knew that change very rarely happens in big swooping gestures, but in smaller movements, often personal decisions. As a leader, you have the chance to make changes that could produce big results. But to be highly effective, those changes need to small and intentional.

Here are five small changes you can make that can lead to big results.

  1. Learn Something Every Day. The more you know, they healthier you tend to be. Reading articles online will grow your knowledge over time. Warren Buffet, one of the richest people in the world, is said to read over 500 pages a day just to learn. If you aren’t a reader, listen to books on tape or podcasts. This small change can add up to big results in your brain power and can also reverse any downward spirals in your thinking abilities.
  2. Do Something New. Sometimes work can feel like a rut or a grind and you might crave a change. Instead of making a big change like a new job, make a small change. Switch up your schedule. If you eat every day at the same time, try eating 30 minutes sooner or later. Try a new perfume or cologne. Fresh smells can create innovative sensory experiences which can make your day or week feel brand new.
  3. Bring Playfulness Into Your Day. Remember when you were 9 years old? What did you like to do? Try doing it again. Find a park and whizz down a slide or swing for a while. Maybe throw a football around or bake a cake from a recipe your mom always used. This kind of small change can slow down your life for a bit and hit reset. After recharging, your child-like energy will help you tackle your work in a new way.
  4. Change Your Speed-Dial List. If you have a top ten list on your phone that are made up of business-related people, maybe it’s time to reevaluate that list. Business situations change, so it is important to reevaluate your business priorities. Every time you look at what is important in your life, even if you only make small changes, you naturally reset your vision for your work or life, which usually results in positive growth.
  5. Change Your Surroundings. Your office often reflects who you are and where you have been. It might even reflect where you are going. If you want to grow, it is important to change your office. Life is full of adjustments and compromises and your office can be a vital reminder to you to move toward your goals.

The opportunities of a new path are open to you, but you must move forward in focus. Making these small changes can increase your focus and productivity. Like Mother Teresa, if you cast those stones across the water making small changes in your life, the results will creative positive ripples throughout your life.



Put Yourself Back in Leadership School

3 Ways to Put Yourself Back in Leadership School

It’s Fall!

New clothes, new folders and new sharpened number 2 pencils are signs that the bell for the first day of school has rung and kids everywhere are back in their desks and ready to go. Summer has ended and autumn has ushered in the season of change. It is time to learn.

But not just for children. As adults, it is important to keep learning new skills, be it for your current occupation, a new job or an old hobby. Acquiring new knowledge is especially important if you are, or want to be, a leader. Leaders are life-long learners. They know the importance of keeping up with the ever changing world we live in. How do they do it? How do adults who are not enrolled in an official class keep in school?

1.They Adopt a “Growth Mindset”

Liz Wiseman, a leadership expert and author of Rookie Smarts, advise those who want to study as adults to set their minds to learning. It’s akin to flipping a light switch to “on” that many adults leave in the “off” position. In the Harvard Business Review, in an article titled “How to Keep Learning and Still Have a Life” Wiseman notes that a predisposition to learning often gives inexperienced people an edge over their more seasoned colleagues. Flipping that switch to a “growth mindset” causes leaders/learners to prepare to receive and master new skills.

2. They Challenge Old Assumptions

Dr. Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, encourages learners to “jiggle their synapses a bit” by confronting thoughts that are opposite to their own. In doing so, you wrestle your brain connections and develop your learning abilities. Leaders who hang around with only those who agree with them and leaders who only read what they already know do not stay leaders for long. In “How to Train the Brain,” a New York Times article, writer Barbara Strauch stresses that stretching the brain is what keeps it in shape.

3. They Cultivate the Lessons of Failure  

Bill Gates, one of the world’s leaders of technology development, said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Leaders who continually enroll in learning make their failures their teachers. They look at their mistakes and instead of crumpling up those errors like bad homework and throwing them into the trashcan, they unfold the creases and study what they did wrong. Leaders learn from failure. As Thomas Edison famously stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

If you are a leader or aspire to be one, you must engage in learning. A mindset of growth will alert you to new lessons every day. Challenging old methods and beliefs will keep your brain sharp and ready to meet new tasks. And studying your failures will teach you fresh ways to succeed as well as make you a better leader. School is in session now. Get your brand new backpack that doesn’t smell of old lunches yet, and begin.


ready set go goal setting

Get Ready, Get Set, Goal! Achieving Success Through Goal Setting


Goals are an important part of life.  Whether working to become a better version of ourselves, desiring to improve relationships, seeking more fulfillment, or desiring greater success, goals keep us moving forward.  Few people actually take the time to set goals, and even fewer write them down.  But studies have proven that those who actually write down goals are largely successful as compared to those who don’t, let alone those who don’t have a clear sense of their goals.  Developing goals help us to attain a more desirable life, and to build self-confidence as we reflect on the concerted efforts we made to end up in a happier place than where we started.  Working to achieve goals provides a great sense of empowerment.

If you are ready to get on the path toward positive change in your life, getting those goals set and preparing to put them into action will be the key foundation to a stronger, more fulfilled you.  Are you ready?

Get Ready

In preparing to set your goals, it is important to look inward and consider what changes will truly make you happier.  The goals you make should be about you and your desires, and not what you perceive others may want out of you.  Consider what actually motivates you to be the best you that is possible.  Once these reflections are taken into account, begin by making a list of the changes or improvements that you would like to make and prioritize them.  Upon outlining the particular goals you have for yourself, it is time to set your goals, and yourself, up for success.

Get Set

In setting your goals, it is extremely important to articulate them positively. Don’t consider what you will lose; instead, focus on what you will gain.  For example, rather than stating that you would like to eat less junk-food, aim for eating healthfully. Rather than wanting less stress, focus on creating a more balanced lifestyle.  Framing goals in a positive light increases motivation, which leads to success and decreases self-criticism, which leads to defeat.

Secondly, it is important to clearly define your goals. For example, while desiring greater happiness is a great objective, to reach that end, the goal that you set must be not be vague.  What does happiness look like to you? What specific areas in your life can you take control of to create greater happiness?  Once you can clearly specify where you want to arrive at, you are nearly ready to set your goals in place.

A crucial element in setting goals is to ask yourself whether they are realistic and possible for you to attain.  Consider the steps you will need to take in order to reach those goals, and how long it may actually take for those steps to produce a possible outcome. Break big goals down into smaller ones, and set a time-limit that is possible to meet that goal so that you can measure your progress.

Once your specific, positive, realistic goals are written down, you are ready to take action.


Achieving your goals requires action, but if you are going to continue to move toward progress, you need to have prompts and markers in place.  Displaying your goals where you will see them throughout the day will encourage, remind, and motivate you to continue toward success.  Having a support system in place, where a friend, family member, or colleague can check in on your progress is equally important to keeping you accountable in moving forward.  Lastly, it is essential that successes – even small ones – are celebrated, ensuring you that betterment is possible.

Are you ready to make changes in your life? You are the only thing standing in the way. Go for it!