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I love sharing the knowledge that I’m able to receive through the various programs and events that I attend. Perhaps these nuggets of wisdom will spark something within you?
 
Miguel “Mike” Fernandez is one of the most successful men I’ve personally met. You can certainly define his success by his many titles, businesses (existing and sold), and even perhaps by his billions. These are all certainly measures of success, especially for a Cuban-born boy of hard-working, modest parents. However, I prefer to value his success by his story—one of determination and persistence; vision and execution, and mostly, passion for his family and doing great good in the world. Perhaps I was even more moved by it because just like my mother (and other relatives), he came to U.S. during the “Pedro Pan” movement, where children came to start a life away from their parents, due to the turmoil in Cuba. In fact, he came the same year and at the same age as my mom. Heck, they were probably in a few photos together! 
 
Mike is the founder of MBF Healthcare Partners (a private equity firm), and (especially) locally, known for founding CarePlus Health Plans and Simply Healthcare Plans; his acquisition of Navarro Discount Pharmacies, and his deep involvement with Niklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly Miami Children’s Hospital).
 
The purpose of his talk on campus was to share his new book, Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons for My Family…And Yours, which he claims he reluctantly wrote due to the urgings of others. Although I have not yet read it (I will!), I can see why his family and other close business partners wanted him to write it. Just like most of us, he’s got a really great story—one which undoubtedly will inspire others who want to achieve great success while living a meaningful life of impact. He almost died at a young age when his parachute didn’t open, and he’s battled multiple diseases. At the foundation of the book, however, is his journey on the Camino de Santiago, a path known to be taken by those on a spiritual quest. In 2014 alone, 237,886 people made the pilgrimage across Spain. It’s 500 miles in length and can take 30-40 days to complete. Most people don’t finish it. Mike did finish it, and had a wonderful reason to— to raise millions for (then) Miami Children’s Hospital.
 
It is said that people’s lives change forever after this pilgrimage. Things become really simple. In fact, he doesn’t like to plan ahead, but lives by a “7 day plan” as he calls it. Mike shared, “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come. There is only right now.” He feels the greater purpose of our lives—all our lives— is to give in every moment, as he helped others to do through this “camino” and campaign. 
 
And as a very accomplished business man, he offered the following recipe for success, called “SUPER“:
  • S – Sacrifice. We won’t make it very far without sacrificing (time, money, hard work, etc.). He shared how he was accepted into one of the finest schools in NYC because he was Hispanic, but his father didn’t allow him to accept the scholarship, or “free ride”. Instead, he worked to pay for half of his tuition, and his father paid for the balance.
  • U – Urgency. You have to move fast and want it. Once you know that you want it badly and believe in it, don’t let it go. Fight every day for it. 
  • P – Passion. Life is too short to invest your time and energy into something that doesn’t fulfill you or help you to learn and grow. Look for the passion!
  • E – Execute.  Ideas are only ideas until you bring them to life. 
  • R – Results.  Bottom line…you need a bottom-line! How will your success be defined? What results are you seeking?
Where can you give more today? In this moment? 
 
How will you choose to live your life in this very moment?
 
How can you apply his SUPER model to achieve greater success in your work and life?
 
It’s your life. Lead it well.
 
Monique
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I still feel like I’m floating! My post today is simply to express gratitude for having been in the presence of amazing trailblazers this past weekend at Oprah’s Life You Want Conference. I am grateful for being surrounded by such wisdom, and a confirmation that I’m on my path. What’s a life of seeking without confirmation? As human beings we are always seeking because we don’t know everything. Or as many believe, we know, but have just forgotten. The amazing Eckhart Tolle reminds us that seeking too much takes us away from our purpose, which is always in this moment, and that’s exactly what Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth GilbertRob Bell, and Iyanla Vazant reminded us of at this magical gathering. Our homework–the reason for attending this conference was to claim your new vision. I’d love to share my simplified version with you, which we were asked to post on Twitter or Facebook 24 hours after the culmination of event.

 

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I know that one of the reasons I exist is to learn and share. And so today, that’s what I’d like to do. It’s my gift to you. Below you’ll find some of the juicy nuggets of wisdom I captured during this event, as well as some photos and videos. I hope that something I’ve shared today provides you with some confirmation as well that you are doing your work to Live the Life You Want!  So many of my friends and professional colleagues were “in the house” as well, and each of us took away something unique–what our souls needed to hear. For me, it was simplified into my vision or mantra above, focusing on the fact that I am everything I need to be right now in this moment, that only in this moment is where I will be on purpose, and that my breath and connection to spirit by being aware and being guided (by the whispers!) will allow me to fulfill my earthly contract and live a magnificent life.

Finally, I want to thank my mother, Ellie Kane, who treated me to this conference. What an amazing way to spend time together! It’s one of those Mommy/Daughter moments I won’t forget. Love you, Mom!

Mom and I with Oprah's best friend and Good Morning America co-host, Gayle King!

Mom and I with Oprah’s best friend and Good Morning America co-host, Gayle King!

Mom & I with some FAB powerful Fems!

Mom & I with some FAB powerful Fems and Friends!

Nuggets of Wisdom

From Oprah…

•   All real success comes from being connected to spirit.

•   We all have been called; nothing is an accident.

•   Your legacy is every life you’ve ever touched. (via Maya Angelou)

•   “I am the master of my fate; the captain of my soul!” Her mantra.

•   You can be a better you than you can be a pretend anyone else!

•   Knowing what you want to do is just as important as knowing what you don’t want to do.

•   Our lives speak to us in every moment. We have to listen! Listen for the whispers before they turn into rocks! The whispers will guide us.

•   If you can’t get paid for it (i.e., what you want to/love to do), then let it pay you! The miracle is in service.

•   For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

•   You co-create your life with every intention.

•   Who you are right now is what you have believed you are. You become what you believe!

•   Your greatest power is in your ability to love.

•   Gratitude is the best way to share your vibration.

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From Deepak…

•   Don’t let the voices of the world drown out your voice from within.

•   You accomplish more via the Law of Least Effort; living from the level of your soul. (Source: 7 Spiritual Laws of Success)

•   There is no point of arrival (i.e., I have arrived!), it is in the right here and right now. That’s all we have.

•   7 Ways to Accelerate Synchronisity

1.   How you see the world is a reflection of your inner state. Shift from fear to love.
2.   Understand the essence of relationships; validating others for who they really are; honoring them.
3.   Create intentions not only for yourself, but for the common good.
4.   Learn to center yourself thru meditation.
5.   Free yourself from emotional hostility; it’s like drinking poison. Create a ritual of release.
6.   Embrace both the masculine and feminine aspects of yourself.
7.   Keep yourself healthy!

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And, a few final tidbits from Liz (Author of Eat. Pray. Love), Rob, and Iyanla

•   If you’re planning to change your life don’t expect it to be easy and painless. All movement brings the risk of injury! (Liz)

•   We all have stories, but one never goes away, our Hero’s Journey (must stick with it, endure the pain to come out glorious on the other side!). You can hear Liz speak about a Hero’s Journey on Super Soul Sunday.

•   We co-create our lives by listening to what the world is telling us; by paying attention to the signs (whispers) and following them. (Liz)

•   We are miracles! Breath brought us into our lives and takes us from our lives. The fact that we are breathing is a miracle. Each moment is a miracle. Embrace the life that you have in this moment! This is the art of the spiritual life. (Rob)

•   The sound we make when we breathe (Ahhh!) is the name of God in all religious traditions! Breath is life; breath is being connected to spirit. (Iyanla)

•   The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it! (Iyanla)

•   If you made it through the past, you passed!

Oprah & Iyanla saying good bye!

Oprah & Iyanla saying good bye!

Any of these tidbits inspire you to Live the Life you Want? I’d love to hear your shares!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Monique

Breathe in. Breathe out.

February 12, 2014

 breathing

For those mommies out there, or perhaps athletes or actors, who had to learn how to breathe a certain way to give birth with less pain (yeah right!), or manage your energy and nervous system, you probably recognize the importance of BREATH in these circumstances. But how often do we use our breath daily, consciously, to regulate our emotions and mange our energy?

It just so happens that breath is another one of the primary inputs into our energetic system. If creating a high level of wellness and energy is important to you, then becoming a bit more aware of your breath and using it as a tool is a great way to achieve that goal. In fact, our bodies are mostly made up of water and oxygen (65%). If being more of who we are naturally helps us feel at our best, then giving our bodies more O2 is definitely a great strategy.

I recently learned that while working at a computer, adults’ breathing rate increases by 30% to 18 breaths per minute, which can lead to hyperventilation, increased neck and shoulder tension and fatigue. Add coffee to that equation, and “Houston…we’ve got a problem!” And, since the majority of us are technologically ON all the time with our “smart” tools, is it no wonder we are exhausted, tense and, literally, running out of breath?

Personally, I LOVE my productivity tools, but, I, too, understand the importance of being aware of my breath and using it proactively to help energize me and give me a greater sense of well being.

Here’s a simple way to breathe more life into your mind, body and soul:

Begin to associate sitting with breathing. When you get into your car in the morning take a deep, expanding belly breath and blow it out through your nose. Do this at least three times before you turn on the ignition. Try breathing in slowly to the count of four and slowly exhaling to the count of four.

Then, when you get to your office and sit down at your desk do the same thing. When you need a potty break, guess what? Do it again! (Not kidding). When you sit down to eat, do it again. Continue this throughout the day during those “breaks” when you sit down to begin a new task. Pretty soon you’ll have created the awareness and habit of sitting and breathing—giving you many tiny moments of delicious breath and consciousness.

If you’re super busy and can only take one deep breath each time, that’s okay. It’s a great start and will make a big difference.

Try it out and see how you feel. Ahhh!

Share your outcomes with me below.

Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste… Monique

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In my communication, courses and coaching you’ll always hear me talk about energy and it’s direct link to our potential and personal leadership. One of the inputs into our “system” that creates our energy is our senses—what we see, hear, smell, taste, etc. When we sense things we create awareness, and with continued awareness we create conscious living. Here’s the kicker…science proves to us that the more conscious we are the more likely we are to reach our full potential. That’s an equation I’m always interested in!

I’m sure you’ve had many unconscious moments daily, as we all do, like driving from point A to point B and not really remembering how you got there…what roads you took, etc. But, you know you got there, right? Well, the key to reaching our potential and living more purposefully is to slowly lessen the amount of time we are unconscious…just going through the motions.

Here’s a simple way to knock the senses back into your life…Pay Attention!

You can decide how you want to do this, but here are some easy examples.

  • Become very aware during your drive today. What is the temperature like? What kind of car is driving in front of you? Can you see the person driving through their rear view mirror? Are they male or female? Are there stickers on the car?
  • When you arrive to your location, who is the first person you see? Make eye contact with them and smile. Can you sense their mood by the tone of their voice, facial expression, movements or attire? How do you feel on this day? Are you excited to get your day going? Are you hungry, distracted, sad, happy, etc.?

Why would being aware of these things help us become good leaders? I’d love for you ponder this on your own, but here are some opportunities that may have shown up for you from this simple exercise…

  • If the car in front of you accidentally hit another motorist and took off you could be an eye witness and potentially help the victim.
  • If you noticed it was a bit cooler and you didn’t have a chance to look at the weather report, you might have run back in the house to grab a sweater for your child, protecting him/her from the on-coming cold front you didn’t know about.
  • If one of your employees was having a bad day, which you were able to sense by their eye contact and tone of voice, you could be a part of helping them to move forward positively in some way.
  • If you realized that you were not feeling excited about your day, you could take a few minutes to take personal responsibility for yourself and choose to shift your thoughts and emotions so that you could feel lighter and have a more successful day.

Living consciously is habit we can cultivate slowly, but the outcomes can be hugely impactful for ourselves and for those we lead.

I’d love to hear about your awareness aha moments! What opportunities showed up for you? Please write to me below. Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste…Monique

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I love it when Spongebob gives me blogging content! It just so happens that this episode about the Magic Conch (or consciousness) is a fun way to teach kids (or anyone!) about awareness, tuning into positivity, and having unshakable belief!

Just yesterday my son and I were watching a program on TV about Einstein and how he seemed to be able to access other realms of possibility…a universal pool of ideas and opportunities available to all of us if we become open to receiving that knowledge (a.k.a., being more conscious!).  Certainly, the study of Einstein’s brain showed that he had significantly above average mathematical, visuospatial, imagery and synthesis abilities. But, for those of us with a more average brain, how do we help ourselves out? Can the “Magic Conch” help? 

Absolutely!

Many of you may have seen an image like the one below which depicts the tip of the iceberg we would see if we were cruising on very cold waters. What we normally wouldn’t see is the enormous iceberg which continues for miles below the tip, outside of our view or awareness. That’s a great representation as well of our consciousness (or Spongebob’s Magic Conch). We can only tap into its vast knowledge if we are aware of it.

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This Spongebob episode in particular provides a funny metaphor for problem solving and how the Magic Conch can help guide the way.

Spongebob’s Magic Conch takeaways…

  1. Get on the right frequency. Squidward represents the frequency of negativity or low consciousness (challenges).
    Squidward_profile
  2. Tap into the universal source–the 90% we don’t normally see (like the iceberg). The Magic Conch represents that “answer”; the frequency of high consciousness (solutions).
  3. Have unwavering trust and know you will receive what you need (info or resources).
    The Magic Conch said to Spongebob and Patrick “Do nothing; wait.” They did just that, happily, and the resources they needed just fell out from the sky! That’s how the universe works too.

I bet you can think of  a time when this has happened to you. Would you share it with me? 

I find that one of the best ways for me to access this pool of knowledge and inspiration is by going on a walk. Walking puts me on that high conscious frequency every time. I always get my best ideas that way. For others, their Magic Conch can represent meditating, praying, chanting, singing, running, or day dreaming.

What’s your Magic Conch?

Namaste,

Monique

Are you caging yourself or being caged?

The second half of The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon gives us some great food for thought. I enjoy the metaphors sprinkled throughout the book, because they help to create a visual that can act as cues to remind us of when shifting our energy (or removing ourselves from negative environments) is essential.

Since Halloween is drawing near, I decided that I would use the months of September and October to practice ridding my inner and outer surroundings of the “negative dogs” and the “energy vampires.” By the time October 31st comes around I’ll be ready to celebrate the success of this challenge.

Truth be told, however, we don’t need an occasion like Halloween to practice these techniques. The dogs and vampires surround us daily, and relinquishing them of their power on a daily basis is where the mastery lies.

So, what’s all this dog talk? Here’s the story from The Energy Bus.

“A man goes to the village to visit the wise man and he says to the wise man, ‘I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is the positive, loving, kind and gentle dog and then I have this angry, mean-spirited, and negative dog and they fight all the time. I don’t know which is going to win!’ The wise man thinks for a moment and he says, ‘I know which is going to win. The one you feed the most, so feed the positive dog.’”

We all have those voices inside barking at us all day. Which one is more productive and energy building, and which one makes us foam at the mouth (practically!) and sends people running in the other direction? I bet I don’t have to answer the question. It’s kind of scary to see yourself as a dog on attack, but many times that’s exactly how we act toward ourselves and others. Yikes! So, let’s heed the wise man’s advice and FEED THE POSITIVE DOG!

Joy, the super positive Energy Bus-Driver also refers to another creature we need to watch out for. She explains:

“I call the people who drain your energy Energy Vampires and they will suck the life out of you and your goals and vision if you let them. They will cause an engine leak, make your ride miserable, or even worse slash your tires.”

I never thought of these “energy suckers” as vampires before, but the visual is very powerful. We all know who these people are, don’t we? Sometimes we call them Debbie Downers, or Sore Losers, Wet Towels, Buzz Kills, etc. Humorous, yes, but true. When we are in our “flow” and feeling great, one of these vampires comes along and drains us of our energy through his/her complaints, accusations, depression, etc. Sometimes, we are the vampires. Yes, looking in the mirror often can be enlightening. We all have a shadow side and many of the things we see in others that make us feel uncomfortable are the very things we do to others unconsciously.

So, how do we not become the negative dog or energy vampires, and how do we avoid getting the energy sucked out of us from other negative dogs and energy vampires?

One way is to increase our self awareness, or consciousness. Take your dog on a walk; WALK THE TALK. Here’s what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, has to say about leading your energy through consciousness:

“A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside,’ just by changing the contents of consciousness. We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so; it is probably the most important trait not only for succeeding in life, but for enjoying it as well. To develop this trait, one must find ways to order consciousness so as to be in control of feelings and thoughts.”

He also said:

“But no social change can come until the consciousness of individuals is changed first. When a young man asked Carlyle how he should go about reforming the world, Carlyle answered, ‘Reform yourself. That way there will be one less rascal in the world.’ The advice is still valid. Those who try to make life better for everyone without having learned to control their own lives first usually end up making things worse all around.”

Yes, folks, it all starts with us.

And, Joy, our super positive Energy Bus driver tells us that these are the final rules to creating our Energy Bus (continued from my last blog):

6. Post a Sign That Says No Energy Vampires Allowed on Your Bus. That’s right, just don’t let them in! Tell them to stay away. And, if you are the vampire, you’ve got some work to do.

7. Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During the Ride. Do you want to be on the Debbie Downer bus or the Bob the Builder bus?

8. Love Your Passengers. The heart acts as an emotional conductor and radiates how you are feeling to every cell in the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field; this energy field can be detected up to 5 to 10 feet away. What are you attracting? Do you want to attract love or fear?

9. Drive with Purpose. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get to where you need to go? Drive your bus with purpose daily and more people will come along for the ride.

10. Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride. In the end, isn’t this what life’s all about?

No Energy Vampires Allowed!

More and more, what matters to me is enjoying the process, not the end result. Finding joy and living energetically in the moment can provide us with millions of meaningful moments along our journey.

While common sensical, The Energy Bus provides us a story that we can relate to. We encounter individuals on a daily basis who have either given up, or who are fighting way too hard. Sometimes, we, ourselves, are those people. Author, Jon Gordon, gives us 10 simple steps to gain more control of our lives, raise our energy, live with heart, and allow the flow of life to bring us joy again.

We can choose to be energetic and happy. The choice always begins with us.

Halloween doesn’t need to be every day. That’s really scary! Let’s get rid of those nasty dogs and vampires and get a move on!

Enjoy your ride!

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.