Passion Squared Gratitude + Joy

What Comes First? Gratitude or Joy

“For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  Brene Brown

Over the last 8 years, I have worked day in and day out, on creating a life that would allow me to be present and help others. In the last few years, I actually created an awesome business to serve those I love in a very different way than the status quo.

It’s risky, I mean, in the industry I mostly serve, there is far more interest in learning the latest haircut or color technique. And I get that.

But working with creative small business owners and hairdressers over the last 30 years, there are a few things I know are true;

-Self esteem & confidence is quite low

-Healthy boundaries are nearly non existent

-Anxiety is typically high

-Workaholics are prevalent and even seen as awesome #notawesome

-People pleasing is high

-Saying no is seen as a bad thing

-Self care is the last thing on the to do list

And because of this, many of us are depleted, burnt out, overwhelmed, exhausted, unhappy, self-sabotaging, and loaded with the toxic energy of those around us. #yikes #usedtobeme

So what comes first?

In the quote above, Brene Brown breaks is down perfectly, gratitude comes before joy.

And that is what I subscribe to. Gratitude and peace come first. That is where we will find joy, and that is when everything will fall into place.

Simple concept, but not at all easy to practice.

Gratitude comes from practice. Peace comes from practice. Just like learning the latest haircut or color.

So where do we start?

Gratitude Lists
Every day, take 5 minuets and write a gratitude list. Either on a piece of paper, or in your head, or on your phone, or on a napkin, wherever, whenever, just do it, and you will find an immediate shift in your energy.

Start Saying NO
The most important thing you can do for yourself and others is to take care of yourself, your energy and your space. Start by saying NO one time per week. That NO will give you an extra hour, two hours or even more to breathe, take a walk, read a book, or just sit in stillness.

Practice Healthy Boundaries
Next time someone asks you “Do you have 5 minuets to talk? Say no, but I have time at 3:30.”

If someone interrupts you while you are in the middle of something simply say… “I understand this is important to you, but I am in the middle of something, lets connect back in an hour.”

You see, the more we take care of ourselves, our energy and our bodies, the more we can show up fully and be present for those we serve.

A depleted, exhausted, burnout human is of no good to anyone, whether its you or the team you work with.

So today, I am grateful, for my process (and all the people who helped save my life) and for my decision to share it with the people that I love.

Today I am grateful for the power of gratitude lists, saying no and setting healthy boundaries. Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for?

Love + Gratitude + Awesomeness-


Gratitdue Unlocks The Fullness Of Life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

 Melody Beattie



                                                       (photo credit: The awesome Anne Slattery)

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

As we enter upon the annual week of giving thanks, I could not pass up this opportunity to share my thoughts on gratitude, again.

Why do I share so often about gratitude? Simple. It saved my life.

The quote above, gracefully crafted by Melody Beattie, author of several books such as Codependent No More, spoke to my soul when I was at my darkest time, fighting for my life in rehab. So much so, that it is tattooed on the left arm. The whole quote, for those moments, I just may forget.

Recently I have received several questions about “my story”, how did I do it; you know, survive and thrive. Walk away from all the safety, security and notoriety of my career. How did I build Passion Squared? All awesome questions, many of them, being answered in my new group coaching program A(awesome) School, launching in January 2015.

But before anything else, the road to living an authentically awesome life is paved with gratitude.

OMG. So simple. Yet so very difficult for many to grasp.

A UMass Dartmouth study says “There is a complex relationship between thoughts, moods, brain chemistry, endocrine function, and functioning of other physiological systems in our bodies. Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.”

I can attest to this. Living a grateful life does not mean we avoid conflict, issues, pain, or troubles in the world. No, we address those, and work through those. But at the same time, we make a choice, to practice gratitude 365 days a year.

Here are just two examples of how I shift to gratitude in what could be a defeating or stressful situation…

People get so stressed out about traffic. Like you have any control over the road conditions or all of those cars on the freeway. When I get stuck in traffic, I focus on being grateful for the time to catch up on an audio book, catch up with an old friend on the phone, or simply sit in peaceful silence.

This could be a delay of a project, a relationship, a vacation, whatever. I see delays not as denials, but as gifts and messages from the Universe, telling me, slow down, think this through a bit more, it’s not the right time. Thank you Universe.

As I was writing this post, my ADD brain jumped over to Facebook, and then this awesome status update appeared by the beautiful Ginger Boyle…

“Reality is things to do not manifest instantly, there is a wonderful buffer of time that gives us opportunity to redirect our attention to what we want to experience. Have a beautiful Sunday! Start by being grateful.”

You see, we all have choices. I choose gratitude. Not just on the last Thursday in November, but every single day of the year.

With love + gratitude-


4 Tools For Replenishing Our Soul

Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.  -Patti Digh


Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

We all have those days or weeks, or maybe even months. Our to-do list is totally out of control. Literally. We have somehow become sucked into the vortex, the habitrail of life, and find ourselves feeling like “I can’t even”! And then the victim mentality begins to sink in, the why me dialogue begins in our head. #ugh

Have you been there? I have. And it’s one of my least favorite places to be. It feels like failure. It feels like I have let myself down. I know better.

So, what do we do when this happens? Here are some of the tools I use, and a list that I must revisit more often than not, with the help of my therapist most times. Love her. Thank GOD for her.

1. The Stop Doing List
Now this can be in your head, or written down, whatever your style is. Truth is, there are a few things you are doing right now that do not add value to your life or your business, but it’s many times hard to be objective, until you are desperately burnt out.

Instead of waiting til burnout sets in, set a day each month, to focus on your stop doing list.

2. Just Say No
Ugh. I know. We live in a “Yes I Can” society. And most times, that is awesome, until it depletes your soul. Than it’s not so awesome. When we slow down enough, we can be more mindful of what to say yes to and what to say no to.

3. Step Away From The Car
Metaphorically speaking, of course. But truly, we must from time to time remove ourselves from life. Whether that means taking a long weekend, a day at the beach, a personal development workshop that is not related to our work, turning the phone off for an hour, whatever it is that will allow you to disengage to gain clarity.

4. The Gratitude List
Of course you knew this would be on the list. Why? Gratitude helps our minds gain perspective. We so often lose perspective when we get so hyper focused on our own “problems”.

When we shift our mind into gratitude, things change. They can change our thoughts, our mood and our actions. And even more awesome, studies show a grateful brain can positively affect insomnia, anxiety and even depression. Sign me up!!

So, go ahead and cry. Throw yourself on the couch. Do whatever you need to. But then, pull yourself together by practicing some of the tools above, and get back to creating awesome in your business and your life.

A big shout out of love & gratitude goes to my therapist Nancy who inspired this post. And yes Nancy, I feel better already. Thank you.

Love + Awesomeness-


The Standoff.1

The Standoff

“News doesn’t break, it tweets.”

 Paul Saffo

The Standoff.1Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

So let me set the scene. It’s a Tuesday morning. I am just returning home from my early morning Pilates class. I see cops. A crew of them, in the lobby of my building.

Nothing seems strange, so I go about my morning. Walk the dogs, make myself another Americano, and catch up on Facebook and Instagram.

Having just hired Ashely, my newest awesomeness creator, she was to meet me at the Passion Squared Loft at 9am. I get a text at 8:50 (love people who are on time, and by on time I mean early) saying “I am here, but the cops just escorted me out of the lobby.” OMG I said, I will be right down. Thinking we can grab a quick ice tea at Coffee Bean (yes, I am cheating on Starbucks cause I am obsessed with Coffee Bean’s ice and their straws match my hair color). But to my surprise, as I walked out to get her, I saw cops, and my street being closed down. The cop said, “you can go to Coffee Bean, but you will not be able to come back.” So we headed back upstairs and got to work.

The Standoff

This is when things got nuts. We heard siren after siren, and started looking out the window of my 9th floor loft. Still having NO idea WTF was happening in my building.

So what did we do? What everyone does today, we took to Twitter. And Instagram. And sure enough, we found out exactly what was happening. There was an alleged felony fugitive on the 5th floor. A resident. Who may or may not have been armed. Who was served with a warrant and refused to surrender. So for 8 hours, we waited, with the SWAT team, Bomb Squad, LAPD and LAFD. It was a real life standoff. Like on TV. IN MY BUILDING!

But that is not the point of this blog. The point is where we went for information. How much we relied on the social web, and not news stations (online or off), no, they knew pretty much noting.

It was Twitter, and Instagram, connecting with both official and unofficial tweets and Instagrams. It was about finding and sharing experiences using hashtags such as #DTLA and #LAPD. That’s how it works now. We have access to 24/7 LIVE information, as it happens, thanks to the social web.

So what does that mean for your business? A few things. You can continue to have a “standoff” with the social + digital web. Choosing not to engage on YELP because there are crazy’s on there, or choosing not to engage with an online booking platform like Schedulicity because of fear of losing control of your schedule (which you don’t BTW), or choosing not to find time to Instagram, or Facebook for your business. You can choose to not do any of those things, just as long as you know, each day you wait is a day closer to becoming an irrelevant, un-discoverable business.

Johnny_snips is booked a month out, he’s young and just getting started. AndrewDoesHair delivers a ton of awesome education and launched an awesome product ADH Dry. Larisadoll is passionate about sharing her beautiful, creative colors and can’t take a new client until August 2015. These are just three of several examples of incredibly talented & focused hairdressers who are passionate about building community and engaging on  Instagram. They create a ton of value. They care.

The world has changed. Business has changed. The choice you need to make is if you will change too. The choice, as always, is yours.

PS: A BIG shout out of thanks to the LAPD and LAFD, they were amazing. The suspect surrendered peacefully and all is well in the world. And to my new awesomeness creator at Passion Squared, Ashley, thank you for being so amazing on your first day. You rock!

Love + Awesomeness-


Sad Face

It’s Just A Bad Day

“Its just a bad day, not a bad life.”


Sad Face

 (image via Google)

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Some days SUCK! They just do, and in the moment, it seems like our entire life will suck too. But I am here to tell you it won’t, as long as we don’t let it.

For those who have read my book, Follow Your HEART, thank you so much BTW, you know that I struggle with depression and anxiety, and yes, I have a ton of bad days. So I speak from a little bit of experience as I share my thoughts.

What I have learned is that they do not last. But we have to do our part to ensure they don’t. How do I pick myself up? Here are some ways…

1. Be kind and gentle to myself.
2. Accept the reality that sometimes life sucks.
3. Create a gratitude list and try to focus on what’s good, even though I don’t want to.
4. Connect with friends.
5. Cuddle with my dogs.
6. Do something for others.
7. Sleep.
8. Create some kind of art.
9. Watch meaningless TV.
10. Clean the loft.
11. Remind myself it won’t last forever.
12. Take a walk around my neighborhood (which sadly has a large homeless population mostly due to mental illness and addiction) and witness firsthand the reality of what a bad day really looks like.

One of the biggest challenges I see with having a bad day is that we give it so much energy it becomes more than it is. It’s only a bad day. Not a bad life. Remember that.

Love + awesomeness-

PS: This applies to our businesses too. We can throw our hands up in the air and decide one bad day or week will become a bad month or year. Or we can dig in and determine what needs to be changed, to create more good days than bad. It’s a choice.

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