Change your focus. Succeed with more ease.

A few weeks ago I was in a live coaching session with the 2024 cohort of The Success Solution. We’ve got participants from across North America and Australia. That means some of us are heading into spring and some are heading into fall.

From my house here on the West Coast, the first day of spring was sunny skies, green grass, cherry blossoms, and daffodils. People on the East Coast were in snow, or preparing for it.

Even on the same continent, the seasons were so differentnever mind a continent on the other side of the world. If we’d believed this time of year should be the same for us all and compared our results, some of us would have felt like our season was wrong or not as good as what others were experiencing.

That would be crazy right? But we do that sort of thing all the time. You might be comparing yourself, your business and your relationships without being fully aware that you’re doing it.

I teach my clients how to achieve more success with less stress by doing things in different ways – ways that feel good and bring out the best in them.  

One of the changes I invite them to make is to stop comparing themselves to others.

Though you’ve probably been told this many times, it’s surprising how challenging this can be, because you’ve been doing it since you were young.

  • You learned how to walk and talk and eat by watching others and mimicking their moves.
  • You were evaluated all through school based on how you performed in comparison to others.
  • You’re constantly being bombarded by ads about how you should look and feel.
  • Social media posts show you how great everyone’s life is.

Here are 4 steps to stop comparing and start thriving:

1. Notice that you’re doing it.
You first might notice that you feel like you’re behind, less than others, ashamed or in a general funk. You discover you’re comparing your business growth, your personal growth or your kids’ growth to people who are different from you. Maybe people you don’t even know.

2. Be curious about why you’re doing it.
Ask yourself if there’s some fear that’s motivating your comparison. Fear will activate your survival mode, and make you feel defensive, even if there’s nothing to protect yourself from. If you stop and notice that underneath your comparison is a niggling fear, get curious about it. What do you believe will happen if you don’t “keep up”? Question if that belief is really true.

Ask yourself if there’s something you see that you truly want.
You think you should workout as much the people you follow on IG but what you really want is to feel more energized. You think your kids should be on as many teams and have as many lessons as your neighbours but what you really want is for them to be happy. You think you should have a house like your in-laws but what you really want is to feel secure.

3. Accept where you are at right now. You might not be where to want, but acceptance is key to change.
Accepting isn’t the same as being apathetic or giving up. Accepting just means you stop resisting. When you accept that what you’re experiencing right now is a season, and seasons change, and even people who seem to be in the same season can have very different experiences, then you experience a whole lot more peace.

4. Take action toward what you want. You want something because of the way you think it will make you feel. Emotions are motivators. Once you get clear on what you want (Step 2), decide how you’ll do it in a way that suits you right now.

With your current life situation, your unique talents and skills and likes and dislikes. How can you take action in a way that brings out the best in you now?

You might realize that to feel energized you need to sleep more – not workout more. You discover that your kids are happier with less structured time to just play and create. More time with your close friends would give you a sense of security that a bigger house could never provide.

When you stop comparing and instead do things in a way that’s right for you, you’ll be far more successful and satisfied in all areas of life. And if I can’t convince you, one of the greatest basketball coaches might…

John Wooden won 10 NCAA championships as the coach of UCLA Bruins.  He never ever compared himself or his team to others.

He didn’t focus on what other coaches were doing. He never coached his teams to be better then their opponent. Instead, he taught his teams to focus on their strengths and do the best they could in every game and the result would take care of itself.  And he has the best results on record.

To improve your success with less stress in all areas of life, focus on yourself, without comparing to anyone else, because you are incomparable!

Love, Debra

Let your emotions move you closer to your goal.

In my last post I said that knowing why you want to achieve the goal you’ve set for this year can help keep you motivated to keep going when things get tough. And at some point, things will get tough.

Knowing why will help because you pursue goals to feel different from how you feel now.

The root of the word emotion is emovere. The root of the word motivation is movere. 

The word movere means “move”

Both emotion and motivation are rooted in movement. 

If you’ve ever worked in sales, you’ve heard that “emotions sell”. Even if someone wants all the facts before making a decision, it’s the feeling they get from knowing those facts that moves them to act.

Volvo doesn’t sell the features that make their cars solid – Volvo sells safety. It’s that desire to feel safe that moves people to buy.

You’re going after your goal because of how you want to feel when you achieve it, no matter how altruistic your goal may be.

And here’s how so many of us get it wrong. 

You get inspired by an idea, a book, a speaker, or a problem you want to solve. It sparks something inside of you. That spark is the emotion that is your call to action. 

And you act, and act and act. You’re determined. You’re motivated. You’re focused.

But as you focus on the goal you’re going to achieve one day, you find yourself living in the GAP – that uncomfortable place between where you are now and where you want to be.

I’ve got no problem with being uncomfortable. Without discomfort, there’s no growth. The problem comes when you’re so focused on accomplishing that goal, that you’ve lost sight of how you want to feel

I’ve had clients so focused on how great they’ll feel when they reach their ideal weight that they don’t enjoy their body even as they’re dropping sizes. Some are so focused on the great life they’ll create for their family once they’ve “made it” that they’re missing the joy of their kids day to day.

Focusing on the result you want to achieve will keep you in the GAP and you’ll miss much of the good in your life right now.  So what can you do instead?

Get back in touch with how achieving that goal will make you feel. Review my last post and keep asking yourself why until you feel the answer that feels like home. 

Remember those feelings. Work on your goal in a way that makes you feel them now. Even put your goal aside from time to time when you’ve lost touch with these feelings and do things now that make you feel the way you want to feel.

In my last example I used the goal of doubling revenue to lead to a sense of calm – but if you’re hustling, stressing, losing sleep and sometimes losing it altogether to double your revenue – you’re making the Gap bigger, the goal feels further away, and actually becomes harder to achieve.

Go for your goal in a way that matches how you want to feel when you get there and you’ll close the GAP.

Ask yourself this one thing.

As a growth-minded individual, you’ve probably set some goals to make this year even better than last year. 

The truth is that 92% of people who set a goal for this year will fail to achieve it. No matter how committed they are at the beginning, something gets in the way. That’s sad because when goals and dreams die, a part of us dies too.  

There are many reasons we fail to achieve our goals. There are unconscious blocks we need to move through, and life circumstances that divert our best intentions. 

But if you ask yourself this one question you can greatly increase your chances of success. And that question is: 

Why do I want it? 

At first, it will seem obvious. And your first answer will make rational sense, but I promise it won’t be your deepest truth. So, once you’ve asked and answered that question, ask it again…and again…and again… Until you have reached what feels like home. 

It might look something like this: 

I’m going to double my revenue this year. 

Why do I want that? 

I want to purchase a cottage. 

Why do I want that? 

I want a place outside the city that I can escape to. 

Why do I want that? 

When I get time in nature, my busy mind quiets, and I feel connected to something bigger than me. I feel more expansive, rested, calm. 

Why do I want that? 

When I feel calm, and connected, I don’t push myself so hard.

Why do I want that? 

When I’m not pushing hard. I’m more generous with myself and others. Giving comes naturally. 

Why do I want that? 

I feel like my true self. 

Your truth will feel like a resting place inside you. Expansive, peaceful, uplifted, bubbly – like home – whatever home feels like to you – even if you’ve never felt it before. 

Whatever your goal is, you’re willing to pursue it because you want to feel different in some way from how you feel now. 

Tapping into how you want to feel, gives you intrinsic motivation – your motivation comes from within.

Most people are focused on extrinsic motivation – the result they’ll achieve – whether it’s money, fame, a better body… 

When you get to the core of how you want to feel it will be your call-to-action. It will be the motivation to keep going when things get hard, and at some point, things will get hard. When you know why you want something, figuring out how gets a whole lot easier. 

Find why you want your goal and in my next post, I’ll share how even knowing this, people still get it wrong.

I can teach you how to get it right.  In a way that’s right for you.

Be a Hero

Most people will fail to achieve their goals this year no matter how excited they were when the year began. They’ll get distracted, discouraged, or overwhelmed at some point, and give up.

Everyone gets sidetracked on the path to their goal at some point. The journey is never as straightforward as we imagined it would be. When we realize we’re not as far along as we like, or it’s not as easy as we imagined, we can lose motivation.

Few people will be willing to start again when they’ve gone off track. It can seem easier to give up on your goal, and tell yourself it didn’t matter that much. But if you keep giving up on goals you can “suffer from creative constipation which breeds toxicity”, as author Charlie Gilkey says.

  • Have you been working on a big goal for a while and at this moment you’re doubting yourself?
  • Did the summer, or a new series on Netflix, or a million other things get in the way and you’re not sure how to get motivated again?
  • Or did you start the New Year full of excitement about your goal and now you can’t even remember what it was? 

You can be the one who’s in the 8% of people who succeed. Simply decide to start again. Remember your goal and why you wanted it. Now, rather than focusing on the goal, which is off in the future, decide on the action you will take each day to move you closer to it. Then commit to doing it for the rest of the year.

In movies, the hero faces a great challenge in the third act. It’s overcoming that challenge that makes the hero our hero.

You’re in the third act of this year. Finish strong! Starting strong is easy. Finishing strong makes you a hero

Be a hero this year,


Would you like to be exponentially more successful?

If that idea makes you smile, I’d like you to think about one area where success really matters to you.

Just One.

It can be your business, health, relationships, finances… whatever is most important to you right now.

Once you’ve got that, determine what success would be for you:

  • Running in a 5k this summer?
  • Investing a certain amount of money each month?
  • Seeing friends at least once a week?

Decide what you’d need to do differently to achieve that success:

  • Run each week to increase your distance?
  • Invest your money immediately before you spend it?
  • Clear your schedule to make time for friends weekly?

You need to take action to be successful.

Now, are you ready to hear the ONE THING that will increase your likelihood of success by 95% …

Here it is…


Maybe it’s because we’re social creatures by nature who can’t survive on our own, but we’re more likely to show up for others in ways we wouldn’t for ourselves.

You could probably piece together a great workout through a selection of Youtube videos – but you’re more likely to show up for a trainer waiting at the gym or a running mate waiting for you at the park.

You could easily find reasons you can’t afford to invest this month – unless you’ve got an investment partner or club willing to challenge your decisions and hold you accountable.

Just one drink seems innocent enough – until you remember you’ll have to be accountable to your sponsor, and that makes you change your mind.

Being accountable to someone else is really being accountable to yourself. While an outside person will make you more likely to do what you said you’d do, you’re not doing it for them.

You’re doing it to achieve what you really want. This is just a sneaky way of accomplishing it since you’re more likely to let yourself down.

Top athletes hire private trainers, mindset coaches, and nutritionists to win championships.

Executives & Entrepreneurs report experiencing a 500% – 700% ROI when they invest in a coach.

When you’re accountable to someone else, you’re the one who wins.

Share this with someone you care about and respect. If they’re willing to be an accountability partner with you, you’ll both increase your chances of success exponentially.

How to break through limited thinking.

There’s a question I ask myself and others, that might be helpful when you’re feeling stuck and want to see more possibilities.

When clients are feeling constricted by their situation, I ask them to forget about the limitations for a moment, and instead, I ask a question that begins, “If you could have it any way you want…”

Once I know what their heart really desires I ask, “Why?”  That answer tells me who they want to be, what they want to give, and how they want to experience life and themselves.

So even if they can’t get everything exactly how they want it, the possibilities open up for them to be more fully expressed and fulfilled by making choices that match those deeper desires.

The power of this question first struck me a few years ago when my assistant and I were working out her role and I started by asking her, “If you could have it any way you want, what would your job be?”

She paused. For a while. Then said, “I’ve never thought that way. I’ve always looked at what’s probable and tried to want that”.

Her answer was eye-opening to me. I thought it was brilliant that she could catch that lifelong pattern in that moment. By pausing and giving herself more time, she was able to discover what she really wanted from this job. By sharing it with me, I was able to provide more of what made her happy and brought out the best in her. She was involved in and contributed more than I would have thought wanted. We both benefitted.

Don’t think that she loves every moment of what she does. There are tasks that aren’t her favorite thing to do, but by starting with the question, “If you could have it any way you want…” she got clearer on what she wants from her work and I look for ways to make the work match that as best I can.  Let me say it again, we both benefit.

So when you’re facing a challenge or just making plans, try asking yourself, “If I could have it anyway I want…”

By the way, this works great with business partners, life partners, and families. Each person answers it for themselves. Then they share why they answered that way. 

Asking “Why?” is a critical part of this process.

You’ll develop a deeper understanding of each other’s hopes and dreams. Even if everyone can’t get it exactly the way they want it, you’ll know ways to bring out the best in each other.

If you’re about to set big goals and make big plans for 2023 My Free Masterclass can help you get clear on what you really want in about 40 minutes.

How to thrive during family holidays.

Spiritual teacher, Ram Dass said, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.”

In case your family gatherings aren’t always a scene from a Hallmark Holiday Movie ~Here are 7 tips to thrive this holiday season.

1. Accept what you can’t control. The weather, lost luggage, delays, Aunt Maureen’s conspiracy theories, or Cousin
Dean’s lactose intolerance. Accept that most things are out of your control and focus on what you can control.

2. Have a Plan.
What are the things you do each day that set you up to feel good – getting good sleep, some time alone, a long walk, working out? So often, we drop all our good habits when we’re on holiday and then wonder why we aren’t our best selves. Plan times to do the things that make you feel good about yourself. This will help regulate your nervous system so you’re less reactive to what you can’t control.

If you remember that certain things or people trigger you, have a plan for what you’ll do if that happens – call a friend, go to the bathroom and do breathing exercises, get outside. Make your well-being a priority.

3. Make a daily commitment to yourself.
The simpler you make your commitments, the more likely you are to keep them. What is the ONE THING you can commit to doing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Some simple practice that doesn’t take too long, but helps you feel good. Commit to doing that every single day. Prioritize it. Congratulate yourself each night for doing it. 

4. Remember how you want to be, and set an intention every day to be that way.
Each morning take 60 – 90 seconds to state how you want to be today and then picture going through your day in this state. Set the intention to be that way. And remember, you won’t be that way consistently. Like meditation – you don’t stay focused – you keep returning to focus. So you won’t stay in that ideal state every minute, you’ll keep returning to it.

5. Journal this each night:

  • How you fulfilled your intention, or what you’ll do differently tomorrow. Look for one time you fulfilled your intention today. Your mind will automatically look for all the ways you failed. That is not helpful. Search for the time or times you did fulfill it. Write about it. Notice how that feels to relive it.  And only after doing that, make note of any lessons from today that will help you be even more successful tomorrow.
  • Three good things that happened today. Write each one down and after writing, take a moment to remember it, feel it again. Then write the next one. It can be the smallest things – a tasty cup of coffee, a laugh, or even a good poop 🙂  Your mind will naturally replay anything that went wrong, and that can put you into a funk that makes it harder to remember all the things that went right.  Don’t make a long list. Keep it to just three. But as you write each one, be sure to feel it again. 

6. Consider everything others are doing to be either “Love or a Cry for Love”.
A friend of mine taught me this practice years ago, and it’s so helpful in challenging situations. Any time someone is not at their best, consider their behavior to be a cry for love. It doesn’t mean you have to rush in and provide the love. Just seeing their actions that way, can make the whole experience easier for you.

And if you find yourself “behaving badly”, give yourself that same compassion – your less than perfect words or actions were a cry for love, and maybe they just came out wrong.

7. Find ways to feel safe. 
This is most important and often overlooked. When I say there’s little you can control, I’m including your own behavior. Your neural circuits are always sensing whether your environment, or the people in it, are safe or dangerous. This is called Neuroception and the problem is – you’re not aware this is happening. It could be a distant sound, a color, someone’s tone of voice, facial expression, or just their presence – any of these can be picked by your nervous system as dangerous, depending on your childhood experiences and past conditioning. Even though you’re not aware it’s happening, when your nervous system senses a threat it readies you to act. You’re no longer in a creative, compassionate, or engaging state. Little things can suddenly set you off and you erupt or shut down. That can explain why you seem to “regress” when you go home.

When your environment feels safe, your nervous system relaxes and you can engage and enjoy. Find the places, sounds, and people that make you feel safe. And access them often. (See #1 – Have a plan)

Helping you live a life you love,

Please share this with people you know and love, so we can all bring out the best in ourselves and each other over the holidays.

More joy and less stress for the holidays

We’re officially in “The Holiday Season”.

Whether you celebrate something, everything, or nothing at all, the holiday season is almost impossible to ignore.

Most people find themselves getting busy with big parties, travel, and small get-togethers. Even if it’s all good and fun and you love doing it, being busy can be a source of stress.

Others feel left out and lonely at this time, and that can be a real downer.

So rather than thinking of everything you want or have to do this season and trying to minimize the stress, or imagining all that you might miss out on and managing your disappointment, I have an idea for you.

Do this simple practice right now and set yourself up for less stress and more joy this holiday.

1. Make yourself comfortable.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Remember a time you felt really great. It doesn’t matter when it was, or what you were doing. 
4. Sense how that feels in your body.
5. Say a few words to describe how that feels.
6. Notice how you feel about yourself.
7. Imagine every cell in your body filling up with the vibration of these thoughts and feelings. 
8. Open your eyes.
9. Write down how you felt physically and how you felt about yourself.
10. From now until the end of the year, start each day remembering how it felt to be this version of you. Let yourself feel it again.

Say Yes more often to the things that help you feel this way. 
Say No more often to the things that make it harder to feel this way.

Fill yourself with the best of you this season, and let that guide your way.

Changing the way you do things is hard. I recommend you share this with a friend who wants more joy this season and support each other to make choices that fulfill you.

Here’s a radical way to increase your dopamine.

Do you know what Friday, November 25th is?  It’s the 30th Anniversary of:


Oh ya, it also happens to be black Friday, more on that in just a second. 

Buy Nothing Day wasn’t created as an anti-Black Friday or Anti-Christmas event. In fact, when artist Ted Dave of Vancouver, Canada launched the first Buy Nothing Day it was held in September. It wasn’t meant as a gimmick to change your habits for one day. Instead, it was meant to give pause – a chance to reflect on unconscious habits of consumption.

Now you might be asking what the heck does this have to do with my dopamine??? Glad you asked.

Right now, and for the next several weeks, you’re being absolutely hammered with ads to buy stuff. The anticipation of shopping creates a dopamine surge inside you. We think of dopamine as the “pleasure” drug. While it does feel GOOD – it’s the hormone connected with pursuit, motivation, novelty, and expectation of reward. It makes you feel like you’re on a worthwhile adventure and should keep going.

So these non-stop ads can get you pretty jacked up to shop. And that feels pretty good. The surge may be high, but the experience will be short-lived. And post-shopping there’s a potential for a BIG drop.

Your body is always working to keep you in a state of balance, so after a big surge of dopamine, it doesn’t just return to normal. It drops below your normal level. When that happens you feel flat, unmotivated, and you might want another hit of something to pump you up. That’s when you’ll be tempted to shop again.

Buy Nothing Day could become a great day to explore other dopaminergic activities:

  • Spend time in nature. 
  • Move your body in fun ways.
  • Listen to music (which may lead to moving your body in fun ways 🙂
  • Meditate – sitting, walking, yoga or any form you like.
  • Have Sex.
  • Get good sleep. 
  • Read a book you love.
  • Play games and sports
  • Have caffeine 2 hours after you wake.
  • Eat a healthy diet that supports your dopamine, or seek advice from a nutrition expert.

By the way, I’m not condemning shopping. I just know that the more conscious awareness you bring to anything you do, the more fulfilling your life will be.  That’s what I want for you – more fulfillment. And sometimes it’s by limiting experiences, that you actually experience more.

Love Debra

Please share this with someone in your life who’s totally dope. Make a plan to do something together, and notice how you feel after doing it.

*I’m not a nutritionist, so this is just information, not a recommendation: Tyrosine is a natural amino acid that’s a precursor to dopamine. L-Theanine is another. Vitamins D, B5 & B6 are all needed to produce dopamine. Magnesium and Omega 3 Essential fatty acids also support it. 

More of one and Less of the other (Part 2)

In an earlier post I recommended that you spend less time “thinking globally” and more time “acting locally”.  I shared the potential negative effects of too much attention on global issues that you can’t control. (I didn’t include this earlier, but you may want to block notifications from your local social media site – you know the one. It can be a bullhorn for complainers and fear-mongers. That will just keep you focused on all that’s wrong in your hood, instead of all that’s good.)

What are some benefits of “acting locally”?

  • You can affect change at a local level far easier.
  • When you focus on what you can control and act on it, you calm your busy mind and regulate your nervous system through movement. 
  • You make connections in the real work which stimulates your vagus nerve (huge for combating anxiety)
  • Other people’s nervous systems are affected by yours, so you bring more peace to the world by calming yourself.
  • You become more resilient – able to handle challenges and enjoy life.

What are some ways to “think locally”?

  • Look for the good in your hood. There’s tons of it, I promise you. When you see the good, you feel good. It creates a sense of possibilities inside you.
  • Look for ways to make things better and get involved in the easiest way possible.
  • Learn the name of as many neighbors on your street as you can – and say hello.
  • Buy from locally owned shops and keep money flowing in your community.
  • Thank shop staff for showing up. Workers are in short supply, and the ones who are there are feeling the stress.
  • Join a CSA to support local farmers when they need the money most. Then benefit from the freshest local food possible.
  • Shop at a farmer’s market and privately owned grocery stores if you’re lucky enough to have them. They’ll only exist if you use them.
  • Call or email your city council members just to thank them for their work – it’s a pretty thankless job and you may be amazed at how much it’s appreciated.
  • Stay informed about good things happening in your neighborhood and support them how you can – with your time, a donation, spreading the word, or just thanking them.

Here are two concerns that come up pretty regularly when I share this idea with my clients who want to reduce stress and be more productive:

  1. Don’t I need to be informed to be a good citizen?

Yes, but don’t confuse informed with inundated. As I mentioned in the earlier post, being inundated with information makes you less capable of dealing with it wisely.

Information will reach you even if stop looking for it. When you find a topic you care about and want to be informed, look for non-sensationalistic reports. Get the information, then act.

Knowledge itself is not power. What you do with knowledge is power.
I don’t stay up to date on everything happening in the world. I know my brain and body can’t handle it. But when I hear about something I care about, I find a way to act. Before elections I study candidates and how they voted on issues, and I make informed decisions based on that information. I stay away from most of the stories when I can’t do anything about them.

  1. Won’t I look stupid at parties if I don’t know what’s going on?

Yep, that might happen. Fear of looking stupid and not fitting in is a real thing. But if you’re spending your time doing things you love, creating, contributing, and enjoying your life, you’ll have more to talk about than current events that don’t concern you. Being interested in your own life makes you interesting – not to everyone – but to the people with whom you want to belong.  And we all need to belong. 
You can also spend less time talking. Take the pressure off yourself. Spend more time asking questions, listening, and learning. Most people will find you quite interesting if you ask about them 🙂

There is so much good you can do and feel if you’re not distracted by everything else.
I hope that helps. 

If you want to focus more on what you can control, check out my Free Masterclass that will give you clarity on where to focus now.