“May all living beings have happiness

            And the cause of happiness;

May all be free from sorrow

            And the cause of sorrow;

May all never be separated

            From the Bliss that is sorrowless;

May all live in equanimity,

            Free from attachment and aversion.

~ The Four Immeasurables Prayer

Deep. Soul. Joy. Think for a moment about those three words. Standing alone, they each in their own right are important words and concepts, but together they are life-changing. Deep-soul joy is experienced when you live in such a way that your purpose and passion are set free; your sense of universal interconnectivity is ignited and your joy rises.

When you live with certainty and deep-soul joy, you live differently than perpetually discontented people. When I sense revelatory moments of deep-soul joy coming, I stop what I am doing and immerse myself in the moment, surrendering to the flow and allowing it to absorb into every cell in my body. Gratitude is my only conscious thought – any other thoughts make the experience disappear as quickly as it appeared.

With the proper approach and intent you can experience deep-soul joy. Whether you live in a hut in Nairobi, a rambler in Minneapolis, a flat in London, a mansion in Beverly Hills, a cottage in Nice, or an apartment in Krakow, you, too, can experience deep-soul joy. I understand how difficult and complex lives can be and how foreign this concept may be if you are a victim of bullying, a disenfranchised LGBT youth, or a woman going through a divorce or suffering from depression. But there can be a light at the end of the tunnel as you learn to Live with Certainty.

Concepts such as joy, happiness, success, and abundance can mean very different things to different people. Joy is a more profound emotional state of contentment and well-being than happiness. Joy is a deep feeling of pleasure or gladness that comes from success, good fortune, or a general sense of well-being. And to take this concept to the next level, deep-soul joy is an even higher, more profound level of joy that is spiritual, energetic, authentic, nourishing, and life-long. This deep sense of well-being and contentment emanates from your soul and serves as an intrinsic aspect of your internal instruction system which is discussed at lenght in Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy.

The universe has graced you with everything you need to experience a life of deep-soul joy; it is all inside of you now. Nothing else – besides the actions and work to exercise your passion and purpose - is required. You may, however, need to shed a few things. Releasing attachments to your ego-personality and false personas — actually mentally detaching and surrendering to the real you — is incredibly freeing and powerful. Previously, you may have felt anxious or fearful to expose the real you worried about being ridiculed or not fitting in once your authentic self is discovered. However, surrendering to your inspired soul-view and your purposeful authenticity is required. It may initially cause you to feel anxious if you perceive this as giving up control.

My Deep-Soul Joy

My deep-soul joy is the steady state from which I live my daily life – it has become who I am and how I interact with every aspect of the universe. From this state of joy and contentment, I experience heightened, intense revelatory moments – super-concentrated doses of joy that emerge from the more constant state. These moments periodically happen as I go about my day to day life; suddenly I find myself overcome with joy, wonder and bliss often to the point of tears. Deep, moving and exhilarating, surging Source love and inspiration pulse through my body literally giving me goose bumps.

In some respects, I feel that I have always known deep-soul joy. My earliest memories are of financially humble – albeit delightful — beginnings. I cannot stress enough how well-served I was by the joyful, peaceful early conditioning I received throughout those early years. For the first four and a half years of my life, I had the distinct privilege of living in extremely close proximity to my grandparents and extended family in Southern California in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Without a doubt, my family — and extended family — has known deep-soul joy for generations. Effortlessly and innately, they lived and experienced lives of peace and fulfillment. First-generation immigrants brimming with courage and hope they brought with them the belief and faith that are precisely the stuff from which inspiration and dreams are made. Some people simply call it la dolce vita, the sweet joy of everyday, no-frills life. In those Utopian years in Southern California, I spent some of the sweetest times with my family that I have ever experienced (and I’ve had some pretty sweet times since then). These early role models may not have had much money, but they were compassionate, loving and cheerful people who were very involved in their church community and had many, many dear friends. They were homeowners with beautiful yards and gardens rich with fruit and walnut trees, herbs, vegetables, roses and berries. Their neighbors were like extended family. My beautiful grandmother, Rose, was completely deaf, but had a twinkle in her eye as she emanated peacefulness. Her dream was to be a teacher, but, at that time, sadly, her hearing disability precluded this. She did not, however, let this destroy her natural state of peace and joy. My grandparents lived in a simple yet park-like landscaped setting – I recall a horse who would routinely amble up to the back fence to greet us–and Penny, the family Beagle. The sun always seemed to shine on Yarmouth Street.

My grandparents raised three children on an extremely limited income, and yet their financial status had no bearing on their joy. Every night they had a lovely family dinner. For Christmas, my grandfather’s black socks substituted for the children’s stockings which were filled with only a dime, an orange and a walnut. For Easter, the children shared one single Easter basket.  Across the street lived a well-to-do family that was not at all happy; their festive silk Christmas stockings were filled with all manner of toys and candies. And their Easter table was set with a large Easter basket at each place setting. Yet this family was always embroiled in conflict and unhappiness. Did my family notice that materially they had less than others? Yes. Did it affect their joy and the love they had for one another? No way.

Now, I completely understand that my grandparents were not joyous over not having much money; it was an ongoing struggle. Rather, these lovely people were joyous despite not having much money. They were internally at peace in a fundamental way that their external situation could not shake. They knew deep-soul joy.

Once I began living from my inspired soul-view (a life of deep purposefulness and passion), a foundational state of deep-soul joy slowly emerged and took over, forever altering my perspective. I gained peace in knowing that I am living the life the universe always intended for my soul to experience. I know at my core that I can weather any storm, I am not alone, I am loved and I am secure. Most of all, I know that I am interconnected with the greater universe, connected to Source energy, and no matter what happens, my soul will go on its essential state of grace and deep-soul joy. And this experience will continue to be mine as long as I go on living with purposeful authenticity.

When I am graced with these deep, authentic moments, I become my deep-soul joy and am completely open to the universal energetic flow and where it is guiding me. My outer world stops as I experience this very natural state of alignment. A deep sense of awareness and gratitude for this inspirational and revelatory rush of Source energy puts me in the best possible position to maintain this alignment. I never take these moments for granted for they are a gift, the ultimate experience of an Earthly life and affirm that I am living with certainty.

My responsibility for receiving this “song-in my–heart” gift of deep-soul joy is to share it with others. I once had someone tell me that they “appreciate my sparkle.Funny, when I experience deep-soul joy, I feel open, luminous (I call it sparkly) and connected. There are times that I feel so joyous that I am completely overcome with emotion and gratitude.

So you see, I am beyond deeply satisfied with my life – and I wish the same for you. Yes, I experience my share of challenges, down times, defeats, sorrows, heartaches, problems and obstacles – these experiences are part and parcel of living an Earthly life and they lurk in the background waiting to pounce on all of us in order that we may learn our next needed lesson. I readily expect these things to rear their ugly heads from time to time and am, therefore, not overly emotional or despondent when trouble appears on the horizon; never have I believed that any obstacle could stop me. It is precisely the trying times that have taught, developed and enlightened me in ways that otherwise would have been impossible. They have served as the catalyst for much needed change. Now that I live with certainty, I perceive difficulties very differently than I did before. I believe I encounter fewer negative experiences now simply because I no longer create negativity through non-inspired soul-view-aligned actions; nor do I attract and manifest the things that I do not want through self-defeating thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

Am I still making mistakes today? You bet’cha – every day, but I am constantly learning, growing and trying not to beat myself up too much. Through my own mistakes I have learned much about compassion – and for these experiences, wrenching as they were at the time, I am grateful. As you embrace every encounter as a learning and growth opportunity, you can leave anger and resentment behind. Immediately find the lesson in every difficult situation – and don’t make the same mistake twice. When you view life through this lens, you open to the experience of deep-soul joy. My innate approach to life is to place far more emphasis on the positive than on the negative. Through living with certainty, you will begin more naturally to embrace this approach, too. While living in anxiety-laden, tenuous times, I remain joyous and thankful for my life, convinced that the best days for my family and me are ahead. No matter what happens externally, I will live from this continual state of deep-soul joy.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot

OUR PLANET IS IN CRISIS, and it needs our spiritual attention in a multitude of ways. Across the globe, we are steadily witnessing the worst of human behavior. This behavior is all too often deeply rooted in an ego-driven self-righteousness that has at its foundation an unmitigated separation of self from our souls, our fellow humans, nature, and the interconnected commonality of Source energy. This separation is destroying our planet, and the proof is in the distressing, man-made issues we presently face—war, famine, suppression, genocide, terrorism, human trafficking, and so on.

While this is a global issue, American culture in particular is rapidly becoming increasingly characterized by faded morals, a lack of graciousness, growing individuality, and selfishness. Many of us are exposed to these behaviors every day through our interactions with others. To make matters worse, we recognize these behaviors in ourselves. But we’ve also reached a point where we’re willing to consider what we can do differently, because we don’t like who we have become and how we feel. What if we could feel better? What if this spiritual energy that we increasingly sense is real and is being left untapped? What if we can seize the moment to be co-creator of something different than we’ve experienced to date? What if we stopped resisting our instincts telling us how powerful we are, and as a result of this enhanced focus and belief were authentically and profoundly able to expand and improve our lives?

Our fast-paced society with its outward focus and misplaced values has produced fleeting, media-induced dreams and desires driven by external stimulus rather than internal certainty. The invasiveness of the media and the ubiquitous access that many of us have to it has in part contributed to the soullessness we experience today. We are constantly bombarded by unnecessary, misleading, and often biased information and images that crowd our minds, leaving no room for the contemplation of what really matters. Sadly, many people no longer even know how to identify for themselves the things that really matter.

Now is the time to become aware of how you’ve been constructing your own blockages and impediments. This discontent emanating from a place deep within you is letting you know that you’re not living true to yourself—your Earthly life is not what it should be; you are not living the life the universe intended for you to live. The fact that you haven’t taken action up until now points to roadblocks.

Maybe you are skeptical that a spiritual realm actually exists. Maybe you are fearful because you do believe in another dimension, but you have no idea what it means, where it is, or how to find it. Maybe you are surrounded by skeptics and are feeling embarrassed about exploring your spirituality for fear of ridicule. Maybe you need to heal and recover from a lifetime of bad mental habits and conditioning. Maybe the rigors of your daily life simply moved you away from your spiritual center, and you now need to return and re-examine your spiritual beliefs and practices.

Let’s face it; our individual thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions have collectively created the mess we’re in. The silver lining is that this upheaval has caused many of us to take the time to consider the workings of the universe, and to go deep within ourselves to find comfort and solace in an inner place of security and tranquility. All the while our instinct is signaling to us that from this place we can change and co-create a new world. Now is the time to utilize and leverage this knowledge about our ability to co-create our lives so that we not only improve our own circumstances, but also positively alter the current crash and burn trajectory of our planet.

Shakespeare’s King Henry V said, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” The time has always been right for as many of us as possible to come together and to connect under a fresh spirituality. In so many ways, the world and our lives are unpredictable and unstable. We worry about ourselves and about the world around us. For many of us, peace of mind has been replaced by anxiety, fear, and desperation; and our mental and physical health is suffering. While we cannot completely circumvent pain, we can control our reaction to it, and how deeply it affects us. We can learn from it, allowing it to make us better, stronger, more compassionate, and more purposeful.

Take control of your spiritual and emotional life. It is the time to live with certainty.

All man-made problems that exist on the planet are our problems, not someone else’s. We own them as much as anyone else. For far too long we have all pointed fingers, blamed others—and worst of all, we’ve looked the other way. Underneath the condemnation, fear, and ignorance, however, we know at our core that significant change can only happen if we begin with ourselves.

Now is the time to live with certainty; there is no other. This is the time for change and transformation, to discover your true self and to purify and heighten your energy. Anything that you deem meaningful or have longed to do but put off because you were “too busy,” pursue now, big or small. This will make you feel productive and create momentum. Now is the perfect time for you to make the decision to begin living intentionally—with purposeful authenticity—and to co-create not only your own life, but also a better world. If we all lived with certainty in alignment with our inspired soul-views, without question, the world would change for the better. Is there a result that you could hope for that has a higher order? If not now, when?

The Living with Certainty Revolution

Living with Certainty has proven itself to me and to others as a rewarding and powerful way to improve lives irrespective of whom or where you are. The purpose of this text is straightforward—to incite and inspire a worldwide Living with Certainty Revolution that empowers people across the globe to experience their purposeful authenticity and deep-soul joy. We will link together one soul at a time, forming a universal Certainty Chain, creating better lives and a better planet link by link.

If the Living with Certainty life plan resonates with you and you commit to it, thereby transforming your life, then you have everything required to make a positive impact on not only yourself, but on someone else. As you experience more vitality and gratitude, you realize that you have the capacity to serve as a brilliant shining light for others, encouraging and inspiring them to transform their own lives. Remember, the essence of all of our dreams is similar, and through your singular efforts you can have a positive effect on a multitude of others. This is how widespread change happens. Anyone who has experienced the transformational gift of deep-soul joy feels strongly that this knowledge should be shared and feels compelled to teach others who have interest. You will find as you meet others who live with certainty that you sense a significant, empowering energetic connection. As we experience interconnectivity at the soul-level we will begin to respond to each other differently.

Living with Certainty is a process—your awareness, your development, and your becoming are part of this process. As challenging as this new approach may initially seem, the challenges are part and parcel of personal growth and development and you will work through them before you know it.

My journey can and will make a difference. It’s time to stop being too embarrassed or inhibited to talk about spirituality and our souls. The only way to transform the world is one soul at a time. The more we speak of our souls, the less foreign the concept will seem. Let’s openly talk about and explore the topics that we should—those things that make the world a better place and help to heal people.

A Final Word

Your success or failure in life does not hinge on one opportunity, or randomly receiving that one big break. You are a brilliant, radiant spiritual being of unlimited love and potential with the hardwired capacity to co-create in every moment the life the universe always intended for you to live. Every day presents you with an opportunity to become and express more of your purposeful authenticity. Believe that the gifts you have can somehow, in some way, uniquely serve the world. It’s never too late.

You needn’t be a yogi, guru, or saint to spread love, peace, and joy, or to play a role in improving life on our planet. With more than six billion people in the world, transforming a fraction of them still amounts to millions of people. My goal is for every person who reads this book to commit to discussing it with others. You then will become a crucial link in the Certainty Chain and in the positive web of energy extending and multiplying from this message.

This is not a trend; rather, this is your new approach to the rest of your life. Make no mistake: If you commit to Living with Certainty, you will discover the best of yourself. Daunting as some of the inner work required may seem, this is the most important work of your life. And it has a tremendous upside. As each of us begin to grow, heal, put the proper pieces into place, reprioritize, and awaken, one by one we will change the ways of the world. Once this happens, there will never, ever be any going back.

When you live with awareness; when you align with your inspired soul-view; when you feel profound gratitude for every aspect of your life; when you experience more love and compassion than you have ever known; when you experience universal interconnectivity with all people and nature; when you live from a baseline of deep-soul joy; and when your entire life has coalesced into a high-vibrational expression of your purposeful authenticity, then you are living with certainty.

Keep inquiring, keep adventuring, and keep pushing the envelope in an effort to understand this mystical, magical universe. Be open to pain, be courageous to progress, be a part of the compassionate energetic revolution for which the world weeps.

“May I be a protector to the vulnerable;
A guide to those traveling;
A bridge to those pining;
For the farther shore.
May the suffering of all completely cease.
May I be the healer and the medicine,
Nursing all the sick of this world,
Until everyone is well.”
—Shantideva

Stop looking at your feet and start looking up at the stars. ~Stephen Hawking

Here we are -March 1st. Spring is almost upon us. Personally I have never been so excited to celebrate the tranformative and uplifting powers of spring – more light, more growth, more beginnings, more goodness. I am living and breathing transformation and new possibilities. I am swathed in potential and hope, and I am living with complete and utter faith and positivity — the overarching, underlying, and undeniable secret to Living with Certainty™.

Yes, as we begin a new season, there remain challenges, disappointments, and even despair for too many people. Negativity and pessimism abound, and have infiltrated the business world and politics. The tremendous level of uncertainty we are experiencing in the economy, and in a multitude of ways throughout the world, causes people to feel anxious and even fearful.

We can be certain that in order to move forward in our lives and business, we have to develop and utilize productive means to deal with the negativity, hardships, and tests that will inevitably come our way. And it is precisely as we overcome these challenges and prevail that we develop ourselves and learn more about whom we are and what we are capable of. Every test, every fear, every challenge that we successfully overcome is won through the prevailing of positive energy in the form of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, choices, actions, and solutions.

Clearly, we are all not in a position to filter negativity completely out of our lives and careers. There are negative circumstances and people in our lives who can’t be removed merely through the waving of a magic wand. But we clearly can control our positivity quotient in all respects of our lives which will affect every subsequent outcome. The truth is that you probably do not live with maximum positivity.

Success Traits of the Best of the Best As an executive recruiter I have studied thousands of the best of the best executive leaders in the world. It became obvious to me that the most fulfilled, successful, and joyous of them shared in common an underlying deep faith and positivity. Personally and professionally, this is their approach to life which takes discipline and focus.

Are you really planning for, working toward, and believing the best? Or with every ear ache, conflict, and challenge are you allowing your energy to be lowered, your hopes to be dashed, and your efforts to be sidetracked?

Do you currently live and work every day enveloped in the positive energy of purpose, authenticity, passion, connectivity, love, compassion, faith, and hope? These are the components that are required to live a life that leverages your fullest potentiality and allows you to live with the deepest levels of joy. These are the traits that the top leaders, strongest teams, and most productive employees possess. These are the traits that help to heal your body, transform cultures, create loyal customers, and grow successful businesses. These are the traits that are the antidote for the negativity that plagues personal lives, relationships, careers, teams, and organizations, and that so readily derails success of any sort.

Positive energy is powerful and pure. Your job is to partner every aspect of your being with the purest, most positive energy states. In its most potent form, positive energy is aligned with the power of human purpose and passion. When this energy is poured into our thoughts, actions, beliefs, relationships, and expressions of gratitude, it presents the world with a force with which to be reckoned. When you give love, consider it the greatest gift you can give. When you receive love, consider it the greatest gift life can give to you. Allow the positive energy state you experience when you feel love to provide the benchmark for how you should attempt to live at all times.

If you are a leader, it is incumbent upon you to stem the tide of society’s increasing waves of negativity.  You have to figure out how to overcome it in order to thrive in challenging times.

Purely positive energy transforms lives and organizations and creates abundance. Uncertainty, anxiety, and fear quite simply get in the way. It is my mission to make sure that as many people as possible get a chance to shine – that potential is maximized and joy is multiplied. Everyone has potential, dreams, and imagination that should be explored and shared. Don’t allow doors to close on you. Positive energy and ideas make good things happen.

So how do you begin to have faith, live with hope, embrace authenticity, tackle change, leverage potential, and pursue passion? It’s easier to achieve than you may realize. You begin with the intention to do so, but it also requires a plan and system that clearly delineates a process of discovery and action that you can surrender to with confident faith. Living from a consistently positive energy state inspires purely powerful and positive beliefs and actions. There is no place for dwelling in feelings of worry and worst-case scenarios.

This means letting go of the pessimism and negativity that lowers and densens your positive energy, paralyzes your actions, and derails your positive efforts. As you live with passion and purpose, you tap into a flow of positivity that naturally moves your life and organization forward.

Living with Certainty™ and the Energy Enablers provide you with the safety net you need to begin a new life, a new business, or a new level of teamwork and organizational performance. Living with Certainty™ provides a practical plan for moving forward in a way that feels natural, not forced or reckless. True feelings of purpose, passion and authenticity naturally fuel faith, hope, and trust that overcome anxiety and fear. This is when your actions and efforts begin to transform your life and business.

Gratitude Attracts Positivity There are so many people, events, and circumstances in our lives for which we can and should be feeling and expressing immense gratitude. When you find yourself in a negative flow of energy, turn to gratitude as the antidote. I choose to focus on the positive and that for which I am immensely grateful, and am screening out as much of the extraneous, unnecessary daily negativity from my life as possible. I am extremely discriminating about whom and what find their way through my negativity filters.

Seize this time to undertake needed change and transformation. You can do this – the question is whether you can finally commit to a new way of life. It’s worth the effort. As network TV journalist, Diane Sawyer, has said, joy and positivity are forces — energy multipliers in everything we do. Take a few minutes right now to jot down the actions you can take and changes  you can make to ensure that 2012 will be an amazing year.

My most recent Blog seems to have resonated with many of you based on your personal emails and direct messages/tweets to me. You say that, in fact, while you want to openly live a more spiritual life, find inspiration, and, in fact, change your life, you do not feel the freedom to do so. There remains a palpable spirituality stigma that inhibits you. People in all facets of your life — friends, co-workers, social network contacts, even family think you’re a little too ‘out there,’ even whacked. Well, I understand that…which is why I wrote the Blog, “Spirituality Isn’t Weird” in the first place. But it’s high time to come out of the closet. The enlightened shouldn’t hide. No, let me rephrase…the enlightened CANNOT hide any longer. The planet can no longer wait for your contributions. This is why I have placed myself in the forefront of ‘normal,’ hardworking, good-people who believe that the state of our planet is crying out for new voices, new leaders, to present this innate spiritual aspect of our lives in a new, fresh, pragmatic manner. As we live increasingly soul-based lives, we will naturally become happier, more purposeful, and more fulfilled which means we will stop creating negative energy and harming others. We can positively impact every aspect of our entire planet by living soul-based lives.

My experience is that most people I know want to be inspired, enlightened, fulfilled, and happy. Many people, however, are stymied as to how to fully incorporate “spirituality” into their lives in a way that can make a difference. Of course, this is what Living with Certainty is for; this is everyday spirituality on your terms. Together the “Deep-Soul Joy Army” will change the negative, flaky perceptions associated with spirituality as we join together in the Certainty Chain on this site and on Facebook and Twitter. We are supporting and affirming one another. Over time, this is all that is required to chip away at the stigma. And don’t forget, anyone who belittles or makes fun of you is not an energetic match with you and isn’t at all enlightened. They are very early on in their soul’s journey. However, as they witness you change your life, their fear and skepticism may quickly dissipate.

Recently I had a very close friend of mine – a staunch atheist – ask me “who am I” to spread this word of hope and joy during such hopeless times. To this I responded, who am I NOT to spread this word of undying hope and faith? This IS the time; there is no other. The momentum is building NOW. We are meant to change our lives NOW – of this I am certain. And I have a means to help people do so NOW.

Changing Lives and Finding Inspiration through Spirituality and Facebook

The world needs more people who stand for something good and who are willing to put themselves out there in the name of positive change. One of the most important venues for us to unite in our efforts to Live with Certainty, to exchange ideas and inspiration, and to allow for new spiritual leaders to emerge and share their insight is on the Living with Certainty Facebook page. I hear from so many of you that you are needing affirmation, validation, love, appreciation and support as you attempt to live authentically and from the heart/soul. Please take a moment to click on this site’s Facebook link and “Like” the Living with Certainty page so you will receive regular updates as to the important dialogue that takes place there. I want to hear from you – your thoughts, questions, desires, wins, frustrations, challenges, ideas, and inspirations. There are no rules – tell us about your own efforts to change the world. Your gifts and contributions may touch the lives of others in ways you cannot even remotely fathom. Don’t hold back.

We all face critics and certainly you will as you embark upon your Living with Certainty journey. Critics or skeptics in your life might include people in your network, friends, family, or co-workers.  Who cares?! Come on out of that closet! Nobody has the right to tell you how to be the True You. That’s between your Spirit and the Universe. Be bold, be brave, be the spiritual revolution for which the world weeps.

Love.

I work hard to keep my life as simple as possible. Why? Because when my life is simple, I feel good – at peace, joyous, lighter, and more centered. The less I have to do that isn’t in some way related to the expression of my intrinsic purpose in life (or somehow related to the creation or maintenance of my deepest joy) – and the less that unnecessary burdens and complications weigh me down — the happier I am. This isn’t to say that I’m not extremely busy – I am. Nor is it to say that I’m not constantly stretching myself and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I am (and that’s the real secret to my success). But I know my limits, I know what really keeps life simple (a pure, purposeful, and authentic life of the highest integrity…in a nutshell), and I know when to retreat and recharge. And by keeping my focus on having a focused, simple, pure, and loving life, I can then (with relative ease) retreat to that place of pure rejuvenation and centeredness whenever I need to.

For the 40+ crowd, it was easier to do this when we were kids, – to naturally recharge our batteries – because we purely flitted from one pleasure pursuit to another…the next laugh, the next smile, the next popsicle, the next great adventure. As adults, however, many of us have so aimlessly created so many activities, circumstances, and responsibilities in our lives that really have nothing to do with the expression of our purpose — or the creation or maintenance of our deepest joy — that many people are experiencing little – if any – satisfaction in their lives. Not at all what was intended for our lives.

NOTE: I’m talking here about practical, doable ways to simplify and experience more joy in your life if you’re one of the many mature, hard-working people –parents and professionals — who I routinely speak with who are stressed, burned out, mired in negativity, and in need of some relief. However, there is a new generation (or two) of surly young individuals who have made selfishness and the pursuit of surface pleasures – not integrity or purpose — a way of life. And that’s a different issue altogether (and these individuals in many ways contribute greatly to the stress and negativity that others are experiencing today).

But the opportunity is still there for all of us – to varying degrees — to return to lives that are as easy and simple as possible. We can create adult lives that provide comfort, joy, and peace to us when we need it. That’s not to say that we won’t have circumstances and complications in our lives that we haven’t asked for or created. Without question, there are bad breaks and tragedies that are not of our own making. And in these circumstances, it’s all the more important that we take care of ourselves – mentally, spiritually, and physically – or we can drown in our valid pressures and worries.  

So, how do you start un-complicating – at least to some degree — a complicated life of your own making? How can you shed unnecessary burdens and stressors that are weighing you down and stifling your hopes and deepest joys?

Ask yourself, do I still view my life, my potential, and my future through the same hopeful, positive lens through which I so naturally viewed the world when I was younger? If the answer is “no,” it’s time for a paradigm shift — because no matter what you face in your life, you deserve to experience as much joy, hope, and belief in a better tomorrow as possible.  When you consider the negative circumstances in your life that are of your own making, what specifically have you created or included in your life that is so spirit-draining? Bad career choice? Too-large of a mortgage? Toxic relationships? Over-spending?

In days long gone by, the living was easier. As a child, you moved in the direction of what was fun, what thoroughly engaged you, what brought joy, what felt good. There was no overthinking, no politics, no conditioned fears. There wasn’t even always a plan. Who was kind? Who was nice? What was fun? Who was fun? Who laughed a lot? Where were the best popsicles, the best pools, the best friends?

I rode my bike, picked blackberries, plucked vegetables from the garden and rinsed them with the hose, swam in the neighbor’s pool, jumped rope, played hopscotch, laid in the grass, drank Kool-Aid, ran with the dog, explored, and napped when needed. Ideal. And, as it turns out, even after many left turns and failed experiments, these are still the activities that bring me joy and center my soul (with a great bottle of wine thrown in every now and again). Why did I let my favorite activities go for so long? Sure, my teen years and young adulthood brought different interests. But at the same time, I allowed a core part of who I was to evaporate, as many people do. Why do we as adults allow the things we loved as children to become irrelevant, esoteric, and arcane aspects of who we once were?

Conditioning, pressures, expectations, difficulties, experiences, circumstances, coping mechanisms, etc. all kick in and change the extent to which we feel we can live freely and trust ourselves. We no longer view our choices, our activities, and our world through a simple lens. There is so much else to consider now. There is not enough balance.

We began orienting our lives differently and making choices that seemed safe in helping us to avoid what we don’t want, but that no longer necessarily move us toward what we do want. We do this as adults as naturally and effortlessly as we used to — in days gone by — gravitate toward bomb pops, smiles, and sunny playgrounds.

Think of the little ways every day that you “have to” avoid creating what would really make you happy because you are too busy prioritizing the avoidance of potential trouble or conflict. For example, for all of us, a loving, safe  atmosphere in our homes should serve as our lives’ foundation, but you may feel the need to avoid conflict with your spouse, parent, or child and so you avoid being at home altogether or you avoid engaging with others in your home by working more, talking on the phone more, spending time on the computer more, drinking alcohol more…everything but really creating the loving, safe, peaceful, and joyful environment – a soulful baseline — that could feed your soul and move your life forward in all the right ways. And all of these meaningless activities and time-wasters complicate your life in ways that remove you from your center of mind-body-spirit balance.

Your life can be as simple and balanced — or as complex and off-kilter — as you choose to make it. Here are some suggestions for finding your way back to simplicity, balance, and joy. Make a habit of as many of the following approaches as you can and you will see your life begin to change for the better:

  1. Don’t make things so hard – the moments when you feel at peace, calm, and balanced are those times when you are doing what is right for you. Trust this feeling. Strive to make the circumstances and activities of those times the predominate themes in your life.
  2. Maintain your health. Nothing will work right in your life without it. If you’re not focusing on being healthy, start here.
  3. Give your body the sleep it needs. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, your body needs to operate from a place of balance, and sleep is an essential aspect.
  4. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Avoid starting your day off by rushing or being late.
  5. Catch yourself comparing yourself with others and feeling competitive and jealous. Shun those thoughts – shut them down, as they are completely wasted time and mental effort.
  6. When you’re wrong and you know it, just quickly say so, apologize, and allow everyone to move on. Don’t allow stupid things to fester. We all make mistakes; we’re all wrong at times.
  7. Stop being a people-pleaser and stop trying to make everyone a friend.
  8. Stop being offended when everyone doesn’t want to be your friend. You can be kind, a nice neighbor, a compassionate human being, and helpful co-worker without having to be friends with everyone. Many of us already have a boat-load of significant relationships that we’re not paying enough attention to. I am extremely selective about with whom I’ll establish a personal relationship. There should be a values-match with the people you allow in your life. They should support you and you should support them. If they don’t make you feel good about you, question that relationships place in your life.
  9. Don’t talk incessantly about yourself. If you’ve been visiting with someone and all you’ve done is talk about yourself, trust me, they won’t want to visit with you anymore (and this may explain why everyone doesn’t want to be your friend).
  10. De-clutter your primary living and working environments – office, home, car, etc. Clutter is damaging to your energy – mental and spiritual.
  11. Forgive those who have hurt you – do it for you. There are many great books on learning to forgive. Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy also provides a strong approach to beginning the process of forgiveness.
  12. If you don’t know the answer, ask for help – be it directions, advice, instructions, etc. Get the help you need and move on. Asking questions or for clarification politely is not confrontational and is not belligerent. Getting answers will help you do things right the first time.
  13. Figure out where your life’s primary frustrations and time-wasters are, and put a plan in place to fix it. Get help, eliminate, put processes in place…fix it…now.
  14. Don’t assume …just stop making assumptions. Ask questions, clarify, converse, communicate.
  15. Don’t expect others to make assumptions. If you want something done a certain way, say so. You are not being aggressive or out of line when you politely state what you want.
  16. Take control of your temper by remembering to pause and breathe when you are about to say something nasty or rude. Stop yourself – pause — before a single word comes out of your mouth. You’ll save yourself a lot more time and heartache if you don’t speak out of anger.
  17. Always, always, always live below your means. Don’t make big impulse purchases….ever. Think about it first.
  18. Never, ever forego your monthly savings plan unless for a catastrophic emergency.
  19. Really do surround yourself with people who are smarter, funnier, and healthier than you. It really motivates you to raise your game and also comes in handy when you need help or guidance.
  20. Remember…what you do to others has already been done to you. There is no avoiding karma. Allow karma to serve as a self-governing system for all of your actions and words.
  21. Do what’s good, what’s right, what’s true for you. Always. Even when it’s not popular. Follow your own internal instruction system. And I don’t mean, if it feels good, do it. I’m referring to getting in touch with your spirit core and living from this place of pure, purposeful, high integrity. There is only one kind of authenticity – and that’s spirit-driven. Only the “Ego-You” is suggesting that you get tattoos, dress scantily, be rude, and so on.
  22. When stressed, anxious, or angry, go workout, go for a walk, physically burn off some energy.
  23. Never drink and drive.
  24. Be trustworthy. Honor all commitments and be known as an honorable, responsible person. Follow through, follow up, be impeccable in word and deed.
  25. Know that it’s never okay to say, “I’m always late.” (It’s very character revealing.)
  26. If you feel love, say so — frequently. “I love you” is a good thing to say.
  27. Use prioritized “to-do” lists every day/week if you really want to get things done and see forward progress in your life.
  28. Incorporate technology into your life wherever and whenever possible. It should expedite and simplify, not complicate, a lot of routine tasks.
  29. Never lie. Never steal.
  30. Avoid long daily commutes.
  31. Be honest with yourself. Living from a place of denial will prevent you from being deeply, truly happy.
  32. Live authentically; embrace your unique spirit-self. Allow others who are important to you to know who you really are.
  33. Only multi-task if you are someone who can get things done.  If you only really accomplish things one task at a time, then, by all means, do one thing at a time as expeditiously as possible. 
  34. When packing for a trip, take the time to plan out what you will really need, and limit yourself to that.
  35. Clean as you go.
  36. If a job isn’t worth doing right the first time, then why do it at all?
  37. It’s not cool — male or female — to be proud that you can’t cook. It just isn’t. Learn to grill, learn to make a few simple things, but please don’t brag that you can’t cook.
  38. Shop when you need to, not just because you want to.
  39. Use cash, not credit, as much as possible. If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy an unnecessary item on credit.
  40. Mind your own business. Nobody really likes a nosey-nose.
  41. Don’t be a sounding board, or whipping board, for crazy, negative people.
  42. Never forget…where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…
  43. Spend time taking good care of your most significant assets – your body/health, your relationships, your home, your vehicles, and so on.
  44. Smile – doesn’t matter who smiles back. Putting out more love and good energy in the world can only be a good thing.
  45. Avoid bad people as much as possible. If you can cut them out of your life, do so. If you have a crazy, evil, addict neighbor – or someone else distasteful in your life, i.e. a co-worker whom you would never choose to associate with, but have to be exposed to everyday – limit your exposure or ignore them to the extent that you can. A daily dose of evil can only hurt you – ignore it. You’re better than that.
  46. Avoid doing things that make you feel bad about yourself as much as possible.
  47. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  48. Be optimistic. Positive people rock.
  49. Treat the elderly with respect. If someone is frustrating you by moving slowly or otherwise impeding your path, imagine it’s your grandmother, grandfather, or other beloved elder. Show the same respect and patience you’d show – and want shown — to your own loved ones and family.
  50. Expect to forget things. Write things down. Commit to staying organized.
  51. Commit to learning something new every…day, week, month. Be a lifelong learner. Be curious. Engage in interesting moments and contemplate the relevance or applicability to your life. How can the learning of everyday moments be incorporated into your life in ways that can make you better?
  52. Give compliments.
  53. Say please and thank you.
  54. Hold the door for others behind you.
  55. Drink LOTS of water every day.
  56. Got a great idea. Pursue it. Pursuing talents, dreams, and passions is what your life was meant for.
  57. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. It’s going to be tough nowadays. Start-ups were never easy – and they’re even harder today. The people who innovate, persevere, and hang in there today will rule the world tomorrow.
  58. Spend time in nature as much as possible.
  59. Don’t be afraid of the sun….just wear sunscreen.
  60. Stop texting and driving.
  61. If you meet someone you like and would like to develop a relationship, let them know.
  62. Never stop building your network.
  63. Don’t repeatedly ignore people who reach out to you and then call them when you’re out of work or when you need something. Ever.
  64. Be bold. Be courageous. Don’t base your life, your choices, your actions on what you think other people will think.
  65. Never eat when you’re not hungry.
  66. Incorporate 30 minutes of activity into your every day schedule. How many days should you exercise…Well, how many days do you eat?
  67. Remember, people are what they do…not what they say.
  68. Give thanks every single day for all that you do have. Make gratitude for what is going right in your life – for what you do have—the foundation from which you approach your life. I give thanks for all that I have every single morning upon waking and frequently throughout the day. I learned through my cancer experience last year to take nothing – not a single day – for granted.
  69. Write out your life’s priorities. Create a life “purpose plan” and allow it to guide your priorities, decisions, and choices. If a major decision or choice doesn’t move you toward what you ultimately want, why do it in the first place?
  70. If you can’t change something, learn how to live peacefully with it.
  71. Remember, “luck” goes to the hard workers.
  72. Be a great problem-solver. Think deeply and move toward the solutions that – upon considering them – immediately lighten your load emotionally.
  73. Be a great friend. Be the kind of friend that you’d like to have.
  74. Don’t try to be older than you really are. Relish every age. The sweet times pass quickly.
  75. Find the lesson in everything…and then move on. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t be a victim. Live in the here and now and create your future moment by moment.
  76. Make sure you choose a vocation that you truly love, that doesn’t feel like work. Love your job. If you don’t, figure out what you do love and get about the business of doing it. Get a foot in the door. Volunteer. Hang your own shingle. Life is too precious to unnecessarily spend it doing something that sucks the life out of you.
  77. Don’t allow anyone to discourage you when you are following your heart and dreams…go for it!
  78. In the midst of the hardest times, tell yourself, this, too, shall pass.
  79. Take time to smell the roses….literally. Breathe deeply the fresh air. Take in the sunset/sunrise. Gaze at the stars. Soak up a sunny, blue sky. Don’t lose your sense of wonder. Listen to the Lee Ann Womack song, I Hope You Dance.
  80. Give yourself a pat on the back, a toast, and “three cheers” when you have even small victories.
  81. Laugh…hard and often.
  82. Give affection, allow yourself to receive affection.
  83. Focus on what you’re good at – and then strive to be very, very good. This brings pride and satisfaction, and helps to eliminate frustration.
  84. Don’t defend or overlook out-of-line, incompetent, or incorrigible behavior. Better to say nothing than to defend or protect evil.
  85. Meditate, meditate, and meditate. Did I mention that you should meditate? Meditate.

Kristi LeBlanc is the Executive Vice President and Managing Director, North American Consumer Practice with DHR International, a top-5, retained, global executive search firm. She has spent 15 years as a retained executive recruiter with the globe’s largest, most prestigious executive search firms, including Korn/Ferry International where she was a Senior Partner.  She is also the author of  the award-winning, “Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy,” and the President of Living with Certainty™ LLC where she is also corporate keynote speaker and organizational and personal consultant. To learn more visit http://www.Livingwithcertainty.com, http://www.dhrinternational.com/consultants/consultantsviewbio.aspx?consultantid=329, or call Kristi at 303-997-9328.

Purchase copies of the three-time award-winning book, Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy, at Amazon.