WARRIOR LESSONS: Goal setting- eyes firmly on the prize!

I read this quote recently –

“Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”

It’s one I keep in my little treasure trove of words for the wise. Those ones you read back on and it’s like a lightbulb flicks alight.  You freeze for a moment in time and then everything falls back into focus. ‘Oh yeah’, you think, ‘that’s why I’m doing this’.

I barely think this point needs much expansion, really: its pretty self explanatory. When you forget what your goals are and where your dreams and designs are leading you, its easy to get distracted and let setbacks and negative comments and missed opportunities get to you.


They can take little tiny chinks out of your armour, one by one, if you let them.


Focus on that prize at the end with a steely gaze and do not let anyone or anything take that out of your reach!  Planning something big, and special, will give you the focus and determination to plough through the mundanity of everyday life on those days when it all seems too much.


One trick I deploy is that when life starts to swallow me, and I’m feeling like I’m not moving ahead or progressing, I try really hard to turn that thought around into gratitude. I’m thankful for the fact I have a stable job that allows me to have the time (occasionally) to do my makeup artistry and my other pursuits outside of work.  And allows me the time and energy (again, occasionally) to write and focus on things that mean much to me.




I’m also planning a trip to Europe next year to catch up with a wonderful, awesome friend of mine whom I haven’t seen for over a decade yet it seems like no time has passed. I’m planning on seeing some of the countries I’ve always wanted to visit- Spain, Italy,  Germany. I am super excited to start planning this trip! It will mean a lot of willpower and hard work along the way, but if I keep my eye on that destination, the journey will be worth it and I’ll climb that darned mountain to get there.


Also, know this. There will always be people in the world who like to see other people fail, and who will give every ounce of their energy to try and trip you over on your path to glory. There are others who, better still, SHOULD support you but for some reason, don’t.  They just don’t care, don’t take an interest, don’t encourage you.  They just basically ignore you. Whatever. You got this far without them right? And go further you will, if you keep your eye on the prize and your mind on the game.


Kick the haters to the kerb. Better still – use their negativity as a springboard to make you better. Detractors and haters CAN play a part in your game. If you’re like me, you’re the type of person who is competitive and you get motivated and inspired by criticism.  I personally enjoy proving people wrong and turning negative situations into wins.

Don’t worry so much about the setbacks.

Missed an opportunity and taking it personally? Look at how you could have done things better to prevent that from happening – I guarantee you will turn that negative circumstance into an area for improvement, which will ultimately make you better and stronger and more fierce at what you do.



WARRIOR LESSONS: Go and Be Awesome

One of my blogging heroes and life inspirations, Chris Guillebeau (who actually IS awesome, by the way) discusses the concept of ‘going and being awesome’ on his site, the Art of Non Conformity.

At the heart of this premise is the notion that nothing else really matters, if you embody ‘awesome’.


If you really think about it, on a bigger picture macro level- how much does that degree or that long climb up the corporate ladder really mean in the scheme of things? At the fundamental level, should we really invest that much importance in these supposed milestones, big ticket purchases, new cars, mortgages etc?

Guilllebeau, as much as he is inspirational, is a realist. He understands the frustrations and challenges that telling someone to “go and be awesome” can pose, even to people who are completely capable of being awesome.

So that’s why he’s composed a list to help us on our way along the path to being bigger, better and more awesome. A cyber hand hold to show you how to really “be awesome”!

Thanks to The Art of Non Conformity for the forthcoming very useful advice:


Think about this every day: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~ Ayn RandIf you aren’t comfortable with this attitude, it’s hard to be awesome. Sorry. You can be good enough without being assertive, but to a large extent, being awesome requires that you initiate, take action, and chart your own course through the norms of mediocrity.


Working your ass off, at least during specific seasons in life, is also a prerequisite for being awesome. This is huge-  if you don’t like hard work, good luck. I hung out with J.D. Roth in Portland a few weeks ago, and we talked about the big success of his personal finance site. Guess how many hours a week he has worked on the site since going full-time last year? 60 HOURS EVERY WEEK. That’s right, aspiring bloggers – you too can have 70,000+ readers and write your own ticket to internet fame – but it won’t happen by playing WoW every night. The same principle holds true with most other work that is worth doing. Yes, I know about things like life / work balance, taking time off to rest, and so on. Those are things you do after you’ve created your world of awesomeness. Jason Calacanis put it best, “If you want to work 9-5, get a job at the Post Office.” Still reading? As mentioned, those first two are prerequisites. They also serve as filters, because lots of people give up on self-determination and hard work. Assuming you can stick with it, it gets easier from here on out.


In any given work environment, almost everyone is focused on one goal: to make themselves look good. If you can change things around and focus on making other people look good, you’re well on the way to being awesome. In some environments (certainly academia), this is exceedingly rare behavior. Showing up to work is expected. Showing up early, prepared, and with a good attitude is remarkable (sadly). Present solutions, not problems. If you can present solutions to other people’s problems, you’ll go far. Contribute big ideas, including some that you know are likely to fail. You’ve probably heard this before: “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it.” To be awesome, be the busy person who gets things done.



A wise person once told me, you don’t have to be the first person replying to every convoluted email thread. That just shows everyone that you live on your email. Instead, show up at the end and contribute something of value. Your comments will come to be viewed as the deciding word instead of the kneejerk reaction. The next time, people will look forward to your response and wonder what’s wrong when you haven’t written in. Don’t use rude autoresponders. A rude autoresponder looks like this: What were you thinking in writing to me? I am too important to be bothered by inane requests like yours. I may or may not get back to you, and if I do, it will probably be a while. Have a nice day. Those are not the exact words (usually), but that’s the implied message. If you must use an autoresponder, like when you are traveling or otherwise not checking email very often, be polite and gracious.


Overdeliver in your personal relationships. Give more than you get. Never find yourself in relationship debt. Never make excuses about being too busy, not having enough time, etc. People who are awesome make time for what’s important to them. From time to time, you’ll screw up. This is how you apologize: “I’m really sorry. It was completely my fault. I hope you’ll forgive me, and here is how I am addressing this in the future.” If you forget to do something you’ve committed to do but remember it later, do it right when you remember. Buy thank-you cards and write 2-3 every day. Use your calendar to keep up with the birthdays of as many people as possible. Write real birthday notes or cards instead of Facebook posts. Whenever a casual relationship is coming to a close (the class ends, colleagues move to another project, etc.) write the person a quick email. “I enjoyed working with you… thanks for doing a good job.” When bad things happen, you can forgive the following: mistakes, weaknesses, shortcomings. (No one is exempt from these things, even awesome people.) When bad things happen, you should worry about the following: dishonesty, passive aggressive behavior, chronic tardiness, whininess. (These patterns do not usually get better with time.) Practice the art of radical exclusion with people who waste your time. This is NOT being impolite – it is showing respect for the people you have committed to serve. Remember that people will basically act the same no matter who they are around. If the people you hang out with are always complaining about other people, chances are they probably complain about you too. The point is: don’t put others down when they’re not around, or at least make sure you’re comfortable with whatever you say being repeated.



Reward the behavior of other awesome people, and stop rewarding mediocrity. Tip 20-25% for good service at a restaurant. For the rare occasion when service is awful, don’t tip at all. When you find yourself in a conversation with someone who likes to argue all the time, you may be tempted to respond, but you’ll regret it in the end. Just walk away. Always focus on core motivations. When presented with a request, analyze the situation by thinking about exactly what the person wants from you. (Hint: it is not always what they are explicitly asking for.) Keep up the positive momentum. Look to the future, not the past. Never be a critic without presenting an alternative. Remember that no statues are erected to critics, and no one is remembered for shooting down other people’s ideas.


Got that? Good. Now- go and be awesome, its well within your reach!


YO! Please feel free to send me your comments!!!

Warrior Lessons : The Love Yourself More Project- 32 ways to silence that inner critic

Recently I posted about the need to start truly, deeply, and madly loving yourself for who you are- right here, right now. YOU need to be into YOU!

How to Start Loving Yourself / Self Love / www.elisemcdowell.com

If your actions, behaviours and words paint a different picture than one of true L-O-V-E, then its time to stop, exhale, and reset. Loving who you are, not just liking, is so important in so many ways. Not only does it give you a healthy sense of self and your worth in this big wide world, but it helps you to set healthy boundaries about how others may treat you. Giving yourself the self respect and love that you really DO deserve enables you to give and love abundantly and genuinely.


If you can’t love who you are, how can you expect to love others from a place of genuine, beautiful intent?

Loving and accepting yourself is an vital lesson in anyone’s journey. While some of us are blessed to be born with a healthy sense of self-confidence and self-acceptance, others aren’t so lucky. Abusive or unhealthy relationships, a low sense of self worth, a dysmorphic sense of one’s body or looks or intelligence; these can all chip away and degrade the sense of self and can quickly spiral into a cycle of negative self talk, bad self esteem, and no sense of personal boundaries and self respect.

As I mentioned in my last post I am very thankful and grateful that I’ve been granted the opportunity to find a path of personal growth and development these past few years, and have learned some utterly life-changing lessons along the way. I’ve set myself new boundaries, reset my mind to accept and nurture who I am and for the most part, I have a pretty darned great relationship with me now. Its taken hard work, a lot of falling on my ass and some stepping backbards, especially in those moments when I forget how far I’ve come. I’m always learning but I can honestly say I am in a much better space mentally and emotionally than I was 6 years ago, and better even than 12 months ago.

The point of my story is, if I can get there, so can you.


Start loving and believing in yourself today. You already have everything you need right there inside of you, to create an AMAZING life! Love yourself. Accept yourself. Forgive yourself and be good to yourself. Because without you, the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.

Below are some little strategies that may help you to find a place where YOU matter, where no-one is knocking you down, where you can reconnect with that vibrant, bright, curious young soul that burns within you.


It’s by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it by any means a guide or a prescription to help you if you really are in need of more professional help.  I am no expert on the human condition, so if you find things are truly getting you down please PLEASE share your pain with someone and let them help you.

That aside, read on if you are seeking a couple of light-hearted ways to get back in touch with your sense of fun, and happy, and start your journey towards loving yourself. I hope that these tips may spark a few ideas and set you on your way to getting back your zest for life and your love for you- for you truly are an amazing, wonderful person!

Enjoy x

1. Step outside your comfort zone and do things that SCARE + EXCITE + AMAZE you.

2. Seek ADVENTURE and explore your world.

3. Do things that speak to your SOUL. If you’re stuck, start writing a list under the heading…’If I could do anything in the world……’

4. Commit to saying the following words out loud daily “I am AMAZING” and keep saying them until you truly believe it!

5. Stand naked in front of the mirror and say “I’m awesome.” Everything about you is a miracle.

6. Splurge, even if the budget doesn’t allow it, on a massage. So worth it.

7. Take yourself out to a movie.

8. Eat a chocolate bar or some delicious dessert without feeling guilty. Life’s too short for regret and constant rules.

9. Try a new hair color. I always found red gave me such a different look and lots of attention of the good kind!


10. Forgive yourself for a bad decision. And I mean REALLY forgive. If it helps, write it down on a piece of paper, then burn or bury it. Let it go.

11. Turn the music up really loud and DANCE!

12. Go to a forest, beach, hill, waterfall, quarry, garden, tree, park and chill in nature for a bit.

13. Get a pedicure or a manicure. Bliss out on how good it feels to be nurtured and remind yourself you deserve to feel this good.

14. Sleep naked.

15. Cut all the sizes out of your clothes. Instant not caring. Its just a number after all, it doesn’t reflect ANYTHING and, reality check- there is no such thing as a standard size.

16. Stop into the salon for a trim or a blowdry. Hell yes! You’ll walk out feeling a million bucks.

17. Make something fabulous. Anything! Don’t think you have a crafty bone? You’d be surprised. Google can tell you how to make anything your heart desires from an amazing mulligatawny to a new bedframe- the options are endless. Do it. You’ll feel so chuffed. You may have even found a new skill or business opportunity.

18. Donate to a cause that benefits women or girls (or any cause particularly close to you heart). That sense of giving to someone less fortunate really helps to put things in perspective.

19. Push yourself a little bit harder during your workout. C’mon, its so worth it and it will all be over in a few minutes. Endorphins are your friend.

20. Go back to school and study anything your heart desires. There’s a course for everything nowadays, from short 1 day courses to masters degrees. Equally so many options if your finances don’t allow it. Do it, it will open so many doors and teach you so much about yourself and the world.

21. Write a thank-you note to your teenage self. I’m yet to do this, but doing it soon! I can’t wait to tell her that so many things she was hung up about were such a waste of energy. Similarly, I would tell her to give herself more pats on the back, trust her instincts more and don’t be too hard on herself. Things have a way of working out in the end.

22. Book a hot air balloon ride

23. Write a list of females that you admire, whether they are diplomats, thought leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, artists, educators, celebs, or someone in your community. There are so many fierce, strong, amazing women out there, celebrate them!

24. Make a new rule: NO woman bashing. Ever. Every time you hate on a woman, the way she looks, the way she dresses, how her body is shaped, how she acts or talks – a small piece of you is dying, and a small piece of you is spreading a toxic virus to the rest of womankind. Just don’t engage in it! Ask yourself, does this mean thing I am about to say serve me or any other women in a positive manner? What if that woman was your mother, sister or best friend or daughter? Switch off from the media who propagate this, don’t buy into those celebrity trash mags, don’t contribute to sarcasm or hate online, just switch off from it. For good.

25. Get fitted for a bra. We are all culprits of still wearing the same bra size we did 10-15 years ago. Isn’t it time for an upgrade? Let an expert help you to find the shape and cup size that makes you sizzle. Your girls will thank you and you will feel ah-mazing.

26. Light a candle, get comfy on the couch, and read a book. Nothing like a bit of solitude and a great tome to absorb that beautiful mind of yours and take you away.

27. Sleep in. You deserve it.

28. Be thankful and write it down somewhere where you can find it later.

29. Take the first step in doing what you have always wanted. Three words: Just Do It. You don’t need to wait for everything to be just right, start now, no excuses. Trust me, 6-12 months down the track you will wonder why you didn’t start even sooner!

30. Log off from Facebook for a week. You won’t miss it.

31. Throw out your scale. As above, just a number. Why be ruled by it? We all know that the number has absolutely no relevance on how fit, healthy, intelligent, sensitive, caring, genuine or funny your are. So why do we give it so much importance?

32. On your morning journey where ever that takes you, find one beautiful thing to be grateful for! Write it down, or take a picture, and reflect on it at a later time if you are feeling down on yourself.


WARRIOR LESSONS: Set Yourself Free

Its that time of the year when many of us are bursting with fruit flavour, juicy sweet motivation, and a whole lot of drive and gusto. We want each year to be bigger, shinier and more sizzling (in every way) than the year before, oui?   Yet no matter how motivated, mentally prepared and focussed we are, it can sometimes be all too easy to hit that proverbial wall and run out of steam.

I found this excellent article this morning on one of the blogs I follow, Ampersand Design Studio (over here). The article links back to this fantastic piece written by Ann Mehl on Women’s Adventure Mag online.  Ann outlines ten bang-on strategies that are easy to execute, and can get you back on track to a massively supercharged 2013.

As a creative person with an entrepreneurial spirit this article totally hit home and gave me the inspirational jolt I need from time to time. Big ups to Ann for these beauties!

10 Ideas That Will Help Set You Free

Last month, I was invited to give a talk at TEDx in the Netherlands. After some initial resistance (it’s a lot of work and far away), I decided to take the plunge, and I’m happy to report that it went very well. You can watch it below. The theme of this particular TED conference was reaching your “Full Creative Potential”. I’m lucky to work with a lot of creative people, most of whom are bouncing off the walls with ideas. The trouble is, an idea is not a plan. It’s a car without an engine. Execution is ultimately what determines our success in any given venture. And that’s what I chose to speak about, in a talk I called “Paint Your Masterpiece.” Here, in condensed form, I offer you these ten “principles,” in hopes that some of them may also be useful to you.

1. You will never be ready. So you don’t feel ready, or prepared or smart enough? That’s okay, nobody else does either. You don’t need to have a PhD, or a book published, or an agent, or the perfect business proposal to launch your business or do whatever it is you want to do. You don’t need anyone’s “permission.” You don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing – you simply have to begin it.

2. Don’t discount the obvious. I got into coaching quite by accident. I was working in recruitment and the thing I enjoyed most about it was meeting people and trying to offer helpful advice. But that couldn’t be a real job, could it? We tend to discount our most natural gifts. It’s too easy. Too obvious. So there can be no value in it, right? Well, maybe our true gift is the one we’re already giving away for free. Maybe the very important thing you have to offer is right in front of you.

3. Execution trumps idea. Ideas by themselves are worthless. Unless you follow through with them. Thomas Edison once said: “A lot of people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” And if it’s worth doing at all, it usually is hard work.  Zuckerberg may not have been the first person to come up with the idea for Facebook, but he was the first person to execute on that idea. It’s not about the idea, it’s about execution.

4. Know your why. Why are you doing the work that you do? What does it mean to you personally? Kahlil Gibran said: “Work at its very best, is love made visible in the world.” Good art and good work – the kind that gets us out of bed in the morning – is usually about the desire to share with others something that we love. Not surprisingly, it’s also what makes some companies great. Share your love of something, and you will never lack for motivation.

5. Be who you are. Try to figure out what it is that makes your offering different. The term used in advertising is “Unique Selling Proposition.” USP. A big part of success is just learning to sing uniquely in your own voice. If you don’t know what makes yours different, you’ll just be a pale imitation of someone else. And why would anybody want that? Oscar Wilde said it best: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

6. Give it away to get it back. Whatever you want to attract more of in your life, give it away. Want more love and affection in your life? You have to give more love. Want more respect from your peers, then you have to give more respect to those around you. Want to feel inspired? You have to inspire those around you. Whatever it is that you feel you are lacking, give it away. Freely and often. You’ll get it back in spades.

7. Get stretch marks. In the metaphorical sense. Try to expand your own awareness of what you think you’re capable of. Anytime you’re overcome with fears or doubts or inhibitions, that is your signal to walk towards it. Act directly against your crippling inhibition. If it is the right and reasonable thing to do – then just do it!  Give yourself stretch marks. You’ll be a bigger and freer person because of it.

8. Sometimes you’ll stumble. Ever watch a baby learning to walk? Stand up. Wobble. Fall down. Repeat. This is how we learn any new skill – painfully and awkwardly. So why do we assume as adults that it should be any different? Do not fear making mistakes or looking foolish. Fear not learning anything new.

9. Find your tribe. Yes, you can go it alone, but you don’t have to. Try to find other like-minded people who share your passions, energy and enthusiasms. In whatever way you can, seek out and identify your tribe. They’re out there. As my favorite poet, David Whyte says: “Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation.”

10. Know your value. Never underestimate your own intrinsic value or worth. Unfortunately, this is the one thing you cannot buy, and nobody else can give to you. It’s a gift you give to yourself. And the way to do it is by owning the totality of all of your experiences – both good and bad. Every success, every failure, every heartbreak, every crappy job you’ve ever had – all of it has shaped you into the person you are today. And that person is a masterpiece.

By Ann Mehl, courtesy Women’s Adventure Magazine.com

About Ann: Ann is a certified Life & Career Coach through the Life Purpose Institute and Martha Beck’s NorthStar program. Learn more about Ann at http://www.annmehl.com or contact her at ann.mehl@gmail.com for a free consultation.



WARRIOR LESSONS: The love of comparison is the root of much misery

If you continue to judge your success or worth based on other people, especially those with a different background from you, you will undoubtedly, absolutely, be unhappy.

Always looking for a new idol or competitor, and constantly feel short-changed with your lot in life, is a fast-track to unhappiness.

I must admit: I am guilty of doing this from time to time, even though I KNOW with every fibre in my being not to! I have to actually pretty much physically slap myself to stop that train in its tracks before it crashes into me.

To illustrate my point in a completely outlandish fashion, if I were to wake every single day wishing that my life was like this guy:


I’d be pretty fucking unhappy right? As much as it would be nice, its hugely unrealistic, lofty and just plain stupid. Sure it would be nice to have that much talent, fame, style, mystique and legions of people who love you.  But, not gonna happen.

There is absolutely no point comparing what someone else has in their life, right now, to yours.

No good can come of this, ever.

Accept what you can’t change; change what you can’t accept. ‘Nuff said.


Let me know what you think in the comments below!

x DS