A challenge can mean different things to different people. Some people, when they hear the word, will think of someone being challenged to a duel.

Some will see it as something to be overcome, like a health challenge, while others will embrace it and use it as motivation to reach for and accomplish a personal goal.

The motivating types of challenges are the ones we look for. They cause us to move out of our comfort zone and allow us to pursue our dreams and ambitions.

A challenge of this type may include being ranked #1 in 800 meter category in the NCAA Track and Field conference, like a young man I met recently.

Or it may be like the one I took up in 1996 with the publication of my first book, Handbook to a Happier Life.

At the time I had no idea if I could do it or if anyone would actually pay money to read what I wrote. Fortunately for me, people liked the book and my career as an author took off.

Your present challenge may be more personal in nature like someone I met recently, Dave Jeffries.

Dave has taken up the challenge of riding his bicycle from Miami Fl. to Boston Ma, a ride that has him riding some 75 miles a day, every day. He said, and I can imagine, you get to see the country up close and personal. 

Click on the photo to connect with Dave on his Facebook page.


Whatever your particular challenge is you owe it to yourself to step up to it. Yes, you’ll be moved out of your present comfort zone.

Everything you want that you do not have is outside your comfort zone. The only way to have it is to move out of your present comfort level and stretch yourself. Otherwise, you’ll never know your potential.

If you need something to motivate you, use this sign I once had on my desk. It’s one of the reasons I published Handbook to a Happier Life, way back in 1996.

if you don't do it

Ask not what your company can do for you . . .

On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy, in his landmark inaugural address, challenged the American people with the now famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” You can read the entire speech here 

John-F-Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

It became a mantra that marked what was to become the beginning of a new era in the United States; one of prosperity and great social change.

Kennedy must have known that this statement would challenge people and have a positive result. And that it did.

In the decade that followed, we landed a man on the moon, businesses began a period of massive innovation and growth and the nation began to thrive. Great social change took place, righting many wrongs. People in general stepped up to his challenge of building a better nation for everyone. Life in the early and mid sixties was pretty good in the U.S.

Flash forward to today with our current epidemic of unhappiness in the workplace, a condition that according to 2013 Gallup poll, is costing our economy almost half a trillion dollars a year in lost productivity.

Since the release of “happy@work – 60 Simple Steps to Stay Engaged and Be Successful,” I’ve been immersed in employee engagement issues as we are offering our “happy@work” workshops and coaching to help companies increase employee happiness and engagement. Study after study has shown this to result in increased productivity and revenue.

This has become an important issue for me personally, for obvious reasons.

If you stop and think about the figure above, you’ll soon realize that there is no way we can compete in a global economy with this low level of employee performance.

If we hope to continue, for future generations, the quality of life we’ve come to expect in the United States this must change. And it must change now. While it is important for companies to invest in the growth and development of their employees, engagement is a two way street. 

Perhaps we all need to ask a better question like, “What can I do for my company?”

When Kennedy spoke his powerful words it shifted people’s focus 180 degrees, from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”

That was the game changer

When we approach life with a giving attitude we invoke the “Law of Reciprocity” which essentially teaches us that you cannot give without receiving. The universe is always in a state of balance.

Whatever you give out will come back, multiplied. This is one of the “secrets” to success.

If you want more love, give more love. Be more loving. If you want more money look for ways in which you can serve your company and customers.

If you want more time, give of your time. This is why people say, “If you want something done give it to a busy person.” We instinctively know that, somehow, busy people get more done. This is, perhaps, because they give freely of their time, they seem to have more of it.

At work people ask, “How can I get a raise?” Wrong question.

The way to get that raise and become more successful is to instead ask, “How can I add more value to my company?”

In the case of a business owner you might ask, “How can I be of more value to my clients?” Or “How can I add more value to the community I serve?”

My friend and colleague Don Lafferty (pictured at right), a recognized social media authority, regularly gives of his time to share ideas with a local group of us who meet to discuss social media strategies. Giving back is not uncommon among successful people.don lafferty

At home, a husband might ask his wife, “What can I do to help you?”

I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that if you were to do this with whomever you live with, you would experience a warm and welcoming response.

Think about the last time someone did something nice for you. How did you feel? Didn’t you, almost immediately, want to do something nice for them in return?

Of course you did. It is our natural response to want to reciprocate the kindness.

It’s a simple formula, if you want more, give more.

If you want to open to your full potential you may want to begin your day by asking, “Where may I serve today?” You can do this before you even get out of bed.

Simply ask God, the Universe, Source Energy or whatever name you give to the source of life, how you may be of service. Then just lie there for a minute or two and listen quietly for inspiration.

You may receive an idea immediately or something may come up during your day. As you learn to become quiet and listen for guidance, you’ll begin to sense it more and more in your life.

You may receive it as an impulse to take a particular action or call someone. You may meet the person who can help with something you’re working on or be invited to an event where you learn of a business opportunity.

At work you might ask yourself an empowering question like, “How can I do my work today in such a way as to add more value to my company?”

Please come back and comment here to let us know what happened.


One morning when I was writing happy@work, I found myself online searching for information about “water.” I was in the midst of a short chapter about drinking water as an energy tip. Considering how many people do not drink sufficient amounts of water I felt it was a necessary chapter. You can’t be very happy at work if you’re dehydrated.

Camel and WaterMy Google search that morning led me to a world of information about the negative side effects of not drinking sufficient water – dehydration – particularly as it relates to back pain and, interestingly enough, dementia.

Speak with almost any chiropractor and you’ll learn how many of their patients, complaining of back pain, are dehydrated.

And there is a pile of empirical evidence pointing to dehydration as a contributor to dementia and Alzheimers.

During autopsies of people with Alzheimers most of their brains were dehydrated. And speaking with people who work in assisted living facilities confirmed that their residents with dementia who drink more water are more alert and responsive.

Other symptoms that can be caused by dehydration, according to Web Md, are loss of mental focus and heart palpitations. More about symptoms of dehydration.

There are a myriad of good reasons to be drinking the recommended amount of water daily; typically about eight glasses or, as some sources recommend, half an ounce of water per 1 lb. of body weight. For a 140 pound person, it would be 70 ounces or about nine glasses, assuming an eight ounce glass. Soda does not count, nor does coffee or tea. As a matter of fact coffee will add to your dehydration.

water and sunflower #happyworkA colleague of Georgia’s started bringing a large water bottle, like the one to the right, filled with sliced lemon, cucumber and mint leaves to work as a way to increase her water consumption. This inspired Georgia to do the same so now she’s getting a decent amount of water each day. After a few weeks of this new practice she has more energy and feels happier more of the time.

Since so many people seem not to like the “taste” of plain water, adding fruit slices may be just what you need to motivate you to increase your water intake.

However you choose to do it, drinking the recommended amount of pure water each day will go a long way toward improving your overall health and well being.

And if you want more tips for being happy at work, at home or anywhere else, get a copy of my new book,

happy@work - 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful


Back in April of 2013 I attended a local health fair, comprised of several health professionals talking about and demonstrating their products and services.

NutribulletOne of the practices that caught my attention was drinking Green Smoothies made with deep green vegetables like Kale and Spinach. Never liking Kale as a child made this an interesting challenge for me.

What started as a simple practice – making a green smoothie each morning – has continued for more than a year now.

Frustrated with my small blender, I bought a Nutribullet, (photo left) a kind of super blender that liquifies whatever you put into to it. I highly recommend the bullet, which costs $89 here at Amazon. 

As a result of establishing this practice, I’ve lost about twenty pounds, all without actually trying. When I began the practice my goal was to improve my health, though dropping some weight is never a bad idea for me.

Equally important to the weight loss for me is that I feel great, have more energy, and am consuming five or six servings of deep greens and fruit daily; something that is steadily improving my health.

For an added nutritional boost, I typically include a scoop of vegetable protein, ground almonds (grinding makes them easier to digest), and cacao for it’s chocolate flavor and high levels of anti-oxidants. Cacao is raw chocolate with zero sugar. And it’s chocolate!

Health Tip: Thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Rosie Battista, author of Sleeping Naked After Forty, I use 3/4 of a cup of greens and 1/4 fruit, instead of half and half as recommended by the Nutribullet book. This cuts down on the sugar from the fruit.

Seeing the results I was getting, my wife Georgia joined me in my morning practice and is drinking a smoothie daily. By the way, if you’re wanting to lose weight faster, you can make two smoothies a day in place of a meal or with a light, healthy food choice.

In my opinion this is one of the smartest additions I’ve made in my lifelong commitment to improving my health and fitness. While I’m thrilled with the results in the year plus I’ve been doing this, I can see a huge long-term health benefit to continuing.

Adding green drinks, smoothies and juicing to your diet can go a long way to preserving and improving your health.

Here’s an earlier post I wrote, Simple Weight Loss Tips That Work.

It’s never too late.

Three and a half years ago my Uncle George called me wanting to meet for lunch to discuss his health. He had been undergoing cancer treatment for some time and had reached the point where his doctor told him to go home and, when he was ready for hospice, to call him to set it up; that they could do nothing more for him.

I met with him in a diner in Staten Island where he was visiting family, from his home in Florida. George had known for years of my interest in health. Aside from telling him what I thought and what I would do in his situation, I gave him a copy of the book, Breakthrough, by Suzanne Somers and a copy of Life Extension magazine, published by the Life Extension Foundation and suggested he make his own choices.

Fortunately, for Uncle George, his son-in-law, a Cardiologist, had just completed a certification in Integrative Medicine and was onboard with using natural treatments to help maintain his health.

George changed his diet radically and began drinking juices and green smoothies. He became involved with learning, with the help of people at Whole Foods, what to eat and drink for health.

Yes, Uncle George, the last of my late father’s brothers, did pass in April of this year, however, he enjoyed another 3 1/2 years of life as a result of making a commitment to his health.

We’re all going to pass one day. That’s not the question. How we live until then is very much within our control and, especially in matters of health and fitness, it’s never too late to start taking better care of ourselves.

If you want to learn more ideas about living your best life, no matter what your age, grab a copy of Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body 




The other evening I was attending a local social media event when someone I know in real life exclaimed, “I didn’t know you offered individual coaching.”

This was a wake-up call for me to revisit how I’m presenting myself and our services. I hadn’t realized that many of the people who now know me do not necessarily know the various services I offer.

What happens is, we meet a person or, more often, are introduced by someone who says something like, “Mary, I’d like you to meet Jim. Jim’s written several books.”

So far so good but if that’s all the person hears, that’s the impression they’re left with. Some time ago a woman I knew from our local Chamber of Commerce introduced me to someone as a “life coach.” 

Yes, I am a life and business coach, however that’s only one segment of what I do in carrying out my mission of helping people create their ideal life. 

I also deliver seminars, workshops, and webinars. I’ve written eight books, several of which have been International bestsellers, and I’ve recorded several personal development audio programs and an online video course that is available on www.Udemy.com and on other eLearning sites.

Is it a prospective client’s job to go to my web site and learn all this? 

Hardly!  It’s our responsibility to ensure that anyone we’d like to do business with knows all of what we do and the various ways in which we can help them.

This reminded me of a situation I encountered back in New York when I was running a marketing and advertising agency.

I was asked to create a brochure for my local printer. The reason this came about was that one of their long time customers, a local high school, came in to pick up their printing one month. The printer had been printing the school’s newsletter for many years and typically delivered it, but this particular month the delivery person was on vacation so the school picked it up themselves. 

While waiting at the counter, the customer exclaimed, “Oh, you print letterheads and envelopes too? Now, most people who have done a lot of printing know that most printers will print almost anything, or at least have it printed, however this particular customer did not.

What amused me about this, aside from the lesson it contained, was that the tag line I wrote for the printer’s brochure was, “Making great impressions since 1928.” They had been in business all this while without a brochure. A classic case of the Shoemaker’s children having worn out shoes. 

If your business or job responsibility encompasses a variety of products and services, make sure your current and prospective customers are well informed about it. And make sure you keep them abreast of any new products and services you’ve recently added. 

One of the easiest and best ways to increase your business and income is to revisit your existing and past clients.

And, yes, I offer individual as well as group coaching programs. If you’re a candidate for coaching and ready to be coached toward your ultimate success, email me.

You may have heard the 1975 disco song, Jive Talkin’ by the legendary Bee Gees.

While it makes for a terrific dance song, it’s not so good when it’s what you tell yourself about your life and your potential. What we refer to as “Self-Talk,” that internal dialog we have with ourselves, which we sometimes refer to as thinking, could be more accurately be called “Jive Talk’,” because that’s what it is.

We’re “jiving” ourselves with a steady internal dialog of negative statements and unproductive commentary about the conditions in our life.

woman worried about futureThe majority of people, unfortunately, spend their waking hours having a running negative dialog in their heads. They lament about the things they didn’t do, the opportunities they missed, and what they “wish” they did.

They then shift to the present where their internal dialog turns to what’s wrong with them, their spouse, the company, the government, and the world in general.

From there, if there’s any time left, they can worry about the uncertain future they’re facing, the diseases they “could” suddenly be stricken with, and what may or may not happen in some future time.

And they then want to know why they’re not happy! How could anyone be happy after listening to all that?

They’re defending their limitations in a limitless universe. As author, Richard Bach wrote, ”Argue for your limitations and sure enough they’re yours.

The unfortunate and sad part about this is that our subconscious mind does not know that these things we are telling ourselves are things we do not want to attract so it brings us more of the same.

Your subconscious mind takes everyhing you say literally and acts upon it. And it does not recognize opposites so, for example, saying “I don’t want to be broke,” is perceived as “I want to be broke” by your sunconscious mind and, the obedient servant it is, it goes about making sure you stay broke.

My colleague Eckhart Tolle wrote in “A New Earth” that, what happens is not the cause of our unhappiness, it’s the story we’re telling ourselves about what happened. If you want to stop feeling unhappy, start telling yourself a different story.

Turn your jive talk into power talk by writing a new story about your life, as you would like it to be.

Create some simple affirmations – positive, empowering statements – to reinforce your new story.

Statements like, “I’m becoming healthier and more fit each day” will go a long way toward your making better health choices.

If you want more money, a statement like, “I see opportunities to attract money daily and am becoming wealthier and wealthier” is a whole lot better than, I’m never have any money,” which is what many people are saying and conditioning their minds with.

The first and most important step in changing any condition in your life, whether it’s health, finances, relationships, career, or any other area, is to start writing a new story about how you want things to be.

Stop reinforcing the same old tired tale of woe you’ve been telling yourself all along and write your new vision for your life in all its glory.

If you want to see faster and more dramatic results, get a coach. Working with a life or business coach is the best investment you can make in your own success.

There are coaches of every kind available to meet every need and budget. You can usually schedule a complimentary “get acquainted” call to ensure you’re a good fit for each other.

actionIf you’re ready to act now

Let’s talk. I offer a free 20-minute telephone/Skype conversation to determine if we are a good fit for a coaching relationship.

Click here to send me an email  

“Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet.” Eckhart Tolle

When I first read this statement in Tolle’s book, A New Earth (2006 Plume), I bought the book. I was browsing in a bookstore when I saw the book, which several people suggested I read, but for some reason had avoided doing so.

When I opened the book to the quote above it was like a bell went off inside my head. I immediately saw the connection the statement has to my task of bringing the happy@work message to people everywhere; a message that people deserve to be happy at work and can learn ways to be happier, regardless of circumstances. And, if that were not enough, companies are learning that happy people are more engaged and, thus, more productive, resulting in higher revenue. Everyone wins!

happy at work seminar images.011As companies invest in employee wellness and performance programs they will begin to reap the rewards of a highly productive, engaged workforce who, as an added benefit, are less likely to leave.

I’m not sure how we got to the place where so many people are unhappy. The level of employee engagement and satisfaction in the American workplace is presently, according to the Gallup organization, a mere thirty percent.

This is pretty dismal and, personally, I do not see how we are to remain a world economic power if this is allowed to continue. It’s time for us all to come together, employees and owners alike, and start changing the tone of the workplace in America.

Companies need to reinstate the employee development programs that were once commonplace and do their part in reengaging their people.

Employees need to start taking part in their own happiness and well being. Regardless of what your company is doing or not doing there are numerous steps you can take to be happier, more engaged and, ultimately, more successful. There are 60 simple ways in my “happy@work” book alone.

Where can we begin?

If you listen to Shawn Achor, author of the Happiness Advantage, you’ll learn what he and his pals at Harvard discovered; that intelligence and education represent only 25% of your potential for long-term success.

The more important predictors, representing the remaining 75% are your beliefs, who you associate with, and your attitude. If this sounds similar to what those of us in the personal development field have been saying all along it’s because it is. On top of that, every major religion and spiritual study agrees.

The huge difference now, and what makes Achor’s findings so important is that now we can not only scientifically prove what people like me have been saying for years, but we can understand why it’s true and, therefore replicate the results across groups of people.

Next steps

Now that we know all this cool stuff (my scientific explanation:-) and we understand how to make ourselves and others happier, and we know that people in a positive state are more effective, engaged, intelligent, creative, and happy, the giant task ahead for anyone who wants to take up the challenge, is to spread this message to people wherever we can reach them.

The area where I have been guided to serve is in the workplace. With the book “happy@work” and our companion workshops and coaching programs we can help companies and their employees re-engage and improve happiness and productivity.

If the folks in your workplace would benefit from an injection of happiness, ask about our “happy@work” workshop and coaching programs, designed to increase engagement, productivity and happiness throughout the organization. 

We all need to do what we can to be happier and help those around us to become happier. If you’ve read any of my books or any other self-help information you know how to feel happier at any time. Now we need to teach this to the, roughly, 95% of the people who do not.


Have you ever felt like you just can’t take it any longer? I’m guessing you have.

Sometimes the pressures of our modern day life, balancing work and family life, handling what seem like ever increasing financial pressures, worrying about your health or that of a loved one and on and on, are more than most people can handle.


A pet not coming home for a few days, as has been our experience this week with our cat Missy (shown above), can cause intense emotional stress as you wonder and worry if she is okay and agonize over whether she will or will not be coming back.

These types of situations will occur. There’s no doubt about it. The more important issue is how will you deal with them when they do?

In any situation, particularly one’s involving intense emotion, the best thing you can do is become Present. Presence is the Now; the only time that actually exists.

“When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

The more you can focus your attention on being in the Now, the less stress you will feel. This is because the source of your ill feelings are the result of your mental projections as to what “might” happen or what “could” happen.

It’s important to notice that none of what you’re worried about “is” happening or “has” happened. This is especially true when it comes to the financial worries most people spend their days agonizing over. Most financial concerns have to do with future financial security.

Even if an intense situation is occurring in your life right now, the only way you can access the mental resources necessary to resolve it is to remain in the present.

I realize that doing this is easier said than done. Here are some things you can do to help:

Taking a few slow, steady, deep breaths will help you focus your attention on the here and now.

Detach emotionally from whatever is taking place. Simply observe it.

Accept what you can’t change

Take action on those things you can change

The law of Polarity teaches us that we cannot have a need without also having the solution to fulfill the need. You cannot have a left without a right or a top without a bottom. Look around and see what resources you already have, right now, that will help with your situation.


This is where you rely solely on your faith and trust that everything will work out. It will. It always does.

The idea of living “One day at a time” can make life a lot less stressful. Be present. Live in the now.