Second agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

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“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – The Four Agreements

Every time I say I help people learn how not to take things personally they always respond—oh, I need help with that!

Now, if you thought the first agreement needed lots of practice, I find this one to be more challenging.

We get emotionally affected by the things that happen around us, and that happens through our own interpretations. Those interpretations are formed based on our wounds. The more aware we are of those wounds and the better we heal them, the better we get with not taking things personally.


I was talking to one of my clients this week who was hurt by the behavior of his boss. For the first time he was late to work due to blocking of some roads by an accident, preventing him from taking the direct path to the office. The boss was disturbed by this lateness, about 15 minutes, and over the telephone accused my client of being careless with his time and not planning ahead. In other words, my client should leave 15 minutes earlier so that once a year when there is a road problem he could arrive 5 minutes early but the rest of the year he would arrive 20 minutes early! The tone used in talking with my client was also grating and seemed to be attacking.

However, the truth still holds: the boss was expressing his anxiety, anger with the world, and perhaps displeasure with the way his company was doing in its financial struggles. I advised my client to examine whether the critique from the boss was appropriate to the situation, and also to look inside and decide whether he felt he had truly done anything wrong at all. With more awareness of the role that each person—the boss and he himself—played in this situation, my client felt more at peace and confident.


If there is a situation where you want to get a different perspectives in perceiving an upsetting episode with someone in your life (family, friends, co-worker, boss, etc), you can ask yourself and reflect on the questions below:

  • Why is this situation upsetting me?
  • What is the meaning I assign to it?
  • What else could be in play here?
  • What is going on inside the other person’s mind and life?
  • What is the bigger picture?

The second agreement invites us to take back the power we have given others to flatter or demean us, in order to free ourselves from being swayed or controlled by other people’s opinions. Notice that even words of praise or appreciation should not be allowed to deflect us from our own self-knowledge!

This principle does not mean to totally avoid listening to people openly and honestly, taking their feelings and opinions into account. The second agreement includes staying open to kindness and love as well as constructive criticism and honest disagreement, but without being thrown off-balance by any of those.

When you keep the second agreement you can follow your heart and be authentic without fear of being praised or criticized. You can keep your inner peace and happiness no matter where you are, and no matter what situation you are caught in.

Practicing this agreement has brought much freedom to my life. I hope you will try it too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“The Four Agreements” to enjoy the holidays

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It’s that time of year again—time for gatherings and celebrations at work and at home. Although these can be enjoyable times, sometimes the relationships we revisit during these events have a difficult history and seem challenging.

It is within the power of each of us to turn each moment with other people into either an opportunity for connection and growth, or a stressful encounter that can leave both parties feeling diminished.

As I was thinking what can I share in my newsletters in this period that will help you the most I thought of the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a book I have known for many years, and to this day I still refer to it often. If you have read the book you will remember that the four agreements are:

  • Be Impeccable with Your Word
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally
  • Don’t Make Assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best

What a great time to remember and intentionally start using these concepts!


This week I want to focus on the first agreement. Here it is in full:

“Be Impeccable with Your Word: speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – The Four Agreements

What does this mean?

First of all we have to consider our Word to be much more than the construct of words and phrases that comes out of our mouth. Our Word is the force with which we create, and includes everything we express. It includes our emotions, physical actions, thoughts and our attitude. Walking around being silent while filled with hate or self-rejection doesn’t meet the meaning of impeccability.

Expressing yourself impeccably is to express yourself in the direction of truth and love. This includes expressing love, respect, and acceptance for yourself and others. It can also include honesty that provokes a discussion, but leads to more understanding, authenticity and connection between people.

People learn many habits over the years that condition them to use emotional and verbal expressions in ways that are unkind to oneself or others.

This week stop and pay attention to the words you use the most towards yourself and others. Remember that with awareness you can start any transformation.

When you communicate without criticizing, analyzing, blaming, or diagnosing yourself and others–describing your observation, sharing your feelings, and clearly and respectfully asking for your needs, you are more likely to inspire compassion and cooperation.

To keep this one seemingly simple agreement will require some time and practice to master. Just know that every day that you become more impeccable with your Word you will have more love and happiness in your life and relationships. That is the truth! And it applies for Holidays and for your life.

Boxes and roses: reaching for light

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“I didn’t know boxes give birth” I said to one of my dear friends who asked how I was settling into our new home.

Boxes-and-roses-mediumThat is exactly how I felt and I was not liking it. My perceived “dark side” — doubtful, perfectionistic, and questioning everything — started showing up. My first instinct was to avoid those aspects of myself. Yet over the years I have learned how to embrace them knowing that my light and dark sides exist in relationship to each other, and are available to help me reach a higher potential and live more fully.

For a couple of days I let my dark side play, allowing the full range of my humanness to take place. I observed and allowed myself to feel all my feelings instead of trying to distract or suppress them.

I also remembered to get inspired through one of my favorite poems from Rumi:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

The poem tells us that embracing the rhythms of life, the light and the dark, the contraction and the expansion, the joy and the pain helps us to get authentic, which is the way back to joy.

When I realized that, through my two days of reflection, I became comfortable with everything that I was feeling, and was more able to relax and enjoy each moment. And in celebration, I bought roses for myself. Because boxes and roses belong together!

Next time uncomfortable feelings and thoughts are showing up for you, instead of distracting yourself with busy-ness or addiction or obsession of any kind, try to be mindful and sit with the uncomfortable parts of your experience. Allow yourself to BE, so that you can draw from your inner capacity and grow. It is a good step on the path to a more fulfilled life. Enjoy!

Tomorrow begins a new chapter in my life

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There are boxes everywhere in my apartment. As I stuff one more tablecloth into the latest box to close it, I can’t help but drift in my mind to all the changes and transitions that I have gone through in my life — some positive ones and some negative ones as well.

A little tear of gratitude rolls down my cheek and I smile, as my heart flutters with both excitement and nervousness about tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the end of over ten years of living alone. I am moving in with my sweetheart into our new home in Roslyn. I am grateful, yet sometimes the fear of the unknown surfaces.

What I am realizing in the process is that change even chosen lovingly is not very easy. Instinctively we want to repel it and go back to our comfort zone.

Although intellectually I know and understand that “the only thing constant is change”, I still have butterflies!

I ask myself, “What is it about the world that can seem so threatening when change happens?” Why is it that many of us are instantly repelled by the thought of change?

Clearly, we do get comfortable in the way we are doing things, even when that way is far from ideal. Then, when something takes us out of our comfort zone — loss of job, promotion to a new job, moving to a new town, whatever it is — we feel uncomfortable because we are not sure what is ahead, and how we will handle it.

Winston Churchill said: “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”. I wonder if he was always an optimist!

In Eastern thinking one of the main teachings is that everything in life is impermanent. And the Western expression is nearly as ancient: “the only thing constant is change” was originally written by Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic philosopher.

The good and the not-so-good (or just-plain-terrible) do not last; everything exists only for a finite time. That is a fact of life and to resist that fact does not help, because it does not change the reality. This reality has deep meaning for us as human beings.

When we accept the fact that nothing lasts forever, we are far better equipped for the journey. Struggle occurs when we resist reality, so the best way to end the struggle is to fully embrace the impermanence in life.

Upon reflection, I suddenly realize that I can re-interpret my feelings of the butterflies as anticipation of a new adventure. With this shift, I am open to the good that is coming my way, and I feel joyful anticipation in my heart. I observe in myself two simultaneous experiences: anticipation anxiety, and joyful anticipation. And it is good.

Changes are generally more challenging when change is due to a so-called negative event; the ability to go from resisting change to embracing change is still possible, although it may not happen overnight.

So the next time you are faced with an experience which causes your reality to change, for “better” or “worse”, please take a deep breath, take a step back and embrace the opportunity. Embrace each moment.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~ Charles Darwin

If we could learn to understand change as the fundamental reality of our lives, we could live happier and feel more fulfilled.

I am working on it!

Are You in Love with Your Old Stories?

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If you’ve identified a story in your own life that isn’t serving you, ask yourself what would happen if you let it go. How would your life change?

And you can probably identify a story you have that serves you well. How does that story help you?

In the Inner Mastery Academy this month we are working on changing our stories that don’t serve us and creating new stories. It has been so transformative that I wanted to share with you and remind you how you can create your own story that you want to live by.

Here is an example:

Edward was a successful business owner who always told himself, “I’m not good with money.” He used this story as an excuse to not pay attention to the numbers in his business. He was constantly behind on his taxes and he procrastinated getting an LLC set up, even though he knew it would protect him.

But one day, a friend and fellow business owner called out Edward on what he was saying. His friend told him that this story was holding him back from the next level of success. It was Edward’s way of playing small and staying safe.

What’s Your Story?
Every day, we create or use narratives about our lives. These are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, where we came from, what we want — and what we are capable of.

Maybe you believe you’re a messy person. Saying that you’re messy means you don’t have to be responsible for cleaning up. Or perhaps you say, “I just don’t like people. They drive me crazy. I’m a hermit, this is just how I am.”

What Are You Gaining from This Story?
You can’t shed an old story until you understand why you keep holding onto it. For example, if you tell yourself you’re a hermit, you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people. This story feels like it’s keeping you safe because you don’t have to risk getting to know other people.

Maybe your story helps you avoid responsibility. If you insist that you’re too disorganized to run a business, then you don’t have to take responsibility for turning your hobby into the business you’ve always dreamed of.

What Would Happen If You Let This Story Go?
If you’ve identified a story in your own life that isn’t serving you, ask yourself what would happen if you let it go. If you decide that you’re no longer a hermit, how would your life change? Would you start reaching out to the people around you? Would you build a wide network of friends that are eager to support and love on you?
If you decide that you can become organized and run your own business, what would that look like for you? Would you be able to pay off your debts and help your spouse quit that job he hates? Would you be able to send your kids to that private school you’ve always hoped they could attend?

Why New Stories Energize You – More About Edward
Edward took his friend’s words to heart and he got started creating a new story. He hired a bookkeeper so he knows exactly how much he earns. He started paying his taxes on time so he’s not behind anymore. He even filed for that LLC license he needed. Now, Edward doesn’t feel stressed about numbers. This means he is free to spend his time on creating more products for the community he loves serving.

Letting go of old stories sets you free
It gives you energy and makes you see the world in a new way. It also helps you create space for more of what you love and want in your life.

Journal Your Thoughts
1. What’s the story you keep telling yourself and others about your life? About your business?
2. What are you gaining from this story? Does it make you feel safe and comfortable? Does it protect you from responsibility?
3. What would happen if you let this story go? What would your life look like?

How do YOU deal with difficult relationships?

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Do you have someone at work or in your life who consistently triggers you? That you consider to be difficult or toxic? If you are a human being living on this Earth, I assume your answer is “YES.”

This is one of the themes we are working on in the Inner Mastery Academy Group Coaching Program as we each clear the path to achieving our vision.

Our core emotional need is to feel valued and valuable. When we don’t, it is deeply unsettling, a challenge to our sense of equilibrium, security, and well-being.

An overly challenging relationship, even if you recognize it as unhealthy, is often difficult to let go of. But if you want to reclaim your power and truly heal from a toxic relationship, you have to be willing to ask yourself some tough questions.

What attracted me to this person?

It doesn’t matter if this person was a business partner, significant other, or close friend. You chose to allow this person into your life because you found something desirable about him or her.

Maybe you liked the way that your boyfriend made all of the decisions because it made you feel safe and cared for. Maybe you started working with a business partner because you admired her work ethic and found her attention boosted your low self-confidence. These are just a couple of the many possible examples.

What were the early warning signs I missed?

Most people who are difficult for you don’t wake up one day and decide to be toxic toward you. The truth is they’ve usually been difficult for you since the very beginning. You just didn’t notice until six, twelve, or eighteen months (or more) down the road.

You have to understand this question is not about assigning self-blame. It’s not your fault that this person was difficult for you, although you may need to change how you perceive and respond if you want to improve the situation.

And it is not really about focusing blame on the other person, either. However, if you don’t examine the warning signs then you’ll stay in the unhealthy relationship and will continue to be at risk of entering into a relationship with others who are also harmful to your well-being.

Maybe the early warning sign was that your significant other was a bit too possessive and didn’t want you to have any male friends. Maybe the early warning sign was that a business partner always gave vague responses and never answered a question directly.

You can create a pattern where you choose friends, business partners, and lovers that are toxic unless you start learning from these experiences — and you can create a pattern of finding and keeping relationships that help you enrich your life.

Why did I stay with this person?

Just as important as it is to recognize the early warning signs of a toxic person, it is also important to understand why you continued in the relationship.

Some people stay in toxic relationships because they don’t want to be alone. or feel that they aren’t strong enough to make it on their own. Some worry about hurting the other person, or offending them and ending up with an enemy, if they speak and act directly and end a connection. Some people worry about what a potential breakup might do to their reputation or how it will disappoint their loved ones.

Whatever motivates your decision-making, when you understand your whys, you can make more informed choices now, and in the future.

How can I use this approach in order to grow?

Once you’ve analyzed your relationships, it’s time to learn from them. Keep in mind this isn’t about indulging in self-guilt or heaping shame on yourself or the other. It is about using your relationships as a learning opportunity, in order to grow personally and professionally.

When you are at this point you are ready to ask yourself some deeper questions:

  • What are the facts in this situation?
  • What is the story I’m telling myself about those facts?
  • Where is my responsibility in all this?
  • How is this benefiting me?

How many times has something that felt terrible to you in the moment turned out to be trivial a few days or weeks later, or actually led you to an important opportunity or a positive new direction? Probably more than once!

That important opportunity or positive new direction may only occur if you look more closely at your part in choosing or staying in what you experience as toxic situations, and if you look more closely at your part in those situations, you can grow. Sometimes you can heal or improve the overly challenging situation, and in other cases, you need to scale back or end a relationship in order to take the next step in your growth.

I work with many clients on how to enhance relationships of all kinds, whether at home or at work. And the evidence I have seen through my work is that we do NOT need to live under the weight of bad understanding or bad decisions. We can indeed find the right understanding and the right path to live a fulfilling life, full of positive relationships.

Isn’t that something worth paying attention to, and mastering?

It’s STILL a Wonderful Life… Inaugurating Ourselves

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Yes, the inauguration was today, January 20, 2017. We can choose to worry or perhaps feel good about it. Or we can continue our own meaningful lives, including some caring about the politics, but not giving it great, overwhelming importance.

If there was a gun to my head (and an angry person behind that gun), the last priority that would occur to me at that moment would be “Who is the president, and what is he going to do to all of us.”

Life is meant to be lived with intensity, awake to each moment. When that fades a little, we can become distracted — by the need to pay bills, by the weather outside, and yes, by inaugurations and other notable news in the media.

To be clear, living with intensity does not mean living anxiously. And not worrying about paying bills does not mean we ignore them and choose not to pay bills.

Have you seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart? (and not “It’s a Beautiful Life”, a more recent film which also has some food for thought.)

In “It’s a Wonderful Life”, near the end, the main character (Stewart) is in trouble through no wrongdoing of his own, and is about to be arrested. But he has so strongly woken up to the meaning of his life that he says joyfully to those present, “Isn’t it wonderful? I’m going to jail!!” He is carried away with the beauty and meaning of that moment. You can see the clip here (start at 2:00 if you just want the section that I am describing).

Even if we are not swept up in that degree of intensity, I know that we can all find meaning in each day, and in each moment, that can provide beauty and inspiration to us.

I will not let the ups and downs of those far away, control how I experience the world. I can find ways to support some policies and fight against others, but in my heart, I always want to remain the president of my own life.

When life is lived wide awake, with all its meaning, we make things better not only for ourselves, but also for other people. As far as I am concerned, that is what matters! Better for me, and better for all of us.

So, I do feel the shifts that appear to be happening now. We don’t know where they will lead. But life itself is still amazing, and I intend to make every minute count.

The Benefits of Mindful Living

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Are there times you find yourself in a place of fear, worry, or guilt?

I think we all do, which is part of being human, where we move to a more “unconscious” state.

Living in the MomentOnce you have realized this, it’s time to stop and become aware of the present moment. That is what mindful living is about; for the next month I am focusing on this theme.

Mindful living is about living in the moment without judging yourself or others. Sometimes we may tend to live on autopilot, and living mindfully can feel challenging.

For example: you are going to the movies with your spouse, but as you are driving you start thinking about the argument you had with him or her three weeks ago. Before you know it, you’re all fired up again. Instead of living in the current moment, you find yourself re-living the past. This makes it hard to move on, and can lead you to carrying around anger and other unpleasant emotions, which of course (in this example) will affect your relationship.

Mindful Living = Cultivating a Judgment-Free Zone

Instead of reacting emotionally to situations as you might when on autopilot, you can choose to focus on the current moment without letting your emotions take over.

You might see a distressing story on the news. You feel angry and sad. But instead of reaching for your phone to distract yourself, you stay in the moment. You acknowledge your emotions without judgment. This practice frees you to stay in the present moment.

Mindful Living Makes You More Appreciative

FocusThere are times that you may be doing tasks that you perceive as unpleasant, such as while you are cleaning your home or compiling boring data for a client; it can be tempting to let your mind wander at such times! But part of mindful living is staying in the moment, even if that moment is unpleasant or uncomfortable. Unpleasant moments can become more enjoyable when we have the right frame of mind!

Just because you are staying aware during what is usually an unpleasant moment, you don’t have to give into feelings of negativity. Instead, focus on giving thanks. For example, you might say and feel something like, “I’m grateful that I have enough clients to pay my bills” or “I’m blessed to have a home to clean.” Now, you’ve managed to stay in the moment without letting yourself focus on the negative.

Mindful Living Improves Your Mood

Few things can improve your mood quite like mindful living. Often, anxious thoughts are the result of worrying about the future while sad thoughts are related to regretting the past. Mindful living helps because it forces you to stop over-thinking. Sometimes, in order to shift into a more mindful state, it helps to pause the usual daily activities, and to sit and meditate or engage in other fully-focused practices such as Tai Chi Chuan, or perhaps walking in nature. Joining with others who provide support and help you see a bigger picture to life than the individual ups and downs, can also be very helpful.

Mindful living is one simple way to improve your life. Try to spend a week focused on mindful living and see how your thoughts and feelings change.

Here are some questions to journal to bring more awareness:

1. Describe a situation where you were running on autopilot rather than feeling present in the moment.

2. List three common activities you do while on autopilot. Why do you think you do these tasks on autopilot?

3. How often do you find yourself reaching for your phone to check for messages or calls during a typical day?

Whitewater, Your Business, and Your Life

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I am grateful for the lessons learned in the wonders of nature…

My sweetheart and I went whitewater canoeing in Narrowsburg, NY two weeks ago. This was my first time in whitewater. For me, being in nature and exploring new adventures brings growth. The uncertainties of an unknown deep forest path, a challenging mountainous hike – and now whitewater – allow me to go deeper into my strength and to know myself better.

Delaware River: still watersImagine a peaceful day as the sun is reflecting on the calm waters of Delaware River. A family of ducks is dancing to the symphony created by the birds, insects, and the wind. You are paddling your canoe and soaking in the beauty all around; everything is calm and at peace. All of a sudden you hear the sound of rushing water, and your heart gains a beat. And then…

You experience for the first time what being in the rapids feel like. There are rocks everywhere, the water is powerfully rushing forward, with you on it, and you barely know which way to sit and which way to steer, because anything can turn the canoe over or cause it to flood with the onslaught of water.

My experience was that I felt a gushing of blood throughout my body and my head screaming “What did you say YES to?”, but along with that came the feeling of excitement and challenge. I wanted it to end, but I knew we were in the middle of this event, and we were the only ones who could get us through to the other side, where peace reigned.

As this was happening I took a deep breath in, needing to be present to make the right decisions. That also brought to me the awareness that I was not alone. If my partner and I communicated calmly and clearly we would win this race against the rapids, as a team.

We needed to encourage each other and to do our responsibilities in the best way possible. I was to detect the rocks so that we would not get stuck or have a strong collision, and David who could see the wider view would guide the canoe, using my rock-avoidance instructions, so that we could move forward.

Delaware River rapidsDespite our best alertness, we did get stuck against a large rock, and the water pressure prevented us from simply pushing ourselves around that rock. We were stuck, and water started to enter the canoe. First David got out of the boat and stood on the slippery rock and pushed the boat, but that was still not enough to free up the boat due to the intense pressure.

Can you picture this scene? I started to get out as well, onto that slippery rock, but fortunately putting one foot on the rock released enough pressure, and now the boat could move! My teammate managed to jump back in the boat, and we were off. Sure, the boat had taken on some water, but we did not sink!

The struggle was temporary, and after some less powerful rapids, we were on the other side, and the calm waters and the stillness with all its glory was waiting for us.

While in the middle of those rapids, as well as some lesser ones that we also faced further down the river, I had to be present to skillfully manage the planning for the direction to take, and to paddle in order to move forward without tipping the canoe and without major collisions with rocks. It was afterwards as we were in the calm waters again that I could draw the analogy of “whitewaters” to life and business.

Mild white waterSometimes we are in the middle of significant challenges in life generally, or in business, but working with focus and confidence, both as an individual and as a team, is a growth experience. If managed well, it builds confidence, as well as closeness and mutual trust.

Experiential travel like this whitewater adventure is awe-inspiring, soul-stirring, heart-opening, fun, and life changing. Pushing one’s limits in order to achieve a desirable goal, and doing so as part of a team effort, is exhilarating. Those on your team with you, and yourself, can all take inspiration in experiences of shared effort and overcoming obstacles. I know that sounds like a cliché, but I was reminded of the fundamental truth to that message by my visceral experience in the Delaware River.

Perhaps you feel that way too — that exploring new environments and experiences that support growth can open doors to more meaning in life, more confidence, and in general, more well-being.

I invite you to travel with me to the beautiful, inspiring Azores Islands, located between North American and Europe, to awaken yourself in the wonders of nature, under the leadership of myself and my partner in this adventure, Christine Neve. While we will not be facing whitewater there, there will multiple opportunities to grow into a stronger, clearer you!

I know that you have what it takes to grow from new, supportive experiences. I hope you will consider sharing this adventure in nature with me. You can read more details at: http://www.awakeinthewondersofnature.com

Your Other Accounts — and What They Really Mean to You

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In our highly developed country, and in other industrialized “first-world” nations, we are all usually taught about bank accounts, about saving money, and about the kinds of work we can do in order to gather enough money so that we can save it. The goal is to have security, a certain kind of lifestyle, and probably ultimately retirement.

Heart in a vaultIs there anything wrong with that focus? Maybe there is — it does not include development of other vitally important aspects of life. The financial security and lifestyle approach is sorely lacking as a representation of what creates a meaningful life.

If we follow this limited vision, we are likely to suffer unnecessarily later on, because we have not developed in other areas that are inherently important to our lives as human beings. In the end, when we add it all up, don’t we all want to live a life that really matters? If I may say so, when we think about it the answer is clearly, “Yes!”

So I invite you to think about “bank” accounts in an extended model — an extended model which will lead to success and fulfillment. As we all know, bank accounts can grow, stay the same, or diminish, and possibly even go to total depletion. In order for us to achieve a life that matters, it will require us to consider more than our literal bank accounts.

Seen in this way, the reality is that we also have physical health accounts, mental health accounts, and societal/relational accounts, in addition to the literal bank accounts. Is it possible that we are forgetting some of the other accounts while we focus on the bank account?

Most individuals have not been taught (unless they are very lucky) to think of all these accounts with the same clarity that is devoted to the bank account. But if we are not attuned to and attentive to our various other accounts, they can go to zero or even negative values faster than we can imagine.

How often does an event in an individual’s life throw all of his or her plans into disarray? This can be economic loss, loss of a loving relationship, or other serious life events. Are we prepared to deal with the ups and the downs of life with stability and gratitude, even though some situations can be challenging?

If we pay attention to all of our accounts with some wisdom, we develop real wealth in all these important aspects of our lives.

We know how to measure what is in a bank account. Then, how do we know the state of our other accounts?

In a few words, if we have progress and passion in our lives, that indicates healthy accounts; if we feel stuck, angry, or lacking in energy, that points to an imbalance, or lack, in one or more  of the other accounts.

In my talk on Tuesday at the Long Island Owners Forum, run by the New York Chapter of Exit Planning Institute, I discussed this issue in greater detail. There are experiential exercises and other growth work that can help each person connect values to their actions, on a personal and daily activity level. When that connection takes place for a person, all the accounts start growing. It is as reliable as planting a garden and making sure there is the right amount of water and nourishment as appropriate to each particular plant you are growing. When that is done, your garden will grow.

When you pay attention properly to all of your accounts, instead of only to or primarily to your bank account, your life gains meaning and you start living richly. Throughout your life, you can continue to grow as a person, becoming more helpful to others and finding more purpose and fulfillment. Isn’t that a goal worth pursuing?

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