Moticise Blog | Sonia Satra

How to Keep the Magic Real

For months now, my son Ty has been on a mission to disprove the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and all things magical.

A few weeks ago, when he lost a tooth, I snuck into his room and put some money under his pillow, successfully taking the tooth without waking him up. When I got back to my room (this was about five in the morning) I just put it in a bag under a sweatshirt, thinking I was safe to leave it there for the night.

It wasn’t even seven a.m. when I opened my eyes to the sounds of rummaging. As I sat up and rubbed my eyes, there was Ty, holding up the bag, with a look of supreme triumph on his face. Ha! his eyes said. Caught you.

“What are you doing, honey?” I said, opting for the “innocent-me” route.

“What is my tooth doing in your room, in this bag?” he said, his sweet voice dripping with accusation.

I shook my head in wonder. “I have no idea,” I said, as if I could not fathom such a turn of events. “Is there any money under your pillow?”

So I managed to dodge a bullet on that one. But one random day, weeks later, I came home and he asked me for a handwriting sample. “Write your messiest,” he said, so I did – only to see him pull out an old note from the tooth fairy, to compare with mine. It was another close call, but it didn’t give him the proof he needed. So once again, I was off the hook.

But then this past weekend, Ty’s snooping skills finally paid off. (I’m thinking about getting a safe…but he’d probably crack the code.)

It was Easter morning, after they’d found their eggs and baskets and eaten too much chocolate, when Ty found the receipt from Target. He held it up like a trophy, like he’d just solved a cold case. “Mom!” he cried, waving it in my face. His big blue eyes were filled with knowing. “Mom, what’s this?”

IMG_6993It was pretty damning evidence. Unfortunately, the Easter bunny and I had done our shopping all in one trip – so there it was, the Legos, the candy, the games, the toothpaste, the razors, all on one receipt.

Unfortunately, his friends Max and Riley were there, too, also looking at me accusingly, waiting for an answer. Somehow, I got the receipt from him without fully coming clean.

The rest of the morning, he was acting uncharacteristically bratty. Until he broke down, said he didn’t believe in the Easter Bunny, and that I’d been lying to him.

So Stephen took him aside, and they had The Talk. Our friend Lisa had given us some advice about what to tell him: it’s true, there is no Easter bunny. But now that he knows the secret, he’s entered into a new club – and now it’s his responsibility to keep it a secret for others. To keep the magic going.

After they talked, Ty wandered back over to me. “Hi Mom,” he said, looking downcast.

“Hey, buddy,” I said. “How are you doing?” He shrugged. “Are you feeling a little sad?” He nodded. There wasn’t any denial, no glimmer of hope – it was done.

And right then – I know, it’s a little cheesy, a little Hallmark-y – I started crying.

I felt like I was watching the kid in Ty disappear. I was watching him step into this new adult role, where he had to let go of all the fun and the wonder and childlike joy.

It’s gone, I thought. He hasn’t even lost all his teeth. Will we still even hide them? What about Christmas, will he even be excited when he wakes up?

That’s what was so painful for me – the feeling that the magic of childhood was over for him.

Does it have to be that way?

I started thinking. Maybe not. Maybe the magic doesn’t have to be over, I thought. Maybe we just need to find new ways to keep it alive. And thanks to what Stephen told Ty about the new “club” he’s in, now Ty can get in on doing that, too. Not just for other kids, or younger kids, but for us.

We decided that could be our new tradition: we all hide Easter baskets for each other.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about how that can apply to things outside of my kids. What about daily life, where for so many of us, the magic is totally gone?

Every day, people let you down, things don’t work out, ideas that once held all the magic in the world suddenly crumble to ash. It’s like we as adults are constantly being told that some new Santa Claus isn’t real.

But that’s not how it has to be. What if there was a new club we were all in? Where we took it as our responsibility to keep magic alive for each other?

I’m not suggesting we go around hiding Easter baskets in the office or the subway. (Though I don’t hate that idea…) I’m talking about applying this concept to daily life, to our everyday relationships. Helping to rekindle joy where it’s been lost.

Have you watched someone you know lose the magic?

I see this around birthdays for adults. It’s so easy to think, “Shoot, I missed another of so-and-so’s birthdays. Oh well, I’m sure they’re busy. I’m busy. I’ll do something next year.”

But our days count. Moments count. Once you start looking for ways to make other people’s day, that energy will flow right back at you.

Or maybe it’s for yourself. What’s an area in your life where you’ve lost your excitement?

Has your job turned into a daily torture session? Have you lost touch with your spouse or a close friend? What about in your personal life – what’s something you once loved to do, something that gave you joy, but you haven’t done in a while?

How can you create just a little spark of magic, either in your life or someone else’s?

Go out and shine.

By |April 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Dark Side of Bucket Lists

When she was in third grade, my beautiful, waif-like daughter Kaya earned herself the nickname “Pig.” For years, her friends called her that – affectionately, I might add – because it’s her favorite animal, and because she wanted nothing more than this: to swim with the pigs in Exuma. (Yes, it’s a real thing.)

So last weekend, we boarded a plane – me, Kaya, her friend and her friend’s mom – and headed to the Bahamas.

kayaWe took a boat ride to the island where the pigs lived. When we got off, one thing was clear: the pigs were not interested in swimming. They had swum all morning, and were tired, and just not in the mood to help Kaya live her dream.

At first, I just stood there, dumbfounded. This was it?…This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen at all.

Kaya was disappointed, but she didn’t dwell on it. We did other islandy things – hung out on the beach, went swimming without pigs, you know, the usual.

When we got home, I told Stephen how anticlimactic it was. “The trip was kind of a bust,” I told him quietly. He asked Kaya if she had fun.

“Yeah!” she said, her face lighting up. “It was lots of fun!”

“What was your favorite part?”

“The boat ride, and the beach, and…” She went on to name a dozen other things.

When I saw her face, I realized I’d been wrong. The trip hadn’t been a bust. I’d just been looking at the wrong things.

Sometimes, you go for something, especially a bucket list item, and it’s just not what you expected.

There’s an old Harry Chapin song, “Greyhound,” that I used to love. In it, there’s the line, “It’s got to be the going, not the getting there, that’s good.”

I sang that line over and over when my sister Karin and I biked the Pacific Highway Coast, from San Francisco to San Diego. There were a lot of big hills, so it was like a mantra for me. I’ve got to enjoy this part, too, not just wait for the end. And there were so many things to enjoy—my sister, the sun, the wind, the view. They were the best parts of the trip.

In Exuma, there were dozens of moments of fun and light and joy. We got to hold piglets. I held a giant starfish. Kaya had a great time with her friend, and I had a great time with her mom. I went for a walk by myself and found these spectacular little coves. I had some cool ideas for my business.

On the way back, we rode a prop plane—something I swore I’d never do again. But there we were, flying through the air in a shaky metal box, and the sunset was so stunning I forgot to be nervous.

Most people, myself included, miss those small moments – either because we’re too focused on the end goal, or because we’re afraid to accept joy.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown talks about “foreboding joy” – that tendency to feel afraid when things are good, thinking something bad will surely happen next. We close ourselves off to the joy, believing if we don’t get too happy, we can’t get too sad.

But that’s the wrong approach. When you’re blessed with a moment of joy, she says, the best thing to do is feel it, to “lean into” it, accept it.pigs

Don’t squander joy, she writes. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen – and they do happen – we are stronger.

Strength and resilience come from leaning into joy when it’s near, so it becomes a part of who you are.

I see this working whenever my son Ty has a nightmare. When that happens, we play this game: “What are some things that make you happy?” And he’ll start naming things, one by one, until he’s ready to go back to sleep.

It’s so important to enjoy those things, to collect them like seashells, keep them somewhere safe. When you need them, you can get them out and look at them, turn them over, experience that joy again.

Of course, crossing off a bucket list item – that’s a beautiful thing. I don’t mean to imply we should think small, and forego all the pig-swimming and globetrotting and thrill-seeking that life has in store for us. But on the way to those things, don’t lose sight of the little moments. In the prop planes and the sunsets, the snorting piglets and the starfish. That’s where joy is, waiting for us to find it.

And then when we reach our destination, we’ll know how to enjoy it to the fullest. We were training for it all along.

I’m no musician, but I’m going to rewrite Harry Chapin’s lyric. I think it should be “It has to be the going, not just the getting there, that’s good.”

What are some little moments you’re experiencing, right now? What’s around you in this very moment that’s giving you joy, helping you become more resilient and strong?

It can be anything – a glass of water, the view out your window, the face of a loved one. Acknowledge those things now; bring them in to your collection of joy.

Write them in the comments below – I want to spread the joy as much as possible.

Go out and shine.

By |April 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

These 3 Lessons Changed My Life

This week, my mom celebrates her 85th birthday. In the last few weeks, as my sisters and I get ready for her big day, I’ve been realizing how much I love her, but I sometimes forget to take those moments to say so and really appreciate her. Isn’t it strange, how easy it is to forget to express your love to those closest to you?

So in honor of her, today, I’d like to share with you three things she taught me that changed my life. Here they are – The Top 3 Life Lessons from Gunvor Satra:

1. Let the spirit of adventure guide you.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my mom found a way to show us the world. She loves to travel, and anywhereworld-travel on the globe was fair game. Once, we were actually debating between Turkey, the Baltic countries, and Peru. Most people don’t look at such a wide range of place at one time, but from her, I learned that anything is possible, and anywhere is worth seeing and learning about. (We ended up in Turkey that time. She went to Peru the next year without me.)

Once, in Egypt, she wanted to get to this little town, but we couldn’t find any transportation to get there. “If the locals can get there, so can we,” she said, and sure enough, we found this open air bus, full of goats and chickens and locals. We made it to the town, where of course she made friends, despite the fact that she didn’t speak the language.

Across any barrier, she could connect with people. And she’d go around the world to do it.

2. Movement helps you experience life more fully.IMG_2811

My mom is no a gym rat. I think she belonged to a gym maybe six months total in her whole life. But she loves being active. Most of my memories are of us hiking, swimming, skiing, tennis, exploring outside – and it was a huge bonding time for me and my sisters. It’s a family tradition that every Christmas, we go out and do something outside. Sometimes it’s cross country skiing; sometimes it’s digging people out of snow drifts.

By encouraging us to move – “get up! Time to go outdoors!” – my mom taught me that movement is key to really experiencing life. You don’t get that on a couch. You get it by physically, actively engaging with your body and your environment.

I don’t know if she ever meant me to create a business out of it, but, oh well. Too late now!

3. There’s always another way.

With my mom, there’s always just one more possibility. (This makes decision-making VERY difficult, especially in a family of people who can’t make decisions.)

If you’re feeling stuck, or something’s not quite right, always knew there are least ten ways around it. Maybe this is where my love of Perspectives comes from.

What better feelings are there than love and gratitude? TheIMG_4481y open your heart and make you notice the goodness in people. The more you look for it, the more there is. And it’s contagious, because then you start seeing it everywhere, in all the people in your life who’ve impacted you for the better.

So today, in honor of Gunvor Satra, I invite you to open your heart to all the love that’s around you. Feel free to share below who it is for you, and why. And then take it out with you into the world, and shine.

Thank you, Mom, and happy birthday. I love you.

By |March 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I was so embarrassed when I had to admit this…

For the past three years, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain in my left leg. I’ve had multiple MRIs; I’ve gone to dozens of doctors, specialists, therapists. Each one has found a possible culprit, but none of their treatments have worked.

As you might imagine, that’s been a huge stress for me. I’m an active person; I love moving and working out and trying new things. But with this leg pain, that’s getting harder and harder. And sometimes it feels less and less likely that it’ll ever go away.

Recently, I had what I think might be a breakthrough. It started with Z Health, a fitness system that looks at both performance and pain through the lens of neurology.

In class one day, the instructor said something that described me perfectly. “As times passes, the recovery rate of patients with chronic injury declines exponentially,” he said. “And that happens because they begin to belief nothing will work.”

Oh my god, I thought. That’s me.

So last week, I went in to see my trainer, Mike, and I fessed up.backpain

I’m a mindset person, that’s what I coach people on, it’s what I do. I’m constantly working to create processes to help people get through things – yet there I was, completely stuck. I told him everything. I was so embarrassed.

When I finished, he laughed, kindly. “You’d be surprised at how common this is,” he said. “Particularly with people who deal with psychology and physiology—they forget to follow their own advice. It’s normal.”

He went on, “The other thing I notice, is that people with a chronic injury often begin to take it on as their identity.”

That hit home, too. I nodded, recognizing that in myself.

I am a person with a chronic pain. This issue impacts everything I do. Nothing can fix this.

This was not a new concept to me. I’ve even coached people on this idea. Yet having it reflected back to me was like a punch in the gut.

I realized, I’ve taken on that identity. It’s become who I am. I’m no longer a person who just experiences leg pain; I am now a person who has constant leg pain.

I don’t want to be that person. That’s not who I am.

The trainer continued, “And that new belief, in and of itself, can cause stress. So you’re stressed by the fact that you have this pain. And you’re stressed by the fact that your new identity isn’t in alignment with who you actually are.

“Those two stressors alone can cause pain. Or they can aggravate an existing pain, or at the very least, they can prevent you from figuring out what’s causing it.”

When he said that, I understood perfectly. Regardless of the physical cause of my leg pain, I saw now that it had become a mindset problem. I’d taken on chronic pain as part of my identity, which was both preventing me from finding ways to heal it, and causing me enormous amounts of stress. And now I saw it might even have worsened the pain.

Maybe that’s the source – because I know, from all my doctor’s visits, that there’s no clear physical cause. It must be a combination of things, including the mental part.

So I’ve decided to go all in on healing my leg, using affirmations, visualizations, and a number of other mindset processes. I’m not perfectly healed, but I’ve taken a huge step forward. Not only have I found a new way to treat my leg pain, but I’ve gained an understanding of how important it is to Sonia Satra--13guard my identity against those creeping, insidious beliefs that try to sneak in.

How about you? What’s an area in your life where you’re not living according to who you truly are?

Is there something you’re doing – or not doing – that’s causing stress because it’s part of an identity that’s not you?

Maybe it’s a bad habit like eating poorly or smoking, when you know that at your core, you want to be healthy. Or maybe it’s not using your creative side, because you’re stuck in a boring day job. Or maybe you’re not pursuing a dream you have, because you’ve gotten used to the life you live, and it would mean making big changes.

What is it for you?

Once you find that thing, I encourage you to put some mindset tools to the test. How can you change your actions so that they align with the identity you want?

Maybe you need help knowing where to start, or maybe you need to break an old habit. Maybe you need to connect with your bigger vision or face one of your fears.

Tell me how it’s going in the comments below! If you’re having trouble, I’ll point you in the right direction.

Go out and shine.

By |March 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Respond When Things Don’t go Your Way

In improv, there’s a rule that every actor has to follow, no matter what: they have to say “yes, and.”
That means, when another actor introduces something to the scene, you have to accept it.

If another actor comes up to you and says “Oh my god, your hair is on fire!” you can’t say, “Oh, you’re just seeing things.” If they say, “Let’s go skiing,” you can’t say, “Nope, I’d rather stay home.”
You have to take what they say and run with it. From there, you can shift the scene any way you want, as long as you accept – and build on – each new development.

The reason is, that advances the story. If actors could negate each other, saying things like “No, that never happened,” or “That’s not true,” then the scene would pretty much come to a halt.
That is so true with life, too. If we keep saying no to opportunities or risks or trying new things, then our lives will grind to a halt. We’ll get stuck in a kind of stasis.

But if we say “yes and,” even when it wasn’t our idea, or it’s not what we wanted, we advance our stories. We let our lives move and blossom in ways we might never expect.

In spring of 2013, I had just hired Kim. She was my first Moticise employee, and she was awesome. We had excellent rapport; she could field my ideas and help me create action items; and she really helped me clarify and start to realize my vision. Things were going great.

Until one day in March, when her long-term relationship suddenly ended. Soon after, she came in to work and said, “Sonia, I need to get out of the city. I just can’t be here…I really want to keep working for you, but I need some time and space to myself.”

She’d come back to New York for grad school in September, but she’d found a place to rent for the summer in North Carolina. She knew that was what she needed to do.

“So,” she went on, sounding timid, “I have a friend who who’s just moved to Brooklyn. She’s going to sublet my apartment, so maybe she could…you know…take over my job too.” And she described her friend Lauren, who had a background in IT and business. At the time, we were bogged down in spreadsheets and numbers, which neither Kim nor I could navigate. Lauren, she said, would be a big help in that department.

I took all this in, unsure how to react. I was disappointed Kim was leaving, but I understood her situation. And since I had Lauren to think about, I decided to say, “Yes, and…let’s see what happens. Let’s make this work.”

Lauren transitioned in right as Kim was leaving, in the beginning of June.
I admit, I was apprehensive. The deal was, Kim would get her job back in September, but as Lauren and I worked together, I realized how valuable they both were. As the summer went by, I dreaded having to make a choice.

September came. When Kim got back, all three of us met in the office. Neither one of them wanted to leave, and I wasn’t about to choose between them.

So we did it again: we said, “Yes and…?”

“Let’s figure this out.”

“Let’s look at what we all need, and what we can all do. Let’s see if we can arrange something that will work for all three of us.” And we did just that.

The business was growing, and by hiring on two people – which I hadn’t planned to do – we were able to branch out in new, big ways. That was the year we made the DVD, got published in Women Fitness, started the website…so many things that require a team of people, not just one employee. The three of us worked (and still work) wonderfully together, complementing each other’s skillsets and viewpoints.

If Kim hadn’t left for the summer, I don’t know how long I would’ve waited to hire someone else. It might have been a year or more, and then the business wouldn’t have grown in the ways it did.
Often, we resist change. We say, “No, that’s not happening,” or “That’s not what I want, so I’m not gonna deal with it.” But if we shift the response from “No” to “Yes, and,” then we can advance our own stories in new and surprising ways.

What about you? What’s a time when life threw you a curveball?

How did you respond?

(Check out this week’s Moti Minute for a mind-body exercise to help you step into this question!)
Is there something you’re facing now, where you can shift the energy by saying “Yes, and…”?
What’s possible then?

By |February 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Prove to Yourself that You Can Do It

It’s February: the month where New Year’s Resolutions go to die.

I’m joking, of course. Hopefully yours are alive and well. But wherever you are in your journey, it’s a reality that change is hard. Often, we’re all gung ho at first, but then the daily grind sets in. We lose our enthusiasm, and we revert to our old ways.

Why is it so freaking hard to make a change?

Because our brains are like lawyers. They need evidence. And we’re crazy good at finding evidence of how “stuck” we are. We’re not so good at finding evidence of how powerful we are. Or that we’re capable of change.

I see this all the time around food and eating habits. Friends will order French fries, even when they’re trying to lose weight. They know there are healthier options, but choosing those options iPic (36)sn’t in line with their beliefs. “I’m not a person who orders wraps,” they believe, or “I just don’t like veggies. I’m a pasta person.” Their actions confirm those beliefs, so they have plenty of evidence. It’s a vicious cycle.
Now, it’s different for someone who orders salads all the time. It’s easier for them to eat healthy at a restaurant, because ordering a salad is totally in line with their beliefs. “I eat salads,” they believe, and then they order one, and there you go: their action confirmed their beliefs.

“I couldn’t go a day with sugar” is another one I hear a lot. Well, with that belief, of course it’s going to be difficult! Your brain has plenty of evidence that you can’t give up sugar. It doesn’t have any proof that you’re perfectly capable of going without it.

So how do you change that?

Start small.

As small as you need to. Go one day – just one day – without sugar. If that feels too big, go one meal without it. Heck, if that’s too big, go one bite without it. No step is too small!

When you’ve done just that one step, realize what you did. “I just went one day/meal/bite without sugar, and I didn’t die. In fact, I’m alive and kickin’.”

That one step is evidence to your brain that you can survive without sugar. Even if it’s ridiculously small, it’s evidence. And every little piece of evidence builds up your case that you can do something.

When I was learning to be a life coach, my instructors encouraged me to try it out on friends. But I was nervous. “I don’t know enough. I’m not sure if I can help somebody,” I thought. I didn’t have any evidence that I was a coach, so it was difficult to act like one.

So I started in tiny increments. I coached my babysitter’s friend, for free. Then my friend’s neighbor. Then somebody else, then another. Until I could start to say confidently, “I’m a coach. This is what I do.”

I was building up evidence. And once I saw small results, my brain began to believe it. It was proof that I was a coach, so it was easier to do things coaches do – start a business, take on more clients, make a website. As I gathered more and more evidence, it became more and more natural to step into that role.

Here’s another example. A friend of mine, Sara, decided to write a novel. She’d never written one before, so she struggled with getting started. She wasn’t sure she could do it.

moticise1 (54)She decided to set her focus on completing the first draft. It didn’t matter how good it was. It didn’t even have to have a plot. It just needed to exist.

She spent a summer writing that first draft. When she finished, she printed it out, tied it up in a neat little parcel, and carried it around with her. “It’s proof,” she told me. “I have a manuscript. That means I’m an author. That means I can write a book.”

Your brain can’t argue with proof. The problem is, it’s so easy to prove our negative beliefs. It’s harder to find proof for something that doesn’t exist yet. If you’ve never done something before, it’s hard for your brain to accept “I am a coach,” or “I will write a book,” or “I’m a person who eats healthy.”

But by doing small things consistently, you’re giving your brain evidence. You’re giving it reason to believe that what you want is possible.

Go out and shine.

Don’t forget to join us Tuesdays 11am-12pm EST on Twitter by following @soniasatra!

By |February 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

1 Question That Will Change Your Body Image

A few weeks ago, my team and I sat down to talk about the upcoming Love Your Body event.

What does it mean, we asked, to actually love your body?

I’m very action-oriented, so I reframed the question as this: “What would you do differently if you truly loved your body?”

When it was Lauren’s turn to answer, she said only one word: “Everything.”Pic (42)

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Like what?”

“Just…everything,” she said. “How I carry myself, how I walk into a room. How and what I ate. What I did during the day. My relationships, for sure.”

As her list went on, I found myself nodding in sympathy. Honestly, when I thought about it, that would be my answer too. If I really, truly loved my body, it would change everything.

As some of you know, I struggled with anorexia for over a decade. I was so obsessed with making my body “perfect” that I almost destroyed it. My sister said to me once, around that time “Sitting down to a meal with you is like going to war.”

Food wasn’t nourishment to me. I saw it through a filter of not thinking I was good enough the way I was. Eating, to me, was rigid, full of self-constricting rules.

The question “what would I do differently if I loved my body?” changes how I think about food. There’s a softness there. The rigidity is gone. That question puts me in a place of love, and from there, I think of food with kindness.

Sonia Satra-0575But not a passive kindness. It’s not “It’s okay, I can have this bag of potato chips.” It’s the opposite. Coming from a place of love, I see those foods as unhealthy, and I don’t want to treat my body that way. It’s the same kindness with which I treat my children. I want what’s best for them because I love them. Same thing with my body.

Lauren’s mention of relationships got me thinking, too. How does my relationship with my body affect my relationships with others?

When I really think about it, it’s sobering.

Throughout my life, when I didn’t feel good about my body, I pushed people away. It was when I felt most ashamed of my body that I put up walls. I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable with those I loved most. And that’s detrimental to relationships.

After my kids were born, though, I grew to love my body more and more. And loving my body brings about wholeness. I’m no longer body and mind, two separate entities at war. I’m one. And that creates confidence. It enables me to present my truest, most honest self to those around me, and it enables those relationships to grow.

Lauren’s answer made me realize that loving my body absolutely impacts my relationships. It doesn’t just impact me. It impacts those around me – family, friends, employees, colleagues, clients. The people I meet on the subway. Literally everyone I come into contact with.

Loving your body really does change everything – work, energy level, self-esteem, choices about what to do and why. I could go on, but I want to turn the question to you.

If you really loved your body, what would you do differently?

How would that impact your life?

Feel free to share your answer here. I hope you take the time to reflect on this question for yourself – because the answers can be truly astounding.

Be sure to catch us on the #betterlifechat on twitter!

By |January 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Get Better Results in Almost Anything

Last week, I read an article about an art teacher who decided to do an experiment with his ceramics students.

To one half of the class, he said, “This semester, you only need to turn in one pot. It should be as close to perfect as possible, but I only want to see one.”

To the other half, he said, “I want you to turn in as much pottery as possible. I’ll weigh what you hand in, and if it’s over 50 pounds, you get an A. If it’s over 40 pounds, you get a B. And so on.”

The students worked on their pots, and at the end of the semester, the results were clear: the best pieces came from the group that was graded on quantity. The students who were instructed to make as much as possible ended up producing the highest quality.pottery

I thought, that’s so fitting for this time of year, when we’re focused on our New Year’s Resolutions.

Sometimes, we get really dogmatic about our plans. “I’m going to lose weight.” “I’m going to get stronger.” “I’m going to eat healthy.” And we come up with some great ways to do that – we buy gym memberships, we sign up for 5K’s, we read nutrition blogs. And those can all be good means to achieve our goals. But what if we aimed for quantity, instead of focusing on only one thing?

My husband Stephen is a great example of this. The other day, he came into my office and said he was going home to workout.

“Oh, you’re not going to the pool?” I said. I was surprised because he’d decided he was going to swim as his way of staying in shape.

“Nah,” he said. “I don’t feel like getting wet right now. I think instead of trying to swim every day, I’m going to do what feels good, for as long as I can.”

Stephen often surprises me with his insights, and this time was no exception. As he left, I thought, how cool that he can be so free about keeping his resolution. He’s not fixating on one method of working out – because of course, there are a thousand ways!

While focus and discipline are necessary to reach goals, it’s also important to stay open. As the saying goes, “Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.”

Both Stephen, and the students who were graded on quantity, were able to keep their possibilities open. Instead of focusing on one perfect thing, they expanded their methods. They freed themselves to follow the flow, to do what made them happy in the moment.

Moti_Min New YearWhat about you? What if you were to follow the flow, as you work toward your goal?

What if it’s possible to get there through many different ways, not just one? What would you do?

If you’re having trouble coming up with answers, check out my latest Moti Minute. It’s specifically designed to help you tap your body intelligence, so you can expand the possibilities. You’ll get both your ideas, and your blood, moving. And it only takes a minute!

Share the ideas you come up with below – I love hearing all the ways people are working on their goals.

Go out and shine.

By |January 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

3 questions to ask yourself to end the year strong

Whether 2016 has been your best year yet, or whether you can’t wait to put it in the past, it’s not too late to bring it to a positive end.

Ask yourself – and more importantly, answer – these questions to help you shift your understanding of 2016. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just give stock answers. Write them down for added emphasis.

  1. Picture yourself where you were exactly one year ago.

What’s one thing that you’ve accomplished that you’re really proud of this year? Why?

What’s one way you’ve grown in the past twelve months?

What did you do differently to create that growth?

  1. What are three things you’re grateful for from 2016?

Again, be specific. Don’t just write, “My family.” Instead, go deeper. What about your family? Who? Why?

  1. What’s one relationship that’s grown deeper in the past year?

This could be anybody – a romantic partner, a family member, an acquaintance, a coworker.

How has this person affected you?

What happened to make your relationship with them deepen?

If you’re on a roll, don’t stop at three – keep going!

Focusing on the positive, especially at a momentous time, doesn’t erase problems or tragedy. What it does it brings your blessings into perspective. We’re programmed to see the negative – and if we’re not careful, that negativity can overpower the positive.

Take this chance to end the year strong. And then take that energy into 2017 – and shine.

seasonsgreetingsfrom-sonia-the

By |December 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How You Can Make a Difference for Generations

The other day, I ran into an old friend, Mike. We’d gone to grammar school together back in New Jersey, and I hadn’t seen him in years.

“I was just talking about you!” he said. “I took my family skiing for the first time, and I told them about my very first ski trip in seventh grade, to Shawnee Mountain. I need to thank you for bringing skiing into my life, and my kids’ lives. They loved it.”

“Wow,” I said. “How cool! But it wasn’t just me, it was thanks to Ms. Patterson, too.”

Yes, I’d planned our school’s first ski trip, back in seventh grade. But it wouldn’t have happened without the help and support of our teacher Ms. Patterson, who pushed me, supported me, and consistently raised the bar on what I thought was possible.

Throughout middle school, she challenged me. I rewrote papers, did volunteer work, and became officer of various clubs, all under her strict eye. She’d helped and guided me in planning that ski trip – I’d had to pitch the idea to the board of education, visit ski resorts, map out pricing structures make flyers, and so on. She helped me every single step of the way, challenging me to go further, expanding my vision of what I could do.

When I got overwhelmed, she said, “Just take it one step at a time.” When I thought something was good enough, she told me, “I know you can do better.” When something was difficult, she told me to imagine it was possible, then make a plan.

Her persistence and belief in me had shaped my adolescence. I’d even written a speech about what a difference she’d made. And now here I was, years and years later, learning that I wasn’t the only one impacted by her actions.

powerofpositivethinkingReeling from this discovery, I told my sister Karen about it that night. “Isn’t that amazing?” I said. “I always knew she’d influenced me, but also thanks to her that Mike’s kids love skiing. That could be a lifelong thing for them. She might even influence Mike’s grandkids one day.”

“You should tell her,” said Karin. “Everyone else knows what a difference she’s made. She should know, too.”

Karin was right.

So, nervously, I called the school. Ms. Patterson was still teaching there, they said, and I left a message for her.

When she called me back, I explained everything – my speech, Mike’s kids, how her raising the bar has had ripple effects throughout my life.

“So I wanted to say thank you,” I said, finally. “For everything you did.”

First there was silence. Then I heard a sniffle. “All these years of teaching, and no one’s ever said that before,” she said.

I was dumbfounded.

“Thank you for calling,” she said. “You’ve made my day. No, my whole year.”

The beauty of that moment was that the impact had gone full circle. After all she’d done for me, all the countless ways she showed me I was capable of more than I knew, I got to do one small thing for her.

We are all powerful individuals, with the ability to influence people’s lives in ways we don’t know are possible. It was Ms. Patterson’s mission to help kids grow and learn, and boy, did she accomplish that. But she had no idea the good that she’d done, until someone told her.

I have two reasons for telling this story, now, around the holidays. One is to challenge you to think of someone who’s made a difference in your life. Someone sonia-skiingwho’s encouraged you, pushed you, supported you, believed in you. Who is that? How can you honor them?

The gift of acknowledgement, of thanks, is so important to give. And I can tell you, it feels amazing.

My second reason is this: to challenge you to go out into the world and be someone’s Ms. Patterson. Maybe that’s doing something big, or maybe it’s something small. All your actions has ripple effects, even if no one calls you out of the blue thirty years later to tell you. As William James said, “Act as if you make a difference. You do!”

Go out there and shine.

By |December 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments