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The Moment That Changed Your Life

By Leadership

On a recent interview with Zen teacher Caitriona Reed, I was asked only 2 questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What was a decisive moment that changed your life?

For close to 20 minutes, we got to explore the depth of just these two questions.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to answer. I’d been given the 2 questions ahead of time with a warning that Question #1 was not to be answered with a standard elevator speech. (Thank God, because those elevator speeches aren’t my favorite).

I do a lot of work around core values and inner genius, so answering the first question didn’t feel daunting. I can describe myself as an insatiably curious person who loves to find out what makes people tick and see the gifts in them they can’t see.

But that second question… I was stumped at first.

I’ve had a lot of defining moments in life, but singling one out was hard.

Then, for  some reason, DEATH came to mind.

Aztec death mask

Growing up in a big family, we had a lot of funerals to go to. We weren’t that family who left the kids at home so the adults could go out, we traveled like a tribe wherever we went. And seriously, somebody was ALWAYS dying. Aunts, uncles, cousins, distant relatives, the school janitor, grandparents… it was a constant.

I saw my first dead body at age 5. He was our school custodian, Manuel. I remember looking at him in the casket, his cheeks rosy. He didn’t look dead. He didn’t look real, come to think of it. I didn’t make much of it, but when I grew up and learned that most of my peers were sheltered from ever seeing death, I realized it was a defining moment of my life to have funerals as a regular part of life. Death didn’t hold a big charge over me, it just WAS.

Countless funerals ensued. I was told I had to get up and read a prayer at my uncle’s funeral and it was at that moment I fell in love with public speaking. I became our family’s go-to eulogy giver and dedication maker at several rosaries and funerals that followed. By the time my parents passed away, I was a veteran funeral speaker,  able to make people laugh with loving memories of the dearly departed.

These were definitely defining moments: life events that clearly delineated a BEFORE and AFTER.

My careers have always included public speaking, so I can say that death was a pivotal ingredient in my growth as a speaker.

Now, back to the two interview questions.

Death was the first to come to mind as a moment that changed my life, but I had to ask myself: What else has been instrumental in shaping who I am?

My way of figuring things like this is to NOT try to figure them out. I allow my mind to wander. And suddenly it hit me.

I looked at the work I do in mentoring leaders and entrepreneurs. Secretly, just between you and I, it’s all about helping people understand themselves.

A tool I use to help people understand themselves is to listen closely, and do what I call “Collecting and Connecting”. I gather information about a person (their values, strengths, skills, life experiences), then I start connecting the dots of who they are and reflect back to them the unique gift that is their genius.

Yes, it’s a gift. And yes, a lot of intuition is used to formulate all that left-brain data.

But here’s the OTHER defining moment that changed my life:

I had a few clients who were teachers of psychic arts; they taught things like intuitive development, energy healing, and reading auras. They were incredible at what they did both as psychics and as teachers.

They hired me because their work was too hard to describe, they needed someone to translate what they did into credible terms so people would take them seriously and see the immense value in the work they do.

I used my “Collecting and Connecting” technique and each of them came back to me with the same comments: “Oh my goodness, Nancy, you’re so CLAIRVOYANT!”

I looked over my shoulder, as if to look for that OTHER Nancy who might have been in the room, for surely they weren’t talking to me. I was NOT a clairvoyant. Clairvoyants have crystalline offices in Sedona, wear lots of purple, and have really bad websites. No ma’am, that’s not me!

crystal ball

Again and again, these clients commented on my clairvoyance. “Wow, your 7th chakra is so open!” was even thrown in. I wasn’t quite sure if that was a good thing or not, but I decided to stay curious and stay in the question.

I was supposed to be coaching them on talking about their businesses, but I had to butt in finally. “Can you tell me more what you mean when you say I’m clairvoyant?”

EVERYONE has the ability to connect to extrasensory perception (ESP), it’s how we tap into our intuition. You have it, I have it. It’s just for some people, the volume is turned down too low to get the messages.

Clairvoyance means “clear seeing”. These are mental images that show a future state. When I’m working with a client and I can “see” their message, or “see” them doing something, that’s clairvoyance in action.

Since I’ve brought up the topic, I better list out the other “clairs” so you know there are more than one (and you can recognize which one/s you have).

  • Clairaudient means “clear hearing”. You hear things, you pick up telepathic thoughts (“I just knew you were thinking that!”), you give amazing advice that you immediately forget then people say “Where did THAT come from?”


  • Clairsentient means “clear feeling”. You feel other people’s emotions. Super empathy on steroids. You might be highly sensitive and have to leave big crowds because you’re feeling everyone else’s energy.


  • Claircognizant means “clear knowing”. You just KNOW stuff. You know it without thinking. You get answers to things without trying. Your mind is like this supercomputer that comes to answers without any time going by. You also know whether someone is telling the truth or lying… you just KNOW.


Amazing what two simple interview questions can bring about, right? Now let’s turn this to you…


I don’t want to have you read all this without giving you an opportunity to apply this to your life.

  • Answer the 2 questions for yourself. Who are you? What’s a life defining moment? Grab a journal and write or go for a walk and let your imagination speak to you.


  • Did the definitions of clairvoyance, etc spark something in you? Tune into your intuition and pay attention to what shows up for you. That’s a bonus question.


Great stuff, I know. (Hey, that’s a sign I’m claircognizant too!)


How does this tie back into business and leadership?

As a leader, entrepreneur, or change maker, your life is all about defining moments. Knowing what makes you tick will make you a better decision maker, creator, and change agent. My coaching and training teach you how to tap into all the gifts you have and use those to lead, communicate, and create in a way you’ve never done before. You’ll clearly understand the future vision for your business or life through our work together. Connect with me, let me know what’s happening with you…




Happiness Explosion

By Business Motivation, Uncategorized No Comments
[feature_box style=”22″ only_advanced=”There%20are%20no%20title%20options%20for%20the%20choosen%20style” content_font_size=”16″ alignment=”left”]

OK, this is straight from a Gen X-er who used to be uber cool and is now shopping for Mom jeans …reporting in with a simple question: 

What’s so awful about expressing joy and happiness, people?

Case in point: commercials.

You have a couple of hipster 20 somethings acting aloof and cool. Guy usually has some scruffy beard-thing going on, girl has cute bangs with secretary glasses. One of them breaks into a happiness explosion (maybe they just bit into some candy bar or pizza or whatever the commercial is selling), disarming the aloofness of the moment. The happiness exploder laughs, exclaims something ecstatic, expresses feelings to the nth degree… and is inevitably met with an aloof, smug response from the other person.

“Ummmm, yeah?”, she says with sneering eyes of disapproval.

Happiness exploder dials it way, way  down and reverts to smug hipster conformity. Off go the smiles, down go the arms from their victory salute. Happy person stops expressing him or herself and steps into line.

This is so uncool! Why is it happening? Is it a reflection of how people really are? I’m not totally disconnected from young hipsters, I try to maintain intergenerational friendships, but still it leaves me wondering. Are advertisers capitalizing on and reinforcing the drive towards emotional conformity? Is it a trend in society? Mom Jeans lady (that would be me) stands perplexed.

I’m all for Happiness Explosions and personally have them umpteen times a day. The minute Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n Roll) or  Guns ‘N Roses come on, I’m insane with happiness and kinesthetic gratitude tapping with each toe. Maybe for you it’s hitting every green light, seeing a beautiful sunset, or watching your cat chase a speck of light… but sometimes we just have to get out of self-consciousness and release! These are important ways to stay tapped into our creativity, our zest for life, and our genius. And I assert that if more of us had them, we’d be much more successful in business, life, and we’d be a helluva lot more fun to be around.

Look at Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks: when his team cinched the division championship, he grabbed a police bicycle and started taking victory laps around the field. Did he care if he looked like a little boy having a happiness explosion? No way! Did his actions free others to have their own happiness explosions? Absolutely!

Michael Bennett’s Happiness Explosion

I reached out to my friend and happiness junkie, Susan Liddy. She’s a Burnout Recovery Coach for business owners and executives. If anyone could back me up on this message, I knew Susan would be the one! Plus she expertly ties this into how happiness impacts your success.

Here’s what Susan has to say in support of happiness:

“Happy people think more clearly, solve problems faster, and are more likely to create successful businesses than their more pessimistic counterparts. Author and happiness researcher, Sean Achor reveals in his book, Happiness Advantage that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements.” 

“And the good news is that studies show that up to 90% of happiness is well within our control. So often people focus on external reward — validation, money, things to create happiness. Yet studies show that only 10% of our ‘circumstances’ feeds into making you happy. Your attitude, perspective on life, your choices to acknowledge yourself and practice gratitude is what makes the difference.”

So what do you do now? Go have a Happiness Explosion! Take the proverbial stick out from where it’s stuck and release. I can’t wait to hear what that looks like for you.


Trust Your Truth

By Creativity Tips, Uncategorized No Comments
[feature_box style=”1″ only_advanced=”There%20are%20no%20title%20options%20for%20the%20choosen%20style” content_font_size=”16″ alignment=”center”]I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
– Born This Way/ Lady Gaga

Here’s my simple argument in favor of living, working, and thriving from your innate strengths:

I agree 100% with Lady Gaga, “God makes no mistakes.”

Here you are, a reflection of DIVINE CREATION. You’re made by the force that makes no mistakes. Why then, would you ever veer from your natural strengths?

You were set up for amazing success by coming into this world wired with what makes you YOU.

Look at animals and plants. They live from their natural strengths without any resistance or complaining. So why don’t enough people trust their truth?

Mostly because we force ourselves to adapt to other people’s expectations or we accept as true any limited messages about what we can or can’t do.

Your TRUTH is what you do well.

It’s literally in your DNA to succeed and to make your mark on the world. The FUN part is finding how to live in this complicated world that keeps taking us further and further away from understanding ourselves.

Watch a group of 3 and 4 year olds play. They know their truth. Some kids roll in the grass and are completely engrossed with the feel of ground on their skin. Others pick up sticks and play fight. Others pick up sticks and have puppet shows. Some have found ways to be funny. Left alone to choose what they love, kids veer towards their strengths.

You can too.

The first step is to TRUST. Trust that what comes naturally to you has value and can support your success.

When you have that trust in place, then you can do assessments and inventories to reveal more of what’s inside.

But without the trust, you could very well continue letting the outside voices rule you

Don’t gloss over this. You don’t suddenly say “OK, I trust myself” then move on. You measure trust in yourself when your back is up against the wall and you have to make the choice. You have to risk being vulnerable, risk doing the “wrong thing” (even though inside you know it’s right), and risk looking foolish.

That doesn’t mean you’ll fall and get hurt, it just means you have to have the WILLINGNESS to be vulnerable. Big difference. But then again, you just may fall and get hurt… can you trust enough to take that chance?

Here are a few ways to build trust so the rest of this can slide into place.[headline style=”14″ font_size=”20″ font_style=”bold” align=”center” headline_tag=”h2″]Learning to Trust 101[/headline][step_graphics style=”5″ color=”#ee2530″][step style=”5″ text=”1″ headline=”Meditate%20or%20at%20least%20find%20a%20way%20to%20quiet%20down”]%3Cp%3EIf%20you%20have%20trouble%20quieting%20your%20mind%20and%20can%E2%80%99t%20sit%20still%20for%20more%20than%20a%20minute%2C%20find%20some%20special%20music%20to%20aid%20concentration%20and%20focus.%20Did%20you%20know%20on%20YouTube%20you%20can%20find%20hours%20and%20hours%20of%20sleep%20music%2C%20meditation%20music%2C%20and%20study%20music%20for%20free%3F%20Just%20plug%20that%20in%20and%20play%20it%20while%20you%20quiet%20your%20mind.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”2″ headline=”Do%20something%20out%20of%20the%20ordinary”]%3Cp%3EWrite%20with%20your%20non-dominant%20hand.%20Drive%20home%20on%20a%20different%20route.%20Say%20%E2%80%9CI%20love%20you%E2%80%9D%20to%20someone%20who%20wouldn%E2%80%99t%20be%20expecting%20it.%20Train%20your%20mind%20to%20function%20in%20a%20new%20way%20so%20it%20supports%20you%20as%20you%20embrace%20your%20truth.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”3″ headline=”Create%20a%20real%20life%20mantra”]%3Cp%3ELook%2C%20I%E2%80%99ll%20save%20you%20a%20trip%20to%20the%20mountaintop.%20A%20mantra%20is%20something%20as%20simple%20as%20a%20phrase%20to%20keep%20you%20focused%20and%20pointed%20in%20the%20right%20direction.%20%E2%80%9CGod%20is%20my%20source%E2%80%9D%20is%20what%20my%20friend%20Natasha%20says.%20%E2%80%9CAll%20is%20well%E2%80%9D%2C%20says%20another.%20%E2%80%9CYou%20got%20this%E2%80%9D.%20I%20love%20simplicity%20and%20real%20life%20use.%20If%20you%20fill%20yourself%20with%20an%20affirming%20phrase%2C%20trusting%20your%20truth%20will%20come%20a%20whole%20lot%20easier.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”4″ headline=”Don%E2%80%99t%20overshare”]%3Cp%3ELearning%20something%20new%2C%20especially%20something%20as%20heavy%20as%20learning%20to%20trust%2C%20needs%20time%20to%20cook.%20People%20are%20tempted%20to%20tell%20the%20world%20of%20what%20they%E2%80%99re%20doing%20and%20suddenly%20they%E2%80%99re%20barraged%20by%20naysayers%20and%20%E2%80%9Cconcerned%E2%80%9D%20friends.%20%E2%80%9CAre%20you%20sure%20that%E2%80%99s%20what%20you%20want%3F%E2%80%9D%20%E2%80%9CHave%20you%20thought%20about%20the%20ramifications%3F%E2%80%9D%20%E2%80%9CHmmmm%20sounds%20kinda%20out%20there.%E2%80%9D%20Share%20only%20with%20people%20who%E2%80%99ll%20support%20you%20and%20hold%20your%20vision%20with%20you.%20There%E2%80%99s%20nothing%20more%20discouraging%20than%20getting%20a%20sideways%20glance%20from%20a%20loved%20one%20who%20means%20well%E2%80%A6%20but%20just%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20get%20it%20yet![/step][/step_graphics]

Begin with those. And believe it or not, you’ll eventually start to trust yourself more! After you strengthen your trust muscles, you’ll be ready to take the next steps into fully owning your truth and setting the world on fire with your talent and genius!

Psssst! I help entrepreneurs dial in their greatest strengths and build successful businesses around them. Been at it since 2003 and have been loving every minute of it. If you’re ready to focus on your genius and drop the things that drain you, let’s connect. Hint hint! Click the button below to get started on the journey to your truth!