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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…




3 Steps to Tap Into Your Intuition

By Leadership, Uncategorized

Intuition is your inner GPS that guides you when you most need it, helping you make decisions that come from your place of truth… not hasty reaction or fear. The great news is that EVERYONE can tap into their intuition and use it for guidance, creating, innovating, making decisions, leading, communicating, relating, taking action… the possibilities are endless.

First, let’s take a self-assessment.

On a scale of 1-10, how intuitive do you consider yourself to be? Do you follow hunches, get flashes of insight, or have a strong sense of what action to take next? Do you get feelings about situations or people that you can’t shake?

After learning these 3 steps to tapping into your intuition, you’ll discover yourself feeling more connected to your intuition and trusting it more confidently to guide you.

The best place to start is to have a daily practice of quiet time where you can directly access your intuition. The more you do this, the more you’ll trust and lean into your intuition to guide your actions.

Here’s a simple, 3-Step practice you can do every day at the start of your day, creating a space of open-mindedness, positive thinking, and confidence as you go through your day.

All you need is a quiet place, a few minutes, and something to write with.


man meditating small

What do you do when you first get up in the morning? Do you reach over, grab your phone and start checking messages and updates? If you’re doing that… STOP!


Reserve the first few minutes of your day for YOU. If you find yourself greeted each morning with distractions from family, roommates, pets, etc, then challenge yourself to either get up earlier or set some firm boundaries. Find a quiet space that is all yours, and can be undisturbed for at least 10 minutes. Even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom, you deserve to create this space for your intuitive development.

Now that you’ve eliminated the distractions, sit quietly and breathe mindfully. Breathe in for 4, hold it for 4, exhale for 8. Do this 4 times. This breathing exercise will calm your body, clear your mind, and help you to focus.

Call in all your busy thoughts, all the conversations you’ve had (whether in real time or dream time), quiet things in your mind as you breathe.

You can imaging a ball of light glowing right where your heart is. Visualize it getting bigger and bigger, until your entire body is in the light.

This is called GROUNDING, and CONNECTING. It’s very good for calming your nervous system and setting your mind and body up for a great day.




What are you grateful for? Start thinking of the things, people, places, situations that you’re grateful for. I suggest you find at least 10 things to be grateful for, and if you think of more keep going!

Having a bad day? Nothing seems good? Focus on the gratitude for things that happen without your help, such as your heart beating, blood flowing, eyes that see, feet that can walk.

No matter what your life circumstances, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.



ripple water

Now that you’ve spent a few minutes relaxing your body, calming your nervous system, and lifting your spirits, you’re ready to go to the next step.

If you’ve ever heard someone use the term “High Vibration” to describe a state of being, you’re actually in that state by now. Certain emotional and spiritual states have been recorded to vibrate a higher frequency than others. (For some fascinating research on this, check out the work of Dr. David Hawkins in his book, Power Vs. Force). It’s the palpable feeling of emotion. One of the fastest, easiest ways to raise your vibration is to focus on gratitude. If you’ve done steps 1 and 2, then you’re all set for opening up to your intuition and letting it speak to you and guide your day.

Sit quietly and ask yourself, “What is my intention for today?”, or  as I asked myself in the journal entry below, “What are my soul’s instructions for me?”

discernment journal entry

Phrase it to yourself in a way that will help the question land more deeply with you.

Be still, and allow yourself to receive the response. Sometimes you might have a single word flash in your mind. Other times you might see yourself doing something. You may also get a physical sensation.

This isn’t the time to turn your logical mind on. It’s not time to insert your to-do list, job description, or all the things you have burdening you. It’s time to let your intuition speak to you.

Remember this advice: FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT.

Trust it.

Then, grab a journal or something to write with (non-electronic preferably!) and put the word or words down that describe your intention for the day.

I do this exercise each morning. The other day the word that popped up in my mind was “REFINEMENT”.

I took out my journal and wrote it down. I wasn’t entirely clear on what that meant, so I asked myself, “What does refinement look like for me?”

The next thought that sprang up was “Conserve your energy. Discernment of where you place your energy. Be fully present. Be calm. Be serene.”

It’s interesting, because I was right about to go to a conference and it was going to be a full and busy day. I was scheduled to be there from morning until the night. I was geared up to go, go, go.

The awareness of conserving my energy was with me all day long. I checked in with myself frequently through the day to see if I was overextending myself or if I was caring for myself.

At the end of afternoon, I started to feel a slight drag on my energy level. The next day I was to deliver a 2 hour presentation to close the entire event out. It meant too much to me to drain myself on Day 1 of a conference only to putter out on Day 2 when an entire conference was relying on me to bring my all.

I was at a choice point: do I stay for the evening events, mix and mingle, connect with more people, attend a banquet… or do I set a boundary and put my self-care first and leave?

My logical brain was rooting for me to stay;  it had plenty of rationale to convince me. But I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and went back to the intention I set that morning.

“Conserve your energy”, is what my intuition told me.

Trust me, there have been PLENTY of times in my life when I’ve overridden my intuition. Before I knew how to set healthy boundaries (especially around self-care), I would do what everyone else expected of me and ignored all signs my body was trying to tell me. That approach landed me with a great case of adrenal burnout and fatigue.

I also knew how not to sabotage my decision to conserve my energy: leave quietly.

I’m not a quiet exiter by any means. When I leave a party it takes me 2 hours; I call it The Mexican Goodbye. But in this case, I didn’t have 2 hours to go around and tell everyone I was leaving. In fact, when I’ve tried in the past to slip away quietly and opt for the long goodbyes, I inevitably would end up staying (“Oh come on, stay for the dinner!”) Fast forward to me hitting the wall and regretting not listening to my intuition.

I had to trust my intuition in this case. Deeply trust it. I quietly slipped out,  and that evening I was able to relax, take a bath, and think about my presentation. I went to bed early and woke up fresh and revitalized to deliver my talk. In fact, in an early morning moment of inspiration, I changed a bit of my presentation and had the time, focus, and energy to update my slides and practice the new part. I’m so glad I did because I know it made a huge difference when I delivered the talk the next day.

Meditation and setting intentions isn’t just a fluffy practice to fill up a few minutes of your morning. It’s how you tap into your intuition and use it to guide your actions, decision-making, and boundaries each day. It keeps your stress levels down, increases confidence, and sets you up to have an intentional, empowered day.

Do this exercise each morning when you wake up and you’ll experience a deeper connection to your intuition and a heightened sense of trusting your instincts.

Curious how you can ignite your leading edge? Set up a free consultation HERE