Drive. Align. Shift. Spirit Driving Institute Blog by Leila Johnson

23Apr/14Off

The Universe answers “quiet prayers”

At the beginning of this year, I was battling the flu, colds, and laryngitis off and on for 6 weeks. It was the strangest thing. I don't get sick very often, but when I do, it's much milder. I think that part of it was stress-related. And the other part was the Universe telling me something.

You see, at the end of last year, we shut down for 2 weeks for Winter Break. I remember saying to myself how wonderful it was to have this time off. Then, I remember also saying that I wasn't looking forward to getting back to our typical routine--waking up early, getting our daughter ready for school, making and packing her lunch, getting into office mode, and getting down to work.

It was such a fleeting thought. I only said it to myself, once. But, boy, did the Universe ever turn it into a prayer to be answered. My "quiet prayer" seemed to result in the Universe saying, "Oh, you don't like your routine. Well, let's shake it up a bit."

17Apr/14Off

I Am Blessed, Not Obsessed, with Victory

I had a fabulous time last night! Sometime last month I was invited to speak at the last service of the Lenten season for the Grant Chapel African American Episcopal Church in Albuquerque. It was my spiritual coming out party of sorts since this was the first time I spoke under my newly acquired title, Rev. Leila Johnson, M. Div.

So, onto the title of the post. My topic was Victory. I created a custom presentation for the event called "I Am Blessed, Not Obsessed, with Victory". It was all about realizing that victory is a state of mind that we should all embrace in order to lead successful lives. Also, victory involves helping others by using your gifts. I gave examples from my life, quoted some bible passages, and left the congregation with some takeaways that they can apply to their life.

The response was phenomenal. I really felt divinely inspired. Plus, it was a great honor to sit in the pulpit in the pastor's chair. I was thrilled because my husband, daughter, mom, mother-in-law, and father-in-law were there and it was the first time that they had heard me speak on a topic like that.

I felt so at peace and humbled afterward. My Spirit was definitely driving the entire day today. It's a feeling that I can't quite explain, but want to replicate at every opportunity. I look forward to being able to speak again very soon. In fact, I added the retitled version of this presentation to my Speaking page: "I Am Blessed, Not Obsessed, with Success". Contact me if you're interested in having me speak at your event.

5May/13Off

Authenticity in Your Journey

I just looked back on my last post and can't believe that it has been almost a year since I felt inspired enough to write something on my blog. Instead of beating myself up about it, I realize that it is indicative of who I am and what I am all about.

Yes, there were many times when I had an idea that I wanted to write about, but didn't feel a strong reason to do so. This past year has allowed me to experience so much growth on a personal and professional level. If I had written something, I think I felt that it would have been forced. After all, how could I comfortably sit here giving advice about travelling an authentic journey when I wasn't feeling that I was doing the same.

5Dec/11Off

A Football Analogy for Shifting Your Perspective

Peyton Manning James Brown Interview on CBS Sports Dec 4 2011
March 2012 Update: Congrats to Peyton Manning for signing with the Broncos. Glad to have you on my "hometown" team. :)

I had a chance to watch an interview with Peyton Manning on NFL Today yesterday morning. James Brown asked him about his rehab progress. Peyton made some great comments that sparked my interest. I'll paraphrase below.

He said that he's always had pre-season goals and post-season goals. Now he has rehab goals. Also, he mentioned that he needs to be patient with getting better and not look too far ahead to predict the future of his career.

There are many times in our careers where something happens that throws us for a loop. In Peyton Manning's case, he sustained several neck injuries that have taken him out of the game for 12 weeks. Prior to that, I'm sure he had set goals on how many games the team would win, yards he would throw, and touchdowns he would help make. Now circumstances have caused him to throw those goals out the window. Instead of focusing on goals related to winning, he has had to shift his perspective to focus on getting and staying healthy.

23Nov/11Off

Can You Handle the Seasons of Your Professional Life?

I recently re-discovered the song "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. Although this song is about personal relationships, there's one line that resonates with me because it also can relate to our careers: "Can I handle the seasons of my life?".

Our professional lives go through seasons that don't necessarily correlate with seasons of the year. Unfortunately, we often get fixated on the sexy side of Spring and Summer and dread the slower times of Fall and Winter. Can you handle those slower seasons of your professional life?

I was recently chatting with a friend about her business. She mentioned that she was really busy now after somewhat of a dryspell. I mentioned that there is a feast or famine side to being in business for yourself and that the famine part is no fun.

It's true. I am guilty of feeling that way as well sometimes.

7Mar/11Off

It’s in My Story

Super WHY (c) Out of the Blue Enterprises

As you may know, I have a toddler daughter who just loves her PBS Kids shows. One of her favorites is SuperWhy. We watch it every weekday morning. Like any good kids show, they believe in repetition to reinforce a concept. Today, for some reason, a part that I've seen over and over really stood out to me.

Here's a short synopsis of the show. There are four kids (the Super Readers) who love to read. In each episode, one of the Super Readers has a problem that they need to solve. In order to figure out how to solve the problem, they read a well-known storybook for clues. At a turning point in the show, they get to a part of the story that could really help them solve the problem. They soon realize, however, that they won't be able to solve anything if they do things exactly as the story is written. When they ask the main storybook character if they could do something different, the main character always respond in a similar way, "I can't, because it's in my story". Instead of just reading the story as is, the Super Readers decide to pick a new word or phrase to make the story better and solve the main storybook character's as well as the Super Reader's problem.

I'm sure that phrase, "I can't, because it's in my story" crops up in our minds more often than we'd like to admit. I am all about being cautious and learning from our past experiences, but we can also use the past to remain a prisoner to our thoughts. We get used to doing things the same way all the time. It is almost like we have a storybook in our heads telling us what to do. Whether it's going after a promotion, applying for a new job, moving to a new city, or trying a new hobby, we might tell ourselves that we can't do something because of how it turned out last time. What a dangerous thought.

I really like this concept of changing our story so that we don't get stuck in a rut. In my Web business, we are often making changes to improve it for ourselves and our clients. One part that changes often are the team members that we work with on our projects. My familiar storybook phrase would become, 'It's hard to find good people.' Every time we would have to go through the process of finding someone new, I would find myself saying, "I can't find anyone new because it didn't work out last time". Instead, I began to tell myself that this is a new day, a new situation, and new opportunities are available. I changed my storybook phrase to 'It's easy to find good people.'

What storybook phrase do you tell yourself that you can't change? How is it keeping you from moving forward?

22Feb/11Off

Repacking Your Baggage

Recently, I had the opportunity to review some parts of my past and look at them from a different point of view. We all hold long-standing beliefs based on what we've experienced during childhood and young adulthood. If you are at the point of Shifting Your Perspective in the Drive. Align. Shift. Program, you have two choices. You can decide to unpack your baggage or you can decide to repack your baggage.

Depending on what you choose, there is a huge difference in the way you move forward in life.

  • Unpacking your baggage is a quick way of trying to resolve past issues. It involves getting rid of those memories, limiting beliefs, family, friends, and other factors that seem to be affecting your life now. Unfortunately, you're not resolving anything, just simply avoiding it.
  • Repacking your baggage takes more time and effort, but makes a larger difference. It involves opening up the baggage and checking out the contents. You can take out each item, unfold it, look at it, refold it, and place it in a better spot.

Let me give you a concrete example. When I was growing up, I always felt like the ugly duckling. No one would have ever known it because I exuded confidence on every level. I made people believe that I was secure in myself and didn't let anything hold me back. Even after I became an adult and began to feel better about my appearance, that ugly duckling mentality would rear its head at key times when I should have been feeling very confident. The funny thing is that I would start to feel that way even in situations that had nothing to do with outward appearance.

If I were unpacking my baggage, I would have decided to get rid of all the memories that reminded me of being an ugly duckling - the boys that didn't like me or the people that made fun of me. This is a great way to just clear out everything painful and not have to deal with it anymore. But, it's not healthy.

Instead, I could repack my baggage and look at the memories differently. I could even take it a step further and talk with those people who made me feel that way. I had the opportunity to do this recently and realized that people weren't trying to hurt me intentionally. They had a different point of view on the experience that had nothing to do with my appearance. Repacking my baggage required more work, more time, and made me more vulnerable in having to address these items. But in the end, it was an awesome way to shift my perspective and move forward in a more confident way.

So, are you holding on to baggage that isn't serving you well? Have you completely unpacked it? Or, are you ready to start the process of repacking?

If the baggage involves other people, can you contact them to get a different perspective on the situation? If not, can you meditate on that time period in order to see it differently? Yes, it will be a more intense emotional journey, but it will help you feel freer, lighter, and have an easier time with your current place in the Universe.

2Feb/11Off

Everybody’s talking, but is anyone listening?

You may have been wondering why I haven't been communicating as much through my usual channels lately (Twitter, Facebook, blog, newsletter, etc.). Maybe it's the introspective feeling that seems to accompany the Winter season. Or maybe it's something deeper.

You'll remember last month that I did some rebranding of my message and my site. In January, I started promoting my new classes through my usual channels. Somehow, something just didn't feel quite right, yet. I began to get weary of what was becoming the usual grind of social media and other content updates. It led me to have a conversation with my husband/business partner about this whole marketing process. I boiled it down to the title of this post: "Everybody's talking, but is anyone listening?"

As a society we tend to get bombarded with information and don't ever get away from it. I am a techie and completely understand being connected to some device for a large part of my day. Unfortunately, I don't think we unwind enough.

I subscribe to only about 10 e-mail newsletters of interest to my work through Spirit Driving Institute and sometimes that feels like too much. I began to read these newsletters with a different point of view. How many blogs, radio shows, newsletters, marketing opportunities, etc. do we need? And if everyone is trying so hard to be seen, get known, and deliver their message, who's left to read it?

Also, each time I would come back to my blog last month to write something new, I encountered a bunch of comments waiting for my approval. They weren't real responses, mind you. Just spam messages from people trying to ride the traffic wave from my site so that they could get a linkback.

So, there I was thinking about all of this during the time when I usually send out my newsletter. I was in the midst of feeling like I was contributing to the information overload for folks. One word kept resonating with me - SIMPLIFY. It's a great word that can apply to so many areas of life and business.

While I don't have the perfect solution to this yet, I have made a vow to myself. Instead of writing for the sake of writing or promoting myself for the sake of promoting, I am only going to do it when I feel moved to do so. I refuse to promote things out of obligation or just because everyone else is doing it that way.

Instead, I'm just going to have fun and find different ways to get out there that feel right to me. If you don't see as much from me, don't worry, I haven't disappeared. I'm just taking a breather and re-energizing to share something meaningful.

Until the next time. :)

20Dec/10Off

Drive. Align. Shift.

You may have noticed that my site and blog have a new tagline that encompasses the work that I do: Drive. Align. Shift. It is a bold statement showing the progression we should all take to have a successful life. I have developed new courses around this concept to help you take the necessary steps to be fulfilled in all areas of your life.

Drive with Purpose.

Some people aren't even on the road. They just blindly go through life and let it happen to them instead of taking some responsibility. The easiest option for these folks is to complain about their job, house, spouse, kids, and everything else in between. Instead of looking at everyone else and every other circumstance, they should look within for the source of their problem - thinking that a lack of action will lead to change in their lives.

Believe it or not, this used to describe me many years ago. I've made a lot of changes in my life to get to where I am today. If you're interested in making a change, you have to make a commitment to Drive with Purpose.

Make no excuses. Get on the road and do something. If you're not driving, you're not living. Remember, though that navigating does not equal complete control. There are some things that you have to leave up to the Universe, but you must be a willing partner in order to move forward.

Align Your Goals.

Once you're driving on the road, you will have some work to do. Again, there are people who think it's good enough to just be on the road and watch everyone else. They have a false sense of security where they are and convince themselves that they are happy with life as it is. Usually these are the people who avoid changing their course and don't even bother setting goals.

I remember the times when I was frustrated with goal-setting because I was failing at my goals or it was taking too long to achieve them. If you want a better goal-setting and achievement strategy, you have to focus on how to Align Your Goals in all parts of your life.

It doesn't make sense to have goals that don't connect. We all have different roles that should connect and make you who you are. Goals that you make for each of these areas should complement each other. Also, you have to keep in mind that you may not achieve all of your goals in the way that you're expecting. Sometimes you Drive with Purpose and set a goal that is on-mission, but you don't reach that goal. There are other reasons for going through that experience.

Shift Your Perspective.

After being on the road for awhile and making some changes, the scenery will start to look monotonous. You've become familiar with the typical challenges you face and know how to overcome them. You hang around similar people and just breathe in each others' fumes. This is the time to really break out of your shell and do something different with your life.

I have been comfortable with my life at different times in the past and was afraid of making a change that could bring even more success and happiness. If you're content with where you are, but feel that more fulfillment could be just around the corner, your next step is to Shift Your Perspective.

Shifting involves doing a lot of inner work. You have to continue to let go and see the lessons in life as a way to allow you to see more of the world. Your purpose becomes clear. You see your life as an example for others. It can be scary to challenge some of your long-standing beliefs, but this is the only path to true growth.

I'm sure you saw yourself in at least one part of this progression. Check out my upcoming courses in the Drive. Align. Shift. Program. I would recommend starting from the beginning to get the most benefit from the program.