Spirit Driving Institute Leila Johnson – Transformation Teacher

11Sep/11Off

What September 11th Means to Me

On this 10th anniversary of September 11th, I am struck by many things. Today I'll talk about my personal reflections. I can't believe what a different life I lead now. And I can't believe how that event indirectly shaped my career path and personal life.

Please know that I always feel weird telling this story because it seems trivial in light of the tragedies that happened. Yet, it is something that I feel compelled to share. I hope this inspires you to find the many more powerful, inspirational stories that can help you make sense of the day.

A little over ten years ago, I was working at a mutual fund company in Denver whose headquarters was in the World Trade Center. I worked for the quality assurance team in their call center. I wasn't entirely happy with my job and wanted something different. After researching the different opportunities that were available in the company, I settled on applying to become a call center trainer. It looked like a fun job to me and I knew I had the qualifications.

On that Monday, September 10th, I turned in my job application to the local Human Resources Department and felt confident about the possibilities. Then, Tuesday rolled around. Of course, the office was chaotic. We were preparing for an onslaught of phone calls from shareholders wondering what was happening with their money. Instead, the call center was eerily silent. We were all glued to the televisions as we wondered what was happening to our fellow employees in the North Tower. Somehow all of our co-workers made it out of the building before it fell. Our bosses told our department to stay home the rest of the week because there really wasn't anything for us to do.

So, there I was at home staying glued to the television with my fear of leaving the house increasing every minute. My boyfriend at the time used to travel around the country as a corporate trainer for a different company. He was supposed to fly out to St. Louis on September 11th. But the training class was changed, so he flew out the day before. Since air traffic was grounded for over a week, he wasn't able to fly home as planned at the end of that week. It was strange being at home by myself all that time without being able to share this experience with him. That weekend, he rented a car and drove over 12 hours to make it home.

Things at work somewhat settled down after several weeks. It was around that time that I saw an announcement about the new trainers that were selected for the call center trainer positions. My name was not on the list. Being the overachiever that I am, I decided to check in with HR to find out why I wasn't selected and why I didn't even get the chance to interview. The HR associate looked through her paperwork and found that she didn't even have my job application on file. She asked when I turned it in. I told her it was on September 10th. She paused and then apologized saying that it must have gotten lost in all of the chaos.

I was upset, but after reflecting on things, I realized that this must have happened for a reason. It was also at that time that my boyfriend and I felt like we shouldn't waste time in our lives. We had been talking about getting married. Once he got back that weekend, our talks started to become more of a reality. We were married the following year and are still going strong. We also talked about what we really wanted to do career-wise and began to take steps toward becoming entrepreneurs. That became a reality in 2003.

Now that I look at my life as an a stay-at-home mom, wife, entrepreneur, and author, I can see several events that helped to get me where I am today. I am so thankful for my life.

On this anniversary, I was glued to the TV again, but this time watching the memorial events. As I listened to the stories of families and friends affected by the tragedies, I am reminded of many things:

The "stresses" in my life that really aren't that stressful

How quickly your life and the world can change

How important it is not to waste time on trivial things, but focus on your dreams and how you can achieve them

The importance of family and friends during the happy and sad times

I hope that my story can help you find a glimmer of hope and positivity today to help you move forward in your life.

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.

24Oct/10Off

Now What Do I Do?

Is this a phrase you find yourself asking after you've just achieved a goal? I mean, you've worked hard and let your Spirit drive in order to get there. So, once you've achieved your goal, you might be asking, "Now what?"

It's funny when you're a goal-oriented person because you often feel like you always have to be working toward a goal. You might not take the time to reflect on your success and give yourself a pat on the back to appreciate your progress.

I experienced something similar last week. Not only was publishing my book one of my goals, it's been on my bucket list for 10 years! I have to admit that I had a few moments of feeling like I had accomplished one of the biggest goals of my life. I found myself asking, "How can I top this?" and "What should I focus on next?" Yes, my Personality was driving.

Instead of focusing on shifting Gears and getting to the next goal, I recommend sitting in Neutral for awhile so that you can do the following:

  • Appreciate the successes you had along the way. This is especially true with the goals that we classify as biggies. We get so focused on checking something off of our list, that we might not appreciate all of the smaller successes it took to get here. One of my smaller successes was putting together a publishing and marketing team in a few months even though I had never done anything like that before.
  • Reflect on the struggles you had during the journey. Don't forget to pay attention to the struggles you had because you can learn the most from them. When did a seemingly insurmountable obstacle get in your way? How did that obstacle take you in a different direction to get you where the Universe wanted you to be? When publishing both my e-book and paperback, I had some last-minute changes come up that caused us to come uncomfortably close to the deadlines I had set. After taking some time to make those changes, I noticed that there were some other critical areas of the book that I wanted to alter as well.
  • Consider what this goal means for your life. If you have a bucket list, you will have some fun goals (one of mine is getting another tattoo) and others will be more meaningful. Either way, consider what achieving this goal means for your life. How has it changed you as a person? What will you do differently in your life now that you have checked off this goal?
  • Show gratitude. You could show gratitude by meditating or praying about it. Thank those in your life who helped you (and even those who didn't). Remember that the naysayers also can push you forward without your realizing it. I even thank my naysayers in my book and recognize how their words pushed me in a certain direction.

Once I got my Spirit back in the driver's seat, I realized that it wasn't about topping what I had done. Publishing my book is a big accomplishment and is only the beginning of even better things. I spent most of the weekend in Neutral so that I would have the clarity I needed to move forward when it feels right.

13Oct/10Off

The Land of Obligations

Last week, I had several sales and project meetings, was finalizing the publication process for my book, and was trying to schedule time to go to Balloon Fiesta. Although I consider myself to be pretty organized, every morning I found myself saying things like this:

  • I need to make the agenda for this meeting.
  • I have to assign tasks for this project.
  • I should take time to research this problem.
  • I have to review this before I can pass it on to the next person.
  • I need to find time to schedule a follow-up meeting.

You'll notice that these all use obligatory words: 'need', 'have to', 'should'. I realized that I was placing pressure on myself to get things done on a deadline that actually could have been more flexible.Words are powerful and carry a certain energy with them. I found that the words themselves made me feel worn down and overburdened.

I was automatically giving the tasks negative connotations and assuming that I wouldn't have time to complete them. My time is very important to me. If you've read my book, you'll remember that Time is one of the four Success Drivers or ways that you can define success for yourself. So, I'm not surprised that Time was an important factor in the way I was viewing my workload.

Just for fun, I decided to become more aware of when I used these obligatory words. I was shocked by how often I did it whether I was talking to myself or someone else. After taking this mental inventory, I decided I would replace the words with others that had more positive energy. I call this 'flipping the script'.

Here are the same phrases with those replacements:

  • I plan to make the agenda for this meeting today.
  • I'll make time to assign tasks for this project.
  • I think it would be good to research this problem.
  • I'll provide my feedback on this so that I can pass it on to the next person.
  • I'll be able to schedule a follow-up meeting.

Replacing words might seem like a completely pointless thing to do, especially if you're only saying the words to yourself. I encourage you to monitor your obligatory words anyway. They might not be the same as mine and that's OK. I'll bet that you will find your attitude about the task changes just by making that change in wording.

P.S. I did manage to fit in time for all of the work I wanted to do and an early morning Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta!

7Jul/10Off

Cruise Control Makes Me Feel Out of Control

As I mentioned in my last post, I had some insights about actual driving and Spirit Driving while on my recent roadtrip. This first one cracks me up.

When we're driving, my husband likes using the cruise control once we're on a nice stretch of highway without a lot of traffic. He always encourages me to do the same. I've used it a few times, but something about it makes me feel out of control. I always worry that I'm going to have to change lanes or slow down suddenly and that I'm going to forget which button to press.

My husband will say, "Don't worry. You know how to do it. Hold down this button to slow down and this one to speed up." Inevitably, when the time comes when I need to accelerate or decelerate, I get flustered and decide to stomp on the gas or the brake. It still accomplishes the same task, but defeats the purpose of cruise control. Then, I tell my husband, "See, I told you I would forget."

The reason this cracks me up so much is that our little exchange about driving is very similar to the way we converse about goals. It's very hard for me to just go with the flow. I'm always trying to plan ahead and anticipate the next step. I feel that I can only get ahead if I'm in control and don't have some outside force guiding me.

But, guess what? There are outside forces that guide all of us. They aren't steering for us, but they do help us to move forward. It might not be at the speed that we want. And it might not be exactly the way that we envisioned. Nevertheless, it's going to happen. And we can't completely control it. Yes, even the author of Driving to Success has to remind herself of this sometimes.

No matter how in control you feel when it comes to your goals, no amount of planning can guarantee "success". I put that in quotes because success defined in this way means getting what YOU want. If you've read my book, you'll know that that isn't the true definition of success. When your Spirit is driving, what you get in the end might look quite different from what you envisioned. But it is exactly where you needed to be.

While in Denver on vacation, I drove past my old graduate school and had a bit of a flashback. I remember going to the lab sometimes late at night and checking on an experiment. I would imagine the day when I would be a professor and have my own lab. Had I continued on that path, I would probably be finishing my postdoc or starting my first job in academia right about now. My goals revolved around that. I hadn't thought about having a family or having my own business in a completely different field.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I've completely denounced that scientific part of myself. Sometimes I reminisce about my days doing experiments in the lab. I still have plans to incorporate that in my professional life, but in a different way. My Spirit has driven me elsewhere and I'm better for it.