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Productivity isn’t about simply “getting things done”

Hi It’s Annette and The Valiant Group,

Are you being as productive as you want to be?

Productivity isn’t about simply “getting things done”.

It’s about moving into your dreams…dreams for career, business, relationship, service, creativity, and the exploration of what’s possible in your life…by creating outcomes instead of just checking the “to-do’s” off the list.

pareto ruleNow, you’ve probably heard of Pareto’s 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your input.

So, for example, if you have 10 things that you could do to do to get a new client, what are the two most important, highest leverage actions that you can take to reach that outcome? Do those two things first…then do then do the other things on the list if you have time (or outsource / delegate them).

This is a perspective and strategy that has contributed to the successes of tens of thousands of people, worldwide.

If you’ve not already seen it, this 5 Minute Planning Tool is easy way to get more productive by leveraging the power of the 80/20 rule.

You’ll be amazed at the outcomes you achieve, the flow in your day, and the peace in your mind and heart.

If you’re tired of just being “busy” and ready to triple your productivity, results, and success everyday, enjoy the video (10 minutes) if you haven’t already.



P.S. Are you ready to make your dreams a real part of your life? Imagine how it will feel to get things done (the RIGHT things) and get out of overwhelm!

Finally A Re-Do For A Meanginful Life

Neuroscience has been probing the mysteries of your brain. For a long time.  And the neuroscientists have discovered  the steps to  rewiring it so you can live bigger, better!

As you may have guessed, this involves more than just positive thinking or working hard.

Since your brain is made up of neural networks – like interconnecting freeways – the rewiring that needed is to lay down  new neural pathways – sort of like paving new roads for easy access.

And how is that done, you’re asking.  There are five pathways that must be activated in order to create new neural networks in the brain – a rewiring… Here are the 5 pathways that must be activated and how you can do it.

First, the act of thinking sets into motion a chemical reaction in the brain that can be likened to plugging in a string of lights. As you think about something—be it positive or stressful—you turn on a string of lights related to that topic.

Second, the more you think, feel and act the same way, the faster the lights turn on and the brighter they glow. Thus, the string of lights related to driving a car at 45 years old is much brighter and faster than the string you had at 16 years old.

Finally, we have trillions of brain cells, resulting in thousands (if not millions) of strings of lights correlating with our habits in all areas of our life. Donald Hebb’s landmark discovery in 1949, “neurons that fire together wire together,” best explains the process of wiring and strengthening brain pathways. The key is to activate as many of these pathways as possible given they work synergistically. One pathway alone is not enough to successfully rewire your brain. However, when you repeatedly align your beliefs, feelings, vision, and actions you will experience lasting changes in your brain.

1. Identify the beliefs that support your intention.

Seeing is not required for believing. In fact, you have to first believe it is possible if you expect to truly see it manifest in your life.

Solution: Examine your current beliefs about a desired goal. Identify those beliefs that align with the possibility of achieving your intention.

2. Embrace your positive emotions.

Emotion is the fuel, the juice or the power behind accomplishing your intention. Without emotion a thought is neutral, it has no real power. In other words, it is not enough to repeat positive affirmations if you are not feeling anything.

Solution: What emotions align with accomplishing your goal? Why is your intention meaningful to you? Spend time feeling these feelings as you focus on your intention.

3. Visualize.

The brain can’t tell the difference between something real or imagined. When you mentally rehearse your new habits, you strengthen your ability to create them in your life.

Solution: Identify images that align with accomplishing your goal and spend time visualizing them daily.

4. Take actions that support your intention.

Your actions have to match what you say you want and vice versa. You can’t think and feel one way and act another. In other words, you won’t rewire your brain if you eat donuts while repeating affirmations of being healthy and fit. Similarly, you won’t rewire your brain if you go to the gym but complain about how much you can’t stand working out.

Solution: Identify the actions that align with your thoughts and emotions.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Change requires practicing a new habit. It follows the principle, “use it or lose it.”

Solution: Consciously practice thinking, feeling, visualizing and acting in alignment with your desired intention. When you do this you will stop the unconscious habit of recycling the past and activate your ability to rewire your brain in the present moment.

If you are an executive, entrepreneur, consultant or coach I invite you to join me for a high value, no cost strategy session. You will learn the most effective ways to be rewire your brain to be productive, powerful and resourceful…ESPECIALLY during challenges…so you can rocket to the top of your game and enjoy true success in your business and in your life. 

Based on a blog by BY DR. HILARY STOKES


Yes, real change is possible regardless of your age. Dr. Siegal  is the foremost expert on remapping your brain.

Watch this video and see how you can change your brain too.


” I know, I know, “Paul said over lunch as I explained my many challenges and discoveries. I was talking to a friend about the process of moving from “live” presentations into the medium of video and what I was learning along the way. The content of my share was less important suddenly, than his need to pretend a knowledge he didn’t have. He had never made videos, or made the switch I had launched. Yet, he often “knew” whatever was being shared. And NOT just bout this subject. So what did his need “to know” mean?

I began to ponder the very human desire to manage Reality by eliminating uncertainty, the dark place of not knowing. Yes, there is a strong desire to feel safe… in the familiarity of certitude. And while the issue I had mentioned wasn’t major in the overall challenges of life, Paul’s response was a gateway into a BIG fear. We naturally fear the unknown – from death and dying to the mundane stuff.

Our brains are pattern making machines. We try to push everything into an already established patterns. More so, we humans as Maslow pointed out, know “security” as a primary need. These two combine as a potent force: physiology and psychology. Humans want to file everything away neatly and feel safe.

But when, if ever, are we truly safe? And what, if anything, do we really “know”?

We think we “know” until our lover leaves us, or we marry our true love or the market crashes, or the housing market collapses, or we are offered a new job in a new city, or we hold our first child in our arms, or we are promoted, or our first feature film is in the can, or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, or we start our own business, or we’re robbed or worse… the list goes on and on in the same curious way that life unfolds.

What do we really know? Facts? Figures? Even our memory is unstable. How does data like that impact our inner world, our sense of Life? Is having the answer on exams the same as managing our future?

Sure, uncertainty is painful. It gives us the free-fall sense of being “out of control.” Most people hate that and the fears and anxieties that accompany the feeling. But certainty is a myth! The next moment could bring about a life-shattering shift (the Boston Marathon) or the delivery of unexpected news: “Your pregnant” and can change the direction of our life for years.

Isn’t it time to embrace the gifts in the very real “not knowing”which booms and barges through your life? Rebecca Solnit, well-know essayist and sociologist says “Leave the door open to the unknown,the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself come from, and where you will go.”

We are uncertain about the forces of nurture and nature, about WHY “the Big Bang,” about when and how we will die!

Trying to ease our anxieties by “knowing” is like trying to blow back a cyclone with a straw. Impossible! So what shall we do instead?

More useful is embracing the generous offerings of uncertainty. They are many and profound. Humility comes to mind. How would life be if we moved through it with more? Who would be attracted to us? What opportunities might become available? How would our compassion grow?

Another offer of uncertainty is curiosity. Not only the small spurts that take us Wikipedia or google, but the larger undertakings of a travel adventure, or a university course, a new degree perhaps or a retreat, the pleasure of new book in a different field and so on. With even more impact comes the curiosity that allows us to try on new roles in the world, take on new responsibilities from the stance of “Wow, wonder what I’m capable of?’

Which leads to another offering – creativity! Breaking through the false concrete of “knowing” into the freedom of creative uncertainty allows for trying on new streams of attention – photography, opera, salsa, writing haiku, entrepreneurship, travel. And think of all the learnings and joys that unfold there. Even if living the “ordinary life in an extraordinary way” doesn’t look like a technicolor change from the outside, how precious the shift may be from the inside.

Now these ways of going into the “dark place” are painful. In the that country, we experience fear alongside enthusiasm, suffering alongside wisdom, frustration alongside delight. Or whatever emotions arise, there is always an alchemical mix of which not knowing is the catalyst.

So the next time you are tempted to prematurely “know” take a long, deep breath… pause and allow all that you don’t know about whatever is directly in front of you to arise with its cacophony of feelings.

Perhaps curiosity will arrive arm-in-arm with creativity. Regardless of whether humility shows up or any of the other players, staying with the uncertainty will be an invitation sent out to Truth.


What is possible when we transform the language of complaint to the language of commitment?

Yesterday, a client who sent a desperate email request for a session signed Barely Breathing had a breakthrough.

I can’t take credit. I credit Robert Kegan.  I used his Immunity to Change model to have her look at her suffering as the intersection of two competing commitments.

She is committed to a loving, harmonious relationship with her teenage son who wanted to trade in his working truck for a newer, fancier model before leaving for college,  AND, she was committed to doing what was “in his best interest” as she interpreted it: saving money until he completes his studies. Read more [+]


These days our thoughts about who we are are infiltrated by various models – models from  many disciplines; psychological, neurological, spiritual.  These models may be simplistic or complex – elegant or baroque, often valuable, frequently clarifying of certain aspects of life. Yet they are models, and the more value we place on them… the more we rely on their veracity to explain something intangible…the more we rest into the truths these models reveal, the less we find the Truth. Read more [+]


I failed yesterday. I missed a conference call with two esteemed clients and friends. Irrelevant is the fact that a minor crisis interrupted my morning. The missed call, while unacceptable, wasn’t the failure.

It was what came after.

I failed yesterday. There was an emergency situation that derailed me but the failure wasn’t there! It was in the hour plus after  where I felt shame, guilt and self-hatred over not checking for the call before dealing with the unexpected crisis.

It took some hefty processing to first surface what I was experiencing, relating it to some core wounding, understanding what the shame and guilt were really about and “being with” the deep, dark discomfort.

After some time, I could come back to a more centered place and then move forward, limping and haltingly as we humans sometimes do, but forward nevertheless.

What was forward in this case? I wrote to my friends, told them the truth of what had happened before, during and after the missed call – sharing the painful process. I recommitted to the relationship by apologizing and offering to make it right by discounting the makeup call  fee by half and allowed whatever was to be, to unfold.

Why am I telling you all this? Because, whatever coaching wisdom I have acquired over the years, there is little more valuable to my understanding than exploring the way of self-hate and the means to moving beyond it.

Self-hate is insidiuous. Whether one calls its awful voice, the “inner critic”, “cruel judge” “Super Ego” or something more glamorous, the self-hatred that frequently descends generally has very little to do with what is actually showing up in the present. It is the carryover of our past. As Cheri Huber states in There is Nothing Wrong With You” Going Beyond Self Hate, “You have been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn’t and  you’re not.” When we’re young,  we seek to find unconditional love and wisdom outside ourselves rather than inside.  We begin to believe the messages we receive and are sure “we have to earn it” by being a certain way. This is taught to us from early childhood by unwittingly  self-hating parents who were taught by their unwitting self-hating parents and so on…

Yet, every spiritual paths teaches that everything we seek is within – love, compassion, understanding, peace and so on.

It is cyclical in several ways and  a BIG topic. Too big for a short blog…but worth decoding, exploring, mining for its very rich vein of gold!

Clients, readers, friends, family have heard me say, over and over, hold yourself with the compassion and love you would display to beloved others. Yet, yesterday, for a piece of the morning, I failed. (I required support to do that – thankfully present in my life!)

So I am sharing that we are all works in progress, that we all fall down, scrape our knees or our souls, and need to get up. How quickly we stand and move again is the work!!!

We attempt, we make mistakes, we understand that failure is feedback, we learn, we attempt again.

It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something. ~Ornette Coleman (jazz impressario and GREAT)

Enough said. Hopefully this is helpful.


All our lives may be charted as a series of “letting go” experiences.  Sometimes we choose and let go graciously, often we are forced to let go and most often of all, we let go by “making them wrong”.  To be born into this chaotic, inspiring frightening, beautiful,  painful rich life, we ‘let go” of the womb. Soon after, we “let go” of mother’s breast. We let go of our childish stuffed animals and move onto more sophisticated toys… and so it goes.

People, experiences, ways of viewing the world – as we mature and grow we “let go”of what is outdated, too narrow, too small for our larger selves. And in this “letting go” we gain new experiences, new work, new friends, lovers,  a broader world view.

Some people make these moves with grace while others struggle and chafe as they make their way through life. What is the secret to this grace?  Is it a gift for a special few or are we all equally capable of bringing it into our daily lives?

“Making them wrong” is the way many of us “let go”. We qualify our decisions by finding fault in the people or places we are leaving, the organizations we no longer support, the teachers we no longer go to. By finding fault, the responsibility rests elsewhere. We are absolved. Furthermore, any movement away is seen as a wise move.

Yet, if we closely observe those we admire, we see that they too “let go” only they do so without blaming. Instead, they are able to appreciate what they received, honor the gifts, the lessons learned and experience true gratitude while moving on. The energy of gratitude is very different from that of blame.  Gratitude invites us in, asks us to come near the campfire to warm ourselves. Gratitiude is expansive, creating space for wonder and awe – for feelings of blessing.

Blame is stiff, hard and cold. Blame is strident and points a crooked finger. Blame makes our eyes squint, thus limiting our vision. It is contracted, thus limiting our movement. Rather than possibility, blame subtracts from what is possible, keeping our attention on  staying hurt or anger and being a victim.

The choice is yours. Will you choose the gains in letting go or blame?


“Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness.”

– Dan Millman

Some people hear the word shadow and go silent with fear. They assume that whatever lurks in the dark must be monstrous. What we know about our very human shadow is that it can also contain our brilliance, our intelligence, our generosity, our kindness. Unacknowledged, those parts of ourselves can also hide in shadow – for our conditioning comes in many flavors.

A compelling question to ask  ourselves is, “What  shadow element am I supporting by keeping this door shut?” What discomfort am I avoiding?”   As Nelson Mandela said,  “…Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

In our families, we learned that being “powerful beyond measure” was taboo or dangerous. We were taught to conform to the family culture…subtly,  if we were lucky and with harsh repercussions if not. Bypassing our own wants, desires, needs,  we “metabolized” these messages without deconstructing them. They became our shadow – deeply etched into our response patterns.

If the time has come to shine a light on these areas of your life, to liberate the trapped energy for more creative endeavors, look no further. If you are finally willing to go into the dark to integrate ALL of you for a richer, bigger, more meaningful life, begin a dialogue with us at The Valiant Group.  We love working with the shadow – our own and yours and we have the experience to guide you on this courageous journey.  Call now!

Dancing in the Dark: Part Two

“Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness.”

– Dan Millman

Experience is precious. Let’s investigate it!  We explored curiosity in Part One.  Why is it so important in shadow work? Curiosity occurs in freedom… freedom meaning here a space uncluttered by assumptions, judgments, suppositions and filled with a dynamic desire to learn, to know.   When we are truly curious, rather than compelled by some formulaic methodology, we allow our intuition into the room.  And, when we aren’t curious, a compelling question to ask  ourselves is, “What  shadow element am I supporting by keeping this door shut?” What we avoid being curious about is a powerful clue to some element of our shadow.

In our families, we learned that being curious about certain subjects was taboo. Yet certain topics brought not only recognition but rewards. The messages about the subjects to avoid were often further complicated by indirect signals (like facial expressions, shallow breathing or changing the topic). Bypassing our own verbal markers, we “metabolized” these messages without actually deconstructing them. They became shadowy, but strongly informed future patterns in us.

Some families disallowed the sad emotions – grief, despair, disappointment, for example,  weren’t accepted. In others, topics like money, mental health or sex were taboo.

Here’s a useful exploration.Where we were free to be curious, around what topics and where we we restricted? What arises ( sensations, emotions and ideas) when we touch into those unacceptable subjects, the ones that we were discouraged from pursuing. Observing ourselves as we explore our curiosity helps identify areas where we have dark shadows.

The next step, after identifying these areas is to see what strategies you employ in keeping parts of yourself hidden. Try this self-observation ( SO).

As you do this SO, try to get closer and closer to the experience of each moment of Presence and note more and more exactly what the experience is like emotionally and somatically (contractions, heat, numbness, energy, breathing, pulsing, heaviness, lightness – whatever).

Then, each day for ONE WEEK ONLY, YET IN DETAIL, take a few moments to note how these showed up in you: Be specific. Be rigorous.

Fear: (projection about the future)

Attachment: (inability to let go of a thought, idea, thing that doesn’t serve you)

Control: (choice that keeps you in the manager’s seat)

Entitlement: (a sense that something – space, action, response is owed you)

Manipulation: (indirect behavior involving an other to get something you want)

Anxiety: (projection onto the present based on the past)

What am I discovering about myself? What patterns emerge? What new questions do I have?


As the pattern surfaces, name it  gently and welcome it. Then exaggerate the emotional and physical sensations that arise with the thoughts (like turning up the brightness knob on the TV). Stay with the discomfort.  Check it out fully – what texture does it take, what color, what scent, what size, what taste. Staying with the experience offers up fresh insights… what the intelligence of this experience ( protection, avoidance, distraction for example). Once this pattern served a younger, less resourceful me. Does it serve me now? If not, I invite it to loosen (and eventually to leave) its grip.

By shining the light of awareness on our pattern,  we use less energy to keep the pattern in place and the place dark. We free some of our energy for other parts of living for our creativity and we take back our power.