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Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
by On December 15, 2009

What-Are-Your-ValuesTop 10 Questions to Ask Yourself and Why Self Knowledge is the KEY to Having the Life You Want

When you know yourself and act in accordance, the path becomes clear.

Start by asking yourself some specific questions. Keep a record of your answers in a notebook or journal.

Here are 10 questions to begin your journey and remember, YOU will always be a WORK IN PROGRESS.

1) If you could do anything you want to tomorrow, what would it be?

The answer should not be something that is an escape from what you ordinarily would be doing, but in more positive terms of a true dream.

2) What are your core values?

Core values became yours in childhood and you would not be you if you did not respect those. Make a list and then pare it down to the 5 that speak to you most strongly.

3) What are your special talents?

4) What do you do better than most people you know?

5) What were your dreams as a child?

If you have trouble remembering, go back and look at early photographs. Notice details to jog your memory.

6) What is the thing you are most proud of accomplishing in your life so far?

If you are tempted to answer “getting into college” or “passing the bar”, ask yourself something more personal and unique. For example, ask yourself if “getting into college” would have been the choice you made if it hadn’t been expected of you. Would you have preferred to learn a trade had it been an acceptable choice? What moments of triumph did you have as a child?

7) What will you regret not doing in your life if you continue as you are now?

8) What do you want people to say about you after you are no longer living? What is your legacy?

9) What do you want to do when you retire?

10) Outside of parents who influenced your life more than anyone else; who had an impact on your life and what was it about that person that meant something to you?

The next step is to put self knowledge into action. That means you begin planning your life based on what you know about yourself. You notice if WHAT you do, act, behave, work, and make choices are in sync with WHO you are. It is complex because we are all influenced by the outside world to make the choices we do.

In the immortal words of Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss.”

When you know yourself and act in accordance, the path becomes clear.
© 2004 Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D

Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D. is principal of Next Level Business and Professional Coaching. She coaches Professionals and Business Partners and teaches teleclasses on techniques to break through barriers to the next level. Dr. Lehavi offers a complimentary coaching session so you can experience how coaching can work for you. Visit

Who is the REAL Boss of Your Company?
by On December 14, 2009

Roger SeipA while ago I read a book called Managing by Values, which I highly recommend. It’s a pretty short little book, and the main lesson in it can be applied to an organization or to an individual.

This lesson involves who (or in this case what) is leading or guiding your business life? In other words, who is the boss?

Most companies and individuals view the “corporate hierarchy” like this:


And that’s how it works in most organizations. Workers look to managers for guidance, managers report to a CEO, the CEO has to satisfy the shareholders and that’s the accepted way of doing it. By the way, I realize that it’s not actually that simple, but you get the idea.

There are companies, however, that don’t have the traditional problems found in “most companies.” They don’t have high turnover, they attract great people, they show profits without having to “cook the books,” people love working there and it runs like a well-oiled machine. In short, there are organizations (and individuals) that run the way an organization should run. In many of those organizations, the “hierarchy” looks more like this:

Core Values
Everyone Else

In other words, the real boss is the Values that everyone shares; an agreed upon set of concepts that the organization embodies. In this scenario nobody gets bossed around by anyone, because they don’t have to!

When Values are the real boss, everyone works together and makes decisions that honor and enliven those values. A set of unchanging principals that are decided upon ahead of time can be one of the most powerful forces in the world for creating harmony.

So how can you apply this concept in your Life?

As you are finishing 2009 and heading into 2010, take some time to think about the Values that guide you. Get off by yourself and answer the question “What’s really important to me?” The only rule in answering is that a Value is not something you do.

For example, “exercising” is not a value, it’s a behavior. What you are trying to accomplish with that behavior – health, strength, discipline, growth, whatever – that is the Value that you’re really trying to embody.

“Making money” is not a Value, but Prosperity, Freedom, and Security are.

“Travel” is not a Value, but Adventure, Learning, and Diversity are.

Take the things you like to do and ask what Values those things stand for, and you’ll do two things. First of all, you’ll have a great conversation with yourself. Second, the answers you come up with will become a boss that you love to report to everyday and you’ll have the foundation of Harmony and Freedom to start the new year very strongly.

Be Free!

Roger Seip

by On December 11, 2009

This video highlights five hilarious commercials from Ameriquest. In each commercial, the main charter is in a situation that, at first, appears to be damaging. The viewer though, knows the real story, and what at first appeared to be controversial has a valid explanation.

These commercial are a great reminder to avoid judgments and assumptions in our daily life….and make for a good laugh!

Be Free!

Talking the Talk But Not Walking the Walk
by On December 10, 2009

Tom WeberWhat have you been preaching and teaching BUT…not doing yourself?

It happens to the best of us. We get in the habit of knowing the right path, the path towards health, wealth and success, we tell others all about it, and then one day we wake up only to realize that we have not been following our own awesome advice.

At a recent training, I had more than one person say something to me like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve known these things for years but I haven’t been doing them myself.” As a coach, the same thing happens to me. I’ll tell someone something so basic and simple that it seems like a no brainer, and I have said it so often to so many people that I don’t have to think much about it.

But if I notice that my results aren’t where I expect them to be, the error is normally linked to the same basic and simple things I was coaching others on.

Great example. On my flight back from California, I was wiped, and I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore work or read anything important. So, I watched a movie, a silly comedy, and when I finished that I reached in my bag and realized that I had also brought ‘The Secret’. I hadn’t watched ‘The Secret’ since it had come out, and I thought that maybe it would be worth watching for a little while.

While watching for about twenty minutes all of these ideas started pouring into my head, and I had an epiphany. I had felt as overwhelmed as I ever had over the past two months, to the point of wanting to quit. I had also been telling myself that I was “really busy”, that I might be “working harder than anyone”, that “I don’t have the time for ____(fill in the blank)!” WTF!!! But I had been believing my story and therefore, I had no time, I was behind schedule, and many things fell through the cracks or got ignored.

The epiphany hit me like a bolt of lightning! I have been believing a story about my time effectiveness for a long time, and how busy I have been for a long time SO why not change the story.

When, I got off of the plane and to my office that night I pulled out the index cards that I keep on the desk and wrote a new one:

“I am so happy and grateful that I have learned how to manage my time. I am ahead of schedule. I am early to meetings. I am so excited to feel like and to be routinely completing my T0-Do list.”

And, I haven’t felt this great about my daily tasks in months, if not years. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I magically have looked at my tasks as pieces and thought “Well, that won’t take long, I’ll just do it now.” Whereas before I was seeing the whole list as a WHOLE and thought “Look at how long that list is! I can’t possibly do all of that today!” Do you see the difference?

The question and mission for you then is this: Take a look at your situation. We all have at least one thing, so identify just one thing that you have been telling others to do but you yourself are not doing or are not doing it as consistently as you know you need. You are invited to share that one thing below and let us know how you are going to fix it.

Be Free!

Tom Weber

How to Improve Your Reading Attitude
by On December 9, 2009

Abby Marks BealeMentally, quickly fill in the blank of the following statement with a word or words that best describes your reading ability:

I am a __________ reader.

Your response will most likely fall into one of two major categories: negative or positive. Some negative terms I typically hear from people in my workshops include “slow”, “lazy”, “overwhelmed” or “frustrated” while the more positive ones include “good”, “avid”, or “voracious”.

Whatever your attitude, it makes sense that those with a more negative attitude typically read less and find reading to be more boring and a chore. Those with a more positive attitude then usually read more and find reading to be a more satisfying experience.

So how to do you go from a negative reading attitude to a more positive one? And how do you make a positive reading attitude even more positive?

First, you must believe that your reading future can be brighter than your reading past. Then, get some education! Since most people haven’t had any reading training since elementary school, it makes sense that a little more learning is needed about now.

Try These Tips:

  • Casually talk to people who read a lot and ask them what they do to manage their reading.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others; everyone reads differently.
  • Take a class on developmental reading or one on speed reading.
  • Buy, or rent from your library, a book, CD, or DVD on how to read better or faster.

You too can be a more confident reader: “Just Do It!”

Be Free!

Abby Marks-Beale

Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to

Develop Solutions BEFORE Asking for Help
by On December 7, 2009

Leah SimpsonToday we’re going to talk about developing solutions. Business owners understand that they need to come up with solutions to the challenges that face them and they are confident to do so.

Those acting like employees will come across a challenge and go straight to their boss or to someone else to come up with a solution.

Might I suggest that instead of going to others, act like a business owner and develop a possible solution yourself before you approach someone else?

Think about this: the person that you would like to ask for help is a busy, well-respected businessperson. If that were not true, you wouldn’t be seeking their advice. You have more information about the challenge that you are facing than they do. Come up with a at least two possible solutions BEFORE you ask for help.

At first, you may not be sure if they are good ideas. However, you will have done some original thinking and you will be able to get feedback on those ideas from someone you respect. AND…that individual will be impressed that you are thinking on your own, so you’ll get more recognition.

As you discuss your options with someone, they will help you decide which way to move forward. Maybe the best option IS one of your proposed solutions, and maybe it is something else.

Either way, you are actively engaged in the decision making process and you are learning. As you repeat this process, you will start to see patterns in the decisions being made, and your original ideas will continue to get stronger.

Soon, you won’t feel it’s necessary to ask for direction, and you will be making good decisions without the help of your superiors.

Now, you have more confidence and ownership in what you do, which means you’ll probably like it more. In addition, it’s now YOUR ideas and solutions that are impacting those around you.

And…talk about a quick way to receive recognition and a raise—you’ve just freed up your superior’s time!

Be Free!

Leah Simpson

Smile and Move Video
by On December 4, 2009

This video, from, offers great reminders on how to be of service.

We need to get over ourselves and give more to others, connect, listen, be thankful for our challenges and opportunities, happily lend a hand (even when it is not convenient), complain less and smile more.  

Remember the small things can make the biggest difference, and if you give more to others, you will enjoy more as a result.

Be Free!

$1,600 to Your Favorite Charities Contest
by On December 3, 2009

Roger SeipHappy Holidays! In the spirit of the season, the winners of our blog contest this month will be three charities, and we need your help to find them!

Please tell us what is your favorite charity and why. From your responses, we will be picking three charities to make donations to. Between first, second and third place, we will be giving a total of $1,600!

To enter the contest, at the bottom of this page, simply type your name, email and website (if you have one) and your answer to this question:

What is your favorite charity and why?
Submit Your Answer

The winners will be picked based on the “why” portion of this question.

Are they doing something extraordinary? Have they helped you or someone you know? Are they delivering freedom to others? Are their efforts making an unbelievable change in the word? Let us know WHY you are excited to support them.

If the charity has a website, please include that as well.


  • Grand Prize – $1,000 donation made in the winner’s name to their favorite charity.
  • Second Place – $500 donation made in the winner’s name to their favorite charity.
  • Third Place – $100 donation made in the winner’s name to their favorite charity.

Winners will be chosen by the members of the Freedom Personal Development Team who were donors for this contest.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

Winners will be emailed, announced and donations made Wednesday, December 30, 2009.

Please forward this link to all of your friends and family so they can nominate their favorite charity too:

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Co-Founder and Instructor

Thank You to our Donors:

Bobbi Schmitt – Events Coordinator
Katie Brandt – Director of Marketing
Eric Plantenberg – President
Roger Seip – Instructor
Gary Castellano – Instructor
David Shoup – Instructor
David Meyers – COO
Alan Mong – Instructor
Eric Wellons – Speaker
Kurt Venekamp – Speaker
Tom Weber – VP of Sales
Rebecca Carr – Speaker
Lonny Hogan – Training Coordinator
Andi Pavlou – Training Coordinator
Ken Budka – Training Coordinator
Jeff Caissie – Training Coordinator
Leah Simpson – Instructor
Peter Tessicini – Training Coordinator
Joe Paprocki – Training Coordinator
Ken Weiner – Training Coordinator

Outside the Box Thankfulness Contest Winners Announced
by On December 2, 2009

Eric PlantenbergI trust everyone had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!

Hopefully our November’s contest spurred some interesting conversations over Thanksgiving dinner on what outside of the box people, places and things your loved ones were grateful for.

Thank you to everyone that participated in our Outside the Box Thankfulness Contest.

It was an amazing experience for me to read each comment and it is so evident how gratitude (yours or someone else’s) is incredibly contagious.

To everyone who shared something they were thankful for, I loved reading your answers! Now I’m glad that I’m done selecting three winners out of a virtual 74-way tie…

If you haven’t gone through all the comments, I invite you to do so. I’ll be re-reading these the next time I’m in need of some inspiration.

The winners for this month are:

First Place and Winner of The Art of Exceptional Living Audio CD Set  is response #62 by Heather Haynes:

1. Skipping – because nothing can make you feel more like a kid instantly and get your heart rate up at the same time…whether it is from office to office or from the car to the grocery store.
2. 3X5 or 4X6 note cards: some of the most profound, life giving, truth telling statements have been recorded on these small cards and when I look at them, I am inspired, uplifted, and encouraged to press on.
3. Eskimo Kisses – because seriously…when my 3yr old (red head) gives them to my husband, my heart melts and gratefulness overflows in ways words can not describe.

Are we only allowed 3? 🙂

Second Place and Winner of an Expect Success Book  is response #47 by Linda Hunter- (with special props going to Cole and Jack!):

What a great topic for family dinner conversation!! This is what my family had to say:

Jack (6 years old): our country, a nice home, a good teacher
Cole (6 years old): Ice cream, Wii and the planet Pluto because it is his favorite
Sarah (11 years old): Freedom, that there is no war here IN America, that the world has NOT come to an end YET!!
Me: I am grateful I do NOT have to work, grateful that nothing bad has happened to my immediate family, that none of my family have to go to war.
My husband: a good job, able to still work-out, my beautiful yard!!

Third Place and Winner of a Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle  is response #59 by Patty Blakesley:

1. I am thankful when the moon is full and the sky is clear.
2. I am thankful when it is not raining or snowing on garbage day.
3. I am thankful for the colors in life: falling leaves, attractive signs on the roadway, even internet sites.

Tomorrow we announce our December contest and we will be asking for you to nominate your favorite charity for a donation on your behalf! Stay tuned.

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg

Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Brain Fitness
by On December 1, 2009

brain_exerciseYesterday, Roger Seip wrote about training your brain to make that muscle stronger.  For today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday, we offer 10 ways you can improve your brain’s fitness. 

Be Free!
Brain fitness has basic principles: variety and curiosity. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. If you can do the crossword puzzle in your sleep, it’s time for you to move on to a new challenge in order to get the best workout for your brain.

Curiosity about the world around you, how it works and how you can understand it will keep your brain working fast and efficiently. Use the ideas below to help attain your quest for mental fitness.

  1. Play Games
    Brain fitness programs and games are a wonderful way to tease and challenge your brain. Suduko, crosswords and electronic games can all improve your brain’s speed and memory. These games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. These games are also fun. You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day — spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.
  2. Meditation
    Daily meditation is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your mind/body health. Meditation not only relaxes you, it gives your brain a workout. By creating a different mental state, you engage your brain in new and interesting ways while increasing your brain fitness.
  3. Eat for Your Brain
    Your brain needs you to eat healthy fats. Focus on fish oils from wild salmon, nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as flax seed and olive oil. Eat more of these foods and less saturated fats. Eliminate transfats completely from your diet.
  4. Tell Good Stories
    Stories are a way that we solidify memories, interpret events and share moments. Practice telling your stories, both new and old, so that they are interesting, compelling and fun. Some basic storytelling techniques will go a long way in keeping people’s interest both in you and in what you have to say.
  5. Turn Off Your Television
    The average person watches more than 4 hours of television everyday. Television can stand in the way of relationships, life and more. Turn off your TV and spend more time living and exercising your mind and body.
  6. Exercise Your Body To Exercise Your Brain
    Physical exercise is great brain exercise too. By moving your body, your brain has to learn new muscle skills, estimate distance and practice balance. Choose a variety of exercises to challenge your brain.
  7. Read Something Different
    Books are portable, free from libraries and filled with infinite interesting characters, information and facts. Branch out from familiar reading topics. If you usually read history books, try a contemporary novel. Read foreign authors, the classics and random books. Not only will your brain get a workout by imagining different time periods, cultures and peoples, you will also have interesting stories to tell about your reading, what it makes you think of and the connections you draw between modern life and the words.
  8. Learn a New Skill
    Learning a new skill works multiple areas of the brain. Your memory comes into play, you learn new movements and you associate things differently. Reading Shakespeare, learning to cook and building an airplane out of toothpicks all will challenge your brain and give you something to think about.
  9. Make Simple Changes
    We love our routines. We have hobbies and pastimes that we could do for hours on end. But the more something is ‘second nature,’ the less our brains have to work to do it. To really help your brain stay young, challenge it. Change routes to the grocery store, use your opposite hand to open doors and eat dessert first. All this will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.
  10. Train Your Brain
    Brain training is becoming a trend. There are formal courses, websites and books with programs on how to train your brain to work better and faster. There is some research behind these programs, but the basic principles are memory, visualization and reasoning. Work on these three concepts everyday and your brain will be ready for anything.

More Fun Ways to Live Longer

Author – By Mark Stibich, Ph.D.