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Shannon Simone Miller is a Strategic Life & Business Coach and has been featured in Newsweek Magazine, she is the author of Sparks for the Spirit-Quotes to Fuel Your Inner Fire on Amazon. Shannon believes that "A happy life begins when you live on purpose."

Love is the only real thing you can leave behind Are you investing in what matters most?

There is so much to be said about love. Poets have written about it, lovers have been scorned by it and nations of people have been united and healed by it. Yet love is elusive, the definition we all connect to what it means is varied and rare. The complexities that come along with the weight of it can sometimes be stifling even when in the most truest form it should be freeing. We think love should be convenient, love should be an easy twisted pattern of words on a hallmark card to feed a longing in the human spirit that no one can truly put a finger on. Love in its most simplistic ways is a word, but love, is an action of the highest level of the soul. Love does not come with contingencies, it doesn't have expectation or hold with it a label that has a universal fit for all. Love can be confusing, difficult, epic, jolting, revealing, awakening and even painful. Love is four letters that we as humans have given to an emotion and depth we truly have no ability to explain.

Love may lift us to great heights or send us plummeting to the deepest lows. In the end, love just is. The most important thing I think we can do as people is understand that our own personal view of what love is and means is the only one that matters. No opinions of others or a diamond wedding ring commercials can change what is in our heart.

In the end of our days we will indeed reflect upon life, one of greatest questions we may ask ourselves is if we loved fully. Love can come in a smile, a kindness toward an animal or human. Love can be a thoughtful question in the right moment to someone in need. Love too can be being present without judgment or question. Love can be pancakes in the morning for your children when you have hardly gotten a wink of sleep. Love can be sitting alone gazing at the magnificent stars realizing you are enough.

Love isn't about being perfect, love is only about being open to the human experience without letting hurt close us to all the beauty around us and if we can start with this, we may just get the love thing right after all.

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The importance of finding your tribe in life

We have all heard the saying "finding your tribe" or "I need to find my tribe" but what the heck does this mean and why is this important for us? Don't worry, you won't need to paint your face and run around in crazy clothes (though that could be fun wouldn't it?)

A tribe is a group of people we know and engage with where we feel a unique sense of comfort and ease.  When you find your tribe you may hear yourself exclaiming "These are my people!"

A tribe is a special kinship you have with a group of people  that often extends beyond our typical family, friendship or work connections (though it can include those too.)  Your tribe might consist of  soulful , spiritual, artistic, activity based or business connections.

A tribe doesn't need to be large to be effective and yes,  you can have more than one tribe so don't over think it. Finding your tribe will give you a feeling of belonging  and you will know it without thought, the same way you know when you taste something delicious. Finding your tribe is indeed food for your soul.

It's the place in life that lights you up, where you feel the most real version of yourself and hopefully loved and lifted up too. We may feel like we are on a similar path as members of our tribe,  often sharing  ideas or concepts that we can help each other out with.

What can finding my tribe do for me?

Often a tribe can help provide you with more intimate insights than many people out of other circles of your life. Being part of a such a collective of people you click with can make you feel empowered and strong. This is also an awesome environment  for naturally generating new ideas for work and life while fostering  a sense of community and belonging which is vital for a healthy productive life.

"In fact, a Harvard study examining the lives of almost 3,000 people found that those who gather together to go out to dinner, play cards, go on day trips, vacation with friends, go to the movies, attend sporting events, go to church, and engage in other social activities outlive their reclusive peers by an average of two and a half years. Finding your tribe is not only fun. It can also save your life." Mind Over Medicine (Hay House, 2013) Lissa Rankin, MD

I don't even know where to begin, how do I find my tribe?

It often requires us to take a step outside of our comfort zone to find our tribe. Here is a quick list of 10 places you can explore to find your tribe.

  1. Motivational Conferences or other topic specific events.
  2. Religious or Spiritual Communities like Church
  3. Music/ Art festivals like Burning Man, Coachella etc.
  4. Athletic  communities, like Cross Fit, cycling or hiking clubs
  5. Yoga studios
  6. Civic organizations like Kiwanis or Rotary International
  7. Volunteer organizations like The American Red Cross
  8. Business organizations like Toastmasters
  9. Acting Classes  
  10. Art Classes

When you are out doing things that interest you it just takes a bit of exploration and before you know it, you too will be saying "These are my people!"

It's easy to see why finding your tribe in life is so very important not only for your happiness but also for your personal success.  Have you found your tribe? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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5 fun ways to boost happiness and productivity at work now

Don't let work become a rut, here are 5 Fun Ways to boost happiness and productivity at work now. The art of play and enthusiasm not only bolsters joy in the individual it has remarkable results on creative productivity;  In no partifcular order here are the furious 5.

 

 1. The morning high 5-  Employees get up from their desks for a moment to walk around and give each other a high five while saying good morning. Like an ice breaker at a conference, this evokes laughter and energy out of the participants. The morning high five helps create an inclusive "we are all in this together bond. "

2. The 5 minute tech disconnect - Employees sit at their desk placing their hands in their laps for five minutes of quiet. The key is to place phones out of sight and most vital is to remove their hands from the keyboards entirely. Ideally, the monitor would be off and eyes closed, however this can be something to work up to. The idea of the hands being off the keyboard  in the tech industry can be akin to removing a limb but with practice it has remarkable calming results.

3. The Shake it off- Employees stand up in place while rapidly shaking their hands at their wrists while taking deep full breaths. This practice helps enhance energy while providing  a good release to overworked wrists and hands. Try it for two minutes and I think you will agree it feels fantastic.

4. The 1 minute free write- Employees take one minute to jot down creative ideas. the ideas can be for work and life so overlap is okay. The key is allowing the mind to expand without restriction. A colorful crayon(s) or marker(s) are encouraged in the practice. Creativity and play have a beneficial effect on problem solving skills and the creation of new ideas.

5. The gratitude blast- Employees write a list of 5 things they are grateful for preferably first thing in the morning. While I often suggest this practice be done at home, it is perfect for work as well. This one may be one we hear about often, however it's positive impact after 30 days on happiness is so profound that I had to include it.

 If you have tips of your own or comments, as always, leave them below.

 

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Is avoiding saying no keeping you from saying yes to what matters?

Do you notice some people have no problem saying no, while for other people it can be one of the hardest things in the world. Which type of person are you?

Saying no is a lifeline to your energy source and it's something  (even if you're not good at) you can learn to master without the typical associated guilt.

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How to cheat at growth and get away with it

Stop waiting for life to kick you out of your comfort zone. Put your hands back on the wheel and take control TODAY! Here is how to cheat at growth and get away with it

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Cut the noise to claim more peace in your life

Does your head ever feel like exploding because of all the noise? I bet you are nodding yes.

There is so much noise in the world, there is good noise like the noise of people laughing, birds chirping and even your own voice howling away to your favorite song. But there is also a huge amount of unnecessary noise, noise like piles of news clips running in the background, Facebook statues so long and never ending that they begin to fill your dreams.

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Use this networking hack to connect to a notable person

Have you ever wanted to connect with a notable person in your field but felt like they were out of reach? Perhaps the thought of meeting someone you admire in your field could be a fantastic injection of inspiration as you journey along your chosen path.

When I say notable I am not meaning famous (though the person you have in mind may be) I am speaking of someone that is worthy of attention in your area of interest, attention that comes from demonstrating  excellence in their chosen field.

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Be careful who you share your dreams with

Are you thinking about or have you already started embarking on a new chapter in your life and don't feel like you are being supported by those in your inner circle?

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Stop being so hard on yourself it may be making you sick

Many of us grow up learning that we need to keep pushing forward, at all times and at all costs. But when do we recognize that we need a break and let ourselves be okay with that? In the pursuit of success and our dreams many of us fail to listen to our bodies and minds and allow ourselves a much needed  timeout from all that we are doing. We keep working when we are sick for fear that we will be left behind or that the world just won't be able to get on without us.

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