Archive for the 'Life Purpose' Category

Reflecting on the Year

Posted by Holly Stokes on December 31st, 2014

Ahh, we’ve come to the end of 2014, with all its challenges, learnings, growth and gifts. The end of the year is a great time to reflect and review. I suggest taking some quiet time with your journal to consider these Coaching questions about the past year.

  • What was 2014 about for you in career, love, friendships, family, money, fun and recreation, personal and spiritual growth?
  • What was great about 2014?
  • What was your biggest struggle and what did you learn from it?
  • What do I want to let go of?
  • What did you love?
  • What will make 2015 better?

Coaching inspires you to find your own best answers by asking powerful questions. There is magic in asking questions because any time you ask a question, your mind will go find the answer- even at the unconscious level. Asking powerful questions creates clarity and helps you tap into your wisdom within. It can direct and focus your attention, solve problems and challenges and inspire you to your next level.

As you reflect on 2014, with these questions, what have you learned from 2014 that you want to take forward into the New Year?

This year for me I found resources I had lost, I found a stronger commitment to my path, I learned to appreciate consistency, learned more patience and greater ability to enjoy the ride. I released a grudge I didn’t know I had. This year for me  went from good to SPARKLE! As I look back, I smile at myself and have compassion for everyone else out there on the journey. I also found my love expanded with my nieces and nephews, my family, clients, the community and new friends. And the phrase -” it’s all good” has taken on new meaning.

May you feel complete with your year. May you be at peace with your choices and trust in yourself to follow your path of your highest learning. It’s all learning. May you let go of what’s not working and take the best with you into the New Year. May your life reflect the brightness within you. My heart is full for all of you out there who shared my year with me.

And to all of you out there – Let’s get ready to rock it in 2015!

Share 1-3 things, you learned from 2014 and what you want to take with you into the New Year in the comments.

Here’s Goodbye to 2014 and Hello to a Brand New Year!

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer

Embrace Vulnerability

Posted by Holly Stokes on November 26th, 2014

“To feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” Brene Brown, The Power of Vulnerability.
Belonging and connection is a deep human need. Watch Brene Brown – the researcher-storyteller decode the human connection and offer profound wisdom.

When Brene interviewed people about connection, they told her stories of disconnection and shame. She says “shame is simply understood as the fear of disconnection, the fear that something in me is not worthy or deserving of love and belonging, that feeling of I’m not good enough.

And she found there were two groups of people, one living from not feeling worthy and deserving of love and belonging, and the other group that lives from a belief that they are worthy and deserving of love and she calls them the “whole hearted.”

There are some things we do that keep us living in the first category. We numb our emotions. Brene says, you can’t selectively numb feelings. When we numb the bad feelings, we numb the good stuff too: we numb the joy, we numb the gratitude, we numb the happiness… and then we feel lost and go looking for purpose.

The second thing we do is make the uncertain certain. We say, this is how it is, I’m right and you’re wrong and there’s little discussion.

The third thing we do is we try to perfect, we try to put life in a box and make it look a certain way. But life is messy and complicated. [And with striving to perfect also comes judgements and criticism which can keep us stuck.]

And the third thing we do is to pretend that what we do doesn’t affect others.

These things leave us feeling isolated and disconnected which is the root of loneliness. A recent poll found that the number one social issue facing people today is loneliness, which comes from isolation and lack of connection.

But there’s another way to live as what she calls the whole hearted. The whole hearted are characterized by the courage to be imperfect, they have kindness toward themselves and others, and experience connection as authenticity and they fully embrace vulnerability.

So let’s unravel the mental patterns that the whole hearted are living from.

Courage to be imperfect. This courage comes from knowing that life is messy and its okay. And it also comes from the belief that you are not your mistakes, mistakes are simply a part of learning and growing through life. What “mistakes” are you willing to accept and stop blaming yourself and others for?

Kindness toward self and others and authenticity. To allow ourselves to be seen and to be authentic, we have to like ourselves first. You can’t authentically share yourself if you are ashamed or critical or trying to hide who you are. What is there to appreciate about who you are and what you’ve overcome? What judgements and criticisms are you willing to let go of?

Fully embrace vulnerability. To take risks you have to know that the value of who you are is bigger than your choices and that whatever happens, you are okay and you can trust the process of life. What risks are you willing to take?

Brene says, “To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, to love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy even in the face of fear.”

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

What if you didn’t get the messages that you were worthy and deserving when you were growing up? What if it wasn’t okay to make mistakes? What if you internalized criticism and judgement?

Well, that’s just the stuff that I help people change. Beliefs are just mental patterns that your brain learned and it can unlearn them and integrate new ones, even at the unconscious level.

How will you live whole heartedly this week? How will you let yourself be vulnerable? What risks are you willing to take?

I was going to keep this a secret unless I got accepted because it’s safer to share a win than to share a risk. But in the spirit of vulnerability, I will share that I applied to be a speaker at a Tedtalks event – Eeek! What if I don’t get it? What if I DO get it? It’s a mixed bag either way, but that’s my risk this week.

Peace, love and joy

Posted by Holly Stokes on September 10th, 2013

All our motivations boil down to wanting more peace, love or joy in our lives. You may think I don’t know what I’m talking about, but here’s how it works.

Think of something that you desire, it can be anything. Now ask yourself, if you had that, what would that get for you? Think of the answer, now thinking of the answer, ask the question again, what will that get for you? And keep asking yourself the question of each answer you get.

Here’s an example. Suppose I want to get more clients.

I then ask, what will that get for me?

Answer: relief

What will that get for me?

Answer: I don’t have to stress as much, I can relax

What will that get for me?

Answer: I can enjoy life more

What will that get for me?

Answer: I can really engage with life

What will that get for me?

Answer: I will be fulfilling my life purpose

What will that get for me?

Answer: I will be at peace.

What will that get for me?

Answer: I can relax.

As you ask yourself the question, what does that get for me, you’ll find that when you get to the peace, love or joy, it will loop on itself. You know you’re done asking the question when the answer starts to loop back through the sequence.

So here’s the secret. You don’t have to wait for peace, love or joy to happen to you. These are feelings and you can feel those feelings just by thinking about them.

It’s as simple of thinking of your memories. Think of a time when you felt really peaceful. Imagine being there vividly, let yourself be back in that time and place, and allow yourself to feel what you were feeling, see what you were seeing, and hear what you were hearing. Let the peace once again wash over you from your head to your feet, then let the feeling wrap around you and become larger, let it radiate out into the space around you. Let yourself just soak up the peace.

Then go about your goal with the new feeling, and you’ll find you flow better with the task at hand. Rather than struggling and fighting the goal, like trying to swim upstream, you’ll find a better feeling in accomplishing your tasks.

Peace, love and joy don’t make your goal go away, but it gives you a better feeling to work from, which allows you to be more productive, insightful, and open to inspiration.

Laughter is not only good for your mood, its good for your health.

Posted by Holly Stokes on June 22nd, 2013

Can watching funny movies strengthen your immune system? There are physiological and psychological responses toLaughter is good for your health. laughter that affect both the mind and the body. Research studies show that the many health benefits of laughter may be just the ticket to help heal a weakened immune system and restore a positive mindset.

Laughter is a great way to reduce stress.  Cortisol and epinephrine, stress hormones that can impair the immune system, decrease with laughter.  Relieving stress conserves the body’s energies and promotes healing. One study found that laughter actually enhanced production and activity of natural killer cells which fight viruses and tumor cells. (Bennet, et al).

In addition to decreasing stress, laughter may also help with coping skills. Laughter was found to ease negative emotions and increase the sense of control and hope of cancer patients.

Laughter is thought to increase the number and activity of cells essential to the immune response including lymphocyte, cytotoxic helper cells and B cells. Studies have shown an increase in the number of antibodies after subjects watched a humorous film. Laughter also elevates levels…

Read the rest of the article here:

Top 7 Tips for Life Happiness

Posted by Holly Stokes on October 27th, 2011

How’s your life happiness? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being extremely happy, how would you rate your happiness? Happiness for some seems to be random, occurring as a result of what we have or don’t have. Happiness can seem to be a fleeting feeling, something that passes quickly when we’ve fulfilled a goal or accomplishment. Often we think of happiness as something that happens to us, seemingly at random, or we are happy when we get what we want, and unhappy when we don’t get what we want.

We all have ups and downs in life. But rather than letting our happiness be at random or dependent on what we do or don’t have, happiness is also a choice. Here’s my top 7 tips for greater life happiness, allowing it to be more predictable in your life, and allowing you to have more control over your happiness.

1.Accept where you are now. Whatever is going on in your life, its okay to be where you are in your life now, recognize that you are learning important lessons that you can grow from. Let the lessons grow who you are rather than caving into feeling defeated. And, recognize that even if you are in a difficult place, life will change – whether 3 months, 6 months or a year from now, you will be in a different place. Ask yourself, “What am I learning in this situation?” Even when life is tough, we can focus on the positive things that we are learning, and be thankful for the positive lessons.

2.Take Care of your Feelings: There are so many things in our culture that are ready to distract us from the negative emotions that we feel. Whether its television, food, chocolate, wine, movies, there are always things that seem more fun than listening to what we feel. Take some quiet time in your day to pay attention to what you are feeling. Recognize that emotions are only messengers, and the emotions will pass if you notice them and recognize them for their message. Ask, “What is this feeling telling me?” and then breathe into the center of the emotion and it will fade. I offer some NLP tools for transforming negative emotions in my book, Lighten Up Train your Brain to Lose Weight, or you can find them in my blog.

3. Keep a Smile List – Think of all the things that make you smile, things you are grateful for, things that give you warm fuzzies. Keep it in a place that you can review daily. Smiling releases serotonin in the brain, the “feel- good” neurotransmitter. Smiling engages our brain to think of positive thoughts and memories, and when we are smiling, its more difficult to think of negative thoughts. Smiling also has health benefits like boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure.

4. Be Social – Talking with friends or family members and engaging in social activity causes improved mental states, plus there’s the smile factor. We are more likely to smile while talking with others. Smiling is contagious, when we smile, others smile in response to us, and thus we smile even more. Being social has been found to boost our immune system as well.

5.Physical Exercise: Any physical exercise that engages the opposite sides of the body can help rebalance the hemispheres of your brain. Whether walking, biking or playing sports, physical activity can also work to release endorphins, the feel good brain chemicals. Some studies have actually found that cases of depression and anxiety cleared up with regular exercise.

6.Focus on What you Want. As a life coach, I often ask my clients about what they want. Typically, before I hear about what they do want, I hear a laundry list of all the negative things they don’t want. We get what we focus on, if we are focused on what we don’t want and the negatives in our life, then not only is our mood dour, but we are giving our unconscious mind directions to focus more on the negatives, and so our brain radar is tuned into more of the negatives, and so that is what we experience is more negatives. If however, we stay focused on what we want, we are tuning our brain into the positives, and so we experience more of the positives.

7.Get Help to Rewire the Negatives: Sometimes there is a part of our mind that gets stuck on a negative perspective. For example, this last week, I worked with a client who still carried feelings of loss from his divorce. As he thought about what he wanted in the future, he felt depressed, because this part of his mind was thinking, “what if I lose everything I’ve worked for again?” After we helped rewire that negative pattern, his mood shifted and he was better able to imagine creating the positive things he wanted for himself. When a part of your mind is wired into a negative thought pattern, it can be really difficult to shift it on your own. If you’ve experienced recurring negative thoughts or feelings, excessive worry or stress, you might want to try a “brain training” session. Try a Starter Strategy Session, only $25, See details here:

Here’s to your Health, Happiness and Success!

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer
I help you get more of what you want out life! Life Coaching gives you clarity in your life direction, purpose and goals. Brain Training rewires negative mental habits and patterns. Set up your mind with positive new mental strategies: greater focus, accomplishment, boost motivation and confidence and even eliminate self sabotage. Life Happiness * Weight Loss and Health * Love and Relationships * Business Focus

Do you deserve to get what you want?

Posted by Holly Stokes on September 17th, 2010

You know this old idea of worthy and deserving? I was thinking about it last month because it came up for me as a block against moving my business forward. I didn’t think it was there, but alas, another layer of it. As I reflected about this idea, I realized a few things.

What are the hard and fast rules of being worthy or deserving? there aren’t any, worthy and deserving is a judgement- if its a judgement, someone must be deciding…

So, Who is it that decides who is worthy and deserving? If something is worthy and deserving – its just a person’s opinion. There are as many opinions on this planet as there are people.

Even to  say – yes I am worthy- you are still missing the mark. Its based on the presumption that some people are more deserving than others, that some people are more valuable than others.  At the core level, we are all souls on the same journey of learning and growing. As you look at people for the value of their soul- we are all priceless, and there is no judgement.

As I worked with a client today to change an old belief, the new belief that came out of the process was, “I create and define my worth and value.”

How much better to recognize your own responsibility in defining what’s important to you, what holds value for your life, and living up to that aspiration on your own terms rather than living by someone else’s rules or opinions.

How often do we let other’s opinions and ideas define us, or limit us?

Maybe its time to let go of old judgements. Maybe its time to see ourselves and the world of people as souls on the same journey. The judgements you hold for others are the same judgements you hold for yourself.

If you look at people with that perspective, you might ask the question I asked, “why then do some have more than others?” My answer through the eyes of soul: Focus

Its an attracting universe – we get what we focus on.

So, I choose not to believe in the old idea of  “worthy and deserving” and to believe instead in the priceless values of souls, travelers on the same journey, and the question is really: What do you want to grow in the world – that’s where you put your focus.

“Lucky” Expand your thinking

Posted by Holly Stokes on August 26th, 2010

Last week I watched the documentary on lottery winners, “Lucky.” It was fasinating to see how this big change played out for people in their lives. Some went to extravagant extremes, purchasing everything, others continued to live in the same house with only minor changes. For some it was chaos, and for others, it didn’t seem to change their life much.

What was most intriguing to me about it, one lottery winner said, “I didn’t really buy the lottery tickets to win, I played the game for the fantasy value.”  That sentence really struck me. We get into routine with our jobs, our houses, our bills, and in our routines, which can be very comfortable, we create a sense of a box. We don’t expand our thinking very far beyond what is happening within our routine.

So, I could use a little imagination in my possibilities of what could happen. It inspired me to buy a lottery ticket, but with the purpose of engaging my mind to expand my thinking of what is possible.  So now, before I let myself check the numbers, I allow my mind to mull over the idea “What if I did win the lottery? What would I do with the money?”

I think of paying things off like credit cards and student loans, I think of little fix-its like a new sofa and a porch swing, and then I let my mind wander to the bigger dreams, opening a center for human potential, a dreambuilder foundation to help people open businesses that fulfill their life purpose, and on and on.

It was interesting in the documentary to see how money changed life  for people, changing socio-economic groups, friendships, relationships, but I would wager money acts like an amplifier – giving you more of what you already have.  Do you carry fears and suspicions? Do you have good relationships? Do you love your career?

So, think a moment, what would you do if you won $100,000? What if you won $1 million, or 5 million? What would change for you? And thinking of that change, what would that allow you to have do or be that’s even more important?

Roadmap to Success!

Posted by Holly Stokes on May 7th, 2010

Creating Your Roadmap to Success. What is your next level of success? Would you like to step into your next level? In life, health, or business, the principles of creating change are the same. Create your Roadmap to Success with this NLP process designed to give you insight into each level of change that you need to address in order to create what you want in your life now.

As you answer each of the levels, you’ll find practical strategies for making it happen, create internal alignment to having it, and adjust your internal radar to making it real in your life.

Identify what you would like to have, be, or accomplish, and state it in positive language. For example, I want to boost my sales 20%. What do you want?

Then walk through this exercise, noticing the insight from each level of change. I recommend writing your insights down as you go through which will give you a roadmap to getting there.
”    What would you need to change in your environment to have this?
”    What behaviors would need to change to support this?
”    What capabilities or resources would you need to change?
”    What beliefs might you need to shift?
”    What values would you need to change to have this?
”    How might you shift in identity to align with this having? Who will you be when you have achieved this?
”    Who else would be affected by it? Who else will benefit from you having this change? Friends, family, people they influence?  Imagine taking it on fully, as if you have it now, then bringing this higher awareness back with you through each level with you, notice what else is shifting for you through each level.
”    What has shifted in your identity to take this on?
”    What has shifted in your values to take this on?
”    What has shifted in your beliefs?
”    What has shifted in your capabilities or resources?
”    What has shifted in your behaviors?
”    What has shifted in your environment?

This is called, Neuro-Logical levels of Change, and is based on Gregory Bateson’s work of integrating change.
Stop struggling! It’s time to be working smarter! Yes – You can have the life, body, and business you want, and with practical tools, you can make it happen one step at a time! What’s your next level? Share your goals with us:

Are You Spinning Your Wheels?

Posted by admin on January 22nd, 2010

By Holly Stokes, The Work Smart Wellness Coach

Do you feel like you are caught in the hamster wheel of life? Spinning your wheels and seeming to get nowhere? All too often, however, the good intentions we make with goals slowly fade and are gone within a week or two. If when you hear “goal setting” you think of hard work, (more…)

Rethink your Possibilities

Posted by admin on January 22nd, 2010

It’s time to rethink your possibilities. We are living in a very exciting time, when the boundaries of our world are constantly being tested and redefined. Old ideas and beliefs about the world and who we are in it are rapidly changing and new possibilities are presenting themselves. There are examples of all extremes present in every facet of life. Even during times of recession, there are examples of those who are struggling as well as examples of those who are doing very well. The money doesn’t just go away (more…)