Jun 092017

by Linda-Ann Stewart

What is your deepest dream? It could be to change a habit, develop a skill or achieve success in your life or business. It’s a dream that you have control over and can accomplish. The next question is: Are you taking action on it and headed in that direction? If not, then there’s something that’s holding you back. If you are taking action, but keep finding yourself having to start over, then there’s an element missing that’s creating the loop.

Success rarely happens by accident. It happens by design. Even when chance seems to be involved, there was thought and energy directed towards a dream first. As Seneca, the Roman philosopher, said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” When you prepare for success, you know a break when it appears. If you aren’t ready, then you won’t be available when the possibility shows up, and you might not even recognize it.

Hand holding seedlingSuccess is a lot like a garden. It takes thought, attention and consideration. For instance, you could just throw some seeds onto the ground, forget about them and hope for the best. But for your seeds to sprout and grow, you have to make sure they have the best conditions in which to thrive.

When you have a deep desire to grow and sent out roots in your life, there are three main areas you have to address to achieve your dream. Each of these is vital to the success of your venture. If any of them is missing or hasn’t been created, then you’re unlikely to succeed and your seeds will never have an opportunity to grow.


“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Lewis Carroll

You may have a dream, but no clear vision of making it real. Not only do you have to know exactly what you want, it must be personal for you and compelling enough inspire you to fulfill this dream. If you have no vision of where you’re going, you’ll just float, at the mercy of outer circumstances. The Law of Attraction needs a clear vision to be able to use as a mold and pattern. Without a vision, it will simply use the average of whatever you’re focusing on. To fulfill your dream, decide on exactly what you want to plant, and then plant the seeds for that bush, flower or desire


“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” James Allen

This isn’t just about positive thinking, though that’s vital to success. Mindset also includes your beliefs and attitudes about your vision and yourself. Are you afraid you won’t achieve it or maybe that you will? In addition, you need to have incentive and motivation to stay the course. How badly do you want your dream? The Law of Attraction needs you to keep your attention on your vision, so you water it, fertilize it with positive thoughts and weed out any negative beliefs about it.


“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” Alfred A. Montapert

Without a plan, you could run around in circles, getting no closer to your dream. You could mistake marking items off a to-do list for moving in a specific direction. Also, who or what are making the decisions for you? For example, are other people, crises or what’s immediate determining your priorities? If this is the case, you simply react to events, without making deliberate choices or thinking things through. Are the steps you want to take catered to your needs? If not, then you will avoid taking them. The Law of Attraction needs you to put your energy into what’s important to you. Your actions make sure you schedule watering and weeding, so that your seed has the best setting in which to grow.

If any of these hasn’t been attended to, then sheer chance may result in a few seeds sprouting. But you won’t be able to depend on whether they will or not. With no vision, you might plant dandelion seeds when you want tomatoes. Lacking the right mindset means you let weeds crowd out the plants you want. If you don’t plan to water regularly, then your seeds won’t have the necessary moisture to flourish.

When you address each of these areas, and follow through on your plan, then you’re empowering your vision. You’re giving it the mental, emotional and physical energy it needs to germinate, sprout and grow. By staying on track and paying attention to what you’re doing, you’re taking charge and giving your dream the fertilizer it needs to bloom.


I now establish what I really want in my life. And I realize that I deserve to have my dream. The Universe wants for me what I want for myself. I decide to take the actions I need to begin moving in that direction. The Universe supports my endeavor and I attract whatever I need to fulfill my desire.

Watch my Monthly Mindset Coaching Tip video If You’re Stuck, Check These 3 Elements that accompanies this article.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Back… Master the Dance of Change

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May 112017

by Linda-Ann Stewart

When you start pursuing a dream, or making a change, most people expect that they’ll progress smoothly one step after another. After they take a few steps, and find that they’ve hit an obstacle or had a setback, they get discouraged. They think, “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. It should have been a clear path to success.”

zig-zag-chart-bw-250560But change doesn’t happen that easily. It generally happens with 2 steps forward and 1 back. You build up momentum, and then you trip or bump into a wall. You may even have to take a couple of steps back to catch your balance. For instance, when you’re on a diet to reduce weight, you don’t consistently lose the same amount every week. There are some weeks when you might not see the number on the scale go down at all. It’s also true in business. Your business will initially grow, then you’ll stall, and your finances will dip. It’s all part of the process of change.

It can be frustrating and discouraging. You can even feel anger or guilt, feeling like you must have done something wrong. These emotions can be more damaging than the setback. Your negative emotions about it can delay or hinder forward movement because you’re focusing on the block. This can lead to getting caught in a feedback loop and going nowhere.

Instead of re-focusing on your vision, you’re critical of yourself, give up, or upset that your momentum faltered. It’s like staring at an obstacle when you’re driving, rather than at where you want to go. You’ll naturally aim for the barrier every time. And because your energy is directed at the block, you’ll create more problems. It’s just the way the mind and the Law of Attraction work. Your actions follow your attention and the Law draws to you what you’re focused on.

The only way out of the loop is to let go of the self-castigation and shift your attention back to your goal. Change rarely happens in a straight line. It takes a zing sag course. By understanding that is normal, you let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself and the situation. You’re human. When you get stressed, tired, or distracted, you lose sight of your vision. It’s natural to then step back into what’s familiar, into your comfort zone.

There is a purpose to this process of change. It’s actually to help you make better progress. And when you realize this, you can master the dance and put the lessons to good use. Here are some of the opportunities that 2 steps forward, and 1 back, can offer you:

  • When you step back into your comfort zone, it grants you the opportunity to assess and process your progress. You decide what worked and what didn’t, and allows you to prepare for your next step out.

  • It keeps you from expanding too fast, going too far, or changing too much in a short period of time. If you do any of these, you don’t have the ability to sustain it. It’s like an army advancing too far in front of their supply chain. They have to retreat to maintain access to food, munitions and fuel.
  • It allows you to consolidate your progress. You strengthen your infrastructure (mentally and physically), and get more stable and stronger.
  • Your subconscious doesn’t like change. A step back lets your subconscious get comfortable with the results of your latest decision. That way, it won’t be tempted to sabotage you.
  • The block may be a message that you’ve gotten slightly off course. Test to see if you’re going in the right direction, and doing it in the right way. This is when you can easily pivot to a new direction or try new strategies.
  • Many times it’s an indication that you need more information, strategies or to develop a skill that you’ll soon need. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or “What is this teaching me?”

Take the time to refocus on your vision. Go back to your original idea, the plan, strategies and tactics and distill, hone and improve them. Take what you’ve learned from the obstacle and apply it to your next step.

Instead of immediately thinking that things are going wrong, realize that it may be that things are going right. That’s the gift of the setback. It allows you to take a step back and get a better perspective of your path and vision.

It takes a lot of practice to master this mindset dance. You have to shift your attention from focusing on what’s wrong, to what it’s helping you do. When you’re able to achieve that, you make much faster progress.


Everything that happens in my life happens for a positive purpose. The Universe wants me to be successful. When I have a setback, I bless the situation, and affirm that something wonderful comes out of it for me. I trust that the Universe will guide and direct me, and help me discover the gift in the delay.

Watch the accompanying Monthly Mindset Coaching video, Has Your Progress Plateaued?

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Apr 132017

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Do you procrastinate when it comes to taking action towards your vision? If so, you’re unintentionally telling yourself and the Law of Attraction that it’s not important. This diminishes your self-worth and reduces your chance of success. When you avoid your dream, you feel disappointed in yourself and empty inside. You rationalize that “It’s not time,” “I’m not ready,” “It’s too hard,” or “Maybe it won’t live up to my expectations.” So your dream remains out of reach simply because you’ve put it there.

Vision SignYou may think that by not trying, you don’t have to worry about failing. But if you don’t try, you’ve already failed. Committing to your vision isn’t always easy, because you do have to make some hard choices. There are so many possibilities out there for you, and you have to set aside the less important ones, so you can focus on your big dream. But when you say “No” to some of those options, you clarify what you want and start to say “Yes” to your dream.

For instance, when you want to save money towards the down payment of a house, you’ll have to curtail your discretionary spending. You’ll choose to eat out less, go to fewer concerts, and not buy some of the toys you normally would. Because of your vision of owning a home, you’ll prioritize saving money for your house. You’ll be able to do some of those things on special occasions, just not every day, week or month.

If your vision is to be healthier, exercise will be your foundation of this goal. You’ll have to give up sitting on the couch and watching TV or playing video games. A trip to the gym or getting outside for a run becomes more important. When you prioritize your dream, it builds self-esteem and self-respect. You’re showing yourself and the Law of Attraction that what you want counts.

However, dreams and visions aren’t set in stone. They shift and change as you grow and evolve. This is normal. You may find that you’ve outgrown the dream that you’ve had for ten years. For instance, you’ve always wanted to learn pottery. But when you take a class, you discover that you don’t have the patience to mold the clay.

You may start taking action towards your dream, and get steered into another, more appealing direction. For instance, a bookkeeper, which is generally a lonely job, discovers she enjoys interacting with groups and teaching bookkeeping classes. Or a network marketer learns he wants to promote his own products instead. Their original ideas didn’t match their expectations, but led to much more satisfying outcomes. But they never would have found them if they hadn’t followed through on their dreams.

Possibly, you’re trying to change your self-image to fit your dream. For example, you’ve always had a vision of yourself being a body builder, but it wasn’t a strong enough pull to get you to lift weights. Or, you wanted to be the person who played guitar in a band, but never learned to play the instrument. In these cases, it’s time to let go of that dream and say “Yes” to another one.

As you set and achieve the goals that move you forward, other parts of your life will also change. No one section of your life is separate from the others. Shifting one area creates movement in the others. For instance, people expect that when they change a habit, it’ll impact only that area of their life. But changing it affects all aspects of your life through a ripple effect.

When a person quits smoking, it influences most of their life. It alters the way they socialize with some of their friends, such as not smoking with them during breaks. They don’t use cigarettes for stress relief anymore, so they have to find other ways to cope. It changes the way they start and end their day, and everything in between and it improves their health. It’s not easy, but if they have a vision of what they want to accomplish with quitting, then they’ll be successful.

The same is true for someone who wishes to lose weight. If they want to just be able to fit into their swimsuit for summer, they’ll achieve that goal, but gain back the weight over winter. However, if being healthier and more slender is most important, then they’ll completely and permanently change their entire lifestyle.

They’ll eat healthier and begin to exercise. Initially, some people will be offended when they refuse pressure to have second helpings or dessert. But when they stand up for themselves and their health, it builds their self-esteem.

When you start taking steps towards your dream, you shift your mental and physical energy to support what’s most important to you. You’re focusing on what it is you want in your life. And your subconscious mind will begin to scan your world for opportunities to help you. The Law of Attraction will draw to you what you want.

There will probably be obstacles, but there will also be ways around them. Or you may have to take a break or step back to reassess your next move. But the only way to succeed is to keep moving forward. The way to gain clarity about what vision is right for you is to start taking action on it. Prioritize your vision, say “Yes” to it, and begin taking the steps to bring it into reality. You deserve it.

I have a vision of what I want for myself. What I want for myself, the Universe also wants for me. I’m Divinely Guided in the right direction and to the right actions to fulfill my vision. I’m persistent and consistent and take the steps necessary. All of Life supports me and finds ways to benefit my vision and me.

Watch the accompanying Monthly Mindset Coaching video, The Persistence of Your Dream.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Mar 082017

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Self-esteem is a basic necessity for all success in personal and professional life. When you like and respect yourself, then you’re likely to make the choices that lead to creating the outcomes that you want. Your self-worth is created by your attitudes about yourself based on what ideas you accepted as a child and the things you tell yourself as an adult.

Your self-image plays a large part in the development of your self-esteem. Your self-image is formulated from your experiences, judgments, labels you’ve accepted, and your talents or your liabilities. These have helped to shape your beliefs about yourself that feed into your self-worth.
Woman with outstretched arms

You always act like the person you believe yourself to be. How do you see yourself? Do you perceive yourself as a competent and dynamic individual? Or do you doubt yourself and your abilities? Do you focus on what you’ve done wrong, or what didn’t turn out the way you wanted? This will erode your self-image and contribute to a low self-esteem.

If you have a strong, healthy self-image, then you make healthy decisions that support your vision, dreams and goals. You’ll exercise to stay fit, eat healthy, and avoid substances that would impair your health. These choices may be difficult or inconvenient, such as quitting smoking, ending a one-sided relationship, or finding another job that gives you a better chance to advance in your career. But you protect your health and well-being because you view yourself as someone who is proactive.

Your self-image forms the filter through which you view yourself and how you respond to situations around you. It demands that you remain consistent with your concept of yourself. Suppose you perceive yourself as a supportive person, who likes to make everyone happy. If so, to be congruent, you won’t stand up for yourself when you’re taken advantage of, even at the cost of your welfare.

For instance, Clarisse owned a service-based business. Initially, her attitude was that she offered a service that happened to be a business. With that approach, she was supportive, sympathetic and enabling of everyone who came to her. But her customers took advantage of her after she’d done work for them. After promising to pay, they reneged, saying they couldn’t afford it. Her business began to flounder.

To be successful, she had to shift her view of herself as a businessperson. She realized she wouldn’t be able to help anyone if she wasn’t in business. She changed her inner position to one of being a businessperson who provides a service. With this outlook, she made decisions based on what was good for the business.

To fulfill her desire to be of service to those who needed it, she selectively provided her service pro-bono to a client every once in a while. But they no longer were the majority of her clientele. Her business began to thrive.

Your self-image is malleable. You can impact it, making it stronger and more effective. But to do so, you’ll have to let go of some imbedded, old ideas. They may even be ones that you value, but they’re not helping you or your self-esteem.

Clarisse had to let go of her self-concept of being of service to everyone who needed her. That way was destroying her business. One major change she made was insisting on payment up front. She also set and kept boundaries, in the form of policies. If someone violated a policy, she refused to work with them. And she refused to take responsibility for others’ decisions that prevented them from living up to their agreements with her.

If you want to have more impact, be more effective and more successful, the first place to start is with improving your self-image. Here are a few suggestions of what to do.

1. Let go of the judgments and labels from your childhood. They belong in the past and don’t reflect who you are now. Besides, they were simply someone’s, usually mistaken, opinion and don’t define you in the present.

2. Stop of focusing on what’s wrong with you.
You’ll always be able to find something to criticize in yourself or what you do. Break that habit as it’s not helpful. Instead, focus on what’s right about you.

3. Make a list compliments that you’ve received.
Don’t dismiss them as untrue or someone just being nice. Accept that they’re true of you.

No matter what your dreams, you’ll always make decisions, and act, in alignment with your self-image. To become the person you want to be, and achieve your dreams, you’ll need to change it so it supports what you want in your life. You can do it. Just consider the life that awaits you and stay focused on your dreams.

The Universe loves and approves of me as I am. I accept my true worth. It’s safe to let go of old concepts that aren’t true of who I am. I now acknowledge the things that I do that are good and right. People like me, and I accept that I am likeable. I now shift my self-image to reflect the person I want to be.

Watch the Monthly Mindset Coaching Tip Video, Meditation to Improve Your Self-Image, that was inspired by this article.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Avoid These 7 Traps That Sabotage Your Dreams

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Feb 142017

Sunset Crater, Flagstaff AZDo you have a dream or a vision that you’re not actively pursuing? Maybe you’re not taking action on it or you’re chronically preparing to start. If so, you’re not alone. Self-sabotage is an insidious, subversive and subtle act. It gets hidden amongst the busyness of your life. And it may even seem completely reasonable that you haven’t been able to make any progress toward your dream. But there are unseen forces at work within you that are holding you back.

Here are 7 ways that you undermine yourself and steps you can take to overcome these obstacles.

1. Lack of clarity. You only have a fuzzy idea of what you want. This isn’t very motivating and it won’t impel you to take action. When you don’t have a precise idea of your direction, you won’t take any steps. Specific ideas about your goals allow you to take specific steps towards achieving them, which leads to better results. It also gives the Law of Attraction an explicit pattern to follow.

2. No plan. You may want to go with the flow and resist the structure of a plan. But when you choose to let things unfold in this way, you’re going to be blown around by every circumstance that presents itself. There’s a saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In your busy life, if something doesn’t get prioritized, it doesn’t get done. Create an outline of a plan that serves you, so that the Law of Attraction can draw to you what you need. Your plan should include room for the unexpected.

3. Not working your plan. You’ve created a plan, put it in a drawer and gotten involved in your busy life. The immediate and the urgent have taken precedence. Or you may be dealing with the “shiny object syndrome.” Other enticing options have taken you off track and gotten you nowhere. This just creates confusion for the Universe, as it doesn’t know what you want. It’s ok to make course corrections periodically, but not every day. Assess your plan and get back to working it.

4. Not making your dream a priority. You have a plan, but you let other things get in the way. This may be day-to-day chores or plain old inertia. It’s simply easier to fall back into old habits than it is to clear space to work for your dream. Unless you decide that your dream is important, you’ll never achieve it. And the Universe won’t make it a priority, either. Focus on what you want, schedule taking action and following through.

5. Seeking approval. You’re trying to live up to other peoples’ expectations of you. And you put others’ agendas ahead of your own wants, needs and desires. For the most part, you don’t need their approval nor to meet their expectations. What you want is as important as what they do. Learn to say, “No,” when their expectations conflict with what you want. The Universe approves of you when you do.

6. Perfectionism. You won’t move forward until everything is perfect. This is an unrealistic and unreachable goal. Perfectionism comes from fear that you’ll make a mistake. Of course, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s how you learn and make course corrections. The Universe doesn’t expect your efforts to be flawless. Repeat to yourself, “Progress, not perfection.” As long as you have a vision and the beginnings of a plan, you can make some headway. You can build the rest as you go along.

7. Procrastination.
This behavior is the worst of the offenders. It probably sinks more dreams than anything else. Either you put off starting or you put off uncomfortable or unfamiliar tasks that are necessary to your vision. Out of fear or rebellion, you chronically avoid making a decision or taking an action until the last minute. The Law of Attraction follows your lead and delays any good coming your way. Take some action, no matter how small and build momentum. One small step at a time is all you need to do to make progress.

Self-sabotage is an attempt to keep you safely confined in your comfort zone, so you don’t have to stretch or be anxious. Your subconscious is trying to protect you from the disappointment or rejection that you experienced when you were younger. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t support your dream or who you are now.

When you recognize that you’re sabotaging yourself, and that it’s a function of some outdated attempt at self-preservation, you can make changes. It will be uncomfortable at first, as all change is. And you’ll be tempted to step back into old patterns. But you have the power, wisdom and understanding to take charge and shift your world. Open the door to your dreams and step through.

I realize the self-sabotage is an outdated attempt to keep me safe in a world that no longer exists. I now recognize any ways in which I undermine myself. It’s powerful to bring them out into the light so that I can see they are no longer needed. I now let go of what no longer serves me, and now establish new thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that support my dreams.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Jan 122017

Do you feel stuck, overwhelmed or like your life isn’t progressing the way you want it to? If so, the hindrance is probably something you’re holding onto and haven’t released. Without your knowledge, it could directly or indirectly be getting in the way of your dream.

If you’re like most people, you’ve crammed your life full of activity and technology. Computers, smart phones, social media keep you busy and engaged. One downside to this is that it allows very little time to assess what’s outdated and not working. You’re always on the way to the next meeting, text, call, email, or project.

Your life is stuffed full and overflowing. By jamming more and more into your life, you don’t have the space to move or grow. You’re always reacting to what’s coming at you. And you’re so pressured that it doesn’t allow you to respond in an intentional way. Unless you eliminate something, you’ll just continue to become more stressed and anxious.

As you meander through life, you also drag your old habits, beliefs and outdated stuff along with you. They’re so much a part of you and your environment that you don’t notice them. You just keep plugging forward as that weight slows you down. But this costs you time and mental/emotional resources.

To create more space and energy, you need to cleanse old grudges and expectations from your life. Just as you clean out your refrigerator every so often, tossing away sour milk and moldy cheese, you should take stock and clear out your mental and environmental closet. Eliminate those ideas, habits, connections and tasks that aren’t working for you anymore.

First, you have to become aware that they’re present and that they’re holding you back. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Until you become aware of it, you can’t resolve or eliminate a problem. Here are some areas where most people have blocks.

Mental. These are beliefs and attitudes that are undermining your vision and goals. They’re so integrated into your personality that you don’t even recognize how they’re affecting you.

You may have an underlying belief that you don’t deserve your dream, aren’t worthy or ready for it. Or you may be a perfectionist. This is a hard habit to break, because it has so many beliefs attached to it. This belief developed in response to your early life, but is outdated. Treat yourself more gently, and seek a more realistic ideal.

Do you have any beliefs that are interfering with your effectiveness?

Habits. These can be mental and physical habits that undermine you.

For instance, you spend too much time on Facebook or social media. Or you want to be more active, but you’re a couch potato. These habits can be detrimental to your relationships and to your career. When you make the effort to be more balanced, you increase your effectiveness and others will respect you more.

What habits do you have that are holding you back?

Relationships. These can be personal or professional relationships, such as difficult customers.

You may feel like you’re trying to fit a square peg into round hole. No matter what you do, it’s not good enough. Or servicing the relationship takes an enormous amount of time and energy. You keep trying to make it work, and it does to an extent. But you would be valued higher elsewhere. It’s time to recognize your worth and find those who agree with you.

What relationships have you outgrown?

When I was in a coaching group, my coach would ask each of us what we could let go of that week. It could be an emotion, a chore, responsibility or something else. To be able to take more on, something else has to be released to create the space. And for life to flow more smoothly, outdated attachments need to be ejected. [This allows the Law of Attraction to work more easily.]

If there’s any place in your life that isn’t working, spend some time to take a long look at it. Are you trying to force a situation or relationship to work when it’s not right for you? Do you have a task or chore that isn’t supporting your dream or vision? Or is there something deeper that’s blocking your progress, such as a habit or belief?

Before you can have more success, harmony, peace or joy, you have to eliminate what’s standing in the way of these desires. Once you figure out what it is, then you can make different choices and change your approach. Install what will help you move towards your dream. You can then move forward unimpeded and create the life you want.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Your Choice Creates Your Outcome

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Mar 302016

Step Through Woodsby Linda-Ann Stewart

Cookie assumed she’d always have good health. Most of her life, she’d bounced back quickly from any illnesses and hadn’t had to worry about her weight. Because of her history and that assumption, she didn’t follow any health guidelines. She smoked and didn’t exercise. Taking her health for granted caught up with her when she was in her late 60’s, when her health declined rapidly.

When she discovered she had emphysema, she quit smoking. But for several years, she didn’t do anything else to maximize the health she had. Eventually, she had to use oxygen all the time and things went downhill from there.

A smoker doesn’t choose to have COPD, emphysema or cancer, but the decision to smoke increases the possibility of their dying of a smoking related illness by 50%. The same is true of someone who has poor eating habits and doesn’t exercise. If they’re overweight and eat lots of meat, fat and carbs, they have a good chance of developing heart disease. They don’t consciously choose that outcome, but their behaviors lead them in that direction.

You don’t necessarily experience what you’d want for yourself, but the result of your everyday, habitual choices. If you want to be more productive and successful, studies show that optimism increases this outcome by 31%. But many people cling to pessimism, justifying that it’s more realistic and accurate. Their result is that in the work place they aren’t promoted as much as optimists and their productivity is lower.

Every choice you make has an intended or unintended consequence. Some are beneficial, some are neutral, and some are very destructive. Look at your life, and wherever you have a situation that you don’t like, track it back to a decision you made. If you’re in a bad relationship, you probably chose to “Go along to get along.” Though it seems it would lead to harmony, generally it creates the opposite effect.

You have a choice of what to think about and focus on. What you focus on and think about formulates your actions or inactions. If you act in the same way over and over again, you form habits. And those habits create an outcome, of success or failure, health or illness, good relationships or bad, beneficial self-concept or a destructive one. All of this comes from what you focus on.

The decision about what to pay attention to is under your control. What you focus on comes from your beliefs. Those beliefs were formed over time based on the decisions you made and the ideas you paid attention to earlier in your life. It’s a feedback cycle. You can break that cycle by making a new choice. If Cookie had made a new choice even a few years earlier, she might have avoided or reduced many of her health issues.

Begin to develop habits that serve you and increase your wellbeing. For instance, exercise, choose foods that optimize your health and avoid sugar, excessive carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Deal with uncomfortable challenges when they arise, before they escalate out of control. Address conflicts and misunderstandings immediately, so they can be resolved quickly. If you have trouble living within your budget, reduce your expenses.

Decide on the result you want, and then aim all your choices towards that outcome. It won’t be an easy road to begin with, because you’re changing life-long habits. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. That’s simply an outdated behavior that has sabotaged your goals.

You have control over what you experience in your life. It’s in the small and large choices that you make every day. Every one of them has some consequence. Be aware of what they might be, and choose wisely.

The choices I’ve made have created the life I now have. I now become aware of my choices and decide if they’re giving me the results I want. I’m now guided by the Infinite to make conscious and wise choices that enhance my quality of life. I’m worthy of all the best that the Universe has to offer, and now choose to experience all the good that I deserve.

Copyright 2013, 2016 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

Are You Living In Want, Or Wanting More?

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Feb 172016

Sunset at Hopi Point at Grand CanyonWe all want more good in our lives. However, the word “want” has contradictory definitions. One definition means “lack,” while another means, “desire.” It’s two sides of the same coin. When we state that “I want more (whatever),” we’re actually telling the subconscious that we don’t have enough. By wanting more, we’re actually operating from a sense of lack.

Since we attract what we focus on, the subconscious will make sure we have more to want. Whether it’s more money, abundance, harmony, health, or ease, by our very wanting more, we’re actually focusing on the absence of it.

As we sink deeper into wanting more, we can sometimes have a feeling of longing for the goal, desperation, or trying to force the issue. Any attempt to use our will to control the outcome will simply bring more scarcity. Our emotion is what manifests, and feelings of lack, limitation, or scarcity, even when we think we’re focusing on abundance, creates the mold for less of it in the subconscious. That’s when we’re living in a state of want or lack.

However, a synonym of the concept “want” is “desire.” I’ve heard it said that “Desire brings pain.” That’s true if our peace and happiness depends on the fulfillment of our desire. If the only way we’ll allow ourselves to be content is if we’re driving a Rolls Royce, the CEO of a company, or perfectly healthy, then we’re restricting the joys of watching a sunset, finding satisfaction in the work we do, or gratitude for however much health we do have. Grasping at a desire, and expecting it to be the magic that will make us happy actually ensures that we’ll be frustrated.

One of my spiritual teachers claimed that a “desire” was an inspiration from the Universe that indicated that whatever we “desired” was available to us. When we have a desire, then we have the ability to fulfill it. The desire brings awareness to an area we want more good in and identifies what it is that needs to expand. As long as we stay in the enlightened state of realizing that all the good is already ours, we can allow the Universe, through our subconscious mind, to manifest what it is that we want.

I’ve also heard, “Just focus on God and all else will be added,” meaning that more good will manifest for us as we shift our attention to a Higher reality. By meditating on God and all Its blessings, the Universe shows up in our lives as more prosperity, health, harmony, etc. Contemplating the Infinite doesn’t just attract more good into our lives. The Universe is the very good that we experience.

However, when we have a challenge or discomfort, focusing on the aspect of God that we want helps us to raise our acceptance of it. I sometimes use the affirmation, “I’m experiencing more of God in my life in the form of (harmony, abundance, health, joy, ease, etc.)” Or “I’m choosing to create more ….” to address the specific form of the Universe that I want to draw to me. As we use affirmations, a light touch is necessary, as well as focusing on the current abundance in that area. This allows the Universe to expand in what’s already present.

The Universe is all good. Since I am an individualized expression of the Infinite, all the good I desire is already mine. I am grateful for the good that already exists in my life. I desire for there to be more abundance of good in the area of (your goal). I’m choosing to now create more of it. I experience more of the Universe in my life in the form of (your goal). I am now drawing to me all that I need for a more fulfilled life.

Copyright 2008, 2016 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

The Meaning Of Suffering

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May 012015

by Linda-Ann Stewart
Snowbowl in Flagstaff, AZ
I know that some people and religious systems believe that we grow through suffering. Buddhism says, “All of life is suffering.” Catholicism infers that pain is good for the soul. I’ve heard it said that anguish intensifies our appreciation of good when it occurs. It’s supposed to cause us to seek deeper meanings to life, to become better people and more compassionate of others.

But I’ve known a lot of suffering people who weren’t growing in any way. Some adult survivors of abuse have felt victimized all of their lives and never tried to heal their wounds. An acquaintance developed cancer and, even when she went into complete remission, used it as an excuse not to participate in life. I knew an accident victim who felt entitled to not have to take responsibility for herself. Many emotionally wounded people inflict pain on others as a way to get momentary release from it.

Many people who are abandoned, rejected, can’t pay the bills, have chronic health problems, or are emotionally hurting, descend into a cycle of anger, resentment or despair that’s difficult to climb out of. If we’re overwhelmed by events out of our control, it can cause us to use up our mental and emotional resources to deal with the immediate problem. We may feel that we can’t handle any more, snap at those dear to us, and can become self-involved and self-pitying.

Suffering isn’t the same as sadness. Grief is an appropriate response to the loss of something dear to us. But eventually, our mourning passes, reduces or diminishes. However, there are some people who wallow in sadness and don’t move beyond it.

So I don’t believe that suffering, in and of itself, causes people to grow. As with anything else, how it affects us depends on how we perceive it. We need to be willing to seek the meaning in it. Although we might not be able to control events, we do have complete control over the way we think about them. Sometimes pain pushes us to quit trying to control our environment and to give up control to the Universe. Instead of trying to make the outcome fit our picture, we release and let the Infinite manage our affairs.

Many times, our resisting letting go of something that has outlived its usefulness or not moving forward causes anguish. When we oppose growth, then we create a resistance with the Universe. The intent of the Universe is to expand. By not letting ourselves grow, we create pain and suffering. There is a saying in the fitness industry “no pain, no gain.” I disagree. If we’re having pain, then we’re probably resisting growth, or we could be trying to move forward too quickly. Just like the pain of an overworked muscle.

If we’re trying to push through something, it may be that other things are at work behind the scenes, and it’s not time for the goal to come through, as hard as it is to accept that. Don’t try to “white knuckle” it and force it to happen. That will only create more resistance and pressure. Visualize the desired outcome and ask for the next step to be revealed.

There are times when all we can do is endure a difficult period, wait for things to improve and find something good in the situation. I remember hearing someone say, “Every challenge brings a gift.” When we seek meaning and the benefit from the circumstances, we will find them. Usually, there’s some message for us that we can absorb and use as a building block.

Many years ago, I had a friend who decided to erase the old idea that we only learn from problems. She set her intention to learn her lessons with joy instead of suffering and it worked for her. Recently, I’ve been following her example and working on letting things flow easily and harmoniously. As a result, several small miracles have occurred.

The Universe didn’t create a world full of suffering. Anguish is our response to a situation that doesn’t fit our view of how things should be. Suffering, in itself, doesn’t cause us to grow. We need to find the meaning in it, seek the lesson, let go control, and ask for guidance. As a spiritual text says, “Seek and ye shall find.” When you change your perspective of the situation, then not only will you grow from it, but your experience of it lightens.


I release the old idea that suffering is good for the soul. I let go of my preconceived notions about how a difficult situation should be and seek the meaning of it to help me grow and evolve into a more compassionate, wiser person. Keeping my mind focused on my desired outcome, I’m open to guidance about the next step. I’m willing to let go control of the result, and let the Universe manifest its Goodness. I set my intention to now learn my lessons with ease, harmony and joy.

Copyright 2008, 2015 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a speaker, personal and professional development coach and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart empowers business and professional women who are stuck, immobilized or overwhelmed to get focused, prioritize and break through their inner barriers so they generate more business. If you’d like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with “Complimentary Consultation” in the subject line.

The Secret of Using Stress to Grow

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Apr 012015

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Stress has gotten to be a hot button issue in our society. We read articles, books, take classes and seminars to manage and reduce our stress. The message we get is that we need to completely eliminate stress from our lives. But common, everyday stress isn’t the real culprit that causes all of the trouble.
Sunset Crater plant
Hans Selye, a researcher, coined the term “stress,” and made the distinction between stress and distress. Distress is when we have so much going on internally or externally that our mental and emotional resources are overwhelmed. We all know what it’s like to have a deadline for a project, a loved one sick, the car break down, and, as a result, be irritable or exhausted. This kind of trouble, if it continues for a period of time, will begin to affect not only our mental health, but our physical health. This is what all the talk about stress is addressing.

Believe it or not, everyday stress can be a good thing. If we just coast through life, we don’t learn anything. With no challenges, no obstacles to overcome, we don’t develop new ways of dealing with things. Think of the old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Every discovery was created to fill a need and deal with a problem.

The telephone makes it easier for us to communicate. When it was first developed, people couldn’t see a need for one in every house. Now, many people can’t imagine being without one for even a second. I’m not going to comment on whether cell phones are a good or bad thing. It’s just that the invention of the telephone originally was created to fill a need.

The way we get physically stronger is to exercise. When we lift weights, do yoga, or hike, we’re stressing and stretching our muscles. If we don’t do that, then we lose the ability to get around. In much the same way, we evolve by stretching ourselves. As long as we do the same thing every day, we don’t expand.

About twenty-five years ago, I got involved in a multitude of organizations. I had no personal time and was doing too much. It caused me to go into distress, and my health began to suffer. However, it was also a wondrous time as it helped me overcome personal limitations and expand spiritually. Because I was willing to stretch myself, I reaped enormous benefits.

The problem comes when we get our schedules so packed that we don’t have time for ourselves or things that bring us joy. Even a plant needs space to be able to grow and expand its roots. When we don’t have enough breathing room to process what’s going on in our lives, then we go into a distressed mode because we’re simply running from crisis to crisis. Even when we exercise, we have to let our bodies rest and recuperate from their workout to actually build muscle tissue.

Beginning to feel overwhelmed, getting sick, and feeling exhausted is a good signal it’s time to pull back. When I found I was over involved, I eliminated several of the activities I’d been involved in. Later on, I rejoined a couple of groups, but made sure I could say “no” if I began to feel overwhelmed again.

When we’re beginning to feel stagnant, bored or stuck, then it may be a sign for us to try a new path and step out of our comfort zone. During that stressful period of my life, some of my activities included holding responsible positions in a couple of community organizations, acting in theater productions, and helping with all aspects of publicity for the theater company. All of it was new to me. But by stretching myself, it gave me access to new internal resources, confidence in my abilities and broke through internal blocks.

Learning to create a balance between stretching ourselves, and distressing ourselves, takes some practice. Feeling inundated, and like we don’t have time to breathe may mean it’s time to take a break and assess what’s going on in our lives. However, if we’re too comfortable and in a rut, it might be a good time to take a class or get involved in some new interest. There is a happy medium between standing still and racing out of control. Personal development and spiritual evolution comes from slightly stressing and stretching ourselves and expanding into something new.


I take stock internally to assess whether I need my life to slow down or to reach out for more stimulation. The Universe guides me in what to do about this. If I need to reduce my stress, I am Divinely inspired in how to do so. If I need to stretch myself more, I am directed to the Divine Right activities. I learn how to balance my life, so that I release old limitations and expand into living life fully. All that I need is provided.

As a speaker, personal and professional development coach and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart empowers business and professional women who are stuck, immobilized or overwhelmed get focused, prioritize and break through so they reduce stress and generate more business. If you’d like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with “Complimentary Consultation” in the subject line.