People in business and working women ask me how I consistently take action and get things done even when I work full time. Am I wired differently? No, not all. I'm just an ordinary woman with a family, great job and two  businesses that I run efficiently. There are lots of parallelpreneurs like me (people who work and grow a business alongside) and my mission is to help you build your resilience in life and business by sharing my tips. I grew my speaking business by 240% in one year and my wellness centre (a brick and mortar business) by 53% in its 4th year (town population of 10,000). If I can do it, so can you.

My blog will give you tips on how to change your mind set, how to change your patterns, how to overcome challenges and bounce back from setbacks. I'd love for you to comment on my blogs and give me some feedback.


4 Skills You Cannot Do Without if You Want to Master Your Motivation

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Do you find you procrastinate to get things done?

Reaching our personal and professional dreams depends entirely upon our ability to motivate ourselves. You can have all the talent and resources in the world but without self-motivation you won’t get very far.

So what can you do to ensure your motivation stays in peak form?

Implement these four critical skills into your own life to master your motivation.

  1. Risk Management

    Does the idea of taking risks inspire you to take action or weaken your resolve? All of us take risks at one point or another – whether its an investment or a new job or a new business.

    I’ve had choices:

    1. Live life as someone who stutters OR take risks, I decided to face my fear and use my voice to improve my life.
    2. Risk starting a wellness business OR do nothing at all. We decided to take a leap of faith and make a difference in people’s lives.

    Tackling the right risks has as much to do with self-confidence as it does with the actual risk itself. Take small risks to build your confidence. You’ll learn when it’s best to take action and when to take a step back.

  2. Accepting Constructive Feedback

    No one likes criticism; it can shake our confidence and leave our motivation waning. However, when we train ourselves to listen for the constructive feedback, even if it’s not presented in a constructive way, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow and get stronger.

    In 2001, when I started working in public health, most of my work was outdoors and I was the only female at the time. I noticed some of my male counterparts wore black jeans so I decided to wear jeans too, BUT I wore blue ones. My manager called me into his office and told me to stop wearing blue jeans. He was quite blunt and I felt so embarrassed that I went home early that day. I was so upset at him and my confidence was down in the dumps. Interesting isn’t it that I was creating a victim mindset.

    It was only after speaking to my husband that night, I realized that I needed to look at this as feedback and ask myself, “What have I learned from this experience?” and “What can I do differently?”

    I realized my manager’s intent. He cared enough to tell me that the image I was portraying in the field of Public Heath could be improved.

    What helpful messages can you gain from the insights of others rather than taking up a victim mindset?


  3. Dealing with Setbacks

    Overcoming obstacles to keep our drive alive requires resilience. In the movie, The African Queen, both Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn’s characters must navigate a treacherous river to reach their final destination and confront dangerous killers. En route they overcome enemy gunfire, dangerous rapids, hunger and illness, as well as facing their own, and each other’s shortcomings only to end up giving up on their goal, unaware it’s just around the next bend.

    Are setbacks making you quit before you reach your goal?

    When my husband and I started the wellness centre, we faced many obstacles and I wanted to quit several times. Obstacles from financial crisis to staff changes and attracting new clients! We persevered and kept on telling ourselves that it would get better and tweaked our marketing and staff training. Now that we’re 7 years into the business, its stable.

    Dig deep, be flexible and find your strength - your success may be just around the next bend.

  4. Setting High, but Achievable Goals

    We either tend to set goals that are too ambitious or not ambitious enough. Think like ‘Goldilocks’ and find the goal that’s ‘just right’ – a goal that pushes you just enough to keep yourself engaged and motivated, but not too big that it feels impossible and discourages you from even trying.

    I highly recommend you read this blog post to understand how to reach your goals:

    4 Surefire Ways to Reach Your Goals in 2017

By developing your self-motivation skills you’ll begin to notice increased productivity, and efficiency, and you will experience more happiness in your life.

Incorporating even one of these new skills into your daily routine means you too can keep your self-motivation high and get to work on finding more success and fulfilling your dreams!

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3 Reasons My Parents Bounced Back from Adversity

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3 Reasons My Parents Bounced Back from Adversity

I was 12 years old when our family had moved to another town in search of a business opportunity. One day, I remember walking into the kitchen, where my mother was cooking dinner.

"What are you making today, " I asked.

"Lentil curry and rice," she replied.

"Again!" I answered disappointed. "When are we going to have some meat?"

"On the weekends, because we have to save money and get out of debt and move back to our home town."

In a few months, my parents closed the business, we moved back and they started the same business again. This time it flourished.

What changed?

I believe it was these 3 reasons:

Failure vs. Feedback - it was interesting to see how external circumstances caused different behaviours. The way you choose to react, is the way your life will unfold. After my parents closed the business and lost a lot of money, my father felt like a failure and got slightly depressed. My mother, on the other hand, conditioned her mind to learn from that failure. She changed some things around and cash started flowing in.

Lesson: Learn from your failures and see it as feedback to change your circumstance.

Beliefs about Money
- this is where most of us stay stuck and refuse to push that glass ceiling. Last week, I held a free virtual class on 'Money Wellness' and one of the exercises was about stating beliefs around money. The participants listed a whole bunch of limiting beliefs around money. My mother knew that she could make it work again, she had to believe that it was possible.

You can only replace limiting beliefs if you start to counter it with evidence and work at changing your behaviours when it comes to earning and spending money. Read this blog on 4 Types of Limiting Beliefs and How to Change Them.

Lesson: Become consciously aware of how you think about money and start to change that language so you can attract more.

Faith and Hope
- there's something about having a conviction that there's a higher power who will take care of you. I can still see the image of my mother sitting and praying to God to give her strength to make this work and simultaneously being grateful that she got out of the situation that could've been worse. Whenever I conduct research on "resilience" - the word HOPE, is always there. Every person who has bounced back from an adversity, had faith and hope.

Lesson: Have hope by being grateful for what you already have. For example, relationships, your job, your children, your friends or even your health.

Do these 3 reasons resonate with you? Share your comment below.

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Get Clear on Where You’re Going

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Have you ever felt that there’s just not enough time in the day? Most often, when we run out of time for projects or pursuits, the reason is that we’ve spent a lot of time lost in ambiguity.

I’ve been doing a virtual class each month on different topics. The one in May was all about Time Management. Interestingly, the participants pointed out that they had a difficult time pulling away from social media – this is one of their distractions that they feel they’ve lost control over.

So how do you eliminate time-wasting distractors?

First, deciding when you’ll use social media and for what reasons. You may find me selfish when I tell you that I only scroll through social media on Sundays. However, I post for my businesses and in my group daily through an app so its automatically published at certain times. It takes me an hour to set up the posts for the week.

Think of social media scrolling similar to watching the news. We have CNN which is a 24-hour news channel, but do you watch that every hour? I think I’d go insane! Most of us watch the news in the morning or evening just to catch up on what’s going on around the world, and you may watch it for 30 minutes. Can’t you map the same mindset to social media scrolling?

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Second, become supremely clear about where you’re going and what you want to do, so there’s no time lost. Your actions must be clear and precise, and you can make an AMAZING amount of progress in just a short period of time.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to eliminate the time-management nightmare.

  1. Plan Your Work.
    Take a few moments to determine where you’re going and how you plan to get there. You don’t have to know all the steps or details; just write down the basic outline as you can see it. The night before, I make a list of what needs to be done the next day and there’s something about writing it down and crossing it off after that makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere. So stop using your phone as a list maker for now and try the old writing method.

    I’m a morning person and I find I can be very creative during this time with writing, projects, and such, so I spend my morning hours doing more thinking than mundane stuff like emails and phone calls. When’s your peak time?

  2. Gather your resources.
    Get your tools in order. Make sure you have food, water, pen, paper, computer, your files, and anything else you need to get started. What do you need to do this job right? Get it.

    When I’m working on preparing power point slides for my next webinar, I close my email, have a bottle of water next to my computer and open up the website where I can find free photos and start working. In addition, my mobile phone is outside my office so I don’t even look at it when I’m working.

  3. Work Your Plan.
    Give yourself a deadline, then follow your outline step-by-step. If you get lost or distracted, come back to your outline and see what’s next. Making an outline, also eliminates overwhelm and keeps you organized. This is the secret of an effective time manager!

    I use my awesome agenda planner to plan my week, my day and even list what I’m going to delegate. You can read my step-by-step method of how I get things done in this blog post.

Before long you will have a finished project, and plenty of time to relax or do something else…like stare out the window for 20 minutes.

What are YOU going to do TODAY?

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How Essential Oils Helped Me During Chemotherapy and Radiation

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When I found out I had breast cancer I felt like a fraud or imposter. I owned a wellness centre and taught others how to be well and heal, but here I was battling cancer. So many of my clients were supportive and thought I was insane to think this way, but this is how we bash ourselves up don’t we?

I decided to discard this imposter mindset and adopt a resilient mindset, and continued using natural health products, like essential oils, during my treatments because I know how powerful they can be when used aromatically and topically.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential Oils Basics

Essential oils are in the plant and are extracted by distillation (steam, steam/water and water) or expression (also known as cold pressing). However, essential oils are constantly changing their chemical composition in the plant and helping the plant to adapt to the ever-changing internal and external environment. They are also known as the life force of the plant. Research has shown that plants produce essential oils for a variety of purposes:

  • Attract pollinators and dispersal agents.
  • To serve as defense compounds against insects and other animals.
  • To protect the plant by their antifungal and antibacterial nature.

Watch this interview with Dr. Alishia Alibhai where she explains very simply what essential oils are and how they help:


History of Essential Oils

“The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day,” advised Hippocrates around 400 BC. He was referring to the value of aromatic plants in health and wellbeing.

The use of aromatic plants is the oldest form of medicine, but they were also used for overall health, beauty, and for spiritual practice. These products became the basis for ointments and healing balms in herbal medicinal traditions, as well as fragrant perfumes and incense.

I remember when I’d get a cold or cough, my mother would give me cloves or clove water. When I’d have an ear ache she’d add garlic oil inside my ear. When I got married, I had to sit in a room where I was pampered as if I was royalty in a Turkish bath infused with fragrant oils.

What I Used and When?

If you or someone you know is going through surgery or cancer, consult with your doctor because I’m neither a doctor nor a certified aromatherapist. I consulted with a certified aromatherapist who gave me instructions on what to use. I was so impressed with the healing properties that my husband and I decided to create our line of aromatherapy products called SHANTI. This includes essential oils, natural skin care for problem skin, and natural hair care.

After Surgery

I decided to have a lumpectomy (partial mastectomy), but I ended up going under the blade twice because they didn’t get the whole tumor out the first time. At my follow-up appointment with my surgeon, she was so impressed with the healing and asked what I had been doing!

I used Lavender essential oil on my wound every day after I showered.

LAVENDER is calming, pain relieving and anti-spasmodic. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antifungal, and antibacterial. It’s widely known for use on sunburns, scrapes, cuts and insect bites.

HELICHRYSUM oil has a powerful, rich, floral, tea-like scent that comforts, lessens the effect of shock, phobias and improves the flow of energy through the body. It helps promote 

cell growth, heal scars and skin tissue.

Either of these work for healing wounds.

Before Chemotherapy

Anxiety Release

It’s normal to get anxious or nervous before chemotherapy. I used positive self-talk, law of attraction principles, talked to my supporters, but I also used an anxiety release blend to calm me down. I rolled the blend on my temples, my neck - fron and back, top of my forehead and wrists.

As I rolled the oil in these areas, I’d say the following affirmations:

  • I’m going to be fine during chemotherapy and will feel nothing as the medication enters through an IV.
  • I’ll have very minimal side effects, if any, and I’ll be able to deal with it.

After ChemotherapyI had four chemotherapy treatments every three weeks, and my symptoms were worst after the first one. I explain what symptoms I went through and what I did about them in this video:

The most common symptoms for anyone going through chemotherapy is nausea, fatigue and lack of appetite. I quickly learned after my first chemotherapy that I had to plan ahead to ensure the symptoms don’t get worse. I was grateful that after my second, third and fourth chemotherapy treatment, I only suffered lack of appetite, fatigue and loose bowels for 3-5 days.

I used the following essential oils in a diffuser to help build my immune system.

FRANKINCENSE is considered a “holy” oil, this ritual oil is often used during religious ceremonies and very effective at clearing up mucous and regulating its secretion. It’s known to be a great oil for use during labour and in cases of post-natal depression.

MEDIEVAL THYMES is legendary blend and considered to be antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic because it has a combination of oils:


    • Clove Bud - A strong, spicy and penetrating aroma. It has a positive and stimulating effect on the mind, alleviating depression. It also helps with sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis.


    • Lemon - A familiar fresh, clean fragrance used for calming the emotions. Stimulates mental activity, increasing concentration and memory. Excellent antibacterial/disinfectant properties that can be used to soothe throat infections.


    • Cinnamon - This familiar warm aroma is a great mind and body revitaliser, helping to alleviate exhaustion, depression and weakness. Assists in digestive issues.


    • Eucalyptus - A strong medicinal fragrance that aids concentration. Used in a number of respiratory remedies. Its antiviral properties help fight colds, flu and ease breathing, headaches, muscular aches and pains. Do not use if you have high blood pressure or are taking homeopathic medication.


    • Rosemary - This fragrance provides mental awareness and clarity. It strengthens the nervous system, stabilizes emotions and minimizes mood swings.


    • Thyme - The supportive and fortifying nature of Thyme is gently empowering, helping you overcome physical, emotional and mental exhaustion by improving clarity and memory. It clears the respiratory system of catarrh and helps digestion.


  • Myrrh - An ancient spiritual oil used in purification processes that was said to deepen one’s connection to the universe. Provides a sense of strength, stability and courage. This oil has a “grounding” effect on the psyche, easing fear.

I love the smell of Medieval Thymes and how it made me feel. You can get it here.

During Radiation

My radiation oncologist suggested I use Glaxo Base after every radiation treatment, but I asked her if I could use organic creams and essential oils instead. At first, she was hesitant but after showing her my breast two weeks into treatment she was happy with the results.

I had a treatment daily for sixteen days, not including weekends. After each treatment, I’d use Eminence Organic Skin Care Rosehip & Lemongrass Soothing Hydrator.


My skin was fine until the last five treatments where it turned red. It didn’t hurt or feel burned, but it was tender. During this time, we had ordered a new product for our wellness centre, from our aromatherapy supplier, called Holy Grail. This blend includes Frankincense, Myrrh and Turmeric in Hemp Seed oil. The therapeutic oils in this ancient recipe have been used to help support health and wellness in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4000 years.

I decided to use the body oil on my breast daily and noticed a huge difference just within two weeks. I’m so impressed with this product that we’ve decided to bring it on-line soon!


Life will throw us curveballs, but it is our job to find the resources to cope so we can stay resilient. When my surgeon told me that breast cancer is 80 to 90% curable, I hung on to those words like a person being thrown a line when they feel like they’re drowning. I’m not sure why, but I reminded myself of those words every time someone told me how sorry they were that I had breast cancer. I reminded them that its 90% curable and I wasn’t going anywhere.

Being resilient is not only about coping, but its about building your inner strength so you can keep functioning when the tide is high and the current is sweeping you in another direction. I found the use of essential oils an important resource during my journey and it helped me cope tremendously.


Aromatherapy A Guide for The Use of Therapeutic Essential Oils by Colour Energy and Ashbury’s Aromatherapy
The Beginner’s book of Essential Oils by Christine J Dalziel

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Step-by-Step Method on Forming New Behaviours and Habits That Last

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Why is it that we struggle with keeping good habits and easily fall into unproductive rituals?

I’m sure at one point in your life or maybe every year you inspire yourself and get motivated to make some changes. Do those new changes or habits last?

Did you know that the habits that don’t last could be because you went about it the wrong way?


In NLP, I learned a few things that helped me understand that we can control our patterns to excel at anything we want. We all have patterns or rituals and these have either been ingrained in us, or at one point in your life you just decided that doing something in a certain way works for you.

To form new habits, you have to keep two things in mind:

Process: A person who is successful at what he or she does has a process. These are habits. You’ll notice that people who are healthy have a routine of eating a certain way or exercising at a certain time each day. Writers tend to prefer writing at certain times of the day because they know when they’re creative.

Identity: To become the type of person you want to become you have to believe in your capability, be in alignment with your values and change your habits according to the person you want to be, and not according to a short-term goal you have.

HabitsVennDiagramThere’s a lot of science behind the process of habit formation and this has been proven by Stanford professor BJ Fogg, called the Fogg Method. In addition, Charles Duhigg, wrote about his process of forming habits in his best-selling book, The Power of Habit.

Both sources have great information and I highly recommend them. However, I’m going to share with you an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) model that has helped me install useful and powerful new habits easily or even change old habits into more productive habits.

When I hit puberty, I started struggling with my weight and like most people I started trying different diets. At the age of 16, I went on The Scarsdale Diet, at the age of 19, I tried the Herbal Life program and then finally I broke the cycle at age 29.

I did the very two things I mentioned earlier – changed the process and changed the way I thought about myself – identity.

I worked an hour away from home then and I created a ritual of going to a famous coffee franchise and getting my breakfast so I could have it on my way to work. For lunch and dinner, I’d have whatever was available and because I reached home at 6 p.m. every night, I’d be exhausted and never exercise.

I started gaining weight and my work clothes didn’t fit me anymore. I started getting frustrated and hated myself. That was it! I decided to work with my identity as a healthy person and I promised myself that I wasn’t going through another diet and this time I wanted to create habits that would last me a lifetime.

What I Changed

Breakfast: Woke up 15 minutes early and prepared a protein smoothie that I could drink on my way to work.

Lunch: Packed a salad with a protein the night before. Eat the salad after working out at the gym during my lunch hour. I’d never been to a gym before in my life so going to the gym for the first time was intimidating, but I had to crush my fears.

Snacks: instead of having muffins and donuts I switched to protein bars, yogurt and fruits.

I noticed my weight dropping and my body toning, but more importantly, I started feeling HEALTHY. The biggest mistake people make is changing habits for a goal instead of changing habits for their identity.

If losing weight was my only pain, then when I reached my goal, I’d have stopped eating this way and even reduced the times I went to the gym, but I didn’t. I continued eating the same way and didn’t compromise my lunch hour even though I had reached a size 8 in my pants and I’d never been able to wear that before. The reason I continued was because my habits were now tied to my identity and not to an end-goal. My identity was that of a person who looks after her health and her body.

The strategy of working with your identity to find a solution or make change easier is called “Logical Levels” in NLP, and I’ll cover that in another blog post. The strategy of forming new habits and behaviours is called “Behaviour Generator”.

How to Create a New Behaviour or habit, Step-by-Step (Behaviour Generator)

Open your mind to a new way of thinking and doing this may feel a little strange, but trust when I say that this process was developed by the founders of NLP by modeling people who were highly effective in learning new things. They found that effective learners had an ability to rehearse something in their mind before actually doing it and these mental rehearsals allowed them to easily install new habits.

This process may not work if you have a mental or emotional block or even a belief that resists this new habit or behaviour you want to implement. Therefore, I suggest using this strategy for making simple changes like waking up earlier, taking your supplements, drinking water, keeping your keys in the same place everyday when you get home or responding to someone effectively.

Read through the process first and then practice. Nothing comes without practice.

1. Identify a behaviour you want to change or a new habit you’d like to install.

2. Watch a mental movie of what you’re doing now. Notice how you typically behave in that situation.

3. Identify what you want instead. Create a clear picture of what you want by:

  1. Finding a role model
  2. Remembering a time in your past that you were doing this behaviour
  3. Find a counter-example, which is another context where you are doing something similar
  4. Making it up

4. Watch a movie of you doing this new behaviour.

5. Now, step into the movie and be in it and experience it as if you were actually doing it. Move your body, say things to yourself and get into the act of doing the behaviour.

6. As you fully experience this, identify an external trigger or cue for the behaviour. For example, making my smoothie in the morning, my external trigger was taking a shower. This trigger of getting ready to take shower reminded me that I had to make a smoothie and keep it next to my purse so I could take it on my way out. I knew that after my shower I’d get ready and head out and may forget to make my smoothie because I was so used to going to this coffee franchise.

7. Imagine doing this new habit in the future. For example, think about how you’ll do it tomorrow and the next week. Think of the external trigger that will remind you to automatically use the new behaviour. Now imagine that external trigger and feel yourself using this new behaviour in that situation.

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Map Your Mindset

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I’ve completed my radiation treatments. Wohoo! I’m now a breast cancer survivor so all the treatments are done - chemotherapy and radiation is done. Celebrate with me and give me a high five!

You can watch the video or read the post (note: the homework is not in the video)

I want to share with you an idea that came across as I was driving into my radiation treatments every day. I’d drive into the city for an hour to receive a treatment that lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, and then drive back home for another hour. This made me realize that I was motivated to do this because it was important to me and my health, so I could get better. I was willing to drive in every day, for a month, for only 15 minutes of treatment!

Why is it that we can’t have this same mindset for simple things that are important to us or good for us, yet we don’t do it because we’re too busy, too exhausted or feeling lazy? I did some research in my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) books and found there’s a process where we can map our mindset!

When the pain is there, we are motivated, but when the pain is not there, we dismiss the idea and tell ourselves that it can wait.

Take exercise, for example. There are many people I come across that have difficulty with taking the time to become more active. Yet, I’ve come across people who love to exercise, because it’s a part of their identity and therefore, they make it a priority.

Now, I’m not preaching about exercise. I’m using this analogy to show you that you can map your mindset to make something challenging, easy to do.

I was motivated to go for treatments and it’s easy to drive in and get it done, therefore, could I use this same mindset for things that I procrastinate on?


Here’s another example - if you have an appointment with a physician, you just get in the car and go. You do that because it’s important to you. Therefore, couldn’t you use the same motivation and mindset to say to yourself, “Today, I’m going to go for a walk, today I’m going to a Zumba class, today I’m going to get that thing done that’s sitting on my desk.”

I like what my colleague and recent breast cancer survivor, Cindy Troast, said when she viewed the video (she explains it so well):

“My takeaway is - we all have things that we are committed to. For example, cancer treatment. We go to our treatment even though it may be annoying or inconvenient, because if we don't keep that commitment, the consequences could be severe. And we all have things in our lives that we commit to, not just medical treatment. So we have evidence that we CAN follow through if we are motivated. We need to take that mindset of follow through and apply it to exercise, healthy eating, etc.”

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Here’s your homework

1. Take 2 pieces of paper. Labe one “EASY” and label the other “CURRENT”

2. Place both papers on the floor

3. Find 3 examples ( a great one is brushing your teeth or a hobby) of things that are easy to do and for each one fully imagine yourself doing the thing that feels easy.

4. Step on the paper labeled “EASY” and repeat step 3.

5. Notice all the good feelings and really get your whole mind and body into the state of how easy that thing feels to do.

6. Now map across these “easy feelings and state” to the thing that you find challenging to do. Say to yourself, “Take this easy way of thinking into my current state”.

7. Now step on the paper labeled “CURRENT”. You may seem a little confused, but that’s okay as your mind is getting used to this new way of thinking.

8. As you stand on the “CURRENT” paper feel the new way of doing things that are now easy because you have the resources. Imagine doing the activity that you found challenging to do. Imagine doing it tomorrow, in a week, in a month. Notice how it feels to do that activity now.

9. Step out of the paper and wait for 30 seconds.

10. Step back on the “CURRENT” paper and test again by repeating step 8. If it works great! If not repeat all the steps because you have to ensure that you mapped the same feelings for “EASY” into “CURRENT”

The idea behind this strategy is to re-pattern your thinking by taking the feeling you get when you do something really well and mapping those feelings over into something that feels challenging. Let me know your results!

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10 Simple Ways to Change Your Mood (When You are Stressed or in a Slump)

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Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’ve failed on a project that I thought would work out right away. I didn’t realize all the little things that go with building an online store. Last November, I outsourced the task of building an e-commerce store for our wellness centre – that was the easy part. However, the difficult part is now getting traffic to this site!

While you wish you could be happy, joyful, and enthusiastic about life all the time, inevitably at times you’re going to encounter challenges, stresses, conflicts or health issues that put you in a slump. This online store has definitely given me challenges and I almost felt like closing it down right after it was built! That’s how frustrated I was.

However, resilience is about adapting, being flexible and coping with the challenges that you face and I knew that I had to give this creation some time to grow before I could reap the harvest.

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During those times that you find yourself in a temporary negative mood and you need a little boost, you can shift your biochemistry through your thoughts and behaviors.

Here are 10 ways to deal with negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors when you want or need to be more positive. Taking any of these steps can shift your outlook.

  1. Become aware and acknowledge that you’re feeling down and examine what’s been going on to see if there’s a specific reason. When you do, your thinking changes from “I’m angry, grumpy (or whatever the feeling)” to “Oh, this is why I’m feeling the way I do.

  2. Give yourself a time period to “wallow” in your emotion – but try to keep it short, less than a ½ day.

  3. Call an emotionally intelligent friend and ask to talk. Many times you can talk your way out of negative thoughts. Talking to my husband (my business partner) helps a lot.

  4. Get up and move. Take a walk, force yourself to exercise – if only for 5 minutes, dance, do some sit-ups, or take your dog for a walk. This alone has really helped me deal with negative moods because whatever was bothering me feels silly after.

  5. Make a list of the things in life you are grateful for. I usually voice them out aloud every night when I’m lying in bed.

  6. Write or draw picture of your feelings – even if you’re not a writer or an artist. Try doodling and see what emerges. I met a lady a couple of years ago at a conference and she doodled everything, even her notes. Her doodles were beautiful though and she told me that it helps her focus.

  7. Think of something to look forward to -- if you don’t have anything, then get out your calendar and plan something.

  8. Immerse yourself into something that distracts you – a good book, movie or magazine, a craft project.

  9. Smile at yourself in the mirror – even if you don’t feel like it. I practiced this a lot when I had to go for chemotherapy because I’d always be anxious about how I’d feel after.

  10. Reach out to someone who appreciates your attention – even a phone call will do. I like calling my sister in Kenya when I need to feel better and she’s always there for me.

During the next few days, be aware of how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors relate to each other. I encourage you to use these tips above and tell me what worked in the comments below.

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Chapter 1: My Breast Cancer Diagnosis and My Reaction

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“I’m sorry, Zaheen, the biopsy results show cancer,” said my physician. I went numb.

My physician held my hand as I asked him, “Are you sure?” He nods up and down with an empathetic look on his face. “It can’t be, I’m so young. How can this happen?” I ask in shock.

“Zaheen, breast cancer is 90% curable with the proper treatments. Nowadays cancer is hitting any age and the good thing is you caught it. I will now refer you to the breast cancer program…..”

As he kept talking and punching some information on his computer, my mind raced with a million thoughts and questions:

“Why me?”

“How am I going to handle this, am I going to die?”

“What about Arissa (my 11-year old daughter then)?”

“How far has the cancer spread?”

“Zaheen,” my physician taps me on my knee as though bringing me back from a bad nightmare, “it’s going to be okay. If you need anything, just ask. We are here for you and I want you take it easy now,” I could sense that he meant every word.

“What’s the next step?” I ask.

“The next step is surgery so we can remove the tumor in your breast. However, the surgeon will first have a consultation with you.”

“Great way to end the week and month!” I said sarcastically. It was Friday July 29 at 4 p.m.

As I stood up to leave, my physician got up too and asked, “You will tell your family today?”

I nod up and down feeling sad and yet anxious at the same time. Noticing my behaviour, my physician, who was also my neighbour and a friend for many years, hugged me reassuring that everything will be fine.

I broke down and started crying in his arms.

How I Found the Lump

On May 14th - two months earlier, I had just returned home from an amazing chapter meeting of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and was getting ready to go to bed when I decided to check my phone messages one last time.

I scratched my right breast while checking my messages and all of a sudden, my finger landed on a pea-sized lump at the top of my nipple.

“What’s this?” I said to myself. “Hmmm, maybe just a cyst. I’ll call the doctor’s office tomorrow,” and off I went to bed.

On May 17, I sat on the bed of one the associate doctor’s office, since my family doctor was away, while he examined my breast. “Do you examine your own breasts?” he asked.

“Never, I only get it done when I come for my annual physical.”

“Have you had a mammogram before?”

“No, I’m only 41 years old and I believe they don’t start mammograms until after 50 years of age?”

“You have no history of cysts on your file. Is there any history of breast cancer in your family?”

“Yes, my aunt – my mother’s sister,” I replied.

“Let’s schedule a mammogram and ultrasound for you, but they don’t do it in town so you’ll have to go to Leduc (25 minutes away),” he suggested.

On June 29th I brazenly went into the mammogram clinic with the thought, “It’s not cancer, it will be a benign lump.”

Mammograms are not fun as the breast is pulled like a rubber band and then squeezed flat like a slice of bread. It was during the ultrasound that I started to get worried as the technician was taking a long time to read my results. My worry turned to fear as she came in and asked if I could go for a biopsy next week.

“I can’t, I’m flying to Kenya to see my family day after tomorrow and I’m back July 24.”

“Alright, we’ve booked you for a biopsy first thing in the morning on July 25,” she replied.

Can We Have a Code

In the evening of July 29 after getting my results from my physician, I was driving home with Arissa. I explained to her what had happened and she asked, “Are you going to die?”

“No, many women have been diagnosed with breast cancer but they have been treated and are still alive and well today,” I re-assured her.

“Mom, I can’t say the c-word, can we have a code name for it?”

“Of course we can and it will only be our secret. Have you thought of a code name?” I asked.

“How about strawberry?” she suggested.

“I like it!”

At the Surgeon’s Office

“Zaheen, my name is Dr. Smith and I know this is a new journey for you but we’re here for you and I can already see that you have great support, “she said as she nodded toward my husband, Badur, and my daughter.

Surgeon“Have you been told anything about the next steps?”

“I’ve been educated on what could happen, that is – surgery, possibly chemotherapy and radiation, but I’ve been told every case is different,” I replied.

“That’s correct. Prepare for your life to be disrupted for 4 to 6 months,” Dr. Smith said apologetically.

Did I hear that right?” I thought.

“First we will remove the tumor from your breast and this could be a lumpectomy (partial breast removal) or a mastectomy (full breast removal). Followed by 4-6 cycles of chemotherapy, then 5 weeks of radiation and finishing up with hormonal therapy,” she rattled off.

Whoa! Slow down – this is not what I was expecting!” I started feeling anxious.

“Wait a minute. Do I have to go through chemotherapy?” I asked.

“Your oncologist will decide that with you, but based on the fact that you are only 41 years old, there’s some family history and the biopsy shows a grade 3 cancer, I believe you will be going through chemotherapy.”

Oh crap, I really don’t want to go through this. Why did this happen to me!” I felt like screaming.

She went on to explain the difference between mastectomy and lumpectomy, and based on my biopsy and other assessments, we decided that I’d have the partial mastectomy.

During the whole time that we were visiting with the surgeon, my mother and sister in Kenya kept texting to find out what was happening.

Conversation with Mom

“Mom, I just finished at the surgeon’s and they’ll let me know next week on my surgery date,” I told her over the phone just as we left the parking lot of Dr. Smith’s clinic.

“Are you okay beta (my child)?”

“I wish you were here…..,” I started sobbing in the car while speaking to her on my smartphone.

“This is too much and I wasn’t expecting chemotherapy. I don’t want those drugs and I don’t know how this is going to affect me. This is such a big change,” I continued sobbing.

“Zaheen, cry and let it all out. You’re lucky you have a life partner like Badur at your side. I wish I could be there, but due to my own health reasons, you know I can’t travel that far,” she said.

“I’m so happy that you all came down to Kenya last month to see me and we had so much fun – after 5 years! You got the chance to go on a speaking tour and I got to see you speak for the first time and I must say – you are not the same Zaheen from five years ago. I’m so proud to see how far you’ve come from the little girl who stuttered and couldn’t speak, to a woman who is confident in her own skin and can stand her own ground,” my mom said proudly.

“Zaheen, life is like a staircase. You are on a different step in your life at this time and you may stay there for a little bit but eventually you will take the next step. Sometimes you may fall back a few stairs but with family support you will climb back up.”

Hearing my mother’s words about how far I had come and having support around me helped calm down my nerves, but for the next two days, my mind was reeling with thoughts of WHY I got cancer and HOW I may have got it.

Finally, I just had to voice my thoughts out aloud.

Conversation with Spouse

“Badur, I need to talk and I’d like you listen first then help me sort out my thoughts,” I almost pleaded.

He nods as he drove us home after visiting with his parents who live an hour away.

“These last two days, I’m getting irritated easily when someone complains about small things. I’m not easily irritated, but I feel like yelling at these people and telling them: SHUT UP! I don’t want to hear about your silly little complaints when I’m dealing with something that is unknown and much bigger. Am I being selfish?” I asked.

“Not at all. It’s normal for someone like yourself who has just been told that their life is about to change for the next 4-6 months. You have to make sacrifices and it’s a big change.”

“Okay. I’ve also been thinking about why I got cancer when I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol, I eat very healthy, and for goodness sakes, we own a wellness centre - we preach about health and wellness. So why me?” I ask with emotion and tears welling up in my eyes.

“We don’t know what causes cancer. Even the surgeon said that 1 in 9 women will end up having breast cancer and they still don’t know the cause. What I do know is this – because you’re healthy, you will heal faster after your surgery and after your chemotherapy treatments. Does that make sense?” He asked.

I nod my head up and down as I look at him in awe because not only did he make me feel better and hear me out, he just completely reframed the situation by telling me to be in control of what I already knew.

Zaheen Cartoon FB banner

Accept and Talk About it

It was at that point I decided to accept my diagnosis and be open about it. I quickly realized that many people close to you feel very awkward because they don’t what to say when they hear that someone has cancer. They either start by saying, “I’m so sorry to hear that…” or they don’t ask at all because it’s the bad C-word and expect the person who has cancer to bring it up or feel that the person doesn’t want to talk about it.

In my opinion, saying sorry feels like a death sentence. Instead, I’d prefer family and friends start with the following sentence:

“I heard you are battling breast cancer. How are you handling it…?”

Badur, Arissa and I decided that I wasn’t going let cancer define me, because this disease was not going to stop me from being who I am, it was no going to stop me from living my life and the more I accepted my diagnosis and talked about my journey, the more others around me would feel comfortable in treating me the same rather than walking on egg shells.

I speak to audiences on the topic of RESILIENCE and I call myself a resilience champion. I had come to a point in my life where I was required to work my resilience muscle more than ever before.

I was allowing myself to play victim in my own mind and was giving this disease power by second guessing myself. I even blamed myself at one point for attracting cancer into my life because I was overworking between September and December of 2015 and not eating supper, but just a protein bar.

It’s normal to have feelings of anger, guilt, sadness and anxiety. This makes us human, but as long as you don’t drown yourself in those feelings.

Embracing the Journey

Resilience is not about being tough on the outside and hiding behind a façade. It’s about coping through adversity with a positive attitude. It’s about embracing the journey by planning how you’ll tackle the obstacles. It’s about tapping into your support system so they can lift you up when you are down.

I decided to stop analyzing and resisting, and instead embraced this journey by sharing my learnings through my blog, Facebook Live videos and my speeches. I didn’t care what others thought because this was my journey not theirs. These were my teachings where I was guiding others through my own mess, but turning it into a positive message of hope and inspiration.

At one point I asked my mother if what I was doing was appropriate. She replied, “The more we accept and talk about our issue, the better we heal. Isn’t this the same thing that you did with your speech impediment? The more you shared your story about your speech impediment and the more you spoke in public, the less it bothers you?”

When you resist and fight against something, you’ll never find peace with what you’re battling. In fact, we create negative energy that harbours more negative experiences.

When you accept and embrace the diagnosis, a part of you starts creating a healing journey where you’ll find that instead of dreading surgery or treatment, you’ll feel in control of your surroundings, your attitude and your behaviour.

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4 Types of Limiting Beliefs and How to Start Identifying Them

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Last year I started a private resilient community Facebook group for those who joined my Resilience Reflex course during the pilot phase. Every Thursday I’d live stream a short lesson to the members of the group. Note: I learned about beliefs during my coaching certification classes in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) at the NLP Institute of California.

Belief about Cause

These are beliefs where we believe that there’s a specific “cause” creating the belief. These limiting beliefs usually have the word “because” in them. Have you caught yourself saying, “This is true because...”

For Example:

  • I can’t do any public speaking because I stutter (or because I’m shy).
  • I’ll never be successful in a business because my parents weren’t successful.
  • I can never start a business now because the economy is bad.

Many people have this idea about wealth and the ceiling they can reach. Some common beliefs around wealth are:

  • I can never be wealthy because I don’t know how to have so much money.
  • I can’t be wealthy because others will depend on me.
  • I can’t be wealthy because I don’t deserve it.

Belief About Meaning

As human beings, we don’t know how to be. All we know how to do is think, think, think and make meaning about anything or find meaning in things that happen.

Have you walked down a street and someone happens to look at you differently? Did you try to make meaning out of that? Why did she look at me that way?

The meanings that we put on these types of beliefs will guide your behavior.

For Example:

  • I’m a woman that means I’ll never be able to lead. This can have several meanings: it’s difficult to climb the ladder if you’re woman OR women make poor leaders.
  • Too much wealth makes people behave differently. This can have several meanings: being rich means you lose friends OR if you become wealthy you’ll change.
  • Change is very challenging. This can have several layers of meaning associated with it.

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Belief About Possibility

Here there are two categories:

  1. The outcome is possible for you: If the outcomes is possible, then you’ll go for it and you’ll get the desired outcome. Some questions you ask yourself to get permission from your subconscious, “Do I have what it takes? Can I do it?”

  2. The outcome is impossible for you: If the outcome is impossible, then you’ll not even bother trying to go for it. In fact, you’ll just give up ahead of time.

For Example:

  • I’ll never get a promotion.
  • I’ve had very little success in meeting a partner.
  • Cooking is not for me, I mess it up all the time.
  • I’ve tried it all, nothing works.

Belief About Identity

These beliefs revolve around your worthiness. Do I deserve this? These beliefs usually start with “I am” or have words that make the statement very personal.

For Example:

  • I’m not worth it.
  • I don't deserve this.
  • I'm not smart enough to be successful.
  • I don't have it in me to be resilient.

In chapter 16 of my book, The Resilience Reflex, I’ve outlined the steps to change an old limiting belief to a new empowering one. However, I’ve outlined the steps briefly below:

  1. Identify a limiting belief.

  2. Identify the positive intention of this belief by asking:
    1. What am I trying to gain by holding on to this limiting belief?
    2. What will achieving that (answer from a) do for me?

  3. Counter/bust your old limiting belief using these questions:
    1. Is my old limiting belief objectively true?
    2. Is this belief always true for me?
    3. Is this belief always true for everyone?
    4. Would I teach it to my children?
    5. What kind of behaviours will I have if I continue to hold on to this belief?
    6. What would my mentor tell me about this limiting belief?

  4. Identify your new empowering belief, which is usually the opposite of the old limiting belief. Visualize yourself in the future with this new empowering belief. Ask:
    1. What am I doing differently?
    2. What new behaviours do I have?
    3. Is there evidence from my past that supports this new empowering belief?

  5. State your new empowering belief out aloud a few times.

Let me know in the comments what you thought about this exercise and I’d love to know your new empowering belief.

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How Chaos Can Be an Opportunity – 3 Assumptions to Ease Your Journey

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Last year, I got into a victim mindset when I realized that my diagnosis of breast cancer would disrupt the normalcy in my life.

Joseph O’Connor, Author of Free Yourself from Fears, explains that we fear change because we are uncertain of how its going to impact us and we usually lose something during a change process.

In this blog post, I explained how I started complaining because I felt I had no control over the situation. However, in coaching school I was drilled with the following 3 (actually 18) presuppositions or assumptions about life that could help ease one’s journey:

  1. The person with most flexibility of behaviour has more control of the situation. In other words, if it isn’t working, do something different.

  2. Your perception is your reality.

  3. You’re in control of your mind, and therefore, your results.

I quickly realized that even though I can’t control the situation - I have to go through surgery and chemotherapy and this will bring some disruption in my life, I can control my behaviour by letting go of complaining (this refers to number 1) and control my mind by adopting a positive attitude about the whole situation (this refers to number 3).

I changed my perception (refers to number 2) by looking at this as an opportunity rather than a disruption. I started working on how I could turn my book into an online course.

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Therefore, instead of feeling I had lost all normalcy in my life, I actually gained a school! Yes, I created a school where I’ll be teaching virtual classes and offering self-paced online courses on Resilience.

Welcome to the Resilience Champion School!

I have 4 courses so far:

  1. Thrive in Life – The Resilience Reflex Program: a 3-week self-paced course that teaches you the 3R formula to make resilience your first reflex.

  2. Resilient Goals: this is based on a webinar I did on how to achieve your goals in 90 days.

  3. Resilient Talk: my background is in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and the basis of NLP is human behaviour and communication. This course will be offered as a virtual class in May and October.

  4. Resilient Champion Master Program: I’m piloting this course first as it’s more like a group coaching program where we meet virtually once a month and cover a specific topic. Topics are listed on the course site and it starts in April. Interested? I’m only taking 10 to 15 people so join now.

Sometimes you may feel or think that life is unfair when you’re faced with chaos and you can’t see anything good about the chaos you’re in. However, you have all the resources around you to succeed, you just have to change your perception about the situation you’re in.

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3 Reasons New England Patriots Stood Resilient and Won the Superbowl

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I don't know if you watch football or not, but I watched the Superbowl on Sunday between New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons and throughout the game I saw resilience.

The first half predicted that Atlanta Falcons were going to win with a 28-3 lead. As I watched the first half, I saw a great defense on the Falcons side, but I also saw how Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots kept on getting hit, attacked and trampled on, but every time he got up and had a look of inner strength.

Even though there was crazy tweeting going on during half time about how Lady Gaga has won the Superbowl or stole the show, no one expected the Patriots to win, but they did!

tom brady winSource:

They were 25 points down! The Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, brought the team all the way back from a second-half 25-point deficit (this has never been done before), leading New England to an astounding 34-28.

Resilience is about building that inner strength so you can cope and keep functioning. Resilience is about going through adversity knowing you'll come back with new learnings.
Resilience is also about having the belief that it can be done.

Where do I see resilience?

  • Tom had won 4 championships before so he took the leanings from those and the first half of the game to face the current adversity.

  • Tom had dedicated this game to his mother who has been going for chemo and missed all his games in the season, except this one. The word is "Dedicated" - which means he already had the intent that he was going to win the Superbowl for her and it was this conviction that kept him and his team going.

  • Even though Tom Brady kept on getting thunderous hit after hit, the way he got up from each hit, seemed like it he didn't let that get to him. He just stood taller and more courageous. This probably had an effect on his team mates and became infectious.

I'm sure there will be more scrutinizing as to how they won - like the luck of the overtime toss - which went to the Patriots, but I was just amazed as to how they came through in the second half.

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The 3 Most Realistic Ways to Get Motivated When You Feel Like Giving Up

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At the time of writing this, its been 3 weeks since I finished my last chemotherapy treatment - no more! However, my last 2 treatments (total of 6 weeks) threw my hemoglobin off by 30 to 35%, according to the oncologist, and exerting myself (like walking, climbing stairs) has been a struggle.

Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs and transports it to body tissue. Therefore, if my hemoglobin is reduced, oxygen is not reaching my legs fast enough which causes my heart to pump faster.


To make you understand how it feels when I exert myself, five minutes of walking or climbing a flight of five stairs is similar to running until the lactic acid in the legs have built up and its difficult to go on anymore.

With the lack of movement, I've gained weight over the last 6 weeks.

As humans, our emotions get the better of us, don't they? When I worked out previously I'd feel energized, healthy and happy. These last 6 weeks, I've had to deal with a myriad of emotions - frustration, unhappy about my pants being tight, irritated at myself for being slow instead of the usual fast, and less energetic.

Everyone says, “You got to take it easy."

What do I tell my mind – which is feeling like it can take on the world, but the body is slowing it down?

I tell myself every day that I have to be patient with my body and I even promised myself that when I hit the 3-week mark after my last chemo (this where the white blood cells start to rise) I'm going to start exercising very slowly. In fact, my oncologist encouraged it.

The day arrived and I went on the elliptical, put the timer on for 15 minutes and started at a very low pace. It was difficult and I had to stop every 2 minutes to take a rest and a sip of water.

The next day, I went on for 20 minutes and again I had to stop every 2 minutes to take a rest, in total 40 minutes!

I know I’m not going to shed weight at this rate, but I noticed I started feeling happy and healthy.

Research has shown that exercise improves mental health and is great for individuals who suffer from depression.

For the last month, I was feeling negative and started to hate the situation I was in. I completely lost sight of how chemotherapy is helping kill cancer cells. Then I remembered that it's up to me to take control of my thoughts and HOW I react to the situation.

I could have given up (In fact, I was very close to it) after being on the elliptical for 5 minutes by saying, “This is too hard, I can’t do it.” But I didn’t, I persevered

I persevered for 3 reasons:

1.   It was important for me to keep the promise I made to myself. When you make a promise, or write a task you’re going to achieve that day and you don’t, you’ve just sent a message to your subconscious mind that it’s okay to self-sabotage yourself. This then becomes a habit. I didn’t push my body over the limit because I knew I could only do 2 minutes at a time, but I completed the 15 minutes I had promised myself.

2.   I could hear my oncologist’s voice in my head saying, “Zaheen, if you don’t start exercising now, including strength training, it’s going to be harder down the road.” Hearing his voice in my head kept me going because I’d rather suffer now than when it’s too late. Do you have a mentor or friend you look up to? What would they say to you when you feel like giving up?

3.   Watching YouTube videos on motivation and inspiration is one way that keeps me going. I love the channels: Chispa Motivation and Be Inspired and here is one of the videos that just keeps you going when you feel like giving up:

There’s a great quote that states:

If you can’t change it, then change the way you think about it.

That’s exactly what I did using the 3 strategies above. Have you changed the way you react to a situation lately?

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Struggling to Find the Light at the End of the Tunnel? Try These 2 Simple Tricks

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In a moment, anything can happen and chaos could occur.


It was November 10th, 2016 and I was getting ready to go to an event. I got in the shower and started washing my hair when all of a sudden, a big clump of hair appears in my hand. I start panicking.

Two weeks prior I had gone for my first chemotherapy treatment because I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They had warned me that in a couple of weeks I may lose my hair but nothing, nothing prepared me for what was happening. I quickly got out of the shower and called out to my husband.

My 11-year daughter comes into the bathroom and asks, “What’s wrong?” “Look my hair’s falling out,” I exclaim as I point toward the clump of hair in the bathtub. “Mom, remember breathe. Breathe in for seven seconds, hold it for four and breathe out for another four or five seconds,” she replied calmly.

My husband walks in and gets a grip of what’s happening, then says, “That’s okay we’ll figure something out and remember hair always grows back.”

Sometimes we go into panic mode and can’t think right – which is very normal. But this situation taught me to do two things when I get into a panic or get anxious:

Tap into Your Support System

Your support system is there to help you, guide you, mentor you, and motivate you, and I really needed it then. Just having my daughter telling me to breath made me stop feeling anxious and made me aware of my behavior.

In fact, the first week after my chemotherapy I had so many people calling me and asking “How can I help?” Sometimes you feel like a burden and I know I felt like a burden, but then I realized that people who genuinely offer help, feel abundant when the receiver accepts their help. Therefore, just ask for help when you need it instead of shying away from it or dealing with it on your own.

A lot of research on resilience shows that individuals who bounce forward after a setback, have reached out to their supportive network for guidance or motivation.

Re-frame the Situation to Your Advantage

My husband and I tried to flat iron my hair, but it kept falling out so that wasn’t helping either.

HairInSinkIn 2 hours, I had to speak to a group of women in business and this event was planned back in March. I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t get emotional because I was so focused in finding a solution. However, my sister in Kenya cried for me as I sent her these pictures.

I teach about reframing a negative situation and subconsciously I asked myself then, “How can I make this situation work so it turns out positive?”

If you’d like to know more about reframing, read this Blog Post.

As soon I asked the question, the idea about tying my hair back and applying gel came to me. I never tie my hair back because it’s not long enough! It worked!

Fix my hair for my speaking engagmentWhenever you feel there’s no way out or things are not going the way you want, reframe by asking this one question: “How can I approach this situation in a way that will lead me into a positive outcome?”

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Four Surefire Ways to Reach Your Goals in 2017

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I waved goodbye to 2016 by celebrating my accomplishments so I could embrace 2017 with more abundance coming my way. Yes, 2016 was filled with surprising news about my health, but I refuse to use that as a negative in my life because even a change such as breast cancer taught me more about myself!

I looked back at my 90- day goals for the year (which I call my 3-lane highway) that I had created for 2016 and I can say that I accomplished 80% of my goals. The only thing I couldn’t get to is – recording my audio book.


Does that mean I failed? Not at all. On the contrary, I did my best and I’m willing to look at the 80% I accomplished rather than the 20% I didn’t. By focusing on the 80%, I can re-ignite my engine and tell myself that if I could do this in 2016, then I can do it again in 2017.

You must be wondering, okay it’s 2017. What’s my year looking like? Behavioural Science has shown that you want take the strategies that worked the year before and build on it so the next year works out even better.

Here are four surefire ways to reach your goals in 2017:

Resilient Goals

Plan Ahead

Have you planned your first 90-days yet?

The reason you want to work in 90-day cycles is because the brain can only take information in small chunks and psychologically a 90-day goal seems attainable rather than 6 months.

One of my mentors, Tim Hallbom, once said, “A goal is like a target, if you can’t see it, you will shoot randomly and could end up with nothing.”

I’d like to share my targets for 2017:

2017 roadmap

Planning ahead prepares and motivates you to complete the goal, but It also helps decipher any obstacles you might face. This is where you’re ahead of the game! If you can foresee any obstacles that may occur, you can work on navigating them so you can get back on track and complete your goal.


One of my big goals in 2016 was to create an online course for my resilience program. I had a few requests from individuals who had read my book and wanted to practice more resilience techniques.

I took a course on how to create online courses and came up with a pilot course which was very hands on and consisted of homework and a weekly webinar for 4 weeks. After I offered the course and reflected back at what worked and what didn’t, I decided, with the help of my coach, to pivot this model and work on a different model. This wasn’t a failure, it was a great learning lesson. I realized that my audience was not yet ready for such a heavy course because they needed to understand the basics first. I created a smaller 3-week self-paced course and offered it as a pilot again. This has proven to work better and I’ll be launching it officially in 2017.

What is your one big goal you want to focus on in 2017?
In 2017, it’s my third book – my journey going through breast cancer.

Build a Team

If I didn’t have a team, I’d never get all this done. Goals are one thing, but breaking them down into tasks and adding routine work to your daily schedule does add up and can get overwhelming.

I’ve created a team that takes on tasks I don’t like to do, don’t know how to do, or is a waste of my time. The tasks that I delegate are:

  • Graphic Design
  • Laying out of PDF documents or worksheets
  • Video or photo editing
  • Facebook Ads
  • Sending out requests for Proposals for speaking engagements
  • Setting up webinars
  • Bookkeeping
  • House cleaning
  • Website updates

Get HELP and start creating your team so you can bounce forward in 2017 and achieve your goals. I’ve never met my team in person, they are all over the world! Where do I find them? Go to or


Consistency creates momentum and results. In 2015, when I was writing my second book, The Resilience Reflex - 8 Keys to Transforming Barriers into Success in Life and Business, I’d write every Sunday morning between 5 and 11 in the morning because that’s when I felt most alert and creative. I completed my book within five months.

In our house, Sundays are meal-planning days where my husband and I cook meals together. We’ve created this consistent habit because it keeps us healthy and we avoid blowing our budget on restaurant food.

Once you’re consistent with a task it turns into a habit. Consistency eliminates the extra energy one has to take to make a decision, because you’re already doing it and its part of your lifestyle.

President Obama told Vanity Fair:

"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," [Obama] said. "I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."

Can you be consistent with eating a healthy breakfast at home before you start work?
Can you be consistent with a dally activity that keeps you healthy and strong?
Can you be consistent with a daily gratitude exercise that makes you wiser and resilient?

What are you going to be consistent at doing in 2017? It doesn’t have to be for the whole year, it can be for 90-days only. But start somewhere.

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3 Ways You Punish Yourself (Which Leads to More Chaos)

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3 Ways You Punish Yourself (Which Leads to More Chaos)

In my years of coaching people or speaking to groups, I believe people don’t succeed because they punish themselves using this mindset of blame and victim. Why punish?

You adopt these three behaviours by default when you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or anxious. I do it too, and that’s how the brain works – in patterns.


Complaining About Change

Why is change so difficult to accept at first?

  •  Because we’re unsure of what lies on the other side of change; and
  • We doubt our capability of coping with the change.

When I found out I had breast cancer, the surgeon said, “You will face disruptions for the next 4 to 6 months”. I was not happy because I got scared of all the changes taking place! I had to cancel or postpone my speaking engagements, and turn down new inquiries. That alone was difficult to cope with.

Yes, I complained about it because its lost revenue, but then I decided to use this time to catch up with all the things that were on the back burner so I could cope in a different way.

Complaining makes us feel good because we’re imagining that there’s something better waiting for us, but complaining creates negative vibe/energy which further leads to negative results.

Therefore, I stopped complaining and started working:

  • On my on-line course, which I never had time to do.
  • With a contractor to design an online store for our wellness centre.
  • To enhance our marketing efforts through videos and infographs.

Even though I was unsure of what lies on the other side of change when it came to my treatments, I took CONTROL of my situation by doing the things that I knew were going to make change easier.

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Doing What You've Always Done

Einstein once said, “Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

If you’re watching your budget, then spending $2 on a coffee every day adds up to $60 a month. What if you saved that $60 and made coffee at home?

If you’re watching your weight, then going via a drive-thru for a breakfast sandwich most mornings is not going to reduce your weight. What if you woke up fifteen minutes early and made a smoothie?

If you’re striving to improve your working relationships, then being stingy with your time is not going to get you anywhere. What if you carved out time to talk to a co-worker or an employee?

Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always had. Being flexible is key in having control of your situation.

Believing That There's No Way Out

Whatever you believe is true for you. I have felt this way several times in my life, but the two most important times I remember feeling helpless is – when I suffered from my speech impediment and went into debt between 2009-2012.

With my speech impediment, I thought I’d never amount to anything because I was scared of getting embarrassed with a stutter.

With the debt, I thought we’d go bankrupt because there seemed no way to access money to pay it off.

One of my mentors once told me, “Zaheen, there’s a way! Ask yourself: What’s that way?”

I now use this question every time I feel there’s no way out. Then somehow, I find an answer to my limiting belief.

Can you relate to these three behaviours when you feel like your back is against the wall?

It’s normal, however, the idea is to trick the brain by choosing a different pattern.

When you catch yourself complaining, STOP, and ask, “What’s in my control?”

When you catch yourself doing what you’ve always done expecting a different result, ask, “What can I do differently that will create a positive outcome?”

When you catch yourself feeling like there’s no way out, ask, “There’s a way, what’s the way?”

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