Taking things to the next level often sounds easy, but usually is more challenging than it appears.

Whether it is in your career, your relationships, your family life or your business, make better connections, becoming closer to the people around you, and risking more leads us to self-doubt and insecurity.

So how do you move forward anyway? How do you calm the demons of your imagination and take those dreadful steps?

The key is always your focus.

What are you focusing on, the challenges or the rewards? The risks or the benefits? The potential mistakes or the potential magnificence?

The more we focus on what life will be like once we get through this trial, the more we can start enjoying the good times now!

We now live in what some people call the Connection Economy.

Connection being the source of revenue. Connecting to your tribe, your fans, or even your prospects has become both easier and harder at the same time.

With technology giving us more and more ways to connection, more and more people are trying to connect to us.

The only way to handle this connection overload is to make some clear choices on who you consider to be a valuable connection, and who isn’t.

That means having to be more authentic, more relevant, and more valuable in your message and your brand than ever before.

Do you know how to be authentic, relevant and valuable? It may not be as easy as it seems…

What makes our day-to-day struggles so hard?

Is it the actual challenge itself?

Is it finding the support or direction you need?

Or perhaps is it our judgment of the situation itself? Is it that we make the challenge “wrong” in some way, make it something to avoid, get past, or get around?

Often times, the actual challenge itself is not the cause of the stress we feel, but the fact that we condemn, in some way, that the challenge is happening in the first place.

Inevitably, if we can let go of the judgment, of making the challenge or situation “right” or “wrong”, we release a great deal of the stress we feel around it.

This is not to say if you are struggling to pay the rent, or put food on the table, that the struggle just disappears. However, if we shift our perspective and see the struggle as a natural part of life, then it is no longer to be feared, avoided, or ignored.

We can then show up in our lives with an ease, a grace, that allows us to walk through whatever arises and not get stuck on the fact that this particular event is happening.

Although this may not be an easy practice to cultivate, the rewards are astounding!

It has been said that the longest distance you will travel in your life is the 36 inches from your head to your heart.

So often we get caught up in out thinking, our knowledge, even our wisdom, to the point that we forget that the heart is the wisest place of all.

It has almost become a cliche – They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – so the next time you open your mouth to give someone advice perhaps you first ask yourself, am I coming from my heart or my head?

If we can at least ask the question, perhaps we can learn to come from our heart more often.

People often say that reality is harsh, and that’s why we try so hard to escape in our culture.

We distract ourselves with movies, music, Facebook, real books, events of all kinds, alcohol, and other substances.

But isn’t it really not so much that reality is harsh, as it is our reaction to reality?

Isn’t it our desire to change reality, to make reality something other than what it is, that is the real cause of our stress?

How different would our lives be if we just learned to accept reality as it is, and when we want to see a change start with ourselves first? Instead of judging reality as wrong or undesirable, what if we just looked for the lesson in the situation?

What if instead of trying to change your co-worker, your friends, your in-laws or your boss, you just accepted them as they are and made your decisions assuming they are not going to change, they don’t need to change, and what you really need to change is yourself?

How would you show up differently? How would you talk to them, respond to them, or be with them? How could you see them reflecting something back to you that is really about what is going on inside of you?

There are seemingly so many challenges in the world today. Concerns about the environment, the economy, war, poverty, violence, and inequality are evident daily.

It can feel overwhelming at times.

The mistake we often make is that we need to come up a million different solutions to these challenges.

Actually, there is really only one solution, that, if we focus on it, will take care of everything.

And that is… raising people’s consciousness. Yes, that’s it.

You see, if we focus on the fundamental issue that is really plaguing the world, that of the lack of consciousness, we will evolve out of these situations in a most natural way.

By raising the conscious of the people on this planet, we will have not only one, but many individuals rise to the occasion and come up with many viable alternatives to how we currently do things.

Want a better world economic system? Raise the consciousness of enough business people and world leaders and it come.

Want to improve the state of the environment? Raise the conscious of enough consumers and scientists and we will pollute less and figure out how to deal with the toxins we have created in no time.

Want to end violence in the world? Raise the consciousness of enough people, and soldiers will not want to go to war, and people will finally see how connected we are, and how such actions harm ourselves as much as the other.

So next time you have a conversation with someone about how to fix the world’s problems, remind them that there is one key to it all.

Raising our own consciousness!

Just when you think you got it all figured out, can you be pretty sure that ain’t it. You might think things are stable, and then sudden change happens. You might think things have to change soon, and then they don’t. You might think you just can’t stand any more change, but then something changes for the better and you are moved to tears. Regardless of how we feel about life, and what should be happening, it serves us well to be flexible, roll with the changes, and just trust that life will take care of us. How often have you thought things should go one way, and then they don’t, only to bring you something better?

Connection is now easier than ever, some people say, because of how ubiquitous the Internet has become. But if connection is so easy now, how come more people feel disconnected than ever before? We can reach out to friends around the globe with the click of a button, but how many of us take the time to get to know our neighbors? Do you know your mailman’s first name? Do you talk to the person who serves you your morning cup of coffee as you rush into the office? Do you really know what is going on in the person’s life who sits in the next cubicle/office/desk? In an age where communications take so much of our time and attention, do you truly communicate with the people right next to you?

Finding your voice is essential in today’s interconnected world. Many of us feel we don’t know what we want to say, or that we simply have nothing new to contribute.

In speaking with many people, it actually seems that it is not that we don’t have anything to say, we more lack the confidence in ourselves to share what we really believe.

So much in life we are told how we are wrong, our mistakes are highlighted not our successes, and over time it is easy to develop a voice in our heads that questions everything we think and say.

But the world needs our voice, our truth, our unique perspective.

In deciding whether to share our voice we should not so much look at the absolute “rightness” or “wrongness” of what we are about to say, but if we focus on whether it feels right to us.

Chances are, if it feels right to you, not matter how crazy it might seem at first, it will resonate with others. In fact, the crazier it seems, the more it will mean to other people that you took the chance to share it with the world.

Communicating your message is not so much about being a holder of absolute truth, but about letting others know that it is okay for them to share what is deep inside of their soul.

Let’s live an example. Be the voice you always wanted to hear.

We use the word Community to mean many things. Most commonly, we usually think of our community as the group of people ho live in close proximity to our home. But in modern times community has taken on a very different meaning. With social media and the connectedness that the Internet provides, communities are being formed everyday around concepts, practices and beliefs that resonate with us. Communities are now not just physical, but virtual as well, but the main distinction from the past development of communities, is that most communities that are coalescing before our eyes are based on shared ideas and principles, instead of genetic heritage or ethnic/racial lineage. Who is your community made up of?