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Marilyn Gansel

Marilyn Gansel

Yonkers, New York

Marilyn Gansel trains the mind for positive performance at work, school, or play. She challenges you to move from a fixed mindset to a flexible which promotes growth and opportunity.

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About the author

Marilyn Gansel credentials include Doctor of Applied Sports Psychology, advanced degrees in education and certifications by the American Council on Exercise for personal training and Behavior Change Specialist. Her specialty certifications include program design for seniors, pre and postnatal, and cancer recovery. She works with athletes, individuals recovering from injuries, the medically referred, and the physically challenged.

As a result of her in-depth doctoral dissertation on weight loss, Marilyn integrates holistic life coaching with fitness and performance.  As a Sports Psychologist and positive performance coach, Marilyn challenges clients to identify unconscious patterns of resistance, and expand their possibilities by moving them out of their comfort zone; to move from post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth….from an inflexible mindset to a flexible one…employing positive tactics to help with "overthinking and negative thinking" which clearly sabotage your best performance

Her coaching method is "Explore, Expand, and Evolve into YOU!"  She coaches people who want to explore their options, expand their awareness, and evolve into greatness; enjoy.

Marilyn helps clients achieve their desired goals as they play a winnable game in the areas of health, stress management, retirement, career or creative expression… uncovering simple methods to change, grow, and function more positively... whoever you are…wherever you are in life to optimize your performance; become more resilient, confident, and optimistic.

Published author 2011

Pain, Purpose, Passion

That was then, this is now: 22 Triumphant Journeys

Click here to read part of my chapter “I never wanted you, my mother said...”

This is a fascinating collection of inspirational true stories now available on Not only did I compile the stories, I wrote one of the more candid ones. Publisher and editor Patricia Horan of the Roundhouse Press and I  produced an inspirational book whose real stories are not only rich in content but, more important, reveal how the authors turned their Pain into Purpose and then into Passion.

This is a book you can give to friends and family members for birthdays, anniversaries, and as holiday gifts. It is certainly one that organizations—dealing with cancer, addiction, divorce, grief, homelessness, weight loss and more—churches, therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, social workers and other groups will want to use for fundraisers and for special talks and promotions.

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Success! Mac 'n Cheese sold 2 pre-orders by Aug. 29, 2018, was pitched to 9 publishers, and is in discussions with publishers.

$21 MINDSET Master!

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1 Copy of the autographed limited edition of the book "Mac n' Cheese" + Free invitation to the book launch. You ALSO get exclusive access to updates and an invite to join my performance community. *This bonus is limited to the first 90 readers.

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Together, we co-create actions to explore and expand your mental skills practicing new tools as you evolve into a life of purpose and fulfillment.

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10 copies of the autographed limited edition of the book “Mac n' Cheese” + invitation to the book launch + Your name mentioned in the book + FREE invitation to join my Health/Wellness/Sports coaching session valued at $500

Coaching is a powerful, life-changing experience. I will help you with my coaching techniques whether it is business or career, health/wellness, personal development, transitioning into retirement, athletic performance...whatever is holding you back.

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Mac 'n Cheese

Mini Morsels For Positive Performance

“Life is a play. It's not its length, but its performance that counts.”― Seneca

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Personal Growth & Self-Improvement Positive Performance
45,000 words
75% complete
8 publishers interested


I wrote this book because

1. The world, at times, is challenging, frightening, and overwhelming. We want to give up in times of crisis or when we face an obstacle that comes out of left field. How do we manage? What simple coping mechanisms help us look at challenges as opportunities for growth and positive performance? 

2. A major mind shift can be taught so in spite of negative thoughts and behavior... in spite of the hurt, fear, loss etc. we experience, we continue to perform and produce to the best of out ability; using the challenges as opportunities for post-traumatic growth.

3. I used mindset techniques to consciously and proactively choose positive performance during a setback; in other words, I went from an inflexible mindset to a flexible one! 

This book is important…

1. This book is important because we all share challenges in life…whether at home, school, at play or work.

2. There are simple techniques  and new perspectives that, when mindfully practiced, help you positively perform at work, at home, or at play.

3. These life lessons in my book suggest ways to change, grow, and become who you were meant to be. They offer new choices to consider on what we know or think we know and may now be ready to claim. These thoughts gathered from experience and wisdom will help the read explore, expand, and evolve.


Table of Contents

1: Driven to Perfection

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

2: Thoughts Become Things

“If you see it in your mind, you will see it in your hand.” Don Proctor

3. Dreams

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney

4: Mental Attitude

“The most vital thing in a man’s life is his mental attitude.”

5: Pay it forward

“If you want more kindness in the world, put it there.”

6: Grief

“It doesn’t get better, it gets different.”

7: Inferiority

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

8: Compassion

“Compassion is the keen awareness of the independency of all things.”

9: Fear

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”~ Marie Curie

10: Money/Greed/Vengeance

“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

11: Balance and Serenity

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.”

12: Possibilities

“Let your imagination release your imprisoned possibilities.”

13: Who are you and Who Are You Becoming?

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” Oprah

14: Success

“Failure is only a fact when you give up. Everyone gets knocked down, the question is: Will you get back up?”

15: Living Life

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your life on fire.”

16: Empowerment

“It took quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” Madeline Allbright

17: The Tongue

“The tongue is but a small, soft flesh. Yet, it is capable of breaking the strongest bonds and destroying the most powerful of relationships.” Yasir Quadir

18: Forgiveness and Mercy

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. Roberto Assagioli

19: More or Less

“Live simply. Give more. Expect less.” Rita Zahara

20: Love

“I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, and all that you’re meant to be.”

21: Values

“I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” Ellen Degeneres

22: Passion

“Allow your passion to be your purpose and one day, it will become your profession.”

23: Responsibility

“The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek.”

25: Time

“Time is a gift that most of us take for granted.” Cheryl Richardson

26: Attitude with Gratitude

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks to everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Brian Tracy


  • Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors

  • Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Neuro psychiatrists, Psychotherapists

  • PhD Scholars

  • Graduates and Post Graduates

  • Directors, CEO’s of Organizations

  • Association presidents, Vice Presidents and professionals

  • Noble laureates in Health Care and Medicine

  • Pharmaceutical development companies

  • Research Institutes and members

  • Supply Chain companies

  • Manufacturing Companies

  • Training Institutes

  • Business Entrepreneurs

Target Audience:

  • Industry       10%

  • Academia    50%

  • Clinicians     20%

  • Others         10%

  • University    10%


There are even more number of Universities & Colleges in Chicago which are related to Psychology few of them are:

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

  • University of Chicago

  • Loyola University Chicago

  • Northern Illinois University

  • DePaul University

  • Illinois Institute of Technology

  • Roosevelt University

  • Lewis University

  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

  • Chicago State University

  • Saint Xavier University

  • Benedictine University

  • Valparaiso University

  • Aurora University

  • Dominican University

  • North Park University

  • University of St Francis

  • Trinity International University-Illinois

  • Governors State University

  • McKendree University

  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago

  • Rush University

  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

  • Argosy University-Chicago

  • Adler School of Professional Psychology

  • Institute for Clinical Social Work

  • College of DuPage

  • Lake Forest College

  • Elmhurst College

  • Wheaton College

  • Moraine Valley Community College

  • City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College

List of Hospitals associated with Psychology, Psychiatry & Mental Health in Chicago, USA are:

  • The Aspen Center for Counseling and Consultation

  • Chicago Psych Therapy Group

  • Chicago Lakeshore Hospital

  • Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center

  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

  • Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation

  • Riveredge Hospital

  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Behavioral Health Services

  • Methodist Hospital of Chicago

  • Foundations Chicago

  • Colliance Wellness

  • Howard Brown Health Center

  • Community Counseling Centers

  • Compass Health Center

  • Clarity Clinic Chicago

  • Loretto Hospital

  • Thorek Memorial Hospital

  • Norwegian American Hospital

  • Ron Ahlberg & Associates

  • Banyan Treatment Center Chicago

  • Chicago Behavioral Hospital

  • Elmhurst Hospital - Main Campus

  • Kenneth Young Center

  • Advocate Children’s Hospital

  • Elemental Center

  • Banyan Treatment Center Chicago

  • Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

  • Soft Landing Recovery

  • Glendale Psychological Services

  • Yellowbrick Consultation and Treatment Center

  • West Suburban Multi-Specialty Medical Services

  • Methodist Hospital – Northlake

  • Counseling Services of Nicole A. Dugger & Associates

  • Advanced Women’s Healthcare Specialists

  • Garfield Park Behavioral Hospital

  • Neuropsychiatric Institute

  • Meridian Psychiatric Partners, LLC

  • Rush Outpatient Psychiatry – Westgate

  • Primary Care Psychology Associates LLC

  • Chicago-Read Mental Health Center

  • Hartgrove Behavioral Health System

  • Mount Sinai Hospital Psychiatry

  • Insight Behavioral Health Centers

  • Stone Mental Health Center

  • Bryn Mawr Care

  • Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation — Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences

  • Uptown Psych

  • Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center - Behavioral Health

  • Northwestern Medicine

  • Sankofa Psychological Services

  • Chicago Children's Center

  • Rogers Behavioral Health

  • Compass Health Center

  • Rush Outpatient Psychiatry – Westgate

  • Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago

  • John Madden Mental Health Center

  • University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

  • Kindred Hospital Chicago North

  • Thresholds

  • Saint Anthony Hospital

  • Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)

  • Illinois Inst of Integrated Mental Health Adult ADD-ADHD Anxiety Depression Panic Psychotherapy

  • Presence Health

  • Turning Point

  • Presence Saint Joseph Hospital

  • University of Chicago Outpatient Senior Health Center at South Shore

  • Welcoming Center of LSSI

  • Meier Clinics

  • Lotus Center Chicago

  • CommunityHealth

List of Hospitals associated with Psychology, Psychiatry & Mental Health in USA are:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

  • McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

  • New York–Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York City

  • Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Menninger Clinic, Houston, Texas

  • Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, Baltimore

  • Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at the University of California-Los Angeles

  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

  • Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

  • Yale–New Haven Hospital, Connecticut

  • UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center

  • Elgin Mental Health Center

  • DSH- Metropolitan LA (FKA Metropolitan LA State Hospital)

  • Western State Hospital

  • Wancora Psychiatric Hospital

  • Connecticut Valley Hospital

  • Broughton Hospital

  • Spring Grove Hospital Center

  • Springfield Hospital Center

  • Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

  • Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo

  • Harlem Valley State Hospital

  • Gracie Square Hospital

  • Edgewood State Hospital

  • Dannemora State Hospital

  • Zucker Hillside Hospital

  • Arms Acres

  • Brylin Hospitals

  • Four Winds Hospitals

  • Gracie Square Hospital

  • Holliswood Hospital

  • Lenox Hill Hospital

  • Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center

  • Rochester Mental Health Center

  • Rye Hospital Center

  • Saint Vincent's Hospital Westchester

  • Zucker Hillside Hospital


Email campaign 100

Twitter daily reminders

Facebook daily reminders 800

Press Releases newspapers 10=15


LinkedIn 900

Video on Y-Tube and social media

My workplace via email 1000+

American Council on Exercise 26,594

International Positive Psychology Assocation

International Coaching Federation 45,364

Emerson College students and alumni

Happiness Institute 4,877

Wellness Corporate Soutions, LLC 11,3333

Video 2 minutes

Radio spots 5-10

Women's Worshops

IDEA Workshops


Sep 14, 2010

by Shawn Achor

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.

Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:

   • The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

May 27, 1997

by W. Timothy Gallwey and Zach Kleiman

With more than 800,000 copies sold since it was first published thirty years ago, this phenomenally successful guide has become a touchstone for hundreds of thousands of people. Not just for tennis players, or even just for athletes in general, this handbook works for anybody who wants to improve his or her performance in any activity, from playing music to getting ahead at work. W. Timothy Gallwey, a leading innovator in sports psychology, reveals how to

• focus your mind to overcome nervousness, self-doubt, and distractions

• find the state of “relaxed concentration” that allows you to play at your best

• build skills by smart practice, then put it all together in match play

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, Gallwey's engaging voice, clear examples, and illuminating anecdotes will give you the tools you need to succeed.Top of Form

Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude: New Edition, Updated & Revised: How to Find, Build and Keep a YES! Attitude for a Lifetime of SUCCESS & HAPPINESS Hardcover – January 16, 2018

Every person in the universe wants to hear YES! Every business and sales winner wants to hear one word: YES! Having and maintaining a YES! Attitude that's powerful enough to help anyone achieve the impossible is possible. When you've got a YES! Attitude, you assume everything will start with YES! ...and you'll find a way to YES! even when the first, second, and third answer you hear is NO!

You say you weren't born with a YES! Attitude? No problem! Jeffrey Gitomer will give you all the tools you need to build one and maintain it for a lifetime. As the world's #1 expert in selling (and the author of the best-sellers Little Red Book of Selling and The Sales Bible), Gitomer knows more about attitude than anyone alive today. Now he's brought those lessons together in a book you can read in one sitting... a book that'll change your life!

What makes this book for you? It's not just inspiration: it's a complete, step-by-step, fully-integrated game plan for understanding and mastering your attitude. You'll learn the 7.5 specific things you can do to maintain your intensity, drive, and commitment... discover 20.5 attitude gems that capture the value of thousands of dollars of books and courses... learn how to overcome the 10.5 most dangerous attitude busters ... then learn how to maintain your YES! Attitude every day, for the rest of your life! Don't just read this book once: study it, live it -- and win

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be Hardcover – February 6, 2018 by Rachel Hollis

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.

Founder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Sep 28, 2010 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive will inspire and uplift readers with its stories of optimism, faith, and strength. In bad times, and good, readers will be heartened to keep a positive attitude. A great start to the New Year.

Every cloud has a silver lining. And the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive will encourage readers to stay positive, because there is always a bright side. This book continues Chicken Soup for the Soul’s focus on inspiration and hope, reminding us that each day holds something to be thankful for.

Each of these books addresses one or several component of the topics in my book. My book is a compilation of wisdoms I absorbed from life experiences—some harsh, some joyful but always learning how to be more resilient, happy, content, and grateful. My short posts reveal the mental skills acquired through study and practice to deal with life’s unexpected hurdles. Positive Psychology techniques opened up a new life adventure in the pursuit of what sets my heart on fire; each of them will help you perform better and more positively. You will become less fearful, perfect, inferior, critical, greedy and vengeful; more balanced, successful, empowered, forgiving, loving, passionate and responsible. You will be more mindful of focusing on gratitude for the little things and ultimately create a happier, more purposeful life. My book’s posts can be read in sequence or can be selected by subject/topic  for a particular need or struggle.

8 publishers interested Express interest
Sourcebooks logo Sourcebooks

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eBooks2go, Inc., was founded in 2011 to provide the missing link for all your publishing needs. Our end-to-end solutions provide the guidance and support that enable publishers and independent authors to pursue their passions. To date, we have helped more than 750 authors and 100 publishers worldwide.

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Dear Author,

Congratulations on writing your book!

Options abound in today's publishing world, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between traditional publishers, hybrid publishers, subsidy publishers, and self-publishing companies.

1106 Design offers independent publishing as it was initially intended, with you, the author, as the publisher. We don't publish your book, you do, and we'll show you how with our signature hand-holding at every step.

We offer publishing-house-quality manuscript editing, cover design, interior design and layout, proofreading, eBook formatting, author websites, and book marketing assistance, to help you produce a beautiful, market-ready book. Then we'll help you obtain printing and distribution in your name, so 100% of the proceeds are paid directly to you.

Work with us, and you'll retain complete control of the creative process, your design files, and your revenue stream, and your book will be available for sale in a matter of months.

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If you would like a custom quote, please email your completed manuscript to and let us know which services you need. Don't worry; we won’t share your manuscript with anyone else.

Questions? We'll be happy to talk to you!

At 1106 Design, we love helping authors create great books! We hope to hear from you soon.

Michele DeFilippo

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We have helped 250+ authors to get their books self-published, hit the #1 position in the Amazon bestseller charts and also establish their author website & brand to grow their business. And the best thing is, we do all this without taking away your rights and royalties. Our publishing packages start at $699! Let's schedule a call to discuss the next steps in your book project:

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“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Chapter 1:  Driven to Perfection

I am DTP ~ driven to perfection. That is the best way to describe me.

I didn’t think I was a compelled person; but, in my mid-thirties, my pastor asked me why I was so driven! I didn’t consider myself “obsessed.” I pictured myself as ambitious, energetic, focused, and motivated to be a success. That inner drive to succeed propelled me to constantly take on new challenges; embark on novel projects. So, I took my pastor’s question about my obsessive nature to be a positive comment; after all, my ambition was a value that aligned with whom I was becoming.

Recently, however, I am re-thinking that maybe my whole life I have been trying to prove that I am just as good as the next person ~ just as smart, just as pretty, just as loveable, just as perfect as the world wants me. I have been asking myself where this “driven” quality came from. It seems to be engrained in my core; and I believe it stems from several things my mother said to me when I was a child.

"I never wanted you,” my Mother told me one day as she was brushing my hair. I must have been three or four at the time. "I never wanted you. When I found out I was pregnant, I went to the doctor and asked him to remove 'it...use a coat hanger, whatever. But I'm glad I have you. In the end, I'm glad."

You never forget when someone says "I never wanted you" even when they follow it with "but" and attempt to qualify what they mean. Those words, imprinted in my subconscious, fueled the way I saw myself throughout my life: unworthy, less than perfect...a reject...someone who could be tossed aside for someone more valued...more loveable.

Perhaps my mother felt unworthy also. She was raised with eight brothers and sisters; all the boys slept in one bed, the girls in another. My grandmother took four sacks and bleached them to sew under garments for the family. My grandparents spoke broken English. So at an early age, my mother suggested I “surround myself with people better than me.” Not that was a bad thing for her to say. She and my dad did not have the opportunity to finish high school or grammar school. They had to find jobs as soon as they could to help their parents. But surrounding me with people better than me may have contributed to the low self-esteem I already had. We were poor and I began finding friends out of my league; classmates who led privileged lives. I didn’t have the experiences they had, the allowances, the travel, the culture. My rearing was simple and unsophisticated. I knew early on I didn’t belong in that circle; but I pretended. I tried so hard in my driven way to be perfect.

I had terrible learning problems as a child. I was always failing in school.  Teachers told me I wouldn’t amount to much. And I believed that story for a time.  I became silent and shy unable to voice an opinion. It didn’t help either that at home, as a female my words didn’t count, my desires to obtain an education beyond high school didn’t matter. I would be married and have children and stay home. No one asked what I wanted. Inside I wanted to prove everyone wrong.

And then, after high school, it hit me. I had to leave home. I had to get into a college ~any college. I needed to push myself and prove to myself and the world that I wasn’t unworthy or dumb. I didn’t want people “to find me out ~ that I was less than ~ perfect.”

So I hide behind the mask of perfection ~ driving myself into illness, depression and anxiety. I would appear smart, witty, worthy, and perfectly successful. Yet, all the while, I felt unsure, unsafe, unworthy, and uncertain. I had to drive myself harder to prove that I am loved.

Today, however, I can say that while these feelings are still within me ~ rising up to the surface now and then, I am more content with the story of me. Yes, perfection is part of my character. Driven to prove is still showing up. But I am more mindful of where those personality traits came from; and, without judgment, I know that I never going to be perfect ~ and that’s OK. I am still worthy and loved. I can ease up on the driven nature of who I am. I can begin to relax and see that in the eyes of the one who created me, I am “enough.”

I am enough for today; there is a tomorrow.

What does perfection mean to you? What's driving you?  Is there any correlation to what drove you earlier in life than today? What steps can you take to be less perfect, less driven? What would have to happen for you to believe that you are enough?

Chapter 4: “The most vital thing in a man’s life is his mental attitude.”

Mental Attitude: Behind the Smile or Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

This came to me by email. I thought about this writer’s opinion and wasn’t going to comment except I feel just like Marilyn Monroe (for whom I was really named)–misunderstood.

“Dr. Marilyn: While I admire your energy, optimism, and ambition… I find your approach to human health disturbing. It seems so much based on a kind of typically American, somewhat overly commercial, everyone-should-always-be-optimistic and powerful view of everything. My question: do you ever entertain any doubts? Frankly, the way you advertise your business and yourself– the big smile, etc. leads me (and no doubt others) to distrust your approach. Have you ever considered that your approach isn’t quite so perfect, and does some harm as well as good?”

So, to the writer of this email and all others who doubt the authentic me, let me tell you about what is behind my “big” smile.

My “big” smile reflects who I am becoming: someone who is trying to love unconditionally and someone who wishes to bring brightness to a world that is struggling. My smile is the first thing people see which I hope is warm and welcoming. Maybe it’s not; is my smile typically American? I see a lot of very unhappy, unsmiling American people. Maybe that’s my line of business. I see sad, dissatisfied, unfulfilled Americans looking for ways to alleviate, soothe, and fill up their emptiness. And, many times, they do it in very destructive ways.

I guess my wide smile in my advertising photo confuses you. I cannot apologize for that. I cannot plaster a miserable, dejected face on my website or in my advertising to convince you that I am like you–a real person with real problems. Instead I choose to show my smile which (hopefully) radiates joy and happiness even when my life isn’t so perfect; because, you see, it never has been perfect. My smile doesn’t show my pain or sorrow, my doubts or fears; but let me tell you, I have had them and still have. I know loss. I lost my best friend to suicide. I lost 5 family members in two and a half years. I know uncertainty. Most of my life, I felt the unknown–would I pass my classes in school? Would I find love? Would I find a fulfilling job? Would I be the best? I was always the last…to be chosen for anything. I know fear; fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of being put down, or fear of being ridiculed for my beliefs. I know depression. I suffered for years feeling that I wouldn’t amount to anything. I had and still fight the limiting beliefs that can hold me back. I have been overweight–hated the way I looked. I struggle too with self-esteem.

I smile because I choose to…because it is my gift to the people I meet. When my husband had cancer and most recently open heart surgery, I went to work each day with a smile. When I opened the door to that job, I left my pain and sadness behind because I was needed as a teacher (my career then) and as a positive performance coach (my career now). My students needed me. My clients need me. Sometimes I would go out to my car at lunch and cry when my husband was ill; but I would return smiling because, as my aunt used to say “What’s the use of complaining?” When my dad was dying from pancreatic and colon cancer, he still smiled, still was grateful. I choose the ‘attitude with gratitude’ approach. I want my smile to bring hope, encouragement. If that’s overly commercial, well, too bad. We need optimistic people to bolster our spirits. We need inspiration! 

What new small steps can you take today to help you stay positive, happy, and optimistic without feeling like Pollyanna?

Make sure the steps you take are bringing you a smile. Not forced but genuinely happy.

 “Play Enthusiastically throughout Your Life!”

“What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.” Stuart Brown, Institute of Play

Do you remember the expression “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy?” That may refer to children but I believe it refers to adults too!

Think about this: Remember recess? Remember when you played hide and seek, tag, and red rover, red rover? Remember when you jumped rope or built forts, or played with dolls or dressed up as an imaginary character?

We all know children need play time. Lack of play affects emotional development, leading to the rise of anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self-control.

But what about adults—do they need recess? Do they require play time too? I am of the strong opinion that we have encouraged the decline of children’s free play since about 1955. As adults, we have exerted increasing control over children’s activities. Author Peter Gray, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology (emeritus) at Boston College defines “free play” as play a child undertakes him or herself which is self-directed and an end in itself, rather than some part of organized activity. This type of play is a testing ground for life. Play is critical to developing self-confidence, for connecting to one’s self-identified and self-guided interests. Play helps with decision-making, problem-solving, and the ability to follow rules. Children learn how to handle their emotions, including anger and fear during play. Play also helps children make friends and learn how to get along with others as equals. Most importantly, play is a source of happiness. The loss of play gives rise to anxiety and depression.

Do you see why adults need to incorporate play into their lives? How can you play more? Play enthusiastically throughout your life!

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