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To my fearless fitness family,

I apologize for my absence, I have been busy flying to a new location! I am proud to announce that my new website: http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/ has successfully been launched. I now feel that my online brand accurately reflects the work I do and the path I plan to pursue. After many years blogging from this “Fearless Fitness” space, I am beyond excited to share this update with you.  You’ll now find all my YouTube videos, blog posts, and updates all in ONE place.  Visit the site and check it out, I cant wait to hear what you think of it! If you wish to stay in touch and get weekly positive emails in YOUR inbox, update your blog subscription by entering your email in the “subscribe box” : http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/blog/. I can’t wait to share more informative, inspirational, and positive posts with YOU in the future!

Thank you for being a part of my loving community of support. Together we can fly free and lead happy, healthy lives. Looking forward to sharing a bright future with you. Onward and Upward!

With love and gratitude,

Caroline

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“Remember then:there is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy

There are two ways to live life: consciously or unconsciously. Conscious living, or “mindfulness” means being an active participant in your life, choosing the experiences you get involved with, and taking responsibility for the decisions you make. The opposite, living unconsciously, means allowing circumstances to dictate your life, remaining passive, and taking little to no ownership over what life brings. When it comes to living consciously or unconsciously, which one sounds more appealing to you in this one and only life? I thought so 😉

When you live consciously, you become intentional in the things you do. You put yourself in the drivers seat, and instead of waiting for things to happen, you MAKE things happen. You get more done, are more mindful of what you do, and are more focused. All of this gives you the ability to accomplish the things you set our to do and to be more successful in life. The best part is that holding yourself accountable for the life you have has a direct and positive impact on self-esteem, attitude, and belief in yourself.

Studies have shown that conscious living also provides numerous health benefits. It helps reduce and manage stress, chronic pain and blood pressure, and increases immune function and ability to cope with disease. Individuals who live consciously tend to be happier and have a more positive outlook than those who don’t. They tend to take themselves less seriously, are less impulsive or reactive, and accept their own weaknesses without self-judgement. Further, they’re able to take criticism more easily, and suffer less from depression and other emotional and behavioral issues.

Living consciously also means focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future. In other words, you live life in the moment. This translates to experiencing more positive thoughts and feelings as most of our anxiety and fears are rooted in past disappointments or regrets and the worry we feel about the future.

Finally living a conscious life helps you develop closer relationships. You’re more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and reactions which helps you to be more sympathetic and understanding toward others. And you can more easily understand the impact of your choice on you life as well as those around you.

Ready to be an active participant in your life and live in the moment every day? Conscious living encompasses all aspects of life. Everything from what you choose to eat at dinner to the way you treat people can involve intentional thought and action. Living consciously can occur at any moment, on any day, just by actively being present during your experiences and being aware of your feelings and emotions. All it takes to get started is a commitment to be present in your life. Here are my guidelines for living in the moment (and actually enjoying it!)

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Caroline’s Live In the Moment (and ENJOY it!) Suggestions For Success

  • Stop and Smell the roses. Throughout the day, take time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Become mindful of your environment and how you personally fit into it. Observe colors, sounds, light, smells, and textures. Savor moments by allowing all of your senses to fully experience them. Make a habit of noticing new things in every situation, even for those repetitive actions like walking to work and making breakfast.
  • Experiment: Every day find something new to try. Take a class. Attend a seminar. Read a new book. Play a new game. When opportunities present themselves, embrace them openly and look for the potential that they may bring. Say YES instead of no and do one thing a day that scares you. Trying new things keeps you engaged, youthful, and living to the fullest.
  • Stop Thinking: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School tells us, “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” Part of our inability to live consciously is that we let our thoughts overtake our minds, precluding us from living in the moment and experiencing life. Instead, allow yourself to “just be”. Focus less on your thoughts and more on whats going on around you at the moment. Actively take part in the present while shutting out negativity of the past or future.
  • Breathe: When you feel the urge to be impulsive of have a knee-jerk reaction to something, stop and take a few deep, cleansing breaths.  When it comes to building a conscious life, deep breathing helps you hit the “restart” button. Instead of reacting hastily or irrationally, you’re able to gain self-control and have more rational and appropriate responses to situations and circumstances. Best part is deep breathing is free, easy, and can be done ANYWHERE! Inhale, Exhale, REPEAT!
  • Accept Challenges, Pain, Worry: When something is uncomfortable, we often feel compelled to avoid it. Instead of pushing these feelings away, simply allow yourself to feel them and accept them for what they are. When we don’t acknowledge negative feelings, our minds deal with them in indirect ways. This can manifest in unhealthy behaviors, or worse cause us to do things we may regret. Accepting negative feelings, however, helps us understand our stressors, anxieties, and reactions, giving us the power to move forward and create new feelings and reactions so we can move past negativity instead of dwelling on it. I always say you have to FEEL in order to heal!
  • Switch from Autopilot to Manual: You know your inner autopilot is at work when you feel like time has passed you by, yet you have no idea what you did or what happened during that time. You are going through the motions instead of actively engaging in your life. Maybe autopilot kicks in during a commute or while running errands. Or maybe its at work for longer periods of time. To get the most out of life, its important to be an active participant. Shut off autopilot by increasing your awareness of your thoughts, actions, decisions, and experiences. Don’t defer to others to make decisions for you or allow circumstances to dictate your life. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and frustration. As pilot of your life, you have ultimate control of where you go and the direction you head. Constantly look for ways to engage in what life has to offer…. you never know what may come your way.

Studies have shown that when individuals take the time to enjoy the moments of their lives, they experience more joy, happiness, and positive emotions, and fewer of those that are negative or depressive. But you don’t need research to tell you that conscious living is worthwhile, being an active participant in your life just FEELS better!

How do you practice mindfulness and “live in the moment” on a daily basis? Heres to living and loving every second 🙂

Caroline

Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

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“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me. I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with the opportunity to begin again and be better.” –  Oprah.

On December 27, 2012 I joined together with 13 cousins and 6 aunts and uncles to celebrate the life of one woman: My Grandmother. Grandma stands as an inspiration to us all, the walking proof of a life well lived. She is  glowing, full of health and vitality. Celebrating 90 years of life with my family was a memorable, meaningful night for me. I set a new personal goal: to live to 90 (and THEN some) just like my Grandma Joan.

What can you do to age gracefully and increase your longevity? Luck and genetics are a piece of the puzzle, but you can’t control that. To increase your odds of reaching 90 and beyond, it’s about focusing on what you can do. Loading up on fruits and veggies, working out five days a week, and cutting down on stress are just a few habits to help you age well. Here are a few other suggestions from one woman who knows, my Grandmother!

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Lessons on living till 90 (and THEN some!) from Grandma Joan

Move Your Body. Regular exercise is one of the strongest predictors of a long life. Thats because being active is like turning up a car engine. It keeps systems running better so even if there’s a decline with age its less severe. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck behind a desk most days with a sedentary job, which can negatively affect longevity. To add years to your life, make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a little bit goes a long way: try walking 30 minutes a day and a few times a week add on something else like a dance class or lifting weights. Research shows that people who perform even the most basic movements (walking just 3 to 5 days a week) live longer than those who don’t.  Especially the older you get—stop moving, stop living.

Have Meaningful Relationships. Having meaningful relationships is critical to your health. Partly because the reverse – being isolated – can lead to depression and even dampen the immune system. My Grandma knows this all too well, she had SIX kids after all! Her one tip of advice? Just make sure to surround yourself only with people who can lift you higher. You want to be around those that positively influence your life and encourage you to reach your goals. Establish regular dates to be social with your those you love. Go to happy hour, visit a museum, savor a meal, enjoy life together!

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Set the Table and Share Home-cooked Meals. Making it a priority to share meals with those you love not only helps build meaningful relationships (see above) it improves your nutrition. Cooking your own food means having control over the ingredients, so you can make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives and no extra amounts of sugar or salt. Plus, using fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden is a huge bonus. The more recently the produce was picked, the more nutrients it has, which means more antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body and brain young. My Grandma makes dining an event: the table is set and  we sit down (distraction free!) to enjoy a mindful, nutritious meal together.

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Have a Hobby. Having a pastime reduces stress and provides a sense of accomplishment. Its even more beneficial to have a hobby that allows you to be creative. Creative hobbies take you out of your daily patterns and ignite your inner spirit. Make a vision board, take a cooking class, and engage in a creative projects as often as possible. You’ll find that time spent in creativity heightens your happiness and gives you more energy for the other areas of your life.

Always dress as if you are meeting the Queen. My grandmother would never let me leave the house without brushing my hair at least 100 times.  Good thing too because research actually confirms that a little vanity is good for you. In a Harvard study, people who thought they looked better had an actual drop in blood pressure. And as much as I LOVE spending all day in stretchy pants, there is something to be said for getting yourself together. Feeling confident about how you present yourself will increase how you feel now AND later!

Maintain a Healthy weight. If you keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it keeps your organs healthy, there’s less need for medication, and it enables you to maintain a healthy lifestyle longterm. Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle and bad habits. Eating right along with exercising and not smoking are the key habits that slash your disease risk by 80 %. Choose good for you foods and aim to keep your weight in a healthy range (click here for a healthy weight assessment).  The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.

DRINK water, don’t smoke, and moderate your alcohol intake. Well you knew that one already!

Be in good spirits. I truly believe in the power of positive thoughts to heal, energize, and help us enjoy life. What we tell ourselves and the messages we take in from others affect our ability to live long, happy lives. They help the health of our mind, body, and soul. Recognize that you create your perceptions from the inside out. A person’s mood in the moment creates his or her experience; a person’s experience does not create his or her mood. Those who understand this live a smooth and stress-free life and do not play victim to external circumstances. Moral of the story: the quality of your thoughts creates the quality and longevity of your life! 

Make Downtime a Priority.  Skimping on leisure time can raise your risk of heart disease eightfold. Not to mention the very REAL negative health effects of stress and working too much. The simple solution? Schedule regular downtime.  I like to practice what I call Personal Protected Days (PPD). PPD’s are all about learning to take time for yourself and incorporate balance into life. When you don’t get enough downtime, then you can’t appreciate or enjoy the time you have with others.  Book leisure time into your schedule and don’t let anything else get in the way once it’s on the calendar. We all need different amounts of alone time based on personalities, schedules and family commitments. Even if you live with a friend, a spouse, a partner or kids its important to find some space for yourself. Do whatever it takes to find this space and protect it. Learn that taking  time for yourself is NOT selfish, but an essential part of living a long life!

Experience the World. Being engaged in the world gives life meaning. That is a good thing for your mental health and seems to lower your overall risk of dying. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  So take the trip, learn a new language, try something new and enjoy all that life has to offer. Even if you live till 100 life is STILL too short. Go for what you want and don’t wait to experience life!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals.  Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Look around and count your blessings. Clear your head of all the little things that won’t matter down the line, when you’re looking back at all the times you cherished the most in life, and find a reason to make every moment one of them.

Thanks for teaching me how to live well just by being YOU Grandma. Looking forward to enjoying year 90 (and THEN some) with you!

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Is longevity one of your goals? How do you work towards living a life that is long and FULL? Leave a comment below with one habit you have that increases the amount of years in your life. Heres to enjoying a healthy, happy life and increasing our longevity simply by doing it.

Caroline

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“It’s not the amount of years in Your Life….but the amount Of LIFE in your years!”

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Lululemon Athletica is much more than just high quality spandex. Its a company that creates the components for people to live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. It is a company that is COMMITTED to living by it’s  manifesto. Want to be inspired? Read it below:

the lululemon manifesto

  • Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.
  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.
  • Do one thing a day that scares you.
  • Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
  • Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.
  • Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.
  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
  • That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.
  • Stress is related to 99% of all illness.
  • Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
  • The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!
  • Friends are more important than money.
  • Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.
  • Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.
  • Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.
  • Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.
  • The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.
  • Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.
  • Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.
  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.
  • Dance, sing, floss and travel.
  • Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.
  • Successful people replace the words “wish”, “should” and “try” with “I will”.
  • Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.
  • Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.
  • lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.
  • Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.
  • SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.
  • Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.
  • What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
  • The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

This past week, a seemingly innocent afternoon invite to visit turned into a celebratory ambush complete with confetti, red pants, and french macarons. On Monday December 3 2012, lululemon athletica Grant Avenue PROPOSED and asked me to be a lululemon Ambassador for the 2013 year.

What is a lululemon Ambassador, you ask?
“Ambassadors are outstanding yogis, athletes, and fitness leaders within our communities who embody the lululemon lifestyle and live the our culture. These individuals personally contribute to our vision of elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness.” (www.lululemon.com).

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When the Ambassador program first began, it was purely a product feedback relationship, and has since turned into a lot more.  Now it’s a relationship between the Ambassador, the store and the community. Lululemon doesn’t “sponsor” athletes, so this is their way of getting to promote and connect with local instructors, athletes, and wellness professionals. They pick people active in the community who are passionate about their career and who’s work reflects the lululemon product, culture, and manifesto. I had the opportunity to represent Grant Avenue as an ambassador in 2009 and I am honored to have the chance to do it again in 2013.

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My experience with lululemon has been more positive, powerful, and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.  They sent me on an unforgettable trip to CANADA, filled my San Francisco years with memorable events, and have created a community that feels like family. I am so grateful to have this unique opportunity to represent the store and be an ambassador once more. I can’t stop smiling and I am looking forward to a year full of making memories with powerful people.

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Looking back, I am a much different person now than when I first was an ambassador in 2009. The successes, failures, and learning lessons of the past  few years have allowed me to grow and slowly come into my own. It feels like I am an Ambassador for the first time all over again, as an upgraded version of Caroline, a stronger one. The line from the manifesto that relates most to me right now is “DO one thing a day that scares you”. This past year I have been earnestly challenging myself to leave the comfort zone and my life has blossomed as a result.  It’s astonishing how when you put your needs first, the rest of your life starts falling into place. This revolutionary concept serves as my motivation to keep moving forward, even when the path gets scary.

I’m proud of myself for overcoming fears, trusting my gut, and working hard towards living a life that feels right in my heart. I’ve learned to trust the process and be patient. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become and it takes a long time. I may not be there yet, but I am closer today than I was in 2009 and I owe part of my progress to lululemon. Their belief in me and loving support has often been the extra ammunition needed to keep me moving forward towards my goals. No person is an island and it’s helpful to have a team cheering me on in lululemon.

My biggest learning lesson from this past year is this: Doing one thing a day that SCARES you gives you freedom. It’s not easy. But if you can break down the walls and leave the cage of your fears: you will FLY, you will SOAR, you will be UNSTOPPABLE.

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Thank you lululemon Grant Avenue for believing in me and helping me fly free. This will be my best year yet. Heres to a year  full of flying high, flying far, and doing one thing every day that scares you.

With love and gratitude,

Your SUPER EXCITED Ambassador for 2013,

Caroline

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What line in the manifesto is your favorite or relevant in your life right now? Favorite item of lululemon athletica clothing?

Make sure to “like” lululemon athletica Grant Avenue’s facebook page for inspiration and support to reach all of YOUR goals.  2013 is THE year. 

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Some people spend all their lives on a boring little island called, “Someday Isle”. “Someday I’ll be happy. Someday I’ll hike in Nepal. Someday I’ll run a marathon. Someday I’ll have a great adventure”. But life is NOT a dress rehearsal. Life is HERE and NOW. Reach out and seize it, you deserve it!

 

Challenge yourself this week is to list five things you’ve been procrastinating about and plan to take at least a little bit of action towards them. A small step forward makes a difference and you’ve got nothing to lose but time. Waiting to learn how to swim? Holding back to send out your stellar resume? Trying to find a reason to ask that special person out? Just do it!. DO IT NOW!!

After all I am getting older..

 

Have a great week and hope to see you soon 🙂

Caroline

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Being alive means experiencing life at its most exciting, scary, frustrating, joyous, mindblowing, heartwrenching highs, lows, and in-betweens. This past Thursday, September 27th I celebrated twenty-seven years of life. It was the most beautiful birthday filled with friends, family, and experiences I will remember for a lifetime. I feel blessed and am incredibly grateful for all the joy in my life.

 

My mother and I celebrating my Golden Birthday September 27 2012.

For me, Birthdays are a time for reflection, celebration, and a whole lot of French macarons. Looking back on the past twenty seven years, I started thinking about the things I know to be true in life thus far. Things I know and trust even if I havent articulated them yet. Things that keep me going even when the ride gets hard. Things that I know to be true without a doubt.

I wanted to share 27 Golden Truths that I’ve learned thus far. Life is a wild ride, it’s been a great journey and Im looking forward to learning more 🙂

27 Golden Truths

1. There is much I don’t know or understand and probably never will. And thats ok.

2. I can change my life at ANY time and any age. I can even run a marathon at 100. As can you.
3. For better answers, we need to ask better questions.
4. A set of chiseld abs means nothing if you have an ugly heart.
5. Nature impacts like nothing else can. Majestic. Breathtaking. Spirtual. Healing. Destructive. Unfathomably mysterious. Watching a sunset or sunrise, running to the Golden Gate Bridge, walking by the Bay are some of the times I am most connected to the world and my soul.
6. Life is infinitely better with a daily gratitude practice. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of what they have.
7. No matter what happens I will be.okay. More than okay actually 🙂
8. Happiness is a form of courage.
9. When you feel good about yourself on the inside, youll project the same healthy energy outward. You won’t have to worry about how you look. Your body will naturally radiate health and fitness.  Wellbeing is an inside – out process.
10. If being healthy is stressing you out you’re doing it wrong.
11. That everything is better in color.

12. Vision and passion can conquer ANY obstacle. You will never know your limits till you push yourself to them. Make your determination bigger than your excuses.
13. Random acts of kindess make the world a better place and people, nicer. Everyone should do at least one a day. Smile, hug, make eye contact, drop coins in the meter. Endless ways to do good.
14. Miracles happen. I don’t know how, but the most mind blowing miracles happen on Earth every day.
15. Fear & comparison are the thieves of joy. The Darth Vader of happiness.  Inescapable.  But surmountable. Always.
16. My mind is my second most powerful ally. And worst enemy. The only thing more powerful, is my heart.
17. Its all about perspective. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. 
18. Humans are ridiculously resilient and adaptable. Survivors. Thrivers. Amazing.
19. You can only grow if you are willing to feel uncomfortable and awkward. When you try something new.

20. In the end, it’s not about the awards you got, the money you made, the things you bought. It’s about the EXPERIENCES you had. The lives you touched. The smiles you shared. How you made someone feel. Whether you followed your heart and dreams. Lived authentically.
21. A life lived true to your values is freakin’ hard and you’ll fall off and compromise more than once. But in the end, it’s having walked the path with heart that matters most.
22.  If it’s important to you you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.
23. Success is a decision, not something that happens to you.
24. If life hands you lemons – then you should go to lululemon.

25. That its your life and if you dont live it… no one else will.
26. Sometimes you need to go slow to go fast.
27. Positive thoughts attract positive results and I am positive about that.

In a world where life happens while you’re busy planning it, where things turn on a dime and nothing is ever certain except change, what do you know to be true without a doubt?

What do YOU know to be true? Please share, thank you!

Thank you for celebrating twenty seven years with me. Looking forward to whats to come on this journey!

 

With love and gratitude,

 

Caroline

 

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Herein is my formulation of the good life: using your signature strengths everyday in the main realms of your life to bring abundant gratification and authentic happiness.”  – Martin Seligman

Want to increase your life satisfaction instantly? Play your strengths. Using what  positive psychologist Martin Seligman calls “signature strengths” in all domains of your life can tremendously enhance your degree of happiness and fulfillment.  “Signature strength”s are our best, immediate resources for high level performance.  In multiple studies, research has shown a direct relationship between the engagement of a person’s character strengths and his/her effectiveness, as well as happiness, in both life and work. The more we play to and come from our strengths, the more powerful and happy our lives will be.

In order to fully engage our character strengths to live our best lives, it helps to know what they are. The purpose of the Signature Strengths Exercise is to encourage you to own your signature strengths by defining them and finding more frequent uses for them. A signature strength has the following hallmarks:

    • A sense of ownership and authenticity (this is the real me)
    • A feeling of excitement while displaying it
    • A rapid learning curve as the strength is first practiced
    • A sense of yearning to find new ways to use it
    • A feeling of inevitability in using the strength
    • Invigoration rather than exhaustion while using the strength
    • The creation and pursuit of personal projects that revolve around it

The Values-In-Action (VIA) Signature Strengths Questionnaire is one of the most popular surveys in the world and is available (for FREE!) through the University of Pennsylvania (http://www.authentichappiness.com). To date over 1.8 million people have registered on the website and taken the tests and between 500 – 1,500 new people register every day. This model identifies 24 character strengths, grouped into six large categories called virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture. The virtues are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. On the website, results from the survey are immediately generated with a report that identifies a person’s character strengths in rank order (from 1 to 24). The top five strengths are called “signature strengths,” which interact with each other and most influence a person’s presence in the world.

Here’s my challenge to YOU: Take the strengths survey. As you complete the questionnaire, pay most attention to the rank order of your strengths. Were there any surprises for you? After you have completed this test, perform the following exercise: Leave a comment on this post below with one of your signature strengths and one new way you will use it at work, at home, or a leisure this week. For example:

    • If your signature strength is creativity, you may choose to set aside two hours one evening to begin working on a screenplay
    • If you identify self-control as a signature strength, you may choose to workout at the gym rather than watch T.V.
    • If your strength is appreciation of beauty and excellence, you might take a longer, more beautiful route home from work, even though it adds twenty minutes more to your commute.

 

Whats my #1 signature strength? GRATITUDE. My new way to use it is to write one sincere thank you letter every day this week. Oh yeah and to express my deepest gratitude to all of YOU for being a loving community of support from which we can all grow stronger lives.

Looking forward to hearing your signature strength and seeing you continue on towards success. Onward and UPWARD!

gratitude and love,

Caroline

For your reference, the following is a summary organizing the 24 character strengths [Peterson and Seligman (2004)] that encompass who we are and how we show up in the world):

I. Wisdom and Knowledge

Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge.

1. Creativity[Originality,Ingenuity] Thinking of novel and productive ways to do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.

2. Curiosity[Interest,Novelty-Seeking,Openness to Experience] Taking an interest in all of ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.

3. Open-Mindedness[Judgment,CriticalThinking] Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

4. Love of Learning. Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; (obviously related to strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.)

5. Perspective [Wisdom]Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people.

Courage

Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal.

6. Bravery [Valor] Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right, even if there is opposition; acting on convictions, even if unpopular; (includes physical bravery but is not limited to it.)

7. Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness] Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks.

8. Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty] Speaking the truth and, more broadly, presenting oneself in a genuine way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.

9. Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy] Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.

III. Humanity

Interpersonal strengths that involve “feeling” and “befriending” others.

10. Love Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people.

11. Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, “Niceness”] Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

12. Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence] Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.

IV. Justice

Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life.

13. Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork] Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share.

14. Fairness. Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.

15. Leadership. Encouraging a group, of which one is a member, to get things done, and at the same time, maintain good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

V. Temperance

Strengths that protect against excess.

16. Forgiveness and Mercy. Forgiving those who have done wrong; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.

17. Humility/Modesty. Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlight.

18. Prudence. Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

19. Self-Regulation [Self-Control] Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions.

VI. Transcendence

Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning.

20. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation] Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art, to mathematics & science, and to everyday experience.

21. Gratitude. Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

22. Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation]. Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.

23. Humor [Playfulness] Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.

24. Spirituality [Faith, Purpose, Religiousness] Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.

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