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The Christmas Miracle, a True Story by Santa Mark Leonard

This is my favorite TRUE story of an amazing Christmas miracle, The Christmas Miracle, a True Story by Santa Mark Leonard

By Susan Morton Leonard

In December 1997, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. “Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”

“Yes, Santa,” he replied. “My sister, Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but …” the woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors. “The girl in the photograph, my granddaughter … well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. “What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “this is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital. “Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day. “C’mon, I’ll take you there,” Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family – there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes in tact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son – 9 years old – gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands. Santa looked intently at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

“Oh, yes, Santa, I do!” she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you,” he said.

Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly, Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright. The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, and tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.

“Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!” He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he had to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could – not dolls or games or toys – but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.

“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.” They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. “Hi, Santa! Remember me?”

“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed, as he always does, smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. “Sarah!” he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy – much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed – and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about – this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well.

He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!

© 2000-2016 Susan Morton Leonard

 

The Tim Bremel Show:
Interview With Susan & Mark Leonard featuring Lisa Christiansen  

 

 

Read Susan’s blog here: Click On The Diamond

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11 Ways A Positive Attitude Attracts Success

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Your attitude is the inner architect building resilience in your mindset, you can choose to be happy or choose to be miserable and whichever seeds you decide to nurture will bear the fruits of your future.

What’s at stake? Your outlook involves your perception of success (or failure) and has a big impact on the viability of your career. The great thing is, setting your attitude is your choice.

See all the ways below that you can positively enhance your attitude:
1. Find your inner coach.

What you think about yourself, your abilities, financial gains (or losses) and your assessment of your ability to succeed becomes what you actively live out. Actions follow thoughts.

To be successful, choose your thoughts wisely and deliberately.

When your attitude is unproductive and you need to shift from a negative thought pattern, draw upon your inner child: Reprogram fearful, defeatist thinking toward thoughts charged with power, conviction and faith. Focus on your ability to meet your goals, begin with one action however insignificant it may seem because that one action leads to follow up and follow through leaving no other option than success.

Learn to coach yourself into a productive state of mind. This coaching will lead to forward movement and can be reignited anytime you face a setback.

Think of your attitude with this equation: Energy = Motion. From this paradigm, attitude determines movement forward or back.

2. Determine incentives.

Discover what motivates you to take action. Think back to what has inspired you to make changes in your life and pursue your goals. Knowing why you do what you do is vital to your current motivation and passion.

Is your incentive financial gain? Is it self-preservation, stability, anger or fear? Having clear incentives can instantly shift your attitude to a positive one.

Begin with a smile, give compliments freely and inspire others. When you can motivate others you will automatically move yourself toward a goal, your attitude becomes infused with your inner power, enthusiasm and passion. Your outlook on business is elevated. You walk faster, smile more and carry a posture of self-assuredness, all of which draws even more success your way.

3. Set benchmarks.

Write it down, make a vision board, select benchmarks to help you visualize goals so they seem to be right before you as you strive to develop your skills. To maintain an attitude of enthusiasm it is important to be grateful for things already achieved because gratitude breeds abundance. Build benchmarks of success and think about them intentionally and consistently.

The more deeply you believe, really believe and appreciate a goal in the present the more likely it will be. This type of mental practice keeps your attitude positive and directed toward attainment of success. I believe you naturally strive toward what you visualize.

4. Manage anxiety.

When challenges surface in business and in life, you might experience a loss of control over emotions and thoughts. To remain optimistic, discipline your mind to stay clear of catastrophic thoughts and the “what if” slippery slope of anxiety. Remember, an obstacle is what you see when you take your eye off of your goal.

Anxiety is simply fear projected forward. Remind yourself that a “what if” is not happening now: It is just a story. Focus on what you can control right now. Each thought is a seed you plant that programs your attitude and your subsequent behavior. To keep a great attitude, learn to focus your mind on solutions, not problems.

5. Create a positive impression.

To reach your peak potential on the climb to success, be driven and shrewd but also happy and enjoyable to work for and with. The heights of success attained grow the more infectious your energy appears to other people.

Your personal vibe can either repel people or draw them in.

When you carry an attitude of excitement and vigor, this transfers to those around you and increases business morale. If your attitude is gregarious, infectious and all about living life to its fullest, you seem to have unlimited potential: You positively motivate others to support your attempt to achieve even higher levels of success.

6. Show your hunger.

Be hungry for success. That way a natural eagerness will permeate your attitude. It will seem that you cannot wait to get to work and put that hunger into motion.

This hunger becomes the emotional “speaker of the house.” This energy serves as the driving force behind your attaining your goals when you have 100 percent commitment to what you are doing.

Total commitment cuts through doubt.

7. Find the deeper meaning.

Connecting with your spiritual empowerment system will nuture your soul and your business. The deeper the connection you feel to the purpose of your business the more you will experience your higher life purpose as being expressed through your work.

Your business is a place where you have the ability to impact others positively on a grand scale. This type of empowerment gives meaning to what you’re working for. You are able to see that your purpose is powerful and helpful in the lives of others, which further strengthens you to do what you do.

8. Carry some lightheartedness.

Find the humor and lighter side of life as you climb the ladder of success. This will decrease your stress. The less stress you feel, the more positive energy you will have available to support your hard work.

To be lighthearted is a great skill that lightens up the business environment around you. It adds charisma (a highly attractive quality) to your persona and breeds trust and the desire of others to want to work with you and for you.

9. Engage in physical activity.

One of quickest ways to shift from a negative attitude is to change your physiology. If you are stressed, physical activity provides a quick release. This can help you cleanse a negative thought pattern and redirect your energy to seeing the positive. The thoughts you have during physical exertion will become reality.

Exercise (or movement of any sort) propels you into an altered state of mind, letting you increase your optimism. Movement provides a natural stress release, ideal for continued motivation and mental clarity. If you can’t hit the gym on a stressful day, escape the office for a 15-minute walk to shift your outlook.

10. Aim for self-mastery.

To be successful, understand two things you have control over: your thoughts and feelings. If you are naturally more pessimistic, take responsibility for consciously selecting your attitude.

Exude positivity in your work ethic and in your interactions with others. When you master your inner world, you can dominate your outer world.

In the business world where every person has the same access to strive to build their resources, talent, finances, technology and the like, a person is often successful because of determination, resilience and attitude.

In business, attitude is everything. If you believe you can succeed, you very well might. Your attitude about success can become your self-fulfilling prophesy. Choose to be a victor.

11. Remember Your Success Is In Direct Proportion To Your Contribution.

It important to give back, the most valuable contribution you can offer is your time. Schedule time to help out at your local shelter, food bank, hospital, or my favorite is to visit a local “nursing home” and share time reading and crafting with someone who doesn’t have family or get visitors because the warmth of appreciation is such an awesome experience and enriching.

These people become family, we must remember the generations that came before us and never let them feel forgotten.

Acts 20:35

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The Seven Sacred Ceremonies of The Cherokee People

THE SEVEN CEREMONIES

The Cherokee have and always have had 7 major ceremonies. Many of these went on for several days and involved fasting, feasting, chants, dances, staying awake all night, immersing in water, purifications rites and divination rituals. These often took place around the time of the New Moons. When the first sliver of crescent light could be seen on the right side of the moon, it was the beginning of a new moon and a ceremony was conducted to cleanse from past impurities and give fortitude for the new moon, of which there were 13 each year.

One Cherokee tradition states that the Great Creator made the earth in 7 days and this work was completed on the new moon of Autumn. For this reason we have our Fall ceremony known as “The Great Moon”. This is the traditional “New Year” for the Cherokee. However, it is also possible to start counting the major ceremonies on the first new moon of Spring. This would be the new moon nearest to the “Vernal Equinox” (our first day of spring).

So the First New Moon of Spring Ceremony came at the time when the “Cold Moons” were over and the people emerged from their round “Winter Houses” where they had kept a fire burning and were kept warm during the snows and blizzards. It was a happy time to be out in the fresh air more and once again begin their activities of raising gardens, hunting, fishing and interacting with the other nations surrounding them. Like the other ceremonies, it was a time for starting with a clean slate and put behind them all negativity and be spiritually and physically refreshed.

First New Moon Of Spring

This ceremony was and is observed around the time the new grass begins to grow. This festival was a major one and people came to the capital city from surrounding villages to attend it. 7 hunters went out to secure venison and other meat for the feast. 7 women and 7 men were commissioned to oversee the festival. In the 7 sided counsel house the fire keeper and his assistant prepared the alter (fire mound or “hearth”) for the sacred fire which was present at all the major ceremonies. 7 kinds of sacred wood were used in this fire. The Friendship Dance was done by the women on the first evening of the festival. The next morning the people went to water at the nearby river, immersing themselves 7 times. Divining crystals (made of quartz) were consulted by the pastors/elders to determine what the future held for the people. A new Sacred Fire was now burning in the center of the council house, attended to constantly by the Fire Keeper and his assistants. The lodges had all their fire mounds cleaned and hot coals from the sacred fire were carried to these lodges. Thus a clean slate was opened before the people for the new ceremonial year.

Celebrated with fruits from the previous fall harvest are brought to ceremony and consumed to remember the continuation of the Creator’s care and blessing. This festival initiates the planting season and incorporated predictions concerning crop success or failure. It lasts seven days and includes dancing and the re-lighting of the sacred fire by the “fire-keeper”.

There ceremony includes sacrificing a deer tongue in the fire. All the home fires were extinguished and rekindled from the sacred fire’s coals, symbolizing fresh beginnings, and renewal of life from Mother Earth.

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Green Corn Ceremony

Corn was the “staff of life” for our Cherokee ancestors. They devoted two major yearly ceremonies to honor their cultivation of corn. The Green Corn Ceremony came in early summer when the corn stalks were still green but some young ears of corn began to present themselves. Thus, there was the “promise” of a good harvest of corn and all the other agricultural products that helped them sustain life. During this ceremony the “Uku” Peace Chief placed the tongue of a dear and some corn along with tobacco into the Sacred Fire to symbolize thanks for good hunting (plenty of meat) and good harvests (plenty of plant food) which would result in good health for the people.

The ceremony was held in the middle of the ceremonial grounds. Included in the rituals were the stomp dance, feather dance and buffalo dances.

At certain points of the ceremonies the people fast, play stickball, have sacrificing and took medicine. Then after the ceremonial fasting they would feast. Another ritual observed was rinsing themselves in water and having prayer.

It is believed when you recieve a cleansing it washes away impurities or bad deeds and starts a new life. The cleansing ceremony was performed by a priest which was followed with fasting and praying and other sacred practices.

New corn is not to be eaten until after the ceremony takes place. Messengers are sent to notify the towns of the nation about when the celebration will take place. Along the way they gathered seven ears of corn, each from a field of a different clan. After the messengers return, the chief and seven councilors fast for six days. The ceremony begins on the seventh. Again, the sacred fire is extinguished and rekindled.

As the with the First New Moon Ceremony, a deer tongue is sacrificed in the sacred fire. Kernels from the seven ears of corn that have been gathered from the clans are also sacrificed along with the sacred nicotania rustica. Food that was made from the new corn was brought to the town house and everyone was fed. The Chief and his councilors could only eat corn from the previous year’s crop for another seven days.

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Ripe Corn Ceremony

This ceremony happened in late Summer when the corn had matured and was ready for harvest. Similar to the Green Corn Ceremony, it was to give thanks giving to “The Great One” for a bountiful harvest of corn (which represented all agricultural foods). During this ceremony the “Corn Dance” was done in which the motions of harvesting corn were incorporated into the dance.

This third Cherokee festival is called the Mature Green Corn Ceremony which is held about 45 days after the New Green Corn Ceremony. Before the festival, women perform a religious dance and decided when the festival would be held. Hunters are sent out to bring back game and there is a committee appointed for the festival.

An arch is built with green branches, making an arbor in the ceremonial grounds. The evening before the Green Corn Ceremony, all the clans take a branch that they use the next day during a noon ritual. Participants drank a special tea called a “Black Drink” which was used for cleansing and purifying. The people dance for days while feasting on game and corn. The ceremony lasts for four days.

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Great New Moon Ceremony

The new moon which fell nearest the Autumnal Equinox (first day of Fall) was about the time of this festival. This constituted the “New Year” celebraton for our Cherokee ancestors. This would correspond to the ending of our September or the beginning of October. The people went to the river to immerse 7 times prior to the main part of the ceremony. The Diving Crystal was consulted to determine what the new year had in store for the people: peace or war, health or sickness and death. As with other ceremonies, there were times of fast and feasting and staying awake at night, and various dances.
Friends Made Ceremony

This festival is based on friendship, love, and making things right. Already at this time of year they were thinking about the cold moons arriving in the near future. Some of the more frail elders might not survive till spring, so if there was any mending of friendships to be done, now was a good time to do it. One part of this ceremony involved the exchanging of garments between two men to symbolize their eternal friendship. Only at this ceremony was the sacred “Yowah” chant sang. 7 selected men “cleansed” the capital council house in a ceremony in which they beat sticks made of Sycamore wood against the rim of the roof.

The Great New Moon Festival is held around October. This marks the beginning of the Cherokee New Year. It is believed that the world was created in the season of Autumn.

The main counselors determine when the new moon will appear. Again as previous festivals, hunters were sent out to catch game seven nights before the festival. Seven men are selected to take charge of all the planning and seven women are chosen to prepare the food. When the Cherokee people gather for the feast, each family gives food to the pastor/elder. Types of food are corn, pumpkin, beans among others. The evening before the main gathering, the women perform a religious dance. Again during the ceremonial part they go to the river for purifying, giving offerings to the sacred fire and praying.

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Propitiation of Cementation Ceremony (Friendship Ceremony)

Celebrated 10 days after the Great New Moon Ceremony. This ceremony symbolizes the unity between the Creator and mankind and also dealt with relationships between two people of the same or opposite sex. These relationships were bonds of eternal friendship in which each person vowed to regard the other as himself as long as they both lived. It was a ceremony that was a pledge of universal fraternal or paternal love. It also entailed reconciliation between those who had quarreled during the previous year. It symbolized the uniting of the people with the Creator and purification of body and mind. The New Moon Ceremony was said to have been the most profoundly religious of all the ceremonies. As with other observances, it also involved the rekindling of the scared fire.

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Bounding Bush Ceremony

This was a joyous ceremony were the Cherokee expressed unrestrained joy giving thanks to the Great Spirit and his helpers, acknowledging them as the source of our blessings. Dancing and feasting abound, and thansgiving was expressed by everyone tossing an offering of sacred tobacco in the sacred fire.

This was the last major ceremony before the arrival of the Cold Moons. It prepared the people for the hardships of surviving the Winter. This was a joyful ceremony with feasting and dancing. At one point at the end of the ceremony all people

surrounded the fire in the Sacred Square outside the Council House and approached the fire together and threw crushed tobacco leaves into the fire.

This festival is held about ten days after the Great New Moon Festival. Another purpose of this festival was to renew friendships, make new friends and for cleansing.

Participants are assigned tasks such as helping with the preparation of the various ceremonies, song leaders, musicians, the cleansing of the council house area, hunting game and cooking.

A new sacred Fire is built by the Fire Keeper and his assistants. The Fire keeper his assistants fast for seven days before the festival. There is a dance the night before the festival.

Others fast during special designated days. This festival renews the Fire, and the people. It also brings friendship by ceremonially forgiving conflicts from the previous year. This was seen as a brand new start. There is also a cleansing ritual that is performed at the river in running water. This festival lasts four days.

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The Ookah Dance

The Chief Dance (UKU Ceremony) – Celebrated once every seven years. The Principal Cherokee Chief is carried into the Sacred circle of the Sacred Fire, on a white chair, and acknowledged as the Chief of all the people by each of the clans. This ceremony reminds us of the one true Chief, the Great Spirit-Creator. Dancing and feasting follows. New garments were given to the Uku with dancing and great pageantry. This celebraton lasted 4 days.

This festival is held during the winter. Tobacco is gathered from the people who participate in the feast. The people use pine or spruce in a dance. The first dance movement is a march by alternating pairs of males and females. During the dance, women wear their turtle shells, formed a circle with the men in a single file and moved counter-clockwise in a circle. Each dancer takes two twigs of the spruce and wave them up and down like pigeon wings. The fourth night, they made offerings to the sacred fire.

Today, many Cherokee traditionalists still observe these festivals. Many ceremonial grounds observe some, and a few observe all of the occasions.

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All ceremonies were done with joy and respect to all and had the Sacred Fire in the center.

13 Things Ridiculously Likable People Have In Common

Psalm 37--3-4Too many people share the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few, the good looking, the social extroverts, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to find this misconception believable and maybe even you want to believe this misplaced belief.

When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the most likeable people they have ever worked with or even come across. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under people’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.

These qualities, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in emotional intelligence (EQ). TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable, they outperform those who don’t by a large margin. 90% (Ninety percent) of top performers have high EQs, people with high EQs make $30,000 more annually than people with low EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary. I could go on and on.

Being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence. Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

To help you improve your EQ, I did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likeable.

 

1. They are genuine. Being genuine and honest is essential to being likable. Always have a SMALL conservative compliment for your client. Ensure that it is sincere. It can be as simple as “Hey, thank you for being on time. I really appreciate it.” Once again, you must begin modest. No one likes a fake. DO NOT target others weak points (areas that others states he/she is concerned about). Doing this will appear as being false, smug, or arrogant, no matter how sincere you are. In reality, these areas will not change overnight and, as gently as you can, the client must come to realize this. The clients’ self-esteem has to be exercised just like the body. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.

Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you. Find beauty in everyone, however small it may seem because for some it is the world.

 
2. They ask thoughtful questions. The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions, convincing others that improvement will come slow, BUT IT WILL COME is paramount! Make sure they understand that each person is different and that people will always have different results on the same efforts. Let them know that you did not emerge out of the womb in the condition you are in now, and that, with your help and guidance, they will achieve their goals as well. Understand that your clients are utilizing your knowledge and direction as a vehicle of which to arrive at their fitness destination. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

 
3. They don’t pass judgment. If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded, you must remember that everyone has a past and some are creating there past right now. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen. Everyone needs and wants a safe place where they are appreciated, accepted, and loved for who they are right now and right where they are in their life now, fully exposed. Always remember you may be the reason someone chooses life today by showing they matter, people will always live up to the standards you set so choose your words wisely, do not criticize.

Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are to help them grow into the greatness they are destined to become.

 
4. They don’t seek attention. People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what or how many people you know.

When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble, two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.

 
5. They are consistent. Few things make you more unlikeable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.

 

6. They use positive body language. Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

 
It’s true that how you say something can be more important than what you say.

 

7. They leave a strong first impression. Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

 
8. They greet people by name. Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likeable people make certain they use others’ names every time they see them. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.

If you’re great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people’s names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don’t be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You’ll need to keep her name handy if you’re going to remember it the next time you see her.

 
9. They smile. People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

 
10. They know who to touch (and they touch them). When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain, a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and a slew of other positive feelings. A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a friendly handshake is all it takes to release oxytocin. Of course, you have to touch the right person in the right way to release oxytocin, as unwanted or inappropriate touching has the opposite effect. Just remember, relationships are built not just from words, but also from general feelings about each other. Touching someone appropriately is a great way to show you care.

 
11. They balance passion and fun. People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you’re just as important to them as their work.

 
12. They Reprogram the prefrontal cortex. In the psychological arena of life we are our own worst critics; the mirror does have two faces and unfortunately in most cases the image we see looking back at us is grossly distorted. As fitness professionals we need to encourage not only the mental fitness but also the physical fitness because as professionals we are morally required to not only address the life goals but to also educate and modify the psychological and physical goals and mindset of our clients. I have noticed in many cases a person will begin a wealth fitness regimen without realizing this is not a “quick fix” but a lifestyle change in the mental and physical areas as well. After following his/her wealth prescription for a few days or in some instances a few weeks unaware that their unsatisfactory state of being did not occur overnight neither will the level of expected results. This disillusionment is often followed by reverting back to old lifestyle habits.

In some cases the client is successful to a fault; they achieve or exceed their goals yet do not acknowledge their fruitfulness. Instead their views of themselves remain that of their previous state thus hence beginning a self-destructive downward spiral dismissing emotional sustenance such as “good” facts and necessary compliments depleting the body of valuable nutrients in efforts to become more defined as worthy. Some people resort to old patterns and negative people or other unsavory means resulting in a different kind of downward helix regardless of consequence. I believe it is our responsibility as professionals to take a proactive approach to these issues at the forefront of their education by formulating a personalized program of positive reinforcement for each person we meet based upon their individual, psychological, and physical needs to build them up one statement, one compliment, one action at a time. The mind is the biggest de-motivator in how the core functions of our brain transmits self-destructive behavior and as professionals we are the leaders, we have the ability to reprogram the core of the brain and activate the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which serves as the integration center of all of your brain-mind functions that not only regulates the signals that your neurons transmit to other brain parts and to your body, it allows you to think about and reflect upon what you are physically doing. In particular, the PFC allows you to control your emotional responses through connections to your deep limbic brain. It gives you the ability to focus on whatever you choose and to gain insight about your thinking processes. The PFC is the only part of your brain that can control your emotions and behaviors and help you focus on whatever goals you elect to pursue. It helps you grow as a human being, change what you wish to change, and live life the way you decide! Self-esteem is the cogwheel for the body’s desire to achieve and, depending on the motivation it receives, it can either push the body to excel or it can drag the body to levels of sickness and even death.

 
13. They are happy by choosing to live in optimistic gratitude. If you want to be happy the rest of your life, make sure you keep your brain happy. Why? Because being happy matters more to your brain than you might think. In fact, feeling pleasure can be so stimulating for your brain that it is primed to respond to pleasure in a way that reinforces pleasure. Your brain offers rewards to steer you on a pathway to happiness, and you can offer your brain rewards that will encourage it to become even more finely tuned-and to grow well into your old age. Other reasons to want a happy brain: Negative mood variance disturbs your interaction with your environment, affecting your ability to perceive, remember, and reinforce existing or create new neural connections, while being happy improves your ability to be more cognitively alert and productive. Other than being much more fun to be around, being happy:

 

stimulates the growth of nerve connections.
improves cognition by increasing mental productivity.
improves your ability to analyze and think.
affects your view of surroundings.
Increases attentiveness.
Leads to more happy thoughts.

 

Happy people are more creative, solve problems faster, and tend to be more mentally alert.

 
The Power of Positive Thoughts

Your thoughts form your character, how you operate in the world, how far you travel mentally, physically, and spiritually. You are what you think you are, and all of your actions proceed from thought. Your inner thoughts will always be reflected in your outer circumstances, because self-generated changes in your life are always preceded by changes in the way you think about something.

As far as your brain, every thought releases brain chemicals. Being focused on negative thoughts effectively saps the brain of its positive forcefulness, slows it down, and can go as far as dimming your brain’s ability to function, even creating depression. On the flip side, thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decreases cortisol and produces serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at peak capacity.

 
Why Optimism Leads to Greater Happiness

 

Neuroscientists have discovered that people who have a more cheerful disposition and are more prone to optimism generally have higher activity occurring in their left PFC. But that’s a brain explanation. Interestingly, behavioral scientists have observed fascinating differences between optimists and pessimists. Optimism, for example, involves highly desirable cognitive, emotional, and motivational components. Optimistic people tend to have better moods, to be more persevering and successful, and to experience better physical health. One factor may be simply that optimists attribute good events to themselves in terms of permanence, citing their traits and abilities as the cause, and bad events as transient (using words like “sometimes” or “lately”), or the fault of other people. In addition, optimists:

 

Lead happy, rich, fulfilled lives
Spend the least amount of time alone, and the most time socializing
Have good relationships
Have better health habits
Have stronger immune systems
Live longer than pessimists

 

How to recognize pessimists and understand the negative effects

 

On the flip side, pessimistic people explain good events by citing transient causes, such as moods and effort, and bad events as permanent conditions (using words like “always” or “never”). Pessimists:

Automatically assume setbacks are permanent, pervasive, and due to personal failings.
Are eight times more likely to be depressed than optimists
Perform worse at school and work
Have rockier interpersonal relationships
Die sooner than optimists.

According to Sonia Lyubomirsky, a University of California researcher, unhappy people spend hours comparing themselves to other people, both above and below themselves on the happiness scale; happy people didn’t compare themselves with anyone.

The good news is that you can use your mind to train your brain to tamp down the negative thoughts that lead to pessimism, while ramping up the types of positive thoughts that lead to optimism. You can be the master of the neuronal changes that will lead to greater happiness, and the rewiring starts in those teensy miracles known as your brain cells, or neurons. Even if depression runs in your family, you have the capability of improving the way your brain functions, of setting up neuronal roadblocks and diminishing the neuronal patterns linked to negative thinking. You may not be able to eradicate a genetic disposition towards depression, but you can greatly reduce its impact and its reoccurrence.

 
Negative Thinking, Negative Balance

 

Negative thinking slows down brain coordination, making it difficult to process thoughts and find solutions. Feeling frightened, which often happens when focused on negative outcomes, has been shown to decrease activity in your cerebellum, which slow the brain’s ability to process new information-limiting your ability to practice creative problem solving. Additionally, the fear factor impacts your left temporal lobe, which affects mood, memory, and impulse control.

Your frontal lobe, particularly your PFC, decides what is important according to the amount of attention you pay to something and how you feel about it. Thus, the more you focus on negativity, the more synapses and neurons your brain will create that support your negative thought process.

Your hippocampus provides the context of stored memories, which means the emotional tone and description your mind creates can potentially rewire your brain by creating stronger neuronal pathways and synapses. What you think and feel about a certain situation or thing can become so deeply ingrained that you will have to work hard to dismantle the negative connections and rewire your brain in order to be less afraid, to think positively, to believe that dreams can come true, to trust that your efforts will be successful.

 

Train Your Brain to Think More Positively

 

One of the oldest precepts of neuroscience has been that our mental processes (thinking) originate from brain activity: that our brain is in charge when it comes to creating and shaping our mind. However, more recent research has shown that it can also work the other way around: that focused, repetitive mental activity can affect changes in your brain’s structure, wiring, and capabilities.

The actions we take can literally expand or contract different regions of the brain, firing up circuits or tamping them down. The more you ask your brain to do, the more cortical space it sets up to handle the new tasks. It responds by forging stronger connections in circuits that underlie the desired behavior or thought and weakening the connections in others. Thus, what you do and what you think, see, or feel is mirrored in the size of your respective brain regions and the connections your brain forms to accommodate your needs.

What does all this mean? It means that what we think, do, and say matters; that it affects who we become on the outside, the inside, and in our brain. Mostly, it means that you can retrain your brain to be more positive.

Start by thinking happy thoughts, looking on the bright side, and refocusing your brain when negative thoughts occur. Your mind has the ability to determine how your brain thinks about what happens in your life. Use it to your own advantage to reframe events and think positively.

 

Bringing It All Together

 

Likable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar!

Remember leadership is the ability to influence individuals to accomplish a task by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. We are the example, let’s set great ones! As for me, I choose to follow a great leader than to lead by ignorance.

~Lisa Christiansen

Lisa Christiansen: Tour De France, Paris

France Magazine With Lisa Christiansen: Lisa Christiansen, Lisa Christine Christiansen, Dr. Lisa Christiansen, Dr. Lisa Christine Christiansen, Lisa Christiansen Companies, Dr. Lisa Christiansen Companies, Infinity Plus, Infinity Plus International, Take Action Foundation, Take Action Foundation International, Christiansen Code, The Christiansen Code, Christiansen Code International, The Christiansen Code International, Wealth Of Wisdom, Find Your Inspiration.

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Lisa Christiansen In Italy

Italy Magazine With Lisa Christiansen: Lisa Christiansen, Lisa Christine Christiansen, Dr. Lisa Christiansen, Dr. Lisa Christine Christiansen, Lisa Christiansen Companies, Dr. Lisa Christiansen Companies, Infinity Plus, Infinity Plus International, Take Action Foundation, Take Action Foundation International, Christiansen Code, The Christiansen Code, Christiansen Code International, The Christiansen Code International, Wealth Of Wisdom, Find Your Inspiration.