Is there something you are ready to "put to bed"?

Do you have something hanging around  in the back of your mind that you are ready to take a final look at? It doesn't necessarily mean that the situation is going away, it may just mean that you are ready to stop ruminating over it.  Maybe it is a "decision" you have been holding off on?  A way of thinking that is getting in your way? Maybe it is something physical you can't change. Or it could be a situation that is truly "beyond your control". It doesn't have to be something big, just something that has been "niggling" at you and perhaps taking up a little more "bandwidth" then you would like it to.

I have three "viewpoints"  for you to ponder when you are thinking of your particular situation. Three questions that I ask myself.  Do I: Let it be? Let it go?  Or do I let something in?   

Let it Be

The Beatles really did have some wisdom when they wrote that song. What can you accept? Where is there something in your life that you wish was different and you cannot change it? It could be a physical situation or an idea in your head that things must be a certain way. Maybe it is a person that is not the way you think they "should" be and you still want them in your life. Acceptance. Letting it be. Embracing how it is rather than how you think it should be. Letting it be imperfect. Taking a breath and understanding that this truly is the way it is.  Now what?

Let it Go

What are you ready to let go of? This is a big question. It means saying I am done with this.  It might be a particular way of thinking that is not useful for you? I don't know. Maybe it is letting go of an attitude or idea. It could be hanging on to a relationship that you have outgrown, a job that has run its course for you or, it could literally be a material, tangible thing. Whatever pops up for you. Ask yourself. What can I choose to let go of in this situation?

Let it In

Let it in. What are you ruling out? What might deserve a second look? It could be a thought, an idea, a different perspective. What bubbles up for you? That thing. What if you let that in? What becomes possible now?

Take a moment now. What is different now when you think about that situation? What new information do you have? What choices about this situation are now possible?


If you want to learn more about me and my coaching approach, Contact me for a zero obligation chat .

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Are you living on "autopilot"?

You are a regular human “doer”.

Think about it.  As you read this, just notice where you are in your day. I am guessing that you have gone through a series of “doings” that brought you to where you are now?  Maybe you are now sitting in your first meeting of the day or perhaps it is the evening and you are winding down now. Just think about it.  As you trace back through your day from the very start, how many things have you “done” today? Maybe it started with making the coffee, dressing yourself (and maybe your kids), dropping those same kids off wherever they needed to go, driving to work…brushing your teeth. Wait! Did you brush your teeth?  You do one of those not so subtle “blow on your hands” to check …phew, you smell some sort of mint…tooth brushing - tick that box.

Think about it.  All of those things that have brought you to this point in your day. How many of them do you even recall? If you drove to your usual destination, do you even remember driving?  If you are wearing lace up shoes, did you think about how to tie your laces? If you made a coffee this morning, did you have to think about every step?  I think you may be getting the picture.  We do a heck of a lot of things on “autopilot” and thank goodness we do!  Can you imagine if you had to think about every single thing you did?  You would never leave the house! 

So all good, right? Well…it is, until it isn’t.

Our brains have one job to do and they are masters at doing it - the brain’s number one job?  To keep us safe. That’s it. Done.  It is always scanning for danger and so it likes to put things on autopilot so it can focus on its job.  Sure, there are many things you are doing - driving, brushing your teeth, tying your shoes etc. on autopilot and that is great.  However, there are also many things that you are doing automatically that maybe, aren’t so great.  They are the more sneaky things that we don’t notice overtly. It could be the way you think about something,  the things you tell yourself you can and can’t do, perhaps how you interact with the “important” people in your life - they say something and before you know it, you've reacted. 
This autopilot thing can create regular human doers, almost a little like robots.  Always producing or as I fondly refer to it “getting sh*t done”. Although it often feels good, it can ultimately be exhausting and potentially not satisfying. And what about the things we are doing without thinking that could use some... umm.. thinking? Yes, those things. The habitual things we have put into autopilot that are getting in our way. The habits that we do that culminate and get us through our days. Habits.  Good ones, bad ones.  Doesn’t really matter.

What is my point with this post? That sometimes it may be useful to question and look at those things we are doing on autopilot that we would like to change. It is possible.  It starts with awareness, the noticing of a result you are getting or maybe not getting, that you don’t particularly like. Maybe the way that conversation always ends up the same way with your kid, boss, colleague, partner etc. Or it could be a physical thing.  Regardless, noticing a habitual way of thinking or doing something opens up an opportunity to change it.  Once you are aware you can make a change.
The change does not have to be huge. I love the image of Michaelangelo and his sculpture, David.  Just imagine.  I’m guessing he didn’t take a sledge hammer to a block of marble and voila -  there was David.  I’m thinking that perhaps it was more like a “chipping” away at the marble until a big piece fell off.  This is how real, sustainable change happens.  Bite sized pieces, consistently.  Both of those, in combination, add up to big results.  Like compound interest, a small investment, over time can produce big returns. 

If you are tired of "autopilot" running your life and you want to make a real, sustainable change, Contact me and together we can chip away at that thing you are ready to change.

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Are you avoiding making a change?

It's rainy, grey and messy.  Oops, and there’s a new pothole that wasn’t there yesterday.  Did I mention it was rainy? And then, it happens.  The sun starts to shimmer through the trees (which now have buds on them), the rain seems to have subsided and what’s that poking through the soil…a crocus? Then, the ultimate sign…a robin!  It is spring. The change of seasons. What do road closures, potholes and rain (sometimes lots of rain), all have in common? They are all "signs". They indicate mess, inconvenience and cause some discomfort. Yet, they all lead to something wonderful and new. Spring!!

Where am I going with this? 

You know me well enough by now to realize that, yep, I write about what is around me. What I am hearing, the conversations I am having and maybe, sometimes, the things I have experienced myself.

When I speak with people it is often very clear to me that they are poised and ready to make a change yet, they are overcome with fear and can’t seem to take the step (yes, just one) that could propel them forward to the “what’s next?” for them.
The thing about "change" is, it is inevitable. Even if you do nothing, the world around you is going to keep changing, babies being born, people dying, losing jobs, relationships ending etc. Change really is the only constant, just like the seasons coming and going.

What are the signs that you are ready for a change?

Sometimes, the signs can be subtle, boredom, unhappiness and maybe less enthusiasm for the things that used to light you up and challenge you. Or, it can be a deep yearning for something else that you want but feel like you can't have. Yet, staying in the "situation" whether it is a career, relationship or believing that you can't have that thing that you yearn for, is often what people do even when the time has come for something new.
Why? The answer is no surprise - FEAR. Despite how uncomfortable you are in your current situation, it is yours. You know it and understand it and it feels much safer than taking a step into the "unknown" to pursue something else that you can't see yet. Seems a little silly when you see it in black and white now doesn't it? Holding yourself back because of fear. Of what? Ask yourself, just exactly what are you afraid of? New opportunities? A new career? Pursuing the thing that you are yearning for?
Just like the lead up to spring, making changes can be messy, inconvenient and uncomfortable and...after? That's when the sun starts to come out again more consistently and all the new growth appears. I'm not talking radical "out of your box" change but, rather, going to the edges of it, trying things on for size, playing with possibilities. Asking "what if"?
Easier and safer. Is that how you want to live your life? If so, don't bother reading any further. If not, what is one thing that you can do today to explore what else is out there for you? One. Tiny. Step. I am guessing that until you do something, those "signs" will keep popping up except...without the beautiful spring afterwards. I have heard that what we resist will persist.

We are wired for safety, despite the fact that our brains have evolved to where they are today, the number one job of our brain is to keep us safe.  Back in the day, when saber tooth tigers were actually around, keeping safe was, well, a matter of life or death.  Now, there pretty much isn’t much that is out to eat us for breakfast, yet, our brain is still stuck in the past. Fight or flight.  Useful in some situations and, for the most part, not very useful at all. 

When we get the  “signs” that it is time for a change, that is when our primitive brain starts banging the drums and clanging the cymbals…danger danger!! 

Here’s the thing - your primitive brain is a LIAR. Sure, it has great intentions, the whole safety thing, however, the warning level for this alarm system to go off is set at a very low level.  Just the thought of changing up what we do sets the bells a blaring.

So what is a person to do? Take. Action.  I know this sounds way too simple and yet, it is so true. When you feel the fear of doing something different or new, take a step.  Just one. That will quell the fear monster.  Fear doesn’t like action.  Action trumps fear. 

Still afraid? 

If you are feeling the signs that it is time for a change and you don't know where to start, Contact me and we'll figure it out, together.

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You have a super power!

Your “intention”…yes…it is a super power…”

Not sexy enough? Bear with me! Take a read and find out. What does this mean and why does it matter?
When we have an "intention" to expect something "good" or "bad", our brains will act on the "intention" and our 'attention" will be drawn towards it.
Think of it this way: did you ever play the classic "road trip" game when you were a kid....find the "red" car or VW Beetle etc.? Then, how amazing was it that there were suddenly so many red cars or VW Beetles on the road? Or fast forward to when you got a Golden Retriever, you named your child, or you bought a grey BMW. All of a sudden, everyone has a Golden Retriever, that "unique" name...there are three others at the daycare and the BMW....you get the picture. I'm guessing that you realize that all of these dogs, kids and cars were already there, it is just that you are noticing them now.
So how does this work in "real life"? It can work for us and against us. If you look for things you don't want, chances are, they are going to show up. This is not magic. It is how our attention works. So think about it. Where are you looking for things to "go wrong" vs. possibly "going right"? That employee/boss/colleague that you have pigeon holed because all you see is the unfavourable behaviour? The meeting with that other team that is always a "battle". The child that always misbehaves, the spouse who "never" helps out etc. Or, maybe, turn the mirror on yourself. How often do you decide that something isn't going to work out before you even get started? Whether it is the weight loss plan, the job interview, the test results etc. where are you setting your intention? For success or failure?
Thing is, we find what we are looking for and tend to filter out the other things. So what if you started looking for when the employee/child/spouse/etc. is doing something "right"? What if the meeting with that other team was an "adventure" instead of a "battle"? You may find that they actually do more things "right" then you thought. And, how about yourself?? Try it. People have an amazing capacity to rise or sink to expectations, yourself included! When you decide to set your intention to a more positive outlook, you just may find that you are noticing that the people around you, both at work, home, the gym etc. are really doing some pretty great things! You too! No joke. What do you have to lose?

If you are continually finding the downside of things and want a shift in perspective, Contact me and we'll figure it out, together.


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Are you letting "what is" pass you by for "what's next"?

If this looks familiar to you, it is because it is! A message worth re-reading.

Okay, you know the drill by now.....I write about the themes that I am hearing. Why, then, am I taking you on this brief journey I went on six months ago? What does it have to do with anything?


The "thing" that seems to be coming up again and again, is a deep yearning for actual "connection". Like the kind you get with actual people: friends, partners, colleagues etc. and not the Instagram/Facebook kind. I'm talking the "real, flesh and blood" kind. Face to face. No distractions. And the question is, when was the last time you were "present" for anyone, yourself included? The following is a throwback to six months ago and I thought it may be time to put it out there again because, until you understand that connection and presence starts with you, yourself, and your situation, you are really not equipped to offer that to others. Connection begins with presence. The ability to be with what is.


Here is an actual experience I had in Italy last September. Enjoy.


I am on a train, travelling from Sorrento to Napoli. I am on a train and not the fancy kind. Rather, the kind I was warned about prior to my trip to Italy. The kind where I was told to bring wipes and sanitizer for my hands.  Where the AC is opening the windows and the “advertising” on the walls is graffiti. That kind of train.
I settle into my seat and proceed to start reading a book.
Several stops in, a couple of local musicians get on the train.  A saxophonist and an accordion player. They begin to play and I continue with my face in my book. Ironically,  a book about being present in the moment...
I see the irony of the situation and put my book down.  I close  my eyes and proceed to "experience " the moment.  I can hear the music more clearly now. I feel the breeze from the window and I am swaying in my seat as the train speeds along. I become totally immersed in what is going on. And then it happens.  I am completely overwhelmed with the absolute beauty of the experience. All my senses are fully engaged in the moment. True presence.  It brings  me to tears. I let the tears stream down my face and savour that as well.


Then it is over.


Being in the moment is a learning process for me. I am intellectually aware that "now" is truly all we've got and at times, I sneak ahead of where I am or creep back to where I was. I'm not suggesting that you can't do that, just try and spend more time where you are. The power was immense and now I have a beautiful memory to tap into to remind me of the gift of presence.

So, how am I going to incorporate this practice more deeply as I am settling back into work? Being conscious about doing it first of all. Remembering that the whole experience was maybe 3 to 5 minutes tops and how often do I find myself with a couple of minutes in my day?  How many of you have 3 to 5 minutes between a meeting or a phone call where you could sit and just “be”.  Wherever that may be? Go back to visit an experience that brought you a gift that you could use in that moment.  Maybe a gift of patience, certainty or a little escape to a trip you once took.  Try it next time you have a few minutes and see what opens up for you. Then, maybe, start extending that same "gift" of presence to those around you - just a couple of minutes, with your eyes away from your phone/computer/TV or whatever distraction is in front of you. Give your full, undivided attention. Notice what changes in you and the other person when you do this. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Grazie Italia.

If you are ready to get reacquainted and present with yourself, Contact me and lets figure it out, together.


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Are you on the run?

Running away from what you “don’t want’ is not the same as running towards what you “DO want”.

Come again? Think about it. When you are “running away” from what you don’t want, there may be an energy of fear, desperation and maybe some relief However, when you are running towards what you want…BAM!! Completely different energy. Perhaps the excitement of possibilities and a fresh start and maybe, sometimes, hope.

When I look back on my ride so far I can clearly see (thank you 20/20 hindsight!) the times in my life where I was running away from something vs. running towards something. No regrets here, just learning.

You may recognize some of the things I did when I looked back. When you are running from something without knowing what you actually want to run to, you often end up exactly where you were before. Oh, the face in the relationship may look different, or the company may have a different name, the situation may look brand spanking new and then…well… All of a sudden, that person in the relationship acts a lot like the previous person you were involved with, or the job you are doing ends up being a lot like the one you left. You get the picture? When you are “on the run” you get what you get and sometimes its good and sometimes, well, it ends up being the same.

When you are running towards something you want and you are clear, this is a completely different experience. You don’t settle for the “this is as good as it gets” lie that we often tell ourselves. You know that there is something worth striving for so you keep going until what you really want presents itself. When you are clear, you recognize and are ready and poised for the opportunity when it shows up. Notice the difference? There is a confidence and belief that what you want is out there and you are not going to settle. You are comfortable with taking the time you need for the right circumstances.

Patience. Perseverance. Purpose.

So what compelled me to write this one? As I have written before, I write about what I hear. There are so many people “on the run” - to the next job, relationship etc. and if they took literally a couple of hours to get clear on what they wanted, they would have their compass set, a roadmap formed and be poised to take their first step.

I help people stop running away from what they don't want and start running towards what they DO want.

Does this describe you? You are pretty successful at what you are doing, maybe even really successful...and, you have hit a roadblock. You are constantly running but it is to escape the things you don't want and, quite frankly, you are feeling unfulfilled. My clients hire me to challenge their limited thinking, because these smart people know that if the thinking they were using was working, they wouldn't be running away all the time.

The common denominator? My clients recognize that having a partner to work through a roadblock is a way to open up options that they can't see on their own. Think about it. How would it feel to start running towards what you want?

If you are ready to stop running away, contact me for a zero obligation chat about how we can get you running to somewhere you want to go.

Cheers,

Ann

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Are you "stressed out"?

Happy New Year?!   By the time you get this, January will be a memory…I know, crazy isn’t it?

I often get asked how I choose the topics to write about, and, not surprisingly, I consistently get feedback about how “relevant” and “bang on” they are.  This is not by chance.  It is because I am constantly listening to what goes on around me. Wherever I am.  Grocery store, gym, coffee shop, with clients and friends etc. basically everywhere.  If you listen long enough, you will pick up what the pulse is around you,

So why am I already writing about being “stressed out”?  Right…I’ve been listening.

I can pretty much guarantee you, if you ask a few of your friends/family/work colleagues or the cashier at the local grocery store how they are, the answer will be “I am so stressed out”...sometimes not in those words.  Could be, I am so busy I cannot keep up, I have too much to do, not enough money, a child that is causing me grief, a boss I can’t work with etc. 

When I start to explore these answers with clients and ask the question “what is stressing you out”?,  I usually get one of two responses - “everything” or “I don’t know”.  And, quite frankly, neither is really useful to move forward.  Why? Because until you are able to identify what is causing it, it is difficult to tap into it.  Yes, I said, tap into it.  How, you may ask or maybe why, would you want to tap into the energy of your stress?  Because and I know this will irk some of you,  what if you consider that “being stressed out” is actually a behaviour rather than something that happens to you? When you are able to do this, then you are able to gain some power over it so you can harness it for something useful, because despite the bad rap it gets, not all stress is bad and without some stress, life would be pretty boring.

Once a client is actually able to identify a scenario when they were “stressed out” I am able to take them through a mapping of exactly what is creating their “stress” or being “stressed out” or as I call it - their strategy for being stressed- and it never fails to make me smile when I can see their patterns emerging on the whiteboard.  It may take them a little while, but eventually, they cannot ignore the story that is showing up in front of them.  The moment of oh, ya…that. That is what has to be true for me to be “stressed” out.  And, often they figure out that “stress” has just ended up being something they “do”, yes, it is a thing, a response and ultimately…yikes…a behaviour and, good news here, because it is a behaviour, you can modify or change it or at least intercept it and channel it elsewhere.

That’s when we can get some traction.  When the story appears before your eyes, it is hard to ignore. And, it is often so empowering to see what you have to “do” to be “stressed out”. It can open up opportunities to intervene prior to a situation stressing you out or to stop it in its tracks when it starts showing up.

It is so powerful to be able to become aware and then deflate the scenario before it gets to the “stressful” point.  You can identify what has to be present within you and around you for the behaviour to occur and, with practice, you will become able to channel that behaviour elsewhere or intervene (with some deep belly breaths, a walk or maybe even dancing) before the situation escalates.  It is a skill, and like any other skill, with practice, you can get better.

It all starts with considering that stress is something you “do” and therefore, something you can manage and influence.  

Want a coach to help you  identify how you do your “stress” without judgement and with zero emotional attachment to it?  Reach out.  Another game changing possibility awaits you.

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What if you ask?

Really. What would happen if you asked for what you wanted?

I recently had a conversation with someone who is exploring the same path I am and came from a similar background. While we spoke about many things, one thing that seemed so obvious to us now …good old 20/20 hindsight - that seemed to elude us years ago - was - why didn’t we just ask the question?

What question? Where do I begin? There are so many scenarios - ask your boss for the raise, the promotion, the time off. Ask your partner to make the lunches, sweep the floor, rub your shoulders. Ask your friends to pick you up from the bus stop, hang out. Ask your parents to lend you the 500 bucks. Ask someone else, to go check in on the sick uncle, do Mom’s laundry, plan the surprise party. So many scenarios where simply asking could have got you what you wanted! Just.by ASKING.

In the theme of self-care which is popping up these past few weeks…maybe because it is the beginning of the year and intentions for change are so strong, I again felt compelled to put this out there.

If you don’t ask - you will NEVER get.

What is the worst thing that can happen when you ask? You get an answer of “no”. However, you may get an answer of “yes”. And, even if the answer is no, you have opened the door for the discussion to happen.

Here’s my challenge for you today - ask just one person to do something for you today. You just might be pleasantly surprised. Look at it like a skill…and practice. Start small, stay consistent. You’ve got this. and, if you are ready to start asking consistently and want someone to coach you through those conversations…reach out! I’m thinking that having someone on your side to help you frame those conversations, without any emotional attachment may just be a game changer for you!

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What do you do for "self-care"?

Call it “filling your cup” or “putting your own oxygen mask on before someone else’s"…there are different ways of describing it. Regardless of how it is described, clearly “self-care” is a topic that is worth discussing. Why? Because the truth of the matter is, if you are not taking care of yourself, you are not any good to anyone else PERIOD.

As a coach, probably 95% of my clients are women and I’m guessing that this is not a surprise. I am relatable. Whether you are a parent or not, there are friends, family, jobs, pets and many other competitors for your time. I just happened to work in a corporate job while raising my two children, did coach training and managed my home, extra curricular activities for the family etc. etc. I’m guessing probably like many of you reading this. And…I was lucky enough to have a good friend at the time who served as a great role model for me. She and I had babies about five months apart - hers was born first. And the lessons I learned from her example I am eternally grateful for.

I learned to make time for myself. Even if that meant going out to the grocery store for an hour and leaving baby home with Dad. As time went on, that morphed into other activities that made me a better Mom, wife, friend and employee, among many other things.

Why is this a “thing” that I feel compelled to write about? Because of the conversations I am still having with women, whether they are clients sitting across the table from me; friends at the gym; conversations overheard in the doctor’s office or grocery store…it is still a relevant conversation to be having. Women aren’t making it to their own “to do” lists and it is costing them their health.

What can you do if this situation resonates for you?

Start by getting yourself on your “to do” list - as number one. Yikes! I can hear the gasps already. Before you stop reading, maybe just hear me out. I am talking about doing little things throughout the day that nurture you in some way. This could mean taking an extra minute or two in the shower in the morning; actually finishing your coffee or tea; perhaps taking a 10 minute walk at lunch and, I know this seems out there, sitting and taking some deep belly breaths on the couch when you get home in the evening before you jump into the next activity. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do. The point is to acknowledge yourself by taking care of yourself, because, believe it or not, there is no gold star or medal at the end of the road for you if you don’t take care of yourself. That doesn’t exist.

You know you can’t get something out of an empty vessel - so what if you did…”fill your cup” or “put your oxygen mask on first”? What would be different for you?

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What keeps you motivated?

Its early in the year and even so, I find it is never too early to think about motivation. I have been reflecting on the tools I use to stay motivated and thought I would share one of my favourites today. One thing that I am guessing is not unique to me is that a song can completely change how I am feeling at any given time, can pump me up and change my perspective. So, I thought I'd share my “playlist” that never fails to give me energy to keep going and I would love to hear what song(s) you go to when you want some motivation.

I came up with five songs. Why five songs? For no other reason than when I thought about what my “go to” songs were for motivation or inspiration, these songs came instantly!

  1. “Closing Time” by Semisonic - why this song? I love the line in the song “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” - because - sometimes, in order to move on in life, something has to end - a relationship, a job, an attitude - in order to allow for something new to begin. Rather than looking at this as a “sad” thing, it is always a place for reflection and gratitude. What did I learn? Where can I take this experience I have gained?

  2. “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers - there are a couple of sentiments expressed in this song that speak to me - “choose not a life of imitation”; “go write your message on the pavement” - being you. I’m wondering if any one else received the opposite message? I’m guessing that if you went to a traditional school, the first thing you learned was that “fitting in” matters. If you decided to write “your message on the pavement” - what would it say?

  3. “Relentless” by The Arkells - sticking to something long enough to reap the rewards. In this “instant gratification” world we live in, it is good to be reminded that an “overnight” success often takes a number of years. Being relentless, for me, means seeing the possibilities and remembering the reasons you started out as fuel to keep going. What could be possible if you became “relentless” about something you want?

  4. “Work Shoes” by USS- Time to move on. I for one, have learned that staying too long anywhere is not a good idea. Staying “long enough” is always better. Knowing which is which….well, that is more of an art than a science! Where are you lingering too long?

  5. “Medicine Bow” by The Water Boys - Acknowledging the voice in your head that no longer represents who you are anymore. Being brave and cutting the ties that have been keeping you stuck. What is the voice in your head telling you? Is it still true?

Why this? Why now? January is a time of refreshment for many of us. There really is a rule of beginnings that most definitely kicks in at the beginning of the year. And, it also kicks in Mondays, the first day of the month/quarter etc. (for more on this read Dan Pink’s book “When”). Also, for some people, with non-traditional careers, January is a continuation in the journey and sometimes, a little motivation is useful.

I would love to hear from you…what song keeps you going?

Need some motivation? Contact me for a no obligation chat! .

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