How to Make Decisions

It’s easy for us to get into “analysis paralysis,” wasting so much time, energy and wine ruminating about which decision is best for us.

“Should I quit my job?” “Should I leave the relationship?” “Is that really worth the money?” “Where should I go for my one big vacation this year?”

And it makes sense. After all, life is short and we don’t want to f*ck it up if we can avoid it, right?

You’re likely wondering, “How do I decide? How do I get out of this crazy confusion and finally make a decision?”

I’ve done a lot of digging on this, since I have been feeling stuck lately on some biz decisions I’ve had to make.

Here are the 8 tips that helped me the most (you’re welcome!):

1. Get rid of “history bias.”
Step back for a minute and ask yourself, “Would you choose it now if there was no history bias?” What I mean by “history bias” is we tend to have a lot of weight on our shoulders because we keep thinking about all the things that happened in the past. It can make your brain a mess, for sure. So, if you were starting brand new, would you choose whatever it is that is going on right now?

So for example, if you are deciding whether you should leave a job or not, re-decide whether you would take it or not. Would you marry this person again? Would you buy this house again? Would you spend this money?

Whatever it is, consider all your options and ask yourself, would you choose it now without your history bias?

A lot of us say, “Well, I’ve just been doing it for so long.” Trust me: that may not be the best reason you want for choosing something. And remember, when you make a decision, you want to make sure you like your reason for choosing it.

2. Ask yourself, “What if failure is no big deal?” Nelson Mandela famously said, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

A lot of times we hear coaches ask, “What would you do if you could not fail?”

But this new perspective takes it to the next level. So, if failing didn’t matter, if you knew you might fail at it, would you still do it?

If you failed at trying something, quitting something, or moving out into something, would you do it if failure didn’t matter?

This is important to ask because remember: “failure” is just the way you think about it. If you’re only “winning or learning,” then there really is no failure. Nothing is a failure. So when you take out the thought that “failure ruins everything” and that you could fail, which one do you do?

3. Imagine that both decisions could be awesome. What if you could succeed at both of them? Which one would you choose?
Some of us don’t choose one option over the other because we’ve played it out and we’ve already anticipated failure. We’ve already anticipated that we won’t know how to do something or we’ve succumbed to our own doubt about something.

For example, if you’re thinking about leaving a relationship, consider this:

If I stay married, the marriage turns out awesome because I make it awesome, and if I leave, my life is awesome because I make it awesome. So knowing that either way I could have an amazing life, which one do I choose?

Whoa. This clears up decision making so quickly, right? And it’s true: you can feel awesome either way (but that’s another blog post).

4. The next thing I want you to consider is one of my faves. It’s that can you say yes to both things.
I LOVE having it all;)

It’s super common to think “either this or that” when we are considering our options. We think one automatically excludes the other. This is a really great time to get coached!

We often think that if we say yes to one of them, we’re saying no to the other. Sometimes we don’t want to say no to the other, so we don’t make a decision.

But what if you could say yes to both things? Gasp!

Like, “Should I leave my job to become to a life coach?” What if you could keep your job and become a life coach in the evening? What if you could have both? Would you choose both instead of saying yes to one or no to the other?

I am really good at this because I’ve learned over many years to be efficient with my time. I get to do a lot of different things – I coach clients all over the world, I catch babies, I got my doctorate, I help people in integrative medicine, I volunteer in remote areas, I lead retreats, I teach new healthcare providers how to be good at providing care and being compassionate with their patients…

Do I do them all at the same time? Of course not! But I get to do them;)

Many people I know would have just chosen one of those things. And that’s OK too! It’s just that sometimes, you don’t have to. I decided I didn’t want to say yes to one and no to the other. (And it’s also not because I don’t sleep. I love me some sleep;)

5. Ask your “Future Self,” the you 10 years into the future, what they think, and why.
Remember that your Future Self has already learned the Big Lessons and who knows exactly what you need to do to manifest your ideal life.

When I’m making big decisions, I often ask my future self what should I do and why. It was one of the first tricks they taught me during my first coach training in 2009, and it sticks because it is really, really good! She always seems to know exactly what to do.

When I think of myself 10 years from now, at 55 years old (!!!), what do I tell myself? It’s crazy how much wiser I am. I always have the best answers;)

6. Give yourself a deadline to make the decision.
That’s right. You could go on and one ruminating. At some point, you need to stop it. There’s Parkinson’s Law: The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task. That includes decisions.

When the deadline arrives, make the decision and move forward.

I mean really, how long are you going to be deciding?

There’s actually no risk in deciding. The only risk you have is in the decision, in making the decision.

So give yourself until, say, the end of the month, or the end of next month, or the end of the week, and then you will decide one way or the other to do something.

That might feel scary to you. It did for me. But that means you’re doing it right. It’s okay to be afraid! Making decisions is what helps us move forward, to grow and evolve.

Know what else? It also helps us take action and therefore increases our confidence, because we juice up our confidence when we take action and learn from it. It also saves us time since we stop wasting time deciding!

7. Go over what is the best and worst-case scenario for each of your options.
I like doing this because the worst-case scenario often doesn’t feel as bad as I think it will when I play it out. Plus, what we often find out in the end is that the worst-case scenario is missing out on the best-case scenario;)

8. I saved the best for last. One that works for me consistently is asking, “What moves me towards who I want to be?”
So just be really clear and answer the question, “What moves you toward who you want to be?” It’s that simple. It works. Sometimes, another way to ask this can be to ask, “How do I want to feel?” Pick the thing that helps you feel that way. I do that a lot when I ask, “What will help me feel more free?” Deep down, you know what will move you towards who you want to be. And that, my friend, is what really matters.


Pssst. If you want help creating the life of your dreams, schedule a free strategy session with me by clicking here. I’ll show you how it’s possible to get from where you are now to where you want to be.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

let people be wrong about you

Here’s a little secret: one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself – better than a spa vacation in a remote mountain area or trolling a fishing line by your kayak in the Sea of Cortez – is to let people be wrong about you.

I know – it sounds crazy, right? But think about it. How much mental energy goes into protecting our image, defending our stance, or worrying about what other people think about us?

Answer: a shit-ton.

Here’s a quirky thing you might not know about me: I received a near-perfect score on the “logic” portion of the Graduate Record Exam (the GRE is a hideous, multi-hour test you have to take for most graduate program admissions). You might think, “Wow! That’s awesome, Ana! You’re life much be so much easier because you’re all logical and shit.”


Life is actually harder when you not only feel you are right, but know you are often right. This is because most of the time, us humans are super illogical, so no amount of logic can easily change our thoughts, behavior or how we feel. We do things not based on our rational brain, but on how we think something will make us feel. And most of us want to avoid hard feelings, so we do super illogical things like overeat when we are stressed out about trying to lose weight, or snap at our partner when we want to grow closer to them.

Silly humans!

So you see: the way people think – and the way people think about you – actually has nothing to do with logic (which is super frustrating for someone with a very logical brain;) You will likely never be able to convince them they are wrong, because they don’t actually think what they about you because they have a logical reason for why they are “right.” They think what they do about you because of how it makes them feel.

Mind-blowing, right?

So your partner, who swears you never told them about the party tonight and defends it to their core (even though you know you told him 2 weeks ago)?

It likely won’t help to repeatedly describe the exact details of when and how you told them. Why? Maybe they need to believe it wasn’t their fault that they forgot so they can feel good about themselves. Who knows! But the point is, life will get much easier if you let go of trying to convince them otherwise. Just help them get their pants on and get out the door.

Your (read: my) online hater who writes you a scathing email about how lovely your life must be since you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth/have a rich husband who supports you/(insert made-up story here)?

It won’t matter to write back and say, “Um, no. I grew up poor and in the ghetto and with a schizophrenic father and a mother that took her stress out on me. And I make more than my husband, thank you very much.” They need to think that about you for a reason. Anything you do or say likely won’t help, because they don’t want to feel differently.

This goes back to one of the main things I teach in my Ziji Up! confidence course: our thoughts create our feelings – and only YOU can change your own thoughts. When people have a thought about you in order to avoid experiencing a hard feeling, trying to change their thoughts about it with logic will be like Sisyphus rolling the proverbial boulder uphill. Don’t bother.

THEY need to go in there and change their thoughts when they are ready and willing. When someone is avoiding a hard feeling, they are NOT going to let you in their head to mess with that unless they are good and ready.

So you see, it’s easier to just let go of what other people think of you. It has nothing to do with you. It’s them. It’s about how they not just want – but need – to feel about themselves in that moment. And trust me: we all do this.

When I know I am right about something and my husband thinks otherwise, I often say to him, “But that doesn’t make any sense!!!!” (followed by a deep, guttural growl and the suppression of the GRE-style logical reasoning to accompany it). And truly, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t matter.

The reason I think it’s so important for me to be right is because I am doing the same thing! Oh, the irony…

I think correcting his thoughts about me will make me feel better. Loved, seen, heard, understood…all those “good” things that seem like important and valid reasons for arguing back. But what’s really happening is I am creating more distance between us, and more suffering as a result – in him, and in me.

Silly humans.

So next, time, I can focus on letting go of what he thinks about me, even when it’s something wrong and “bad” about me. The ironic thing is that allowing wrong thoughts about me would allow us to grow closer. I can let go, move on, and he will feel a nice “victory” and we can get on with having fun in life.

The same kind of freedom happens when we don’t react to anyone else who has negative opinions about us – and when we don’t let what others think about us affect the way we feel.

The next time you start obsessing about how someone is thinking something “wrong” about you, remind yourself that it isn’t about you. They want to feel better in that moment, and they need to think that about you to keep it going.

You know the truth of yourself.

You have the capacity of a big, open heart that can let people think wrong things about you – because you know they are hurting in a big or small way, and that they need that “win” for the moment.

So go on: let people be wrong about you. There are way better things to be thinking, feeling, and doing.

That is true freedom…

Here’s to you feeling it!


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

Dealing With Guilt

There was a time when I could say with conviction that I had no regrets. Back then, it was primarily because I was able to conjure up a ton of self-compassion and realize that I was, despite my flaws, always doing my best. And that’s all we really can do.


Well…lately that thought hasn’t been able to help my sense of regret go away. At all. The self-compassion was getting pretty hard to dig up.

I’ve been having a lot of guilt around my mother’s death and how I don’t think I showed up the way I’d have liked to. And I really needed to turn that around because it wasn’t serving me or my community to be wallowing in it.

All through the years I called my mom, I texted her, I asked her to move in (but Alaska is a hard place to convince an Islander like her to move to), I’d fly her up to Alaska 7 weeks at a time a few times a year. I even FaceTimed with her the day she died when we were in Morocco, calling her even though I knew it was 2am in California. I told her I loved her…but not like it was the last time I’d ever say it.

But while I was a good daughter on the phone, when we were together I wasn’t always the nicest (we have a complicated history). In fact, even though I always apologized right after, I could also be downright mean. And during my doctoral program I didn’t visit her as much as I normally would have, so she didn’t get to see me or her granddaughter more than the one very stressful 8-day trip we took to Yosemite the last year of her life. And there are so many other ways I was an imperfect daughter that hurt to think about.

In the end, do I think she knew I loved her (albeit imperfectly)? I think so. I hope so.

But when I try to tell myself that I was doing my best, I don’t believe it. It doesn’t seem to be working right now. I go back and forth to all the times I could have visited or the ways I could have responded better when I felt hurt. Why didn’t I coach myself during those times of irritation so I could let go? Why didn’t I meditate more – I know that I am a better person what I do…What if what if what if…

You’ve been there in that cycle of obsessive thinking. It’s exhausting, right?

And trust me – if you’re trying to do some serious self-coaching and change a negative thought to a more helpful thought so that your feelings and actions create the reality you actually want to experience, you better actually believe that new thought you are plugging into the equation.

Telling myself I did my best sounded like…bullshit.

I was feeling lost, my coach wasn’t available over the weekend to help me work it out (yup – believe it or not, most of us coaches have our own coaches!), and I couldn’t find a new, believable thought to help me shift things.

Then, while in a 2-minute meditation (hey – 2 minutes is better than nothing!) I remembered this:

Everything that is happening, that has happened, and that will happen is exactly what is meant to be.

You know why? Because it IS what has happened. It IS what is happening. And we don’t always get to know why. But if it wasn’t meant to happen that way, it wouldn’t have. Really!

Once I digested this, my chest relaxed, my spirit opened up, and my ability to forgive myself started to spark. That’s what guilt and regrets really are: the emotional baggage we have when we can’t forgive ourselves, or when we think we are responsible for other people’s feelings.

Or when we lack the self-compassion to see that we are all human and that life can be hard and hurt and that we are all imperfect. That even when we aren’t doing out best, we are still doing what is supposed to be happening in that moment…for some reason..and we may never know why it was supposed to be that way.

We don’t get to decide what other people’s spiritual journeys are. What experiences they are “supposed” to have. None of that.

Are you having a hard time feeling guilt or regret? Try seeing what happens when you realize that for some reason, whatever happened was exactly what was supposed to happen. In the bigger picture, in the bigger Mystery of it all, it really was.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

How to Make the Hard Decisions

A funny thing happens when you do the hard and gritty personal work – the wrestling with your insecurities, taking risks, creating boundaries (that many people don’t like), being scared and doing it anyway, cultivating compassion towards the Mean People, discovering your Inner Badass; opening to the suffering in the world and thinking about how to make a difference in your own unique way, and knowing your own suffering is real and worth tending to as well…

…when you start working towards all those things: You start getting what you want.

Or at least what you think you want.

This can be a kind of test, a final exam of, “How well do you know thyself?”

I decided to write this piece because a client of mine (let’s call her Emily) recently posted in our Facebook group that she is being asked to step into an even greater role in her profession, one that she was surprised to even be considered for, one where she would stand side by side next to badasses in her field. Yet she wasn’t sure what to do. While it was an incredible opportunity, it was also going to create more work, less free time, less opportunity for self-care, and more stress. And a big part of her work in our Adventure Mastermind was putting her needs first (for once). But a part of her really wanted this, and liked being acknowledged for all her hard work thus far.

She wanted to know how to navigate making these Hard Decisions. The Big Decisions. The Unclear Decisions.

I’ve always said it’s easier to say “No” when its a “Hell No!” and is really obvious. It gets a lot trickier when it’s a “maybe,” “sort of” or “good enough.” Same could go for Yesses.

In case you, like Emily, are presented with a test from the Universe, one with a temptation that seems so good on so many levels yet feels not-so-good on many others, here are a few of the tips we reviewed:

How to Make Hard Decisions

:: Create clarity around your Ideal Life. Create detailed lists for: 1) how you want to show up in the world, how you want to feel, how you want to BE 2) What you want to be doing with your time, including work, play, spirituality…all those important arenas 3)What you want to have – in detail. Home/shelter, environment, what kinds of friends and community, family?

:: Write about your Perfect Day – how do you want to feel and what do you want to do form the moment your eyes open to when you fall asleep? Since I’m a big fan of the dreamworld, I even advocate for being clear about what you want to dream about or use your dreamtime for!

Doing the 2 above exercises can help you remember what it is your trying to create in your life – then you can step back and see which decision would best move you towards that. Sit with this question – aka The Hard Decision – you have, and ask your Wise Self (your most Magnificent Self, your Self who has already achieved everything you could ever dream of), “Does this decision move me closer to my ideal life?”

:: Get out of your head, and get in touch with what “yes” feels like in your body and what “no” feels like. Spend a couple of days feeling into what is a Yes and what is a No in your body. You’ll start to learn that your body has very specific ways to tell you something is going to be bad for you – from food to people to movies etc. And ways to tell you something is awesome and a hellz yes!

Which decision feels like a Hellz Yes! in your body?

:: You can also use tools like oracles or Angel cards etc to help tap into your intuition on the matter. When we leave some things up to Mystery, it can be interesting to observe what comes up and how it stirs our hearts and minds.

:: Remember not to get caught up what society says you “should” be doing. Don’t get caught up in the accolades, promotion status, ego-driven feel-good vibes (which are always so short-lived and precarious, because they rely on others’ perceptions of us). Ask your Wise Self about if the whole shebang (the life changes that would occur, the schedules and colleagues etc) actually feeds your needs. Your SOUL’s needs.

:: And of course, because ultimately I’m more of a Death Coach than a Life Coach 😉 … Remember – life is short. We are all going to die and we don’t know when. No time for bullshit.

People always want me to work more because I am good at what I do. I know to say, “No, but thank you for offering!” because I know the level of freedom I need in my life and what makes me happy. If I wasn’t so clear on that, I’d be saying “Yes” way more often, because on paper, only an idiot turns down the offers I get. But my heart and soul – and my body’s knowing – they watch out for me, and I can’t go wrong.

I hope you can get more clear with these exercises. Print this out and tuck it away somewhere. I know that with all the hard work you’re doing to cultivate radiant inner confidence in yourself, you will someday be given The Test to see if you really know yourself, what you crave, desire, and long for…or if you’re easily swayed by The Distractions.

For more Clarity + Courage tools like these, donate any amount you like and dive into my acclaimed Ultimate Confidence Course. I’m working on a project to help mamas and babies in Nepal, and all proceeds go to this amazing work!


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

What Happened to Me

As many of you know, I spent a lot of time in the Utah desert on my own personal wilderness Quest last year. About a half year later, I led some amazing Legendary ladies on their own personal Quest in Joshua Tree. Suffice it to say that both experiences were pivotal, and after I had wrapped up my year with my Legendary ladies, I had a huge 2×4 from the Universe smack me upside the head, and I had no other desire than to go inward.

exploring the Omani desert with Maia (photo credit: Thai Verzone)

Plus, having a kid made me look at how I was prioritizing my life in way that was even more powerful than having had cancer twice. I think a kid can do that for a lot of people – especially those of us, like me, who can have issues with self-love. It is somehow easier to do it for someone else sometimes.

It was all overpowering, but I didn’t have the mental, physical, or spiritual space to have to “explain” it to anyone. I just did what had to be done. I find women explain far too much anyway, and could benefit from just doing what the hell their souls are telling them they need to do – without explanation.

:: I (almost) instantaneously unplugged from online marketing. It’s amazing how much space this opened up in my life. I took clients by referral only, and that kept me plenty busy along with everything that followed…

:: I moved through a psycho-spiritual crisis and unacknowledged postpartum depression, and healed my body. My relationship, family and spiritual practice is now stronger than ever, and my body is feeling more powerful every day…something I haven’t felt since before I had my kiddo. I shed much of my excess ama, and my body feels almost as light and energetic as it did when I was much younger. I still have some work to do, but I am well on the path.

:: I listened to the one word that kept sprouting from my Quest and popping up in Mystery wherever I went: SERVICE.

This was a doozy, because I did not want to hear it. I felt I was already in service with my Legendary and other coaching clients, and the volunteer work I did abroad every few months (diving into it at a refugee camp with Congolese and Rwandan refugees for a month counts for a lot of service, right?) But this word “Service” and its calling told me: Wake up, Woman! You are meant to do more. Open your eyes and see it. Why the hell do you think I’ve been having you cultivate those myriad skills over the years? Not just because you are a multipassionate/ multi-potentialite or whatever people are calling it these days. You are supposed to DO something with all of that.

:: So…I applied for and received a scholarship for a doctoral program and focused my project on helping to start the first emergency maternal-child transport system in Nepal. Yes, for the entire country. No, not alone. But yes, far larger than I ever thought possible. A daunting undertaking to say the least, which will extend well past my doctoral program. Anything born from the heart should endure past it’s short-lived inception.

:: I also started crafting something pretty powerful that will rock the system of healthcare that we live in. It’s something I can’t talk about yet because it will upset a lot of people, and I can’t handle that right now. But I am in deep Jedi training for the Big Disappointment that I will have to endure, knowing that I have to let go of the fruits of whatever efforts I put into this project…which, again, is the case with anything from the heart 😉

I am almost done with my doctoral degree – if all goes well, I should be receive it by December (can you believe it?! Those two Master’s degrees finally paid off, LOL). Then shit gets very, very real after that. You’ll have to stay tuned…but trust me, you will be in on it when it happens.

:: So, what does that mean for Freedom Junkie and Legendary Wilderness Quests? It means I am even more clear about what I am here to do for you. It’s simply a more distilled version of what I have been giving you from my heart since the very beginning, with my very first FullOn365 blog post.




On steroids.

We’re talking vajra path, full-speed ahead manifesting.

:: I will be offering many of my online programs for free or donation-only, to honor the call to Service and to counter the craziness that our new politics is creating. Please, take all you want – but I beg you: USE IT. The world needs you to be YOU more than ever.

:: I will lead a select group of women (who are ready) into their own Legendary wilderness Quests once a year. I am committing to making this as affordable as possible.

:: One retreat a year will be held in Alaska, and the other in Baja, Mexico where we will deep dive into your Soul in some of the last great, vast, expansive lands of unadulterated wilderness there is left on this planet.

In short, if it isn’t obvious, I am focusing on in-person contact with you, my people, my tribe. I am wanting to offer a bit of Medicine to counter all the disconnect that permeates our society, because no matter how much you comment on posts and get replies, or how many different emoticons or video feeds or likes you get, there’s nothing is like talking, seeing, touching, and BEing with a real-life human BEing.

To put it differently, my strongest super powers come out when I am in your face. Literally.

So why do anything else? I’ve got too many other Service duties going on to mess with anything less than my ideal delivery system.

I’ll also be focusing on system-wide changes in our country. I’ve had enough of waiting for other people to do it.

I’m writing this just after landing in Nepal to launch my doctoral project. The 36 hour trip here has been one of the longest periods of time I’ve had to not have to choose between staring at a computer or playing with my kid in the outdoors (guess who wins most of the time?), or attending to the needs of my soul. The first thing I thought of doing was writing to you.

Guess that puts you pretty high up on the list.

I hope this inspires you to follow your Soul’s calling, no matter how scary it might be, how radically different it may look from what you think you “should” be doing, and no matter how you might disappoint others.

That last one’s a doozy. But you will – and can – survive. If you need some help, feel free to start with my Ultimate Confidence Course – the Ziji Up! Mastery Program. It’s 7 weeks of full-on confidence and courage building. For however much you can afford. For realz.

I wonder what would happen if all of us started living from our Souls. Can you imagine how different this world would be? I can.

Let’s do this.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way – Choice, Not Chance

createmorefreedomThe first act of freedom is to choose it.” ~ William James

Life is about making choices.

This has become sooooo apparent to me this past year as I attempt to intentionally design my life for the next few years. I felt an overwhelming sense of decision fatigue – the kind I feel walking into a supermarket and trying to buy toothpaste seeing shelves upon shelves of various forms of spearmint vs peppermint (?!!) and would I rather have whitening power or flouride… but on a larger scale.

(BTW this is why I LOVE traveling to developing countries where I walk up to a wooden kiosk and ask for toothpaste and they slap on the counter the one kind they have, and I happily walk away having found my toothpaste).

While not many of life’s choices are as lightweight as choosing between flavors of toothpaste, we make them every day – ALL day – without being conscious of many of them. This tendency to go into autopilot and not realize we are making choices in each moment can bite us in the butt.
What you choose and how you make choices (or don’t make them) is central to your inner confidence and sense of authenticity.

Choices do, however, come in two flavahs:

1) ACTIVE: When you make something happen and live with the consequences, and
2) PASSIVE: When you “choose not to choose,” and continue to live with the status quo because the stakes appear too high for any changes choice might bring. This one can be a comfy place, but it gets booooooooooring.

Active choices can be painful. Feelings of fear and vulnerability often come along with the territory. When you acknowledge you have choice in the matter, you are more exposed (cross dem legs!). Alas, just because we know what’s best for us doesn’t make it any easier.

This active choice-making is risky, too. The most difficult choices don’t have any absolute right or wrong; there is no perfect solution. It takes great inner confidence (and courage) to face these hard decisions.

On the other hand, putting off decisions, or not taking the time to clarify what it is you want or believe in (which in general leads to crappy choices), can have serious backlashes in the way of stress, depression, discouragement, a total lack of feeling authentic, and even physical illness.

Procrastination and ignorance seldom have any favorable results. But that’s kind of obvious.

The take-home point is this: Once you accept that your choices create your experience and your reality, even if you don’t like what you created so far, YOU ALSO GET TO CREATE YOUR NEW REALITY – THE WAY YOU WANT IT TO BE! And now you can do so more mindfully, deliberately and, skillfully…which freakin’ rocks!

Though in the end the choice is yours, getting to the place to be able to make a decision doesn’t have to be a solo trip. Ask for help. Talking things out with another person can be helpful, especially someone who is on your side but has nothing at stake in your decision (like a coach, a spiritual teacher, or a counselor). Just putting voice to your concerns may help you sort things out, and writing down the pros and cons will give you more clarity than keeping everything in your head.

You can also learn skills that help you make choices that are more clear, deliberate, and in alignment with your passion and values (check out this recording of the oldie-but-goodie Jedi Juice™ training call, “The Power of Choice – and the freedom of owning your shit,” here).

Getting some distance (emotional or physical) may make sussing out your options (and what you WANT) easier, especially if that distance allows you to see the reality of the situation, rather than the way you wish it could be.

Even with thoughtful consideration, not every choice will be the right one. But remember this:

“Wrong” decisions don’t make YOU wrong.

Trite as it may sound, one of the ways we learn is through the mistakes we make. And on the flip side, one way we build confidence is to take risks, commit to a choice/decision, and succeed, even if its after a few (or many) failures. We won’t ever have that chance if we don’t ever deliberately make a choice!

Not each of the choices you make will have profound effect on the whole of your life. But the ongoing and continuous act of making choices – in full awareness – will.

Making choices you believe in, choosing intentionally and with keeping your deepest values in mind, and taking responsibility for your choices – these are some of the markers on the road of living an aligned life.

What choices do you know you’ll have to make today? How can you enter into them with more awareness of what values you are saying “yes” to and what values you are saying “no” to?

Set the intention to be more aware of the opportunities for choice in your day today, and make them in alignment with what the real, authentic you desires.

Ana Verzone is known as the Soul Midwife She helps individuals awaken their lives and personal freedom with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly eZine goes out to thousands of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE 7-day Clarity + Courage Course by visiting


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

How do you handle bumps in life?

Head shot of worried womanI sat there breathing slowly, my eyes slightly closed, and my palms slightly sweaty. I tried keeping my eyes open and taking in the beautiful views, but then I would just think about crashing into the dangerously cold water below, or clipping one of the ridges we were really close to when the plane would drop a few feet in the turbulence. It was a small plane – only 7 passengers and their luggage could fit.

I had my 5-month old baby close to me as I wore her in a Moby wrap, and wrapped my arms tightly around her. I tried to think of as many positive thoughts as I could. “We are safe,” I would chant inwardly. I visualized a protective bubble around us, and every time the plane dropped, I would take a deep breath and try to relax myself.

One of my spiritual teachers taught me to make sure that I had positive thoughts at the time of death, so that my soul wouldn’t be “thrown” into a negative next life. I remembered this – while realizing I was ironically remembering it because I thought I might die – and changed my thoughts to be more positive.

Some girl with a rhinestone headset on kept trying to talk to the pilot, and I wanted to say, “Shut the fuck up and let the man concentrate!” But she was up front and I was tucked in the back. And to yell it would have potentially distracted the pilot.

Before takeoff, the pilot said, “Make sure your seatbelts are on very tight, because it’s going to be really bumpy until we get out past the hovercraft landing pad.”

“Oh, cool!” one of the guys in front of us said. He was a hunter dressed in camouflage, trying to be nonchalant. Once the bumps started, he and the other three men in front of us were silent the entire time. Absolutely silent, and looking straight ahead.

My husband kept trying to give me a freakin’ expedition planner series the whole time, saying things like, “See over there? It seems you could packraft across to that other island pretty easily” or “See that beach over there? I stored some whale bones over there last time I was here. We should hike out there…I think we could get there by gaining that ridge…” He loved plane rides – bumpy or not – for the free flightseeing tour.

Making the most of his thriftiness, I suppose…

I looked at him sternly. “I am not listening to anything you’re saying, or looking at any of those spots, until this plane lands.”

Bumpy rides were never my favorite thing, but ever since I had my baby, I dislike them even more. I almost quit working in the bush entirely because I hate these flights. But I love working with the people in the villages more.

The pilot stayed calm, his eyes scanning all around the entire time, looking for signs of bad gusting winds or topography that would signal possible worsening turbulence in that area.

Maia slept the whole time, enjoying the “rocking.”

We got out of the turbulence and my hands relaxed. Easy conversation began up front. I started to point out the beautiful peaks above the clouds to my husband, asking if he knew their names.

The plane landed and I clapped. I clap every time the plane lands, and have been doing so for years, ever since the entire plane started clapping after our landing on a small plane flight in Nepal. It made sense to me – it IS a miracle that we can get through the air in a huge heavy metal thing. We should be freakin’ throwing confetti every time a place lands!

After my adrenaline subsided, I began to reflect on the different ways we all dealt with the situation: silence, talking too much and too loudly, affirmations and visualizations, visual distractions, feigned humor…

How do you deal with the bumps in life? I don’t think one way is necessarily better than the other – that’s not the point of this post. But what I do think is important is to develop an awareness when we are engaging in one of these activities.

It’s a signal to us that something is making us nervous. Maybe it’s something good, like your Big Crush starting a conversation. Maybe it’s something very objectively dangerous, like my small plane ride in major turbulence (we had two days of cancellations due to weather, and we flew out in a small window of “good enough” weather).

Either way, start noticing what you do. Don’t disregard it – it’s info…just like your emotions are information about what you need or don’t need and whether you are meeting said needs; and just like your when your body has aches and pains, it is telling you it needs something.

Unless what you do compromises other people’s needs –  like the woman talking to the pilot in an obnoxious way on my plane (he eventually told her to cut it out) – I don’t think you even need to change these responses unless you want to. Perhaps your response is getting in the way of something you want, or perhaps it is simply incongruent with the way you want to show up in the world.

But definitely know and understand how you respond to life’s little  – or big – bumps.

Here are some tips:

1) Recall 5 different stressful/fearful/anxious/uncomfortable situations

2) Do you recognize any patterns in how you handled it? Or perhaps you react a certian way with each different type of stressor (relationship vs work vs financial vs physical danger)?

Assess all areas such as your body (your posture, noticing any tension, shallow breathing, tight chest, etc), voice, hand gestures, eyes (do you look at the ground, make eye contact, or have eyes darting all over the place)

3) Are you OK with how you are experiencing this stress, or is there something about it you’d like to change? For example, I am fine with my method of focus and going inward and creating positive affirmations and visualizations. It works for me, and doesn’t weigh on others, really. I am NOT OK with how I get fixated on the negative when I am sleep deprived, so I’d like to work on that.

4) Share with me below in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Days 338 to 358 Keep It Simple, Stupid – but maybe not that simple

Full On 365Wow…coming back from Africa hasn’t been easy. We got back, I worked in Oregon catching babies and visited with friends and family over the holidays, then we came back to Alaska and were here all of one week before leaving to go work in a village out in the bush. I also managed to launch the 2013 Freedom Sessions Mastermind group in those two short weeks, and am THRILLED that almost all the spots are filled! So that gave me a lot of energy, but then I started to get tired with packing and unpacking yet AGAIN. After traveling for three months and coming home to the yurt for only 2 weeks since then, I am craving nesting, like a pregnant woman in her last month, like a sailor returning home after being at sea for years – except with a slight flavor of Gidget on crack.

I know. Scary, right?

Alas, we have also planned a trip to Mexico with a group of friends NEXT WEEK. What was I thinking? I was thinking I hadn’t seen many of my friend’s for months, and we wanted to be someplace warm with each other. Since I had been in Africa for so long, I was focused more on the “with each other” part than the warm part…but it is starting to get chilly here;)

We actually have many friends coming down for the trip – even friends from other states! So in this whirlwind of movement, it naturally crossed our minds to ask: What if we kept things simple and got married in Mexico? A small intimate ceremony then have the big party back in the US this summer? Our parents would actually be OK with it because, well, parents who have kids like us are pretty easy-going about spontaneous big decisions. As long as we had the party;)

However, the reality is, with all this travel and with all this moving around after our return, I am feeling like I am not ready to also rush into planning a wedding in Mexico. Even if it would be simple and amazing and undoubtedly entertaining with the motley crew we’ve conjured up. And I don’t want to keep things SO simple that we don’t give it the proper attention for it to feel sacred.

I am cleansing deeply over the last month, and that has left me with clarity and energy, but on the deep-cleanse days I only have energy for self-care, a bit of yoga, and connecting with my peeps. The fact that my soul hasn’t caught up with me yet from Africa has caused me to feel less present in my relationships, and that is the LAST state of mind I want to be in for planning something like this. Thai has also noticed we are under some stress and pressure, and planning this might make too crazy.

It would be “easier” in some ways to try to do it in Mexico because our friends will already be there in a beautiful place (we rented a PHAT pad on the beach with – get this – and infinity pool yippeee!). Yet we have to honor where our energy is. If it feels right when we are there, and we feel deeply it is the right thing, then we’ll do it. But right now it feels freakin’ CRAZY to try to plan it;)

I have also thought a lot about if I should share this next part, but I figured someone can learn from my process, so why put a kaibash on my vulnerability now, right?

I am trying to get pregnant. I am 39 and going to be 40 this year. I have been involved in Women’s Health and midwifery for over 9 years, and have too good of an understanding of my odds. Did you know the medical term for women over 35 who are pregnant is “Eldery Gavida?” Yup. Elderly.

I know the best I can do is to keep up my self-love practices, continuing to eat well, exercising, decreasing my stress, surrendering to the Universe, to the acupuncture needles, and also surrendering to the fertility specialist if this shizzle doesn’t land a zygote in the next 6 months. In short, don’t be elderly-like unless it’s Yoda-style elderly.

I don’t think I’d do IVF but I would certainly try some other things…I think.

I’ve got a lot going on, to say the least. And it can be easy for me to want to throw my hands up and say, “Whatever! Whatever happens is what will happen!” Like a spontaneous wedding in Mexico. Or not even thinking about this pregnancy thing and not taking extra steps to improve my fertility. But the bottom line is, some things just can’t be THAT simple. Some things deserve a little discomfort and effort (the good kind – not struggle). Sometimes, when you really want something, you can’t just wait and see. You need to move on that shizzle. Be proactive. DO.

When you’re interested in something, you try. When you’re committed, you DO.

I’m going to nest now, so I can save some energy for doing – and BEING me. I’m going to full-on find that balance between surrender and action. Are you with me?

And by the way, I am only 1 week from completing my year of commitment to Full-On living – and as of now, it has been too sweet to even think of stopping!

Days 163 to 171 – I Hate Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

Here I am at the summit of Flat Top with Campbell Creek below and Ptarmigan peak in the background (where I climbed the couloir with my partner one lovely spring 12 years ago!). Awesome after-work hike!

I am so freakin’ happy I can’t stand it. Literally! It’s like my brain is so “logical” that it immediately starts calculating the statistics of how long this could exactly last.

It is terribly annoying.

I know I am not alone here. A lot of us, when things are going really well, remind ourselves that it can’t possibly last forever. Well duh. But constantly reminding ourselves of this doesn’t help us to enjoy it while it IS here.

The ebb and flow of happiness is an age-old truth. We feel joy, then something happens and we feel a funk. Then something happens and we feel joy again. And on and on. The key is to not be attached to one or the other (oh yes, many people get attached to the funk just as much as others get attached to the joy). Still, not being attached to a state of mind being that way forever and ever doesn’t mean to not enjoy it!

So here I am in Alaska, happily building a home with my partner, going for hikes in alpine mountain scenery, planning trips to the Aleutian Islands and Uganda and East Africa…dancing at the local pub a few blocks away, watching Freedom Junkie grow and grow, and Hellz Yes! I earned this shit! Better yet, I created this! I am sooooooo happy!

I step back from my life, and remind myself of what I teach – that we create our experience – and I am in awe of it all. I am in awe that I have visualized every bit of this happening, and now it IS happening. I visualized, and surrendered, and some things manifested immediately and some took years/over a decade, but – just as I created the challenges in my life, I created this magnificence. It feels so amazing.

I used to reminisce about those days when I would sit in silence in my 20s, maybe watching a sunset cozy in my sleeping bag in the desert somewhere, and think, “I am so happy. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but whatever it is, Source, please let me keep doing it because I am so grateful for all I have right now.” That was when I lived out of my car and made about $11,000 a year.

For awhile I realized I hadn’t felt that way – that feeling of being utterly BLESSED – for a long time. A really long time. Then, it started coming back more and more. And here it is, full-force again. And what do I do?

Freak out that it’s going to end.

Well, I’ve been down this path before (remember: we revisit our challenges as in a spiral, over and over again, with a little different perspective and skillset each time) and I realize that I need to simply keep doing good work, being authentic, and fully enjoying the present. I need to not be afraid of when the tides shift. I need to be fully present and in the NOW. When I focus on what is going on in the present – and not fear what “might” happen – I am so freakin’ psyched!

I am blessed.

Sometimes I am embarrassed to say that. To say that I am so freakin’ in love with my life that I can’t stand it. Like I shouldn’t be this happy when others I love and care about are not doing so well. You know, feeling guilty like a good Catholic girl should;) But in the end, I know that it is the purpose of all of us to shine, and to manifest our magnificence, and I can’t wait for all those around me to keep on taking the risks they need to take to grow and to step into their creative power.

I know that I will be in a funk someday, and I’ll likely write about it here. But in the meantime, I am going to be so grateful for this joy.

I have learned that gratitude for what you DO have – whether you’re in a funk or in a state of feeling uber blessed – is your gift back to the Universe, to God, to Source.

What are you grateful for today? Let me know below. I’d love to hear about it so we can feel blessed together;) Misery may love company, but blessedness loves it even more!

Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)!

How to Get Your MoJo On Before Its Too Late

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Marie Oliver

Running errands, working late, losing sleep, making annoying phone calls and being put on hold, not working out again because you got home too late, not seeing your friends for a few weeks because you’ve got your nose to the grindstone…What’s the point?

What’s the reason behind all the things you’re doing every day? What’s the MoJo behind your ToDo list? In coaching, we talk about the “little a” agenda, and the “Big A” Agenda. The little “a” agenda is the list of all the little steps that get you to your Big “A” Agenda. The Big A is your dreams, your vision, your totally fulfilled, free and kick-ass life.

It’s important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing with your precious life energy, and it’s also important not to confuse the To Dos for the MoJo itself. When we confuse the little a for the Big A…then we’re really screwed. But more on that in a bit.

Let me start with an example of little a and Big A: I want to go to Africa and travel this Fall, as well as volunteer at a refugee camp. I want to write and create and inspire and dive into – with the freedom of time – the newest epic Freedom Junkie program I am creating. On top of that, a requirement is that I do not have to be anywhere at any given moment or be held accountable to anyone but myself, my partner, and the present moment. That’s my Agenda. That’s the MoJo behind my ToDos.

In the meantime, what do I need to do to get there?

  • Quit my job (the one where I loved it but didn’t have freedom of my time) – DONE. I did this a long time ago, but I like to remind myself everytime I do something cool about why I did it;)
  • Not get pregnant – DONE (ditto to the above)
  • Run my Freedom Junkie programs twice as often as usual since I won’t be doing them in the Fall – DONE
  • Save a bunch of money so that even though I may be earning money in the meantime, I don’t have to freak out that I NEED to, and end up coming home early because I am stressed out or something sucky like that. This means I had to save 3 months worth of expenses, at least. – DONE
  • Pay bills in advance – PENDING
  • Write my eZine articles in advance – PENDING
  • Tuck in all my loose ends and do all the crap I have been putting off so I can fully let go – definitely NOT DONE

So, a lot of little “a” things have to happen in order for my vision to happen. Some of them were really big freakin’ deals to pull off! A lot of things on YOUR ToDo list will need to happen in order for you to fulfill your MoJo too. your So, a lot of little “a” things have to happen in order for my vision to happen. Some of them were really big freakin’ deals to pull off! A lot of things onWhen I get stuck in how mundane things are because I am doing some annoying thing like spending half the day on the phone with insurance companies or filling out paperwork or screening renters for my house, getting all the service maintenance done on my car and doing prophylactic plumbing care on my vintage cottage (circa 1912, baby!), I remember my Big A. It helps.

Are you working overtime? When you feel yourself getting down on it and saying things like, “I can’t believe I’m missing out on watching the sunset on the river with my peeps,” how about saying, “I am making sure I’m getting to trek in Nepal in the Fall so I can fan the flames of my Freedom and Adventure MoJo?” That’s a much better place to have your perspective sit and take a rest.

Look at your daily habits and the things you are doing right now – your ToDo things. Are they getting you closer to, or further from, your dreams? Or are they keeping you stuck? Be honest with yourself.

Create and get clear about your vision,then make a list of ToDos that need to happen in order to be living that vision sooner than later. Then go out and do it – remembering, with focus, your reasons why.

Here are warning signs to watch out for when putting together the ToDos for your MoJo

Make sure your MoJo is honored every day.“Balance” in terms of an 8-hour workday and 8 hours of sleep is bull-honkey for most people. However, while you’re passionately cranking out the ToDos to get to your dream, make sure you celebrate some part of your MoJo. After all, you never know when you’re going to croak, so be sure to live a little passion every day. Have great sex. Eat good food. Play outside. In whatever order you like;)

Don’t keep doing things you don’t like with NO “Big A” Agenda in mind
For example, are you working overtime just to have “more money?” What the hell are you doing, amigo? I am now figuratively slapping you with a ltitle sting like in a Telenovela. Everything you do, even something seemingly banal or mundane, must contribute to your life dreams. And my bet is that if you’re a part of the Freedom Junkie Tribe, your dream isn’t to have a lot of money per se, but rather to feel free, have adventures, and take control of your time and money and where you are in the world. If financial abundance happens to come along with that wild ride, then sahweet – buy more drinks for your friends! In the Maldives;) Get in touch with your Big A – what values are you honoring?

Be aware of when your “little a” agenda items are for the purpose of someone else’s dreams, or an Agenda that is actually a really really bad idea that you forgot you were going to ditch once you realized your Badass Life was meant to be lived on your terms.

Like you used to think you wanted to be a doctor to save lives and help people. That was easy people-pleasing at cocktail parties. And you really really like shoes. You like them so much you are really freakin’ good at designing them and celebrating them. In fact, you are the only student in your medical school class who can pull off Fluvogs with scrubs.

You forgot you always wanted to open your own store. But then, in the middle of a 12 hour day indoors in the hospital on a sunny day, you remembered again. You remembered a lot of things about your dreams. So you quit med school. No shit. One of my friends did exactly that. And she has a badass shoe store and donates hundreds of pairs to kids in developing countries every year. Not Fluvogs. But you get the point.

Don’t make your Mojo items consistently eons into the future. Don’t wait for “someday.” Pick actual dates. Take, as Tim Ferriss says in The 4 Hour Work-Week, mini-retirements so that you refill your mojo regularly during this one wild and precious life. Don’t wait till you’re about to die!

Do not confuse your little a for your Big A. Do NOT work overtime thinking it will all be worth it “someday” if you never actually go on that trek in Nepal. You must go, or you’ll loose respect for yourself and your MoJo will whither. We’ve all done it. We’ve made plans, even taken some big leaps, then we make up excuses to turn away from our dreams. Then we keep doing the “little a” things all the time, and they eventually start to seem like Big A things because we forgot why they were so important, but we keep doing them anyway – but they’re not our Big A. They’re distractions.

Like checking Facebook or your emails 100 times a day so you feel important and seen and like people notice you, and that you’re doing really really well. Distraction. What could you be doing instead to get you to your big dream? All those little moments add up, hermana. One study showed employed people spend12.3 minutes on Facebook a day. That’s 76 hour a year – or 3 whole days! Another showed Americans spend 49 minutes a day on managing email. That’s 446 hours or 18.5 entire days!

In summary, I want you to get your MoJo on.

  • What’s Your Mojo? What are your big visions, your passions, your up-and-coming adventures?
  • What ToDos need to happen to manifest your MoJo?
  • How can you keep living your MoJo every day while you work towards that epic vision?

Please share your comments below:  I’d love to hear your answers to one or all of the questions above. When you speak it, there is power.

PS: If there is no MoJo behind what you’re doing, stop messing around. Discover your passions. Join the tribe at and ask for some support. There are a bunch of wild and crazy Freedom Junkies out there who have been exactly where you are at!