Visualization to Realization

4 Steps to Help You Bring Your Vision to Reality

Have you ever wanted something in your life yet didn’t know how to begin to bring it into reality? Most likely, each day, there is something that we each would like to change or enhance about our lives. Whether we desire a much needed career change, a more satisfying significant relationship, a physical body that is pounds lighter and toned, or perhaps it’s a more balanced life with more joy and less stress! Whatever it might be, I have found that a personal visualization practice can help to manifest what you desire in your life.

I have made visualization a daily intention and have incorporated it into my coaching practice as a significant way to help others get focused on what they really want in their lives and, then bring those things into realization. It can definitely be a practice that works hand in hand with meditation, prayer and a positive outlook.

You may have heard the term visualization before but are wondering, what exactly is visualization? It’s a powerful tool that allows you to use your imagination to create a clear focused image of what you want in your life. And then, by focusing on it often, and sincerely believing in it, you will be able to manifest those things in life.

Let’s talk about some of the key steps of visualization.

First, relax to ensure the most effective visualization.
Quiet your mind from thinking about your to do list for a little bit. Do some deep breathing and relax your whole body. Research has shown that when we relax, our brain wave pattern changes from beta level to alpha level. The alpha level is found to be more effective in creating change through the visualization process.

Second, use your imagination to create a vivid picture of what you want in your life.
What does that look like? Picture yourself with your goal realized, as if it is really happening. How does it make you feel when you think about having that in your life? Create as many details as possible about it – use all of your senses – how does it look, sound, smell, feel, etc.

Third, focus on the picture you have created regularly, believing in your visualization.
When you first wake up and right before you go to sleep tend to be very productive times to visualize because you are in a more relaxed state then. However, you can do it as often as you like throughout the day.

Fourth, create positive statements, called affirmations, to shift any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from realizing what you want in your life.
Affirmations work best when they are positive, concise and stated in the present tense.

A few examples of affirmations are, “I am joyful and balanced and can have all I want in my life”. “I am healthy and fit”. “I live a happy exciting life!”

Affirmations will help you to shift your doubts, fears and worry and get in a more powerful positive mindset. They allow you to focus on thoughts that support your vision rather than focusing on the reasons that you might have thought you could not create what you wanted to bring into your life.

Visualizing positive outcomes and picturing them as if they are currently happening is really empowering and has given me and my coaching clients the ability to embrace challenges in a more positive light. And, by being intentional in creating daily positive affirmations, I have seen my energy level for working through challenging situations increase and my ability to be successful in reaching goals strengthened. At times, I am still amazed at how much more easily things fall into place when I use visualization. The practice of visualization can quickly shift my mindset and then change the way I approach the things I set out to do each day. I am excited about the energy shift that visualization provides. When you feel energized with a positive outlook, you can accomplish amazing things every single day.

As you can probably tell, I have a true passion for this topic because it has brought wonderful things into my life seemingly effortlessly. I would love to share my experiences and provide you with some easy yet powerful tools to bring a daily visualization practice into your own life!

If you are ready to bring the things that you most desire into your life now, I am offering a workshop series beginning October 26th.  For details on the workshop visit:

If you have any questions about the workshop series, this blog, or other coaching opportunities, I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you! Please feel free to reach out to me directly —

Donna Kettell, Certified Professional Coach
Wholistic Woman Retreats, Affiliate Coach
Founder, Kettell Coaching [email protected]
410 978 3492


Why Know Your Strengths?

5 Reasons Why It’s Important

If I were to ask you what your strengths are, what would you say?

Would the question challenge you to speak honestly about your good qualities…make you feel uncomfortable…or both? Or would you wonder, what’s the point, and dismiss the question as irrelevant?

If you find it difficult to ‘toot your own horn’ and say aloud what makes you special… you are not alone. In fact, many of us don’t know what our strengths are in the first place, much less how to talk about them in a confident and non-egotistical manner.

In my work as a personal and professional development coach I hear many responses to this question about strengths awareness. I have identified five reasons as to why it is important that we know our own strengths – those inner qualities that make us unique.

Strengths awareness helps you to:

  • Know and accept yourself – Some of us don’t recognize that our unique qualities (even our idiosyncrasies) can be our strengths. We take these characteristics for granted and minimize them with statements such as Oh, that’s just me being me or I’ve always been that way. We often dismiss our strengths and perhaps actively hide them. We may have been told, at some point in our lives, that our way of being is not acceptable or good enough. Perhaps having a natural tendency to be sensitive, social, or competitive has been minimized or criticized by the influential people in our lives…so we have learned to hide these characteristics. When you accept and develop your ‘different-ness’ it can become an asset that moves a specific team or organization towards their goals. Your contribution is unique….and is valuable for exactly that reason. Strengths awareness helps you to recognize and embrace who you are at your core.
  • Stay motivated and energized – Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing what you love that time seems to fly by? Hours pass in what feels like minutes because you are pursuing your passion. You’re doing what comes naturally to you and when you’ve completed the task, you realize that even though you may be physically tired you are full of an inner energy, enthusiasm, and sense of accomplishment. The reason for this phenomenon is that by using your strengths you are fed on a deep level. You are in alignment with your purpose when you use your unique gifts and talents. In contrast, when we try to force ourselves to do what does not come naturally we tend to be sluggish. This low energy causes us to procrastinate and delay engaging in those activities. This doesn’t  excuse us from doing tasks that aren’t in our strengths spectrum. In those instances, however, we can recognize why we are de-motivated and re-frame the task by using our strengths or partner with someone who has a passion for that task. Strengths help us to create more motivation and energy.
  • Release the need to be good at everything – Our educational and employment systems encourage (and sometimes insist) that we are well-rounded and good at many things. The truth is that we can’t be good at everything, but we can excel at certain things. When we focus on what we naturally do well and develop those talents and skills further, we release the pressure to excel in all areas. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and release the need to be like someone else, it frees us to develop our unique abilities. Authors Rath and Conchie, in their book Strengths-based Leadership, state “If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything. While our society encourages us to be well-rounded, this approach inadvertently breeds mediocrity.” I believe that when you step into your strengths you step into your greatness.
  • Recognize your partners – When you accept that you don’t have to be good at everything and commit to developing your natural abilities, the areas where you don’t excel become apparent. An honest look at strengths means an honest look at the gaps, or weaknesses, as well. Recognizing the gaps in our abilities may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to develop successful partnerships. Individuals may not be well-rounded but the most successful teams are. Knowing your strengths helps you become clear about the characteristics that are needed to balance you in order to produce the best results at work and at home. For example, technology is a necessity for my business and day-to-day living, but it is not one of my strengths. I rely on others with IT skills and a passion to help people like me in order to use technology effectively. Knowing your strengths helps you to identify your gaps and the complementary partnerships that are necessary for your success.
  • Manage your strengths for better results – It is one thing to be able to name our strengths and quite another thing to know how to use them consciously to bring about desirable results. Self-management is about learning how to modulate your strengths so that they are serving you effectively. Like turning the heat up or down on the stove, we can dial our strengths up or back when necessary to get the results we need. Without strengths awareness we may neglect to establish appropriate boundaries leading us into challenging situations where we override others with too much of a good thing. For example, someone with the strength of Responsibility will quite naturally take on tasks to help move a project towards completion. This is a great quality, however, without healthy boundaries this strength can lead to several danger zones. The responsible person may, in time, feel overly burdened leading to burn-out and/or feelings of martyrdom. Additionally, co-dependency can develop as s/he does tasks that someone else needs to be doing for themselves. Each and every strength has a positive and negative side; a way in which it serves us and a way in which it does not serve us. It’s important to know what our strengths look like when they go outside of healthy boundaries and how to restore balance when that happens. As we become more aware of our strengths the ability to effectively manage them increases significantly.

With these 5 reasons in mind I encourage you to know your strengths and use them wisely.

To quote one of my favorite books, ‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made’ ….in other words, you are Awesome! Embrace more fully who you are so that you can become all that you want to be. I wish you well on the journey to being your best!


Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an author, speaker, and coach who specializes in strengths development for businesses and individuals. Feel free to email Carol with your comments or questions about strengths development ([email protected])  or attend an upcoming retreat to learn more about the Strengths approach to being your best self. You can hear Carol speak at Be Strong, an evening retreat, Confident Communication, a business luncheon program, and Be Brave a two day retreat. Details at



Be Courageous—Conquering Your (Business) Fears!

Be Courageous—Conquering Your (Business) Fears!

We are happy to welcome Kim Dow, our fabulous Wholistic Woman Alliance Partner, graphic designer, and today’s guest blogger as she shares what she learned at the Be Courageous Retreat.

I have a healthy fear of heights. It’s cool, I’m not afraid to admit it!

But, recently, I set a goal for myself and conquered that fear. I joined our client, Wholistic Woman Retreats, for their annual “Be Courageous” event at Upward Enterprises, a zip lining and ropes challenge course in Buckeystown, MD.

Amidst the zipping and free-fall swing fun, lay the “Leap of Faith” (possibly mistaken as the Leap of Death…but whatever). A towering site where you climb up a single telephone pole, using just small hooks to brace your feet and cling to with your hands. Once you reach the top, you have to maneuver yourself around on a small plateau to face yourself outwards. Then, you jump off the top of the pole, aiming for a trapeze hanging in mid air. No biggie, right? WRONG!

Holy. Crap. Despite having done this challenge once several years ago (or maybe because of it), and knowing that I was safely harnessed in…my heart was still beating, my legs were still shaking and my brain was still screaming at me “Abort, Abort—We Are Up WAY Too High!” But, I kept my goal in mind and found the strength and inner will to keep climbing—to keep going for it and conquer the fear.

This experience is no different than what we face as entrepreneurs. Business owners face many fears—fear of failure. Fear of where your next job or payment will come from. Fear of change. Fear of not being able to pay your employees or yourself. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of the unknown. I think it’s safe to say that starting and owning your own business can, at times, be downright scary. But, you always have to try and overcome those fears—sometimes even embracing them—and keep moving forward to your end goal(s). To continuously push yourself and to keep moving forward, knowing those fears and the risks are just a part of the journey.

For me, back on that 20-something high (okay, so I don’t really know how high it was, but let me tell you when you’re at the top of it, it feels twice as high as it looks!) it wasn’t the jumping off part that was the scariest. It was the climb. Especially when I was almost at the very top…that was the hardest part. And isn’t that the same with our business as well? It’s the planning, the strategizing, all the hard work that leads us to that “top” (whatever point or end goal that may be for you). Once you’ve made that climb, it almost seems easy to take that final “Leap of Faith” and jump off!

And hey, it’s okay if you have to take a break on the way up—catch your breath, gather your thoughts, adjust your climbing strategy. But, just be sure to keep climbing, because it’s worth it!

Another important aspect of my Leap of Faith experience was the positive encouragement and cheering received from all those watching (and the fact that I, in turn got to cheer others on when my turn was over). The encouraging, supportive words truly made it easier to keep going! And I believe this is also a very important aspect of entrepreneurship. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family and colleagues—it definitely can make a huge difference, especially when you doubt yourself!

Clive with the Leap of FaithA special thank you to Wholistic Women Retreats and the coaches who plan this amazing event each year. And another huge thanks to Clive Felgate and his amazing team at Upward Enterprises. I can’t wait for next year’s adventure!

Kim Dow is owner of Kalico Design, a creative and wholistic graphic design firm in Frederick, Md. You can learn more about Kim and her company by visiting

Thank you to Mary Kate McKenna Photography for great shots of this fun event!


The Power of Decision

The Power of Decision

Last week’s Zip, Swing, and Leap event was an enlightening experience. The evening started with Carol recommending to each of the women to observe themselves and their experience, as that is the best way to learn from the activity. I was a floater coach, a supporter of the participants, ropes team, and the event. I learned not by actually doing the events, but by supporting and observing others.

Throughout the evening I witnessed the power of women deciding they CAN. That they are able, they will trust, they know they are supported, and they are scared to death and are going to do it anyway.

I spent most of my time that night at Leap of Faith. The Leap of Faith requires a full body harness that, once you jump, holds you at the back of your neck, like Peter Pan flying across the stage on Broadway. Once in the harness, you climb a telephone pole, turn around on the top, stand tall for a photo, focus on a trapeze about 8 (feels like 8000) feet in front of you, count down 3-2-1 (to let Clive, our fearless spotter know it’s time) then leap full out to grab a trapeze.

I could see the fear on women’s faces, I could also SEE the decision when they took the jump – 3…2…1……leap! I could see the triumph and thrill of completion.

I also saw people on the ground decide “I’m not doing that!”. One woman got halfway up the pole and decided to go back down, she told me later that she had had a hip replacement and felt a tweak and didn’t want to risk injury. I was impressed with her clarity in prioritizing her health over taking the risk. I saw others decide it was not the night for them. Whatever the decision was for each woman, they followed through. I was so clear throughout the night that we all decide our experience.

Later when I read through the feedback forms that the participants had filled out, I saw over and over again, when asked what attracted them to the retreat, “I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone”, then, when asked what did you get out of this, “I was afraid, and I did it!“ and “That I can do this”.

So how will these women take this out into their lives, how will I take it out into mine, how can you take it into yours?

Know that no matter what you are faced with, you will take all available information into account, evaluate, decide, do. It puts the power in you, the steering wheel of your life in your hands.

Think of the many decisions we need to make in our lives: Will I accept this job offer? Will I marry this person? Will I eat this extra cookie? Will I make it to the meeting on time? Will I lose that 10 pounds? Will I live a life of meaning?

What are you deciding, what can you do, what will you opt not to do? You have the power.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.” – Anthony Robbins

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

Today’s author: Lisa DiSciullo, CPCC, is a Certified Life Coach in Summit, NJ, with her own practice working with her clients as they are developing clarity, growth, and fulfillment in their lives. She is a founding member of the Wholistic Woman Retreats group and a Parent Educator with the Parent Encouragement Program. She can be reached at [email protected]


Stop, Look, and Listen to Re-Balance

Stop, Look, and Listen to Re-Balance

Do you ever struggle with balance…at work or at home? What would a healthy, interdependent, relationship with your co-workers or your life partner look like?

Interdependent may not be a word that we use very often, but I believe it holds the key to successful work and personal relationships. To me, it’s that sweet spot where we can rely on others and on ourselves in a healthy balanced way. It’s when we know what we need and can take care of ourselves…. but we also know when we need help, and who or what we need to complement or support us…. and we aren’t afraid to ask for that assistance. Interdependence may mean something different to you. Perhaps it is best understood by first looking at what it is not. We can learn about the delicate balance of interdependence by recognizing what it means to be overly dependent or overly independent.

Unhealthy dependency is recognizable when these three limiting beliefs appear in emotionally charged interactions.*

  • When we believe that others have the power to make us feel good or bad;
  • When we focus on another person’s needs as a substitute for our own needs;
  • When we become preoccupied with getting another person to change in some way so that we can feel happy, loved, whole, comfortable, wanted, content, etc.

These limiting beliefs are red flags that we may be losing ourselves and relying too much on other people; giving our personal power away.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are different challenges that arise from being too independent; such as isolation, loneliness, fear, emotional distance and difficulty asking for help, to name a few.

I am familiar with both ends of this spectrum, and perhaps you are as well. There are often very good reasons why we go to these extremes, but we won’t get into that here. Instead, I want to ask: What have you found that brings you back to center when you get off balance? What course corrections do you make when you find that you’ve wandered into being overly independent or overly dependent?

For me, I’ve learned to restore balance with three practical steps: Stop, Look, and Listen. When you feel off balance in a professional or personal relationship, I suggest that you try these three steps.

Stop your habitual reactions: stop or slow down whatever reaction you normally do.

  • If you typically withdraw, stay present.
  • If you typically close your heart, try to say open.
  • If you habitually withhold, disclose.
  • If you tend to attack, take a deep breath and be still.

Look at yourself…not at the other person, and ask:

  • What part of my reaction or perspective is keeping me defensive?
  • What part of me is threatened in this situation?
  • Am I feeling shame, humiliation, or embarrassment?
  • What support do I need to tolerate this experience?

Listen deeply. Dive below the surface disturbance to connect with your core energy. Listen to the part of you that is unaffected and larger than your reaction. Return to the conversation more open and less attached to protecting yourself.

These three simple, yet powerful, steps help me pause and regroup when highly charged interactions occur. They interrupt my habitual reactions and allow me to engage with others in ways that can lead to healthy interdependence.

Give them a try the next time you find yourself off balance and out-of-sorts at work or at home. I suggest that you share your observations with someone else to give voice to your impressions and to cement your understanding.

Feel free to write to me or post a comment here. Look for more strategies on healthy interdependence in my next blog.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you!


Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC is a speaker, author, and coach specializing in strengths-based leadership coaching. Write to her at [email protected] or visit her website: for more information about her speaking and coaching services. You can learn more about interdependence in her book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith.

*Some of the material from this blog has been summarized from an excellent book on relationships, Undefended Love by Psaris and Lyons, which I highly recommend.


You are a genius!

“Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein

Everyone is a genius! You are a genius.  Don’t believe me!?!  Well, why would you?  I’m just Laura Hall, but how can you deny the fact when Albert Einstein tells you that everyone is a genius, and guess what?  You are included in everyone.  So there!  You are a genius!

You know who else is a genius?

Your teenager, you know the one I’m talking about – the one who is making questionable decisions right now – is a genius.  Your spouse is a genius.  Yes, even though they forget to take out the trash, or buy you a gift on your birthday, or leave their socks in the family room despite you constantly reminding them to please take their socks to the laundry room, or…(you get the point).  And you know that person you work with, the employee or coworker who you have to constantly remind about protocols and procedures, yes, they too are a genius.  How can I say that you ask?  Easy!  Albert Einstein told me 🙂

Have you ever heard of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath?  It’s a book I use often with my life coaching clients.  The book is based on the idea that people have several times more potential for growth when they invest evergy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.  In other words, that they stop tring to be a tree climbing fish and instead focus on developing their ability to breathe under water.  Are you living your life with a focus on developing the things that you are naturally gifted at, or are you trying to swim upstream?  Are you encouraging your team, those people around you on a daily basis – your family, your co-workers, your employees – to do the same or are you asking a fish to climb a tree and then wondering why you are all so frustrated?  There is another way.  Start looking for the genius in yourself as well as in those you associate with.  I promise you, it is there.  Then begin asking yourself, how can this genius be used to bring more effectiveness, harmony, peace (or whatever else you think your life or business could use more of) to what is going on right now.

Exactly one week from today, on Wednesday April 30th, I will be leading a workshop right here in Frederick for people who are ready to join in the conversation about what’s right with people and to discuss how looking at strengths can impact you business and your life.  I hope you will consider joining me.  Click here for details.


Today’s author: Laura Hall is an iPEC certified life coach whose business, Hall Coaching, was established in 2009 with the vision of waking women up from the nightmares of “How did I get here?” and, “Is this as good as it gets?”, so that they can begin creating and living the life of their real dreams, hopes and desires. She offers both one on one as well as group coaching services. She can be reached at [email protected] or check out her website at