Discover What You Truly Desire in Life

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My dad passed away from cancer when I was 11 years old. That one experience impacted me in all the ways you’d expect: grief, uncertainty, struggle. But, it was an unexpected lesson I learned decades after his death that was the true impact.

I learned the importance of living life by design and not by default. Of living life in a way that is aligned to who I truly am, rather than living to fulfill other people’s desires and expectations. I learned how precious this 1 shot at life is, and that I need to be responsible for crafting the road ahead.

Today we’re diving into the Life Design process and focusing on the first couple steps in the process. The Stanford University Life Design Lab calls this process crafting your Odyssey.

In today’s episode, I’ll talk about my personal journey to discovering the importance and power of life design. I’ll give you a high-level overview of the whole process, then we’ll dive deep into the first couple of stages.

As a bonus, I’ve created a free activity for you all to help you begin to craft your own odyssey. Visit to get free, immediate access to a guided visualization and workbook to help you get a clearer picture of the life you’re hoping to design. It’s my gift to you.

Your life is important and you need to create a life you deserve. Please choose to live it by design, not by default.

Additional Resources:

  1. Get free access to the visualization and workbook that accompany this episode at
  2. Learn about the difference between mindfulness meditation and visualization:
  3. Read our post on Increasing Employee Engagement:

Stanford graduate students have used this process to design career paths that lead the world. But like them, design can be a part of your life.


Five Life-Changing Practices

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I say it all the time – I actually practice the things I preach on this podcast. In fact, the improvement in my life experience that I’ve seen since beginning this podcast is one of the best, most unexpected side effects of the podcast!

The last 2 years have been exceptionally challenging for all of us, but I truly believe that it has been a handful of life-changing practices that have sustained me and helped me thrive through it. These practices have transformed the way I experience my own life, and in this episode, I want to share them with you.

Today’s episode is the very first episode in season 6 of the podcast. It’s also coming out a mere 2 days before my 42nd birthday! So, as a gift to you, we’re diving into 5 life-changing psych strength practices and 5 different ways to implement each practice. That’s TWENTY-FIVE different actions you can take to build psych strength.

And, because this episode is so dense with information, I’ve created a free guide to accompany the episode. You can get a copy of it here. In this guide, you’ll find all of the actions I cover underneath each of the 5 life-changing practices. I also included a bunch of supplemental content: extra hands-on exercises, templates, and resources to help you jump-start your practice. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to grab this guide.

It’s so important to me, Ashley, and our families that a total life change is not only possible but within your grasp. These are the tools that may be the difference in a happier, healthier you.

As you begin your new year, I truly hope you put yourself first. I hope you adopt some practices that help you build psychological strength, and I hope you experience the life-changing transformation that I’ve been experiencing.

Cheers to 2022!


 Saying ‘No’ to ‘Hustle Culture’

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Being ‘busy’ has become a badge of honor in our society – signaling to other people, and to ourselves, that we’re valuable, in demand, and hard-working. But, at what cost?  

Younger generations have abandoned the concept of working 40 hours a week, encouraged to “hustle harder”, “rise and grind” and encouraged by success stories from multi-company CEOs like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. It’s changing company cultures too with flexible work hours, and more and more working from home. However, the effects of a poor work/life balance can have adverse outcomes on mental health as they find themselves working long hours and struggling to distinguish the split between professional and personal lives.

Today on the podcast, we’re diving deep into ‘hustle culture.’ We’re talking about the surprising roots of where it came from, the impact it has on our behavior and whether we’re behaving in alignment with the type of person we want to be, and some practical tips to say ‘no’ to hustle culture. 

As we find ourselves becoming more and more squeezed by our schedules and responsibilities, it has never been more important to find ways to create space, ease, and balance in our lives. Listen to this episode to learn how. 


How A Skinned Knee Had Me Feeling Grateful

I have to share a painful/slightly hilarious story with you.

I’m currently training for my first half-marathon. Yesterday, I was a little over 7 miles into my planned 8 mile run, and I was feeling good. Really good, in fact, so I picked up the pace. I crossed 75th Street, the busiest intersection on my route, and the next thing I know, my face was plummeting toward the ground.

  • “What’s happening?”
  • “I’m falling!”
  • “This is bad!”
  • “My face is going to hit the pavement.”
  • Images of teeth shattering (one of front teeth is already half fake because of a bike riding/pavement situation as a kid)
  • “I’m hurt!”

Those were the thoughts that blinked through my mind in a jumbled instant.

Thankfully, I was able to stop my momentum at the last second, with my face hovering an inch from the ground, teeth intact. Stunned, I pushed myself up as a red minivan pulled into the nearby parking lot to make sure I was ok (did I mention it was a busy intersection? There were SO MANY cars stopped at the light, witnessing my fall).

I was also able to stop my mind. Paying attention to the present moment I began to look around and breath through my emotions.

Then another thought entered my mind: “You fell. You can’t run anymore.”

Fortunately, I was able to set that thought aside before it could take hold. I quickly assessed the damage, realized I was shaken but not seriously injured, got up, and finished my run. I even beat my goal time.

I was on a path I’d traversed 100 times. I didn’t feel myself trip or stumble. I didn’t see it coming. Yet, I fell. Hard. And it sucked. I called in some positive emotions. 

And I got back up and persevered.

As I finished my run then bandaged myself up at home, I reflected on what happened, and this is where the feelings of gratitude came in. 

I was feeling grateful to my past self for all the hard work she’s done to build psychological strength. That work was the reason I was able to get up and move forward so quickly. I had my eye on the goal and a clear sense of who I am.

  • I’m the kind of person who can handle painful things.
  • I’m the kind of person who doesn’t let my mind take me off course.
  • I’m the kind of person who isn’t afraid of failure.

I can handle painful things.

I don’t like pain. I mean, who does? Yet, aspects of psychological strength help me move through painful experiences without getting crushed. 

Yesterday, it was my mindfulness and acceptance skills that allowed me to notice and assess the painful sensations throughout my body without my mind turning up the pain volume. I didn’t realize when I started cultivating these particular skills just how crucial and widely applicable they’d be.

I don’t let my mind take me off course.

Minds are masterful excuse generators. They are SO GOOD at making up reasons and giving us justifications for not doing hard or uncomfortable things. Part of the psych strength work I’ve been focusing on lately is noticing when my mind is giving me those excuses, even the really plausible, completely rational sounding ones like “You just fell. You can’t run anymore.”

The reality is, I was stunned, slightly embarrassed, and in pain, but I wasn’t really injured. I saw the Excuse Generator for what it was and quelled it before it even had a chance to really get going.

I am not afraid of failure.

This one hasn’t always been true me. As a (mostly) recovered perfectionist, I’ve had to do a lot of work to redefine my relationship with failure so that it doesn’t hold me back, and it’s an ongoing process. Even after all the work I’ve done, deep down I still don’t like being wrong, making mistakes, or failing. It’s disappointing, and it hurts, especially when you’re feeling really confident and don’t see it coming.

That said, I am getting much better at picking myself up, dusting myself off, and persevering despite bruises (to my body or my ego). I’m steadily working on becoming the kind of person who Is not afraid to falter, who can own mistakes without internal angst, and who can even find the humor in my biggest fails.

I am grateful.

So here I am, a 40 year old woman with a bandaged up skinned knee and a deep sense of gratitude. I am grateful for the work I’ve done to build my psychological strength, for the community who supports my journey, and for the opportunity to help others.

I practice what we teach at Peak Mind every day, and it’s had a real impact on my life experience. I want the same for you.

That’s why we created ASCEND, our most comprehensive endeavor to date. ASCEND includes the best of everything we know that goes into building psychological strength.

You, too, can have a strong sense of who you are and be the kind of person you want to be. You, too, can pick yourself up and move forward through painful times. You can build skills like mindfulness and acceptance, and you can learn to find the bright spots even in the darkest moments. 

You won’t regret the effort you put into building psychological strength. I know I haven’t. 

“Failures are like skinned knees, painful but superficial.”
– Ross Perot