Comfort Zone Resource: “The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?” By Judith Sills, PhD

We know we’re stuck in our comfort zones and we really want to get out but we’re not sure how to do that.  We look for guidance and most of it is of the “Just do it!” variety.  While this advice may work, often the gains are short-lived and we find ourselves right back where we started:  stuck in our comfort zones.

Needless to say, this can be frustrating and disheartening.

The good news is that I came across the book The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?  by Judith Sills, PhD., and I think it can help.  Judith Sills’ years of experience in her own counseling practice has enabled her to distill her extensive knowledge into these seven steps:

~Face What Hurts:  admitting that your comfort zone is no longer comfortable; identifying what about it is no longer comfortable;

~Create a Vision:  no one will move out of their comfort zone if there is not something better to look forward to and work toward;

~Make a Decision:  determining that “the horse is dead” and it’s time to move on;

~Identify Your Pattern:  has something similar happened before and how can you use it to move forward;

~Let Go:  detaching from what is no longer working; minimizing losses;

~Face Your Fear:  identifying and moving forward in spite of anxiety;

~Take Action:  laying out the steps to get from here to there.


Her book is written in an easy-to-read, engaging, and easy-to-understand style.  She illustrates the steps with anecdotes and real life examples of her clients’.  Also, her suggestions are simple to implement.

The section I found interesting was the Create A Vision chapter.  I’ve known about creating vision boards and have even made a few for myself in the past.  However, Judith Sills’ explanation sounded is much more doable and reasonable.

Let me know what you think of the book!  And, let me know if you’ve come across books that have helped you.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


How Comfortable is Your Comfort Zone?




I’ve come across a couple of books on the comfort zone that I think are good.  I’d like to share them with you, so this week we’ll be talking about a few tips, techniques, and steps for getting out of your comfort zone.

There are many good resources and I’d love it if you would share a few of the ones you’ve found helpful in getting you out of your comfort zone.  Feel free to leave the information in the comments below.  Thanks!

I’m looking forward to this week; it’s gonna be great!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Happy Easter: Resurrection and Transformation


Happy Easter to all who celebrate the holiday!


In the Christian tradition, this day celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—His defeat of, and mastery over, death.  You don’t have to be Christian or believe in Jesus–or follow any faith or religious tradition–in order to be inspired by this concept.


The Resurrection is about radical transformation and overcoming tremendous odds.


You’ve heard and read about people who have overcome bad childhoods who go on to make something extraordinary of themselves.  Right off the top of my head a few examples are Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, and Stephen King.

And it isn’t just famous people who seemingly have that special moxie to overcome the odds.  You probably know people who you thought were down and out for the count yet somehow managed to turn their lives around in spite of the odds.  I have two friends who are recovering alcoholics and both have been sober for over two decades.

Examples and inspiring stories of resurrection and radical transformation are all around us.  When you’re feeling hopeless and helpless, look around you and be inspired.

In the meantime, Happy Easter!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Back by Popular Demand: Look for the Helpers—Updated


We’ve been talking all week about reaching out a helping hand to others as well as yourself.  I came across a post I did three years ago regarding Mr. Roger’s famous quote about always looking for the helpers because there are always helpers in any situation, no matter how bad or hopeless (posted 3/28/14).

I can personally attest to that fact.  I’ve had tough problems to wrestle with and situations that seemed hopeless.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised how neighbors, friends, loved ones, and even strangers have reached out a helping hand to me.  Sometimes it was a small gesture but other times people went out of their way to help.  I was deeply touching while it was happening and even now as I think about it, it’s still moving.

I urge you to ask for help if you need it; you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many people will help.  I also encourage you to keep reaching out a helping hand to others because you just don’t know who hangs in the balance—how your help will make all the difference to someone.

Feel free to share an experience where you were helped.  Also feel free to share about the help you gave.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,



Giving a Helping Hand to Others: Quotes


“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Mohammed Ali


“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi


“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
– Abraham Lincoln


There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
– John Holmes


“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”
– Buddha


“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
– Chinese Proverb


“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Audrey Hepburn


“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
– Dalai Lama


“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”
– Pauline R. Kezer


Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Give yourself a Helping Hand: Your Thoughts



We’ve been talking about reaching out a helping hand to others.  Monday we read a few poems that showed us  simple gestures can be the most profound. 

Tuesday we talked about other simple and easy things we can do for others.

Yesterday we talked about reaching out a helping hand to ourselves and what that might look like.

Today I want to follow up with that post.  One of the best most deeply profound helping hands we can give ourselves is to be aware of our thoughts.


Align your thoughts with your dreams, not with your circumstances or what anyone has told you or what the “facts” say.


Align your thoughts with what YOU know to be True because your Truth is powered by your Vision—the whisperings of your heart and the urgings of your soul.


If you are not feeling enthused, eager to get going, and full of energy, then you know your thoughts are out of alignment with your Dreams, your Vision, and the Still Small Voice within.


Stop listening to what others are saying.  Stop reviewing the facts including all the charts and graphs and spreadsheets and dissertations and research studies.  Stop believing the lie that you aren’t good enough, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’re all washed up.

Go forward knowing that you were given the dream because you are best able to pull it off.  Go ahead with what you know to be the right thing to do.  Go for it!

Have fun following where your dreams lead you and experiencing that which your heart and soul want to delight you!

You can do it, I know you can!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Reach Out a Helping Hand…to Yourself!


Yesterday we talked about reaching out a helping hand with simple acts of kindness.  We talked about smiling at others, offering an encouraging word to a friend or love one, fully listening when someone’s speaking to us.

It’s important for us to remember to reach out a helping hand to ourselves.

A few ways to give yourself a helping hand:

~wake up 15 minutes earlier so you aren’t rushing around like a nut in the morning;

~lay your clothes out the night before so you don’t get frazzled trying to find something clean to wear;

~listen to uplifting messages instead of the news with all its murder and mayhem;

~learn a new tidbit or fact each day;

~wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug;

~smile at yourself in the mirror as you wash up in the morning and get ready for bed in the evening;

~give yourself a pep talk as you smile at yourself in the mirror.


In reading these suggestions, I’m sure you’ve thought of others you can do.  Feel free to share them in the comments below.  Thanks!

Pass this post along to a friend.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Feeling Bad About Yourself and Your Life? Reach Out a Helping Hand!


Are you feeling sad, lonely, lost, confused?  Are you afraid, overwhelmed, stuck, angry?  Having trouble getting a handle on these and moving forward?

The best method for overcoming these feelings and un-sticking yourself is to reach out a helping hand.

Yesterday we read a few poems about how easy and simple it is to reach out to others. Of course, it’s wonderful to do big things such as working to end hunger or to bring about world peace, but we might find ourselves in a life situation where we can’t commit to those worthy projects.  They may be too much for us right now.

The good news is there are many ways to lend a helping hand and we read about a few of them in yesterday’s poems.  As the poems mentioned, small things we can easily do are smiling at others; saying hello to people you see; giving a kind word to loved ones, friends, and strangers.

Here are a few other things that can easily be done:

Acknowledging Others

When you are interacting with people look them in the eye, take the time to see them, to listen to them.  We’re so rushed and harried in our own lives that we don’t take the time to really notice others.  Your attention is the precious gift that lets them know someone has noticed that they exist.

Giving Others the Benefit of the Doubt

Sometimes it’s all too easy to judge others and attribute bad motivations to the things they do, especially if they inconvenience or hurt you.  If you pause a moment, you’ll see that the other person is doing the best they can and probably had no intention of hurting you.  Oftentimes you’ll find that they’re so focused on living their life to the best of their ability that they don’t even realize they’ve done something that may have harmed you.

Have a Pleasant Look on Your Face

So often we’re wrapped up in thinking about all we have to do and where we have to go and who we have to see, and we don’t realize this is all reflected on our face.  Look around you at people’s faces.  Some look glum, others look stern, a few will look sad or lost, and some have faces that are closed down—they’ve lost hope.  There aren’t many people who have a pleasant look on their face!  A pleasant look doesn’t necessarily mean smiling.  It’s a slight, gentle upturn of the corners of the mouth, eyes bright with life, and a face that’s open to the small delights around them.


You may be saying that none of these small acts are going to make a difference to anyone.  Well, you just don’t know.  It might not be the person you’re directly interacting with who is profoundly touched by you.  It can be someone in another line at the grocery store who overhears your kind word to the harried cashier, for instance.  Or it can be a co-worker overhearing you giving a kinder and gentler interpretation of the boss’ actions when everyone else is gossiping and bashing her/him.  Hearing you, seeing you, may be just the little thing that was needed to turn the tide for that person.  It could be just the thing to help them know that there is hope, there is goodness, and that they should hang on.

You just never know. 

Try out a few of these suggestions—the ones from the poems as well as the ones we talked about here.

Let me know how reaching out a helping hand to others has helped you even more.  Also feel free to share other easy, simple ways that you like to reach out a helping hand to others.  Thanks!

Please pass this post along to a friend, loved one, neighbor, co-worker, or stranger.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Reaching Out a Helping Hand: A Few Poems


When we think of reaching out to help others, sometimes we think that means we have to do something big or remarkable or grand.  We may think that little acts of helping don’t matter because, well, they’re so little.

That isn’t true.

Small, seeming unnoticed acts are more important than the big impressive ones that everyone sees.  Small acts of help can be done by anyone at any time and in any place whereas the big acts take time and effort and wherewithal, which not everyone has.

Here are a few poems to remind us that the small, simple acts can—and do—make a big difference:


It was only a sunny smile,

And little it cost in the giving;

But it scattered the night

Like morning light,

And made the day worth living.

Through life’s dull warp a woof it wove,

In shining colors of light and love,

And the angels smiled as they watched above,

Yet little it cost in giving.

It was only a kindly word,

And a word that was lightly spoken;

Yet not in vain,

For it stilled the pain

Of a heart that was nearly broken.

It strengthened a fate beset by fears

And groping blindly through mists of tears

For light to brighten the coming years,

Although it was lightly spoken.

It was only a helping hand,

And it seemed of little availing;

But its clasps were warm,

And it saved from harm

A brother whose strength was failing.

Its touch was tender as angels’ wings,

But it rolled the stone from the hidden springs,

And pointed the way to higher things,

Though it seemed of little availing.

A smile, a word, a touch,

And each is easily given;

Yet one may win

A soul from sin

Or smooth the way to heaven.

A smile may lighten a falling heart,

A word may soften pain’s keenest smart,

A touch may lead us from sin apart—

How easily each is given!



It was only a blossom,

Just the merest bit of bloom,

But it brought a glimpse of summer

To the little darkened room.

It was only a glad “good morning,”

As she passed along the way;

But it spread the morning’s glory

Over the livelong day.

Only a song; but the music,

Though simply pure and sweet,

Brought back to better pathways

The reckless roving feet.

Only,” in our blind wisdom,

How dare we say at all?

Since the ages alone can tell us

Which is the great or small.



You can never tell when you do an act

Just what the result will be;

But with every deed you are sowing a seed,

Though its harvest you may not see.

Each kindly act is an acorn dropped

In God’s productive soil;

Though you may not know, yet the tree shall grow

And shelter the brows that toil.



Fill your day with a smile for passersby, a kind word for loved ones, encouragement for friends.  You never know whose life is at a pivotal moment.  Your small, seemingly insignificant act of help can make all the difference to that person.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Pep Rally: Permission to Give Yourself the Green Light to Have a Great Week!


You are approved, authorized, affirmed, validated to live your life in a way that is deeply meaningful to you.

You are specifically chosen, hand-picked, specially selected to live your life in a way that’s deeply meaningful to you.

You are fully equipped, completely supplied, totally loaded to live your life in a way that’s deeply meaningful to you.

You are empowered, strengthened, fortified to live your life in a way that’s deeply meaningful to you.

You are forgiven.  You have a clean slate, a fresh start, you can begin anew to live your life in a way that’s deeply meaningful to you.

You are absolved, vindicated, set free to live your life in a way that’s deeply meaningful to you.

You are the one who is best able and most suited to live YOUR life and live it beautifully and magnificently.  No one else has your talents, your abilities, your skills, your native intelligence, your Vision, which means that all others—no matter how brilliant and successful in their own lives—would be total, complete, dismal failures if they had to live your life.

This week, give yourself the green light—permission!—to follow the whisperings of your heart and the urgings of your soul!


Your Friend and Pep Pal,