1. Pay attention to everything – the movie or book someone suggests, recurring themes, etc. One day, a friend recommended I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The next day I saw someone reading it on the subway. Boom. A sign. It spoke to me as a survivor of big challenges. If you consistently practice this kind of mindfulness, you will begin to see shifts in your life.
  2. Come from a place of abundance and possibility. Language and attitude are important. Saying “I can’t” is just as much of a mantra as saying “I can do this.” Try making optimism your default way of being. It’s a game changer.
  3. Pause to appreciate your progress. Those of us who are driven tend to beat ourselves up for all kinds of things. It is nurturing to acknowledge yourself once in a while. That wall you painted? It looks good. The ad campaign you pitched? It’s dynamite. Revel in it.
  4. Stay open. After being a sports writer and web producer for 15 years, an opportunity came along to be a TV producer. In New York! That scared me because it called for skills I didn’t yet have, but there was no way I could pass up the chance to try. You never know what someone will see in you.
  5. Use your creative outlets like mad. The American formula for living: work, cram some living into a few hours, repeat. Where’s the guitar you used to play? Don’t you garden? Or write? Often I find clients’ life satisfaction goes up markedly if we just introduce these things back into their lives.
  6. Get help from professionals – healers, therapists, doctors, coaches. It isn’t noble to go it alone if there’s an area of your life that could be improved with the assistance of a pro. Period.
  7. Be affected by tragedy. Let it change you for the better. After 9/11, I knew something in me had shifted. My purpose became clear – writing and coaching others in finding their purpose. How might you redirect the pain from big hits and grow?
  8. Sacrifice for the greater good sometimes, but not to the point of martyrdom. Think of the airplane metaphor with the oxygen mask. If you can breathe, you can help others. If you take care of those around you first, you’re going to get winded. What good will you be to anyone then?
  9. Listen. I come from a large Italian-American family where shouting louder often got you heard. In coaching training, I learned about real listening, the kind that comes when you focus on the other person and gauge whether they want feedback or just an ear.
  10. Let love in. I can be the queen of putting up a wall. Does this sound familiar? How much work do you expect someone to do to get to you?

Nancy Colasurdo is a freelance writer, author and life coach who specializes in working with creatives. Her website is www.NanCola.com and her memoir, Alive in the Sunshine, is available now.