A Treasure Map to Wellbeing


Tom Rath and Gallup Polls in a study comprising 150 countries researched wellbeing on a global level. They were looking at what differentiates lives that are thriving from lives that are struggling or suffering.

What they found is not what most of us tell ourselves; which is that if we are happy, healthy, wealthy and successful, we thrive.  Their research shows that when we focus on just one element and don’t look at it in the context of our whole lives; if we look at that one aspect in isolation; we feel more frustration and even failure. The interaction between the five essential elements of wellness is more important than the pursuit of just one aspect.

What Rath and Gallup found is that the critical areas in our lives are interdependent.  “Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities.”  From WellBeing; The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath

What are the essential categories of a life well-lived according to this research?

                Career Wellbeing – how you occupy your time (jobs)

                Social Wellbeing – strong relationships and love (relationships)

                Financial Wellbeing – managing your economic life (wealth)

                Physical Wellbeing – good health and enough energy (health)

                Community Wellbeing –engagement you have with where you live (community)

What’s fascinating with their research is that 66% of the people they surveyed are doing well in at least one of these areas. Only 7% however are thriving in all five areas. Rath state “If we struggle in any of these domains (as most of us do), it damages our wellbeing and wears on our daily life. When we strengthen our wellbeing in any of these areas, we will have better days, months, and decades. But we are not getting the most of out of our lives unless we’re living effectively in all five.”

Isn’t that interesting, we do best when we live effectively in all five of these areas, and only 7% of the sample are thriving in all five areas?

This research percolated to the top as I was writing my e-course Create Your Life - Your Treasure Map to Wellbeing. I started this course calling it 8 building blocks to success, but it has changed as I wrote, and changed me as well. This course is about stepping into the driver’s seat in your life and charting your life course to find the hidden treasures of you. When you aspire and dream and most importantly write it down, something happens that feels quite magical. Elizabeth Gilbert calls it Big Magic. The muse, the Universe, whatever you call the Mystery begins to interact with you and creation happens. After a while Flow begins, and what you do feels effortless and easy.

When you map your dreams and goals into the treasure map of your life, you create wonderful synchronicity. You feel empowered, uplifted, and excited about this adventure that you are embarked upon.

I started my career as a facilitator of life and career planning. It is quite wonderful when you set a course towards your aspirations. My blogging these last 11 years has been about creating success. This course invites you to plan for wellbeing and success to be part of your life so that you won’t be one of those people who as they are dying say “My biggest regret is that I never tried to do ……” Usually that is some dream or goal that they never got beyond their sense of inadequacy or fear of failure and therefore never attempted.

Create Your Life A Treasure Map to Wellbeing is a comprehensive approach to planning your life and looking for the hidden treasures of you. It is presented in three modules. Module One: Preparation for the Journey is available now. Modules Two and Three will be available this Fall. The following is a brief overview of the course.

Module One: Preparation for the Journey

  • Introduction: Becoming CEO of your life

  • Identity: Knowledge of self – knowing who you are, your wants, needs, desires, dreams, your strengths

  • Caring for Self

Module Two:

  • Emotional Wellbeing

  • Physical Wellbeing – Having the energy to create requires attention to the physical self.

  • Mental Wellbeing - Mindset

  • Social Wellbeing - Connection – Relationships with others

Module Three:

  • Financial Wellbeing:

  • Vocation/Career Wellbeing

  • Spiritual Wellbeing

  • One year, Five Year, 10 year Reviews

Tom Rath and Gallup Research are doing a wonderful job. They write about the “doing” part of life. What I have included is the “being” part of your life.  Your motivations, your dreams and aspirations, your creations come from the deeper well inside you. It is necessary in my perspective to become aware, to develop the observer self, to reach for your stars, and to include a path of awareness, a consciousness journey in order to be the creative director of your life.

Women especially have a hard row to hoe as a result of traditional women’s training - part of our societal legacy. We still evaluate our worthiness on how attractive we are, how our body looks, how pleasing we are and there is a fierce sense of unworthiness or inadequacy that we have to transmute. A man will apply for a job if he feels he meets 41% of the criteria that is asked for. A woman will only apply for a job if she feels she meets a very high percentage of all that is being sought. If you think you have to be 99.6% of what an employer is asking for, that is a huge obstacle to overcome. Awareness, acceptance, self-compassion, and self-understanding are necessary to return to the fullness of who you are. Those are aspects of “being” as well as “doing”.  

I agree with Rath and Gallup researchers, that our lives are interrelated, and the interaction of all these areas are more than the sum of the parts. We are complex. Our lives are rich and very complicated. But we can begin to navigate our lives as the Creative Director. To begin, we just accept that we don’t have well-being in all areas of our lives. Because we wish to invite more wellbeing and more success into our daily life and our overall lifespan, we with intention begin to focus on a few areas at a time. We invite you to consider embarking on the adventure to Create Your Life - Your Treasure Map to Wellbeing. Enroll in Preparation for the Journey. This is a journey that you will love and find fulfilling.   

Creating your dream life? Threshold guardians are sure to pop up.

Today was a huge breakthrough moment for Nisha and I. We went live!!!  Oh, the joy and the excitement we shared as we clocked the birth of Restore Process online. 

As she and I were talking, I was reminded of this creative journey-this creative journey we are all on; Creating a Life.  Stages of the creative process can be excruciating.  And I have quit before.  I paint with watercolors and I learned while painting, that I often would meet a time when I wanted to give up on a painting; it just wasn’t coming together, it looked horrible, it wasn’t portraying what I was trying to show.  And I learned that I had to just keep going. If I would tweak it a bit, and then another bit, then all of a sudden it would come into a painting that I could be proud of.

In this process of Creating a Life, the same is true.  And I met the same stages here in creating this business.  While I was writing the e-course, Create Your Life A Treasure Map to Wellbeing, I met challenge after challenge.  Everything in me that was afraid to let myself really show up in the world had an investment in keeping me small.  I have experienced those times before in my life. 

While writing, I also have been reflecting on the difference of how sometimes creativity feels like such hard work, and sometimes it is such a process of Flow.  What makes the difference? 

Nisha recommended that I read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.  I did. It confirmed exactly what I already knew experientially.  While we are incredibly magnificent human creatures, we have come to maturity through the process of learning how to be a person in our culture. As a result we often switch over to living in default, instead of being the empowered creator that we were born to be. We have taken on some mighty challenging beliefs and perspectives.  Restore Process has come into being as a way to help us waken from that hypnosis that makes so many of us feel inadequate, unworthy, and hold the fear that we are an imposter-if people really could see us as we truly are, they would see we are just a mass of insecurities.  I told Nisha about the following excerpt from one of the e-course modules.

“I’m reminded of the story of Odysseus who on his journey had to take his ship between two very treacherous points, Scylla and Charybdis.  Schylla was a sea monster who would pull the crew off into its maw, and the Charybdis was a whirlpool that could suck a ship down below the water. That story birthed some of our sayings “having to choose between two evils,” “between the devil and the deep blue sea,” and “between a rock and a hard place.”  I think of Scylla and Charybdis as threshold guardians.

My experience has shown me that at every time I try a new direction in my life, I need to pass through some gateway, some rite of passage, cross a threshold and meet its guardian, and it is never a pleasant experience getting through.  This time seemed even more challenging than others, because my inner critic was raging about all the times I have not completed something, or the fact that I would ‘amount to nothing’ as my father and mother said, or showing me all the times where I was too afraid to put myself out into the world to be seen. It has been painful. I have felt vulnerable, afraid; afraid to go forward, afraid to stop; and demoralized. I have cried, I have wept for days, I have felt at the mercy of my own victimness, I have been discouraged about the nature of humankind, and more.  And is the nature of the movement through one of these passages, I didn’t remember about threshold guardians which show ferocious faces as you approach the gate, but are benign when you look at them from the other side.

Fortunately, I just kept on keeping on, one step at a time. I had someone who was helping me create my website (which was my way of having support and keep me accountable.) I chose every day to either accept where I was, be with it, and find something to take a step forward that would not directly arouse my inner resistance (one of the freebies that I will give you with this course is an essay about dealing with resistance). I would not write when I was not inspired.  This is too important.  And I was in a time bind that felt like a noose around my neck. Just another guardian of the threshold. 

I chose photos for the website, I looked at movies to showcase on movie nights, books to put in the book club, and edited my book called “Sounding One’s Song.” If all else failed, I would read to distract myself from the internal noise. Selectively though.  If I messed up with what I ate, or read, or watched, it could take me down for a day or two – and that happened as well.

But you are reading this. I obviously made it through those narrows, that dark night of the soul.  It could have been no other way. I needed to confront the demons that had stopped me so many times.  When writing on the ofsuccess.law blog, I pretended wasn’t really putting it out into the world, for I hadn’t built a way for feedback, and I rarely told people in my day to day world that I had been writing on a blog for many years.  It was easy to write there. Here I was writing to share my knowledge and wisdom and going to ask for payment.”

I don’t know about you, but it really is reassuring to know that there is a process that I can trust strewn through all the chaos of creating. When I realized I was crossing an important threshold in my life, then I could keep on keeping on.

And yes, there are hard times. There are times that gives us sleepless nights. That’s part of the adventure. When I am living as my most expanded, largest self, I know there is a purpose in the challenge.  Such happened two nights ago. I hit a huge technical wall in our website, and spoke with Nisha about it last night. We both thought we were going to be delayed for almost two months because of a technical glitch. She got up this morning determined to find a different solution, found it, called me, and while we were on the phone together, our website went live. It was a jubilee moment. 

We were discussing how to reframe guilt…which is what brought up my memory of Scylla and Charybdis.  It is so important to not have guilt about our walk through the threshold. When we gather together our courage to walk through difficult times, we walk the path and it usually if not a particularly fun walk. But walk it through we do.  We problem solve. We enlarge our perspective, we put pen to paper, brush to the painting, truth and heart to open interactions between us and our important others for brave conversations.


When we have walked through the gate, gotten through the difficult discussion, the writer’s block, whatever the obstacle is, we get on through it. When we turn and look back, we see that we have in fact learned some things that are so important, that we have met the challenge, and there was value in having walked that passage.  Then we can celebrate!  And celebrate we should.  This is a huge walk. This is a gargantuan accomplishment.  We are walking though our Big Leaps!!!

                Be Brave

                Walk it through


Then the Flow happens!!!!  Then the magic of timing just happens, and it is as if the Universe has swung into complete alignment with us.  And it is almost as if we are living lives sprinkled with magic dust.  That is what Elizabeth Gilbert calls Enchantment. I can’t wait for you to join me in this journey. Most of us need some assistance on these important journeys. 

We humans need support, we need to belong, we need to hold ourselves accountable, and we need to share our sorrows and exhilarations.  This is our Lives that we are creating!  Nisha has been that companion for me as I have walked through the challenging aspects of my creating this e-course and this website. I want to be that companion for you – at least here through this blog, or through my e-course, or through my coaching. You deserve to be living the very best life you can create for yourself. You deserve caring and support as you walk through your thresholds. 

Creating the Life You Love

Writing this course is changing me and I didn’t expect that.  We are approaching the summer solstice. I began writing at the beginning of the year thinking that I would just package what I know and have spent a life-time learning about the process of creating a life. Well! That should have been a clue right there!  A lifetime learning? Creating a Life?  I can’t think of how I could make this topic bigger or broader (I’m laughing with myself). 

Packaging that content into a way that is manageable and not overwhelming makes me ask lots of questions.  How can I write this so it is not overwhelming to a person? What categories do I select of a life that can give structure to the process of reflecting about one’s life and yet be meaningful and not living by rote.  I have spent a life time looking at career and life planning. There are many ways to do it. If I sit down and make a list of all the categories – of what I do, think, act, have goals in, have dreams of;  it again becomes too much. 

So I selected 8 categories.  Maybe they selected me J.  Elizabeth Gilbert writes almost whimsically of how inspiration is a muse, and each idea looks for a person through whom to come. When I was 18, I got a scholarship to a small private liberal arts college in Florida. In my first semester, I took a philosophy course, and the professor asked us to imagine ourselves as 60 years of age, and write a paper about our life from that perspective. That course changed my thinking, and I never could go back home again. I had kicked myself out of the nest of my pentacostal family forever.

Now I am on the other side of 60 and writing a course about creating a treasure map of creating a life, looking at how to chart one’s life.  I wish I could have taken such a course back as that 18-year old. I was too young then, with not enough life experience to get my arms around how big life is.  I’m not sure even now that I can get my arms around this, because our lives are so very big, so very full. I constantly am being humbled by what I am doing. I’m wondering today if the muse chose the right person to do the job (wondering that is just part of the creative journey).

Creativity is like that though. I chose the topic, so I thought. I started writing, and as I write, it continues to morph. As I write, I understand from a larger perspective. As I write, I get added to. As I write, I find these epiphanies and say “Oh my God, of course!”

Yesterday’s epiphany was after I read some of Gilbert, wrote most of the day, watched the movie The Martian the night before, then to give myself some energy went for a walk with Mr. Max the Australian shepherd I’m housesitting. 

I realized that I had slipped into living my life in the default mode after I was ill last fall. As I have been recovering, I haven’t fully stepped back into my own empowerment.  It happens.  Transitions and upsets do that to us.  We forget that we are creating a life, and go into reaction mode.

Even though I wrote this inspired introductory segment about becoming the CEO of your life, I realized I hadn’t fully moved into that role yet since my illness. I still had been in the passenger seat this last year, and the ecourse, Create Your Life A Treasure Map to Wellbeing, is about moving over into the driver’s seat of the “Martian rover,”  In the movie, Matt Damon plays a botanist astronaut who got injured and was left behind when his crew thought he was lost as they were making an emergency departure from Mars.  How he creates his life with the resources he has been left with is a fun story. Does he give up and wait for death?  He has no guarantee that he can live long enough (limited amount of food) till a new mission can come rescue him, especially since they don’t know he is still alive. He does have living quarters and tools, and some kind of moon rover vehicle which he can do some amazing things, but he constantly has to solve ongoing problems – such as how does he get enough juice to power the craft? How can he communicate back to space control on earth? How can he grow more food?

Life is like this. Problems to solve, treasures to find. Get in a creative process and metaphors and synchronicities come together to help develop new learnings and insights.  How do I get out of default and back into my driver’s seat?  Especially when circumstances would appear to say I can’t or its hopeless, or I’m too old, or I’m too young. 

It’s never too late to move into the proactive mode of Creating Your Life.  There are no circumstances that can prevent our being the creative director of our life.  Even as we are dying, or ill, or grief stricken, we have ways of navigating our lives because we still get to make choices.  Our personal choice is our most potent personal power.

It may simply be a shift in perspective.  In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear, she writes about the creative process. In one story, she tells of the lament of most writers – they do not have the luxury of peaceful serene time in beautiful surroundings to pull their writing through themselves onto the page.  I remember stopping, closing the page, and realizing, that here I was, housesitting in an incredible house, surrounded by hay fields, and a view of Mt. Baker which is breath-taking. Yes, I have allergies. Yes, it’s a chore to pack to come and a chore to clean up to leave. But here I am in a writer’s dream setting. While I had already treasured the time, I had spent a lot of energy in my sense of challenge with my task instead of savoring the gift I had with deep appreciation for what I was receiving.


Being the creative director of our lives is such a gift. It opens our world to so many adventures. This life of ours, no matter how troubled, has so many treasures. It is our job, it is our delight, it is our journey to take the creative reins and Compose our Life (to quote Mary Catherine Bateson) to be the best that we can. No one else will do it for sure. Aren’t we lucky that we can? Aren’t we lucky that we have this huge banquet to choose from?

I’m finding that as I write, I am restoring my own soul, I am healing my body, I am healing an important relationship with a loved one, I am healing my own pain from the vulnerability of getting older and becoming ill, I am recharging myself, and getting excited again about being in the driver’s seat. I’m remembering a lost dream of being as race car driver, smiling, and enjoying that memory. I’m remembering that I matter. I’m remembering that you matter.  I’m remembering to cherish my life, and want so, for you to cherish yours no matter what.

Blissful, Terrifying, Chaotic Creativity

The chaos of creating is exhilarating, maddening, fun, really hard work, and enlivening.  We’re in the middle of creating this site:  Restore Process.  It’s far enough along now, that I am excited about launching it so the world can see, and terrified about how it will be received.  I am so lucky to be collaborating with my friend Nisha who is making it look wonderful and creating it out of the ethers. 

Part of the launch of this new process is the development of an e-course called Create Your Life A Treasure Map to Wellbeing..  As I write the course, I have my resource books, my files, spread out through 3 rooms and I’m in a 4th room - the office-- writing on my computer.  All that changes in 5 days when I pack everything up and go back home.  I am in a fabulous home surrounded by beauty, farmland, starry skies, and a mountain view. When I need a break, I get up, walk outside, and walk down the lane between two hay fields, and let the peacefulness of the country soak into my bones.


The e-course is demanding every bit of my energy and attention, and I have often had fears that I could not live up to its expectations. I have had so many bad days on this journey (plenty of good ones too). And then along comes some inspiration which I ride with wild abandon until I get tired. Then I keep on writing until I can find a stopping point.  In this course there are 8 modules.  Two days ago I got up with the intention of writing a specific module on Caring. I wrote it.  It was a long powerful day. I wept a number of times as I re-experienced several incidents.  Then I finally gave myself time to stop and rest.

Nisha had an idea for a regular movie night. I loved that idea!  I selected the movie, went out to the web to get some information that she could use to create the first movie night page.  And somehow, Amazon offered up a book to me to consider reading. The title caught my eye, and I was already in love with the author so I picked it up from the library, and my reward for writing the Caring module was to begin reading Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I began vibrating with excitement as I read.  “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them,” she wrote. She believes as I do, that we all have “buried treasure” and our adventure and fun is the art of discovering these gems. When we do, our existence is transformed from the mundane to that of enchantment.  

She writes later. “I can guarantee you this: A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.  Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself. Because creative living is where the Big Magic will always abide.”  Elizabeth Gilbert is talking about the creative process, and allowing your own creativity to flow. I’m writing about Creating Your Life, holding a vision, and charting your course toward your greatest dreams.

Before I started writing that Wednesday, I was wrestling yet still as I had for months with what to call the course.  As I wrote from that inspired space, out flowed a sentence onto the page that said, “creating a treasure map for your life.”  I saw that sentence and burst into tears.  And now, a few hours later I was reading Gilbert’s book about discovering hidden gems inside by living the creative life. It was an answer I had asked for. All of this is an example of flow and creativity, and synchronicity.

All creative living says Gilbert hinges on the question “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” The hunt is what creative living is she says. That is where the Big Magic occurs. She had me. I was already a fan, now I was exhilarated. Because while she is talking about the creative life as that life you have when trying to “make something,” I had been writing about creating your life from the aspect of “composing, or sculpting” a life - an updated version to life and career planning.. The thing you make, the thing you create is your own life, your own experience, your own unique story. You get to get into the driver’s seat of your life, instead of living by default. You get to discover the magnificence of you and move into a life of adventure, empowerment, and flow.