The worst thing that ever happened to me turned out to be the best in quite a remarkable way.  I was 55 and had reached a point in my life where I was settling for less in my career, relationships, and life.  I was working in a job that had me literally driving in circles given the excessive amount of travel that was required.  The job wore me down and played to my weaknesses, not my strengths.  All of the running and racing around adversely affected my health, so much so that I could no longer sleep for days on end.

Photo Credit: Nathan Cowley

Sometimes when we’re in the wrong place in our lives, we can feel like a “deer in the headlights”–frozen with fear, not knowing how to proceed.  My season of sleeplessness lasted for a year.  Out of sheer desperation, I decided to use the gift of intuition and power of self-reflection to solve what had become an insurmountable problem in my life.  I intended to solve the problem for myself and, unbeknownst to me, 70 million other Americans who suffer from chronic insomnia and other sleeping problems.

What emerged from within me surprised even myself.  My mother, who died when I was seven years old, was a passionate writer who instilled in me the power of fierce determination.  When life demanded everything from me to survive, I began to ask people for help:  doctors, sleep specialists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and other professionals. The result was my first book, Insomniac Freak: Sleep like a Baby and Wake like a Champion.  At the same time, I realized my true calling—one that played to my strengths:  coaching others through difficult, life-changing transitions.

What connects me with my readers and clients are our shared experiences with the many challenges we face today:  paralyzing stress, financial problems, poor work-life balance, and a career that no longer fits our wants and needs. The themes that emerged as I took back my own life seem to resonate with others: vulnerability, accountability, control.  I knew I had a strong message to share with my readers about ways they could learn from my own best practices and lessons learned.

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I believe we can recreate ourselves at any age if we give up our cynicism and embrace rebirth.  Like the phoenix, we can rise from the ashes and soar to new heights.  Doing so requires that we release our fears, face our limitations, and surround ourselves with people who support us.  Mentors, coaches, support networks, and loved ones can help empower us and serve as our champions.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that if you desperately need a change, you can BE the change.  Taking back your life begins with a single step.  Start by declaring an intention for your life regarding a specific area that you would like to change (e.g., your “love life,” diet or career).  If you want to find love, you might begin with this intention:  Who I am is open to the possibility of love.  Then, set one or two specific, achievable goals for yourself across the next 30 days, and ask three people whom you trust to serve as accountability partners.  For example, you might identify four places that you don’t normally frequent on week-ends (e.g., a poetry reading, a comedy club, a public lecture, a Meet-up event), and set a goal to strike up conversations with at least three people who are attending each event.  One successful step in the right direction can lead toward huge results.  In short, take back your life in the next 30 days–one day at a time–by being intentional!

“My friend, everything you want is on the other side of fear; unabandoned, intimate, passionate love, amazing connection, extreme fulfillment, deep satisfaction, a lifetime of a worthy life well lived as a legacy to those after you, a beautiful body and a glorious soul.  A chance to own your own destiny and start all over.  Like waking up from the longest dream and having a fresh start.  Go for it!” – Marianne Meeder, Insomniac Freak:  Sleep Like a Baby and Wake Like a Champion

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