Do you cultivate an attitude of love and appreciation?

Vincent van Gogh quote on enLiven Wellness Life Coaching chalkboard reading, "It is good to love many things, are there in life through strength, and who so ever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and whatever is done in love is well done." Todd Smith Blissfield Life coach Toledo
“It is good to love many things, are there in life through strength, and who so ever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and whatever is done in love is well done.” – Vincent van Gogh

When we focus on love, we truly change our perceptions of the world. Some may call it naiveté and believe we live in a cruel, hateful world in which you must watch your back. Of this I agree… If you believe that, that is exactly the world you live in. I choose otherwise. You have the capacity to make this life truly wonderful but it all comes down to the way you curate your experiences.

Do these words grab your attention?

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“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

When I hear this quote from civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, I think about love from a different perspective. I’m not talking romantic love here or even familial love. I’m talking about unconditional love for all people, regardless of whether they are like us or different. Regardless of whether we agree with their choices or we don’t.

When thinking of love, we often see its dichotomy as hate, but in fact, I would say fear sits opposing love. When we act, we do so lovingly or fearfully. How often is it that we condemn a criminal to his or her sentence out of love for them? We usually do so from a fearful place that if we don’t remove them from society, they might hurt us or our loved ones. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is set up in a pretty binary way, good or bad, guilty or not guilty with pretty standard sentencing rules (which may be argued have biases toward preserving the dominant cultural norms).

What if we reframe this idea and think about what is best for them and their best interest? By best interest, I certainly don’t mean letting them off the hook. It is important that our loving choices are loving for ourselves and loved ones as well. Removing consequences from actions that hurt other people is in no way in anyone’s best interest, including the perpetrator. Every decision that is made can be made out of love or fear. We can choose to lock somebody up out of love for them. We would do this to give them a chance to regroup their life, learn new coping skills, and become the person they were meant to be. What is the goal of our families, communities, society? Is it too empower all people to live creative, meaningful, positive lives? I think so. Punishing people out of fear can’t create that, because our goal is just to remove them from society, but adding structure and purpose to lives that are drastically out of alignment can…if we choose our actions out of love and put the supports in place to do that rather than to create outsiders with fewer and fewer pathways to leading a meaningful life. I would hope that our societies have the goal to not need systems in place that restrict some people’s lives. While it may be a current reality, it brings up the question of fairness. I can hear angry people (out of fear) arguing that it isn’t fair that we try to educate and improve the lives of those who have hurt others when “they get nothing.” My question is whether they need that to live a constructive life. Fairness isn’t sameness, it is giving people what they need.

A world in which we act out of love as Dr King speaks of is the world I wish to live in.

How about you? Love or fear?

Using Darkness to Create Light

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

Quote on enliven wellness life coaching chalkboard reading, "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." - Todd Smith Blissfield Life Coach ToledoWhat are dark moments but times to pause and create our own light. If we use our dark moments, our hurts, to reflect on our vulnerabilities and unrealistic expectations and empower ourselves to expand, we can literally create any reality we wish. Darkness, inevitably, is as much a part of life as the light, but we can give so much more meaning to the light when it emerges from the dark.

How Your Emotional Scars Can Make You More

Emotional Scars Quote on enliven wellness Life Coaching Chalkboard by Todd Smith Blissfield Life Coach ToledoYour scars don’t make you less.

In fact, they can make you more. They show that you’ve lived life. You survived. Now you are ready to thrive.

If you think about a scar, it is an injury that was once open and raw. But look at it now. There it is, a miraculous regeneration of cells creating this amazing relic of past wounds now healed. Are you ever the same? No. It has changed you, but it is up to you how you are changed by it. You can look down at the scar and relive pain and trauma of that moment or you can choose to wonder in the forces that created this new growth, practically before your eyes.

Imbalance prevents wounds from healing. They fester and infect. But, you get to choose. You always get to choose. You never have to forget the wound, but you always have to heal it to thrive. Just consider the idea that the more scars you carry, the more you have been opened up to understanding the wounds others have suffered and offer opportunity to help others heal.

What are dark moments but times to pause and create our own light. If we use our dark moments, our hurts, to reflect on our vulnerabilities and unrealistic expectations and empower ourselves to expand, we can literally create any reality we wish. Darkness, inevitably, is as much a part of life as the light, but we can give so much more meaning to the light when it emerges from the dark.

How To Turn the Fires of Despair Into the Embers of Your Personal Phoenix

Do you ever turn on the radio to hear the most profound lyrics?

Crowder quote on enliven wellness life coaching chalkboard reading, "I should be in that fire, but now there's fire inside of me." Todd Smith Blissfield Life Coach Toledo
“I should be in that fire, but now there’s fire inside of me.” – Crowder

Hear words that stick with you and don’t let go? That’s what these words did for me. I actually turned off the radio to just let the ideas sink in and then knew this had to be my next #MusicMonday quote post.

Have you been in that fire, descended into that place from which you didn’t know if you could ever escape? Maybe that’s where you are now. If you are there, you have choices. You can assign blame, wallow in guilt and bring others down with you. You can continue to live the life that stokes the flames around you, burning at you until there is nothing left.

The other option takes courage, commitment, and perseverance.

Capture that flame and place it within your heart. The very same inferno with the potential to destroy you is also the seed of energy to power you into your purpose. Understand the power of the flame. The sparks may at times reignite around you, but it takes choosing your perspective, changing your habits, and maybe even changing your environment to harness its destructive nature back to a creative and driving force.

Turning destructive force into drive.

It is easy to mask and avoid the heat. You can pretend it doesn’t exist even though you feel it licking at you constantly, but that usually pushes you toward choices that don’t involve real solutions. Now this is the part that takes courage and support. Acknowledge the heat. Recognize and admire its potential. Allow yourself to truly feel the discomfort to ingrain it in your soul and then vow to never allow it to control you again. Decide what life you are truly meant to live. Understand that the fire you kindle in your heart can be shared with others, heart-to-heart, not as the wildfire you used to know. Make choices daily that align to your highest potential (it is greater than you think). From the painful burn that you will no longer allow yourself to suffer in comes the light, heat and energy of creation. Envision your greatest potential every day. Make it real little by little. Surround yourself with people who will feed your inner fire and remove those that stoke the flames that burn you.

It takes consistent effort to make important changes, but think about your greatest potential if you don’t make changes. Now think of your worst case scenario. Can you imagine that? Now think of your best self if you do choose a greater path. Now what is your downside? If I had to guess, I would say that you are certainly no worse off than your best possibilities with life in its current state.

What fire will you pull into your heart as the seed for growth? Lets talk more about fueling your soul instead of the pyre beneath you.

Why You Should Know Your Purpose, Mission and Vision?

John C Maxwell quote on enLiven Wellness Life Coaching chalkboard reading, "When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, people become focused and their characters are strengthened." Todd Smith Blissfield Life coach Toledo
“When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, people become focused and their characters are strengthened.” – John C Maxwell

Working with colleagues recently on a personal and professional growth piece on understanding purpose, vision and mission, we had a strong sense that none of that can happen meaningfully if we don’t have a clear understanding of our core values.

Your core values are your most fundamental beliefs and establish the foundation of standards, behaviors and choices. The more closely they are held, the less negotiable they are. Unless you have actually taken the time to identify your core values, you most likely inherited your expression of values from your family, your immediate culture, and those that are closest to you. That said, you probably also notice that sometimes the values that surround you, such as from your parents, just don’t jive with you. Because of that, you may have closely examined a particular value and developed a guiding principle for life. Perhaps it even guides your purpose and mission in life. If you would like to explore your core values, download this tool that I use with my clients.

So What Comes First?

In trying to create a visual representation of the development sequence of purpose, vision, and mission, we seemed to discovered that the process does not seem to be linear, rather a recursive process constantly evolving as we gain new experiences. Though values underlie the process, they too can grow and change because of the process.

The best that I can figure, purpose and vision must evolve before you can determine your mission. To understand that, these terms need definition. At first glance, and in common discussion, the words are often used interchangeably.


Your purpose is your reason, your why. Purpose is the driving force that connects your values to your choices. It is the reason you exist (not that there is just one reason).


Just like eyesight, your vision is what you see when you look ahead. Vision is your future desired state as guided by your values and purpose. But vision isn’t an end state nor is it fixed. If you are open to growth, your vision will continue to evolve as you embark on your mission. You may even set vision markers in the short-term, mid-term, and long-term (you know, that five-year and ten-year plan). Envisioning can be a powerful tool in propelling the mission by creating dissonance in the mind between current state and future state. The mind does not like when things don’t match. It is wired to find patterns and make ideas connect, in psychological terms, known as matrixing. Vision boards are an example of this envisioning. I consider this a vital part of my coaching practice.


It is where the rubber meets the road, if you will. Mission is how your values and purpose are expressed in action. It is the thread, or staying with the theme, the road that from purpose to vision. Of course, by that description, it seems that linear, something I already suggested it is not. More on that in a bit.

Not everyone starts with a purpose. Sometimes a very clear vision is the impetus. To effectively align day-to-day choices to the vision, understanding values and defining purpose is essential. Without that starting point, it is like trying to navigate out of an unfamiliar forest. Your mission just becomes escaping from the woods, destination unimportant. (Honestly, I think this is how many of us operate when life proceeds unexamined.) From the vision and connected to values, purpose is surmised and defined.

Once the connections are made, as John C Maxwell’s quotes suggests, life becomes sharply focused, delivering a strong sense of meaning. Actions become purposeful, growth becomes the norm, and you become a vital life force, attracting more of who you are becoming.

Why You Should Dream Small

Dreaming big is scary.

Dreaming small protects you from changing much. Pretty simple. If you just dream small you really don’t have to worry about failing. Maybe no one will notice. If you do, it doesn’t hurt that much because you didn’t invest that

Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) quote on enLiven Wellness Life Coaching chalkboard reading, "When there's a burning in your heart, an endless fury in your heart, build it bigger than the sun, let it grow. When there's a doubt in your mind, 'cause you think it all the time, framin' rights into wrongs, move along". enliven wellness life coaching Toledo. Life Coach Todd Smith Blissfield
“When there’s a burning in your heart, an endless fury in your heart, build it bigger than the sun, let it grow. When there’s a doubt in your mind, ’cause you think it all the time, framin’ rights into wrongs, move along” – Ben Gibbard

much. It is easy to play it all off. You know, you really don’t have to change anything succeed or fail.

But when there’s a burning in your heart… I have it too. What do you do with it? Do you just fantasize and put it on the wheel and give it a spin to see if it comes back around because right now isn’t the time? Maybe next year will be better. Maybe next year you’ll even sit down with it and dream a little more, filling your soul with all of the possibilities. Life would be grand, but “when there’s doubt in your mind, ’cause you think it all the time, framing rights into wrongs, move along.” Move along. Spin the wheel. Maybe next time.

I get it, most of us don’t want to upset the apple cart. Things are “fine”. It is easy to acclimate to the new normal and justify its existence. If I can be perfectly honest, my record on stepping out of my comfort zone is horrible. My hand is usually forced before I make big changes. The doubts creep in. Rights look like wrongs. But I’m still standing. Taller. I’m walking. Straighter.

Dreaming big takes commitment.

It takes action. It takes vision. You have that. What is commitment? Commitment is making a promise to yourself that you are going to pursue the dream. Commitment is understanding that the dream grows and changes as you do. It might look different in a year (if you take it off the wheel).

What is action? Action is engaging in choices aligned to the dream. If your intentions are right, your actions will be as well. If an action takes you off course, it is a feather in the cap. It is wisdom you keep. How valuable is that?

What is vision? Vision is seeing the dream in process, past, present and future. Vision is conceptualizing the infrastructure, piece by small piece that supports the dream. Like the dream, the vision grows and changes with each action. Sometimes the greatest roadblock is clamping down too lightly on ultimate goal. That is what failure is. It perceiving a mismatch between expectation and outcome without any ability to reconcile the difference. Allowing vision to be fluid keeps the gears greased.

So what about the small dreams?

Let’s try an experiment. Take your big dreams off of that damn wheel. Play with it. Envision life in that dream. Bring it to life with words, pictures, and your imagination. Close your eyes and watch it play out in front of you. See all of the pieces magically appearing. Let the doubts float. Let the persistent doubts inform you about issues you’ll figure out when the time comes. Revisit the dream every day. Live life where you are. Now dream small. Dream the little dreams that fit life now, but point those little dreams at the big dream. Small dreams and big dreams require the same to find fulfillment. They all take commitment, action and vision. Do this and see what happens in a month, a year, a decade. You’ll be amazed. And hey, what happens if a small dream doesn’t pan out? You learn from it and find what does work and keep dreaming and engaging. Dream on, yo!

I love talking dreams. If you would like to talk yours through, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How to Be Resilient And Go With The Flow At The Same Time

Just go with flow…

I get it, follow life where it leads you, right? I absolutely understand the sentiment. I’ve found myself so entangled in the way I think life should play out that I forget to let the God do His job.

But I have a problem with it too…

In spiritual circles we hear that if we come across obstacles, like a river flowing past a boulder, we too must let current carry us in the right direction. I’ve heard it said that if something isn’t coming easily, it must not be the way. I just don’t resonate fully with this idea. Maybe I’m not yet enough enlightened to fully embrace it. Successful people (enlightened or not) show the vital characteristics of perseverance and resilience that I think of when I read Robin Sharma’s quote.

Think for a minute about the swirling eddy that forms as the river parts around obstacles to its flow. Cultivating a resilient character creates a mindset that both allows for holding on to a dream, a direction, while at the same time following the current even if it isn’t flowing as we’d planned. In my mind, obstacles aren’t roadblocks as much as they are course adjusters. An openness to direction allows us our own unique dynamics to avoid the eddies of life.

Perhaps going with the flow is more about understanding that things taking a direction that is outside of our expectation reduces our rigidity of thinking, bringing us deeper perspective and greater ability to adapt and adjust. Maybe when our dreams seem to be at the abyss we just need to notice the current.  Perhaps we then see what new possibilities arise to re-energize or even re-define our dreams. Either way, they never have to die inside of us.

5 Tips to Meet Tomorrow with Open Arms

Are you showing up every day with open arms and open eyes?

Incubus quote on enLiven Wellness Life Coaching chalkboard reading, "Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eye. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there."  enliven wellness life coaching Toledo. Life Coach Todd Smith Blissfield
“Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there with open arms and open eye. Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there.” – Incubus

This might just be one of the biggest day-to-day challenges we all face. Can we face every single day open to what it may bring? I’m not suggesting we don’t plan and organize what we already know. There’s a certain structure we must keep in place for an effective life, but I really think one of the greatest graces we can embrace is to take not only the gifts, celebrations, and amazements of life but the challenges, heartaches, and disappointments too.

I don’t care if you are the most positive person in the world, you have been disappointed. You have bad days. You punch things. I don’t think I am just projecting here. Give me a hallelujah (or even a thumbs up) if you can relate. It is said that our suffering is rooted in unfulfilled expectation. I believe this to be true, but in many ways, so too is our enjoyment.

Our standards for life and our expectations go hand-in-hand. Understand that our expectations are an expression of our standards placed on others, something that we cannot control. Of course, there are times when others need to live up to a standard to continue in our lives or in our employ. That is a topic for another (as of yet unwritten) conversation. How can we open our arms, eyes, and hearts to whatever the experiences of the day bring?

First things first. It starts with you.

Below are some tips for opening up to the wonders of each day, tempering the sting of missed expectation.

  1. Know your values. Until you know your purpose, standards and values, it may be hard make choices aligned to the best version of you. In fact, without this, any sustained personal growth is nearly impossible.
  2. Choose wisely. I know we all have our secrets, our vices, our skeletons. Set yourself up for success. Surround yourself with the people and environment that support your best-ness (yes that’s a word.) Reduce the risk of negative experiences by living well, loving well, and just being a person of compassion and character. I’ve learned the hard way. Contrary to belief, a well-aligned life is fun.
  3. Acknowledge unmet expectations. Sometimes necessity requires addressing another’s mismatched expectations, but recognizing that people don’t usually intend to hurt us helps reduce the bitterness we experience. Taking a page from Paulo Coelho, “take nothing personally”. With only a few exceptions (narcissistic behavior), another’s actions that don’t meet our standards are their own expression of their experiences and the meaning we take from their actions are an expression of ours.
  4. Recognize what triggers us. Building on the previous tip, when we react strongly to an experience, it reflects a personal tender spots. Most likely, every time we bump this bruise, we will react until we learn to recognize the trigger and work to release the underlying meaning we’ve cast upon it. I am not saying strong feelings, negative or positive, are bad, but we are well served to recognize them and act on them constructively.
  5. Live constructively. Again building on the previous item, taking a constructivist approach to our lives puts us in a place that acknowledges the gifts in any experience. There is always something to learn from every experience no matter how we judge it. Too often we perseverate or ruminate on negative experiences, reliving the emotion and tying the episode to, and magnifying self-doubts we already carry. Instead, recognize that the experience we expected wasn’t meant for us in that moment. We can also evaluate how we can improve our life through our thoughts, beliefs and actions to experience it differently moving forward.

In my life, through the good and the bad, I have learned so much and grown exponentially once I opened up to the gifts of the day. I no longer say things like, “just my luck” in a negative context. If I experience it, it is truly my fortune to have the new opportunity to be better, and better I will be.

If you find yourself struggling with this, please reach out.  I am glad have a conversation to explore with you. It is my mission to help others bring the best of themselves to the world every day.