cassidy-donald-trump-americas-muslims-1200Washington Post headline: ¨Trump complains debate was unfair as Clinton builds on strong performance. ¨

I am thinking…



Trump seems to talk about unfairness an awful lot. That seems to be the perception-of-his- reception a lot of times. He said that ¨every time he’d say something; Clinton would talk back to it. ¨which sounds like when my son started playing soccer and complained that the other players ¨would just take the ball from him. ¨

If through the looking glass, we could see when the Donald was little, I wonder when the ¨unfairness principle¨ started – where did he form that perception? Did Donald Sr. Sr. tell Jr., ¨life is simply not fair, son – take what you can while you can. ¨ Donald now says he will only do the next debate if Hillary isn’t there. I’m wondering who he will debate with, but perhaps he has an imaginary friend.


“Reality is what we take to be true,” the scientist Bohm said in the seventies – a thought at the time perhaps reserved for the spiritually inclined.  “What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for. What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

 This is why fact checking becomes so important. The issue with our perception is that we can’t distinguish that our reality may be different from the facts. They feel equally true until we reference the former against the latter. Therefore, it is really smart to get help sorting the two.

To distinguish the perception of reality from reality, I recommend:

Coaching of course

  • I coach and get people to see the difference, and like our friend Byron ask, ¨is that really true…? ¨

The Hoffman Institute

  • A treat of a course when it comes to busting through perceptions formed in childhood.

Reading: Leadership & Self-Deception

  • When our perception of reality no longer congeals with actual reality, we are forced to self-deceive. Published by the Harbinger Institute to understand and alter this behavior.

Coach Jo

Johanna Sawalha

Executive Coach

Follow me for pep talks + human potential news on:



Linked In









On Regrets

I hung out with someone yesterday who reads my blog .

She made a suggestion for a topic she’d like to see .

How to deal with regrets ?

The stuff you have done that haunts you at night.
The I-could’vs and I-should’vs.

Well.  What if you couldn’t have done it any other way?
Based on the information you had at the time.

That is what life experience is.
And what if it had to irk you so badly so that you’ll never do it again.

Maybe there is a design to regrets?
To make you do something with them.
To really, really learn the lesson for the next time.

But listen up.
Not as a way to “teach yourself a lesson”.

Rather knowing that you can’t skip a grade.
That you can’t skip the lessons that are specifically for you.

So when you regret something, repeat to yourself:

“This is the school of life.

I am only learning.
That is why I am here.
It is the whole point of it all.”

Comments, questions – all welcome.

Love always,

Reaching Your Goals – plugging your missing-information gaps

You know how I have said to you that all you are missing is information.

And that there is nothing inherently wrong with you.  Whatever habits and behaviors that are insufficient to reach your goals, are simply a function of lack of the knowledge that will take you there.

So if you are an inquisitive and curious person (which I know you are, because you read my quips) there are many things you can do, and much to learn.

Today I want to fill in some information gaps about the intricacies of meeting a goal.  “Just do it” or “You just have to be motivated” – have you noticed that those phrases don’t inspire much at all?  They may just point to how you don’t feel up to the task or how much motivation you are in fact missing.

There are many factors that contribute to reaching a goal.

The obvious one is what you have to be able to measure:

  1. Where you are starting from…
  2. What you will count once you have reached your goal…
  3. Your progress as you go…

These don’t stand alone though.

Keeping promises and measuring progress is necessary, but you also need inspiration to do that.  You need to know where you are going – but you also need to stay continually motivated along the way.

I have my clients write out all of it – their goals and their motivation.
Their goals also need to be broken up into bite size meals.

My questions for you then are:

Can you visualize your goal?
Do your actions apply to the goal?

Are they also broken up into bits you can do every week?
What are your motivation triggers?

Let me know.  If you don’t know, I’ll be happy to help.
Just shoot me an email:  coaching@sawalha.com


Money Balance – Do You Have It?

I am sure you wonder at times where all the money goes.
Seems like the money in your pocket doesn’t follow the easy-come-easy-go rule, but rather the hard-in-coming-easy—in-going one…!

You look at your finances and no matter what you make you always seem to end up with the same, or as little, in the end.

What gives…?

We watched not one, but two!, period pieces one night this weekend during my husband’s birthday weekend away.  I indulged watching Versailles (or Versailles looking palaces) with the women sweeping and rustling around in their elaborate get-ups.  I fantasized about living like that, like a countess in a European castle (what girl hasn’t?).  That was before my socially conscious mind took back over, that doesn’t want to take more than she needs and also doesn’t want to pay the prize of politics and intrigue at that level….

What it did inspire however was a conversation over breakfast.

We talked about that at every level of income you are at, a perfect balance can be struck.  The rules of economics apply to each stratum of wealth, or lack thereof.

But if you make more than you spend, even if you make $10/hour, there is balance and your finances are healthy.  If you are happy with the money you are making for the work you are putting in, you have a balanced financial life as well.  Also, if you can afford spending your money on the things you most care about, whether it is organic produce or yoga classes, then too, you are in good shape.

These types of thoughts and conversation interest me a great deal.
Because money is time and time is your life going by.
Money is therefore a great measure of how you use your time and life.

In fact, it is one of the greater measures of how you choose to spend it.
Being able to measure things is key to any type of success.

In review…when you get concerned about balance…ask yourself…

  1. Do I make more than I spend?
  2. Do I enjoy how I make my money?
  3. Can I spend money on things that bring me satisfaction and joy?

If yes – there – your money is in balance.


Insomnia – Is It Just Me?

I am talking to myself today as much as I am talking to you.
I have experienced insomnia off and on in my life.

Another spell started three days ago.
Been waking up at 4 AM and I’d rather stay asleep.

The worst part about it is anticipating not having my strength the next day.
That is the part that freaks me out the most.

Apart from doing all the healthy habits to promote sleep,
I see how I have to start by re-contextualize the whole thing.

Who says I can’t have and find energy anyway?
Who says I won’t be able to sleep tonight?

Only I do.

I also hear my mother’s voice about healthy sleeping habits and how important they are.  I love that she gave me those.  I do however have a belief that if I don’t get eight hours, that I can’t function.  That is not true.  I can function just fine.  I like getting eight hours.  I got six and a half last night.  In the name of re-contextualizing, it is not like it was two or three hours (I have had those spells too and this is not that.  If you also have insomnia, you are in good company.  Apparently so do up to half of the world population at various times. )

In the name of designing our lives, there are real things we can do, you and I

–  my fellow insomniacs:

If you are looping on a certain thought or life issue, talk it out with someone.
Or write it out.

Make sure you are relaxed before you go to bed.
Drink herbal tea.

Take a hot bath.
Exercise and stretch so your body too is relaxed.
If you need to, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about a safe sleeping aid.

And lastly, I think the biggest thing is:

Go with it.  Don’t make it bigger.  When I resist it, it gets worse.

When you are up, get up.  Do things you were planning to do later in the day.  Read.  Write.  Practice yoga and meditation.
Catch up on work if it feels right.  Or letter writing.

Keep tweaking till you find what works.  Become a great napper.
Don’t be satisfied until you find your formula.
And some sleep.

Love always,

To Tell Or Not To Tell

I just had a client (you know who you are) – who is upset with people.

And he has lists on them.

Things he was disappointed about.

He lets the things sit there and fester.

And it makes him sick to his stomach.

The truth is, it is not good for him to do this.


It made me wonder about how much of that we do.

Have little things that we never tell that put a wedge between us and people.

Places we got hurt and where we stopped giving of ourselves as fully and freely as we once did.


This client inspired me to look for myself if there was anyone I was upset with but not telling.  There was someone, and I started a letter to that person to say everything that I had been wondering about, was stewing on, and upset about.

It was freeing to get it all out of me.


Whether an issue gets resolved right away or not, to be the first one to go when it comes to taking care of it, provides an amazing sense of freedom, leadership and ownership of the situation.  To be someone who is willing to always go back to the scene of the crime and deal makes one proud.


Are you holding on to upsets with someone?

Who do you have a list on that you’ve been sitting on?

Who do you cringe when you think of?


No one is saying you have to love everybody.

But you can at least get to “neutral”.

Where the poison you’ve stored on someone doesn’t infect your own body.

You set yourself free by being willing to give it up and speak.

Tell or not tell?

I say, say it all.


Let me know how you do.


Love always,


Thinking Small Is Thinking Big

I just read an article in Entrepreneur mag online.

Richard Branson was talking about thinking big.

What he was actually talking about was thinking small.

As in interacting on the level of where he first started.


What made his business good at the start?

Were he and his friends having fun while doing it?

Anyone with a good idea – was their voice heard?


I spoke at a Rotary club last week and every time I hear it, I am moved by the four-way test that they apply to anything they think, say or do:


1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


Those four simple questions are hugely inspiring to me.


In grammar school, one nickname I acquired was “mom” because I acted in defense of those that got bullied.  I think that came from a deeply rooted value that if someone loses when someone else wins inside of a common project, nobody won.


In his interview, Branson talks about the dangers when a small company achieves a little success.  How the people who were there at the start don’t get consulted anymore.  How executives move into corner offices.


So if you want to expand your project, company, business, family – take help from those that have gone before you.  The Buffetts and the Bransons, your grandma and grandpa, tenets of established goodwill companies – to ensure that you in the end can sleep at night.  Knowing that you did right by people.  And if you did wrong by them, that you went back and took care of them.  Life is long, remember…?  There is plenty of time to make mistakes but also plenty of time to clean them up.


That said – go play, be good to everyone involved, and come back and share your findings!


Love always,



Hellos and Goodbyes and Forgiveness In-between

My husband and son just dropped me off at the airport for my trip to New York, going to celebrate a 50th birthday there.  My son started crying when I got out of the car, although I had been prepping his little year-and-a-half old ears for days that I was leaving.  He still got upset – this sweet little being who lives in immediate reality.  We reassured him that daddy was staying and that I would be back, like I always am.  “I always come back, Sami.  Remember how I always do…?”


It made me think about how many hellos and goodbyes we bid.

How some of them are for logistical reasons, some out of anger and some out of misunderstandings.  All ought to be forgiven.  Even one like this morning’s I’d ask Sami forgiveness for, even if it’s small on the scale of trespasses.  Still hurt his feelings.  And then I’d always also make good on my promise to come back when I said.


Where does that leave bigger issues?


I spoke a close family member recently and there was something, he said, that he would never forgive another family member for.  “Never?” I said.  He didn’t think he should have to, that is how hurt he had gotten.  I think he thought that forgiving meant forgetting.  No one is asking us to do that.  I think forgiving the people in our lives over and over again is par for the course.  The likelihood that we ourselves will mess up around the people closest to us is high as well.  You’d want to be forgiven yourself.


But what is someone keeps doing the same hurtful thing over and over again?


The best thing is to foster the ability on everyone’s part to always keep an open conversation about it.  Where it is no big deal to say, “you did that thing again”. “Oh, I did?  I am sorry.”  And then you have the discussion about it.  A million of them if needed.  That invariably will lead to deeper insights about each other and the relationship dynamic.


I believe Sami will forgive my leaving for a few days.  But if he in his mind says when he is older, “you left me!” I will talk to him about it.  I will tell him all the facts of the stay away, how many days, but more importantly, how it was all by design, and that he was completely taken care of and that I always came back.


But I’d also still ask for forgiveness for hurting his feelings.

Revealing the facts of the situation is important but not complete.

Nothing feels so good as someone asking for forgiveness and taking care of you

when you feel hurt.  And then, it feels even better to forgive.

What do YOU think?





Nothing Comes From Nowhere, Everything Comes From Somewhere

When you find yourself upset.

Or out of sorts.

You may often feel that it came out of nowhere and now you are just feeling off.  Know that nothing comes from nowhere.  Everything comes from somewhere.


This morning I was feeling off.  I called a friend and together we started sorting where the feeling came from.  What previously had seemed like a hazy blues, all of a sudden crystallized into a real list of things I was upset about.  People had changed plans on me the previous week and I had gone south with that, deeming them flakey and comparing them to friends I have that are not flakey.  I also spoke to almost all of my immediate family over the weekend, and it got me thinking about how much I miss them and missing them hurt some.


I kept finding things.  Some more real and realistic, others more dramatic in the style of what-is-my-life-for?!!  Once all my unspecific thoughts had been verbalized into specifics, I saw much more clearly what I could and would do something about, and what I could dismiss as my mind playing tricks on me.




When you find yourself upset, there was something real that started it;

a disappointment, a bummer thought or something that hurt your feelings.


Ask yourself:


Something happened.  What happened?

Who was it in regards to, and what do I need to talk to them about?

Is there anything I can do about the situation or am I ready to dismiss it?


All in honor of setting you free.

“We are freedom seeking beings…” (Abraham-Hicks).

I believe that.  So keep fighting yourself out of prison and find the thoughts that started your blues, your funk or your upset.


Let me know how you do.


Love always,