Career Blues? Born for This Review


It’s Out There: Born for This Review

By Jocelin Higgins

Born for This Review

Are you still seeking your ideal career? Is your current occupation dragging you down? Or, do you love what you do, but find that it just doesn’t generate enough income to live the life you want? If any of these questions are on the top of your mind, then this  definitely could be a book to get you out of your career rut or create a side hustle to generate more income. Born for This offers hope for the discontent, lost, or hopeful seeker. My Born For This review aims to give you a thorough and broad scope of what it’s all about.

It’s a practical guide full of useful advice to get you moving toward your best fit avocation, so that you have what he refers to as “joy (what you like to do), money (what supports and sustains you) and flow (what you are really good at)”  in an occupation and livelihood that absorbs your waking hours. Why not enjoy it as much as possible?

How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do

In this new manifesto, Portland lifestyle blogger, world traveler and host of WDS Chris Guillebeau pens on the cover, How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do.” Thus setting up the purpose for this career help guide, complete with illustrated graphics. He believes that there is a perfect fit for you, a particular calling, per say, and shows it by telling story after story of people who are doing just that. However, what I found really helpful was that he also mentions earlier, not-so-great-for-those-interviewed jobs that they experimented with and struggled through until they had found their jackpot careers. He even goes into detail to describe his journey to finally getting to where he loves what he does.

He breaks the book into two main focuses. The first being a few lessons that can help you in figuring out what it is you want from a career and the second part gives you practical modes and methods to put these lessons into practice to find your most fulfilling job.

Your In-Box Tells All

How exactly does one figure out what to do with their life? You could start college or university and take classes until you stumble upon what you feel drawn to or you could listen to your parents and family and follow in their footsteps. Since we already know about THESE methods, this book doesn’t repeat them.

Instead it tells you to look at your “in-box:” What kinds of e-mail lists have you subscribed to? What activities do you pursue in your free time? What favors do your family and friends ask of you? Because the people in your life can see things in you that you may not be aware of. This could give some insight into where you may want to focus your time and energy. He brings up how his vast traveling experience led him into creating creative travel guides because his friends were consistently asking him for trip advice.

Helpful Messages This Book Presents:

  • Why changing your thinking about work: reframing assumptions or beliefs you’ve held is critical.
  • You can both love your work and earn good money.
  • Believe and bet on yourself and have faith in your abilities.
  • It is possible to master the skills to leave your drone job for your ideal life’s calling.
  • Entrepreneurship can lead to reaching success more rapidly.
  • Knowing when to make your big break and when to bide your time is vital.
  • Asking 100 average people what their problems are can lead to unique ways to help them.

Where This Book Doesn’t Go

Some of the suggestions presented in this book were not new to me. I’ve read many a self-help book. However, it’s one thing to know you need to make changes, but another to actually make them or to even have the courage to do so. This book does not include the coaching motivator, although it is encouraging. It doesn’t really get into the psychology of HOW to redirect your mind to change direction or get your behavior to follow suit. There isn’t really a mention of the spiritual aspect of looking for one’s calling other than when things just work out easily. A fascinating book I read in this vein is
called, Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life which is about paying attention to synchronicity and seeing it as signs from the other side to guide you in the direction to take with your life. This isn’t that type of book.

You do need a certain amount of confidence and persistence to follow his advice and integrate it into your career search, especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck. This would be a great book to use in a group book study with others, so that you can hold each other accountable or with a personal coach that pushes you to go farther and expand your limits more than you have ever done before. You could also re-read it a few times and get more out of it each time you do. I plan on this.

So, Now What Do You Do With This One Wild and Crazy Life?

Start living, he says. Embrace life, don’t settle, Be courageous and take risks (don’t worry, there’s even a chapter on ways to take calculated risks to decrease loss). Keep searching for your ideal career because you deserve it and the world it anxiously waiting to embrace your wondrous gifts!

Thanks for checking out my Born For This review! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*By the way, I do know this author and was given this book to review before publication. However, it is my honest review. If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

What is Your ONE Thing? A Book Review


A Book Review of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

By Jocelin Higgins

Do you ever feel like your life is out of balance? That you are swimming upstream against the racing current and watching the salmon pass you by? Do you ever wonder what your one thing could be that would turn it all around? Perhaps you have found your one thing, but just don’t know how to focus on it consistently, so that you can become an expert at it.

book review

Maybe you found your one thing and it involved a career that had a prime time (a professional athlete, model, musician, etc.) and you are discouraged now, because you are older and just really want to excel at something and make a difference in the world and leave a legacy, as they say.

Well, I’m here to tell you not to give up. It’s never too late to find and carry out your one thing–to live passionately and be more fulfilled. It’s not too late for more creativity or to have more financial security or to strive for greatness. This book review aims to help you!

What is Your ONE Thing?

I found some real life, direct and very useful information and strategies in this book that I read and enjoyed called THE ONE THING:The Suprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I must first say, that it isn’t a book that helps you DETERMINE your best possible career, calling or ideal job per say, but it does guide you to ask yourself questions in all areas of your life and then directs you once you have found them. It helps you to get laser focused on the clearest path toward your goals, so that you KNOW what you are reaching for in all of the areas of your life and how to get there the most effectively.

What are the Six Lies Between You and Success

  1.  With Your Time, Everything Matters Equally
  2.  Multitasking is Effective
  3.  A Disciplined Life is How You Succeed
  4.  Willpower is Always On Will-Call
  5.  A Balanced Life is Possible
  6.  Big is Bad

Gary and Jay really speak about thinking BIG, but they describe the way to get there in simple, applicable steps. Just like most self-help books though, you need to make the time for the important aspects of your life. This is what can be the most difficult. So, they have formulated what they call the focusing question: What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? Then, you apply this question to whatever area of your life you want to improve. This book review will explain more.

Dreams Need Systems

It is easy to conjure up goals and dreams and put them out there, but you really need to put a system in place to get there. Not to mention, taking the necessary risks. Many people are afraid of taking risks because of the money factor. Do I take out debt to get a degree? Do I take out a loan to start a business? These are stressful things to think about. Four years ago, I had ten grand in credit card debt and now, It’s down to only two and will be paid off this year. This I feel I’ve made some progress on because the interest was high and I was just kicking myself that I was paying all this extra money on it. So, I set up a system that automatically took out a payment of a certain amount each month and I could easily pay extra when I could afford it and now my credit score is in the 800’s.

Unfortunately, I still have some student loan debt that I’m widdling away on from 2003 because I hadn’t asked my formative question: What is the one thing that I can do right now to pay off my student loan? The answer of course begins with: make bigger payments, which leads to find a way to increase my income and not spend as much, which leads to creating tangible things to sell or finding higher paying work…ect. Do you see how this works?

The Three Main Commitments to Make

The writers recommend you commit to three main things:

1) Follow your Path to Mastery. In order to excel at something, you need to practice it often. Studies show 10,000 hours working on a skill, leads to mastery of it. But, as my college swim coach would say, “perfect practice leads to perfect swimming in events.”

2) Move from E to P (Entrepreneurial to Purposeful) in your actions which means to push through on projects and goals and be more purposeful with them instead of jumping from one idea to the next. In our ADD society, here is an extremely vital tactic to carry out.

3) To Live the Accountability Cycle, hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Ask others to hold you accountable. Since there is a link between what you do and what you get, take complete ownership of your outcomes by not blaming others or by playing the victim. On page 184 they state, “Accountable people absorb setbacks and keep going. Accountable people persevere through problems and keep pushing forward.”

The Four Thieves of Productivity

The authors stress that you know what The Four Thieves of Productivity are and how to avoid them as you are focusing and answering your formulating question.

  1. Inability to Say “no”
  2. Fear of Chaos
  3. Poor Health Habits
  4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals
Now, if all of this confuses you due to the fact that it’s an abbreviated version in this book review and you don’t know how to apply it to your life, the last chapter gives you some sample questions in these areas of your life: Your Personal Life, Your Family, Your Job, and Your Work Team to help you get started.

My Book Review: What I Didn’t Like About the Book

There were a couple of things that moved me the wrong way in this book. From a women’s perspective, I felt the success quote from Bill Cosby was difficult to read, considering recent allegations against him. Also, there is a story of how Sam Walton of Walmart avoided paying $11 to $13 million in estate taxes that I found to be in poor taste as corporations such as Walmart really should be paying their fair share of taxes to support public services where everyone benefits.

But, overall the productivity teachings in this book are well worth the read. Just close your eyes when you come to the above examples so you don’t cringe.

So, hey, I want to give a copy of this book away to “pay it forward” because I won this book by commenting on a blog post on Smart Passive Income. It only seems fair after all since I was given this gift. I took me a bit of time to get to this book review, but I hope you enjoyed it!

The ONE Thing Website

 Additionally, If you are a tactile learner, the book has a website, with a plethora of tools and worksheets to work through to really get your personal goals set using the formulating question in all areas of your life as well as describing how to time block your four hours a day to focus on your ONE Thing.

Win A Copy of This eBook By Commenting Below!

What is your ONE Thing for today?

Also, what did you think of this book review? Was it helpful? Did it makes sense? Let me know! I will be writing more book reviews in the upcoming months and would love to know what you specifically like to read and appreciate hearing about!

I’ll choose a lucky winner with a creative post comment and send you this e-book for free!



*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Works Cited
Keller, Gary, and Jay Papasan. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results. Austin, TX: Bard, 2012. Print.
Unknown. “Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
Unknown. “Criticism of Walmart.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Imposter Syndrome: How to Break Free


By Michael Lee Howard-Mayhew

The excitement set in as I sat down with my friend Heidi at the Rose City Comic Con. I had waited months to get the chance to see actor Wil Wheaton speak. We both got to the event early and found seats. I was surprised we were in the middle and only four rows back. Little did I know that he would be talking about imposter syndrome.

imposter syndrome

This being my first year at a Comic Con, I wanted to make sure that I did all the “right” things as I learned from watching everyone around me. Within a short time Wil Wheaton started to talk about the Imposter Syndrome in creative people. It seriously hit me like a ton of bricks. 70% percent of people experience this psychological block, but it spoke to me directly.

Imposter Syndrome Explained

What is Imposter Syndrome? There are many detailed versions of this, but in a nutshell Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you are faking your way through life. In most cases this manifests itself in a variety of ways in the workforce or for some of us it affects our creative endeavors.

The biggest manifestation of this syndrome is that somehow you will be “found out” and deemed to be not as worthy of the gifts and talent you share with the world. For me this has been the downfall of my creative outlets. The idea that I will start writing and think “this has been done before; others will think I am copying what others are doing.” The truth is that this is all in my head.

Since hearing this idea, it’s been fascinating to learn all there is to know about this programming and how I can move forward and past it. Here are a few tips I have learned along my path to improve my self-esteem and let go of the imposter syndrome:

Strategies to Break Free from Imposter Syndrome:

*Call it out and change your thoughts:

When you have those thoughts that you are not worthy of your success, call out the thoughts and remind yourself that they are not true. Then, shift your mind to the fact that you are talented or worked hard for the accomplishment. Finding a way to listen to your inner voice that celebrates your achievements versus your inner critic can be a defining way to rid yourself of feeling like an imposter.

*You are the best you:

This may seem practical and make sense, but how often do we compare ourselves to others and what they are achieving? The truth is that you are the only one who has your unique point of view and your successes are yours to celebrate.

*You have a role in your success:

Remember you did not get where you are at by being bad at your accomplishments. You are the one person who is following your specific path. That is a powerful thing to remember. The second you start to internalize the positive voices, the critic will quiet and then allow the rewards in by believing they are okay, if not great!

*Realize you are not alone in your feelings:

Did you know that celebrities Tina Fey, Chris Martin (of the band Coldplay), Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington, Rene Zellweger, Meryl Streep (who I think is one of the best actresses ever), Michelle Pfeiffer, even Maya Angelou all have at some time or another confessed to feel like they were “faking their way” to their successes. When we sit back and hear that these people have felt that way, it can help us feel a bit better in knowing that we are all just trying to be the best we can be.

*Make a list and own it:

A couple of years ago, I was feeling that I was unsuccessful because I didn’t have a college degree. In the workforce the world sees having a degree as something very important. Even if the degree is in something that has nothing to do with the field of work that the person is working in. My résumé looked sad and as if I had only one or two skills. Then I sat down and started writing down all the skills I acquired as a volunteer. Holy crap! I felt a lot better. I had two pages of real skills that were really marketable skills.

When you start to feel that you lack marketable skills or you are not worth the time you spend doing what you do, think about what you can own. Get a jar or a box where you can put achievements in them and when the time comes when you feel “less than,” look through the notes you have made and internalize by giving yourself positive affirmations that you are very capable.

Acknowledge or Accept your Imposter Syndrome:

In Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance,” she shared a really cool story about Buddha and the demon Mara.

One day, Buddha was teaching a large group, and Mara was moving around the edges, looking for a way into the group. I envision Mara rushing frantically back and forth in the bushes and trees, making plans to wreak havoc. One of Buddha’s attendants saw Mara, ran to Buddha and warned him of Mara’s presence. Hearing his attendant’s frantic warning, the Buddha simply replied, “Oh good, invite her in for tea.”

This is how you should approach your feeling of imposter syndrome. Invite the “demon” in and have some tea and offer some acceptance that this can be a certain type of copacetic relationship. But, don’t let it control you.

Needless to say, after hearing Wil Wheaton speak and sharing his words, I was less anxious to move forward in my given endeavors. I am writer, photographer, singer, creative soul who is not faking it, but sharing my gifts with the world. You can too!

Express yourself freely. I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.”

So, what are your thoughts on this? I’d love to start a dialogue below. Please leave a comment.

imposter syndrome

Works Cited:

Brach, Tara. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.
Edwards, Vanessa Van. “Impostor Syndrome: Stop Feeling Like a Fraud.” YouTube. YouTube, 16 July 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
Eschenroeder, Kyle. “21 Proven Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome – StartupBros.” Start Up Bros, 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating: An Intro


By Jocelin Higgins

Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating- What is it?

What is it like floating in a sensory deprivation tank? Perhaps you are wondering what it’s all about and why people do it. Or, rather how does it benefit you?

Sensory Deprivation Tank

A woman floats in a sensory deprivation tank with the lid open. You  can float either way.

I became interested in floating in a sensory deprivation (otherwise known as reduction) tank about seven years ago. A wellness center where I was practicing hypnosis had a couple of the Samadhi sensory deprivation tanks (also known as isolation tanks) in the basement. I became curious about them and so I began floating in the tanks to see what it was like.  I had heard it was a type of meditation in water and quite a healing experience. Later, I would bring in hypnosis audio programs to listen to while I delved deep in the darkness resting my body by slightly submerging it in the 800-1,000 pounds of ebsom salt saturated water. I found it highly rewarding for not only feeling better emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well.

The Origins of Sensory Deprivation Therapy

In the 1950’s, scientists were experimenting in order to find out what would happen to a person when all environmental stimuli from the outside world disappeared. Dr. John Lilly is one of the most well-known of these scientists, along side Dr. Jay Shurley, that first created an isolation tank in 1954 at The National Institutes of Mental Health Lab in the Virgin Islands. They wanted to learn how people responded by eliminating contact with other people, light, gravity, sound, but yet heating the water to about 93 degrees Fahrenheit to remove the extremes in temperature.

They learned many important discoveries from these experiments. They found that when they removed all external sensations, that there was still a mechanism that generated internal experiences. A person’s mind does not go unconscious, but the brain is still active. It constructs experiences out of memories and stored impressions. If one does not fall asleep in an isolation tank, then there is a great opportunity to reprogram the mind for desired change-to consciously construct more positive thoughts and discard deeply held limiting beliefs. It is similar to being in a state of hypnosis as brain waves are slowing down to theta levels.

Yet, he also discovered that the mind fostered creativity while in the sensory deprivation tank, thus allowing people to present a problem when in the tank and retrieve answers quickly after coming out of submersion from the isolation tank. He goes into these discoveries in the book, The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank or Programming and Meta-programming in the Human Biocomputer: Theory and Experiments (if you are more scientifically inclined).

Since then, many others have studied the effects of floating in an isolation tank. John Turner and Tom Fine developed the more modern floatation R.E.S. T. technique, which stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. Michael Hutchison published a ground breaking book in 1984, The Book of Floating. I’ll outline some of this research and current findings later in this post. Dr. Oz even tried it and recommends it. There is a fantastic documentary made in 2014 called Float Nation that answers many questions people have about floating and gives more insights into float therapy. Recently, in November, Time magazine reported that the United States opened its first float clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma: the Float Clinic and Research at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.  This is a huge move in studying the science behind floating and its effect particularly, on neuroscience.

The Health Benefits to Floating in a Sensory Deprivation Tank

Floaters have reported numerous benefits floating. Depression lifts, anxiety  decreases. Whereas Dr. Lilly focused on the brain and the psychological aspects, there are many physical ones too. These include, a heightened state of relaxation from the deep rest your body undergoes and a release of dopamine and endorphins that go with this relaxed state. It’s the complete opposite of how you feel when your body tenses up from too much stress, adrenaline and cortisol buildup in your system! Consequently, relief from chronic pain often subsides after a few floats. A person can recover from jet lag quicker by floating after crossing time zones.  Athletes, artists and musicians float to enhance performance and relieve muscle pain and students find their memories improve and super learning occurs.

Most importantly, the metaphysical aspects are fascinating to note. I’ve often felt that I was “lost in space” as the weightlessness of floating makes me unaware of my body. On a recent session, I saw bright lights come and go in my mind’s eye and stars appeared on the ceiling inside the float tank. I had to ask afterwards whether they painted stars on the ceiling. “Nope. But, others have also mentioned seeing them,”a staff member at Float On responded. Hmm. Some mind expanding adventures here within this inner world. Many experts even believe that if more people took up floating, there would be less violent crimes committed. If there is a negative to floating, it would be a little salt getting in your eyes or it can sting if you have a scratch on your skin. However, you can dab some Vaseline on any scratches to prevent this from occurring.

How and Where to Float

sensory deprivation tank

Bird’s eye view of man floating in a sensory deprivation tank with lid open.

It’s really a simple, passive activity that just about anyone can partake in. You just need the physical mobility to get into a tank and lay down in salt water, which is so highly concentrated that you become very buoyant. Locate a local spa or sensory deprivation tank center to visit. If you are near or plan on visiting Portland, Oregon, you will find a few great options. We have the USA’s largest float tank center, Float On, (which is a colorful, creative and innovative place). Additionally, there are three different types of tanks at The Float Shoppe (whose owners are super friendly and generous.) I spoke with co-founder, Sandra Calm and she states that they have plans for an additional tank soon. There are two tanks at The Everett House Healing Center (where I stepped into my first tank), and Mudra Massage clinic has a tank as well. The combination of massage before or after floating is an added health benefit. Receive a massage before a float session if you desire mainly the psychological benefit, but if you’d rather focus on physical healing, float first and then get the massage after your muscles soften in the tank, stated Sandra from The Float Shoppe.

If you are a seasoned floater, did you know that a national float conference is held in August in Portland, Oregon each year? Come visit. Additionally, Portland Float Shoppe owner, Dylan Schmidt has started a podcast called The Art of Floating for people who want to open a float center and need support to keep it running smoothly.

How Much Does It Cost to Float?

It costs anywhere from $60 on up for a 90 minutes session (which is the least recommended at a time for best experience). You can sometimes find discounts for first time floats if you check Groupon or Living Social coupons in your area.  It can add up if you are not flush in the pocketbook, so I wanted to let you know about a new company that has created and built home tanks. Commercial ones begin at $8,000 and go on up, however the Zen Float company is manufacturing float tents for only $1,850 to give more people an affordable option.

Well, I hope this post is helpful in giving you an introduction to the fine art of floating in a sensory deprivation (reduction) tank. Give it time, you really need to partake in a few sessions to know what it’s really all about! Please feel free to share a comment below. I’d love to hear more about your experiences floating.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Works Cited

Bynum, Brad. “Altered States Is a Session in a Sensory Deprivation Tank as Surreal, Dangerous and Psychedelic as It Is in the Movies?” News Review, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <>.

Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Hutchison, Michael. The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea. New York: Morrow, 1984. Print.
Oaklander, Mandy. “Behind the Strange New Science of Floating.” Time. Time, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Floated Naked in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. You’ve Got to Try It.” Anything Once., 15 May 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Slept All Night in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. Here Is My Story.” The Drift: A Blog About Sleep., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Unknown. “Float Science – The Float Shoppe.” Float Shoppe. The Float Shoppe, 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. <>.
Unknown. “Floating Overview – Float On.” Floating Overview. Float On Center, 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <>.
Unknown. “More Information.” Samadhi Tank Co., Inc. First Manufacturer of the Floatation Tank ( Flotation Tank ), Sensory Deprivation Tank, Float Tank, John Lilly Isolation Tank. Samadhi Tank Co., Inc., 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <>.
Williams, Brittany. “I Floated In A Sensory Deprivation Tank; Here’s What Happened – Healthcare Industry Today – EIN News.” The Grapevine, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <>.

The Many Benefits of Volunteering


By Michael Lee Howard-Mayhew

Wanna volunteer at the Dave Matthew’s show?” Jocelin enthusiastically asked me.

One of the ways I know that summer is brewing is when Jocelin and I start planning for our yearly Reverb events. Reverb is a non-profit environmental organization geared toward “concert greening” that we volunteer with at specific live music concerts. We have volunteered with Reverb consistently for the past several years in which we have learned of the many benefits of volunteering and volunteerism.

It is such a great way to get out in the nice summer weather and see some good shows. We also get to catch up with each other and volunteer with a great organization whose vital purpose “creates and executes comprehensive, custom programs to green the tour itself while engaging concertgoers to take action for the environment.”

Benefits of Volunteering

Jocelin and I volunteering with Reverb at The Dave Matthews Band festival.

Why I Like to Volunteer and the Many Benefits of Volunteering

I get asked often why I like to volunteer and what the benefits of volunteering are, so I thought this would be a great chance to share the many reasons:

*Community – One of the advantages with volunteering is building and being part of a sense of community. I have volunteered for several events and causes over the years ranging from film festivals, to reaching out to at-risk youth, doing HIV testing, facilitating support groups, as well as fulfilling other critical needs. The one common factor with all the organizations that I have worked with is the sense of community where myself and all of the other volunteers are contributing to and creating avenues of inclusion. I really felt needed and a part of something greater. The stronger that we as active citizens are in coming together as one with the planet and each other, the stronger the world at large becomes filled with hope and positive changes.

*The Light Bulb Moments– I have found that in every group that I have worked with for any length of time, you will meet a spattering of people that you are deeply affected by when volunteering. Some may seem obvious. For example, when I was doing HIV testing it was easy to see the instant impact I had when giving a test result. Usually, a relief thankfully.

My Favorite Experiences While Volunteering

My favorite experiences are the ones that surprise me. The latest adventure I had was working with Reverb at the Dave Matthews Band Concert at the Gorge in Washington State. The obvious fandom of DMB fans was so electric and it was very exciting to be at an event that raised money for local Farm to Family programs. I got the incredible opportunity to speak with the actual farm owners who were chosen as the local charity from Wenatchee, Washington to benefit from Reverb’s fundraising. Being able you raise over $6,000 plus in this one night and then be able to hand to this local charity, was amazing. The festival went on for three nights, so each night a similar amount was raised. Getting to see the instant impact brought me a lot of joy. That is the moment you walk away and know that your time was well spent.

benefits of volunteering

Difference Made in Numbers

*The Impact– According to Volunteering in America’s website, In 2013, one in four adults volunteered through organizations nationwide. Volunteers also were twice as likely to donate financially. Sadly, the downside is that in 2013,  it was the lowest volunteer rate of the past decade. According to an article from US NEWS. Many organizations rely on volunteering more than ever. I can say from my many experiences as a volunteer that we have instances where not everyone shows up. So, you are greatly needed. Being a volunteer helps non-profits stay in business while keeping costs low. Do your research though to see the breakdown of donations, so you can feel good that the money raised is getting to those in need.

Benefits of Volunteering

Meeting Jack Johnson while volunteering with Reverb in 2010.

*The Perks– Okay, so I have now shared with you the serious side of volunteering, but did you know that a lot of the volunteering gigs do comes with perks? You learn various new skills from getting better at working with people to promoting a cause you believe in. If you are someone who wants to enjoy taking in a free concert, check out Reverb’s volunteer opportunities. Not only is it a good cause, but you get to go to the main musical acts for free, potentially meet them and you usually get cool free swag. What is this? You receive unique concert memorabilia, such as a free high quality t-shirt to take home with the band and specific concert info on it. We also got a limited edition, Dave Matthew’s Band reusable Nalgene water bottle and some yummy Cliff Bars bars to snack on. Each show has its goodies.

When I was a volunteer HIV tester, I was also given some great swag as well and met some amazing people that I have created long lasting friendships with. I was also able to get to know my community a lot better though the events that I have participated in.

Could Volunteering Be For You?

Thinking of volunteering? I suggest finding something that you really believe in. You can volunteer alone and meet new people or volunteer with a friend. Volunteering with someone not only helps you to be more motivated to get to the event but it’s also a great opportunity to spend time doing something you both really love. However, you can sill go on your own, because you will meet new friends who also love music and so, you are rarely alone.

There are just so many benefits of volunteering. It pays future dividends and gives you such a feeling of hope in humanity as well as shows you that caring communities are within reach. There are many others out there that want to make a difference in their communities, save the earth and do good.

Need somewhere to start? Network for Good  is an awesome place to begin! Another site, is  a research tank that has found agencies that are truly improving people’s lives. A book written on altruism that is incredible is called, Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make A Difference. Another highly recommended recent guidebook on volunteering to check out is Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World by Rosenthal and Baldwin. Are you a student? Amazon offers free shipping!

Remember, the key is that you walk into volunteering knowing that it is rewarding all the way and around and that there are so many benefits of volunteering!

Please let us know what you think of this post by leaving a comment below. Do you have any volunteer gigs to suggest or avoid? Let us know below. Thanks for reading Feel Better Wellness and here’s to feeling better through volunteering!

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

How to Be Processed Sugar Free

sugar free, sugar free diet

A delicious bowl of natural fruits and veggies.


Hello dear Feel Better Wellness reader! I’m excited to announce that my friend Jim Fasulo is guest posting today. He is quite inspirational as he has made some major changes in the past ten years to better his health. One such is giving up processed sugar and those synthetic food items which contain massive amounts of it. I’ll admit. I love sweets and find it difficult to avoid them in my diet. So, let’s find out just how prevalent sugar is in our diets and learn healthier ways to replace it with natural foods. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom Jim! Read on. Here’s to feeling better!  -Jocelin

How to Be Processed Sugar Free

By Jim Fasulo

In so many instances, the consumption of sugar is communicated as a good thing. Coworkers offer us sugar laden foods during breaks, kids become excited and even entertained by the thought of eating ice cream, and virtually any celebration, be it a birthday party or retirement celebration is accompanied by the crowd favorite, the ever so sweet cake with frosting. Argh!

My journey towards a healthy diet and avoidance of processed sugar is not unique. Ten years ago, in the hunger to improve my health, I discovered the benefits of  naturopathic medicine. Early prescriptions of my first naturopathic physician involved removing inflammatory foods from my diet, and chief among these culprits was processed sugar.

Since that first visit to an ND in 2005, I have come to benefit from avoiding sugar in many ways. I have arrived at and maintained a healthy weight, changed my old habit of constantly “sugar snacking” during the day, and gradually migrated towards being sugar free and eating natural foods which increased my vitality and overall energy.  That cheesecake for dessert never delivered such rewards.

How Our Culture Promotes Processed Sugar

This notion that sugar equals goodness is a hard to overcome. Yet for those of us on a sugar free diet, these sugar feasts do not equate to happiness. Sugar abstention is met with fierce resistance. Our society provides many messages that eating sugary foods is not only a good thing, but also a reward, a way of signifying an accomplishment. “Bring out the cake-let’s celebrate!” is a common refrain.

However, countering this notion of sugar’s goodness can be done in a subtle way.  Allowing people to experience the dramatic benefits to their health by avoiding sugary foods and emphasizing the virtues of a natural diet is a much more sound approach than giving a lecture.

How to Counter that Processed Sugar Push

When the dessert cart comes around after a nice meal at a restaurant, instead of lashing out at the server or launching into a long diatribe with your friends about the evils or sugar consumption, consider a different tactic. Propose a natural substitute like a bowl of fresh berries or even a cup of herbal tea as a positive counter to the “processed sugar push.”

It is far more fruitful (no pun intended) to model eating a healthy diet than excoriating others for their indulgence.  Once someone experiences the feeling of well-being and health from eschewing sugar, the need to stand on a soapbox and sermonize about the pitfalls of unhealthy eating fades away.

Go Sugar Free: A Way Towards Change

When I bring in food for my coworkers as a gesture of comradery, I leave out cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, and instead put forth organic berries, apples, and unsalted nuts. I find a great deal of gratification in quietly observing friends discover these tasty treats and then watching the smiles on their faces as they express satisfaction from eating non fattening healthy foods. There are differing opinions on whether eating fruit is okay for your body. You should avoid fruit juice from concentrate. If you are diabetic, please follow your doctor and adhere to that diet. Fresh fruit contains a natural sugar, fructose, while it is still not perfect, it is a natural substance and easier for our bodies to digest. Additionally, do your research and get second or third opinions, especially if you are cautious and concerned.

Moreover, the conversation that follows isn’t about the downside of eating processed sugary foods. It may not be a conversation at all, rather a method, and a positive one at that, of bringing about awareness of the benefits of healthy eating.

Be Patient with Yourself But Look for Other Options

So, if eating a lot of sugary foods is a problem for you, be patient with yourself and just try to cut out one or two items a week. Think about what you can substitute for, say a candy bar instead? Or, what about that cola? It often helps to think about how much better you will feel with less processed sugar in your system. For inspiration, watch the mind-blowing documentary, That Sugar Film. And, get ahold of these two books. They will truly educate you: The Sugar Habit and No Sugar Diet.

Keep in mind, we are not licensed doctors or naturopaths. Please consult professionals if you are diabetic or have other serious health concerns. We are sharing what we have learned and applied and therefore gained through personal experience. We would love to hear how it’s going for you! What are your thoughts on this post? Anything else you’d like to hear about? Do you have any tips for healthier eating? Please share them! Just leave a comment below!

Thanks so much for reading and visiting Feel Better Wellness!

Works Cited:

Unknown. Creative Commons. “Fructose.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Oct. 2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Can Recycling and Consuming Less Lead to Happiness?



More stuff doesn’t make us happier, but I’ve found that higher quality stuff (and less of it) does. The nice thing is that this “selfish” decision (to invest in quality over quantity) also happens to be the best thing for the planet!” -Terra Heilman


Do you love to go shopping and collect things or rather, do things collect you? Do you find yourself cleaning out your house on a day off and getting rid of or recycling stuff that you barely used? Perhaps you buy something and it falls apart shortly after you get it and then you have to replace it again. If any of this sounds familiar, read on!  I  recently talked with an environmental educator and learned some fascinating tips on how to increase your happiness by eliminating excess material items, which in turn is better for our earth. Here is our Q &A:


Jocelin: Hello there Terra! Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed for Feel Better Wellness! Go ahead and tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Terra Heilman and I run my own business, Terra Linda Consulting. I’ve been in environmental education for about 15 years now. Currently, I’m a public speaker on waste reduction topics (recycling, reuse, thoughtful consumption, etc) and I’m also involved in a few side wings of the business doing environmentally friendly gift markets and client gift boxes.

Jocelin: Oh, that sounds really fascinating! What makes what you do important? Does it involve a mission and if so, what is it?

Most people recycle. That’s great! But, what most people don’t realize is that they’re probably over-recycling and also that recycling is a very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to the environmental footprint of our “stuff.” This can be overwhelming knowledge (it was for me when I discovered it) and that overwhelm can lead to apathy. I help my students and clients push past that overwhelm/apathy cycle to action. I inspire people to live a bit lighter on the planet by offering guilt-free green tips and tricks.

Jocelin: Apathy can lead people not to take action, unfortunately. So, how can people feel better by getting involved in what you teach?  What are the advantages? Are there any obstacles or things to consider that may make participating difficult?

When I initially talk to people about “waste reduction” that can be a hard pill to swallow. It sounds like I’m asking them to sacrifice. The funny thing about it though is that often, the “sacrifice” is replaced by something better.

Here is an example: Let’s say you have $100 to spend on new shoes. You can either buy three pairs of boots for $30 each or you can buy one pair of boots for $100. Many of us look at that equation and think, “Well, of course I’d want three pairs! That way, I can have black, brown and a third color!” The problem with this is that we’re also talking about three times the resources that went into making those boots. The resource extraction and manufacturing phases of our “stuff” are responsible for the majority of the environmental footprint, so now we’re talking about three times the amount of resources wrapped up in just one consumption decision.

Let’s look at it from a purely selfish standpoint: we’re talking about the difference between three pair of boots versus only one pair, right? Well…what about the quality of those boots? If the boots are selling for one third of the price, they’re likely lower quality (how many times have you bought something “cheap” only to find it wears out much sooner than you would have hoped?)

I personally take my boots to a cobbler when they’re wearing out and for about the price of a latte, I have a practically brand new pair of boots! You can’t really take “cheap” shoes to a cobbler because there was just never much quality in them to begin with. Also, I’m walking around in these suckers all day! I’d much rather pay for one solid pair of shoes and keep them in good repair than to have three pairs that all pinch and give me blisters. Ouch!

The bottom line is that the “sacrifice” that you make by spending your hard earned dough on quality instead of quantity is usually worth it. More stuff doesn’t make us happier, but I’ve found that higher quality stuff (and less of it) does. The nice thing is that this “selfish” decision (to invest in quality over quantity) also happens to be the best thing for the planet!

Jocelin: This seems like a simple change and quite smart. Do you have any other incredible stories of positive change that resulted from what you do?

I have a lot of little stories of inspiring others to make changes in their lives!

Here’s one: I have a good friend who was helping me to refine what I speak about and I mentioned that one of the behaviors that I’m working on in my own life is to refuse a plastic straw when I go to a restaurant. Shortly after we had this discussion, that video was going viral of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose (warning, it’s pretty sad/painful to watch!) She shared it out to her social networks and mentioned that someone (yours truly) had recently inspired her to decrease her own consumption of straws like this one by simply refusing a straw in restaurants.

For me, it’s the little things that have gotten us to where we’re at in regards to our planet and it’s the little things like this that can collectively make huge changes.

I know videos like this one and climate change news can be disheartening and lead to overwhelm and apathy. I hope to help people push past that and change behaviors in their own lives and then inspire friends and family to make lasting changes as well.

Jocelin: That poor turtle. ): Thank you for giving up the use of plastic straws. We once had those plastic rings around a six pack, but now they are non-existent. So, change is truly possible!

Please tell us, how can we get involved or learn more?

I’ll be giving my talk, “Beyond Recycling” on a few dates in October, beginning October 8th here in Portland, Oregon. We will look at the fact that recycling is only ten percent of what is needed to create lasting change in our consumption habits. I’d love to see people at these! Additionally, we have a few events coming up and if anyone needs client thank-you’s for their business, we’d love to help you create a customized gift basket full of high quality, locally produced goodies! The best way to keep up with me is to follow The Reuser (my alter ego) on Facebook and/or through my website: Additionally, if you have specific questions about what I do or my knowledge base, I’m happy to have an email dialog, as well! I can be reached at:

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and being an earth saver, Terra! We appreciate all of the important work that you do!

Be sure to e-mail Terra to learn more about her upcoming schedule of talks! She is located in the greater Portland, Oregon area, but travels often.