by Donna Martuge, Ed.D


As a child I would hear adults use cliches such as; “birds of a feather flock together” or “you are the companyyou keep”. We learn about social groups very quickly in school. We know the cliques, we easily recognize certain people who are close friends often have similar behaviors and similar like and dislikes. We are familiar with unstated rules of engagement and form belief systems around the experiences.

The most successful people in the world refer to being with groups that elevate and inspire you. Anthony Robbins has shared his belief that the quality of a persons is most often a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group. Jim Rohn has said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with in your life. What are some things your peer group says about you?

Here are some tips to help you see what your peer group says about you:


Take a few moments to think about and write down all of the qualities you love in a person. What type of person is the ideal friend, partner, lover, boss, employee, person. We tend to notice certain qualities in people that stand out that we may admire, or just desire to see in ourselves. Be honest with yourself in this activity it is quite telling.

After spending at least 5 minutes writing everything that comes to mind, list the 5 people you are closest to and spend time with on your page. Take a few minutes to look at the qualities you admire and desire in people you meet and write down the ones next to each friends name on your list that match who they truly are every day. Are you surrounding yourself with people who embody the characteristics you value in a person? If not ask yourself to list anyone you know who does exhibit those qualities. Start spending time with the people that reflect what you value, and aspire to be, and start exhibiting those qualities in your life on a daily basis as well.

Now look at your same list if friends that you send the most of your time with each day. Circle the ones you look up to for some quality or behavior they exhibit consistently. Circle the ones that inspire you to reach for more in all that you do everyday. In order for us to grow, reach our goals, learn and develop in our lives it is important we do have people in our circles that have some qualities we desire to have and choose to reach for in our own lives. Choosing people who help to elevate and lift you to the next level because watching them has you aspiring for more in one or more areas of your life.

Take the time now to look at the qualities you listed that you desire to improve or increase in yourself and who you choose to be on a daily basis. Make the list of people you know who exhibit those qualities. If no one on your list matches what you desire to be and do in your life, it is time to consider finding someone who does and adding them to your circle.

Now that you are aware of the qualities you do desire to see in others, demand yourself to begin choosing the actions, thoughts and behaviors that are in alignment with those values and goals. List what someone with those qualities would do on basis, how do they think on a daily basis, how do they contribute on a daily basis, and choose some of the thoughts and actions you can add to your own actions behaviors so you can begin to be that person. As you practice this, you will begin to notice people who do have the qualities that are important and inspiring to you will begin to show up in your life. You must be willing to be what you are asking for in others and then stretch to be even more.



by Donna Martuge, Ed.D


Emotions are powerful motivators. They can be a source of strength, confidence, determination and perseverance. Emotions can also be the reason we give up, or worse yet, choose to not even try something we would like to accomplish. I have worked with people who have such intense fear, they literally will not even leave their home. Fear becomes a self-made prison that helps keep us stuck. However, there is a way to use fear as the key to get us unstuck. Here are three tips to help you use your fear to your advantage:



Our choices are generally driven because we desire to move towards something that is pleasurable or move away from something we have decided is painful. If there is something in your life you know you want, yet you are not moving towards it, write down all the thoughts that come up when you think about it. You will notice most of what shows up are our common excuses to not go for our dream. We use them often because they allow us to remain in our comfort zone. Your goal lives right outside of your comfort zone. If you recognize thoughts such as; I don’t have the money, I am too old, I don’t have the time to do it now, or I don’t know how, you are hiding behind excuses. The good news is that is something you can change this, you have more control over this then you realize.


Making a clear decision to choose the goal is a step towards reaching the goal. Once you consciously decide to make the goal a priority for you, an absolute “I am doing this” you are cutting off the ability to allow other options. Use your mind to help you make sure you move forward. Imagine what your life will feel like in twenty years if you did not go for the goal? What is the long term impact on your whole life? Will you regret not doing it? Focus on the fact that not reaching your goal is actually must scarier than not even allowing yourself the chance to be successful.


Failure is inevitable. We all fail at something, Any successful person will tell you they have reached for goals that did not quite work out the way they planned. However, they do not define this as failure. Perception, and the meaning you give an experience truly creates your reality, it molds your future. Your experience is not a failure, it actually is the information you require to be successful. When electricity was discovered, it did not happen on the first try. Each experiment, and there were many, provided information on what needs to change order to possibly get the desired outcome. Practicing this type of mindset will give you an advantage you have not had before and help you continue towards your goal. Each experience is just information that leads you to the way you will be successful.

When you become more fearful of the life you will have if you do not choose to go for your goals, you will have a new determination to help you reach and exceed your dreams. You have a choice, practice using your fear and your thoughts to your advantage.

Are You Willing to Be Selfish? A Different Perspective on Priorities.

Where are you on your list of priorities?Growing up for many of us, we were taught to put others first. My whole life I watched heard people say, “Ill do this after my daughter finishes school”,  or I’ll go to the doctor as soon as I have a second to stop”.  Honestly, I can go on with the long list of excuses we all have used to put off our own needs. We certainly do desire to help and contribute to others. We also do not want to seem selfish. Being selfish after all is really bad, isn’t it?

I spent many years learning in one capacity or anther how to care for others. Years of psychology course work, education classes, healing courses, observing other people in the world around me. I personally love being a contribution to others. It makes me feel good to do it. However, as I observe those around me, and as I experienced in my own life, when you are always giving, eventually the cup runs out.

I listen to clients who are struggling with health or relationship issues and I almost always hear feelings of resentment, frustration, and exhaustion.  They express feeling as though they are doing for others and never receiving anything in return. This feeling is often coupled with feelings of guilt for even wanting something in return. They certainly did not choose to contribute with the thought of wanting something in return. After time passes though, they seem to feel as though someone should at least offer to contribute to them in some way. We  learn not to block off our own receiving. We also learn having needs and desires are a bad personality traits.

Being of service and being a contribution to others does not mean you must neglect yourself, physically, emotionally or financially. In fact, if you would like to do it successfully, more easily and even joyfully, you must make your needs a priority. If it sounds as though I am promoting being selfish well, I actually am. At first those I work with seem surprised when I say I am promoting them being selfish.  They immediately state that in their observation I am always working, giving, contributing often for more hours than many people.  I learned the hard way, in order to do what I do every day, I must start  with me and each and every day.  I have  non-negotiable time in my schedule for me to care for me. This could be morning mediattion, which I do daily, a walk in nature, deliberate breathing, drawing, sketching, a hike in the woods or something that is nurturing, fun and feels good.

As I watch my clients literally force themselves to begin and end their days being nurturing to themselves, I can see they are resistant and uncomfortable. This begins to shift anywhere from 3-7 days of consistently taking time for themselves each day. Within 30 daysI begin to hear and see some very different resposnse from my clients and their family members. They are more joy filled, more energetic, more focused, more clear, and getting more done. My clients are busy people, so when I tell them making time for them every day, no exception,  will actualy create more time for them in their life, there is a strong response followed by a clear doubt that I must not know how busy they really are each day. I mean you know your life, can you imagine squeezing anything else into your day? Absolutely not, not even for three minutes.

One of the amazing things about caring for you and meeting your needs is, it will be the first time in your life you can actually feel like you are giving your all in each area of your life. If you are not taking care of you, you are sitting there often feeling out of balance. You may be feeling great about what you are giving to work, but feeling like you ae lacking in the time you spend with your family. You may feel you are doing well with your family time and work time, however there is no time for friends or fun. Something just always feels like it is getting the short end of the stick. There is a very simple explanation for that feeling. It is not possible to give your all to everything, if you are not even able to give anything to you.

Over the last 20 years I have worked with people all over the world. I have worked with people who own very successful companies. The businesses that have created the most encourage nurturing yourself, in one way or another. It may be flex scheduling, or breaks or planned fun events or including families in alot of projects and company functions. These companies grow at exponential rates. It is not just obvious in business either. Yes, all my clients make more money as a result of including themselves in their list of daily priorities, most importantly, they are happier in every area of their life.

As my clients include themselves on their own priority list consistelntly for 30 days, they notice their lives, relationships, businesses changing and initially that is not the focus. I even have had family members indicate they notice such a difference that now they jump in to help and insist the person take the time for themselves. They love spending time with this person now. Everything feels different to everyone in a relationship with a person who takes care of themselves. It benefits everyone if you are feeling good, energetic and appreciated. This is a true win-win choice

Would you be willing to include you in your own life plan? When I ask the question that way it feels different doens’t it? Most of you may initially think you are in your plan. Look at your daily schedule, what is on your schedule each day? Look at your three and five year plan, do you see, a house, a vaca tion, a retirement fund?  Now write down how you fit in those plans. You own a home, that is wonderful. You have created possibly more work for you and more of a reason why you have less time for you in your life.  Where are you taking care of you each day? Where are you modeling nurturing and kindness to yourself for those around you? You do know when you choose it you are also opening up for others to contribute to you too. What you may not realize is, it makes them feel good to be a contribution to you.

One of the many amazing teachers I studied in my life was Carl Jung. He wrote about how we often grow up with a set of beliefs that at least once in our life we begin to question. We then often decide the beliefs may have served us prior to this moment, they do not serve us any longer. Priorities is one of those areas we all eventually shift.  Your priorities are driven by those beliefs. Both men and women change drastically when they begin the time in their lives around  mid life and later.

If you are reading this now, you are lucky.  You do not have to wait to shift. You can make yourself a priority now and reap the benefits in your life as soon as today. In choosing that, you also demonstrate to your children, your family, and all of those people who observe and learn from you the power you gain in this choice. It can begin with something as simple as thinking of five things that feel like fun and joy to you, and then  do one of those things every day for 15 minutes no matter what comes up. Do it first thing in the morning before you start anything.

If you are looking to shift anything in your life, boost your business, have more passion in your relationship, create a nurturing relationship, be more available and energetic and happy in whatever you are doing, it is time to look at your priorities. Start today and add you to your calendar. I assure you my friends, it is a game changer.