The first time I heard this quote I was 18, driving between home and college during what I now know was one of the worst years of my life.
Picture something you’ve been trying to change, maybe it’s your diet, exercise, adding a meditation practice (ugh, I STILL can’t seem to do that) drinking less, or quitting something. Many of us allow the failure to rob us of our confidence, slowly eating away at what we believe ourselves to be capable of. What you believe about yourself and your capabilities will determine what is possible for you. This holds true whether you’re quitting diet coke or cocaine, starting to exercise or remembering to pick up your clothes. When I think of people that make a big impact it seems that every one of them has overcome hardship. As a result of trying to feel in-control of what felt like an out-of-control environment with a harsh adolescent reality, I recognized I could control how I look.
I don’t have an answer but my husband I and seriously considered moving to New Zealand right before we got pregnant with our second child. But then we got pregnant with number two and created a new “hardship” by moving to Sacramento. As I reflect on how my hardships have created the purposeful and meaningful life I now live today, I realize that I can just as easily see my current stressors as the fertilizer for the difference I make in the world. Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. I like the thought that hardship forges some strength and character, yet I worry that not all of us respond to hardship in such positive ways, turning adversity into advantage and leverage. I met up with my friend Rebecca for coffee the other day and we had a hilarious discussion on vision boards. The law of attraction is simple – whatever you project energetically or put your energy towards whether that be positive or negative you will attract.
The vision board therefore, is to help our brains recognize what it is we want to make true in our lives. Get Specific – Anyone can post some pictures of wads of cash, or sports cars but where is the motivation in that (not to mention that’s just shallow)? Make it a Celebration: Grab a glass (or bottle) of wine and turn on some music that you love.

I will be in LA this week at a Tony Robbins Conference (woo!) but when I get back I’m going to make one killer vision board. In an effort to cope with the overwhelming emotions from my parent’s divorce, I sought refuge in the infomercial self-help world of Tony Robbins.
What you did five years ago or five minutes ago has no impact on what you WILL do tomorrow. The empathy and compassion these folks are tapped into isn’t fake, it’s real  – they have a deep genuine desire to connect with those that are in need and improve their lives. I might not have had the coolest clothes but I figured out I could have the thinnest and fittest body.
And additionally, do I facilitate hardship for my kids so they truly embody gratitude and don’t turn out to be the self-absorbed shit-heads we see running around these days? We were living a lush life and we knew that our first born, Aidan, would not suffer in the least. As I struggle with being present as a mom, trying to enjoy my kids as they whine incessantly, and sustain passion in my marriage, I see that in my daily “struggle” I am building the toolbox I need to show up as the human I am. Rather than try to constantly figure out how to get rid of the stressors, I can see them all as gifts.
So now not only can I believe that I am making a difference, but I can start believing that I’m a genius too.
It could be words, pictures, places, material things -all put together on a poster board or electronically made into a single image. However, there are a few tips and items you should considering incorporating into your board.
I’m going to let go of the fear of failure, and embrace my future with passion, desire and the expectation that those things will become reality.
Then what? What you do next and whether you get back on the wagon all depends on what that failure means to you.
In every moment lies the opportunity to make a different choice – to live the life that you want to live.
When I was about 6 years old, my parents went through some business challenges. I absorbed the financial stresses in the way a 6-year-old would and quickly learned not to ask for anything.
Starting at age 15, I began to starve myself and obsess over the ingredients in everything.

The purpose of a vision board is to realize your future, and to activate the law of attraction and move from day dreaming to living your dreams. A vision board is simply to help set our intentions for the way we want to live, and for our brains to pick up on that and make it happen. If you are sick, then gravitate towards pictures that are of people healthy, active, smiling, and well. Make this a really fun experience and let go of any expectations of what it should be, and ask yourself what it could be. Without realizing it I began what would be an 10 year journey with anorexia, bulimia, exercise bulimia, orthorexia, deprivation, and exhaustion.
We figured that in order to impart gratitude and humility we’d have to create a genuine hardship. I sure hope so. Eager to make a difference in the best way I can, I’ll keep diligently and passionately doing what I’m doing.
Let go of those generic images, and find what makes your dream different than everyone else’s. I don’t know if you know much about Tony Robbins, but in his latest book he talks about his childhood. As you flip through the magazines, see what makes your heart race or evokes an emotional response and rip that out. So why not leave everything we know and love and go start a new life abroad where we’re all forced to figure it out? Let me know what your relationship is to hardship and if you think it’s required to serve the world in a big way.
We wouldn’t be able to guarantee certainty or comfort in our lives and for us that would be ample hardship.

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