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How To Live A Fantastic Life with Dr. Allen Lyca


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 61: How To Live A Fantastic Life with Dr. Allen Lyca

Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for wisdom on How To Live A Fantastic Life. 

Dr. Allen Lycka suffered a near-death experience and sought renewal through the wisdom of human virtues that refocused him on a life of richness, appreciation, joy and service. He is now a full-time life-changing speaker, acclaimed author and transformational leader.


Seema Giri: [00:00:00] Welcome to the break brilliance podcast, where we have inspiring and insightful conversations about breaking free from life’s biggest challenges to find fulfillment and purpose. I am your host, Seema Giri, an international speaker bestselling and award winning author. Book writing, mentor and publisher.

I bring you real life stories of healing and transformational journeys so that you know that you can create life on your own terms. Our heart centered guests are the everyday heroes that you find in your backyard from mothers to sisters, to friends, to entrepreneurs and authors, join us to hear their positive and powerful stories.

So you too can learn to live with purpose and joy. Welcome to break feature brilliance podcast. I’m so happy to be here with you with another exciting episode. And our guest today is Dr. Allen Leica, Dr. Allen Leco. [00:01:00] Welcome to our show.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Thank you so much for having me. It is truly a pleasure to be here.

Seema Giri: Thank you. So before we get started, we’re going to do a quick grounding meditation, and then get on with the interview. So if you could close your eyes, be comfortable in your seat and take a deep inhale and exhale. And with every exhale I want you to do, let let go of any. Stress anxiety worry that you have, you have appointments after this.

I know. And I promise you they’ll be waiting for you when we’re done here, another inhale and exhale.

And with the next inhale, I would like you to bring your awareness to your heart. Might even wanna put your hand there to have that awareness. And I want you to think of a happy moment. it can be from any [00:02:00] time period in your life, including today. So just read that in and when you have that moment, relive it as if you’re living it for the very first time experience, the joy, the peace that you had at that time, the bliss, think of the people you were with, or maybe it was a time just for.

Just to embody that, breathe that in exhale. Now I’d like you to bring your awareness to the top of your head, which is the crown check and think of a second happy moment. Again, it can be from any time period of your life, including today.

Okay, take that in. When you have that moment, I want you to relive that moment as if you’re living it for the very first [00:03:00] time. Exhale feels the joy and the peace and the bliss. Think of the people that you were with and how that felt

take in a deep inhale. Exhale embody that. Now I would like you to

open your heart and mind now that they’re connected to what the possibilities are of what you will hear today, perhaps it’s for you or perhaps it’s for someone that needs to hear a message that you hear today from you. You’re the messenger. And I’d like to invite Dr. Lycka. And myself to become totally present in the moment and tune into the energy of what our listeners, our audience needs to hear from us today.

And with the next inhale in [00:04:00] and exhale, you open your eyes with a great big smile,

Dr. Lycka how is that little grounding meditation for

Dr. Allen Lycka: you?

You know, I love meditation and I love to be grounded in, the things. You know, I think it is an important part to people’s lives. I think people should spend some time in, in quietness. In times to do that, it doesn’t take long for people. I think people have a misconception that you have to say, OM, for a half an hour and concentrate on things for a long period of time.

It really, you can reset things quite readily by doing things in a very fundamental.

Seema Giri: exactly. Even just, you know, focusing on your breath and feeling your chest go in and in, you know, up and down, , for a minute to two can be tremendous, have, can [00:05:00] have a tremendous effect.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Yes, for sure. And, you know, I, I think this is a great stress reliever.

I, I think people would be able to get rid of a lot of their anxiety if they just spend that time to do that and let that stress go.

Seema Giri: Exactly. Well, Dr. Lycka, I wanna formally introduce you to our audience. So Dr. Allen Lycka suffered a near death experience and sought renewal through the wisdom of han virtues that refocused him on a life of richness, appreciation, joy, and service.

He is now a full-time life changing speaker, acclaimed author, and transformational leader. that is an amazing background, Dr. Allen Lycka. , So what made you decide to go into medicine? I always wonder when people go into a certain profession, what was [00:06:00] that defining moment that made you decide that, you

Dr. Allen Lycka: know, I don’t know if there was any single defining moment, but I was always, I, I was fascinated by helping people.

And helping to cure people. You know, I never had any members in my family that were medical doctors or things like that. I actually grew up in a middle class, , lower income family. I was the first-born son. So I was, and my parents told me you’re going to go to university because, , we don’t want you to work.

Like I did, you know, so I, I decided to go to university and I started to look at things I liked. My first degree was in psychology. And I, I liked that, but, you know, There was something about medicine that I thought this would be good. Now, medicine was extremely competitive. It was an extremely hard field to get into, but I worked hard, you know, instead of [00:07:00] partying on Friday nights, I’d go and crack the books I’d go and work hard at things.

And I was able to get my marks up to a point that I was accepted. And, , I was accepted first at the university of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. Soon after I was accepted at the university of Calgary in the Calgary, Alberta, and I decided to go to the university of Edmonton. So it was, it was a great experience.

I mean, , Medicine is a very tough field, even still to get through. I mean, to go through medical school, you work day and night for many, many years to become a qualified doctor. And once you get through, then there’s a lot of training afterwards. And the training afterwards is also very difficult. And then.

When I went through that training, the thing I found that I liked the most was dermatology or skin disease. So that’s where I went into that. And so again, it was very competitive and very hard to get into. [00:08:00] So I had to apply to a nber of schools and I ended up going to the university of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota to take my degree.

Seema Giri: Amazing. So, , we have that in, in, in common as well. And I think that was my parents’ trick to make sure I did well in school. Because they said you need to go into medicine. I didn’t have any other choice until I got into pre-med and then they said, you know what, it’s gonna take you a really long time go into business.

And I was, you know, I had to switch at the last minute, but , I can understand. You know, the pressures of, of studying. So with all that pressure and hard work, Dr. Lycka, you decided to leave your career in Madison to write your book, how to live a fantastic life. Why could you not have written while you had your career still?

Well, you

Dr. Allen Lycka: know, I was diagnosed. , terminal illness in [00:09:00] 2003, I was told that I had a disease called ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease. And, you know, that was a crippling, crippling thing. I was told I had six months to live. You know, when you go through something like that, you start to wonder and, , you start to look for things.

And fortunately, I was able to pro find the proper diagnosis, but it took a lot of work and a lot of things when you’re told by the world leading neurologist, that you’re going to. In six months, most people would just buckle in and listen to them. Yeah, for me, I said, no, there must be something else. And I went to my wife and she said, I don’t think you have ALS, I don’t think you have Lou Garrett’s disease.

I said, what do I have? She said, I haven’t got the faintest idea. I said, what do I do? I’ve seen every doctor imaginable. She said, you probably haven’t found the right [00:10:00] doctor. You know, so in 2003, something brand new was invented. It was called the internet. you know, back then it was primitive. You had to use dial on connections to get onto it.

Yeah. We didn’t have Dr. Google, then we didn’t have Dr. Yahoo then, but the thing is we had other things that got us on and I had friends that were nerds and they told me. This is we’ll help you. And I found a doctor in Colorado Springs, Colorado that had a disease very similar to mine, except he got worse, much more rapidly.

That doctor’s name was David Martz. And because of here, I’m here today, David was able to, , David. Was so sick. He got so sick so quickly that people from around the world were saying goodbye to David. And the doctor came up from Texas and looked at David and said, David, I don’t think you have ALS. I think you have something [00:11:00] called chronic Lymes disease.

I think you’ve been bitten by a tick and I think it’s mimicking ALS. David said, well, what do I do? The doctor from Texas said, you do need to do nothing. I’ll start you on treatment. And if I’m right, you’ll get better. And a miracle happened like Lazarus. He was a, like a, he arose from the dead within two weeks, he was back to normal.

Oh my goodness. So, so I went to see David in Colorado Springs and he told me some miracle words. He said, I think history is repeating itself. I, I think I can make you better as. So he started me on treatment and that’s how I was able to maintain being a doctor,  at the top of my field. But, you know, I was a dermatologist for 30 years and it was time to go into something else.

And I knew it was time to help people in more ways than just I was doing. So that’s where I decided [00:12:00] to step away. And my book came out in 2020. Just at the start of the pandemic. I was planning on speaking around the world, things like that. But at that time there was no speaking around the world. The world went into hibernation for two years.

Yes. And so, I started a podcast and Mike podcast became so popular. It then was it turned into a syndicated radio show, which is now enjoyed by 3 million people, a.

Seema Giri: It sounds like it was like the perfect timing, like for my books. It was perfect timing for you too, to be able to reach people in different ways where people really needed the hope and inspiration.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Well, and I, I think that was the thing that was going on there. And I still think people even need more hope and inspiration right now. You know, the world is in a funk. [00:13:00] The world is going through a mass grief reaction right now. I, I mean, every day there’s negative news. We have high inflation, we have high gas prices.

We have a war in the Ukraine. That’s so many people, there’s awful images coming up all the time and it is not a pleasant time in the world. And then we have. All this racial violence that’s going on. We have all this hate that’s going on between eight groups. That’s going on out there. So, the world needs help.

They need a positive message. They need a message where people can, get to another level.

Seema Giri: It is so critical. It’s amazing how, you know, I’ve had a misdiagnosis as well as we’ve shared that before, and I’m just like an ordinary [00:14:00] person. Right. I don’t have the,  expertise in medicine. I was really surprised to hear that even though your whole background is in medicine and you have, , you know, good relations with other doctors that you still.

A wrong diagnosis. It just blows

Dr. Allen Lycka: my mind.


. Well, you know, I don’t blame the doctor for what he did. It’s giving me that diagnosis. You know, a doctor can only know what he knows. He cannot know what he does not know. Right. And, and, you know, often things are not black and white. They’re often. Great. And, you know, as a dermatologist, I realized that when I looked at disease, I looked at it differently than other people.

I usually would look at a skin rash and say, well, this may be this, or it may be this, or it may be this, or it may be this. And so that’s what we call differential diagnosis. And I think the biggest [00:15:00] problem people have is they don’t realize that when things are. There’s many things, people, things can be.

And you know, the diagnosis of ALS is one where everything else is excluded well, back in 2003, people had not Herm of chronic ly disease. And even now in 2022 there’s doctors that argue that chronic ly disease does not exist.

Seema Giri: Yes. Yes. I I’ve heard about that, this in some areas, there has not been much advancement, but I believe everything happens for a reason and a lesson that we need to learn.

What was your biggest lesson from this incorrect diagnosis of ALS? The

Dr. Allen Lycka: thing I learned is the number one principle that’s in my book. And that is, it’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens that you have to be a [00:16:00] hundred percent responsible for everything that goes on in your life.

You have to take the responsibility for that. And that’s what I teach my students. That’s what I teach people in my classes. That’s what I teach people in my lectures. That’s what people have to know that you can’t be a victim. You have to be the Victor and you have to put yourself along that path and you have to make yourself do that.

Now, how do you do that? Quite often with baby steps? You can’t do it by giant steps. It’s got to be done a little bit along the way, but let’s suppose you want to change in your life. Well, all you have to do is do a couple of things. First. Choose a good book to read, eat better foods in your life. Don’t eat the, the crap that people eat out there.

Be happy. Choose to be happy. [00:17:00] Not. Look for happy messages, not for sad messages all the time, and your life will start changing and then you should start giving back. You should do something for somebody to today that you wouldn’t normally do. And if you did that each and every day, the world would be a better place, you know?

And I’m going to challenge your listeners out there to do something for somebody else today that they wouldn’t normally do. I’m going to challenge them to actually do something, not just listen to the message, but take it to.

Seema Giri: Take it to heart and take it to action. No, I’m glad you’re challenging my audience for that because you know, that’s what we need to do.

We were talking earlier about it and it’s, it’s the kindness. So if we can just extend one kindness, a small gesture, even a smile can make such a huge difference in someone’s else’s [00:18:00] life. We have no idea what the other person is going through and that smile. I’ve heard Dr. Like it has saved people from committing suicide.

Just a smile, just a hello, just a, how, how are you? It makes a huge difference.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Yeah, exactly. Like, suppose you’re in the grocery store, grocery store line and there’s somebody behind you. Oh, say hi to them. You know, say I’m hoping you’re having a fantastic day. I. You know, it’s surprising how many people will respond to that.

Seema Giri: Yeah. Since there’s been such a shortage in, workers at the grocery store at restaurants and many different places due to the pandemic, I’ve started thanking every person at every place that I go. Thank you for showing up today, because if they didn’t show up that day, it, I wouldn’t be able to do what I used.

Dr. Allen Lycka: And, and you should, you know, you. At a restaurant, you should always talk to your server [00:19:00] and you should always find out a little bit about them, you know, get their name, find out what they do. In addition to being a restaurant worker, find out little things about them. It’s an amazing thing, how the world is when you start paying attention to them.

Seema Giri: And the, and the secret is Dr. Lycka, it not only makes them feel good, but it makes you feel so good. So, if you’re looking for short shots of happiness every day, this is it.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Absolutely. It’s, you know, that little giving is what matters and that’s what makes us human beings that makes it a little bit of difference.

So again, I challenge people to do these little things on a daily basis, and then to increase them a little bit on a daily. Great challenge.

Seema Giri: So you talk a lot about enthusiasm. Why is that so important to living a fantastic,

Dr. Allen Lycka: well, let me tell you a story. Because in my book, there’s a [00:20:00] wonderful little story that, there was a carpenter and his name was Fred.

He had worked in the same job for every day of his life. So, after 45 years, he was tired. He could didn’t have the enthusiasm anymore. And so, he went to his boss and said, boss, I just can’t do this anymore. The boss was taken aback. He said, Fred, you’re my master carpenter. You have helped me build every house that we’ve built together.

And the entire years that you’ve been with me, he said, Fred, can you do one more thing for me before you go? And Fred said, well, of course, boss, I’ve loved it here. I’ll do anything. He said, just build me one more house. You’re the master carpenter. I will, I will do anything if you build me that last house, Fred said, oh, okay.

But he did it begrudgingly. And he. Could hardly get the job done. He dragged ass to work every [00:21:00] day and he didn’t have the enthusiasm there. You know, for the first time in his life, he produced shoddy workmanship at the end, a miracle happened, the house still passed inspection. So, he went to the boss and said, okay, here’s the keys to this last house.

I hope you enjoy it. The boss said, hold it, Fred, we’re going to have a. So, he called everybody into the office and everybody had champagne. They had caviar, they all wish Fred his, his, their best. And you know, the boss said, okay, everybody gathers around everybody. This is Fred’s last day. I’m going to be very sad because he’s been my best worker.

And he said, Fred, I’ve got a gift for you on your last day. Here’s the keys to the last house you ever built? May you live in it in the, all the enthusiasm you’ve given me all the years of your life. Now, the reason I [00:22:00] tell you that story SEMA is enthusiasm’s not a Bundy. It’s not a Tuesday thing. It’s not a Wednesday thing.

It’s something you bring to the game every day of your life. It’s the game changer. It’s the thing that makes everything happen. Just like for Fred, can you picture the magnificent policy would’ve built if he had the enthusiasm to do so? Well, he cheated himself by not doing the enthusiasm that he had there.

And enthusiasm’s a choice. Just like many things in life is a choice you can choose to be miserable or you can choose to be enthusiastic, which should you choose to do?

Seema Giri: That’s , it’s very well said, doctor, like, and the story really brings it into perspective that how choosing enthusiasm is so important every day.

And I never thought of it from that [00:23:00] perspective, from that perspective, before that you can choose enthusiasm, but it really makes sense that you can do that, so. While you were going through this difficult time. , like you said, it was when you were going through the ALS or the chronic Lyme, was it, defined as chronic

Dr. Allen Lycka: Lyme disease?

You know, that’s what we think it is, but the answer is with all these things, you never really know, but the thing is I didn’t die 20 years ago. Thank you. The important thing as I’m. And now is the time to really make a difference in people’s lives. As a result of that, you know, everybody, people should ask themselves.

Did you, do you live, do you love, do you really matter? And if you ask yourself those simple questions, you will decide what’s [00:24:00] important for you in your life.

Seema Giri: Exactly. But what I would like to ask you, Dr. Lycka. When you’re in that extreme pain, in that dire situation where you see there’s no hope how, how do you get out of that?

And, and is that the time also to find enthusiasm?

Dr. Allen Lycka: You know, sometimes pain is a good thing. Believe it or not pain means we’re still alive and you know, a month or two ago, I had developed a sore on my foot. And it was a painful, so that every step that I was taking, it was hurting. Now it came about because we were in Las Vegas and we were doing a lot of walking there and it came about as a result of that.

So I went to see a foot doctor, a podiatrist, and that podiatrist said to me, you know, I am so [00:25:00] glad you have a, so. And I said, why it’s hurting? Like heck she said, because I treat diabetics that can’t feel their toe and they have the world’s worst ulcers on there. And she said that is a terrible situation.

Because many of them are going to lose their toe as a result of that. So, you know, we should be grateful also for the pain we have. We should also be grateful that we have the breath in our bodies every day. We should be grateful that the sunshine comes up every day. We should be grateful that we can go out and smell the roses and the daisies.

We should be grateful for those little moments. You know, it, it. It is hard sometimes to see those things, but, you know, in our greatest despair comes our greatest hope. And I think you found that yourselves, that when you were going through that terrible chronic neurological illness, that [00:26:00] autoimmune disease and you’re, but guess.

That gave birth to the way you are now that gave you the other, you know, we can’t see the mountains of exaltation unless we have the depths of despair and, and those depths of despair are something that’s awful for all of them, but they often lead to bigger and better things.

Seema Giri: I totally agree with you there, Dr.

Lycka. So, to our listeners, I would like to say that if you are in a situation where you feel like, you know, you are in a depression or you’re feeling despair, or just with how things are today in our world, like Dr. Lycka I said, there’s always something to be grateful for. And. Ray of sunshine around us.

You just need to look a little bit, I know at this time it’s hard to see, but know that you’re not alone and know that, [00:27:00] you know, like myself and Dr. Lycka we’ve come out of it so we know how it is and it’s possible to come out of it. And through our books that you can read, you can certainly. You know, get, get some level of inspiration, just

Dr. Allen Lycka: take things and, and, and for goodness sakes, if there is, if you’re having a time, that’s so desperate, you’re committing thinking of committing suicide.

There are people that can help you get in touch with those people. There’s some in your state, there’s some in your city, get in touch with them. They will be able to help you through this desperate.

Seema Giri: And it’s okay to ask for help. I know many people feel that it’s not okay to ask for help. You’re not small and you’re not, you know, bad for asking that you need that help and tomorrow you’ll extend your help to someone else.

Well, we’re almost coming to the end of our program, Dr. Liah, how can people get in touch with you?

Dr. Allen Lycka: You know, the best way to get in touch with me is at [00:28:00] my website. It’s www doctor D. A L L E N Leica, L Y C K And if anybody would like a free 15 minute session with me where we can go through some discovery of your problems, I offer that as well.

My girl, Tammy will arrange for that 15 minute session. And really I’d love to talk to you. If you have something to talk about, you. Please, you know, I’m here to serve you and help you. And that’s what I’d love to offer for you.

Seema Giri: That is a wonderful offer. Very generous offer. Dr. Ike, thank you so much. So, listeners, please do take him up on that.

That is an amazing offer and it’s okay to reach out for help. That’s what we are both here for. And, you know, it’s we all have to take that first step [00:29:00] and small actions every day lead to bigger results. Dr. Lycka, thank you so much for being on our show today for in honor of our upcoming book, brighter side of the pandemic, I’d like to ask you, and I think you’ve told us, but I’m gonna ask you anyway, what was your brighter side of the pandemic?

Dr. Allen Lycka: You know, I look at these things and I say, geez, I was, you know, it was terrible that we had to spend time in our homes with our families for the first time that we were able to slow things down at our lives. You know, we’ve got. This wonderful thing called the internet where we can communicate around the world now.

And every day I’m talking to people on zoom around the world and it shrunk the world as a result of this. And I think the pandemic has real made us realize that we can do things now that we could have never thought possible [00:30:00] in years gone by. We have this ability now as a result of that, that ability we can use for good, or we can use it for bad.

It’s our choice. I choose to look at it for good. That people should always look at it for. Good,

Seema Giri: amazing. No, I totally agree. Thank goodness for I’m always grateful and being thankful to God for, for being born at a time like today, where with te. Technology advances. We are able to do so much more and not feel a hundred percent abandoned.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Well, look at what we were able to do in this pandemic. We were able to create vaccines that came out rapidly. Mm-hmm that were able to stop this pandemic, without it dangering much of the world. Within two years, we have gotten this reasonably under control. [00:31:00]

Seema Giri: Yes. And I think it’s the fastest probably in history.

Dr. Allen Lycka: Absolutely. So yeah, you know, that is an amazing, and many of these vaccines that have come out now are going to be used for other things. Because we now have the technology that can help us with other diseases that we didn’t even know that we could use now.

Seema Giri: yes. And that’s the best news that now the future diseases that are discovered that come have, that, has the shortened life cycle of, of, you know, discovering and coming up with different solutions for it compared to 10, 20 years, we’ve had to deal with before.

Absolutely amazing, amazing advance. Dr. Lycka. Thank you so much for being here. I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure our audience has as well. And our audience please, you know, look up at our other, our other podcasts and future [00:32:00] podcasts. We’ll have amazing guests on there too, like Dr. Liga. And you can look at our, listen to the past ones on your favorite child.

So until next time, next episode, this is SEMA. I hope you enjoyed our time together. I know I did through this transformational journey. I hope you could see yourself taking similar steps. Breaking free to your brilliance and creating the life that you desire. Please subscribe to our break free to brilliance podcast at your favorite listening place.

Tune into next time for another amazing episode.

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The Financial Freedom Formula with Penelope Jane Smith


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 60: The Financial Freedom Formula

Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for wisdom on how to live your life by design and achieving financial freedom.

Penelope Jane Smith is the premier financial freedom coach for women entrepreneurs and the go-to expert for some of the biggest names in the conscious business industry. She is an acclaimed international speaker and certified trainer with over 20 years of teaching experience, and the author of the Little Book of Prosperity. Through her signature programs, like Financial Freedom 101, she has helped thousands of entrepreneurs from all over the world to create more ease, peace and freedom around money.

Grounding Meditation:

After a quick grounding meditation, Caterina shared that it is her first time to experience starting a podcast interview with a meditation and it felt wonderful.

Additional Insight to Financial Freedom

  1. Can you share how you decided to become an expert in your particular area?

Freedom is one of my highest values, which is why I’m passionate about supporting people to create financial freedom (where the income from your investments pays for your lifestyle) so they can make choices from a place of freedom and joy, instead of debt and obligation.  

I specialize in working with women entrepreneurs because they’re tragically underserved by our current financial industry.  Most financial products and services out there are designed by men for other men and don’t take into account the longer life spans or differences in career paths of women entrepreneurs, which means that we end up with much less money at retirement, but it has to last us longer.


  1. What three strengths do you think has helped you with your success today?

The first key is increasing my own financial education.  Like most of the people I work with, I didn’t learn how to manage and invest money wisely when I was growing up, either at home or at school.  Like most of the people I work with, I didn’t learn about this as part of my early professional education either.  Now, I’m always growing and learning and sharing my latest and greatest insights with my clients and community.  

The second key is mindset.  This is the “inner game” of money, the emotional, psychological, and spiritual side.  I make it an ongoing practice to expand my prosperity consciousness.

The third key is systems.  My motto is “systems will set you free.”  Every system I create in my life and in my business, gives me more freedom.  I love it!


  1. Can you share a specific example that reflects what you do?

I specialize in supporting women entrepreneurs to become financially free in 5 years or less with $10,000 or more per month in passive income.

I do this through my Wealth Accelerator System, which has 4 parts: Mindset, Education, Systems and Strategy.  I like to joke that the acronym is M.E.S.S. because most of us are a “hot mess” when it comes to money!

When Laura Cornell signed up to work with me, she didn’t really know what to expect, but she knew there HAD to be a better way to manage and invest her money.

Laura was craving the freedom to travel the world and work on passion projects, like writing her next book, but her husband was working WAY too hard six days a week to take a break from his practice, and they didn’t see any alternative.

Her relationship with investing felt like a necessary evil.  They hoped to have enough money to retire someday, but they didn’t know how or if they’d be able to make that happen.

I showed Laura how she could be financially free right away, just by changing her investment strategy and moving some assets around.

So instead of “maybe someday,” she and her husband were able to retire in a matter of months!

Now, Laura feels good about investing. She understands it.  She likes it.

She and her husband started off with a mini-retirement in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, she DID write her next book, and then they moved on to explore Sedona, Arizona next.

  1. What has been the most profound thing you have learned since you become the expert in your field?

So many entrepreneurs are focused on MAKING more money and attracting more clients, and that’s great, but then they ignore the GROWING money part, and that sets them up to work a lot harder than they have to.

Your money can work WAY harder FOR you than you can work for it! For example, if you invested just $50 a month from the time you were 25 years old until you were 65 years old, you would have invested a total of $24,000.  If you could average a 15% return on your money, you’d have $1,571,188.  The vast majority of that is your money growing FOR you!


  1. What 3 tips would you give to our readers?

Focus on PROFIT and not just revenue.  A good rule of thumb is to keep your profit margin above 50% for each of your offerings so you have room for fixed expenses, overhead, and net profit.

Set up a system for you to create and follow a unique Cashflow Plan each month for your business.  Without a Cashflow Plan, it’s almost impossible to make any real progress towards your financial goals, which will leave you feeling stuck and frustrated like you’re running on a financial hamster wheel.  When you have a Cashflow Plan, you’re telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.

Strike a balance between investing back IN your business and investing OUTSIDE of your business for long-term wealth building so your business becomes a vehicle for creating wealth and financial freedom.


Connect with Penelope

Download your free copy of The Financial Freedom Formula eBook, where you’ll discover exactly what it will take for you to become financially free, the two types of passive income, and how to get more of each!

In just 3 days, get the tools to become financially free forever at Financial Freedom 101:

Business Name:  Real Prosperity, Inc

E-mail               :      

Website            :

LinkedIn           :

Facebook.        :

Serving Women on a Mission with Caterina Rando


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 58: Serving Women on a Mission with Caterina Rando

Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for wisdom on how to live your life by design and staying true to your mission of serving others.

Caterina Rando is an award-winning woman entrepreneur and business coach. She is on a mission to teach, mentor, and support women to be themselves, do their thing, serve their people and massively monetize their mastery. She is the founder of Thriving Women in Business Community and Thriving Women in Business Center and the author of internationally renowned book such as Learn to Think Differently, The ABCs of Public Speaking, and A Woman’s Giving Circle Guide. 

Caterina and her team conduct a variety of programs designed to provide skills, support, and an environment for breakthroughs for women to succeed who want to catapult their businesses to the next level. 

Serving Women on a Mission with Caterina Rando

Award-winning woman entrepreneur, business coach, author, and mentor Caterina Rando joins Seema Giri for another inspiring episode of Break Free to Brilliance Podcast. In this episode, we learn all about the importance of “blissing in your business” and being your authentic self in whatever you do. Caterina shares her secret for her longevity in business and how to deal with doubts and disappointment. She also shares how crucial cultivating a community can be for entrepreneurs.

Grounding Meditation:

After a quick grounding meditation, Caterina shared that it is her first time to experience starting a podcast interview with a meditation and it felt wonderful.

Setting Yourself Apart

Caterina and Seema go a long way back as Caterina is one of Seema’s mentors in business. They have been working together for two to three years now and have a close relationship.

Caterina herself has been a business coach for women for 29 years. After running a cafe and catering business, she slowly realized what it was about running the business that she loved. She loved the community and people aspect but not the cooking and the catering. And so one day, when a woman came over and thanked for an advice she gave about growing a business, Caterina took the message to heart, embraced it, and decided that that was her path — business coaching.

What makes Caterina different from other business coaches is that is that she places a real premium on the importance of a community. “Providing a community for women on a mission, to support and connect, share resources and ideas, make friends, build opportunities — that’s something that some coaches don’t focus on. They don’t focus on cultivating community as part of an essential ingredient to support your clients to thrive,” she shares.

She counts herself lucky as she knew pretty early on what she wanted to do with her life and her purpose: uplifting women. “In business, it’s really about uplifting women economically so that we can uplift each other. A rising woman lifts all the women around her,” she says. Her core statement has always been,  “I want more women get that they matter, that they have massive value to bring, that their voice is important and their contribution is important.” 

How to Keep Doing What You’re Doing

While some people feel the need to jump from one project to another after doing one for so many years, Caterina has continuously worked at coaching women entrepreneurs for close to thirty years. And that is because she is able to fulfill her core mission of helping women thrive by doing different things. When things simply stop being fun, she stops doing them and leans more towards what she enjoys.

“That’s one of the things that’s important to me. I’m all about blissing in your business. When I was doing video days, yeah I was making a lot of money but it wasn’t fun for me. It was in the beginning, but it wasn’t fun. And as I said, I used to publish books, which I loved to do, but then I realized I’m really more in love with the speaking part and the group programs and the retreats. And that’s why I shifted over to there.  You can keep serving as long as you’re happy and as long as you think you’re helping people. Keep doing your thing but you can find new ways to keep doing it. ”

Lost Your Job? Congratulations!

With the pandemic, many women felt stuck in their jobs while some lost them. To this, Caterina says, “Congratulations!” Because she feels that losing one’s job is an opportunity to check in with oneself and see what they really want to do with their lives.  

Her advice? The first would be to take some time to reflect. “Who are you called to serve? When we are of service in our life, we have a fulfilling life. I do believe that we are here to support and serve each other, to uplift each other. That’s the purpose of a good life.”

Her next advice would be “Don’t let your fear get in the way. Sometimes we feel like – ‘Well, I don’t really know what I want to do.’ The truth is, they usually know what they want to do, they’re just afraid to do it or pursue it. But we have to be willing to feel the fear and do it anyway as Susan Jeffers said in her book many years ago. But the beautiful thing is the more we do our thing, the more the fear dissipates.”

She also says that the beautiful thing about having your own business is that it can be your path to personal development and growth. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with in life, you will be forced to confront and solve in your business.

Dealing with Doubts and Disappointments

Apart from encouraging women to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, Caterina also gets real by saying that there are going to be discouragements and self-doubt along the way. The way to deal with it, she says, is to turn these thoughts and feelings into determination. “That is one of the qualities that I believe we don’t talk about enough that is essential for thriving in business,” she says.

Seema adds that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business or how experienced you are. Feeling self-doubt is part of the process. Caterina agrees and says that it is especially true when you’re starting something new. It’s natural to ask yourself “Am I going to be good at this thing?” But there’s no way to know unless you do it. And the more you do it, the better you get.

Another thing she wants to underline is that apart from acknowledging your strengths, it’s important to be authentic. “Your authenticity, your uniqueness, that will be alluring to your clients. So never feel like you have to be Mary Jane or Sheila. Be you and if you’re confident at being you, your people will come to you.”

To this, Seema notes to her listeners: “I want our listeners to think about where they’re holding themselves back. Where are you having doubts at taking a step forward? Get answers, ask questions. Reach out to the people around you, reach out to us here, and just keep moving forward, taking small steps. Don’t listen to anyone else except your heart. Because there are going to be people who are going to say, ‘You know what? Maybe you shouldn’t do this.’ But they’re not on your path or on your journey. They might be saying it from a very loving place but it’s still important to check in with yourself.

A Message to Your Younger Self

If Caterina could talk to her younger self, she would tell her, “It’s all going to be awesome. In my 20s, I had a lot of fear about my future.  I had a lot of fear, thinking, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ I wish I could tell myself, ‘Caterina, it’s all going to be okay.’ My dad’s a big worrier, so I think some of us are more predisposed to worry. But all that worry was unnecessary.”

“The other thing I would tell myself is that I’m super smart, I can figure it out, I have massive value to bring, there’s a lifetime supply of people to serve. It took me a while to figure that out. (I also want to tell myself) that who I am is awesome and amazing. I don’t like to use the word ‘perfect’ because I don’t think it’s necessary or required. It’s not encouraged. I do want my younger self and every woman to know that she’s someone amazing and has massive value to bring. The more we remind ourselves of that, the better. “

Seema shares her own message to her younger self. “Have compassion for yourself, just like you would for anyone else, and time will reveal, along with you connecting to your inner wisdom, what your massive value is and the gift you have to bring to the world.”

The Brighter Side of the Pandemic

In keeping with the upcoming anthology The Brighter Side of the Pandemic, Caterina talks about the brighter side of the pandemic for her own business. 

Because she had done a lot of community cultivating, it was easy for Caterina to get into action to support her women community at the start of the pandemic. She embraced the situation right away and started holding virtual gatherings monthly, following the calendar they’d already set for networking and moving it online. Since the pandemic started, her business grew 30% in 2020 and 20% in 2021. She anticipates good growth as well coming into 2022.

But what she’s more excited about, apart from the financial growth, is the global expansion of her reach. Now she has clients all over the US and the world.

“Action is the antidote to whatever challenge you are having,” she says. “It’s in the action we figure things out. It’s in the action that we see what works and what doesn’t. It’s not in the getting ready to get ready which so many people spend way too much time in.”

Seema concurs, adding “There’s only so much you can do in your head. You need to get it implemented and see how it plays out. It’s in the doing that you find all the answers.”

Another brighter side to the pandemic that she’s found is that she has been able to take her work all over the world. She was able to conduct her classes while she was in Italy and while she went on a 2-week cruise. Seema says that this is a pure example of “living life by design”. “It’s not an ‘or’ thing but an ‘and’ thing,” she remarks. 

Final Words

As a closing, Seema compels her listeners to check in with themselves. “See where you are holding yourself back. Know that you have the wisdom now from the life you’ve lived so far. Remember to be in action and show more of our massive value and unique gifts to the world.”

Caterina emphasizes that importance of amplifying and cultivating a community, saying “This is something that will not only bring value to your clients, but will also bring you a lot of personal fulfillment.” To this end, she invites the listeners to join her retreats for women entrepreneurs, and as a closing remark, encourages everyone to take action based on what they’ve heard in the podcast and seek support.

Connect with Caterina


LINK to my next FREE Business Building Workshop

LISTEN to Caterina’s Expand Your Fempire Podcast

DOWNLOAD the Expand Your Fempire APP

On CLUBHOUSE Connect @caterinarando,
Join our Thriving Women in Biz Club
Mondays at 3pmPT Bliss in Your Business
Fridays at 3pmPT Weekly Wrap Up and Networking
JOIN her Thriving Women in Business Facebook Group

VISIT Caterina’s website at
REACHOUT to Caterina via Facebook Messenger
or via email at


Connect with Host Seema Giri:

Sober is the New Cool


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 56: Sober is the New Cool with Kim Bellas


The Power of One with Kim Bellas

Sober is the New Cool founder Kim Bellas joins us today for a wonderful episode of Break Free to Brilliance podcast. In today’s episode, we learn how simple personal missions have the possibility of turning into a global movement. Kim opens up about starting Sober is the New Cool as an attempt to help her son after he was diagnosed with epilepsy. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of destigmatizing conversations around mental health and addiction, and the power of uplifting others to uplift oneself.

My journey began in 2013, I decided to make the commitment to stop drinking for 3 months in order to
support my son who had been diagnosed with epilepsy sober is the new cool was created and I quickly realized the
social pressures surrounding not only myself but for my son.


Grounding meditation

To start the show, as always, Seema leads everyone on a guided grounding meditation. Kim shares the mixture of emotions she felt as she remembered a happy memory with her father, which ultimately brought her joy at the present.


It All Started with Motherhood

Kim talks about the origins of her global movement, Sober is the New Cool and how it simply started with her wanting to support her son, Matthew, when he was diagnosed with epilepsy. “As mothers, we want to fix everything. We want to make our children’s lives as perfect as possible.” The diagnosis hindered her son from drinking and feeling like he belonged in social interactions. When he was done with his medications, Kim encouraged him to hang out with his friends once more, but because his condition did not allow him to drink, he would always be sad about it. 

To make him feel better, she told him that he didn’t need alcohol to fit in, but as she was speaking, she herself was holding a glass of wine. She felt like a hypocrite. So at that moment, she decided that she was going to quit drinking for three months. Those three months flew by, and so Kim decided to take on another three months of sobriety. Now she’s on her 9th year, happier and healthier than ever. 


On Sober is the New Cool

The way the organisation started, Kim simply wanted to give Matthew some tools on how to deal with the social pressures of drinking and how to fit in. “But then we quickly realized that mental health and sobriety go very much hand in hand. A lot of people drink to cover up trauma or sadness.” 

So now, Sober is the New Cool’s mission to help people all over the world realize that they can live a “cool” life, even when sober. And that there’s no more shame in having mental health issues. “If we have any mental health troubles, we talk about them.’

Now, Sober is the New Cool is a global movement, helping not just young people, but parents and even grandparents too who have all said that since they stopped drinking, their mental health has gotten 10 times better.

To spread the word about the movement and raise funds for mental health organizations, Sober is the New Cool sells apparel like t-shirts and hoodies. Part of the proceeds go to the Douglas Foundation, a mental health organization in Montreal, Canada as well as other organizations to promote mental health, sobriety, and helping people conquer addiction. 

Kim’s son, Matthew, who inspired the whole movement, had a few seizure-free years before getting them again because he was put on the wrong medication. Now, he’s on his fourth seizure-free year, so Kim is hopeful that the light at the end of the tunnel is near. Matthew is active in running the movement with Kim, talking to kids about seizures, giving them peer-to-peer advice on how to have fun in social settings even when sober.

“That’s so amazing because when you are in a situation like that, when you have an illness, it does feel lonely, like no one understands,” Seema shares. “Now you and your son have created this amazing support group and an outlet for people to feel that they can still be cool. It’s just an illness that can be dealt with, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t live a totally happy and fulfilling life.”


The “I Am Exercise”

Kim shares one of the hallmarks of the Sober is the New Cool Movement: “The ‘I am’ exercise.”

“When people find us on social media, often I find their self-esteem is at a very low point. So I talk to them and find out a little bit about them. And every morning and every night, I ask them to place their hand on their heart and I send them a message via Instagram or Messenger. I write “I am” then one positive word,” she explains.

The exercise often starts with simple relatable words, just to ease the person into the exercise, because often they really don’t see or remember any of the qualities they have. She shares one particular example about a woman — a teacher who reached out to her and couldn’t come up with a single positive word when she started. Six months in, and she said. “When I first started with you I could not find one good thing to say about myself but now I can find 50.” Now she starts her grade 5 class with the same exercise.

‘I think it’s just rebuilding one person, one word at a time,” Kim says. “What we do with the ‘I am’ statements is to lift others up, for them to remember that everybody is unique, everybody is special, and everybody matters.”

“It sounds almost like a pledge, isn’t it, when you put your hand on your heart and say “I am dedicated, I am beautiful, I am strong.” What I find with most people is that we forget who we are, we forget the power that we have within,” Seema adds. She then talks about how we’re all born with resiliency, as we can see with children who are just learning to walk. They fall down countless times but they never give up, they simply take another step. “That’s what builds resilience — continuously taking the next step.’

Kim agrees and says, “And I think also knowing that someone cares, someone’s listening, somebody values them enough to take time to help them, is huge.”


The Power of One

When Kim first started the movement, people around her asked how many people she has in her team. And it was just her. Still, she felt it was important, so she pushed forward anyway. 

“The power of one is quite remarkable. Because what I have accomplished has surpassed my expectations so much; it’s incredible.The fact that we reach people all over the world,  and then they in turn help others. It creates a ripple effect,” she says.

The intimacy of the movement helped it grow, in a way, because it encouraged people to seek help, knowing that they wouldn’t be judged and that they have control over the situation. “Because I am not related to these people, they feel free to let me in on their secrets. I’m honored that they would trust me with their intimate secrets, their fears, their wants.”


On Destigmatizing Conversations About Mental Health 

Since starting the movement, Kim noticed that people are much more open to talking about mental health and that the openness improves everyday. She says, however, that what we need to work on is our word choice and how we frame the conversation

‘For example, the words “psychiatric ward” is so 1940s. People couldn’t talk about things in those days. For other diseases like cancer or epilepsy, you could ask anybody for help, but when it comes to mental health, people are much more careful about who they discuss it with. But everyone I encounter, it seems, knows someone who might benefit from the conversation,” she says.

One of her goals is to help destigmatize the conversation, by encouraging people to talk about it in a more positive light. Because only by talking about it can people feel open about receiving the help that they need. Especially now with COVID, depression, seclusion and loneliness have become rampant.  “It’s even more important that we make sure we take care of one another,” Kim says.

And Seema agrees, adding, “When you uplift someone else, you feel uplifted, too.”


A Vision for the Future

Sober is the New Cool is in the process of getting certified as a mental health charity. In the meantime, Kim funnels help toward the Douglas Foundation. People can simply reach out to Sober is the New Cool so they can get the information on how to directly donate to the foundation and other mental health organizations.

In addition to this, Kim hopes to start a movement for “I am” murals in as many hospitals and mental health recovery centers around the world. “Just to uplift people who are undergoing treatment, to remind them that they’re special, they’re loved, they’re worthy and that they should never miss another memory.”


Last Words of Wisdom

To end the episode, Kim shares her ultimate realization, that she hopes will inspire people: “I don’t want anyone to wait, like I did at 60, to say I am enough. Believe it, and believe it now. You are enough, you are worthy, and you are important.”

Connect with Kim



LinkedIn Kim Bellas

Facebook Sober Is The New Cool


Becoming Our Best Selves to Offer Our Gifts to the World with Sonia Jackson


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 55: Becoming Our Best Selves to Offer Our Gifts to the World with Sonia Jackson

Veteran and award-winning actress and founder of the nonprofit Visions of Possibilities, Sonia Jackson, joins us today for a special episode of Break Free to Brilliance Podcast. In today’s episode, we learn how a shift in perspective can help us push forward with our goals despite setbacks. We also gain valuable insights on how continuously growing as a person is essential in helping us live our purpose. Sonia shares the lessons she’s learned mounting the annual Breastival! as a virtual event, which she hopes will inspire real and open conversations among women about their bodies. Because by sharing stories, we can provide a safe space for deep conversations that provide relief, healing, and hope for one another. Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for wisdom on the impact of storytelling and how we can grow into our best selves to offer our gifts to the world. Join Seema Giri Host and award-winning actress and non-profit leader Sonia Jackson.

Grounding Meditation

To start the show, as always, Seema leads everyone on a guided grounding meditation. Sonia Jackson expresses her appreciation for Seema’s guidance, sharing that she, too, loves to meditate and that the experience of a guided meditation that calls awareness to our happy moments feels even more special. “Our bodies don’t know the difference between what happened before and what’s happening now, so it’s even sweeter to return and tap into a happy moment. If we feel good, then more good will arrive.”


The Inspiration behind Breastival!

Throughout the episode, Sonia talks about the upcoming virtual event that she’s mounting with Visions of Possibilities. It is called Breastival! An Event about Breasts, Bodies, and Beyond, presents Conversations ‘Bout the Girls, a play about women’s relationships with their breasts, as a star-studded virtual reading benefiting Susan G. Komen.

The idea behind Breastival! Stemmed from Sonia’s experience doing the famous play, The Vagina Monologues. “The performance pieces in that play are really very powerful. But I thought there’s another whole part of the women’s body that is extremely powerful and it’s not necessarily getting the best view, so to speak. So I wanted to change things up a little bit.” 

Writing the play, she not only tapped into her own experience but interviewed other women, to turn Conversations ‘Bout the Girls into a play that covers every possible experience about women’s breasts: “It covers getting them, covers little girls thinking about getting them, getting bras, nursing, cleavages, every item you can think of about a woman’s breasts, including loss.” 

Furthermore, with the play, Sonia asks the questions: “How do we really see each other? How do we see ourselves?” But she’s quick to note that it’s not a play that tells women how things should be done. “It’s just a variety of women’s stories. And I have found that the women’s stories are so empowering. They give us an opportunity to think about what it is that we all walk through. And when women see a collection of their own stories — because these are all our stories — they have a tendency to feel empowered by that and recognize that, “Hey, if she can do this, then I can do this other thing over here as well.” She’s been doing the play for 17 years now, seeing the impact it continues to have on not just women but everyone who watches it, including men


Stumbling Blocks as Feedback, not Setback


Now on its 17th year, Breastival! is going virtual, which comes with its own sets of challenges.

Sonia shares that the most important lesson she’s learned is becoming who she needs to be in order to do the show on the level she wants. She says, through the show, she’s continuing to grow in who she truly is, with a complete understanding of what she has to offer, standing in the power and belief that what she has is significant to give to the world.

Sonia also shares all the practical challenges that go with mounting the play in a different way, and how she has used these challenges as opportunities to pivot.

On these challenges, Seema remarks: “Sometimes, when we stumble, it can be really hard to get back up because you’re putting yourself out there, which is not an easy thing to do. And you expect a certain outcome. And when you don’t get that, it can be quite devastating. 

 One of the things that I have learned from one of my mentors taught me is, “What if you didn’t look at things as good or bad, right or wrong, and just take it as feedback that, okay, you did this?” Perhaps the other person didn’t give good feedback. They felt whatever they felt because everyone has their own feelings. You can’t control that. It’s just feedback.“


Growing Into Your Own Person to Live Your Purpose

Sonia likewise shares how she’s had to evolve with the show, and it’s learning that no matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can’t always assume that you know exactly what to do in every given situation, because not everything can always go according to plan. So instead of getting frustrated, Sonia simply has had to learn to look at herself and ask what she needs to become to create what she wants to create.

She talks further about the need to let go of our old belief systems that govern our fears. If we don’t let go of that fear from the day before, we just keep carrying it with us. And often that fear looks like a variety of things. And we carry that as a belief, but in actuality, it’s just a picture of something that happened years ago, yesterday. We could just as easily take that picture out, tear it up, throw it away, and let it go.


Creating a Safe Space through Storytelling

On the things that viewers will take away from Breastival!:

“Everytime I do (the play), I get great compliments on it and I get people who talk about things that they’ve changed in their lives. Not just women, but men as well. I’ve had women talk about being reminded of being a young girl and just starting to develop and how those things affected us, and that made them decide to talk to their daughters differently about how they can stand strong in who they are, against the world which sometimes is gonna make fun of us just based on our body or our body shape. 

“I’ve had men who’ve seen the show who’ve talked to me and said they now have a better understanding of their wives now that they’ve seen the show. Just a variety of things —people talking to their sons about how they treat women, when it’s something even minor as teasing. Because we hear about ‘oh, it’s just teasing, boys will be boys.” But you know, boys turn into young men that turn into men. And if it doesn’t get checked, somewhere along the way, it becomes a difficulty later on in life.”

Apart from being a fundraiser, Sonia hopes the show will be a conversation starter for friends, families, and loved ones about such sensitive topics about women’s bodies. She also hopes it continues to be a safe space for women who have had breast cancer and are not yet ready to talk about their experience but need a venue that allows them to feel their emotions.

On doing the show to support the fundraiser, Sonia is responding to a calling that was inspired by her own mother. “As a child, I didn’t know what to do for my mother. (Mounting the show) is one of things I can do: to be able to raise funds and raise awareness for somebody else’s mother, or somebody else’s daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife.”


An Invitation to Breastival!

Sonia invites everyone to watch Breastival! virtually on May 14th, 6:00 pm PST. Her suggestion on how to watch it? Buy one ticket for your girlfriends or your family and have a nice night in and then afterwards, she hopes the show will encourage each member of the party to donate to Susan G. Komen. For ticket holders who don’t get to watch the premier, the show will be available to watch online for 30 days so they have plenty of time to plan their girls’ night in to watch the show.


A Prayer to the Divine Power

Sonia ends the interview with a closing prayer: 

“So in this moment, how good it is to know that there is a Divine Power that is greater than all of us. And that this power lives, moves, and has its beingness within each one of us. We are surrounded by it, guided by it, and we call forth that power in this moment, to guide us in whatever it is that we’re doing. How good it is to know that the power within us can carry us, guide us, and reveal to us all everything that we need, anytime that we need it. So I bless each one of us right here, right now, with all that we are calling forth in our lives, anything that we need for support, for our families, friends, for the work that we’re here to do, I bless us all. I give thanks for each one of us. I know that it is all good. I name it good. And in gratitude, I will let it be. And so it is. Amen.”

Connect with Sonia Jackson:

Business: Visions of Possibilities



Linked In:



Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel with Michelle Sugiyama

Break Free to Brilliance Podcast:

Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 54: Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel with Michele Sugiyama


Award-winning health and wellness coach, mindful eating expert, and 2x international bestselling author, Michelle Sugiyama, joins us in this episode as part of the Author Series for the latest #1 International Best Selling Book, Break Free to Health & Vitality. In today’s episode learn the importance of managing our stress and simple everyday things we can do to take care of our health and well-being. “Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel”— a simple but powerful exercise that will allow you to find which dimensions of your health you need to pay attention to.  By taking back control of our bodies with healthy foods, positive thoughts, and spiritual reflection, we can live a life of health & vitality. Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for tips on how to smooth out your bumpy wheel of life. Join Seema Giri Host and #1 International Best Selling Co-Author Michelle Sugiyama.



 Whatever you’re meant to do, it somehow finds you. Your purpose finds you sooner or later.  

– Seema Giri (11:03:07-11:25:03)

“(My chapter, ‘Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel” is about how) Our journeys are never smooth. Our wheels are always a little bit bumpy. it’s about how wellness has so many other dimensions than just the physical dimension.” 

– Michelle Sugiyama (17:17:46-18:54:10)

“What changed for me (during the writing process was) knowing that I could be a force in the world. To really help people recognize that their health means so much not just to them but to their loved ones, their friends, their family, their community, and the world.”

– Michelle Sugiyama (30:10:39-30:49:53)

“Find out what is working for you and what is not. It takes a little bit of time, but this is your life we are talking about. You have to take the responsibility. There’s no one else that can do it. You have to take the responsibility of your life. So you have to try different things. You’re going to get exhausted. You get tired, you get frustrated. Guess what? That’s all normal. And then what do you do? You bounce back.”

– Seema Giri (37:43:81-38:21:73)

“I think it’s important, if any of the listeners have children or grandchildren, to really somehow stress the importance that health is everything. Because I think if we can get the newer generations onboard, Then it’s just gonna make the world a happier place, right? Because if we’re not healthy, we’re not happy and vice versa. “

– Michelle Sugiyama (40:19:47-40:51:09)

The Interview

Welcome to Break Free to Brilliance Podcast. I am so happy to be here with you for another amazing episode. This is part of our Author Series interviews. We have a wonderful guest, Ms. Michelle Sugiyama from our recent bestselling book, Break Free to Health and  Vitality, which is part of our Break Free  Series. 

So let’s get started first with a grounding meditation, and if you’re driving, please follow along, but don’t close your eyes. So let’s get started. Hold your eyes and take a few deep breaths, at your own pace. So inhale and exhale. And with every exhale, just let go of things that are not serving you right now. I know you had a lot of appointments and things to do before our time together today, and you have other appointments after our time together. Just let go of those thoughts and worries. I promise you, they will be waiting for you when you’re done. 

Grounding Meditation

Take another deep inhale. And with your exhale, just get  comfortable in your chair, in your position, whatever position you’re in and keep your back straight. And feel into the now. And with your next inhale. I would like you to bring into awareness your heart and think of a happy moment. It can be from any time period of your life, just choose one. Whatever comes into your mind right now. I want you to take yourself back to that time and relive that moment as if you’re living it for the very first time. Take in a deep inhale and just remember the feeling, the ambiance, the smell, who are you with and the bliss and the peace and the joy that you felt. Feel that now.

And with your next inhale, I would like it to bring your awareness to the top of your head where the crown chakra is. And I want you to think of a second happy moment. It can be from any time period of your life. Take in a big inhale, exhale, and just feel the feelings you felt at that time, the joy, the bliss, the peacefulness, that, that contentment. Feel that as if you’re feeling it for the very first time. 

With your next inhale, I want you to open your mind and heart to the possibilities of what you will hear and take away from our session today. It might be for you that you need to hear something, or you might be the messenger for someone who needs to hear it from you.

Now with the next inhale. I invite myself and Michelle to open ourselves up to the possibilities of what our audience, our listeners, need to hear from us today.

And that’s bringing ourselves to this moment and be a hundred percent present right here, right now. And with the next inhale and exhale. We’re going to be a hundred percent present and right here with each other, you may open your eyes with a great big smile.


 Welcome, Michelle. It’s so wonderful to have you on the show today.

 Hi, Seema. It is such a pleasure being with you today on your awesome podcast.

Thank you. And Michelle, would you like to share what came to you during that meditation?

Wow. Well, I just want to thank you for some of those wonderful memories that I had in my past.

Just brought so much warmth and joy into my heart. I was smiling during the meditation. The first one was when we picked up my adopted daughter for the very first day. She was four days old at the hospital and it was such an amazing moment for my husband and I, so that’s what came up for me.

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. You know, we have access to this at any time, but we tend to forget. It’s just a matter of closing your eyes for five minutes and just having access to that. We have access to that joy and that blissfulness at any moment when our day is not going the way we want, but we tend to forget that. So that’s why I like to start with that and bring us back to that moment. 

Well, it’s so exciting to have you back on because you are now a two-time international bestselling author. How does that feel?

Well, it’s crazy to me, honestly. I just am so overjoyed about it. I’m so grateful and honored that many people around the world supported our project, bought the book,  even just liked a post. So I really want to thank everybody out there for getting us to number one, international best-seller.

Yes, it certainly is a collaborative effort. And if we can’t do it without our, our listeners, our well-wishers, people who need this book. It was such a great combination of all of those people. But before we get any further, Michelle, I’m going to give you a formal introduction. 

Oh, okay!

Michelle Sugiyama is a nationally board-certified health coach. And for over 17 years, Michelle has engaged, inspired, and empowered people to move towards their best selves. She is the founder of Mindful Eating and a nationally Board-Certified health and wellness coach and Master-Certified health coach. Michelle has an active and thriving coaching practice and has been the highlight of numerous employee wellness programs.

She is an international speaker, two-time number one international best-selling author and was named the Most Inspirational Health Coach and Excellence in Wellness Education by Global Health and Pharma in 2020. She also holds a Culinary Certification from Le Cordon Bleu and a Master of Science in Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University.

Well, Michelle, that is a very impressive credential. 

Thank you. 

Whatever you’re meant to do, it somehow finds you. Your purpose finds you sooner or later.  

– Seema Giri (11:03:07-11:25:03)

Tell me about your journey a little bit. So you were in chemistry and now you transitioned into mindfulness eating coaching. How did that happen? 

Yes, correct. So, I went to college and really had no idea what I wanted to be, but you know, my dad was an engineer. My mom was a nurse. I really was kind of – I don’t want to say forced – but they really wanted me to do something in the sciences. I really wanted to be an artist, to be honest with you, but dad was like, “No way. That’s a good hobby, but that’s not what you’re going to become.” And so, you know, I did the good daughter thing and got my degree in chemistry and went into the industry for about a decade.

It was about the eighth year. It just was not working for me. I was not really happy. I was going through a lot of stress at the time and decided I’ve got to get out. I just need to get out. So I decided to go to culinary school and because for the most part I figured, I’m young enough now. If I don’t like it, I can always go back into my field, but it’s something that I should do now before it’s too late. 

So I became a personal chef, decided to cook healthy meals for families so they can have conversations around their dinner table and not just go to drive-throughs or eat convenient packaged food that they buy at the grocery store. 

And I loved that and decided to start speaking. I started going to corporations and doing seminars about healthy eating and healthy cooking and have just really, truly enjoyed this path toward helping people really put themselves and their health first, because really, our health is truly our wealth. So that’s kind of it –  in a nutshell – why I do what I do now.

That’s amazing. I have the same background. Not in chemistry, but how parents mandatorily encouraged me to go into business after four years of saying “you’re going to be a doctor, you’re going to be a doctor.” So all through high school, I was taking all science classes. I was geared towards that, taking some of the most difficult classes such as AP Biology.  Getting accepted into pre-med and then (my parents) saying, “You know what? No, I changed my mind. Study business. You will get ahead faster in life”


But I realized whatever you’re meant to do, it somehow finds you. Through whether you’re just not satisfied in your current career or the career you studied. Or you don’t do as well, you don’t thrive as well. Something happens. Your purpose finds you sooner or later.

I believe that is so true, Seema, and you know, both of us being Asians. And I’m not saying it’s just the Asian culture, but you know, we really want to please our parents. And they really want us to focus on something that’s science-related. Or become a lawyer, a doctor. 

Yes. I think what they do is they know certain professions have higher chances of success. It’s predictable, that’s why they encouraged you to go into those fields. Traveling the path less traveled is a little bit scary for them because security is so important. And through being a lawyer, a doctor or in science, it’s  a given track record for success.  But it needs to be combined with the interest of the individual to really take off.


“(My chapter, ‘Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel” is about how) Our journeys are never smooth. Our wheels are always a little bit bumpy. it’s about how wellness has so many other dimensions than just the physical dimension.” 

– Michelle Sugiyama (17:17:46-18:54:10)


So you went through that, you found your passion and then you decided to become a writer, not once, but twice. So what inspired you to participate in Break Free to Health and Vitality? 

Sure. Probably my grandmother, as I write in the book. And really, she is my inspiration to really do what I’m doing now as well. And also my inspiration to write in Break Free to Stand in Your Power, which was our first book together. I mean, she was an amazing woman. She lived to be 101 years old. Her mantra was health is number one. 

But you know, she did not live a stress-free life. I mean, she was the wife of a serial entrepreneur as I write, and wore a lot of huge hats. But she was truly mindful about how she moved her body. Like she gardened well into her nineties and would read the newspaper every day. So she was mindful about keeping her brain active. And then of course what she ate. So she truly walked that mantra of health is number one. And so she is my biggest inspiration.

That’s amazing.  I think that’s what we need to do now: get back to the way our grandparents lived and ate, which was more natural food, more right out of the garden and a lot of movement. Activities back then were such that it was part of your day-to-day life.

And now our life has become so sedentary where we don’t get that much activity and we’re gaining weight, which is leading to all kinds of other chronic illnesses. That is what we’re trying to change through our stories, through our transformational journey and sharing it in this anthology.That is what we are trying to change. Let people know there are other possibilities.

And especially during this crazy time, right? The pandemic and forest fires and all sorts of stuff. I mean, people are eating more and moving less. And there’s a lot more stress going around.

And because of the pandemic and the fires, the opportunity to be out is so much less. Being together, you know, humans need that connection of being together. Not having that opportunity is also causing a lot of additional stress.

What advice do you have for people who are going through this? How do they manage and handle it?

I think there’s some easy things that we can do every single day. I teach about stress and what we can do about it. And the three things for me is walk, talk, or relax. So when I was going through my big stressful moments in the chemical industry, I could have just simply walked around my building. Or you can just take a quick walk around your block. Or even do the stairs in your house if you can’t go outside. Sometimes my father – he lives with us, he’s 88 – he just walks around in the house. 

Call up a good friend or a family member that you can have a nice conversation with. And then relaxing could be something like listening to music, picking up a book for enjoyment. Or like your breathing exercises that you just did to welcome everybody in. I love to do those breathing exercises because it’s so quick and effective. 

I’d like to teach people how to do box breathing. So it’s kind of like, breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, and then breathe out four counts. So yes, walk, talk, or relax.

Those are great: walk, talk, and relax. And basically what’s happening when you’re doing that is that you’re changing your current state to a new state with the movement. And that just gets you out of whatever mindset that you’re in at that time.

Yes. You’re creating some endorphins, you get your blood flowing.

Yes. Sometimes If I sit for too long, it’s hard to get up. I am like a robot, just waking up. 

Especially those knees (laughs)

Exactly. Sometimes, in one place, I just  jump up and down, you know, or do some dance movements. It doesn’t have to be long. It can be really quick and that can help you change your state and get into more flowing movement. 

What did you name your chapter in this book?

So it’s “Embracing the Journey with a Bumpy Wheel.” Because our journeys are never smooth. Our wheels are always a little bit bumpy.

That is true. What do you hope people get out of reading your chapter?

Well, I think it’s about how wellness has so many other dimensions than just the physical dimension. The physical dimension would include nutrition, exercise, and even sleep. But there’s all these other dimensions that we really need to consider.

For example, if our emotional wellness needs attention, it can affect how we move. We might not even want to move, right? We might not want to even get out of the house. Let’s say if we’re really sad or depressed, it can also affect what we eat or how we eat. We might be grabbing for a lot of highly processed starchy comfort food, right? So we need to look at some other areas, not just exercise to lose weight right now. And there’s eight total dimensions. And I mentioned that in the chapter  because when I was going through my state of an eating disorder which I suffered for many years, my emotional dimension and spiritual dimension really needed some care.

Now I agree with you. We have so many other aspects of life that affect us. It affects the way we eat, the way we breathe, the way we sleep. And these are things for you to notice what is going on.

It may not make sense because  you feel “I’m healthy. I don’t feel stressed. I got a great family. What is going on?” You need to check these other areas of life, like your relationships. It could be your relationship with your significant other, or your work relationship, or friend relationship, or other relationships, or even finances. I find finances is a big one that affects you in so many ways that you don’t even realize.

Totally agree. 

Yes. So with your bumpy wheel, what I’m hearing you say is that you need to explore the other areas as well to see, okay, what else is not going the way I want it to? Because sometimes it sneaks up on you, you don’t even know. Sometimes, it’s like an underlying cause that is coming up in different ways and you don’t even know what it’s related to. 

That underlying cause – do you have a suggestion of a way to figure out what that underlying cause is?

I do. So there is this activity called the Wellness Wheel. There’s a lot of Wellness Wheels. You can just Google it. I have one that I have created for myself and even my clients. And there’s a link in the book where you can just download. There’s no strings attached, believe me. You can do this activity and it doesn’t take very long at all. 

You answer some quick questions about each dimension: emotional, social, financial, intellectual, occupational, to give you an idea where you are in that dimension. There’s the wheel where you kind of put a dot for each dimension. And it tells you, oh right, I’m pretty content with my physical dimension, but it looks like maybe my financial dimension is a little bit weak and in need of attention. Because you end up connecting the dots and the things that need a little bit more attention, the dot is closer to the center of the wheel.

And so when you connect, you can see how your wheel is shaped and where it’s bumpy.

That is a very powerful exercise. I’ve done your bumpy wheel, Michelle, and when you’re doing it, you really need to be honest with yourself. Sometimes we’re like, oh, let’s just put the higher number in this area. But this is really a tool for you to be honest and it’ll open up your eyes to the areas that you didn’t even realize were causing a problem in your life. And then they’ll give you an a-ha moment. And no one’s going to see it unless you show it to anyone else. This is just for you. So make sure to, first of all, get the book and read Michelle’s chapter of the bumpy wheel and download the bumpy wheel. It’s going to be very, very effective. Very eye-opening. 

Well, thank you for doing the activity, Seema. I’m glad that you did it. 

Yes. I always like to try the process of all of my authors because you know, you guys are experts in your area. You’re the authority. So who else am I going to listen to? (laughs)


Right? For me, it’s so easy. You’re all with me. We’re all part of it. We’ve gone through the journey together. I know you so well. Michelle, you and I have known each other for five, six years now? 

I think so, yes.

We’re from the Juice Plus community, which is an amazing whole food product and something that really was a catalyst in my healing and I think, yours too. So it was so great to connect with you when I first moved back into the Bay Area.  After your first book with me, Break Free To Stand in Your Power, which was also an international bestselling book, you got some awards and accolades after that, you were really able to build your authority with the book, right? 

Yes. I’d say that was probably the biggest one, which was quite a surprise. And I think that was prompted by the book.

Wonderful. And then you also got a fitness award. I believe the book has also helped with your visibility, since your article has been covered in several magazines.

Correct. I did an article for Yummly and it was about mindful eating. Like I said earlier, because of the pandemic, people are just grabbing a lot of snacks, like that snack cabinet has got our number. Like my daughter, for example, when she first started virtual school, she was literally just trying to forage for food every 20 minutes. And I knew she wasn’t hungry. She was just either frustrated or bored or overwhelmed. So I think this whole mindful eating thing is so important right now.

It sure is. You really need to see why you want to eat before you grab that item. Really ask yourself, am I hungry or am I bored? Am I overwhelmed? Like you were saying, what is it? Lately, I’ve been having a lot of sugar cravings too, and I don’t eat a lot of sugar and I’m still having the sugar cravings. So it makes me wonder, what is going on?  I started asking myself what sweet things am I craving in my life that I’m not getting? And I’m trying to fill it with this. Is that a good way of going about it, Michelle?

I think you’re right. Asking yourself those questions: Am I really hungry? What’s going on with me? Am I thirsty, first of all, because thirst can be a trickster. We can believe that we’re hungry, but we’re actually thirsty. Grab a big tall glass of water, kick that back, and decide if you actually need to eat food. But then asking other questions of yourself. It’s not a short article, but it’s pretty succinct. You could just look it up. It’s by Yummly.

If you just Google that with your name, Michelle Sugiyama, it will definitely come up. So tell me, Michelle, what was different about the whole writing process this second time around? 

What changed for me (during the writing process was) knowing that I could be a force in the world. To really help people recognize that their health means so much not just to them but to their loved ones, their friends, their family, their community, and the world. 

– Michelle Sugiyama (30:10:39-30:49:53)

Oh, I think I can’t even say it was easier, Seema. I wish I could say that. I never was a writer. English and writing were my worst subjects in school. And I just can’t even believe that I’ve actually written two books now. But for me, this time around, I wanted to tell more stories because I think that’s how people connect with the written word. And so I still tell a few stories. One is about my grandmother. I tell a little bit more about my story and then also an amazing, awesome story about a wonderful woman. She was my client, a very stressed out entrepreneur, and the steps that she had to go through in order to really have vitality and less stress. Then the weight just naturally comes off. We didn’t even focus on weight loss, but that is what happened. She just ended up dropping a couple of dress sizes and becoming a lot happier.

Wow. It sounds like you found the bumpy areas of her life, focused on that, and showed her how it affected other areas of her life.

Yes, that’s true. That’s correct. And also it’s just her realizing that she is the expert on her own health. She knows exactly what she needs, but she needed some support, some accountability. And then she can go into more of a maintenance mode.

That’s wonderful. You know, I think what coaches really do is show you your blind side. You know, as we’re driving, we have the mirrors to show us our blind side and that’s what you do because you can see that.  Encouragement and accountability are so important.

Michelle, you said something very important, which I really want to emphasize because so many people out there think they can’t write a book because they’re not good at writing or they’re not good at english. They don’t consider themselves as writers. I don’t consider myself a writer and this is my fourth book.

I never thought I would be doing anything like this, but like what you said earlier, when it’s your purpose to do something, it finds you sooner or later. So this is my purpose, which found me sooner or later. But all you have to do is share it from your heart. There are experts, we have editors and proofreaders that read and correct everything and help you maintain your voice and share your story. How was that for you?

Oh, it was a great experience. It really was. And to know that I had the backing from  you and your team made me feel much more comfortable. So I really thank you and your team for making this book amazing. And just helping all of us authors out.

Yes. That’s the thing. That’s one very important message that you brought up. It’s scary because you’re doing something different. You’re doing something new. And even though this was your second book, you felt it was a little difficult because you’re writing from a different perspective, right? Last one was Break Free to Stand in Your Power (which was about) How do you claim your power. This time it’s Break Free to Health and Vitality. It’s a different perspective. It’s about how do you really live a life full of vitality regardless of your circumstances.

What changed for you during this writing process?

Oh, let’s see what changed for me. Probably knowing that I could be a force in the world, even though it’s the second book. To really help people recognize that their health just means so much, not just to them, but to their loved ones and their friends, the family, their community, the world. And I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to affect so many people in a positive way.

That’s very powerful. This is a reminder. Like you said earlier, your health is your biggest wealth. If you don’t have your health, you can’t do anything. If you have wealth, there’s a lot you can do. If you don’t have wealth, there’s still a lot that you can do, right? But if you don’t have your health and – I mean, everyone can see in the last two years what’s happened when you don’t have control over things, and when you’re not taking care of yourself, chances of contracting viruses, getting sick is so much higher. So it’s so important to really continuously build up your immune system. And that is my passion. My passion, my mission is to create a world that I want to live in, that I want my children and grandchildren and the future generations to live in. In order to do that, we have to do our part and come forward with our gifts that are given to us, living the purpose that we are meant to live. And I can’t do it alone. That’s why I compile anthologies so more people come together and more people share their stories. It’s a big multiplier and all of us pouring this energy and the possibilities of healthy living, of vitality, of standing in your power, of having peace, love and unity – first with yourself. So that you can become the best version of yourself and pour that out. Not from your cup, but from the saucer that it’s overflowing in.

Oh, I love that, Seema. That’s wonderful. 

And you’re a huge part of that. The more books you write in, the more different angles you’re sharing and it’ll click a light bulb in people’s minds. And already, we’ve gotten such great feedback from all of the books we’ve done, not only from the authors, but everyone that attended our Break Free International Summit. People who are reading the book, people who are participating, people you are sharing it with. So it’s already having a ripple effect. How does that make you feel, knowing that there’s such a ripple effect of what you are doing?

Oh, gosh, it’s just so amazing. And my heart is just so happy about that, just to know that this huge ripple effect is going on. So many people are reading it. People are getting whatever they need out of it. it’s totally different from one person to the other. But, you know, with the number one bestselling status, I think one of the categories was stress management, right? And it is amazing how interconnected stress and sleep and immunity and chronic disease and weight. It’s all connected.

Like for example, if we’re really stressed out, that can lower our immunity. And also if we don’t sleep well, it can lower our immunity. Like I heard you say that you’re really right now into how we can supercharge our immunity. You know, a couple of things. Sleep well, manage your stress. And also nutrition is so important too. Physical exercise. I mean, we can directly affect our nutrition and exercises, and we can manage our sleep and stress.

Yes. And I am the perfect example of that because, you know, six months ago, I couldn’t walk beyond three miles. Since I recovered from my three forms of autoimmune issues, I’ve always been eating healthy, but then I realized I had to dig a little deeper because I wasn’t releasing weight.

So I dug a little deeper and realized the healthy food that I was eating was not right for me. I had to go even further. Finally,  I just adopted the autoimmune protocol, which means you basically just get to eat a few of the greens, you know, no spices. So for an Indian person that was hard not being able to eat spice, except for turmeric and salt – that’s my spice level – I had to drop everything. Can you believe it, I’ve only released 20 pounds, but I’ve been doing this for almost six months. I should be half my size right now. So there’s still something. Now, I’m like, I’m just going to love my body the way it is. If I’m meant to be this way at this time, then fine. But I’m still gonna do all the healthy stuff.

If, despite doing all the healthy strategies, I’m still this way, then, I’m just going to love myself in this  form. I’m not going to try to be anything else, right.  Because I have wonderful gifts. I can walk. I can take care of myself. I’m independent. So since I’ve done that, my body has allowed me to participate in 10K marathons, which is 6.2 miles and  half-marathon. That’s 13.1 miles.

Over the last weekend, I accidentally walked 15 miles and I was thinking I’m not able to do 13. I got to do 13 somehow. My app that I was using to measure my distance stopped working. So I said, okay, I’m just going to do this round a little bit, this round also, just for good measure. And then I went to another location. I was like, I’m just going to do another round here for good measure. So I did my for good measure, like two, three rounds, extra of the park I was passing. When I got home, I was so sore after a couple of hours, I felt that  this level of pain doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like 13.1 miles it feels like its more. Because I’ve been walking 10 miles regularly I was used to the long distance and I knew what that soreness level was. So finally, I checked on Google what I’d walked. I measured the distance and it was 15 miles.

That just goes to show you that when you’re tracking things all the time, you’re somehow, sometimes, holding yourself back. Here I was thinking I can’t even do 13 miles. And I went beyond that. If I was measuring I would have never done that. So now I know that I can extend myself even more.

So I guess the lesson I’m trying to convey is, do what you can, be intentional and don’t do it because you want to lose weight. Don’t do it because of something, do it because it’s the right thing for your body.

Find out what is working for you and what is not. It takes a little bit of time, but this is your life we are talking about. You have to take the responsibility. There’s no one else that can do it. You have to take the responsibility of your life. So you have to try different things. You’re going to get exhausted. You get tired, you get frustrated. Guess what? That’s all normal. And then what do you do? You bounce back. You get back on track. I’ve been doing that for so long, but you’re always one step ahead. And you’re a little bit healthier than before, and you can live a better life this way.

So true, Seema, and congratulations for walking those distances. Oh my gosh. I think it’s so true. We just need to start doing what we like to do, first of all.Listen to yourself. Like if you feel like, oh, I can only walk not even a mile, a half a mile or just four or five minutes, then just do that, you know? Start with baby steps and then see how you feel, keep progressing. Do a little bit of a challenge. But you know, what some people do is they’ll hire a personal trainer and they get trained for an hour. And the next three to four days, they’re so sore, they can’t take it, and then they just drop it because it just was too much for them.

But you know, simple things, like just parking farther away from the grocery store, just to get a couple extra steps. This is something that anybody can start with.

The dog. You have to walk the dog. (Laughs)

So true. So true. We did get a COVID puppy and we are absolutely walking that dog every day. My daughter will complain like, oh, I don’t want to walk the dog today, but nope, you got to do it.

I think it’s important, if any of the listeners have children or grandchildren, to really somehow stress the importance that health is everything. Because I think if we can get the newer generations onboard, Then it’s just gonna make the world a happier place, right? Because if we’re not healthy, we’re not happy and vice versa. 

– Michelle Sugiyama (40:19:47-40:51:09)


Yes, start where you can. That’s what we’re trying to say. Start where you can, do what you can, and then progress and get a partner. That helps. I have a coach that is helping me with the marathon training. And then of course, I’ve immersed myself in the environment of all you coaches, wellness coaches, so that really helped.

Michelle, it was so wonderful to have you on today. Are there any last words of wisdom you would like to share with our listeners?

I think it’s important, if any of the listeners have children or grandchildren, to really somehow stress the importance that health is everything. Because I think if we can get the newer generations onboard, Then it’s just gonna make the world a happier place, right? Because if we’re not healthy, we’re not happy and vice versa as well.

So it’s really important to somehow get it across into these young minds: let’s take care of our bodies. Let’s take care of our brains. Eat vegetables and eat fruits!

Basically what you’re saying is give the gift of life to the next generation.

Absolutely. Because we depend on them. They’re going to be running the world, right?

Exactly. We need to really make sure they have a great way of thinking, a good mindset, a healthier mindset. So we can really create a better world. 


I hope you enjoyed our time together. Make sure you evaluate your own situation, your own life right now. What is an area that could use an upgrade? And do what you can.

And if you’re in a family, do it as a family. It’s a great activity. If not, then, you know, we have a walking group where we walk together over Zoom. So if you don’t have someone close to you, you can hop on FaceTime or Zoom or whatever other form there is, and walk together that way. So do something, do something that you can. Make sure you get our book, Break Free to Health and Vitality, if you haven’t. The paperback is out. Make sure you download Michelle’s bumpy wheel. 

Michelle. Thank you so much. And we’ll see you until next time. This is Seema. Thank you for joining us.

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Break Free to Brilliance Podcast:

Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 53: The Power of the Mind, Body and Soul: The New Frontier for Medicine with Dr. Mary Thomas

“We are all as unique as our fingerprints. I’m of the firm belief that we need to put it all together, which is why in my chapter I mentioned the mind, body, and soul connection,” explains Dr. Mary Thomas, medical doctor and co-author of Break Free to Health and Vitality. In Dr. Thomas’s chapter “The Mind, Body, Soul Connection: The New Frontier for Medicine,” she discusses the importance of looking at the patient as a whole and combining spirituality and intuitive healing with Western medicine.
Dr. Thomas joins us on today’s Author Series episode to discuss alternative modalities of medicine and what she hopes the future of healthcare will look like. Dr. Thomas hopes that listeners will better understand the concept of the mind, body and soul connection after reading her chapter. When Dr. Thomas approaches healing a patient, she does not just look at the body, but rather at the whole person: mind, body, and soul. She uses a combination of alternative healing practices, Western medicine, and spirituality to guide her patients to better health outcomes. By treating our bodies, minds and souls as one, we can break free to a healthier self.
Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for tips on how to approach our healthcare in a more holistic way and to learn about alternative methods of care.
• “Medicine is science. Particularly Western medicine is very much rooted in science. But if we look back thousands of years ago to healers or shamans…they didn’t follow science. They were intuitive healers…a lot of this comes from within us where we instinctively know when we see a patient, never mind the science of course it’s there…, but when I’m looking at a patient I’m also looking at the overall, the full picture of that person in mind, body, and soul. So if one is an intuitive healer and at the same time a medical doctor, you can get in touch with your spirituality to help the patient.” (7:09-8:26 | Dr. Thomas)
“If you’re wondering what alternative medicine and other healing modalities are, I would request you to be a little bit more open and do your own research and see if it applies to you. Explore a little bit at a time and see how it affects you.” (14:46-15:02 | Seema)
• “My chapter is ‘The Mind, Body, Soul Connection: The New Frontier for Medicine’… I really want to get it out there that we have to look at disease care and change that to health care by looking at the whole person…We are built as a person who has a mind that thinks, a soul within us, and the body. How could we even think of eliminating one or two? The way to go in the future, I really foresee this as the new frontier for medicine because without which we are just going to remain where we are.” (17:08-18:20 | Dr. Thomas) 


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Wake Up to Your Divinely-Inspired Health with Veena Singla

Break Free to Brilliance Podcast:

Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 52: Wake Up to Your Divinely-Inspired Health with Veena Singla

Veena Singla, International Health and Wellness Educator

“I feel we should think of the divine power within ourselves. You are in control of that and that divine power is your own power connected with your soul,” explains Veena Singla, international health and wellness educator and co-author of Break Free to Health and Vitality. In Veena’s chapter “Wake Up to Your Divinely-Inspired Health,” she discusses the importance of connecting with your divine power to help you live a healthier life. Veena joins us on today’s Author Series episode to discuss the importance of eating healthy, taking control over our thoughts, and connecting with ourselves on a higher, more spiritual level.

Veena hopes that readers of her chapter will reach the understanding that we can heal ourselves from the inside. During her own personal journey with cancer and an autoimmune disease, she discovered that she recovered faster when she was eating healthy, whole foods and avoiding negative, toxic thoughts. She encourages readers to connect with the divine power within themselves in order to feel less hopeless and more powerful. 

By taking back control of our bodies with healthy foods, positive thoughts, and spiritual reflection, we can break free to a healthier self. Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for tips on how to connect with your divine power and change your mindset in regard to health and disease. 



  • “I have always dreamt about writing a book on cancer for the common man to understand what cancer is.” (06:52-07:01 | Veena)
  • “I feel that cancer can be easily eliminated from the food we eat and the thoughts we think. The cancer is nothing but a crabgrass. If we eliminate the crabgrass, then we can eliminate the cancer from the body.” (07:40-08:06 | Veena) 
  • “In a day alone, we think of 70-80,000 thoughts…Out  of that, 50% are repetitive and 100% of that is negative.” (12:15-12:32 | Seema)
  • “Number one, I feel we should also think of divine power within ourselves. You are in control of that and that divine power is your own power connected with your soul and use that. When I was sick with cancer or heart disease, that was very much part of me. I saw God behind the doctor and anybody who was helping me…that was very powerful.” (14:29-15:14 | Veena)
  • “We have to read some scriptures every morning. You start your day with reading 4 lines, 5 lines, whatever you want. And that inspires you the whole day. Think about that message you read and dwell on that. The other things will take care of it… When you’re sick your body is 90% healthy. It’s only 5-10% wrong, so we have to take care of the healthy part of the body. The other things: we’ll let the doctor take care of that.” (15:49-16:31 | Veena)
  • “Think about your own power…and use that. Don’t let it go in vain.” (22:30-22:41 | Veena)
  • “Let’s align our hearts, words, and actions just like the chiropractor aligns our spine.” (24:27-24:34 | Veena)
  • “Love yourself and take time for yourself. If you need a breather during this holiday season, if you need to step out and away just to get grounded…do that. When you can do that more for yourself, you can show up in a much better way for everyone else. We’re always thinking about taking care of others and doing things for others, which is a great thing.  But what’s even better is if along with taking care of everyone else, you can take care of yourself as well.” (25:20-25:56 | Seema)


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Transforming Trauma into Triumph with Tamara Baldwin

Break Free to Brilliance Podcast:

Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 51: Transforming Trauma into Triumph with Tamara Baldwin

“Just because you’ve experienced something, you don’t have to be defined by it,” emphasizes Tamara Baldwin, spiritual counselor, educator, and co-author of Break Free to Health and Vitality. In Tamara’s chapter “Transforming Trauma Into Triumph,” she dives deep into the importance of breaking free from past experiences and not defining yourself by past traumas. Tamara joins us on today’s Author Series episode to discuss creating the life you want, prioritizing self care, and redefining how you think about your past. 

Tamara hopes that readers will benefit from her chapter by realizing that they too can triumph over past traumas. By making time for self-care and setting clear boundaries, we can create healthier, more fulfilling lives. Oftentimes, people define themselves by their experiences, which makes it hard to move forward. Tamara reminds us that we do not have to remain trapped in any situation and that we are not defined by our past.

Transforming our trauma into triumph starts with taking that first step forward. Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance to learn more about how to prioritize self-care, set boundaries, and heal from past experiences.



  • “I really hope that readers will gain a sense of well-being knowing that no matter what their experiences are in life that they too can triumph from any type of trauma that they have experienced.” (08:14-08:27 | Tamara) 
  • “I think that from the title alone people can get the inspiration and hope that the past doesn’t define you, and you can create the life that you want. These days, I love saying you can create a life by design, which means you can create how you want it to be, what you want it to look like, and you don’t have to live a life by default, meaning the life that has been given to us that we have to just deal with. Sometimes, you’re in a situation where it might feel like you have to do that, but slowly by taking one step at a time, you can get out of that situation and create the life that you want.” (08:28-09:14 | Seema) 
  • “You don’t have to look like what you’re going through. You don’t have to look like what you’ve been through. So, that’s really the inspiration here. Just because you’ve experienced something, you don’t have to be defined by what you’ve experienced in life. I often tell people even in the workplace, your job doesn’t define who you are. You define who you are. It’s the same with the trials that we’ve experienced and the trauma that we’ve experienced, you don’t have to stay there.” (09:38-10:04 | Tamara) 
  • “I think what many people do is they start identifying themselves with the problem…I remember when I had my autoimmune issues I would say, ‘My name is Seema, and I have an autoimmune disease.’ And then someone told me, ‘You know Seema, that’s not who you are. You are Seema Giri who is struggling with these issues, but that’s not who you are.’” (10:05-10:40 | Seema)
  • “I was asking myself this question: Am I being selfish by saying no to those who are always pulling, and wanting and needing? It was a defining moment for me to learn that I’m not being selfish. Self-care is significant. Self-care is important. Self-care is a necessity. So, when I came to that realization, that’s when things actually began to change.” (11:21-11:48 | Tamara)
  • “Before writing the book and now, the one specific thing that has really changed and made all the difference is boundaries. Setting those boundaries and knowing when to say no. Letting my no be no and letting my yes be yes. So, self-care wrapped in those boundaries has made all the difference.”(15:15-15:35 | Tamara)
  • “One thing that I would share with individuals is that you want to make sure that you are present for yourself before you can be present for other people. Take time out for self-care even if it’s reading a book, taking a bath, or just being in your own space without the pull of other individuals. That would be my takeaway.” (20:21-29:49 | Tamara)


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Tamara Baldwin, Spiritual Counselor  



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