Category Archives: Vision Boards

My version of a Vision Board.

Hustle.Believe.Receive. Single Mom Life Travel Vision Boards

How I Manifested My Dream Vacation to Italy!

This is the formula with which I manifested my dream vacation to Italy, the same one I’ve used for years to manifest an entirely new life for myself and my family. #HBRMethod 

How I Manifested My Dream Vacation to Italy!
Live your dream, Izzy in Rome Italy

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I’ve had a burning desire to go to Italy since I was a teenager (#DreamIT).  I’ve talked about going for twenty years (#SayIT), I’ve had it on my #FutureBoard (vision board) for the past ten years (#SeeIT), I’d tried unsuccessfully several times in my life to plan a trip (#WriteIT), even going so far as to map out my exact route and pick a date (#ThinkIT), but I’d always lacked the balls to buy my ticket. (lacking #DoIT and #BelieveIT)

Well, this June I had a thought…. Even if I could go to Italy alone (as I’d always imagined I would) it would not be as meaningful if I couldn’t share it with my kids. I envisioned coming home all excited to tell them every detail, but them not wanting to hear about all the fun I’d had without them. Then I imagined that one day I would take them, and we’d travel the same route I’d done alone, and I’d point out all the things I loved; but by then they would be teenagers rolling their eyes with sighs under their breath of, “Oh mom!”

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Hustle.Believe.Receive. Vision Boards

From Vision Board to Reality

Have you ever made a “vision board” or a “dream board” but it didn’t seam to work? Or have you always thought they were kinda just bullshit? Or did you make one, but then never actually hang it up where you could see it?


If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone. I’d say that most of my clients fall into this category, I did myself for most of my life. But then I made a board that was so totally aligned with the women I desired desperately to become, hung it up at my office, and wala! It wasn’t long before I began living out the moments that were displayed on my #FutrueBoard. It wasn’t magic of course, if you’ve read my book #HustleBelieveReceive you know that. It involved a lot of work as it always does, but let me tell you, it sure felt like magic!


Did you know that you can predict your future? If you totally believed that, wouldn’t you want to put that power to good use? It took me years to fully believe it, but once I began to make those connections, and realize that what I spoke about (#SayIT), thought and obsessed over (#ThinkIT) and what I surrounded myself with (#SeeIT) was becoming my reality, I wanted to harness it as fast and as accurately as I could! And that’s how the #HBRMethod came about, though testing it out in my own life and then teaching it to my clients.

Last year I started #HBRBootcamp where I teach the 8-step #HBRMethod in a 10-week small group coaching course, and the results have astounded even me! I’m not sure why I’m always surprised because I KNOW this works.  I’ve proven it over and over again.  But there’s something about teaching it to someone who may be at the lowest point in their life, with little or no resources or hope, then watching them apply it daily…and then WATCHING IT CHANGE THEIR LIFE! That never gets old believe me!

This morning I had the joy of catching up with some of my former #HBRBootcamp clients who took the course a year ago. At that time some were in negative relationships, some didn’t have jobs, some were struggling financially, others were looking for how they could find their purpose and happiness, all were looking for something to help get them “un-stuck.”

One year later those same clients have started their dream business, gotten promotions, found their dream job/calling, left bad relationships, found a new group of positive friends, seen the magic of #MoneyAintAThing, manifested some unbelievable moments and life changing experiences off their #FutureBoars, all in under a year!! But the part I love the most is seeing their self-confidence change. Seeing them learn how to control the negative voices in their head and replace them with positive, empowering ones… and then.. .BECOME that empowered positive person! There is no greater joy that I’ve found in life (outside of being a mom) then this, watching these amazing transformations.

This morning one women said that she’s re-reading the book and re-doing her homework because she’s come so far from a year ago that she needed to upgrade her dreams! And when she got to step 2, #ThinkIT where you write out all your “I am’s” she realized that she needed all new ones, because the ones from a year ago now simply described WHO SHE IS. Think about that for a second. A year ago, when she was at her lowest point she used this tool to teach herself how to think differently about herself and her future. She applied it daily. She told herself over and over again these positive “I am’s” (like ‘I am happy.’ ‘I am successful.’ etc) every time the negative voices tried to sabotage her new life.  And now one year later those words actually describe who she is and how she sees herself! How amazing that is. And it can and will do the same thing for you.

I’ve always believed that proof is better than words, and that’s why I’ve documented my entire journey and all my manifestations, because you can’t argue with facts right!? And pictures are great facts. Here’s just a few things I’ve manifested in the past few years from my #FutureBoard using the #HBRMethod.

You’ll notice that each photo has a picture of my #FutureBoard and the year it was made and next to it a photo of the reality, the moment I lived out those dreams.


This post was originally posted to my website. To view the picture slideshow of what I’ve manifested see link at the end of this post. 

Please also note that I’m blogging more regularly on my website, so if you’re looking for anything related to #HustleBelieveReceive the #HBRMethod or success tips, anything like that you’ll want to subscribe to my new HBRBlog

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Travel Vision Boards

Manifest Your Dream Vacation!

Last night I got home from the vacation of a lifetime with my kids. I’ve been to New York many times over the past five years for work, but on every trip I’d wished that my children could fall in love with The City the way I have.   Only one problem… I’m a single mom on a budget, one that does not allow (yet!) for such extravagant trips across the country for a family of four.  Never mind that NYC is the most expensive city in America!

Never-the-less my kids and I had been dreaming of the day they could make the trip with me, especially after they saw the movie Annie.

sarah centrella and daughter Mira
Flight to NYC with Mira

The last few years have taught me to expect the impossible and believe in a little magic, because God knows I’ve been putting in my hustle! And so this past week I proved yet again that the #HBRMethod is no joke! It really can manifest your dream.

Here’s how:

In February of this year I’d finally acquired enough miles (through all of my work travel) to purchase four round trip tickets to New York (I only had to pay the booking fee of $25 each ticket #MoneyAintAThing!). I booked them immediately using #CourageOverFear to trust that somehow the rest of the trip would fall into place. I knew finding all four tickets was a sign that this trip was a #ManifestThat! moment in the making.

That moment when you see Manhattan for the first time... and your 7.
That moment when you see Manhattan for the first time… and your 7.

Back in 2011 I stayed in a hotel in Midtown, which was then called The Alex Hotel.  My job had made the arrangements, and I was so floored by it that I made a video and posted it to my YouTube, realizing that I’d manifested that moment. I wound up staying at the same hotel several times, and one day I got a room that blew me away!  It was a beautiful 2 bedroom/2 bathroom full condo/suit with an uninterrupted view of the Chrysler Building. I remember sitting on the couch looking at that view, and around the giant condo, and being so excited and sad at the same time.  I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic at how beautiful it was, but I wished more than anything that my kids couldn’t see it and experience the magic I felt that night.

I made a promise to myself that somehow, some way I would bring them there.

Fast forward to this year and I’m searching online for a “reasonable” (nothings reasonable in New York!) room for the four of us and of course I look up that hotel.  I was disappointed to learn that they’d turned it into a time-share by Wyndham, and that it no longer functioned as a stand alone hotel, but it still offered a limited number of standard (plain) rooms.  I had been so set on showing the kids this hotel that I decided to book a regular room with two double beds, even though the experience wouldn’t compare.  At least then they could stay in the same hotel I’d stayed in four years before.

When we arrived at the hotel at midnight the front desk clurk looked worried.  She went to get her manager and after a few minutes of looking at our reservation and whispering behind the desk, he said; “I’m so sorry, but it looks like we’ve given away your room for tonight. I could however, upgrade you to our two bedroom suite at no additional charge.” I screamed quietly inside and graciously took the keys. (#MoneyAintAThing!)

Mira looking up at the Chrystler Building

When we walked into the room, my kids and I all started screaming! It was the same room I’d stayed in four years before!! Kanen had his own bedroom with a panoramic view of the Chrysler Building, and his own bathroom. The girls and I shared the master bedroom and bath. It was beyond a dream come true, even if we only got to keep it for a day. #ManifestThat!

The kids looking at Grand Central Station from our living room

That is the power of the #HBRMethod to deliver your dream in a way you’d never expect and bigger than you could even dream it! I never let go of the dream that one day my kids would see the view from that room, and I manifested it exactly without it costing a penny more!


Aside from the cost of the room I did that entire trip to NYC on under $600 for a family of four!!! You don’t have to be rich to live like you are! You just have to want it bad enough, be willing to work for it, believe in it with your entire being and then take the opportunities when they are presented.

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This is just one tiny example of how I’ve manifest experiences far beyond what was ever on my “vision board” I have so many more, using the #HBRMethod.  If your ready to change your life, just know this… YOU CAN.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FULL PHOTO ALBUM (also following on Instagram and Facebook is the most “real time” way to follow for photos and updates) CLICK HERE to watch videos from our trip.


*The hashtags refer to steps of the #HBRMethod as outlined in my book #HustleBelieveReceive

Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

Follow on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | Pinterest | YouTube |Periscope @sarahcentrella

Vision Boards

My Vision Board WORKS!!

The past week I lived out a pretty huge #ManifestThat! moment with my twelve-year-old son Kanen.  I’ve had a picture of the Hollywood sign on my #FutureBoard since 2009, and although I’ve been to LA many times since then (even seeing the Hollywood sign), this past week was the moment when that dream became my reality.

One of the reasons I tech people to chose images for their board that represents moments they want to live out, and memories they want to make in life, is for this very reason… so you can take a pic with you in that exact same “moment.”  There is no grater proof that the #HBRMethod works than picture proof! Below is the picture of my board that sat on my desk back in 2009 with the picture of the Hollywood sign under the picture of Disneyland. Below was a pretty great moment on Tuesday this week with my son.

Top: My 2009 #FutureBoard Bottom: 2014 #ManifestThat!

This trip was the perfect example of #MoneyAintAThing! I’m still a single mom, and sole supporter of my family of four, so my budget is always accounted for. I have a full-time job and a salary, but I like most people have to watch my budget very carefully, and I don’t have “money to throw away.” But I do believe that I can live a fabulous life with my children, regardless of that minor setback. In fact for the past six years I’ve been proving that to be true.  I’ve lived a pretty lavish lifestyle, on a pretty merger budget.

How?? Using the #HBRMethod and not allowing the “lack” of money to come between me and my dreams.  This trip, I was able to take my son FIRST CLASS to LA, stay in a beautiful hotel, rent his dream car, and fly us both first class back home.  I did all that on a TOTAL budget of $350, and $200 of that was for the day-pass to Universal Studios!

Here’s the details: Over the past year with my day job (my #Hustle), I’ve flown quite a bit (I cover a national territory for a legal services company), and had enough miles on Alaska Air for the tickets, because of my flyer status I got first class both ways for both of us.  Because of my travel points I got a free, two night stay at the Hyatt, and free car rental with Enterprise on my rental points! I’m not rich (AT ALLLLL!) but this week felt like I was.  This week a year of hard hustle, paid off in a really fun and amazing way, next month it will even pay off bigger when I take my whole family to New York for five days!!

Sarah Centrella Off to LA in First Class!
Off to LA in First Class!
He was like "Mama could we get the red car!"
He was like “Mama could we get the red car!”
Kanen Rossi Lunch at the beach
Lunch at the beach
Universal Studios was well worth it!
Universal Studios was well worth it!
Our favorite ride!
Our favorite ride!

The beauty about the #HBRMethod is that it will deliver your dream to you, when you least expect it, bigger and better than you ever imagined. I was able to take my son to the beaches in Malibu, Huntington Beach and the Santa Monica Pier.  We eat dinner at the famous SUR Restaurant in Beverly Hills (yes it’s an ACTUAL restaurant not just the show Vanderpump Rules LOL).  We spent an amazing day at Universal Studios together riding all the rides, walked on the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We did it all, on a budget and felt like royalty.


You just have to dream it, imagine it, believe it, hustle and when it’s right for you it will show up.  These moments make me so grateful for the tools I’ve learned to change my life, I shutter to think where I’d be had I not made a concrete decision six years ago to thrive, rather than just survive.

Kanen having dinner in first class on the way home.
Kanen having dinner in first class on the way home.


Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

Follow on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | Pinterest | YouTube |Periscope @sarahcentrella


Hustle.Believe.Receive. Vision Boards

Vision Board Success: 4 Steps to Manifesting your Dream Life.

I create my life #visionboard

The key to vision board success, four easy steps to manifesting your dream life!

The point of a Vision Board is not to manifest a new car, or an expensive handbag, it’s to intentionally design your entire dream life. To create a LIFE PLAN. To reconstruct your life from the ground up, like an architect remodel’s an old building. You map out each area, room by room, creating a blueprint for a whole new masterpiece.  That’s what makes a vision board magical, because it’s the physical representation of the life you’ve carefully and thoughtfully redesigned.  You have the power to create your destiny; these four simple steps will help you do exactly that.


Step 1: The Audacity to Dream.

Learning how to dream can be surprisingly difficult for most of us in the beginning. It goes against our very nature, it feels foolish and ridiculous at first, but it’s a critical first step to success. A great way to get this process started is to create an extensive, all-inclusive bucket list. This is essentially a list of everything you would like to do, or experience in your lifetime. I love this exercise because it forces you to visually walk through your life and imagine what it could be.  Resist at all costs,
the urge to be “realistic”. This is a dream list, it’s not bound by your current situation, it’s not an action plan that you need to budget for, it is free from all those constraints.  If it helps, call it a “fantasy list”, or your “what if” list. On this list, all
things are possible; there are no boundaries, no limits, no expiration dates.  

Creating your Bucket List:
Sit down, alone, in a calm quiet space with a pen and paper, and relax. Begin writing down everything you have ever wanted to do. Travel the world? Where to? What do you want to see when you get there? Be specific, break down a topic like “Travel the world” into experiences. 
Example: I want to drink a bottle of wine on a terrace looking up at the Eiffel Tower.  You are creating a moment, and specific experience.The deeper you get into your list the more exhilarating this exercise should become.  Give yourself permission to feel excited and happy, the more you let go, the bigger you will dream, and the more effective this will be.

Step: 2 Create a Movie In Your Head.

Now that you’ve created a bucket list and started imagining all the things you want to
do in your lifetime, it’s time to narrow it down for your vision board. Again pick a quiet spot, grab your note pad and write out these five categories as bullets:

1.     Family and relationships 
2.     Wealth and Finances 
3.     Health and well-being 
4.     Travel and vacations 
5.     Career and personal passion 

Next create a movie in your head about each category; one filled with so much detail you can see it every time you close your eyes.

To start, imagine your “dream life” five years from now, one where money is no object, and anything is possible.  Pick a day in your future life and begin creating your movie from the time you get up in the morning.  
Answer these questions:
What does your home look like? Who wakes up with you? What are you wearing? You have your dream job, but what is
it? What car do you drive? What role do friends and family play in this future life? Your future self takes vacations, so where have you just come back from or heading to? What has having wealth and financial freedom enabled you to do?
What do you look like? You’ve focused on your personal passion, so what’s that outcome look like?
This step is so important because it’s laying the foundation in your mind, that this is your future reality. You’ve transitioned
from a “what if” list, into a day in your future life. Putting your focus and intention on that is the magic. It’s the feeling of living a fulfilled, successful, blessed, happy life in every area, which sets manifesting in motion.
Now go over each bullet and fill in the details, from the movie you just created. 
Example: Family and Relationships: In your new life you’re married, and have several close friends, maybe you have a child
etc. List each desire out under that category. Do this for every category with as much detail as possible.
#visionboards I love

Step 3: Get to Work!

Now it’s time for the fun to begin! I like to start on Pinterest making a board for all five categories. Pinterest has the most beautiful pictures of the life you want to create, whatever that looks like for you. I love it because the photos tell a story. My “dream house” board looks so cozy, I can easily imagine myself unwinding with a glass of wine in the living room, or looking in the beautiful kitchens. In other words, you’re looking for pictures that visually and physically tell the story of your mind
as accurately as possible. 
Remember we are looking for images that express our future life, its feel, its energy, its emotion.  When you look at the pictures, they should trigger an emotional attachment which plays your movie, enabling you to mindlessly, and happily daydream about it. So it’s not about a random picture of a sports car, it’s finding a picture that best describes what type
of car, or bag or shoes, or house your future, super-successful-self, would have. 
Example: A picture of an engagement ring, represents the desire to be engaged and in a happy healthy relationship. When you look at it, you’re not thinking; I want that exact ring, you’re thinking about the day the love of your life asks you to
marry him. 
Making your board
Once you have pictures representing your dreams for each category, print out your favorites. Grab a glass of wine, put on some fun music and enjoy the process like a little kid. Artfully arrange your pictures on a large cork board, making a section for each category. Keep going until your board is completely full and represents your future life. 
Then HANG IT UP! Put it in a place where you will see it every day, all day if possible. Put it on your desk at work, hang it on your bedroom wall. Every time you see it you are invoking the magic and creating your future. 

 Step 4: Believe in Magic.

By now there is a part of you that already believes in this magic. Along the way you’ve had to silence the voices in your head at each step that told you this was insane. But you did it, and by doing so, you’re on your way to seeing results. The other part of you wants to ask; how is any of this possible for me? Lucky for you, that’s not a question you need to worry about, as crazy as it sounds. You do not control the how or the when.  You only control your steadfast belief that this is your new future, and when the time is right each of these pieces will be drawn to you. By displaying your board you’re acting on that faith, and every time you look at it and play your movie, you are solidifying that belief.  But much of belief in the beginning is simply faking it until you make it. Speak it into existence even if you don’t fully buy-in yet, pretend you do. Begin talking about your new future, what it will feel like the day you realize your dreams. Keep your focus there. Don’t ever say “if”, say “when.”
Claim your future. Go about your life expressing gratitude as if it’s guaranteed, because it is.  
The magic begins to happen over time when you’re not even paying attention, but one day you’ll wake up and actually BELIEVE it, in every fiber of your being. Often your manifestations come quietly, unexpectedly and from a source you’d never expect. Stay aware and grateful and you’ll be there to receive them.  And before long you’ll wake up and be smack dab in the middle of one of those experiences you so carefully envisioned, and you’ll have a Deja vu feeling… and then you’ll remember; I have been here before, only this time it’s my reality. Those are the moments I live for, and have experienced over, and over again. Nothing feels as amazing or joyous as that moment, when you’re living out the life you




Hustle.Believe.Receive. Motivation & Inspiration My Stories Vision Boards

Little Dreamer.

Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive An 8-Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream.

Hustle.Believe.Receive. Motivation & Inspiration Vision Boards

4 Easy Steps to Get Out of a Funk.

Three months ago I was struggling.  I’d come off my most “successful” year ever, had manifested an entire vision board and a whole new tax bracket, yet felt so stuck and uninspired. Crazy I know, but true. I began to think negatively and even started questioning my dreams, vision and purpose. It seemed like the spark had left and I wasn’t sure how to bring it back, or even if I could. Half of me knew exactly what to do, and wanted to punch the other half of me in the face for being such a lame-ass. But when you get in a negative place you start feeding off of it, and that self-pity starts to feel comforting, and even if you know how to extinguish it, you think… I will; tomorrow.

When January 1st rolled around I knew it was time to kick that dark cloud to the curb, even if it was going to take renewed energy and way more effort then if I’d never strayed in the first place. So here’s exactly what I did to try and get myself out of my funk and back to my happy place.

1. I made a concrete decision that I was going to change my attitude, turn things around, get back to my dream.

2. To accomplish that I recognized I needed help. Motivation and inspiration aren’t something we are born with and naturally have every day, sometimes we gotta create and cultivate it. I also knew I needed support.

  • For inspiration: I began listening to Joel Osteen’s sermons on YouTube (and I’m not even religious). But his “I Am” speech shook me when I heard it on Oprah’s LifeClass, and I instantly recognized how far I’d fallen off my path. I made a commitment to listen to a different one every day for ten days, and focus that day on whatever his topic was. I felt like a new woman after day two!
  • For support: I challenged my life long bestie to take this next step in our journey with me, and do the 10 day Joel meditation marathon. By day three and four we were on fire! So inspired and excited and shocked at how we’d ever gotten so off track in the first place. We compared notes and aha moments and encouraged each others progress. All of this is so much more fun when you have a support system! (That’s why I started my coaching calls, for those of you who don’t have a bestie like mine!)
  • For motivation: I decided it was time to redo my Future Boards. I have two main boards that I’ve used over the past few years and they needed a make-over! I spent days focusing on the new version of my dream, one I could get fired up for again, one that scared me again, and then I looked for the perfect pictures to represent that life for my new boards. It’s crazy how much joy that exercise brings and how much I love looking at those pretty boards. I was feeling strong, empowered and focused again, in a way I hadn’t in a long time.   

3.  I got my hustle back: For the first time in forever, I chose every day to focus on my mantras and do something that would get me closer to my dream. I started blogging again, started interacting with readers again and quickly found the inspiration that I know is my true calling. When you don’t see anything happening, instead of quitting, start working harder and make them happen.  That’s exactly what I did. I made the video “Future Board Magic” one afternoon after being snowed in for days, and as soon as I was done, I played it for the kids, and all four of us got teary-eyed. And I knew right then this was something I needed people to see. So, yeah if you follow me on social media I’m sure you wanted to block me, but hey… that’s the hustle my friend. It’s getting out there putting in the work, every day; grinin’.

4. I faced the tough issues that blocked my happiness: Lastly I decided it was really time to address my love life, or lack there of. I knew that over the past five years since the end of my marriage I’d not ever had the type of committed relationship that I desire. But I was also afraid to dig deep and address the reasons why I was blocking that one last major manifestation. I opened my mind, to try and open my heart to at least the possibility, and I read an amazing book “Soulmate Secret“. I did every exersize it recommended and had breakthrough after breakthrough.  And then I made my first ever soul mate vision board… and released that true desire into the universe. I asked for help in fixing my issues with dating and men, and for help getting me ready when he does find me.

And then the flood gates began to open! It’s amazing to me how quickly the Hustle.Believe.Receive. works now… I’ve gotten closer to my dream in the last three weeks then the last three years combined. But looking back, I wasn’t ready for my dream to manifest until now. I’ve put in the work for years, fought past giving up more times then I can count, and now it’s happening. It’s amazing and crazy and I’m trying to take it all in…but it’s happening! I’m having that moment when you’re standing in the middle of your dream, only this time it’s reality.

If there’s one thing these last few months has taught me. it is this: NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE UP!! If you just keep pushing through the crapy parts, and the times you want to sink back into negative habits, and keep moving forward… YOU WILL LIVE YOUR DREAM. It will happen. Results will come, period. Period.

This is Joel’s “I am” sermon. It’s a MUST listen. This is the perfect step one to learning and applying the law of attraction. Change your “I am” all day long for a week straight and see what a massive difference it makes.




*Click HERE to pre-order my book #HustleBelieveReceive which gives my 8 steps to success to changing your life and living your dream. Not all “law of attraction” teaching works, in fact most don’t.  But over the last 5 years I’ve learned what does and how to quickly and easily apply it to get fast, life changing results. Learn more about my #HBRMethod for success.  

Divorce Hustle.Believe.Receive. Motivation & Inspiration My Stories Single Mom Life Vision Boards

#HBRMethod Success Story.

A text message changed my life. On the evening of September 7, 2008, I opened my husband’s cell phone while he was in the shower, to read: I can’t wait ’till you’re finally free and all mine. No more sharing. Those few words tore my world apart in an instant. 

I’d been with this man half my life, since we were sixteen years old. We had an eight-year marriage and shared three beautiful children, including twin girls just over a year old. We’d been through it all: buying our first home, then losing it in foreclosure; being overjoyed when I got pregnant with our second child, then devastated when I lost it six months into my pregnancy. I thought we’d seen everything, but this I never saw coming. 

I never saw it because everyone knew he loved me just a little bit more. They say in every relationship one person does that, loves the other more. The kids and I had always been his entire world. No part of me ever questioned that he’d jump in front of a train to save us if he had to. 

I was all he ever wanted. Until I wasn’t. 

I set his phone on the bathroom counter and without a second thought, threw open the shower curtain, turned off the water, and said; “Get the fuck out.” I watched him pull on his shorts in the hallway, still dripping wet, one leg and then the other as I pointed to the front door. He kissed our son goodbye, tossed his ring in my general direction, and walked out slamming the door behind him. 

He never came back. 

Things had not been perfect between us prior to that day, I can’t lie. We’d been struggling financially to the point of desperation for what felt like forever. We’d lost our home the year before and were forced into bankruptcy after our twins were born. Our life was in a noticeable negative tailspin. Losing everything we’d worked so hard to acquire had destroyed our pride and left us both feeling useless, helpless and miserable. I’d done everything I could think of to cut our budget and make it so we could pay the bills and still eat, but every month we fell further behind. 

On the day he left, I didn’t have five dollars to my name. Our electric, water and gas bills were all past due, with shutoff notices pending, and the rent was late. I hadn’t worked in over two years, and the economy was in the middle of a deep recession. The car title was in his name, as was our bank account. Overnight, I went from desperate to stranded and destitute, with no way to provide for my three small children. 

That night, I laid on the cold hardwood floor in our living room, my hair matted to the side of my head with tears that had finally run dry from my own dehydration. The only thought that floated in my semi-conscious brain was, “How the hell can I do this?” I’d tried so hard to think of a plan, anything, but nothing came, except that question over and over again. It seemed completely impossible. Yet somehow in that moment survival mode also kicked in, and with it came even more questions. Of course we’d have to move right away, but where? I didn’t have family who could take us in. And we’d need to sell everything we owned, but how? And I’d need a job, but doing what? And how could I afford to work when daycare would take up most of my salary?

All night these questions swirled in my head without answers. 

The sense of utter helplessness was all-consuming. I was no stranger to hard times. I’d grown up in extremely difficult circumstances and had struggled all my life. I already knew what it felt like to go hungry, to not have a roof over my head, or a bed to sleep in at night. But this was different. Being resilient and scrappy is fine when it’s just you. But when you have children to feed, it’s a new kind of panic that washes over you in overwhelming waves. In the past I had always relied on #TheHustle to get me through anything; it was comforting knowing that no matter what came at me, I would always “find a way.” But this time, I knew Hustle alone would not save me, and I had no bright ideas.  

In moments like these, I think we are faced with two options. We can give up, fall apart and disappear. Or we can fight. I knew I could never just give up, but I didn’t believe I had what it would take to fight. Not this time. 

That was about the time my girlfriend Charise walked in the door with her arms full of Costco boxes. She’d thought of everything: diapers and formula for the girls, dinner for the next week, and even enough cash to keep the electricity and water on. That is the moment that has defined my #RelentlessPursuit. That is the moment I Hustle and grind for. 

Something inside me snapped in that moment. A light went on, deep in my core, followed by a burning desire to never put myself or my children in this kind of position again. I made a promise to myself right then that I would not rely on anyone to provide for my family. I wouldn’t borrow money from family members; I wouldn’t beg for help. I would somehow pay my girlfriend back, and figure out how to handle my business on my own. Before I’d always just thought I was unlucky and entitled to what little help I’d ever received.  All my life I’d told myself this story, and believed it. Nothing good ever happens to me.  I work twice as hard as everyone else for half as much. That was my core belief. And as a result, that was my life.  No one ever told me that my life was the result of my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions. I believed that the only thing I could control was how hard I worked (#TheHustle), but that on its own left me feeling like I was drowning in quicksand, no matter how hard I worked, the results never showed. It took the catastrophe of that night, when my world collapsed in an instant, to spark within me a desire to drastically change my life. 

That week I sold everything we owned on Craigslist and filed for divorce. I took the money I made from our belongings to pay for first and last month’s rent on a really tiny, super-shitty two-bedroom apartment. I had just enough left over for one more month of rent and a few groceries. That was all the money I had in the world: I didn’t even have a bank account. My sister convinced me to get on food stamps, just until I got on my feet, and though I cried when the case worker took my story, I knew I had no choice. I applied for every job I could find, but interviews were few and far between. When the second month came and my rent money was gone, I sold my wedding rings on Craigslist for a fraction of their value; enough for one more month’s rent. When the women came to pick up my rings, she looked around our little apartment at my twins running around in their diapers and said, “I don’t want to know. Please don’t tell me the story.” She didn’t want my “bad luck” giving her new wedding rings negative juju. 

Things were certainly bleak, to put it mildly. It was terrifying, yet at the same time there was a new spark of hope deep inside me that wouldn’t go away. Now I was in control of my future, and that was a whole new way of thinking about what was possible for my life. I remembered an Oprah show I’d watched where she’d talked about changing your thoughts because they have the power to predict your future. I mentally traced my life back five, ten years, and realized that everything I worried about, feared and stressed about, had become my reality. That was a huge revelation for me. I saw it plain as day: I’d created all those “misfortunes.” I’d created that life. That was all the proof I needed of the tremendous power of my thoughts, even if it had only worked in a negative way up to that point. I knew I had nothing to lose, and the possibility of possibility brought hope in a way I’d never known before.

My book Hustle Believe Receive  is how I went from a newly single mom with nothing, relying on state aid to survive, to an executive of a software company in just eighteen months. It’s the story of how I manifested four vision boards in six years, and completely changed not only my life but my children’s. It’s how I went from living in a “poor me” world, to being a take-charge-of-my-future badass. It’s the tale of how I learned to dream HUGE and what it felt like to live out those dreams quicker, and bigger than I’d ever imagined, often without spending a dime of my own money! It’s how I learned to work smarter and not harder.  It’s how I Changed my Crew. And it’s the story of how, for the first time in my life I learned to truly be grateful, live a “pinch-me moment” kinda life, and how I found my joy. 

“Anything is possible child, anything can
–Shel Silverstein


*You can read all my posts about these events and all the others as I went through them in  real-time. Look on the left side of my blog and click the “archive” to read what I wrote as I faced these  challenges and celebrated these victories in 2009-and beyond


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