No More Toxic “Straw People”

Straw people aren’t good for your life…
They suck out of all your energy and faith. They take a lot out of you and drain you of your joy and enthusiasm.  They are “high maintenance.”

I’m sure you have experienced the negative effect when a straw person is on the phone with you or walks into the room.  They suck out all the air.  They leave you feeling empty, tense, guarded, bad, defeated, doubtful and sometimes even sick.  Straw people can be in your family or you work with them.  Learn how to love them from a distance.  Honor your boundaries to keep out any disrespect, abuse or manipulation.

Recognize when you are surrounded by straw people so you can adapt or take action to maintain your peace, faith, joy and enthusiasm.  Never give someone the power to steal your joy or speak negativity and limitation into your life.  Don’t allow anyone to take your kindness for weakness.

There is a time to be quiet and there is a time to speak up.  There is a time to endure and there is a time to draw the line.  Train people how to treat you by not allowing them to suck out all of your joy, peace, time, bank account, faith, confidence, success or self-esteem.

Make the effort to cultivate relationships which add to your life instead of taking away.  On  my CD I share the major types of “straw people” to avoid.  As you learn to discern who the straw types are in your life…

. you can begin to increase your experiences of peace, success, confidence, self-esteem, joy and faith.

. work, love, communicate and cope with difficult people

. or let go of the people who are toxic

This article is an excerpt from the motivational CD “How to Let Go of the Straw People” by the The Self-esteem Dr. Jewel Diamond Taylor.

get your copy of this powerful CD, or call 323.964.1736 or e-mail

Thinking out loud – Gratitude

I felt God blessing me this morning.  I’m grateful.  I hear the birds outside my window singing.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive. I’m still here.  What was bothering me yesterday has disappeared.  I’m listening God.  What is my assignment today?  What should I write?  Who should I call?  Who should I help today?  I’m available.  I want to pass any test of my patience, faith and courage.   I’m taking back my joy.  I’m letting go of the worries.  I trust you God.  You are awesome.  I surrender all.  I am blessed in spite of my stress and challenges.  I see clearly that today is what matters.  I’m alive.  I’m grateful.  I’m breathing.  I’m still here.  I love you.  Thank you for being a shield for me and my family.  Thank for you for your mercy, guidance, protection, provision, peace and the wonderful people in my life called family, friends, clients and customers. Bless those seeking your loving kindness.  Bless the hurting, homeless, hugless and hungry people.

Resist Apathy – Read the Promises of God

   Feeling empty inside, feeling powerless and stuck,  no passion for life, no  direction, spiritually empty, feeling ordinary, feeling alone and no relief from the relentless demands from family, financial stress and unexpected setbacks?  These emotional states are dangerous signs indicating you need help, resiliency, relief, restorative prayer, purpose and hope. When life is not moving the way you wish and your discouragement is turning into indifference and your faith has turned into “What’s the useI don’t care anymore”…. that is apathy… a cancer in the mind.

     When I feel myself slipping into a “whatever” state of mind, an alarm goes off in my head and spirit.  The alarm is snapping me out of the dark and heavy feelings.  The spirit of the living God within me sometimes whispers and sometimes nudges me to get up.  I’m reminded that I am not being punished…but pushed to a greater level of faith, courage, action, understanding and strength.

Your apathetic thoughts can take you in the wrong direction.  Turn them around.  Fight for your life.  Shift happens and life can change without your permission.  Get your joy back.  Bounce back. You’ve come to far to give up now.

Navigate your way to a new path of encouragement, restoration, courage, purpose, focus and action. Be flexible and adapt.  Learn from your past.  Communicate with those who are critical to your turnaround. Count your blessings.  Exercise, walking and any kind of body movement will help you.  Listen to some inspiring music or inspirational personal development CD messages.  Call a friend.  Open up the windows.  Shake the dust off your feet.  Distance yourself from the people who bring drama and negativity into your life.  Study God’s word and promises.  Feed your faith by reviewing the following promises of God…

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5,6

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youth will become weak and tired,and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Proverbs 1:33

But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”  John 14:27

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Romans 10:9

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

by Jewel Diamond Taylor, aka “The Success Navigator.”

To order the CD “Get Your Life Back” click here

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F.A.I.T.H. – Change the channel

remote control
  It is fruitless to blame, wait or just hope change will happen in your life.   You will either make positive changes in your life from pain or pleasure. Change yourself becauselife does not come with a remote control. Change is a process.  Change the channel in your mind from “poor me” to “I can do it.”  Change the channel from doom and gloom to optimism.  Change the channel from lack and limitation to possibilities.  Turn down the volume of negative and limiting thoughts and turn up the volume of “Ain’t no stoppin’ me now.”

 this is an excerpt from the book “I’m Tired But Still Inspired to Press On”

      Change can be beneficial to your well-being.  Think about those areas in your life of pain, frustration, regrets and desires. Now make a decision and follow up with action to begin making changes.  Say out loud… “If it’s going to be…it’s up to me.”



You may not see right now how you’re going to make it another day.  Depend on God.  You may not understand why people can’t or won’t always be there for you when you’re going through bad times.   When you are tired, remain inspired by God’s word…  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” ~ Proverbs 3:5

Top 10 Leadership Secrets Learned from Being a Mother

Many of the successful strategies I have learned, applied and shared in my leadership seminars are lessons I learned from being a mother.

1.   God blessed me and my husband with two wonderful sons.  My sons are extremely different in their personalities.  I had to learn as a parent how to communicate and motivate them in different ways.  I learned to understand their communication style and what things triggered their moods, desires, obedience and best results.  Motivation is NOT one size fits all.  People are different and need different styles of leading, loving and influencing.  People respond to the personal touch.  Find out what is unique about the people you work with, serve, love and lead. 

2. The parent is supposed to be the mature one and not lose his/her cool with your young ones.  As a Mom I had to learn to exercise emotional intelligence whenever my sons were immature, disobedient, disappointed us or made bad choices.  I had to be careful not to make radical and hasty decisions or say things I would later regret because I was hot with anger or hurt and caught up in the moment.  A good leader doesn’t do or say stupid things.  A good leader practices emotional intelligence and self-control. We have to lead and influence by example, not by emotionally exploding.

3. When you have more than one child, it is critical and challenging not to show favoritism at times.  You may have a child that is excelling in school academically or in sports or a child who always exhibits good behavior.  You may have a child who is sick or physically challenged.  You may have a child who is flexible and shows you more affection than your other children.  Children mature at different levels and in different ways.  Showing favoritism is not good.  Make an honest attempt to acknowledge even the ones on your team, workforce, or family who are not meeting your expectations.  People act out and scream for attention in interesting ways.  If they are ignored and feel invisible, you could be setting yourself up for some rebellious, sabotaging and undesirable behavior that will affect and cost everyone eventually.

4.  In hindsight I see that I had an “S” on my chest for SuperMom.  I should have delegated more to my sons.  I learned a lesson about empowering others with responsibility, even if they make a mistake or don’t do it my way.  We enable people in a negative way if we do not practice shared responsibility.  I had to learn how to step back as they grew and not micro-manage their lives.  A mother will teach her children how to serve others and not always expect to be served and rescued.  A good leader will teach their team how to serve others (i.e. customer service, community, church, co-workers, etc.)  Learn to empower by delegating.  Avoid burnout.  Develop future leaders by delegating duties, not dumping.  

5.  Of course children love money and allowances.  I learned that praise and acknowledgement of good deeds and achievements goes a long way.  I love planting seeds of appreciation and praise when my sons would speak or act in positive ways.  I wanted them to know that I was proud of them.  Praise builds confidence and self-esteem.  Money gives a momentary pleasure.  Praise goes a long way to improve performance and relationships.  Of course people always appreciate getting an increase in money…a raise.  Remember the importance also of sincere acknowledgement by adding one letter to the word raise…you get PRAISE… and you will see a positive difference in performance and teamwork.  Love and appreciation are great motivators!  Oh yeah, this works in marriages also 🙂

6.  My parents divorced when I was 7 yrs old. I recall my Father, who lived in Washington D. C., visiting my sisters and I in California.  During those visits my Father promised my sisters and me several times that he was going to take us to Disneyland.  It never happened.  As a child I made a promise to myself that when I became a parent I would never break promises to my children.  As an imperfect adult parent I’m sure there were times I disappointed my sons, but never intentionally or carelessly.  Keep your promises. Don’t overextend or over promise others just to make yourself look good.  Your integrity is key to effective persuasion and leadership.  Be a leader that others can trust and depend on.  

7.  Parents make mistakes.  I believe parenting is one the hardest jobs I’ll ever have.  You learn as you go.  Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t.  When you really care about your loved ones; you strive to get better, you keep the lines of communication open, you learn to forgive, you learn to ask for help, you learn more from your children, you learn to focus and sacrifice willingly, you learn to manage your time, money and emotions, you learn that they are watching you, you learn that leading them is a great and rewarding responsibility, you learn that you have to make tough decisions that are not always popular, you learn to pray, you learn the importance of seeking their ideas, you learn to adapt and accept what you can’t control, you learn it’s important to teach them what you know in order to leave a legacy…you learn and you learn.  I think all of these learning lessons apply to leading a company, team, church, etc.  Leaders will make mistakes.  Keep learning.  Be open to support and feedback.  Be willing to take a stand when it’s for the good of the whole.

8.  Being a mother taught me to be flexible and a multi-tasker. I had to be an out-of-the-box thinker, resilient and be creative with the budget, decorating, cooking and problem solving. I had to learn how check homework, cook, take them to school, nurse them when they were sick, go to their open house at school, PTA, football games and go to my full-time job.  As a mother you often burn the midnight oil after everyone else is sleeping (i.e. folding clothes, cleaning, preparing children’s things for the next day, your own homework, working on your goals, etc.) Changes happen everyday with children.  While my sons were young my greatest grief and losses happened when my Mother, Mother-in-law, Father-in-law, Father, and my best friend died.  I couldn’t stop my life to grieve.  My grandmothers passed before I had children.  My mother and mother-in-law passed away while my sons were very young.  So I had very little mentoring and support from wise women. I learned to reach out to other mothers on how to be a good mother for sons.  I grew up with all females and no brothers.  So parenting boys was very foreign to me.   I had on-the-job training and I’m sure I made many mistakes. The demands and duties of motherhood did not stop.  Shift happened and I had to still be emotionally available for my children.  I had to know how to prioritize and focus on the most important things.  I couldn’t make excuses and go to bed early just because I was tired.  I had to give my 100% because my children were depending on me.  The buck stops with the leader.  No excuses.  Great leaders are students always seeking knowledge and better ways to develop their team/employees/staff/church. A great leader acknowledges their weaknesses and their strengths.  A leader puts in more hours planning, working, and preparing for future projects while the team/employees have clocked out.  To whom much is given, much is required.  Prioritize and yet be flexible and resilient because shift happens.  People are depending on you (employees, staff, team, church members, etc.)

9.  My constant mantra then and now with my sons is to remember the family is a team.  In order to survive and thrive, we must communicate with each other.  We must have a prayer life.  We must stick together.  When one falls, we must there for the other.  We must respect each other’s differences.  We have a family business (TaylorMade Limo and Sedan Service).  So this mindset is something we drill down for the family as well as for the business.  Every leader must have a standard, vision, mission and motto to keep their team together and moving forward.  Every leader should prepare those coming after them and mentor them for advancement.  There is no letter ” i ” in the word “team.”

10.  When my sons go through the seasons and challenges of life, I have always been there to  encourage them.  Whether life was beating them up or they were suffering from their own choices, I never give up on them.   It hurts a parent to see their children discouraged. A good leader knows how to build morale in the midst of adversity. A good leader knows how to inspire their team in and out of season.  When sales are down or the congregation is slow in building or a team is losing or your child is living below their potential, the leader encourages and boosts morale to have hope and a plan for the future.   A good leader keeps optimism and a vision for the future alive.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Henry Ford

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When God is Silent


“Do you remember taking tests in school and/or college?  Do you remember how quiet the room was?  Do you remember how the teacher would seat quietly at his/her desk saying nothing!  Did your teacher ever walk around the room looking over the shoulders of the students to see how they were doing?  Do you remember sitting in your seat staring at the problem feeling stuck, stupid, stressed, overwhelmed and unprepared?  Did you ever think to yourself, “This test is unfair?”

I believe as adults we have tests of life.  We are all students at the “The University of Adversity.” Our honesty is tested.  Our loyalty is tested.  Our faith is tested.  Our patience is tested.  Our character is tested.  Our love is tested. Our leadership and parenting are tested.  Our marriages are tested.  Our promises and commitments are tested.  Our compassion for others is tested. Our self-control is tested.  Our ability to let go and move forward is being tested.  Our ability to forgive is being tested.  Our self-esteem is tested.  Our trust in God is tested.  I think that maybe God is quiet and watching to see if we are prepared and ready.

You may be going through a test right now and thinking God is silent and forsaking you.  You may be sitting in life’s waiting room waiting for a breakthrough. The silence maybe frightening (i.e. what will I do?…help me God…I don’t know the answer!).  God’s word says, “Be still and know that I AM God.”  I think we give up too soon when are going through a test of our faith.  Our mind plays tricks on us and we think we are all alone and that God does not care or God is taking too long to help us figure out our mess and our problems.  God is watching.  Don’t give up.  Pass your test of endurance, faith and temptation.  Do the right thing.  You are smarter than you think.”

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-12)


Today’s Monday Motivation message is an excerpt from the CD “The 12 Seats in God’s Waiting Room”  by Jewel Diamond Taylor

Depression: 12 Ways to Heal

I’m personally familiar with the emotional cloud of depression.  It has been triggered by:

. grief (losing my parents and other loved ones)

. menopause hormonal changes

. being self-employed brings it’s own set of financial challenges in this recession climate

.working through personal struggles, ups and downs that marriage and parenting brings,

. regrets and disappointments when opportunities did not come through,

. self-esteem issues from comparing one’s life from media pressure and society’s

standards of what success, beauty and achievement should be.

I have conquered some of those inner demons and yet it is an on-going process to keep my mind, focus, gratitude and faith in check.   I’m very passionate about helping others win the battle of depression and low self-esteem because I know the painful cost and despair that can consume your life if you can’t cope with life’s inevitable shifts, seasons, loss and disappointments.  Below are 12 steps I have found to be helpful to cope with depression.  Of course, if you or someone you know has chronic depression, it’s important to seek medical attention.  It’s also important to do your own research on the health supplements I suggest, because everything is not for everyone.

1.  Watching the news can easily trigger feelings of stress and depression. We have an overload of exposure and information.  Some of it is informative but a continuous diet of the news increases anger, worry, anxiety or fear which releases excessive levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenalin, throughout your body.  You can become depressed and overwhelmed unless you learn to balance it out with some humor and entertainment.

2.  Practice Self-Compassion by understanding and forgiving yourself for failing to pass a test or interview, an angry outburst, overeating, etc. Do you find it easy to forgive others, but you can’t forgive yourself from your past blunders or choices?  Beating yourself up, punishing yourself, denying yourself, criticizing yourself or hurting yourself with addictions is so self-destructive!  The past has passed.  Get busy setting new goals for yourself.  Discover joy and hope for your future.  Give thanks for the present and let go of the past.  If a relationship has ended and depression is consuming your energy and self-worth, read my book “Love Smart With Your Heart: Desperation is a Terrible Perfume to Wear.”

3.  Talk it out.  Don’t isolate and disconnect from your family, friends, church or any source of comfort and wisdom.  Answer your phone when others are checking in on you. Find a good church to feed your faith.  Be accountable to someone so you won’t slip into darkness.  I see too often how pride, depression, shame and fear cause people to hide and disconnect.  The more you isolate, the more the enemy of depression plays tricks on your mind.   Feeling invisible, hopeless, lonely, confused and overwhelmed will only escalate if you disconnect from the important people in your life.  Connect with people who can inspire, encourage, support and mentor you.  Their positive energy can be a healthy influence.  Guard your heart and mind from the complainers, critics and negative thinkers.  Connect with those whose faith can lift your faith.  One of the most important things you can do is to communicate your feelings to someone, or to a group of people, going through similar experiences. Then engage in caring about them and offering emotional support. This especially helps to reopen the heart, which increases your fortitude and emotional balance. Whether you laugh together or cry together, there is often tremendous beneficial release.  You will discover that you are not alone.  Let go of pride and come out of any cave of isolation, sleep, addiction, pity-party or stinkin’ thinkin’.  Communicate and negotiate with your bill collectors.  Avoidance, denial and resentment about your finances only increases your stress and depression.  Taking positive action to resolve your financial issues will be a boost to your self-esteem, faith and courage.  Whether your depression is caused by unemployment or weight/image issues, take proactive steps, one step at a time…one day at a time to break the stronghold of depression.

4.  Walk it out. Move your body. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins, which act like natural anti-depressants.  Take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day — or dance, jog, or bike if you prefer. People who are depressed may not feel much like being active. But make yourself do it anyway (ask a friend to exercise with you if you need to be motivated). Once you get in the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a difference in your mood.  Go dancing, try zumba classes, yoga, swimming, etc.  Play some upbeat or soothing music.  Listen to gospel inspirational music to activate your faith! The right music can be therapuetic for your soul.  Just don’t play any sad music or love songs that open up your heart wounds.  If you are in need of job, get moving.  Don’t allow depression to keep you paralyzed in fear.Start walking by faith, not be sight.  Pray with your feet, not just your hands.  If you’re depressed about your weight, walk it out.  Burn up those calories.  Depression slows down your metabolism.  Being active will help you emotionally and physically.

5.  Never skip a meal – Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings.  Consume carbohydrates from fruits and whole grains, as these types of carbohydrates are less likely to cause blood sugar (and energy and mood levels) to rapidly spike and drop. Incorporating these “good carbs” into every meal will keep energy and serotonin levels going throughout the day and help you avoid a mood “crash” after meals.

6.  Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels. If you need an energy boost, supplement with L-Tyrosine (500 – 1000 mg).

7. Detox your mind from comparing, complaining and criticism.  Do you feel relaxed, burnout, happy, rushed, thirsty, starving, exhausted or in need of a good stretch? Ignoring your bodily needs keeps your energy and awareness trapped inside your head.  Long slow gentle breaths brings oxygen into your lungs, blood stream and brain relaxing the body and mind.  Notice when you are obsessing on negative thoughts…forgive yourself…you are a creature of habit.  A big source of depression comes from not getting what we want and expect in life.  Comparing yourself to others will trigger depression.  Criticizing yourself will trigger depression.  Complaining about your circumstances or about what you don’t have will trigger depression.  Monitor your habitual thinking, notice what triggers them and realize comparing, criticizing and complaining are unhealthy for you..then you are on your way to lifting the cloud of depression.  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2)

8. Life is more enjoyable when you live in the moment.  Depression comes from either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  Take a deep breath.  Look around you.  Bring your attention to the present moment.  By learning to live in the present moment we are able to release any longing or wistfulness for the past, or worry or anticipation about the future.

9. Accept that life brings suffering, loss.  Just like the happy times in life come to an end, so do the bad times, which is why we need to accept the impermanence of life.  Work through the pain, because the reward is waiting for you further down the road. Life is made of seasons, cycles and dips. Every new project (or job, or hobby, relationship or business, idea) starts out exciting and fun.  Dips, ups, downs and shift happens in life.  If you resist or resist change, it will trigger depression.  Life is magical,mysterious, crazy, unpredictable, sweet, sour, wonderful and scary.  Read my book Shift Happens

10.  Help others – volunteer– this takes your attention off your situation and stress.  Helping the hurting, the homeless, the hugless and the hungry will put your life into perspective. Instead of seeking comfort and relief for yourself…comfort others with acts of kindness.  Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times. Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.

11. Gratitude – count your blessings.  Depression is a set up to make you give up.  Depression is a dark enemy that kills and destroys your health, peace, relationships, faith, purpose and joy. Be grateful to God. Focus on the people who have helped you, not the ones who have hurt you.  Give thanks for the small things in life.  Don’t overlook the ordinary blessings by seeking the extraordinary temporary buzzes of happiness.  Show appreciation, expression and kindness to those around you.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

12. The following are supplements I take to reduce depression and increase my wellness.

a.) St. John’s Wort  has long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness, and poor sleep. Today, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John’s wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects.  Studies suggest that St. John’s wort is not effective for major depression. St. John’s wort is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.

b) Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of good fat needed for normal brain function. Our bodies can’t make omega-3s on their own, so we must obtain them through our diet.  Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are the richest food source of omega-3 fatty acids. But instead of eating more fish which contain mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals, fish oil capsules are considered a cleaner source of omega-3 fatty acids. Many companies filter their fish oil so that these chemicals are removed.

c) SAM-e  pronounced “sammy”, is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine. It’s a chemical that’s found naturally in the human body and is believed to increase levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.  Several studies have found SAM-e is more effective than placebo.

d) Folic Acid is a B vitamin that is often deficient in people who are depressed.  Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruit, beans, and fortified grains. It’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet but also because chronic conditions and various medications such as aspirin and birth control pills can also lead to deficiency.  Besides food, folic acid is also available as a supplement or as part of a B-complex vitamin.

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