Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tip#108: Push Your Comfort Zone - Hitch

There is an interesting fact about water when it is pushed beyond a certain temperature. At 211° water is hot. At 212° it boils and transforms into steam. That steam can then power a locomotive! That one degree of difference is a fantastic metaphor for you to push through your fears.

I always see powerful transformations with participants in every workshop I give. Pushing their comfort zones is what I encourage especially in my "Make Connections" programs for building self-confidence and people skills. One of these programs is one I've already discussed in the previous 2 tips called "Improve Your Social Interactions" geared towards singles at the Royal Ontario Museum.

I recently completed the latest 4 session course and we debriefed our on location session at a live singles event where my students applied their interaction lessons with new people. There was one student at the start of the evening who was petrified at being there. I let her know that I was proud of her for mustering up the courage for actually showing up. It was a big accomplishment and it was important for her to drink in that personal breakthrough. Later I was so happy to see that she stayed the entire evening and was mingling among the huge crowd of over 180 people.


The fears I see in people at these singles event and any other social event reminded me of the movie, Hitchstarring Will Smith as the title character. He plays a matchmaker called the "date doctor" who helps men with techniques for dating women they genuinely liked. In the end he helped them push their comfort zones that always resulted in building their self-confidence.

A perfect example is how he helps one man, played by Kevin James, who is very socially awkward. Through Hitch's coaching he tries new options for expressing himself to the woman he loves. There are scenes he is clearly pushing his comfort zones and struggling with his self-confidence. Though these scenes are very humorous there is obviously an inner pain he is overcoming that anyone can identify with.

Ultimately he pushes through and wins his girl's heart. It's an inspiration to push your own boundaries for expressing your needs and desires. It takes time and practice but eventually you will accomplish your goals.

Movie Mirrors

Did I see myself in Will Smith's character? In a lot of ways the answer is yes. Here was a man who was an expert in meeting new people and provided a service to help others do the same and with confidence. And yet he was still learning to overcome his challenges when it came to women he truly cared for.

This was another great movie mirror for me to confirm that I am on the right track with my life and career and will find my own true love. I know it will happen and I will continue to push my own comfort zones to achieve this dream.

Transform Your Old Self

So remember that it takes that one courageous action for you to transform your old self into the confident self you dream of becoming. Remember that transformational point of just one degree where water turns into steam. That's the point you can overcome your existing boundaries.

And remember that steam is powerful enough to move a locomotive. To empower your own locomotive all you have to do is push through the invisible barriers in your mind. Remember the only one holding you back is you.

"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais nin

Topic: How To Press Play When You're Stuck On Pause
When: Saturday, Dec 1st, 5:45pm
Where: Inspired Life Wellness Centre, Toronto Canada
More info: Click Here

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tip#107: Do the Opposite - Seinfeld - The Nutty Professor

The fear of facing certain people is like being caught in an endless loop of the same unwanted results. You feel frightened, stressful and helpless. The trick is to get so sick and tired of this pattern that you are willing to try dramatic methods to feel more confident and create better results.

Facing fears when meeting new people can be a big obstacle for some. I see this all the time with individuals that take my workshops for developing their self-confidence and people skills. That's why I congratulate them for just showing up! At my course called "Improve Your Social Interactions" offered at the Royal Ontario Museum, I see this fear a little more amplified because the workshop is geared towards singles.

During the 4 session course I get to see many of my students transform into brave souls who have challenged their old ways of thinking and courageously pushed their comfort zones. The program first has them practice their interactions in a classroom setting and then we all go to an actual singles event to apply the teachings.

Students ultimately learn to focus on the hidden opportunities in meeting new people rather then focusing on their fears or weaknesses. In a lot of ways they learn to do the opposite of what they have always done in the past.


I love a memorable episode of Seinfeldcalled 'The Opposite' that is humorous as well as inspiring. In the show George Costanza has a major revelation and decides that every decision that he has ever made has been wrong and resolves to do the complete opposite of what he would normally do. He suddenly begins to experience good luck, getting a girlfriend, moving out of his parents' house, and even landing a job with the New York Yankees.

There is a moment in the episode when Costanza faces loud movie theatre patrons making a ruckus. Normally he would ignore them, cower and say nothing. But Costanza is now doing the opposite of what he'd normally do and turns confidently to the troublemakers and shouts:

"Shut your mouths or I'll shut 'em for ya! And if you think I'm kidding, just try me. Try me! Because I would love it!"

The Nutty Professor

Another inspiring example is Sherman Klump in the film, The Nutty Professor. Played by Eddie Murphy, Professor Klump is introduced to us as very obese, shy and brilliant yet with very low self-esteem. So when he is finally tired of his appearance and inability to express himself to the woman he loves Klump decides to drink a formula he created to alter his DNA.

Klump is transformed into his opposite self naming himself Buddy Love. He is self-confidence, very assertive, witty and sporting a sleek, trim, handsome appearance. He is then able to express himself to the woman he cares for and to stand up for himself with others he normally couldn't with before.

So face your fears and try new options for creating better results in your life. Let Klump and Costanza inspire you to do the opposite of what you would normally do when facing others. Get tired of your initial behavioural patterns and tap into your confident alter-ego.

Push your comfort zones and unleash that hidden self-confidence that's dormant inside you. Release your assertive energy so you can always communicate your needs and desires any time you want!

Topic: How To Press Play When You're Stuck On Pause
When: Saturday, Dec 1st, 5:45pm
Where: Inspired Life Wellness Centre, Toronto Canada
More info: Click Here

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tip#106: Dreams & Goals Are Magic Seeds - Superman Returns

Picture a giant redwood tree and then remember it once came from a tiny seed. That is how your dreams and goals start out. They are magical seeds. And when you see the evidence of how a redwood tree can end up so huge then imagine what your own dream seeds can become over time.

I am currently completing my 6th personal development course I offer at the Royal Ontario Museum called Improve Your Social Interactions. It's now 2 years since I started facilitating this life skills program and it has grown in popularity and success. It's gotten to the point where it is selling out sooner and faster and waiting lists need to be created for the next set of workshops.

The ROM itself has grown during this same time period with its new building addition looking like a crystal growing right out of the building. In fact that's what it is called, The Crystal. It feels like a powerful metaphor for the growth of my workshop programs and my exciting career as a motivator.

It's amazing to look back and see that my dream for offering my motivational courses 2 years ago began with me writing my ideas down on a piece of paper. My ideas were the seeds for my goal of wanting a successful career based on my passion for energizing others. And I have always pictured my services being an international success. Movies have always helped me to visualize these big possibilities.

Superman Returns

Recently I watched Superman Returnsstarring newcomer Brandon Routh as the man of steel. In the film Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor, played by Kevin Spacey, planned to grow a new continent under his control. He attempts this through highly advanced crystals from Superman's homeworld of Krypton. To explain what he is about to do he describes a simple analogy.

He says the small crystal he was holding may seem insignificant but so is the seed of a redwood tree.

If you have seen the size of redwood trees you can understand what can grow from a tiny seed. Redwood trees can grow in heights of 200 to 350 feet and can have a trunk 5 to 7 feet in diameter.

So picture that image of a tree seed that becomes breathtakingly massive. See the living proof of what can grow over time. Have no doubt that there is evidence all around you that big achievements start out from something tiny.

See your own goals and dreams as tiny seeds that can grow into enormous successes. Picture your success growing as big as a redwood tree. Picture your seeds of ideas growing right out of your old life like the crystal building of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Remember to care and nurture your seeds and ideas like a precious plant. Water it with shining optimism and unshakeable belief. Keep believing in your dream's potential and know that it will take time to grow. Learn to enjoy the process and you will enjoy every step of creating the future you want.

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tip#105: Be Unstoppable With Your Passion - Legally Blonde

People who laugh at you can be hurtful.They could crush your self-confidence but only if you let them. So it is important to maintain your belief in who you are no matter who tries to attack you.

In any career you choose there will be people who won't see the value of your strengths or skills. People also get rejected from people they wanted to be friends with or from jobs they've applied for.

In my current career as a motivational speaker there have been individuals and potential employers I've come across who couldn't or wouldn't see the value of my style of motivating. And some were individuals still locked in their old impression of my previous career as an illustrator. They didn't want me to change. They had pigeon holed me and couldn't see beyond it.

Thankfully there were other people and organizations that saw my value and just "got" what I am all about. They could feel my passion for my work and for helping others and this passion was contagious. They believed in me because I believed in myself!

Legally Blonde (2001)

In the comedy film, Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon plays Elle, who is seen at the start for being judged as a stereotypical dumb blonde who only lives for clothes shopping. It is quickly established that beyond her quirky personality she is not a push over and is an obvious expert in fashion and beauty tips.

Shopping and fashion is Elle's passion and her self-confidence comes from this. As she pursues her goal of attending law school at Harvard she is subjected to ridicule for her bubbly, optimistic personality and "Barbie doll" behaviour. And despite all the negative people and attitude around her Elle perseveres and begins to demonstrate natural skills for becoming a successful lawyer.

When Elle is given her moment to shine in a courtroom to cross examine a key witness she first displays nervousness and uncertainty in her lack of professional experience. However her self-confidence comes through when she realizes she can apply her passion and knowledge in fashion and beauty to win the case. Not only does she win the case but she won the respect of all the non-believers around her.

Elle is an excellent movie hero for inspiring young women everywhere. She embodies the leadership qualities of passion, perseverance, courage, resilience, team spirit and indestructible optimism!

Inspiring Themes: 
• Courage
• Self-Confidence
• Having a Vision
• Following a Passion
• Persistence & Perseverance
• Resilience
• Leadership
• Strategic Thinking
• Supportive Relationships
• Indestructible Optimism

So remember to do your best to be who you are. Be unstoppable with your passion. Stand your ground with your personal interests no matter how many people try to put you down. Don't listen to anyone laughing at you. And remember that you will find supportive people. They will feel your passion and want to be a part of it. Just keep doing what you love doing. It will feed your self-confidence and overflowing belief in yourself!

"I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law -- and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself."
Legally Blonde (2001)

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tip#104: It’s Never Too Late - Space Cowboys

Real life heroes...

Some people believe they're too old to make significant changes in their life or career. They think that age dictates what they can or cannot do. The truth is that it is never too late.

Some individuals I come across in my workshops feel they're too old to follow their passions. I just smile and assure them it is never too late to do what you dream of doing or to transform limiting mindsets. All you have to do is look around to see examples of real-life heroes who have proven that there is always time for a positive life change.

For example in May 2007 a 95-year-old woman became the world's oldest college graduate. Nola Ochs, who began taking college classes for more than 30 years at the University in Kansas, graduated with a degree in history. After graduation, she planned "to seek employment on a cruise ship, going around the world as a storyteller."

Also in May 2007 a 69-year-old climber reached Mt. Everest peak. Werner Berger, of Newmarket Ontario, realized his dream and became the oldest North American to scale seven summits. Part of Berger's secret is he kept visualizing himself on the top of the world — and soon it was reality.

Another inspiring example is astronaut John Glenn who, in 1998 and at the age 77, became the oldest living person to fly into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. This inspired the script for Clint Eastwood's movie, Space Cowboys.

In Space Cowboysfour hotshot test pilots from 1958 are given the chance to fly a space shuttle 40 years later. The film shows the challenges they face with others judging them for their age and their physical limitations in their 60's and 70's. But their passion prevails and they gain the respect from their younger colleagues through their actions of courage, integrity and perseverance.

Other motivating movies...

Rocky Balboa
Sylvester Stallone wrote, starred and directed this powerful finale to the Rocky series. The movie addresses the many issues that come up about aging and following one's heart. In the end Rocky follows his dream in his late 50's by not focusing on how things looked to other people.

Live Free or Die Hard
Bruce Willis proves that his action star skills are alive and well in this fourth film in the Die Hardmovie series. Though over 20 years since the original movie, Willis's character demonstrates inspiring resilience both physically and mentally.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
As of this writing Harrison Ford is currently filming the fourth chapter in the Indiana Jonesmovie series. When the film is released in 2008 it will be 27 years since the first movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I'm sure that Ford and his enduring character will inspire everyone that it is never too late to be a motivating action figure.


Finally, there is one other hero that inspires me and that is my dad. My dad, at the age of 65, was a recently retired architect. And yet his passion for working and helping others fueled him to train himself in the computer field and apply for a new profession. My dad passed away unexpectedly just after one interview. The irony is that my mom received a call the day before my dad's funeral that he had got the job.

My dad never thought it was never too late to do anything.

So remember that if your passion within you is yearning to be released then do something about it. Let real life heroes and movie heroes inspire you to achieve your goals at any time and at any age. Let these heroes help you visualize where you want to be and what you want to be doing.

Remember your passion is your fuel. Be the action hero of your own life and grab hold of your dreams! There's no time like the present.

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tip#103: Re-Energize The Meditative Way - 3 Movie Tips

There are many ways to energize yourself when you feel stuck. Some methods are based on jumpstarting your engine like a car. While others are so gentle that it's easy to dismiss them.

When I feel stuck for ideas I always know my mind will flow when I take a shower. I love taking showers for this reason. I imagine the hot water washing away the blocks in my mind as I enjoy the encompassing warmth all over me. I can feel the stress leaving me and washing down the drain.

It's as if I have cleared space in my mind and new ideas can come pouring in through the top of my head. Sometimes I wish I had a waterproof pen and paper so I can write down the great ideas that come through me in the shower! There have been many times when I've rushed out wet to make notes on my computer.

Washing dishes can have a similar meditative effect on clearing your mind. Going for a short walk can also have powerful results in separating yourself from built up stress. Thankfully certain movies can do the trick too. Here are some mainstream movies I enjoy that have a meditative effect to take me away from reality for awhile.

The Black Stallion

The movie The Black Stallionis about a little boy who becomes shipwrecked with a wild Arabian stallion. It's a magical movie of how they become friends. The island sequences when they are alone have little dialogue and it lets you drink in the lush surroundings and peaceful air. Just thinking about this movie brings a soothing breeze through my mind as I write this.

Cast Away

Cast Awayis another movie about a shipwrecked person played by Tom Hanks. This film is similar to The Black Stallionas there is little dialogue during the scenes on the deserted island. In fact there is no music throughout the main character's stay on the island. This effect can really help put you into the movie experience and separate yourself from whatever stress is happening in your life.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonis one of many films from China that are filled with meditative sequences. What stands out is that these powerful scenes combine the beauty of martial arts as if it were ballet. There is a breathtaking fight sequence that defies gravity high atop a sea of swaying bamboo trees. Another recommendation is the richly colourful movie, 'Hero' starring Jet Li.

So when you are feeling stuck remember the gentle option of doing an everyday meditative activity. Take a shower or luxurious bath to wash your stress away. Take a walk around your block where there are green trees and the sounds of birds or a breeze to seed a new rhythm into your mind. Take a moment to think of the other gentle re-energizing activities you can do in your own home.

And discover the power of a movie that could help take you away for an hour or two. Find movies that are meditative and soothing to your soul. Let the film's sights and sounds take you out of yourself. Soak yourself in the music and ideas of the story that unfolds.

And when you return from your mini vacation of whatever break you choose you will be ready and excited to move through your life again.

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tip#102: Are You A Worrier Or A Warrior? - 300

The act of worrying can waste precious time and energy. And yet it could be a behavioral process that we have grown accustomed to for years and cannot break. The great news is that you can break this loop of behaviour. You just have to first choose if you are going to be a worrier or warrior.

Recently I found myself in an unexpected state of worrying about a decision I had to make about a series of workshops I'd been planning. I was overloaded with projects at the time and couldn't focus. A deadline for committing to specific dates for these workshops was fast approaching and I needed to make choices. I could feel trapped in some sort of loop.

So I stepped back from what I was currently working on and reminded myself that I am in control of my life.

First Step

That was the first step in breaking out of the worrier loop. I chose to be a warrior rather than a worrier and looked at the silver lining of my situation. I chose to see it as a gift though I couldn't see the shape of it yet.

Second Step

The second step was to use the law of attraction and put out an etheric email to the universe asking for help and guidance. I pictured myself feeling good that the ideal person would come to give me the ideal advice.

Third Step

On the day I had to make my decision about the workshops I felt a strong gut feeling to call up a specific friend and ask their opinion. That was the third step, recognizing signs and clues. It was like receiving an etheric email back from this person to contact them in the flesh! So all I had to do was act on it.

Fourth Step

The fourth step was acting on the sign or clues you received. So I called and synchronistically got this person immediately on the phone and I told her my situation. The answers I got was to let go of my original workshop dates and reschedule for the new year to give myself more time to enjoy the process. A soothing breeze washed through my soul! I felt lighter! I had been putting incredible pressure on myself and it all lifted when she gave me that simple advice. I just had to let go of my original goals.

The gift in this situation reminded me that no matter what appeared as an obstacle that I was always in control of my life. Yes, at first I had slipped into a worrier pose but eventually I was able to remember my warrior pose. It just takes conscious training to make this the default behaviour at any given time.

300The Movie

This situation reminded me of the movie, 300a visually rich and artistic version of the historical Spartan battle with the Persian army. The Spartan army were bred and trained at childhood to win. They were conditioned to be fearless and be relentlessly assertive. Failure was not an option.

The soldiers would grow up with a warrior mentality with strategic values for watching each other's backs. Even the Spartan women are portrayed as strong-willed and fearless. If you want to inspire your inner warrior for being assertive and being in control of your life I recommend viewing this visually stimulating film.

So even if your current default behaviour causes you to worry about situations know that you can change anytime into a more positive mode. Choose to be a warrior over a worrier. Train yourself to see the silver lining of whatever cloud you are under. Train yourself to see the gifts hidden behind your obstacle.

Remember you are always in control of your life even if at first it doesn't feel like it. Focus on your inner warrior strengths. It is there and just needs to be exercised. Make the most of your time and energy and take charge of your day right now!

"The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus."
Bruce Lee

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tip#101: Take Inventory of Your Value - Peaceful Warrior

After writing my 100th tip I took a break to reflect on the past year and my successes over the decades. It reminded me that we all have specific skills of value that we may not be fully aware of it. We have all made a difference somehow with people around us. We just have to remind ourselves by taking inventory of our value.

Most people I meet these days know me as a motivator and a life skills facilitator. And sometimes someone comes up to me after my keynotes or workshops to ask who did the fun illustrations in my power point presentations. They are always surprised to learn it was me.

Value Growing Up

I had been drawing since I was a child winning art awards at an early age. By high school I was illustrating for the school newspaper and then the yearbook which I also ran as editor-in-chief for 2 years.

By the time I graduated high school my achievements led me to being chosen as valedictorian. It was an honour and even then was given signs for my gift for inspiring others with my art, words and leadership skills. And this natural skill made people feel good. It had value.

At age 16 I was the youngest caricature artist at Canada's Wonderland and was trained by Jess Rubio who had instructed the original Disneyland artists in the 60's. This was an exciting gift and privilege. I worked at the theme park for the first 5 years it opened and it was fun! I loved making people smile and laugh with the wild cartoon portraits I did for them. Again it felt great to bring joy into other people's lives. Earning a living doing what I loved was just a bonus.

Value As An Entrepreneur

Later I attended the Ontario College of Art (now called OCAD, Ontario College of Art & Design) and graduated with numerous scholarships including a working position at McCann Erickson Advertising. I created illustrations and storyboards for clients such as Kodak Canada, Labatt's and Coca Cola. That amazing experience helped me decide on opening up my own illustration business. Thus Crackers World Communications was born in 1986.

It was an amazing era filled with an overflowing output of illustrations for international clients like American Express, British Airways, Amnesty International, Globe & Mail Newspaper and Toronto International Film Festival. In just 3 years I had won many illustration industry awards and made a dream come true by being featured on CityTV's Fashion Television as a successful illustrator and entrepreneur. Click here to see illustration samples.

During this time I developed some of the important core life skills I now teach such as: how to build people skills for supportive relationships and clients; maintaining optimism; and how to re-ignite your passion.

At the time I took all these valuable core skills for granted. I only realized years later that people were hungry to learn the keys to my successes. Ultimately it was my survival skills for overcoming situational depressions that would be of greatest value for my new audiences and clients. I knew their pain and could articulate the methods that helped me stay optimistic and move forward especially during the difficult years of my mid-life crisis.

See Your Value & Service

So take time to review your accomplishments over the years. Look and see where you've made a difference for others. What actions in your life have left a positive mark with someone? These questions could reveal hidden gifts and skills you never saw that could enhance your career.

One method is to update your resume once a year. Remind yourself of your strengths and skills. Remind yourself of your value and service you can offer people. Here's a list to jumpstart your inventory review:

Your Accomplishments:
1) As a child:
(what you loved doing, look at old photos, ask parents)
2) In high school:
(what you loved doing, extra curricular activities, subjects you excelled in, awards, ask old friends and teachers what they remember about you)
3) In college or university:
(see high school suggestions)
4 Career in 20's, 30's, 40's etc.:
(positive job reviews, awards, where did you make a positive difference for the business or co-workers)
5) Personal interests:
(hobbies, activities you gravitate towards without being told to do)

Value = Self-Worth & Self-Esteem

Peaceful Warrior (2006)

In the film, Peaceful WarriorNick Nolte plays a wise mystic named Socrates who worked as a gas station attendant. At first he was quickly judged by his soon to be apprentice for working at a gas station. He couldn't believe he could learn anything from someone who worked at a place like this. Socrates then corrects him and says, "This is a service station. We provide service."

Providing service is key to great success. And knowing your service comes from knowing your value. This automatically builds your self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. The apprentice in the Peaceful Warriorlearns all this the hard way and eventually achieves incredible accomplishments that astounds and inspires everyone around him.

So remember all your accomplishments over the years. Remember your value in how you've helped others in some way. Take inventory of where and whom you've made a difference for. Discover your hidden values in the strengths and skills you may have taken for granted, forgotten or never developed.

Look back at your hidden talents and share them with the world. It could be the missing piece of your puzzle for the happiness you've been seeking.

Emmanuel Lopez
Silverlining Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007