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Life Coach, NYC, Executive Leadership Coach, Personal Development Coach, New York - Coaching Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and Creatives to be more Confident, Productive, and Fulfilled.

The Wake-Up



Filtering by Category: Mindfulness

How to Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter

John Kalinowski

life coach personal development mindset

Your thoughts dictate your reality.

I see it in myself, my friends, and my coaching clients. We are all influenced by what we think every day, in the same way that we're influenced by what we eat every day.

If my junk-food intake outweighs my intake of nutritious food then there will be consequences. And by the same token if I'm thinking a lot of unproductive, negative thoughts instead of affirming, encouraging ones, there will be natural consequences for that as well. 

Productive thoughts are those that open up opportunities for solutions and growth. Unproductive thoughts are those that shut down opportunities for solutions and growth. "I don't know what to do," is unproductive. "I can figure this out," is productive. "I'm a big fat pig," is unproductive. "I have the power to change," is productive.

3 Tools for Productive Thinking:

  • The Gold Star - Acknowledge yourself for the things you do, even if it feels like you could do them longer, better, or more often.
  • Course-Correct - Have a handful of productive thoughts that you can pull out when you catch yourself engaging in unproductive-thinking.
  • Habits v. Goals - Take some of the emphasis off of the end-goals and focus more on the habits and routines required to get you there.

Your thoughts dictate your reality. More productive thoughts = a more productive reality. 



I Hate Waiting

John Kalinowski

Personal Development Life Coach Patience

Not that long ago I was returning from a long weekend and found myself stuck on the subway stairs behind a woman who was walking at a snail’s pace because all her attention was transfixed on her phone. I finally found an opportunity to move around her and said, “get off your fucking phone” as I brushed past. I can’t say I don’t still feel somewhat justified because people do wander the streets like zombies with their phones these days, and it can be pretty damn annoying. But in this instance, was it really hindering my pursuit of happiness to slow down a little bit? Was it going to negatively impact anything at all in the long run? No. In fact, it might have been a missed opportunity.

Intellectually I’m not really bothered by the idea of waiting, but emotionally I see myself react to it all the time. As soon as I step onto the end of a long line at Whole Foods I feel my chest clench ever so slightly before I take a breath and rein myself back in. It’s such a funny thing to witness, not to mention self-important and ridiculous. “Oh you poor little baby, you have to wait a whole 5 minutes to buy some of the most expensive groceries on the planet to take them back to your apartment in one of the most expensive cities on the planet.” Pull it together.

Being forced to wait or slow down can actually be a gift. People complain all the time about how busy they are and how they don’t have time for anything. Yet, we’re given these little moments to slow down, take a breath, and maybe even find some gratitude. There’s so much science these days behind the benefits of taking a few deep breaths throughout the day. It helps with stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and a myriad of other things. For myself, I’m working to make a habit of it, because it’s far more productive than getting annoyed. That said, do me a favor and don’t text while walking, cuz I might still cuss you out.

Happy Wake-Up Wednesday!



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I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @johnkalinowski

A Time for Powerful Action

John Kalinowski

Personal Development Life Coach Powerful Action

Welcome to the latest iteration of my blog which I’m calling The Wake-Up. And if anything was gonna wake me up, this election sure did the trick. Consider my ass “woke,” or at least half-woke. And I think a lot of people are feeling the same way. So, now what? What do we do with our half-woke, half-in denial, half-terrified-for-the-future-of-our-planet state of mind? Well, we start by banding together and owning the fact that our biggest failure is that we’ve been operating from a place of Powerless Reaction instead of Powerful Action.

An expression I picked up somewhere and fell in love with is, “let’s move out of the problem and into the solution.” What this really means is let’s move out of a reactive state of pointing fingers, shaming and blaming, and move into an active state of thinking about what we actually want as a country (and as individuals) and start taking steps in that direction. In other words, let’s create a vision for where we want this country to go, and then go for it.

I wrote an article on Medium awhile back called “How Hillary Can Win.” It’s all about how Hillary’s primary issue in this election stemmed from a lack of vision. Sure, there were some other extremely worrisome factors that led to her eventual loss, many of which I wholeheartedly believe, but at the end of the day I also believe that she could have won over those last few necessary voters if she’d had a coherent vision that they could connect to.

We, the citizens of this country, are suffering from the same issue. What I’m coming to realize is that real democracy is about waking up out of our finger-pointing and complacency and creating our own damn vision. The mistake many of us have been making for decades, maybe centuries, is in waiting for our leaders to create a vision/solution for us. We need to create our own vision and elect leaders who seem best-equipped to take on the task of turning that vision into reality.

There are groups rising up all over the country as a result of this election, but without a coherent vision to rally around, it will be difficult for them to maintain the necessary enthusiasm and momentum to actually affect change. So let’s step up to this blank canvas and start painting, and as the vision takes shape we can recruit leaders to carry it out.

What’s your vision for the country? Let’s start a dialogue about how we can move out of Powerless Reaction and into Powerful Action, both as Americans and as individuals. 

Gnaw on that while you’re gnawing on turkey. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @johnkalinowski

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Life Without TV

John Kalinowski

Personal Development Life Coach Life Without TV

April 1 was the day I decided to "Cut the Cord and Run." 

Two months without a television; two months of feeling more productive, engaged, fulfilled. 

More reading, more writing, more friends, more fun, more balance... I’m calling this new level of productivity “The Zone."

To stay culturally aware I stream “Game of Thrones” on my iPad. And Chelsea Handler's new talk-show gives me a chuckle.

There have been some restless moments that TV could fill. Instead I filled them with daily solo dance parties.

Oh yeah - there’s WAY more music happening. More singing, more dancing…

I honestly have no regrets about dumping the television.

Kinda feelin like a rockstar.


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Trust Yo Self, Trust Yo Life

John Kalinowski

Personal Development Life Coach Trust Yourself


Life is a river, a current you can float on or fight against.

There’s no need to fight your way upstream. The current will take you where you need to go, but only if you can float.

If you’re thrashing around trying to hold onto the current, trying to direct it and make it give you what you want - you will sink.

Floating requires trust… being open, being vulnerable, being love - without resisting, without resenting, without fighting, without blaming.

And life will start to support you.

The current can be unpredictable, you may get stuck or run into rapids or a rocky patch. So give yourself permission to be in a rocky patch.

Without judging, without being mad, without hating, without forcing an outcome... set the course and allow the journey to unfold.

Trust that you are exactly where you need to be, and every experience is an opportunity to become a better you.

That’s when your wildest dreams will start to materialize.


Relax. You got this!


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How to Game the System

John Kalinowski

Life Coach Personal Development Coach Game the System

Life is a system… “a set of connected parts forming a complex whole.”

You are in and of yourself a system, part of many other systems - family, friends, business, government… every relationship you have.

When one part of a system changes then everything changes - even the smallest cog can impact an entire system.

If you want to change a relationship with a family member, friend, boss, coworker, or even yourself, then change what you have the most control over.  


If you want something to change in your life then start with yourself - one manageable little adjustment at a time.

Just be willing. Be willing to let go of old wounds. Be willing to learn new ways of seeing and doing. Be willing to operate from love instead of fear.

You change and everything changes… You have all the power.

Time to take it back. 


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What If I'm Lazy??

John Kalinowski

Life Coach Personal Development Coach Lazy

I recently had the most liberating epiphany… “what if I’m lazy?” At another time in my life I would have been mortified at the possibility that it might actually be true. And yet, in my current mental/emotional state it feels more like a relief, because it means I don’t have to keep up with anyone or anything else, and I can trust myself to know what’s right for me. What if it’s just how I’m programmed? What if I just move more slowly than other people and that’s ok? It’s not that I’m giving myself an out from doing the work, it’s that I’m giving myself an out from unproductive, unrealistic expectations.

It seems so simple. I mean, I talk to clients all the time about comparing, because it’s really one of the meanest things we can do to ourselves. We’re basically shaming ourselves for not being more like who or what we think we should be. And shaming doesn’t work in the long-term, whether directed toward yourself or others. What does work is acceptance and compassion and positive reinforcement. In this case, accepting myself might mean, “it’s ok if I’m lazy.” Of course, if I’m missing deadlines and upsetting clients then that’s one thing, but if I’m just operating at a slower pace than my self-shaming-inner-gauge says I should, then who cares?

Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’ve accomplished a lot, and I plan to accomplish a lot more. I’ve got goals and vision boards and affirmations, and I’m about as prepared as I can be for what I set out to do. But, I am also acutely aware that I could always be doing more. However, doing “more” inevitably comes at the expense of something else. Maybe it comes at the expense of activities that weren’t serving me anyway, which is fine. But if it means sacrificing sleep, exercise or relationships on a regular basis, I’m gonna say “no thank you.” Am I lazy? Maybe. But the better question might be, “What if I’m balanced?”

Slow and steady wins the race!


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I'm Better than You... And???

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach You Are Enough

Something I’ve realized over the years is that anytime I make somebody “wrong,” I’m just judging them and inflating my ego. Making someone wrong can be as simple as being annoyed because they’re late or because they did or said something disrespectful. This seems like relatively normal stuff to be annoyed about, and it is. But “normal” doesn’t mean it’s productive… for you, for them, or for the relationship. Judgment is not productive. By no means am I the standard-bearer of brotherly love, but I am increasingly aware that when I point the finger at somebody, I’m making myself feel superior and thereby feeding my ego. And this is addictive, because once your ego has a taste of superiority it’s gonna want more.

I’ve pointed my finger at people many times throughout my life, probably daily. And I will continue to do so. But, I’ve also realized that I don’t need the ego boost that’s brought on by feeling better than other people. When I see some racist, homophobic conservative whackjob dishing out ignorance, there’s definitely judgment happening on my part and LOTS of superiority, and for now I’m generally ok with it. But at the end of the day, when I get really honest with myself, I know that I’m just feeding my addiction, which doesn’t serve me. I also know that it totally eliminates any miniscule chance of changing that person’s mind or even being open to the areas where my own perspective could shift as well.

Sometimes people need to vent their frustrations toward one another and it can be incredibly healing. But more often than not, indulging in judgment, either out loud or in your head, is damaging and unproductive even if that person (really f-ing) deserves it. A large part of our life’s work is learning how to manage the ego, and to realize that we don’t need to bolster our sense of superiority on the backs of others. Superiority is just cheap confidence, because real confidence takes practice, diligent daily practice. Real confidence comes from love and humility, not just toward other people, but also toward ourselves. We can do both by using those superior ego moments to remind ourselves that we don’t need to be better than someone else, we are already spectacular all on our own.

Cheers to being enough!



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Cut the Cord and Run

John Kalinowski

I tossed my TV in the closet on April 1 and have not looked back. I live in a studio apartment and can see the damn thing from every angle. So even when it’s not turned on it takes up a significant amount of space and importance in the landscape of my home life. And it’s so easy at the end of a workday to unconsciously flip on the TV. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because I think it can be healthy to zone out sometimes. But it too often trumps other options like reading or listening to music or writing or even doing a little more work before bed, i.e. stuff that might actually enhance my brain and my life.

I needed a break, and in this case that meant limiting my access to TV so that I’d be forced to do other things. Just like with food, there are certain things I don’t buy because I know it will push me to eat healthier options by default. In general, I rarely buy chocolate or ice cream these days. I definitely eat way too much peanut butter, but I ain’t given that shit up for nobody. I also stopped buying crackers and chips (as often) because I’d seen way too many bags of baby carrots turn ashy in the fridge after sitting untouched for months. When I finally got sick of this game I stopped buying crackers and chips. Guess what happened. Yup, those bags of carrots are flying off the shelf. Funny how that works.

What I can say after 1-2 weeks of making TV less available is that I have been way more productive. I’ve been writing more, reading more, and getting more work done overall. Even from an aesthetic standpoint, my entire apartment feels lighter, like the TV was weighing not just on my productivity, but on the overall energy in my home. Which doesn’t mean I’m not still watching a few shows on my iPad. Cuz who could give up Billions, Shades of Blue, or RuPaul’s Drag Race?? But, it’s frankly just not quite as enjoyable to watch TV that way, which is exactly what I was banking on. That poor TV’s a goner.

Onward and upward!


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Blinded By Desire

John Kalinowski

I’ve been consumed by desire lately… rather, I’ve been consumed by the notion of desire and how frequently it doesn’t really mean anything. I’ve finally begun to grasp how desire is more often synonymous with objectification than with making even the most basic assessment of another person, particularly someone new. It floods our senses and leaves stars in our eyes, but that rush of desire can just as easily be a smokescreen, blocking our ability to see or be seen. It leaves us trying to connect with vague outlines of one another, and rendering us less-than-whole people, attracted to less-than-whole people.

Even though all sorts of fulfilling relationships may have been born of vague outlines, it doesn’t mean it’s the winning approach. It might be thrilling, sure, but it’s not exactly the most reliable tool in finding the right mate or even just the right date. And it diminishes your power as well, because you’re approaching it from a sense of lack and external validation - “I really need that thing because I don’t have that thing and that thing will make me so much happier.” But that “thing” rarely does make you happier. Because happiness comes from knowing that you already have everything you need, inside, and when you radiate that sense of confidence and wholeness, then people and opportunities are naturally drawn to you. You don’t need to employ hungry lack-filled desire to catch them.

Lately I’ve been taking a stab at approaching desire a bit differently. When I see a swoon-worthy guy on the street I may let myself enjoy the rush, but I also try to take a deep breath and remind myself of two things: 1) “this feeling doesn’t mean anything.” 2) “it’s limiting my ability to see and be seen.” As I play around with it, I’ve begun to notice that some of my objects of desire are way hotter when they’re hidden behind a smokescreen, while others have interesting qualities that I might have missed if I was only ogling their outlines. Even more importantly, I can feel myself generating a new level of confidence and wholeness, from the inside out.

Self-love wins. Wholeness wins. Every time.

Go get your life y’all!!


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Rollin' In The Fast Lane

John Kalinowski

Nature is serving up a buzz of fresh energy as it reawakens from its months-long hibernation state... and we should all take note! Winter provides the perfect opportunity to move out of the fast lane and into a space of reflection and planning, which sets us up to shift back into high gear come spring. The fact is we’re not the most creative or productive when we’re trying to race 120 miles an hour all year-round. We need variety. We need rest. And it doesn’t have to be dramatic shift, but even just prioritizing other aspects of life or business during the winter can set us up to be full of new energy and ideas as spring rolls around.

This is exactly what I did with my blog; I shifted my focus. I didn’t stop working on it, I just moved into more of a reflective mode of gathering ideas and topics that I found inspiring, then I began writing rough drafts for a bunch of pieces that I can polish up and post over the next several months. I didn’t want to lose the momentum I had this past fall, but I knew I needed to give myself some space to generate new ideas and get ahead of schedule. As a result, I don’t just have new blogs for the Spring; I've actually generated enough ideas to carry me through most of 2016. Talk about feeling productive!

But, this isn’t just about seasons, it’s also about giving yourself time to rest and shift focus each day, each week, each month. Having periods of intense work can be hugely fulfilling, but, if you’re spread too thin and too often running around like a crazy person, you’re actually not as productive as you could be, nor are you most likely delivering the level of quality that you could with any given project. So, mix that s*** up! Take a couple of things off your plate and proactively plan some periods to shift your focus. You’ll find yourself happier, more centered, more present, and (believe it or not) more productive.

Let’s get this spring poppin!


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The Key to Unlock 2016

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Daydreaming

Daydreaming… that’s all you need. Get clear on what you want and find a way to check in with it every day. Hold onto it with a loose grip, not so tightly that you break it and not so loosely that you drop it. Don’t stress about it, cling to it or pin all your happiness on it. Just think about it, visualize it, enjoy the possibility of it, then take the steps necessary to make it happen. 

What do you want in 2016? What’s one word that could sum it all up? Find that word and use it to think, write, draw, and dream about how you want your life to be. My word for 2016 is “transcend,” so let’s see where that takes me. 

And as we wrap up the year I would like to take a moment to thank you so much for following along with my blog. I love to write and it’s a beautiful bonus when I can occasionally string some words together that inspire even a few people along the way. I'll be taking the next few weeks to enjoy the holidays and plan out 2016, but will be blowing up your inbox again before you know it. 

Remember, you don’t have to force it, you just have to dream it. 

Cheers to a Beautiful New Year!



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The Quest of an Egomaniac

John Kalinowski

Life Coach Personal Development Coach NYC Best Self

“How do I get everything I want, right now?” If we're not saying it, we're thinking it, and I've realized that getting what you want is about letting go... of what you want. Getting what you want is really about learning to be your best self, your most loving self, and THAT’S when everything else starts falling into place. When you create inflexible visions of what you want, how you want it, and when you want it, you set yourself up for a struggle. That struggle is all ego, and it’s equivalent to rowing your boat upstream, resentful that it’s so hard, angry that it’s taking so long, blind to the fact that something even better lies in the opposite direction, which you would see if you took a moment to appreciate the journey.  

Life is not about acquiring and achieving; it’s about becoming the best, most loving version of yourself that you can be. Of course you want to have certain things and certain experiences, but they will not make you better, because that’s what the journey is for. That’s what LIFE is for. So, if you want a successful career, marriage, kids, friends, then show up for the journey and the rest will follow. Do everything you can to be the happiest, most fulfilled person you can be today, right now. Be curious, adventurous, vulnerable, and do things that scare you. Be clear about what you want and set out to get it, then let it go... trust that you’ll get there, even if “there” doesn’t look exactly the way you thought it would.

When you get stuck and start feeling anxious then just remind yourself that it’s ego, which simply means you’ve momentarily forgotten to appreciate the journey. Sometimes the ego is useful, and can give you the nudge you need to keep going, but if your life is being guided by ego (anxiety, stress, resentment) then you’ll often feel like you’re fighting your way upstream. Thankfully, all you need to do is take a breath, acknowledge that it’s your ego, and ask yourself what you could be doing differently. What do you need to learn? What will take you another step closer to your best self?

Because being your best self is what will ultimately make all your dreams come true.

Have a magical week,


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Are You A Good Person?

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Be Kind

Something I’ve realized as of late is that I might actually be a good person. It may seem kinda crazy that this is a recent realization, but there’s a big difference between knowing you’re a good person in your head and knowing it in your heart. I’ve always believed it in my head, but in order to realize it in my heart I had to learn to like myself. Yup, Mr. Life Coach Guy is just now starting to like himself. Obviously there are parts of myself that I’ve always liked, but there have also been parts that I didn’t. I don’t even think I fully understood how much I disliked those things about myself. It’s like coming out of the closet… again.

This is what I’m learning to appreciate: I’m nerdy, I’m quirky, kind of a loner, a bit awkward, meticulous, demanding, blunt, and I say off-color things sometimes (though I did kinda like that part of myself already). But, just because I’m learning to appreciate these parts of myself, doesn’t mean that I don’t still need to temper them. What it means is that I’m accepting these qualities instead of judging myself for them. It also means that I am surrounding myself with people who can accept these qualities too. It’s ok if I annoy people sometimes (though that clearly never happens), because I can’t be anybody other than who I am.

What’s interesting about liking myself more is that I also see more of the good parts shining through. I find myself being more generous, kind, open, and even more trusting. Of course I still have days when I don’t feel like much of a rockstar. In fact, I just had a couple of those days last week. (Apologies to those who had to bear witness.) But, as I keep learning to like myself or, dare I say, love myself, I have to ask, “Would you talk to or treat other people the way you treat yourself? Would you treat a child that way? Would you tell them they’re stupid or fat or ugly? Would you deny them healthy food or exercise?” No, because that’s cruel and you’re a better person than that... Right??

Let’s be kind to ourselves this week. Cuz we deserve it.


Your Self Esteem


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Chill The F*** Out

John Kalinowski


I just wanna be productive, energized and happy all the time. Sounds achievable, right?? So, there’s this part of me that likes the idea of being on a fixed routine to insure that I’m able to make that happen. As a life coach, I also feel some kind of self-imposed pressure to always be on track and maintain the facade that I have it all together. But, not only do I know that it’s unrealistic to always be on track, sometimes I just want to chill the f*** out. I want to forget all about work, exercise, meditation, showering, brushing my teeth, making my bed, or maintaining my life in any way. And I do let myself have days like that, which turns out to be one of the most important ways for me to stay on track.

If you’re gonna relax, then relax. Give Yourself Permission. Because if you’re “relaxing,” but you’re judging yourself the whole time and feeling like there’s always something else you should be doing, then you’re not really relaxing. What you’re actually doing is wasting time because you’re not getting the benefits of relaxing, but nor are you accomplishing whatever task(s) you may be fretting about. So, it’s a draw. If you choose to relax then be present for relaxing. If you choose to do something else then be present for that. There’s a time for both. But, if you’re constantly straddling the line between the two then you aren’t doing either one very well.  

Being happy and productive is not about being “on” all the time, it’s about showing up for what you need to do to stay healthy and centered. That means instilling certain habits to keep your life moving forward while also allowing yourself the time to let things go once in awhile. That is the sweet spot. That is the balance. If you can’t remember the last time you really unplugged (sans guilt), then give it a whirl. Go crazy! Take a 30-minute nap on a Saturday, or give yourself a day or even just an evening off from thinking about your to-do list. You don’t have to change your life in one fell swoop, in fact that rarely works, but a little tweak here and there will give you massive returns in the long run.

Have a beautiful week!


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You Have All The Answers

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Einstein

My favorite Maya Angelou quote is, “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” It seems so simple right? If someone shows you that they’re kind or caring then they probably are. If someone shows you that they’re judgemental or temperamental, then they probably are. (If someone shows you that they’re batshit crazy then they probably are.) Of course, somebody can be all of those things, but then we have to recognize that too. We don’t just ignore certain aspects of someone in favor of other aspects, because that means we’re willfully ignoring the truth of who somebody really is.

A big part of “believing” who someone is, requires listening to yourself. You’ve most certainly had experiences with people where everything seemed ok on the outside, but you kept getting this feeling inside, this instinct, or intuition, telling you that something wasn’t ok and pointing you in another direction. Something didn’t fit, or sit quite right. And every time you’ve ignored that feeling, you’ve probably ended up causing yourself a whole lot more trouble down the road.

I’ve heard so many stories about people who had no idea their significant other was having an affair or capable of doing illegal or violent things. I just don’t buy it. I can accept that they didn’t know it intellectually because they wouldn’t allow it to sink in, but something inside of them knew. Something inside of them kept presenting itself in the form of suspicion or anxiety or resentment and they didn’t know where it was coming from. Well, it was coming from their innermost self and it was trying to send them a message (Heads up! Trainwreck ahead!), but they weren't ready to hear it.

We get locked in sometimes to wanting something to be what we want it to be. Maybe we don’t want to lose that person or we don’t want to be single again or we don’t want other people to think that we don’t have it all together. Well, most of us don’t have it all together because that’s life. We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Listen to yourself. You know more than you think you do.

Have a beautiful week.


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You're A Liar

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Truth

You’re a liar. I’m a liar. We all are. It’s “normal.” You hopefully already know you’re lying whenever you’re intentionally deceptive, but you might not realize that you may also be lying when you don’t ask for what you want or need, when you say “yes” and you really mean “no,” or when you aren’t being fundamentally true to yourself. And it isn’t about being more ethical, it’s about being more productive. When you’re functioning as your truest self then you're navigating the world more intentionally, more confidently, and more fluidly. But when you mask who you are, even when you don’t mean to, you’re creating unnecessary roadblocks to getting where you want to go.

Hiding behind untrue impressions of yourself is not only risky, but it also limits your ability to connect to others. For as dumb as people can seem sometimes (and some of them can seem pretty dumb), many of them also have a sixth sense when it comes to authenticity. Even if they can’t exactly pinpoint the lie that you’re telling, they may get this feeling of distrust that bubbles up in the form of annoyance, dislike, or discomfort. This feeling becomes an invisible wall that prevents you from connecting with them in a meaningful way, which means losing out on the possible benefits of that connection, may it be a new client, job, friendship, or partnership.

If you’re not working to be more straightforward about who you are, what you want, and what you need, then you’re lying, and you're demonstrating to others that you don't believe in yourself. (So why should they believe in you?) Whereas if you’re upfront about who you are, confidently embracing all of the beautiful quirks that make you you, then you’re demonstrating to the world that you love yourself enough to be yourself, and people feel that. Of course it won’t be attractive to everyone, but that’s the beauty of not lying, you don’t waste time on relationships and situations that aren’t a good fit, which means that you have more energy to focus on the ones that are. See? Productive.

Now go out there and tell somebody the truth.

Have a beautiful week.


Inspired by the book “Lying” by Sam Harris

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"Looking Up" - The Magic Happy Pill

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Looking Up

Do you ever look up? When you’re walking down the street do you ever look up at the sky and just take it in? Surprisingly, I find it to be one of the most grounding experiences, especially when I’m stuck in my head or when life has become particularly challenging. It doesn’t matter if cars are honking and sirens are blaring, looking up seems to give me a unique sense of humble calm. It also makes me think of the saying, “Things are starting to look up.” Where did that come from? I’ve scoured the internet (ok, I’ve searched a little bit), and it makes me wonder if someone else somewhere realized this very same thing.

Think about what you see when you look up: the sky, the sun, the moon, stars, clouds, horizons, sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, birds, things that fly… all of these are written about, filmed and photographed because there’s something inherently magical about them. I mean, how many sunset photos do you see posted on Facebook and Instagram? I know I’ve posted a few. The thing about gazing at a sunset is that it makes me see myself a bit more objectively, as the microscopic speck of an atom that I really am. Not in a way that makes me feel hopeless or insignificant, just maybe less important than I would like to think sometimes. It certainly takes the expression “first world problems” to a whole new level.

What this feeling really amounts to is gratitude. You can experience a quick dose of gratitude by simply shifting your gaze upward, even just above the horizon. If you pay attention you’ll realize that you probably rarely do it, especially if you’re someone who gets stuck in your head a lot, which is most of us. When you’re stuck in your thoughts, the last thing that occurs to you is to look up, but try to remember. Next time you’re outside or walking down the street just look up and take a deep breath. You might be surprised... maybe Snoopy was onto something.

Have a beautiful week!


Also published on 

Multitasking is a Myth

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Multitasking

Look at the guy above. He looks so confident in his ability to effectively do 15 things at one time. But, the fact is, “multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth,” as detailed by Dr. John J. Medina in his book, “Brain Rules.” He goes on to say that, “businesses and schools praise multitasking, but research clearly shows that it reduces productivity and increases mistakes.” Basically, we’ve created this myth to accommodate our ever-expanding and often overwhelming lives, leading many to believe that they can “do it all” and nothing suffers. This is scientifically proven to be wrong. In fact, an article in Fast Company Magazine, What Multitasking Does to Your Brain, explains how the more you multitask the less proficient you actually become at multitasking.

In some ways our brains are still very limited, in that they cannot efficiently focus on multiple tasks at the same time. For example, whenever I switch from one task to another, even if just to look at my phone in the middle of writing this piece, my mind is like a train and has to slow down, switch tracks, then speed up again as I focus on my phone. When I go back to writing, my mind slows down, switches tracks, and gains speed as I refocus on writing. Of course this is all happening at a relatively fast pace (and much faster than switching tracks on the NYC subway), but it does dramatically slow down my overall productivity.

So, how do we keep the brain-train moving at a steady clip? I find that I am more productive when I turn off my email, phone, and all other distractions while writing. Granted there are times when I can only stay in a writing-mindset for 15-20 minutes before I give into an urge for another glass of water, a bathroom break, or a quick glance at Facebook or Instagram, but it’s still a whole lot better than switching tracks every minute or two. There will always be distractions (bosses, coworkers, kids), but half the battle is just accepting that we are less productive when trying to engage in all of these distractions at once. It's when we own that fact and create guidelines to help us to better focus on one task at a time, then we can make it into a habit which will eventually help that brain-train to start flying full speed ahead.

Have a beautiful week!


Also published on 

Handling Annoying People (Know Any of Those?)

John Kalinowski

Life Coach NYC Personal Development Coach Serenity

I have a neighbor who bought a new dog a few months ago. It’s a French Bulldog named Missy - super friendly and sweet, honestly the dog could not be cuter... and she also seems to have the “cutest” bladder control issues. Given that I share a carpeted hallway with said neighbor, and my building’s carpet shampooer is being serviced, Missy’s very cute pee-stains have started to build up and weigh on my sense of well-being.

Or has it?

Yes, it f***ing has.

Maybe I just need to chill out and practice acceptance?

I’m not the God-damned Dalai-lama, and people need to learn how to act right.

Well, guess what, that’s probably not going to happen, so let’s go back to acceptance.

I hate you... ok.

When you work the process I outlined last week in, What’s Holding You Back, you may start to have these fun little arguments with yourself. The reality is that most people are asleep, meaning they are totally overwhelmed by the nonstop mental dialogue inside their heads, which cuts them off from the world around them. In all likelihood you are one of those people, at least sometimes. But, don’t worry, ‘cuz we all are! And by simply incorporating some new thoughts into your unproductive mental dialogue (ex. “I trust this will all work out somehow.”), then you will save massive amounts of time and energy that can be used to make your life more fulfilled, peaceful, and productive.

Personally, I would love to float through life all zen and peaceful, and some days I do, but I’m always tested, like when I find another gift from Missy. It leaves me with a choice to indulge in my negative thoughts or to remind myself that “I trust this will all work out somehow.” It doesn’t mean I’m not taking action, it just means I’m taking action while keeping my cool. I can talk to my neighbor and/or management about the dog problem, but I’m probably not going to transform my neighbor into a super considerate human. He’s asleep, and the best thing I can do for myself is to continue accepting him for who he is while taking care of myself by setting boundaries when necessary. Constantly choosing to replay the story in my head and getting myself riled up doesn’t help anyone or anything.

Here’s to a new week of productive thoughts!