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Why Knowing Yourself Better Helps You to Thrive- The Science of Autology

Why Knowing Yourself Better Helps You to Thrive- The Science of Autology

What is the key to happiness? Although many believe a piece of cake brings happiness, it can also be true that happiness isn’t always a piece of cake! With over 40,000 books on the shelf written with the goal of helping you to be happier, it’s clear there is no magical one-size-fits-all happiness solution.

Each person has a unique happiness recipe. Imagine if I gave you the list of ingredients to make a chocolate cake without telling you the amount of each ingredient, the order to add them or how long to bake it.

This is where most how-to-be-happy books fall short. They give one single list of ingredients.

There’s a lot to being happy.

  • your thoughts
  • your sleep
  • your nutrition
  • your genetics
  • your circumstances
  • your mindset
  • your focus and determination
  • time & effort

Knowing about yourself (autology) will help tailor a recipe that you can bake. Some of us bake gourmet chocolate cakes while others prefer a simple box mix. Once you find a recipe that you like, it doesn’t matter where you learned it, just that you can bake it well.

Let’s learn about your personal happiness recipe:

The Ingredients

  1. Sleep– your body needs to be rested for the optimal mindset. The goal is to awaken on your own without an alarm feeling rested.
  2. Nutrition– the fuel you choose for your body and your mind matters. There is science that shows certain diets prime you for happiness. It’s also important to control the news you watch, the conversations you have and the time spent doing things that drain versus boost your energy.
  3. Habit Formation- the steps it takes to become happier require you to form new habits or get rid of habits. Knowing how you tend to create habits will help you to make a plan that you can actually implement. Insight without action doesn’t work. Try this habit formation quiz to learn your tendency. This will help you to stick your recipe.
  4. Practices- Positive Minds International uses seven different science-based domains. These are Positive Purpose, Positive Social Connection, Positive Presence, Positive Self-Knowledge, Positive Experience, Positive Mindfulness, Positive Gratitude. You can begin with this series of quizzes to see which areas you could use the most help with OR you may just have a gut feeling that one or two of these areas are most challenging. Check the chart below for a little clarity.

Positive Purpose– A strong sense of purpose or intention increases engagement and well-being.  If you are living a

purposeful life you have goals and actions to move toward them. If you aren’t clear on your purpose, check out this article and request the Purpose Finder worksheet.

Positive Social Connection– Friendship and connection through altruism matter. When we connect socially or give time, money or effort to help someone or something, we also receive benefit. Here are 2 quizzes from the Greater Good Science Center on social capital and altruism. Check out this blog too for questions to connect.

Positive Release– Release means letting go or forgiving. You probably know if you are challenged by letting go. Don’t worry if you are- it’s a common challenge! Check out this quiz from Psychologies.

Positive Self-Knowledge– I’m a total self-knowledge junkie so here’s a short list of my favorite online resources and quizzes to heighten your awareness of how you relate to others:

Habit Formation- 4 Tendencies

5 Love Languages


Meyers Briggs

Strengths Finder

VIA Character Strengths

Big 5

Positive Experience– This one can be the simplest place to begin. You have things that boost your mood. Anything from reading, walking on the beach, funny movies, travel, etc. Take time regularly to participate in a variety of experiences that feel joyful to you.

Positive Mindfulness– This includes both mindfulness and meditation. It can be anything you participate in that allows you to experience present moment awareness. Some love swimming or hiking, others choose prayer or meditation.

Positive Gratitude– Another simple one, gratitude practices can be taking time to acknowledge important people at home or at work. It can also include a gratitude journal. Don’t forget that gratitude includes both giving and receiving. If you think gratitude is a strength, try focusing on how you receive it. 


5. Time- be realistic and think about what you will actually be able to implement. Are you dedicating 5 minutes each day or the entire day Sunday? Are you able to commit to 15 minutes three times a day or a full week of 24/7 immersion? Planning practices that fit easily into your schedule is important. When you choose an area to target, maybe Gratitude or Mindfulness, choose a specific task like meditating 5 minutes twice a day or writing daily in a gratitude journal. Use your habit formation type to set yourself up for success. Get an accountability partner, build in rewards, and most importantly remember that a little is still better than none.


I’m curious to know more about people reading my blog. I know I’m an Upholder whose love language is TIME, I’m a 7 with 3 wing, I’m ENFJ, my top strengths are Woo and Ideation, my character strengths include creativity and love of learning. My big 5 put me at extreme ends of openness and extraversion and unusually low with neuroticism.

Comment and share yours. Let’s see what personalities are reading about positive psychology and happiness!



Making Tough Choices


Every day we are faced with choice; what to wear, what to eat, who to lunch with, when to work out. We have practiced making choices our entire lives. Nothing else we do requires such constant effort with such varying results. Sometimes choices are simple, sometimes they aren’t.  What is the difference and how can you make every decision with as much ease as possible?

Tools for making any Decisions

 – Your choice must fit in with your most positive emotions and avoid negative ones.

EGO – Your decision must match who you are as a person.

HEAD – Your decision must accord with your long-term goals.

SURROUNDINGS – Your decision must be compatible with the situation you find yourself in.

When 1 or more of the tools are at odds, then what?

Every gut instinct comes with a physical sensation. Our challenge is correctly interpreting the sensation; knowing whether that butterfly in your stomach is telling you to back off from something truly scary or telling you that something exciting is about to happen.
Good decisions feel expansive and optimistic. They’re not based in fear, anger, or greed.

Successful choicemaking depends much more on who you are than what you do so if your decision is compromising who you are it’s ultimately not going to be the right choice. This can become a challenge is when someone else is involved.
What can you do when your decision involves others whose opinion is different or even opposing?
And when that difference comes down to a core belief belief about love self-worth safety and feeling a whole conflict resolution can become difficult.
If one partner is prioritizing money where another is prioritizing lifestyle or  one person needs adventure where another prefers stability, who gets their way?

Listen, list make, leave it


Have a conversation when you have plenty of time in a place that is free of distractions.

  1. Each partner takes a turn to explain why their choice is best for themselves. (E.g. I want to live in the suburbs because we can have a bigger house for less money and the schools are better.)
  2. Each partner takes a turn to explain why they think their choice is best for their partner.  (E.gOur mortgage would be smaller so you could work less overtime and we would be in the same place financially. You wOuld see the kids more)
  3. Each partner suggests a compromise. (We could live in a townhouse close to your office and get rid of one car or we could move midway between your work and the suburbs)

Make a pro and con list together. Tally up your pluses and minuses.
The rule- things can only make the list that you both agree on.
Example- Choosing between public school and private school.

Private School Pros
small class size
cutting edge facility
strong preparation for college
Private School Cons
not in our neighborhood

Things That Get Left Off The List
feels elitist (only to one partner)
better sports teams (debatable by one partner)
better University Counselling (debatable by one partner)

If you have the luxury of time, let your emotions settle for a few days. Allowing emotions to settle can help you to discuss your options with less of an emotional charge.

Take Turns

If after all the debate, you have to agree to disagree, setting up a system where one partner gets their way this time but that means the other partner automatically gets their way the next time can be an option.
I choose to live in the country over the city but you get to choose our house.

A thought from Brene Brown…

When emotions flare, Brene advises her readers to ask what is the story I am telling myself.
Write down what you imagine will happen if you don’t get your way. Quite often this can help to uncover fear that is lurking below our rational thinking and hijacking our ability to see the other person’s perspective.

If you just can’t choose?

Flip a coin. At the moment right before it lands, you will wish for an outcome- that’s what you truly want- so go for it!
I’d love to hear what choices you find most challenging. Comment below, email me or weigh in on my Facebook page.



A client asked me this week if confidence was possible without being seen as arrogant. Good question.
My answer, “confidence wrapped in kindness is never arrogant”.
Being highly skilled at what you do is one thing. Having  arrogance means you think you are more highly skilled than everyone else or that you know what is best for everyone, not just for yourself.

The question then becomes, if I am highly successful and people see me as arrogant, is that my fault or theirs?

People can have their opinion about you, in fact they always will. Their opinion says nothing about you and everything about them. However if 100 people all think you are arrogant then it might be time to look deeper to see if somehow you are inadvertently giving off an aura of arrogance.
Check your facial resting posture. Do your eyes smile? Does your energy invite people to engage with you? Sometimes having the facial position and body language to match who you are on the inside can take practice.
Watch your language use.  Sometimes when you are confident you can use language that makes the listener feel as though you are talking down to them. Avoid “shoulds” when making suggestions to help others. When your advice comes off as a command people tend to view you as abrasive.
Do you listen to others? People who interrupt or, even worse, don’t pay attention at all seem like they think they are better than the speaker. Make active listening a priority when communicating.
Are you always rushing? Confidence and success go hand in hand and if you are successful, you’re probably busy. The fast pace of your life might seem to others like your time is more valuable than theirs.

Remember kindness goes a long way! I’d love to hear your stories of how seeming over-confident got in the way of a friendship or career goal. If you like this post, please let me know by commenting or sharing it in your social media feed. Happiness is never depleted when you share it.

How to Be Memorable

Seven secrets to being irresistible


When you walk into a room full of strangers what is that energy that makes some people stand out more than others? It’s not money, or looks, or education. These people are the ones you trust, the ones you want to spend time with, and the ones who make you laugh or smile or push your boundaries. You feel like the best version of you when you are with them.
How do you get some of what they have?

1. Have self-confidence that radiates from within

Self-knowledge is the key to self-confidence. When you understand what your unique characteristics are, what your chosen beliefs are and how your physical, emotional and spiritual health all connect, you are more well-equipped to navigate relationships with others. This confidence allows you comfort in your own skin which is very attractive to others.

2. Don’t assume that everyone is just like you

The golden rule is the one that tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us- or something like that. The problem with the golden rule is that has us assume that others are the same as us when in fact we are all unique and different. Irresistible people operate on The Platinum Rule—treat others as they want to be treated—this corrects that flaw and shows the other person that you “get them” making them feel seen, heard, and valued.

3. Treat everyone with kindness and respect

How one treats people who can do nothing for them is a strong indicator of character. Watch how your friends and colleagues treat janitors, servers, and doormen if you want to see their true colors. Truly captivating personalities aren’t just trying to impress those who can help them get ahead in life, they are looking for opportunities to connect, to serve, and to make an impact in every social interaction.

4. Don’t think everyone has to like you

People who try too hard to be liked are actually less attractive.  Why? Others sense when you are being less authentic in order to gain their friendship. When you are trying too hard to be likeable it comes across as needy or pushy. This energy is hugely off-putting to people who are confident and authentic.

5. Have an opinion based on fact

Impressive people know how to hold conversations about global warming, politics, and tech startups as well as fine wine, meditation, and travel but they don’t behave as though they are experts on any topic unless they truly are. They speak about fact and are clear when offering an opinion but most importantly they understand that opinion and fact are not the same things. They listen and learn and are willing to change their opinion based on facts they learn from others.

6. Be authentic

Authentic people know that they are in control of their reactions to any stimulus. They understand that other people don’t have power over their emotions. They take ownership of their strengths and of their weaknesses which makes them powerfully attractive in a world where most prefer to blame others and hide their true feelings behind a wall.

7. Don’t live in the past, stay present with big goals for the future.

People who share lofty goals and exciting dreams are magnetic. We want some of what they are doing and their enthusiasm is contagious. People who dredge up the past, whether it’s complaining about that one annoyingly cheap family member or celebrating the highlights of their varsity soccer career twenty years later, have little ability to engage with others in the moment because they aren’t being present.

I’d love to hear what you do to be memorable in the comments. Know someone who is truly irresistible, tag them and share why. 

Know Yourself Better, Be Happier

The truth is belonging starts with self-acceptance. your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance because believing that you’re enough is what gives you courage to be authentic, vulnerable, and imperfect. -Brene Brown

One of the quickest ways to be a little happier is learning about yourself.  When you know why you like the things you like, feel the way you feel,  or act the way you act,  it allows you to recognize that other people in your life are not exactly the same as you.

Being a student of yourself can start with simple questions like:
Am I a morning person or a night person?
Do you prefer alone time or are you more of a social butterfly?
To reduce alcohol consumption do you need to abstain entirely or are you able to control your impulses if you just drink moderately?
Are you better at starting projects than you are at finishing them?

These questions allow you to see why relationships at work or at home can become difficult if we assume everyone is like us.  My husband likes to be held accountable. He knows this about himself and knows that if he has an accountability partner he is more likely to stay on task. I am the exact opposite. When I say I will do something, it will get done. If you remind me I feel like you don’t trust me to take care of things. If we each assumed we were the same as the other, life could get pretty frustrating around our house.

I have become a “questionnaire junkie” and whether it’s learning my Meyers Briggs type (ENFP), my Enneagram (7), my Dosha (I am a rare tri-doshic) or my habit forming tendancies (Upholder) I can’t get enough understanding of why I am all the things I am.

Why is knowing yourself important? Self-confidence increases with self-awareness. This boosts happiness.

Knowing yourself also helps you to examine your beliefs to see if they align with who you are.  As a child, our beliefs come from parents, teachers, peers, and the media. When we stop and examine the source we quite often see the disparity between who we are and what we believe.This comes in the form of limiting beliefs like 

  • “I’m not thin enough”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “No one listens to me”
  • “Big girls don’t cry.”
  • “People never change.”

As you expose the fallacy of these beliefs you expand your awareness and become more of who you really are; your true self.

It’s not too late to sign up for Deepak Chopra & Oprah Winfrey’s 21 Day Meditation on Belief


Want your own personal guide on your journey to self-knowledge? I currently have 2 local coaching spaces and 1 online space available.

Or are you more self-directed? Check out these books for great ideas and inspiration.