Be a Detective

Many of us go through life like the walking dead with little or no thought to all of life’s possibilities! Instead of living life and exploring our own dreams we are trapped in someone else’s dream. You see, the comfort zone isn’t really comfortable at all. It’s actually the single most biggest dream killer of modern day life!

What is the comfort zone?


Wikipedia says it is, “a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress.”

The key word here is CONTROL.

I think it’s safe to say that most people like to be in control of their situations and surroundings. We don’t like what we don’t know and we just like things to be status quo if you will. New experiences tend to scare us don’t they? We tend to have a have a fear of the unknown.


The bottom line is that our comfort zone comes to us by way of a learning process.


The bad news is that learning processes can be wrong. For instance, did you know that the first thing a duck sees when it comes out its egg, it considers to be its mother? It could be a dog, cat, human, but whatever it first sees is mom. Now, this serves the duck well most of the time. But you can see the limitations in the process can’t you? And it’s the beliefs that we hold that keep us conveniently tucked in our comfort zone.

There are really 8 learning processes that keep most of us in our comfort zone:

  1. I just assume this is how life is supposed to be

  2. I don’t know how – so I won’t

  3. It’s not the right time to do something new

  4. I’m afraid of making mistakes

  5. I have to find the best way before I start

  6. I don’t feel like doing it

  7. Others are better than I am

  8. I thought it would be easier than this


You see, when a person operates in their comfort zone, they lack conscious awareness that things could or should be different!

It feels comfortable so why should anything change? Actually, when operating in the comfort zone, any time a new idea is introduced, our reasoning, or conscious mind, instantly rejects it. We just love it when our outside conditions and circumstances are in harmony with our internal world.


I say, in order to get out of our comfort zone we need to be detectives. We need to actively seek ways to move past our comfort zone in a super sleuth sort of way!


One of the easiest ways is to take the emphasis off of ME and instead focus on YOU. We do this by living a life of giving…by looking for ways to add value to others.


But looking isn’t enough. The next step is to ADD that value. By doing this we put our focus on others and move beyond the mundane rituals we might currently be living in.


When we become detectives and look for ways to make a difference outside of ourselves, it takes us out of our comfort zone and we start to experience new ideas and new results…plus it feels really good and makes the world a brighter place!
Life is short. Let’s continually ask ourselves where we want to go in life and then ask what we need to do it. It will be scary, and we won’t always be in control. We won’t always want to do it, but I say…..let’s Do it anyway!

See you on the other side!

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Work Life Balance

Donna, you look AMAZING! What’s your secret?


Every time I see friends lately this same question comes up. You see, I retired from the Army in 2011 and got really sick. For me, sick looked like an extra 50 pounds and a depressed and miserable demeanor. Without going into great detail, let me just say that my illness was very debilitating and left me able to only accomplish one thing per day. My relationships were suffering and the littlest thing exhausted me. My feet felt like I was walking on fire so I ended up spending most of my day sitting on my couch.


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This past February I joined the John Maxwell team and started learning about belief systems and how they control us and dominate our lives. I also went through a program called Empowerment Mentoring. I got a “mindset makeover” and let go of 30 pounds off my body plus let go of hundreds of pounds of extra baggage in the form of limiting beliefs. I saw such a huge change in my life that I became certified to teach the curriculum to others. Now I get to teach others how they can have the change they want in their lives too. I’m having my best year yet!!!

How would you like to have your best year yet? 

You’re in the right place!

There are 3 dangerous trends facing ALL Americans that keeps them feeling overworked, overwhelmed and heading for burnout.

Here they are:

3. Poor Work-Life Balance
2. Stuck in Unproductive Routines
1. Negative Belief Systems

Let’s take a look at the #3 trend first…poor Work-Life Balance.

What is work-life balance?

According to Google, Work-life balance is a concept that includes proper prioritization between “work” (career & ambition) and “lifestyle” (Health, pleasure, leisure, family, and spirituality).

Work-life balance does NOT mean an equal balance.
Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Your best work-life balance will vary over time and often varies by day and season of life. There is no perfect one size fits all.

I think Jim Bird of says it best. He says, “at the core of work life balance is achievement and enjoyment.”
Achievement and Enjoyment answer the why question. It’s our reason for doing things and brings about pride, satisfaction, happiness, love, and all the joys of living. We can’t have one without the other. We are in harmony when we have a sense of Achievement and it brings about a life of Enjoyment.

What about if we are out of balance? 

The “hardworker” these days enjoys a very high social recognition causing many people to expose themselves to job stress and unneeded mental and physical health issues. Our society has become “addicted to busy” and we are seeing an alarming number of people either suffering from burnout or becoming workaholics.

I was definitely out of balance! I didn’t realize how much I was neglecting my health and how many excuses I was making. It was only when I did an exercise called the “life wheel” that I saw how disproportional my health slice was compared to the other areas of my life. What does your life wheel look like? Download your copy and can find out! Click Here! 
You might be thinking, “Wow, am I out of balance too?” Let’s find out! Here’s another freebie for you. It’s called the Right Life-Balance assessment. It only takes about 3 minutes to complete and you’ll get feedback delivered to your email address. The Right Life-Balance Assessment is free, but it’s only going to be available for a few days. Interested in taking it? Click Here!


But the best thing I started doing to find my right Work-Life Balance was START SMART. This simple acronym can help you START your day focused and energized and then wind down before bed with a SMART ending. It’s about choosing what goes on your To-Do list, making a To-Don’t list and getting a To-DONE list! Life is all about choices. There’s choices we make and choices we don’t make. Both require a decision. It’s all explained here.

Did you find value in this article? I’d love to hear your comments and questions in a post below!


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the-key-to-changeWhat does your closet look like?  Is it all tidy and color coordinated and arranged by season?


If so, move on… And for the rest of us who have closets full of clothes from ten years ago that we will fit into one of these days – or that style will surely come back – or this is a classic – it will go with everything… You know who you are… or maybe you can’t even close your closet because the shoes are spilling out onto the floor…


Life is like a closet.  We hold onto past thoughts and emotions and we think if we hold on to it long enough and tight enough something will change – it will fit now – it will be all right – or we hold on because we can’t let go of the pain.  As one of my mentors says – let the dead bury the dead.


It is time to clean the closet and let go of all that dead weight. It is time to organize and compartmentalize all those things in that closet – put the shoes here, the belts there, the ties or purses in their spot and let’s now get rid of our high school prom dress.  It is time to make room for all the new things that we will acquire.  Make room…


When you organize anything, a closet, a drawer, a thought, a process, you suddenly find you have room.  Room for something new.  If you hold onto all that old stuff, there is no room for anything new.  No new relationships or job opportunities, or whatever it is you desire because you don’t have room.  You don’t have the bandwidth to take on anymore until you clear out all the old.


We can’t change the past so why hold onto it?  Get out the duster and boxes and let’s release all that which we no longer need or want and let’s make room for all that which we desire.

Organize your life as you would a closet.  Remove the old and make room for the new.


lifes-challengesStress gets a bad rap.  But there is positive stress, called Eustress.  This is that adrenaline rush you get that helps you finish that project on time.  It is that feeling of excitement when you are in a demanding position and you meet or exceed expectations – that thrill of coming through.


Positive stress is what gives life that zing!  That oomph! It gives you the energy to jump in the game and go for it – take the bull by the horns and run with it.  Positive stress is that motivating factor that keeps you going.


Imagine not having stress.  Imagine living a life of boredom.  Even negative stress gets you out of the chair now and then and onto something else. Although stress gets a bad rap there are certainly benefits that keep you motivated, moving and achieving goals.



So many people wish life was easier, with less challenges and obstacles but without challenges, life becomes stagnant and we stop growing.  Challenges help us uncover who we are and it allows us to become better people.


Let’s examine a very simple 4-step method to overcoming challenges.


First, state the problem clearly.  When we are faced with challenges, we tend to avoid the issue and run the other way burying our heads in the sand hoping it goes away.  Or we may say – ok, there is an obstacle, instead of heading right to it and plowing through, I am going to look for another path and even though that is not the way I want to go – it looks easier… less headache… but rarely does that work out.  When we avoid or go out of our way, we cause more headache in the end.  It takes more of our time, it takes more of our energy and we don’t get the end result we are looking for.  So take this time to understand what the challenge is.  Ask yourself what is the question, what is asked of me, what is the main goal? Write this down on paper.


Second, identify what you have at your disposal – what resources are available to you to work through this challenge? List all of these resources out.  These should include things such as tangible assets – money, computer, books, etc.  And then what skills you have, what are your strengths to work through this?  Don’t forget others – what access do you have to others that can help?


Third, design the strategy to overcome this challenge.  Utilize all your assets to create a plan of action.  You may find this plan will need to be tweaked as you execute and that is ok.  Keep at it.


Lastly, execute the strategy with effort and determination.  Do your very best with all you have to overcome your challenge.


If you find that you still cannot overcome a challenge, then re-evaluate.  If your strategy just won’t work because it isn’t viable or effective then change it. If your strategy doesn’t work because you didn’t execute it well enough, be persistent and tweak your efforts, giving it more.


Practice this method on small challenges and see how easy it is to overcome.  Then try it on the big rocks!


Decisions are a mental activity every one of us engages in on a daily basis.  From deciding when to wake up, to what to eat, to how to spend our day, to where to spend our money, to whom to spend our time with… decisions are part of our daily life.


That doesn’t mean we are good at making decisions.  Many of us make very bad decisions every day and only a few of us make good decisions consistently.  Why is there such disparity in this?  What keeps us from making sound decisions?


Did you know that you could virtually eliminate conflict and confusion by becoming proficient at making decisions?  Once you make a decision, you will find all the people, resources and ideas you need every time.


Indecisiveness is a decision to not make a decision.  This is typically fueled by the fear of failure.  Low self esteem and succumbing to circumstances is why so many people make poor decisions.


If you have an idea, a desire, a wish, a worthy ideal, make the decision to achieve whatever it is you want.  Once you make this decision, the people, resources, and ideas will be attracted to you because your belief in achievement will supersede your fears and circumstances.  Your belief will be the catalyst that changes your behaviors, your actions, and ultimately your results.


Keep your focus on your visions, your worthy ideal.  Refuse to worry about how it will happen – know that you are capable of anything you put your mind to and make the decision today to DECIDE WHERE YOU ARE WITH WHATEVER YOU’VE GOT.

Intentional Living Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat

Are you ready to take you marriage from good to GREAT?

Participants in our life changing Intentional Living Couples Retreat will explore their relationship with hands on exercises and thought provoking material by relationship expert John C. Maxwell.

This intimate couples retreat is facilitated by certified John Maxwell coach Donna Kunde, a military retiree herself. The program will help you discover deeper meaning and appreciation for your significant other and the life you lead together. This is not a lecture or counseling session. It is a fun day of learning and application that will teach you how to live life by choice and not by chance!

During our couples retreat we’ll work together to…
  • Create a Crystal Clear Vision for the kind of happy relationship you’d like to have.
  • Uncover hidden challenges that may be sabotaging your relationship success.  
  • You’ll leave our retreat renewed, re-energized and inspired to turn your relationship into the relationship of your dreams.


Enjoy Award Winning Accommodations at The Grey Swan Inn

The Grey Swan Inn is an award-winning bed and breakfast in southern Virginia with a vintage charm and old world feel. It is the ideal setting for a romantic couple’s retreat. You will want to turn off your cell phone and relax in cozy comfort with the love of your life!

The Inn is located about an hour’s drive from traffic and the hustle and bustle of city life – where honking your horn is saying hello. All coffee served here is fresh roasted on-site and the gourmet breakfasts are tasty. We are able to meet most Dietary needs with advanced notice. Free Wi-Fi available during your stay. This will be a couples only weekend.

It’s time to pack your bags and leave your troubles at home. Breathe in the fresh country air and return home relaxed and fulfilled.


Couples Retreat Packages include:

  • Complete half day workshop with full color Intentional Living workbook for each participant
  • One or two Night stay at the Inn including a Luxurious Gift Basket and Delicious Gourmet Breakfasts
  • Romantic Candlelight Dinner for 2 with intimate Marriage Vow Renewal Ceremony
  • Fruit & Cheese tray at check in
  • Two copies of the book Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell along with a digital copy (first 3 chapters) of the book emailed so you can start reading right away!
  • Right Life Balance Assessment to find out how balanced your current life is plus tips to add balance
  • Pre-Workshop bonus session: Harmony: How to make permanent change to bring inner peace and a more harmonious life (must book and pay by Nov 11 to qualify)
  • Breakfast Bonus Session on Sunday morning
  • Light Refreshments throughout the training including fresh roasted coffee

Prices start at $175 per person – Only 4 rooms available for overnight packages

Email The Grey Swan Inn for Complete Details!

Payment Plans Available

Ask about our Red, White, & Blue Special for all Active & Retired Military and First Responders!

Certified John Maxwell Coach Donna Kunde


Dreams and Reality

Have you wanted to set a large goal for yourself but are afraid to even give it the time and energy to create the plan to achieve it?

Every achievement starts as an idea.  That idea then becomes a theory. That theory then becomes a fact thus yielding an achievement.  This process is the result of the highest form of positive thinking.

There is a creative form of energy and it manifests itself as our imagination.  When activated, it is able to build clear and vivid images.  When we dream, our minds are filled with illogical thoughts like levitating or being outside in a bathing suit while it is snowing and not feeling cold. When building an idea, we need to not concern ourselves with the “How”.  First we must build the image and then the “How” will reveal itself to us.  We want to keep our mind free of clutter so we can build this picture in color – be able to use our senses to bring it to reality.

Now that we have the image, we have to commit to being able and willing to create this. This is where we step out of our comfort zone and move beyond the limits of our belief system.  This is where doubts try to infiltrate our minds creating fear and then ultimately we give up on our dreams.  Questioning how is pointless as you couldn’t possibly know how since you have never done this before so let the need to know go and continue to focus on the image.

Once the commitment is set and you are willing and able to move forward, the idea moves into the next phase of the process and turns into a goal.  From here the image is moved to the subconscious mind as emotions form and attach to the idea turning it into physical form.

The idea and you begin to merge and your vibrations change, causing behaviors to change. These changes start an attraction force that builds your awareness of the opportunities that always were there but are now visible and in line with your goal.  Through faith and a belief in this idea, you have moved what was once a dream into a reality.


Self-knowledge is key to achieving growth.  Adopting others’ definitions of success as our own is not a formula for growth.  Our beliefs have a huge impact on how we perceive success and how we move forward.  Our values and beliefs may not match those of people we think are successful and therefore we need to be aware of what is truly important to us to achieve success.

Societies are made up of many differing types of people, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  Some types are more suited for particular tasks and by understanding this, we can open our minds to our own growth potential.

Diving deeper into differing types of people, we can appreciate those gifts each has and that appreciation and understanding empowers us with the knowledge of why people react in certain situations.  Better understanding our environment and each other, we can work together toward a common goal.

Balance within us is crucial to our growth.  We have strengths and weaknesses that require equal billing to increase our awareness and understanding.  This means that focusing only on strengths and ignoring weaknesses causes an imbalance.  Recognizing strengths and weaknesses, embracing them and then supplementing weaknesses with others’ strengths in a team effort is highly effective.

The importance to growth is to not hide behind weaknesses but to embrace them, strengthen them either through inner reflection or by supplementing them in a team environment.