Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of Inspire Me Today. For quite some time, I’ve been following her inspiration via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. She always knows just the right thing to say! And then when I asked my friend Arielle Ford for a recommendation on a great person to interview for Following Your Joy, without hesitation she replied: “Gail Goodwin!”
So here we are. I’m so grateful that my path has crossed with Gail, and I’m delighted that Arielle connected us. What a joy to have a conversation with Gail about the “important” stuff in life – she’s full of depth and compassion and has a wise view of the world that I can’t wait to share with readers.
Michelle: Welcome, Gail! Let’s jump in. You’re known as one who inspires so many others in the world – how do you do it?
Gail: My favorite way to spread love and joy is by being the best example I can be – I embrace and live my life as a happy person; as a balanced, centered, grounded person who’s out to make a huge difference. It takes different forms – sometimes making the world a better place might simply be taking a walk for ‘me’ to be okay.
I look at myself as a rock, thrown into a pond to make ripples. If I want those ripples to be happy ripples, then the rock has to be happy to start with. If I go into a coffee shop and I’m grumpy to the barista, it’s not going to help her day at all. Every single action I take has a profound impact on all the other people I interact with, and I have a choice in every moment how I want to interact with the world and impact the day.
Michelle: Is there a specific way you like to inspire others?
Gail: I like to show up in whatever way is required of me and stay open to the greater good, and open to the magic. I don’t wake up and say I’m going to do x, y, and z. Instead, I wake up and follow my intuition. When you’re an open vessel and open to the magic around you, things show up that you cannot plan. You may hear an inspired voice that says, “You’re going to get on Twitter right now…”
When that happens to me, I’ve typed “need a hug” in the Twitter search field. And there are dozens of tweets per minute by random people saying that they need a hug, or they’re crashing, or they’re having a hard time. Then I send a message to those people saying “I just want you to know that somebody loves you, somebody cares and I’m here if you need anything.”
I’ve had several people email me back and say that they were going to take their life that morning, and they didn’t because of that simple tweet to them.
It’s so profound that from such a simple act of love – I gave someone five minutes of my time and it changed their world. I follow the intuitive voice – whether it’s blogging, tweeting, or calling a friend. Maybe for someone else, they’re inspired to paint (and that’s the best way for them to be of service in that moment; there’s no right way for everyone). Just listen to your own voice, and whatever intuitive hit you get – go and do that.
It’s a matter of practice. There is something to ‘studying silence’ – taking time for the quiet so you can hear that voice inside, and then you can say: “Oh! I know what I’m supposed to do!” It’s pretty easy.
Michelle: That’s something I’m always striving to do better – take quiet time for myself in the morning.
Gail: We run around in craziness during the day, trying to get so much done. If we took quiet time at the beginning of the day, we’d get at least double – if not more – accomplished because we’re tapping into a greater source. There’s an army of unseen angels lining things up for us! When you take the time for yourself, you’ll get more done. I know it seems like an oxymoron and seems backwards, but go try it and watch what happens. Make the time for you, first thing every morning instead of jumping out of bed and flying into that routine.
Jump out of bed with glee and go do something you love (exercise, walk your dog, or whatever). Then go talk to the rest of the world. That makes the rest of the day rock!
Michelle: What happens for you when you don’t take time for doing what you love?
Gail: It’s a disaster! Sometimes I think I’m smart and savvy enough that I’m going to be able to “think” my way through something and make decisions. Every time I’ve come from a place of not being grounded, I give away my sense of personal power – that part of me – to someone or something else. Every time I’ve done that, the consequences have been like a sledgehammer. These times are the greatest, most painful lessons I’ve learned.
When I allow myself to get quiet I know that there is no guru, no mentor that can tell you more than you can learn from listening to yourself. Everyone has that voice within themselves. The key is to take the time to listen and know that you are not broken, you do not need to be fixed; you already have all of the answers within you.
No one knows what’s better for you than you do.
You don’t have to sit for hours and try to get into a state of nirvana – just go sit and have a conversation with yourself. It’s amazing the insight you will get. Every time that I’ve gotten off-balance, I’ve paid for it financially, time-wise, agony-wise. I laugh at myself and say “When are you going to learn this?” It’s easy to slip back into finding a shiny new mentor and think that this person knows what they’re doing and you turn yourself over to them. Of course there are good people who have good tips and who can help us along the way. But if you hand yourself over to that person and say “What would they do?” – it’s just silliness.
Michelle: My clients talk about getting “stuck.” Do you ever feel stuck?
Gail: Of course! But the greatest way to get unstuck from the stuff that doesn’t make you feel whole and happy, is to go and be of service to someone else. Get out of your own head, out of your own fear, out of your comfort zone…and the world opens up in such a magnificent way that you cannot imagine the joy that awaits you. It’s very easy to get stuck and think that “this” is all that exists. When you realize that you are a mere grain of sand on the beach…everything shifts.
Michelle: I love your philosophy on making dreams come true. What can you share here with our readers?
Gail: What prevents us from realizing our dreams is that we have this dream and say to ourselves, “I don’t know how I’m going to do that,” so we don’t start. But it’s so important to take the first step even if you don’t have a clue of where you’re going.
I’ve seen it happen on my own life – the power of taking the tiny little steps along the way and letting the rest unfold. You don’t have to know where it’s going. Let it unfold, and it can even become so much better than you could have ever imagined. That’s where the fun stuff comes in.
Be open and if you don’t know the answers to the “how”…that’s great. You do need to know the “why” – that’s the heart part. If you get the heart part, the rest of it just flies into place for you.
Michelle: What helps you to stay motivated?
Gail: Nature. The trees, smells, sounds, and the feel. Hiking with my dog and husband on a trail in Montana by a lake. It’s spectacular! I take that time to remember my place in the world. Sometimes we get too full of ourselves. Go look at a tree, go look at a flower and be reminded that you are a speck of sand. It’s a reminder that you are incredibly significant while insignificant. Nature connects me. So whenever I’m feeling stressed, confused, frustrated, or I just don’t know which way to turn – I don’t try to think it out, I just go for a walk.
And I let it be at that and leave it open to the magic of the universe stepping in. I never know what’s going to happen on a walk. It’s my time to re-connect.
Michelle: Sounds like what you’re saying here is that life isn’t for us to control.
Gail: Life has proved to me that it’s cooler than I am. To think that I have control over life is kind of arrogant and silly. I set the intention of where I want to be and what I choose to accomplish, and then get out of the way. When I let go of “how” things should happen, life shows up so much cooler than I ever could have planned.
No one is smarter than your own inner self. Take some time. Go for a walk. That’s it, that’s your homework assignment. And be careful not to say, “I’ll go for a walk Tuesday from 10-10:30.” It’s not like that. When the mood strikes you, go do it. When you’re the most stressed, go do it. When you don’t know what else to do, go do it. You’ll think of things on that walk and everything will line up, when you get out of the way. Stop trying to think that you have to control everything in your own life. Get out of the way and let it show up exactly in the divine way that it’s supposed to.
Michelle: Final bits of advice for us inspiration seekers?
Gail: Take the time for you and do what makes you happy. Let go of all the reasons and all the excuses for why you’re not doing what makes you happy. And in every action, in every day, ask yourself: “Does this bring me joy?” If it brings you joy, keep doing it. If it doesn’t bring you joy, do something else. It is nothing more than a choice. Because what you focus on grows.
Wherever you are in life, whatever you have going on…start with gratitude. Be grateful for everything around you. Even if you think your life sucks, there is still something in your life you can be grateful for. Celebrate that and allow it to continually grow.
When someone says “How are you today?” – instead of saying “Fine,” try saying “I’m grateful,” and start the gratitude ripple. The more grateful we are, the more magic shows up in our lives.
Michelle: Agreed! Lots of great stuff to think about here. How can readers stay in touch with your wisdom and inspiration?
Gail: They can find free daily inspiration at Inspire Me Today! There, I ask a different luminary every day: “If today were your last day on Earth and you could share 500 words of brilliance with the world, what are the most important things you’d want to pass along to others?” From Sir Richard Branson, Jack Canfield, Guy Laliberte and Marci Shimoff, to seven year-old Sammi Fitzgerald who teaches gratitude to kids in Dallas – each day is different.
The purpose of our inspiration is this: I want people to wake up every morning and come to InspireMeToday.com and remember that they are magnificent and know that they have the power to be anything, do anything, and create anything in their own life.
We want to brush the dust off their wings and let them know they really can fly.
Michelle’s final thoughts: Whew! I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity for this enlightening conversation with Gail. Since then, I’ve removed some of the ‘structure’ from my day and allowed myself to go with the flow more. I’ve thought of Gail every morning that I pause and sit in silence…before I jump in to my day and all that it entails. When I get out for a walk, I breathe in the clean air and hear Gail’s words reminding me how important nature is. And most importantly, she’s reminded me that I’m only in control of myself. I’ve been better at trusting, letting go, and ultimately following my joy. Thank you, Gail!
My wish for you, our readers, is that this interview also sparked something special inside of you. :)