Friday, February 3, 2017

Michael McLeod, MA, CCC-SLP - Testimonials


Michael McLeod, worked with my 12 year-old son for over a year.  When our son first met Mike, it was after a difficult year of losses and changes.  Our son was somewhat resistant to participating in the group activities.  From the first day, Mike was engaging and encouraging with him.  He was gentle, fun and supportive, and as the time unfolded, he helped my son to engage more with his peers and participate in a myriad activities.  He was unfailingly optimistic, and his charismatic, upbeat quality facilitated a wonderful environment in which our son was able to grow and change. 

Mike was always punctual, polite, and thoughtful about supporting my son's different educational, social and emotional needs.  He helped our son on a variety of levels, and he still considers Mike to be the best adult “counselor” he has ever had.  

I would recommend Michael McLeod for any coaching or therapeutic position.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding this fine individual. 
 
Sincerely,
Nancy
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Michael McLeod was recommended by a long time friend to work with my 22 year old son. Since the age of four and a half, we have been involved in the community of parents and children with special needs, and through many years of psychiatry no one has touched the core of my son's issues like Michael. Although he has been working with my son for only 3 to 4  months, he has been instrumental in transforming his attitude from relentless negativity to one more thoughtful and optimistic.

He filled a very important need for him since he feels himself to be different and alone.

Michael makes himself very available to my son.. taking his phone calls in moments of stress, which are many, and  is able to reset his thought process with a mixture of cognitive logic and cheerleading. 

In my experience Michael's mentoring approach has given my son increasing self confidence, where before there was for the most part, self loathing and bitterness.

I would unequivocally recommend Michael to any parent of a struggling youngster. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions,

Yours truly,
Alex Z.
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When I met Michael McLeod, I was impressed with his positive and outgoing personality.  He was always looking to help wherever it was needed and he outshone the other counselors on staff.  We all liked him so much that he became a mentor for our two children, and every time he came over, they never wanted him to leave. 
Mike is responsible, fun-loving and engaged.  He speaks to children in a way that shows that he is interested in what they have to say, and makes them feel heard.  He is just as adept in speaking to other adults and peers - respectful and attentive.  Mike is a pleasure to be around. 
I wholeheartedly recommend Michael McLeod in any teaching, coaching or therapeutic capacity. He is highly qualified and is an asset to any program. 
 
Best,
Jennifer U. 
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"So inspiring! I recommend GrowNOW and Michael for anyone that wants to bring out the best in themselves!" -Meghan H.

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Michael's insight on our struggles and how to effectively set them aside to accomplish growth is both logical and inspired. So glad to have met you!  -Ben ________________________________________________________________

"Michael can help anybody! His motivational words make complete sense, and he speaks from the heart. Joining the GrowNOW Movement was the best thing I ever did!" - Annie
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"My 14-year old daughter and I have benefited so much from Michael. He has gained some new followers. We love his work!" -Angela

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"Mike took the time to get to know me. It was great how he knew so much about my interests and also the personal experiences I have been through. The advice he gave me changed my life. I know what is important now, and I rarely have any negative experiences anymore." - Justin 

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We have known Michael McLeod for approximately 8 months. He provided speech services to our son who's currently in the 7th grade. Our son, struggled with comprehending what he was reading. Not only that, he was flawed in areas of vocabulary and writing. Michael completed his initial assessment and identified his strengths, weaknesses, and areas that he needed to hone in on to have better success overall.
The rapport between my son and Michael was built fast which was due to Michael’s personable approach. The approach that he takes is one that shows he genuinely cares for our son and wants him to grow. Through my observation, Michael was able to connect with him by referencing the subjects (i.e. sports) that our son likes with some of the topics he covered during the visits. Although he only had had 30-45 minute sessions with him, he has helped my son to excel! I highly recommend that you give him an opportunity. I have great faith in him to provide quality services to whomever he chooses to work with in his future endeavors. -Mother of client
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Mike McLeod worked with my five year old son weekly with sound articulation.  Mike worked with him to gain his trust and cooperation, and within weeks Mike was able to make significant improvements in his pronunciation.   Mike’s approach to teaching is fun and engaging. - Parent
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ALL of the students love Michael and I couldn’t ask for a better Speech Therapist for my school! - School Principal

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There are few people in the world that dedicate themselves to bettering others. Mike not only cares for the well being of others, he takes every new experience he encounters as a new way to not just help one in need, but to learn something for later practical application. His genuine and one of a kind approach to a problem differs from impersonal methods use by most, which is why he gets results!" - Chris F.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Michael McLeod, CCC-SLP/Youth Life & Executive Function Coach

Michael McLeod, CCC-SLP
Philadelphia, PA
Certified Speech-Language Pathologist
PROMPT Trained Clinician

Life Coach
Executive Functioning
Social Skills Guru
Youth Success
Educational & Behavior Success

Resiliency Training
Confidence Building

Click the Link to View REAL Client & Parent Testimonials
Contact: MGMGrowNOW@gmail.com

Monday, July 4, 2016

Your Freedom




July 4th in America is all about celebrating freedom. You will see it everywhere. At the backyard bbq's, at the pool, and around the dinner table. We use the word 'freedom' to unify us as Americans, a way for us to bond and strengthen our patriotism. 

We must know that freedom is much greater than politics and government. Freedom goes far deeper, and it is much stronger of a word than many of us ever realize. 

What is often forgotten is our own 'personal freedom.

What makes this so special is that we are always striving for it, whether we realize it not. We all want it, and we all want it to be stronger than it currently is today. 

Whether you want a better career so you can have more personal freedom. A loving partner for romantic freedom. Orr opportunities to travel and see the world for adventurous freedom, more chances to do things on your own watch for time freedom. To be your own boss, for executive freedom. 

All of this is the same thing - personal freedom. 

We all want more control over our lives and new opportunities to live out our dreams. We want the same freedom that we are all celebrating every July 4th. 

This July 4th- help yourself to focus on what you do have. The family, friends, home, job, and belongings that you DO have and are thankful and blessed to call YOURS. 

This activity and practice of being grateful helps you to bring your power back. Recognizing what you do have will help you to focus on what is next with a powerful positive and growth mindset. These are the first steps toward achieving your personal freedom. 

Find your Freedom.
If your now Growing, you're Giving Up.
Refuse to Give Up, and #GrowNOW

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Misconception of Control



Practice what you preach. Here on this blog, I've said it all. Continue to strive toward your goals and never give up. Do not get caught up in distractions. In fact, eliminate distractions. And most importantly, follow your own advice.

So here I am doing my first post since January 25th. Today is June 28th. 5 months and 3 days. I became distracted. I became too caught up in my life as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Quite often I get too caught up in the lives of my clients and their families. I ignore my own life, my passions, my goals. I work so hard to ensure that I am providing the best possible care to each one of my clients, I end up cherishing the little free time I have. But what have I been doing with that free time? I have been distracted. I have been distracted with rest, other people, my thoughts, the internet, etc. My goals haven't changed. I still want to inspire people and make a difference wherever and whenever I can.

I have been blessed to continue to work with several of my Life Coaching clients in New York. Wonderful young adults who have all of the tools to succeed, they just need someone like me to help bring it out of them. Although each one is different, I find myself seeing some of the same things, and thus, giving some of the same advice.

Control. All of us want control. If we could, we would all gain the power to control others and our environment and our time. Our true ego never fades and we want things to work out just as we believe they should.

But they rarely ever do, don't they?

We have all heard it before, life has a funny way of throwing you twists and turns, and things have a funny way of working themselves out, even better than you initially imagined. But in the moment, this can become quite the struggle. Things are not going as you think they should. Someone is acting differently than you feel they should. Time is not passing as you feel it should. You haven't achieved your goals yet. You don't like where you are right now. You see people around you with things that you want, a life that you want. You want to have MORE CONTROL.

But we do not have that power. This desire for control that ultimately goes unfulfilled, leads to anger, jealousy, and resentment.

And when we are at our angriest, we are at our stupidest. What can we possibly accomplish now?

We much change this MISCONCEPTION of Control.

The fact that we do not have this amazing power of control is both difficult AND beautiful. Yes, it is beautiful. Why? Because control is tough! More control = more work and responsibilities!

So now, we can focus on what we actually DO have control over. And luckily, it is quite the short list!

I believe there are only THREE things we have control over in life:
 1) How hard we work toward our goals.
 2) How we treat other people
 3) Our emotions and behaviors

Everything else is OUTSIDE of our control. If something is outside of our control, then we should not be worrying about it! We must let our faith, time, and hope take care of that!

That is it. Three simple things. If you focus on and take care of these three things each and everyday, you will relinquish stress, fear, and gain more happiness, confidence, and success.

Focus on the Power of 3. All else, let time take care of.

If you're not Growing, you're Giving Up.
Refuse to Give Up, and #GrowNOW.

-Mike

Monday, January 25, 2016

3 Steps to Get Out of your Rut



When we work every single day of our lives, putting in the hours to get the check that pays all of our bills and allows us to live the way that we live, we often find ourselves repeating the same patterns. Each day we wake up, do the same thing, go to work, come home, and do it all over again. How can we keep ourselves from falling into this difficult cycle? How can we make sure that we are able to stay alive, charged, and motivated to take ourselves to a new level?

Here are 3 steps to get our of of that terrible Rut:

1) Challenge Yourself Every Day.

Challenge. It can be a scary word. Why would I want to make things even more difficult on myself? I am working hard enough as it is. It doesn't have to be viewed this way. It shouldn't be viewed this way. It is not about making things more difficult, its about taking yourself to the next level, seeing what your mind and body can do. What can you accomplish? If you don't like the word challenge, use the word accomplish. Accomplish something new every day. Go to the gym in the morning before work. Go to the gym when your exhausted. Go to the gym more than 3 times this week. Make a new friend this week. The possibilities are endless. Don't like this day or this week become another statistic or a distant memory. Do something that you will remember forever.

2) Detach from Technology.

OK, don't hate me for this one. When you look at something and use something as often as you do with your phone, it becomes a part of your life. Is it by your side right now? Is it in your pocket or your hand right now? You may have some separation anxiety. Go to your bedroom, plug your phone in and go for a walk. Go to coffee shop and take seat. Bring a book if you'd like. Do some people watching. Observe other people. Try to figure out what they are going through. Everybody is going through their own battles. Everybody is working toward some dream. Being re-immersed to society and watching people live out their lives will help you keep yours in perspective.

3) Become more Aware of Your Behavior

At least three times a day, you should be asking yourself, why do I feel this way, and why? Sometimes we get so caught up in what we think we are supposed to be doing, what we forget how we feel. Are you feeling tired, happy, motivated, sad, lonely? You are certainly feeling something! Figure it out and find out why. Getting in touch with your emotions consistently helps you to realize that you deserve to be feeling whatever it is that you are feeling. Take the time to take it all in.

Go forth each day attempting to be your best self. It takes PRACTICE. Be consistent. Nobody is their best self without trying and being intententional.

If your not Growing Now, you're Giving Up. Refuse to Give Up & #GrowNOW.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Be U




On television, we watch the stars, the professional athletes, the household names. It is during our school-age years when we begin to compare ourselves to our our peers. Whether it is something simple as the way they dress, or something major as they words or langauge they use, we are changing who are are to be more like another individual. 

Far too many people are forgetting to Be U. 

Be Unique. 

Never. Blend. In.

You were born a unique individual. If you veered off course it is due to your choice and decision to be more like another individual or group to help you "fit in" in someway. 

But have you forgotten? There is nobody out there like U. There is nobody like U. There is nobody that has the very specific strengths that U have. Nobody thinks like U. Nobody acts just like U. Nobody has the exact same dream and aspirations as U. 

Thorughout life we will experience struggles that will make us question ourselves. It is inevitable. We all go through it.

Why am I like this? Why did I allow myself to do that? Why do I have to have these feelings and emotions? Why did I react like that? 

As you get older, you will see that this is where the GROWTH happens. As we get older, we have the opportunity to get wiser, stronger, and even more unique. 

Always remember how special you are. You have a passion, you have a purpose. Follow your dreams, build upon your strengths. 

Nobody else can do it but U.

Refuse to Give Up & #GrowNOW

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What's Next?




So much of personal development is focused on the NOW. How are you living this day? Are you focusing on the moment? Are you being the best person you could possibly be right now? 

Life can take you down many twists and turns, and the greatest irony is that the greatest progress always comes from the greatest struggle. Most people who are drawn to personal development and growth, are indivuduals who know things can be different. Life can be better, and bigger. 

So with all of this focus on the moment, there is one thing you should always have in your mind: what's next?

What are those changes you want in your life? Who do you want to become? What do you want to have? What is it that you want to accomplish?

What steps are you taking every single day to make sure that happens? If those steps are not daily, you need to take a breath and analyze your situation. 

Don't forget to ask yourself what's next so you can know exactly where you're headed. 

If your not Growing NOW, your Giving Up, Refuse to Give Up and GrowNOW

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Power of Visuals



Throughout our days, our minds race with thousands upon thousands of thoughts. "If other people could only know what I think about during the day!," we say to ourselves. In our head, our thoughts contain our true selves that nobody else knows about. Our strengths, our weaknesses, our biggest fears, our dreams. We have visions of ourselves singing in front of large audiences, making a rousing speech, helping large groups of people, living in a beautiful home. Our mind contains our TRUE dreams, that we don't express with our tongue or our voice.

The only problem with this, is that this is where many of these dreams live and die. We never express them, we never let them out of our waning thoughts. Because of this, we never let them become REAL. We never let them truly affect us in ways they are meant to. A quick thought, a short mental image, simple is not enough. Achieving a dream takes major motivation, and it must touch you at the core to truly drive you. Your dreams should keep you awake at night. 

Today, let your dreams escape your mind. How? Grab a pen and paper.

Write your dreams down. Being able to see this in your own handwriting has a power that cannot be described. Then pen will move faster than ever before. This isn't some grocery list or signature on a bill. These are your goals, your dreams, your innermost thoughts of your life. Take the time out of your day to accomplish this small feat. You'll be glad you did. It will be the start of something great.

If you're not growing now, you're giving up. Refuse to Give Up & #GrowNOW

-Mike

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Kind of Person



We are defined by our actions and our words. People view our actions and hear our words and they form their own judgment and opinion of us. They store their thoughts about you away, deep in their mind, like their own personal filing cabinet. So much of our lives are spent worrying what other people think about us. We want others to like us, enjoy being around us, think about us when we are not there.

There are certain people we meet, and quite often we cannot help by feel jealous of how they are perceived and accepted by others. The ones that are charismatic, funny, outgoing, articulate. The ones that seem to just have "it." They are like magnets, and always seem to be the center of positive attention.

How can we ensure that others enjoy our presence? How can we become the kind of person that people love, respect, and admire? Luckily, every step we take is an opportunity to redefine who we are. 

No matter what we have done in the past, or what others have thought about us, it will always be true that human beings are capable of great growth and change. We can take up new ideals, routines, or beliefs at any moment that can change our life forever. Are you willing to make that change? Are you willing to #GrowNOW?

Of all the people in this world, there is one kind of person that people will always love. Kind people. And it is no coincidence that the most kind people are also people of great integrity.

Are you a man or woman of integrity? Do you think before you speak? Do you do your best to make others feel special? Do you always do what is right, even when nobody is watching? Do you care about how you carry yourself so that you can contribute to others? Do you practice joy and gratitude? Do you strive to be a better person each and everyday?

Ask yourself these questions. If you answered yes to every single one, then you have integrity. If you answered yes, but you also see room for improvement, then you truly have integrity. Ask yourself these questions everyday. Start bringing more integrity into your life. You will notice changes unlike any other.

Be a man or woman of integrity, and continue to grow.
If your not growing now, your giving up. Refuse to Give Up & GrowNOW

-Mike


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

5 Steps That Will Finally Get You Started



It is officially December and the cold weather is upon us. Do you happen to notice yourself analyzing your life now more than usual. This is what the winter weather does to us. As the beautiful, warm, crisp air leaves us and we are forced to bundle up when we go outside, blast the hot air in our car and homes, we tend to have a bit more time to take a look at ourselves and where we are.

We are human beings. Part of being a human means that you have a thirst for novelty. You crave new things, you are disappointed in the repetitive mundane. You want your life to be something better, something bigger. And that is perfectly OK. No matter who you are or where you are in life, it is totally normal to want something different or better. We all do.

The tough part about wanting a better life is the cold hard fact: nothing worth having is easy.
The easy thing to do is to get caught up in the life that we already have. Wake up, go to work, come home and do a few more things, then go back to sleep so we can do it all over again. If we want the life we have always dreamed of, we have to start being the person that we have always dreamed of. We need to make all of the small changes that make a world of difference. It will take discipline and courage, but I know that we are all capable of doing it.

1) OWN Your Mornings
Take a look at the surveys and the research. All successful people take this rule very seriously. They get up hours before they have to do anything business or work-wise. Wake up early to a motivating personalized message on your phone. Read your written-down goals from a piece of paper. DO NOT look through your phone. There is no reason to check Facebook or Instagram first thing in the morning. Do not watch TV. Don't bother it is just another distraction. Grab a cup of coffee and a book/blog on your favorite topic and just read. Read until you have to leave for work. Now that is a truly successful morning.

2) Drink More Water, Eat Well
This is obvious, yet so incredibly key. There is a direct correlation between eating unhealthy snack foods and people who rush through their day. Take a deep breath, slow time down, and take what you put into your body seriously. Drink as much water as you can each day. You will feel instant results. Eating healthy will change how you sleep, how you feel when you wake up, and how you function throughout the day. Take pride in your body, and this will come much easier.

3) Eliminate 1 Guilty Pleasure a Month
This is true discipline. We all have them. Guilty pleasures that do one simple negative thing to our lives: they take up our time. We could be researching our dream career while we watch that Seinfeld re-run. We could be learning a new skill while we look at our Fantasy Football team. We could be networking while we SnapChat. Get rid of one of these useless activities each month. It won't be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is. And trust me, make it past that first month, and the rest few will get easier and easier.

4) Create a Vision Board/Journal
There is great underestimated power in written language and visuals. Write your goals down on a piece of paper. Look at them and analyze them. Your dreams written down in your handwriting. There are few things more powerful. Take a look at them each day. Remind yourself of what you want, of what you know you can accomplish. I truly believe vision boards have amazing power in the subconscious mind. Take a few hours out of your day, and make that vision board. Then from that day forward take 30-minutes out of each day to journal. Just like the other steps, this takes great discipline to do and keep up with. If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.

5) Eliminate Fake Friends
This life is beautiful, and it goes by far too fast. Before you know it your an adult, working each day and starting a family of your own. Our time on this earth is too short to spend with the wrong people. If you have people in your life that you feel don't respect you and don't take your time seriously. Eliminate them. Simple as that. When it comes to friends in this life, it will always be quality over quantity. It will always be better to have 1 true friend than 20 mediocre ones. You are far too special and unique to grant your time to the wrong individual.

Let me know what you think by commenting below.
Follow on Instragram: @GrowNOW_
Like on Facebook: Grow NOW
Send me an e-mail: MGMGrowNOW@gmail.com

If you're not growing, you're giving up. Refuse to Give Up & GrowNOW

-Mike

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Something to Prove



In today's world of online social media, we are more involved and interested in other people's lives then ever before. In the past, we would only know how someone was doing or what they were up to if we gave took the time out of our day to give them a call and display our care for them by asking the relevant questions. Today, you can learn this information from that small computer that is always right in your pocket (or most likely in your hand).

In a world for of re-do's, re-makes, rehashing, and re-runs, the most important thing we often forget is just how unique we are. Billions upon billions of people on this planet, and each one of them is a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL. Different families, different cultures, different experiences, different strengths, different weaknesses, different talents, different interests, different opinions. THAT is what makes this world so beautiful. And we forget this more than anything.

Each one of us is our own book, complete with a beginning, middle, and end, settings, characters, and conflicts. Each one of us holds the pen, and each one of us is fighting a battle every single day. It does not matter who you are, you are fighting this battle whether you recognize it or not. Each one of us is fighting for something to prove.

There are always feats to accomplish, goals to complete, talents to master...and something to fight for. There is ALWAYS something to fight for. No matter how down you feel you may be, no matter how difficult things seem, there is always something to fight for and something to prove. A bully to prove wrong, parents to impress, peers to compete with, role models to be more like. There is always a reason to take that step forward. And as long as you can take that next step, take it.

Yes, this is something you most likely will want to keep as personal information. But take a second and think. What is it that you are fighting for? Are you just not happy with your present circumstances? Do you want to ensure you can provide your children or future children with a better life than yours? Do you have someone to impress or prove wrong? For every single one of us, there is something deep down that gives us a reason to keep going. You need to eliminate your distractions and truly define what it is. Remind yourself of it every single day. Thumb tack it to your wall, give yourself a phone alert, write it down in your notebook. Remind yourself every day why you fight because you DO have a reason to fight and you ARE A FIGHTER.

Define your life. Define your focus. Know that you have something to prove and #GrowNOW.

-Mike

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Start your New Habit



We all have dreams for our lives. To be the person we have always dreamed of. To achieve something better, something bigger. 

I have friends of mine that want to own a business. Own a non profit. Become an actor. Get promoted. Become an Olympian. 

The funny thing is, most of us know exactly what we have to do to achieve these goals. We know exactly what it takes. So what's the problem?

Time. Our routines and our habits dictate our lives. We work 40+ hours a week. We have families, significant others. We have to go to the gym and exercise. We have to sleep. Where is the time to master my strengths? Where is the time time to do the work to achieve my goals? 

The answer is in habit and routine. But this leads to another Major Misconception. Creating a new habit can happen more easily that you probably realize. 

2 weeks. It takes two weeks to break a negative habit. And all of us have negative habits. And these negative habits are the key. These negative habits are where you find the TIME.

We all can't seem to find the TIME to achieve our goals. We all have negative habits we need to break. Here is your opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Break a negative habit and you will make more time. 

1)Stop hitting the snooze button. Get up.
2) Read every morning.
3) Erase one hour of tv watching.
4) Put your cellphone away for a few hours 
5) Listen to podcasts/audiobooks in the car instead of the radio. 
6) Read every night before bed. 

Find your negative habit. Find your weakness. Spend two weeks erasing it. Every single day. By the third week comes around, you will see that it has become habit, and you won't even think twice about doing it. 

You will be that much closer to your goals when you realize You are Capable 

#GrowNOW

-mike

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Special Ed Teacher Exposes Strengths

Amazing: The Exposure of Strengths

Master Your Strengths



I have worked with youth since I was a youth. Even as a young child, I always felt a deep connection and respect toward others. I found other individuals to be fascinating. Their differences, their experiences, their likes and dislikes. What interested them, and what made them tick And of course, their strengths and weaknesses. This is not to say that I have not disrespected others or treated others unfairly. I am just as guilty at this as anyone.

Currently, I work full time as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I work with youth aged 3-22. To me, speech is so much more than the ability to speak. Without speech, how can we be ourselves? Our voice is everything. It is our method of connection with the outside world. All people have the god-given right to communication. All people have a voice that deserve to be heard. And it is an honor to help many individuals get closer to that level.

One of my core beliefs of Speech Pathology is to always focus on the client's strengths. This is essential, and it is the foundation for all of the productive work I have ever done with youth. All children (and adults too!) have specific strengths. I truly believe that there is one thing each individual can do better than anyone else on the planet. It is just a matter of finding out what that thing is. Some spend a lifetime looking for it.

Focusing on a child's strength is therapy instantly improves confidence, trust, rapport, and enthusiasm. Funny enough, the same thing works with adults! Do we every truly "grow up" or do we just gain more responsibilities? Think about that one.

Strengths are something that successful and happy people build upon throughout their life. They recognize and instantly continue to work toward it. This is key. They work toward their strengths.

If you love something, MASTER it. Once you find your strength, something that you love. Become Obsessed. Get tunnel vision. Learn every single thing you can possibly learn about it. Every. Single. Thing. If you really love it, become a master at it. Become the best in THE WORLD in it.

This is one thing you truly won't regret. The passion and reward you will receive from pursuing your strengths and becoming a MASTER will be one of the greatest joys you ever feel.

Whats your strength? How will you contribute? Get to work and #GrowNOW

-Mike


Thursday, November 12, 2015

We All Need More Faith



Faith - the belief in one-self. The belief that all will be well, that all will work out.

Faith is an essential quality of successful and truly happy people. We all need more faith. We all need to believe in ourselves more. But it is so much more that than. Faith runs deep. Faith is more than just simple confidence. Faith is a belief in your life, your purpose, your mission, and most importantly...the journey.

We all love a good motivational quote. We love them the best when they make a true and deep connection to our current situations. Have you ever heard the one that says, "I've never met a strong person with an easy past?" We gain strength from our experiences, the tough times make our skin thick and our vision straight like a tunnel. But what about those tough times? Do we only care about the final result: a strong inspirational person. What happened during those tough times? What made the so tough? And most importantly, what got you through it?

Faith. Faith is the core to the successful transition out of struggle. All of the role models who are successful today could tell you about the unwavering faith they felt when their backs were against the wall, all hope seemed to be lost, and everyone said it can't be done. Today they are on top of the world, riches, fame, and respect. But there was a time where they struggled just like you and I. Waking up and going to work a job that you constantly question if it is right for you, getting home late, having little time for themselves and their own personal interests. Just like us, they had a dream. We ALL want to be something better, something bigger. But they kept the faith. The absolute belief that their dreams will come true, and that they will make the time to do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

While others make excuses, they keep the faith. The faith in themselves, the faith in their futures. The faith in the good in life. The faith in remaining positive and living life as their true selves. We all must realize that Faith is Free. Nobody is stopping you from having faith and working toward your dreams but yourself. Take a look in the mirror, that's your real competition. You are a unique individual.

Keep the faith that the person you are is the person you should be. And you if you refuse to Give Up you will #GrowNOW.

Mike

Friday, October 30, 2015

Get back to YOU




We are all going through it. Somehow, someway. As we get older, life changes, responsibilities grow. People come, but they mostly go. Struggle and progress persist. Each day is something new.

When we join the #GrowNOW Movement, we ask ourselves, "Who were you before your experiences told you who you ought to be?" Are you living YOUR life? Are YOU being YOU?

Each day the daily grind has the power and the ability to bring us down. Why is this?  Because as humans, we all dream. We all have a burning desire to be something better, something bigger. It is easy to say to yourself, "why am I doing this? "this isn't fair" "I should be doing something greater." We wake up when our job requires us to, and we go to bed so we will be ready to work again in the morning. Hours upon hours a day are put forth toward something we may not even be passionate about. Something that does not burn our desires and get our blood flowing. A daily life that keeps us from ever truly being ourselves. We all go through it. Each day can be a struggle. Working hard everyday just to attain a greater life, a greater purpose with greater experiences.

It is not how your life is, it is how you live it. You are a unique individual. If you believe it, it can only be true: YOU were born to make an Impact. You were created to make a difference. What you are doing right now, what took up all those hours in your day, must only just be a piece of the puzzle. I have never met a strong person with an easy past. I have never seen something with true wealth, happiness, and peace of mind that did not earn it.

Whatever it is that you are doing. Whatever it is that you are tired of doing. Whatever it is that is keeping you from being YOU. Challenge it. Challenge yourself. Make sure that whatever you are doing, you are the BEST to ever do it. Pride goes farther than just a "good job." Pride brings skills, pride brings competence, and pride generates confidence. Make sure that you do everything you can to the best of your abilities. You never know who is watching you. You never know who is looking up to you. Wake up every morning with a strong challenge to yourself. Whatever is it is that you set out to do that day, do it with all your heart. Inspire someone. Make someone's day. If you are able to do that, then you just had the perfect day. The ability to make somebody else's day is God-given. It is a true gift that puts you in the body of God. There is nothing more important in this world then spreading joy, love, and positivity, Being able to do that is the true definition of success. 

How else can YOU get back to being YOU? Part II is to avoid distraction. Find you passion, find your purpose and become a master. Become the best. If your work or job is not your life's goal, then you need to be spending your free time working toward that ultimate goal. You need to make sure you spend time every single day working toward what you love. Create a vision board, research online, watch videos, interview and befriend people who already have what you want. The possibilities of what you can do are endless. Make sure you are doing something. What are you doing?

Do not allow yourself to fall into a rut or negativity. There is too much beauty and love in today's world. And you are that beauty. Your existence is a gift of God. You were not put on this Earth to do what is causing you to be in a rut. You were meant for something better, something bigger. Make sure you believe in that first. Second, believe in yourself. There is nothing more important in  your life that yourself. You have passions, you have love, you have strengths. Use then to get through the struggles. Be a man or woman of purpose, love, and positivity. Spread your love every single day.

You will make a difference. You will #GrowNOW.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The GrowNOWers: Emily S.


Name: Emily S. (23, PA)
Favorite Inspirational Song: "Remembered" - Dizzy Wright
Contact - IG: @emilysteiner

     The night I turned 22 I was raped by a dude who I thought was the one. He let me stumble home from a club, and took my request to undress me as an invitation to have him some fun.
     I was newly-graduated, college educated, and working a full-time job on a year off before law school. I was out celebrating with a handful of people I no longer call my friends, consuming beverages I no longer let pass between my lips. I was doing what everyone else my age was doing (and that was the problem).
     After that night I could no longer live comfortably in the environment I was in. It always smelled of shame and the sunlight never snuck in through the windows the way I wanted it to. It was always dark. And I knew if I ever wanted to grow, I would have to change my environment. So I did.
I moved into the safety of my grandparents’ home where I invested time in self-loving, frolicking in the mountains at the foothills of Squaw Peak. I swore to myself that I would not put myself in situations unless they were going to help me progress. And I was going to worry less about being in control, and more about going with the flow (and that changed my entire scope of vision).
Two months later I found out that a boy I had loved was murdered.
     Finding out the news that someone you once shared your life with, shared your soul with, has departed… that feeling cannot be put into words.
      I started questioning everything. What lessons had I learned from him? What lessons am I learning from the people I am around now? What happens with the souls of people who didn’t get to live out their time? What happens with all his plans and goals? What happens with mine?
Time stopped for a total of two days. Three days later, I woke up to an e-mail from the school I attend now. They were offering me $40,000 a year toward my education; a full-ride scholarship to gain knowledge… to use my brain… to put my passion to work. I was going to be able to move across the country and to meet people and see things I may not have ever gotten the chance to otherwise.
(I recognize a blessing when I see one).
Knowing this, I focused my entire mentality on the possibility of growth:
I switched up my garden.
I stopped eating meat. I stopped complaining without purpose. I learned to stop myself from speaking limiting speech.
I stopped drinking booze. I stopped attending parties with my peers where the conversations were about as deep as vodka shot in a solo cup. 
I stopped allowing any shade, any negativity, to block the shine.
And the growth continued.
I started practicing gratitude, verbally. 
I started appreciating the contributions my friends and family make to my life. I started practicing forgiveness. I started counting my blessings every sunset. 
I started helping those around me shift to positive thinking speaking . 
I started nurturing my own roots and allowing myself to grow passed what others were doing or expecting of me.
I told myself that opportunities are what you make of them. I told myself that if someone can believe in my vision so much as to invest in it this greatly, I must invest in it even deeper.
I turn 23 today, and here is what I can say…
Your whole life can change in the blink of an eye. Moments in life are bound to pull you back. The magic lies in the fact that you can use that same force that drags you back to propel yourself into bigger and more purposeful stories. Know that all experiences guide your path and hardships exist to make you stronger, more prepared for the blessings ahead.
It has been quite the year. I am proud of who I am and can honestly say that a little desire to grow can take you a long way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The GrowNOWers: Gia "Indiflo"

Name: Gia "Indiflo" (Teen, NY)
Favorite Inspirational Song: "Words as Weapons" - Birdy

"Hey, I'm former singer Gia "Indiflo" and I just wanted to make sure you know how important and loved you are. If there's one thing I've learned from being a singer, it's that hate in inevitable. The only element that can cancel out such negative vibe is love. Keep the love high and don't let anyone put you down because as sick as it is, that is what people strive for. I love and so many others do too so no matter what life throws at you, keep a smile on your face and live liFe how you want to regardless of what anyone else has to say. The key to happiness is loving yourself because at the end of the day, you're all you've got to rely o 24/7. Remember to spread the LOVE."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Impress Yourself



Each day we dress a certain way, go the to gym, go to school, go to work, drive a certain car, and focus so much on our general appearance. But who are we trying to impress? Why do we care so much about how others perceive us?

From the early school-age years, we begin to shape ourselves to fit in with the crowds. We learn about what the majority likes, and we change ourselves. Many of us control our lives based on the thoughts of others. When you really stop and think, how much of your life is really your own? How much of what you have created for yourself is your own doing? Was it influenced our self-consciousness? Did we play small and act like our lives are only worthy if others think that it is?

When is the last time you impressed yourself? 

I know you have goals. I know you have dreams. Everyone does. Everyone wants to be something better, something bigger. Whether it is losing some weight, getting a promotion, getting an A+, learning a new skill. Have you done it yet? Have you accomplished something recently that helped you to impress yourself? When is the last time you really accomplished something?

One simple way to do this is to challenge yourself everyday. Yes, everyday. Give yourself a good challenge every day. Set that goal in the morning and remind yourself about it throughout the day. Make sure you do your best to accomplish it. Whether it be something like, "I will be a man of integrity today,  I will do something right when nobody is watching" "I will make somebody smile today" "I will give somebody a great compliment today" "I will give somebody hope today" " I will run an extra 10 minutes at the gym today" "I am going to smile in the face of judgement and stress today" "I am going to make the most out of the ordinary today" "I am going to start reading a new book."

Just do something. Start something great today. Take control of your mornings. Do not just drink your coffee and watch the same old morning show. Think about yourself. Think about your mindset. Think about your emotions. Think about your dreams and goals. Think about the ideal person that you want to be that day. You control it. You can be the person you have always dreamed of.


The key here is that it will all add up. Each day you will challenge yourself and accomplish something great each day. You will grow and you will contribute. You will make a difference to yourself and to others. Everything will add up. You're self-confidence will grow like never before. You will stop caring what other people think, simply because you now think so highly of yourself. Your self-reflections and self-views will never be better. You will accomplish what you have always dreamed of.

If anyone can do it, it is YOU. You are capable of anything you set your mind to. So the time is now. Set your mind to it.

#GrowNOW

-Mike

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The GrowNOWers: Devo M.

To my Fellow GrowNOWers of the #GrowNOW Movement,

If there has been one single great thing about the GrowNOW Movement, it is how we have been able to bring such wonderful, positive people together. People that actively practice joy, gratitude, integrity, and love for ALL of the people around them. Few people encompass what the GrowNOW Movement is all about than my new friend Devo Moore. 

Its quite funny...I met Devo while I was testing out my new favorite app, Periscope. Periscope allows me to intimately interact with people interested in joining the Movement. One day, I was testing out the app, looking to see if anyone was broadcasting from around my hometown on Long Island. I was blessed to come across Devo. He was immediately interested in what GrowNOW was all about. He asked some awesome questions and his interest and care radiated through the screen. I was able to notice instantly how genuine, kind, and honest Devo is.

All members of the GrowNOW Movement have it in their heart to help others. It is as simple as that. The GrowNOW Movement is all about spreading positivity, love, and support. All members also KNOW that they have the ability to be a role model and support system because they have a GREAT story to tell. Everyone on this earth has something about them that makes them a unique individual amongst over 6 Billion people. Each person has a great story to tell. GrowNOW is that platform. GrowNOW gives GREAT People a VOICE.

Here is Devo's story:


_____________________________________________________________


Name: Devo M. (22, New York)
Favorite Inspirational Song: Kelly Clarkson - Stronger


 I'm going to share my struggles with bullying during school to hopefully inspire you to know that no matter what you're going through and no matter how young you may be you have a story to tell for a reason and you are an important piece of this world. You can become the person you've always wanted to be and you can grow very much by just being you.

        I guess the right place to begin is with second grade, that's where it all started. One afternoon on the bus with my male friend we were holding hands and it got misconstrued into such a bigger situation than I'd ever realize. Within the next few weeks everyone in the entire school was ridiculing me for being different or "gay", now at first it meant nothing I just felt it would all blow over within a few more weeks maybe until third grade, whenever I'd approach an adult with my issues I was often dismissed and told to ignore it or act as if I couldn't hear them. As the years advanced however I'd come to notice that the ridiculing and bullying would only grow worse as what now had become a fib of me and that kid dating became known to more and more people. By the time I was in middle school I virtually had no friends due to the fact that my "differences" made me basically a public target and almost completely undesirable. Struggling with not only the bullying and lack of support behind it made me form identity problems as well as early signs of depression, anxiety and large amounts of stress was also dismissed by adult figures in my life, saying that I was to young to be depressed about anything, and those terms aren't suitable for children and that I'm just thinking of it too much. Now as a child I'd become a walking ball of anger, but as I'd began to GROW I'd become more and more aware that what I go through (being that bullying is a never ending phenom) is more than just something for me. In my high school years, with a move to a new school the bullying had decreased a small amount due to a larger diversity within the school. In the new school there was much more options for acceptance including the GSA Gay-Straight Alliance club, where I'd discovered the real me. The more we would talk about the history of the LGBT community and meet many people who'd helped in the normalization of the community thus far had marveled me more than anything ever in this world. NOW I'd waken up to realize that I am to use my trials and what I've gone through to encourage the youth of this world that no matter how different you may seem or appear to be that you are perfect and a better future starts with you. I just want to be that person to inspire everyone no matter what your difference is whether you don't fit in due to social anxiety, or you just aren't the norm for your school because of your personality, don't feel afraid to reach out to me I was that person, and I make this promise to you if you reach out to me for any kind of guidance I will do my absolute best to help you Grow Now and be able to reach your full potential and start living your truth like I've come to live mine.

Note to you Mike: Thank you so much for all that you do and for allowing others to help in the movement of making a better future for this nation. You haven't the slightest idea how many people this will truly touch and how many times you've helped already, you helped me in my time of need when you first found my scope I was going through a very deep depression slump and just your words of encouragement gave me the will power to keep going and to move up and forward in life. You have my deepest feelings of gratitude.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Be Obsessed, Be Weird, Be Different




If you read my blog, you know that I believe we live our lives believing in erroneous misconceptions. We are told to believe certain things, and we often learn these things at a young age when our minds are fragile and vulnerable. What we are told we believe. And this information changes us into a totally different person. We are what we believe. We are what we hold to be true.

But why do we change in the first place? We are all born Unique Individuals. Take a look at some home videos of yourself when you were a child. Running around smiling and giggling without abandon. Not a single drop of self-consciousness. Ask your parents what you were like as a child. Most likely they will say "Oh you were just full of life and full of LOVE!" So what happened? You blended in. You walked away from what made you unique in the first place. You fell into the trap of distraction and misconception.

I have certainly heard the term "Obsessed" being used in a negative way throughout my life. It has even been used as a insult toward me before. Being told by others that I am obsessed with certain things, that it makes me "weird." No matter how much I tried to not care, hearing these things always made me feel bad about myself. Like I wasn't good enough. Like everyone around me was better. But why? I was just being myself. I was just totally immersing myself in the things that made me happy. If I liked something, I wanted to surround myself with it. I wanted to know as much about it as possible. I wanted the things that made me smile to take up my life and define it.

So why did the people in my life have a problem with this? Why was it such a big deal to them? Because these were the things that make me different. These were the things that made me stand out. My specific interests and how I decided to focus my time is what made me unique and different from the people around me. One thing you have to realize is: people have a problem with different.  

Its 2015 and we are having racial protests in the street. The world is divided by liberals and conservatives. Religious ideals. Socio-economic status. Ethnicity, gender, basic looks even divide us. Even from a young age, we tend to surround ourselves with others who are most like us. I am sure you high school and college had all the cliche "cliques" and "groups" that mine did.

In life, if you are unique and you stand out and you are different....you will have haters. It is as simple as that. People have a problem with different. And what is the greatest issue with this problem? People don't usually recognize this until they are well into their late 20's. It is usually not until an individual leaves the high school, college, and young adult environments that they realize being "weird" being "different" is a good thing! It is usually during this time that people choose to think: "what is wrong with me? why don't I fit in? why am I so different?". Once they grow up, mature, and become an adult they realize that fitting in should have never been so important to them.

One major GrowNOW Mantra: Never Blend In.
What makes you different, what makes you YOU, is what is most important in life.  
Who were you before others told you who you ought to be? Ask yourself this question today, before it is too late.

Immerse yourself in what makes you happy. Follow your dreams. Follow your heart. If people tell you that you are weird, then you are doing something right! You are living what Brendon Burchard calls The Charged Life! You are being the unique individual that you were born to be. Everyone has the ability to contribute, be a role model, and inspire others. However, you cannot do this unless you are being your true self. 

If someone tells you that you are obsessed...NO you are Passionate!
If someone tells you that you are weird........NO you are Unique!
If someone tells you that you are different....NO......you are preparing yourself to change the world.

So...who were you before people told you who you ought to be?

Answer that question and you will start to #GrowNOW.

Thanks for taking the time to read by blog everyone. You have no idea how much it means to me!

-Mike
Instagram: @GrowNOW_



Sunday, September 27, 2015