How To Create Your Very Own WOW List

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala by Maria Marsala

Summary: Sometimes we just need a little reminder about the joy we have in our lives. Sometimes we just need to add more joy to our lives. Create this tool to assist you.


It’s the #2 most important life coaching tool as ranked by my clients. It’s fun to do alone or you can get company doing it by asking family, friends or clients to do it with you.

It help us realizes how much we really have, no matter what else is going on in our lives. Maybe it was created to help us remember what brings a big smile to our faces when business or life “get us down”. The bottom line is that putting more gratitude joy into our lives makes us happier humans. Fill your cut up with good things, and give or live from the overflow.

How do you create a WOW List? First, purchase a small booklet, like an assignment pad or journal. Glue something to the cover to add color. Add a picture you’ve taken, a cut-out of a card you’ve saved – let your imagination run wild!

Start your WOW List by taking notice when you are doing, seeing, or thinking about something that brings a smile to your face. Write those things in your pad. When you feel your heart smile, when you say WOW or AWE or whatever YOUR word might be, write that item in the pad and put a star by it. Continue on this path for at least a month.

After that, take a very good look at your WOW List. Look for patterns. Look to see what people, places or things to add “more of” into your life. And if you’re in business or thinking about upgrading or changing careers, see if you can find things to add into your life professionally, too. For example, one of the reoccurring items on my WOW List was writing instructional articles. So I added “writing” to the way I market my business. Now, I’m also being paid to author articles. See?

WOW Booklets are great gift ideas. They’re wonderful to provide clients in their Welcome Kits, as gifts from the heart, for contest give-aways, etc. Or have a WOW Booklet night and create beautifully covered WOW Lists with your friends, family and children.

When you add more WOW List items into your life, you’re sure to notice that your life is less stressful; you’ll even find more time. Now… go fill that time up with your WOW’s and other wonderful things that bring a smile to your heart! And start feeling all that wonderful energy!

Action Steps

Besides creating your own WOW list, share it with people you love. And if you have children (of any age) ask them to create their WOW list and share it with you, too. Create experiences for them — and yourself.

Throw Time Management Out The Window

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala

Forget about time management, I have. Why?
Have any of the hours upon hours of training, or reading on the subject solved the time problem?
Heck, none of it worked for very long. Did it work for you?

When I became a student of Coach U, in 1997,
one of the mandatory courses I had to take, was called "The Personal Foundation Program®".
It’s a 24 subject course that includes thought-provoking exercises, including "Getting Complete", Removing Tolerations From Your Life, and a host of other personal development topics.
(Note: Most, if not all, Coach U trained coaches offer this program to their clients.)

It was then that I realized why all this time management stuff wasn’t working! How could I
possibly manage something I have no control over: time? Think about it.
Can you really control time? Yet, haven’t we all tried and failed?

What many consider to be time management is really a combination of:

  • Defining your top 5 values (what you have to have or you’ll emotionally die).
  • Learning about your needs (what’s running you).
  • Setting life priorities (what’s really important to you)
  • Balancing your life, whatever balance means to you. Balance is different for every person.
  • Clearing out life’s clutter: getting complete with the past and decluttering all your living environments.
  • Taking your to-do list and making it a to-complete list. Pay someone to complete the things you don’t want to do but they need doing,
    remove what you really don’t want to finish, let things go that you have no control over and shorten your list!
  • Collaborating – stop the process of doing so much of life alone because life’s just not meant be that way.

Why do all that work? Because you’ll make better decisions, therefore, you’ll have more time.
What can you do to shift from trying to manage your time to managing your life?
First determine where your life is not as fulfilled as you’d like it to be
by taking the Life Fulfillment Assessment. Look for places you’re leaking energy and other places you could use some energizing.

Check Your Attitude (A Tribute)

This week we lost a philosopher of our times, someone who influenced more than 25 million people worldwide. I thought that this edition of my blog newsletter should be a tribute to a man who has influenced many people — including me.

In the late 1990’s I read the book First things first and still, today, I use the concepts Stephen Covey taught me in my business and teach it to my clients.

Another one of his books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was developed after he studied hundreds of books and essays on success written since 1776. What he found in the first 150 years was based on 3 sound principles of character: integrity, courage, and patience. While writings of the 20th century dominated by gimmicks.

Of course, even in this century there have been some great books written on success! I’ve enjoyed taking in the lessons from The Greatest Salesman, Think and Grow Rich, How To Win Friends and Influence People, to name just a few. But I can understand Mr. Covey’s statement as so many books are about quick fixes and lack intelligent information using basic human and business principles.

Enjoy today’s edition and pass it along. If you want to Tweet or post it to Facebook, you can easily do that at my blog

Upwards and Onwards,

Maria Marsala's name

Check Your Attitude

Stephen Covey once told a story about a subway trip he took in my hometown of Brooklyn! (I’m paraphrasing it below.)

Stephen finds the quietest spot on the train and sits down to read his paper. A few stops later, the doors open and in comes a man with a few children. The man sits down next to him. The children start playing in the train, running around the poles, and making a lot of noise. Stephen starts to think to himself, "What a terrible father. What is wrong with a man who allows his children to run around like that…especially in the subway?" At some point, Stephen starts to say something to the man. What the man tells him is that he just came from Maimonides Medical Center where his wife is dying. He doesn’t know how he is going to tell his children that they won’t see their mom again.

What have you learned from the above story about attitude?

Next time something bothers you, get clarification first, instead of jumping in with righteous indignation. Words, especially those over the Internet, can either be loaded guns, or olive branches extended to connect with others. It’s often important in business and life to check our attitude and ask for clarification.

© 2001 updated 2012 Elevating Your Business. Maria Marsala founded Elevating Your Business in 1998 as a strategic planning, marketing, and speaking company. The coaching and consulting firm is dedicated to multiplying the bottom line of independent financial services companies while reducing hours in the owner’s workday. To book Maria as a speaker your attendees will thank you for, call (360) 271-8418. Request complimentary business growth tips or request 15 minutes to pick Maria’s business-building brain at

Steven Covey Resources

‘7 Habits’ author Stephen Covey dies after cycling accident

Stephen Covey, ‘7 Habits’ author: ‘A force of human nature’.

List of the 7 Habits along with a brief explanation of each.

The Power of Introverts: A Ted Conference Talk by Susan Cain

A client of mine sent me this audio of Susan Cain speaking at a TED conference. Was it because she and I are on opposite sides of the coin — I am an Introvert, speak and prefer workshops to Keynotes — and my client is mostly an Extrovert but sometimes acts like an Introvert. OR maybe it’s because Susan, like me is from Brooklyn. OR maybe it’s because she somehow knew that I recently ordered Susan’s book!  I guess I’ll find out when she comes here to comment!

Whatever it was I’m glad I had the opportunity of viewing it!

To think that 1 of 3 people around you is an Introvert may explain some things! OR to think that 2 of 3 people around you are Extroverts — that’s mind opening. OR maybe you’re an Amnivert?

I’ve watched this short talk twice and highly recommend it. It’s insightful, funny, and as all coaches do, provides a few action steps that all of us — you Extroverts too — can enjoy in a more harmonious world.

So tell us, can you relate to this? Is your favorite pastime curling up with a good book, thinking, doing, entertaining the masses…?

You can find Susan’s book at my Amazon Store


10 Steps to a Strong Personal Foundation

This time of year I always seem to think of an old boss, Thomas Leonard. For 20 years Thomas was a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) but the more successful his clients became monetarily, the more he realized that helping his clients also meant creating a stronger personal foundation and life plan to create tangible outcomes. Out of his work, Life Coaching was born, and Thomas was the first Personal Coach.

While some claim they were coaching prior to Thomas Leonard’s introduction of Life Coaching, he is credited with “labeling” the work. He created the first coach training school, two national coaching trade organizations, and then one more coaching training program. He passed away on Feb 11, 2003, at the age of 47, which must be why I really think about and remember him this time of the year.

Thomas was a lot like Steve Jobs. Extremely innovative, he created simple things he liked and wanted, and yes, he was very demanding and not the most personable guy in the world. Yet he had a very big heart.

Some of you were on this newsletter list back in 2003 and remember the announcement I made the day after he died. I, along with many other coaches in training at Coach U, had the privilege of being trained by him, were on his R & D Team, and got to watch a master businessman in action. I also worked for him for 3 years behind the scenes. What a gift!

I bring all this up to let you know a bit about how coaching was started, but also to let you know that people who touch other people deeply don’t get forgotten. Thomas, “t” as he liked to be called, created so many different personal development and business programs — 100’s of them in his short lifetime. Coaches who were trained at Coach U and Coachville use many of those those programs today, including one of the first programs he created called Personal Foundation Program. “t” also wrote thousands of articles, a few books, and today’s newsletter article. Read it for more of an introspective look at yourself with paper and pencil in hand to write notes as you to through it.

So here’s to “t” and he’s done for hundreds of thousands of coaches and coachees around the globe.

Upwards and Onwards,


P.S.: Take action today to grow your business differently. If you realize that, when it comes to growing your business, that your very best sucks, it might be your Personal Foundation that needs some shoring up. Request a Breakthrough Session and become part of the next 12-week Personal Foundation group I’ll be faciliatating soon.

 *Personal Foundation program is a program.


The 10 Steps to a Strong Personal Foundation
by Thomas Leonard

  1. Honor your boundaries. Boundaries protect you from people that your spirit cannot easily afford.
  2. Raise your standards. The higher your standards, the fewer problems you will experience in life.
  3. Clarify your requirements. Everyone in your life deserves to know what you expect/require of him or her.
  4. Finish your unfinished business. The fewer unresolved items in your life, the more confident you will feel.
  5. Get your personal needs met. Until your personal needs are met, it’s difficult to live powerfully and sustainably.
  6. Orient around your values. Then you orient your life and your goals around your values, fulfillment naturally occurs.
  7. Build reserves in all areas. Having more than enough calms the mind and affords more experimentation in life.
  8. Identify and reduce tolerations. What you put up with drains your energy and slows your development.
  9. Handle the money, completely. Until your money is handled, you are not at choice in life.
  10. Define success for yourself. When you define success for yourself, life becomes very, very simple.

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What do you think of the 10 steps?  Is there a step you really like or dislike (and why)?  Leave your comments with us today.