The Simplest Form of Happiness

Earlier this week, I was reminiscing about an evening several years ago when my neighbor called to ask if she could borrow two eggs. She was in the middle of cooking something and realized she was out. She apologized a couple of times for needing to ask, but there was a spark in my heart when she did.  “This feels so 1950s,” I thought.  “Like something June Cleaver might do on Leave It to Beaver.” What I was really saying is that I felt connected.  It dawned on me in that moment that my neighbor was also my friend. She knows my number. And she calls! Simple as it sounds, that made me happy. I went to the fridge, delighted that I had extra eggs, grabbed two of them and headed to the front door. Cheryl was already walking up to the front porch – she had tiptoed across the street barefoot.

In my grandmother’s generation, this wouldn’t be worth talking about. But in today’s world, it seems many of us don’t speak to our neighbors, let alone know their names and numbers. We are more disconnected than ever, more disinterested in the lives of others – even those who live right next to us. This week, I want to challenge you to take one action that leaves you feeling more connected to the community you live in. Whether you take dinner to the neighbors who just had a baby, stop for a 5-minute conversation with someone on your street, or invite a friend over to watch your favorite TV show together, do something to reach out.

Connection is a happiness trigger. It doesn’t take much to connect, but it probably won’t happen if you’re not intentional.  Too many of us are missing out on the face to face conversations and simple little moments that allow us to feel connected to the people around us.  Does that describe you? If so, try some simple ways to connect:  Make eye contact. Stop multitasking and give your undivided attention.  Savor moments of simple conversation.  Reach out, make a phone call, drop by for a visit.  Make “connection” just as important on your to-do list as anything else. In fact, make it more important. If you do that, you’ll get a boost of positive emotion that leaves you feeling more energized for everything else on your list.

My challenge to you this week:

Reach out. Connect. Stop going it alone.

Journaling assignment:

In what way(s) do you feel disconnected right now?  Who do you want to reach out to this week? What will you do to reach out? Leave your comments, I’d love to hear from you!

One Positive Change can Spark a Ripple Effect

One Positive Change can Spark a Ripple Effect


Valorie Burton, author, speaker, and life coach

I am an Invisalign® brand spokesperson and all opinions expressed are my own.

Full disclosure.


Since we were children we were told we could accomplish anything. We should never settle on our dreams. Yet as teenagers and adults many of us don’t take action on even the simplest form of self-improvement because we stop believing it will make a difference. After all, how can one simple action boost our confidence or increase life satisfaction? According to a new Harris Poll survey, one positive change can improve confidence and create a ripple effect on our lives.

As a life coach and founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute, I’m dedicated to helping people get unstuck and be unstoppable in their lives. However, I recognize that even those who know their purpose are often unable to make progress towards their goals. Simply, there is often a gap between where we are and where we want to be. I always say, “Don’t burden yourself with a long list of goals. Instead, get inspired by taking action in one part of your life and it can have an effect on the rest of it.”

Knowing that, here are my top five tips to gaining self-confidence:


  1. Eliminate your biggest confidence stealers.

The Harris Poll finds that confidence matters for appearance (44%), success (43%) and happiness (63%). It not only impacts how we believe others perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves. Seventy percent of Americans believe that making one simple improvement in their appearance would increase confidence.  The goal is to choose something realistic that may be holding you back.

It could be that New Year’s resolution year after year to get fit. For others it may be the first thing they notice when they look in the mirror and see a crooked smile. Whatever the issue, the underlying effects go much deeper and can result in low self-esteem and a poor self-image. This is what happened to Esther from Los Angeles, who knew her teeth were holding her back. When she finally decided to fix her teeth with Invisalign® clear aligners, which discreetly straightened her teeth without the embarrassment of metal braces, it changed everything for her.

Due to increased confidence, this single action can lead to other positive changes, such as applying for a promotion, accepting speaking opportunities, and being comfortable meeting new friends.

  1. Pinpoint your fear pattern.

The events in your life do not create your actions, your thoughts do. Fear is at the core of almost every hesitation, insecurity and doubt. The Harris Poll found that weight and teeth are the two biggest insecurities in women, far surpassing other physical and personal characteristics. If you have been held back in this way, know that there is a substantial benefit for finally confronting your physical insecurity.

After Esther had the smile she always wanted, she was so inspired by her results that she had the confidence to work towards other life goals. She developed relationships and applied for rewarding jobs. Today she is engaged and working in her dream job as a postpartum doula. She is not alone in this success, three-quarters of those who simply straightened their teeth as an adult experienced at least some positive impacts on their life.

  1. Tell yourself the truth.

Until we admit what we really want and stop pretending things are okay, we are stuck. Whether it is a job you can’t stand, debt you’re embarrassed to admit you racked up or tackling a physical insecurity, facing the truth is empowering and the first step to freedom. Even more, you realize that when you break free from your fear, your future is unstoppable.


  1. Take charge of this moment.

You don’t reach your dreams by over-thinking. You reach your dreams by being fully present and making a decision to take action. When you find yourself procrastinating, dig deep to see what’s really going on. Often procrastination isn’t about simply putting off a difficult task, but about the counterproductive thoughts that can sabotage your success. When you really want something, take action. Don’t let anything get in the way.

  1. Commit or quit.

Get serious about your dream and commit to your goals. You must be willing to find the resources to invest in your goal, whether it be education, training, physical fitness or improving your smile.

Esther is a commendable example of someone who took action with Invisalign and gained confidence in the process, and there are many people taking steps to work towards something that feels beyond their reach. To learn more about Esther and others, click here.