Raise the Bar

“Mindset is critical in competition and in daily life. If you lower your standards to match your situation, you won’t have the determination to rise above your circumstances to reach your potential. An ability to refocus your mind will enable you to push through challenges and come out on top. Never lower your standards to fit in. Always raise the bar, and you’ll stand out.”-Julie Barbera

Author and Life Coach

Imagine that you’re running through an obstacle course. You have many challenges to overcome along the way. Some prompt you to stoop down, while others demand that you reach high. All require that you calculate risk and make quick decisions with ease.

Midway through the competition, you hit a big hurdle. To make it to the next level, you have to crawl under a barrier and raise the bar. Then, you have to find a way out of a small contained space to make it to the final stretch. You’re taken back by this obstacle, as you didn’t train for it. You’re determined to stand out, so you refocus your mind to push through a mental block.

"Never lower your standards to fit in. Always raise the bar and you'll stand out."-Julie Barbera
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Now parallel this with life. At times, it can feel like an obstacle course. You have to find your way around hurdles as you adjust and adapt to…

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Hit the Target

“In the game of darts, points are earned based on proximity to the goal. The closer you are to the target, the higher the score. Success isn’t hit or miss. The outcome is determined by the overall result.

In the game of life, darts fly. Aim is off. All will miss the mark. How do you set yourself up to hit the target more times than not?”-Julie Barbera

Author and Life Coach

"It's possible to aim for the target yet completely miss the mark. Don't chase goals. Pursue purpose."-Julie Barbera
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Imagine that you’re standing in front of a dartboard. Your eyes are covered, and you’re merely throwing darts. While you have an idea as to the board’s location, you don’t have a clear goal.

Although success is hard to find, luck is on your side from time to time. You occasionally hit the mark, but you miss your target far more times than not. Coincidence doesn’t translate into consistency.

If you hope to increase your odds, you need to rely on more than just chance. Without a plan, it’s virtually impossible to know if you’re shooting in the right direction. Clarity will allow you to pursue goals with intention.

In the game of darts, points are earned based on proximity to the goal. The closer you are to the target, the higher the score. Success isn’t hit or miss. The outcome is determined by the…

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Challenged to Change

“No matter the situation, you’re stronger than your circumstances. The power given to a situation greatly affects what you choose to do with it. Every experience has value. You can allow it to stop you or you can use it to make a difference.”-Julie Barbera

Author and Life Coach

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Visualize life without challenges. Everything lines up perfectly. All is in your favor. Circumstances are ideal. You’re on a straight path to your potential.

Suddenly, you awaken from a dream. Reality slaps you in the face. Life isn’t perfect. It’s anything but perfect. In fact, everything seems to be against you. Still, you have a vision. It’s big, and you’re not willing to let it go.

Is time a factor? You just don’t have enough hours in the day. You barely have time to accomplish what you need to do, let alone do what you really want to do. The thought of adding anything extra to your schedule is overwhelming.

Do you have financial pressure? You can’t see your way out of a hole of debt. You have a dream. But just paying the bills is a challenge. The idea that you’ll ever get ahead…

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Wrong Turn, Right Way

“When life takes a turn, it can make you feel like you’re completely off track. While the way might be off the beaten path, lessons learned along the way may help you to find your way. Maybe you were frustrated with how long it took to get to your destination. But real beauty was in the journey, not how quickly you arrived.”-Julie Barbera

Author and Life Coach

"What feels like a wrong turn might be just what you need to find your way."-Julie Barbera
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At the start of the year, you get the opportunity to look at the past through a rearview mirror. Perhaps last year’s progress was based on where you ended up at the end of the year. And your will to succeed was calculated by how quickly you got there.

It can be discouraging to think about how things might have turned out had you taken another path. But it’s empowering to know that you can shift direction. If things didn’t go as anticipated, this might not be a long stretch.

Sometimes it takes everything you have to get back on the road. You may have started the journey with high hopes. Week after week, you ended up on side streets and rocky trails. While you held on tight to faith, the trip didn’t quite go as planned.

When life takes a turn, it can make…

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Unfinished Masterpiece

“Life is the canvas. Tints of gray may cover bright tones trying to come through. Be patient with the process. The reason will one day be clear. The work is unfinished. The story is incomplete. In the end, the result is a masterpiece.”-Julie Barbera

Author and Life Coach

"You don't have to be perfect to make a difference. Stay real and shine. You're a masterpiece."-Julie Barbera
Photo by Steve Johnson on

Yesterday my 13-year-old son Sebastian ran up to me with an inspiring message. Perhaps he knew I needed some encouragement. Whatever the case, I was enlightened.

He stated, “Whenever an artist is painting a picture, it never starts out perfect. There are asymmetrical blobs of blue, green and orange paint. As you watch, you ask yourself, How will this create a beautiful landscape? The final product begins to unfold. As time goes on, you see how every blob of paint turned what was once an empty canvas into a masterpiece.”

Sebastian is a very talented artist. He can relate to the process involved in creating a work of art. His accuracy, creativity and attention to detail are impressive. But I’m even more impressed with his understanding of this profound concept.

The canvas of our lives is colored with many shades of blue, green and…

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