Are We Happy Yet? [book review]

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are we happy yet

What would you say if I told you there’s a formula for happiness? What if I told you happiness is available to all but isn’t something you’re entitled to? Would you believe me if I told you happiness comes from inside and not from anything external—not stuff, not people, not circumstances?

What would you say if I told you the keys to unlocking happiness were available in paperback?

Are We Happy Yet? author Lisa Cypers Kamen says happiness comes from the transformative power of self-mastery, and that happiness isn’t the destination but a byproduct of the journey.

Curious? There’s more.

In her book, she confronts common objections for why we aren’t or can’t be happy. Trauma, genetic depression, real problems, etc. Not discounting the challenges we face, there are ample exercises and quizzes to help us gauge where we’re at happiness-wise and arm ourselves with the data we need to move forward, towards a happier life. She challenges us to deal with the mental horde of stuff packed away in our attic and take a more emotional minimalist approach—let it go!

Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

  1. Life is tough, but happiness is available to us all
  2. Your inner child is your inner sage available to guide you
  3. More is not always better
  4. We cannot control life, only ourselves
  5. Our happiness is our personal responsibility
  6. Choose activities and people that foster happiness
  7. Treat yourself the way you wish to be treated
  8. Happiness is an inside job. Happiness is your inside job

Each of the eight keys is defined, explained, and unpacked using storytelling, clear language, and motivational exercises. If you’re wondering where your happiness roadblocks are, this book will help you define, deal with, and move past them.

The new revised edition of Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life releases March 20, 2017.

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is an exciting fusion of science and heart, offering a guide in creating our own personal “happiness revolution.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen, an internationally known applied positive psychology coach, lifestyle management specialist and Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio show host, gives us the keys to her breakthrough system for cultivating sustainable wellbeing and happiness in our lives from the inside out— regardless of external circumstance. Lisa’s techniques combine mental, emotional and spiritual muscle-building training for greater resiliency, self-mastery and optimal living.

Her inspiring and practical tips, keys, and exercises will boost your “Happiness-Factor” to new levels and show you how to tap into the joy and peace you deserve.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Accept the past for what it is—a reference point, not a destination
  • Embrace the truth that while life is tough, you can be happy
  • Transform your relationship with yourself from enemy to ally
  • Appreciate why less is often more
  • Focus on what’s right with your life, not what’s wrong
  • Control the only person you can—yourself
  • Invest in yourself to become more mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit
  • Use your newly discovered joy to become a more positive and productive influence in the world—and much more

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is available at your favourite neighbourhood or online bookseller.

Four Ways to Outsmart Daylight Saving Time

Four ways to outsmart daylight saving time

Four Ways to Outsmart Daylight Saving Time

Spring Forward. It affects many of us in this world and seems to bring with it a sense of fear and trepidation. And grumpiness. However, there are ways to conquer the impending loss of sleep and even feel good about getting up a bit earlier. To help, here are four ways to outsmart daylight saving time, based on what I learned from getting up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 days.

  1. Make all your decisions the night before
  2. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m tired I can’t think. At all. What has helped me not only get up pre-dawn but spend my time writing and doing other productive tasks is deciding everything the night before. What will I work on? How will my morning go? What will I eat? What time will I leave the house? I’ve learned not to leave anything to chance—future Robyn can’t think when she’s tired so present Robyn needs to help her out.

  3. Prepare the night before
  4. In the same vein as deciding what I’m going to do, I also know I need to prepare as much as possible the night before. Packing my lunch and everything I’ll need for work is the first step, but I take it to the next level by putting things in my footpath to trip over if I need to remember it before leaving. Is it garbage day? Then the recycle bag is hanging on my doorknob so I have to pick it up in order to leave the house. Am I going to the gym? Everything is packed and in the car, including my gym pass and water bottle. By preparing the night before I give myself better odds for having a good morning.

  5. Go to bed earlier
  6. I’m a night owl so if anyone understands resisting early bedtimes it’s me. But there’s so much to be gained from going to bed earlier it’s a must-do. You know you’re losing an hour of sleep. Stop with the protesting and give yourself a leg up. Go to bed earlier. If you have trouble winding down at night then begin a bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before bed. Here’s what I do: drink a nice, caffeine-free cup of tea, turn off my screens, slow my mind as I pack and prep for the next day. Going to bed earlier helps your body adjust to its new wake-up time, which leads me to my last point…

  7. Get up at your usual time
  8. Yes, daylight saving happens on Sunday, but I’ve learned sleeping in “because I really need it” doesn’t do me any good. In fact, my body fails to adjust and I end up struggling for days and days. So I say get up at your normal time. And think about this, if you plan ahead how you’ll spend your tired morning with one hour less sleep, you’ll be eager to wake up so you can do it. At least, that’s what happens for me. I’ve grown to love the slow, quiet mornings. What do I plan for this year’s spring forward? I’m going to make a big pot of coffee, sit in my favourite chair, put on a record, read, and wait for the sunrise to peek over the trees. It’s going to be great.

I think these four ways to outsmart daylight saving time make up a good plan. However, going through the motions will still leave you grumpy. You do need to have a good attitude about losing a bit of sleep and find the positive spin. And you may as well, because holding a grudge against your clock only hurts you. Your clock doesn’t care. So get over it and have a great March 12.

How to Make a Flowchart (and Decide What to Do for Lent)

Today is a two-for. How to make a flowchart and how to decide what to do for Lent. Wow. I’ve just doubled my audience reach here guys. Wow.

How to make a flowchart

But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why would I ever suggest creating a flowchart? Aren’t I a writer? Wouldn’t I always suggest writing and never suggest flowcharts?

Of course not. Design is important for effective communication. Sure, words are my trade but design brings everything to life. And sometimes words and design need to work together to help a reader visualize.

This is the situation I encountered when writing an article about Lent (a season in the Christian liturgical calendar focused on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God). I wanted it to inspire mindfulness and prayer but felt there were some obstacles since a lot of people treat the season like a “resolution reboot” and a lot of people do things like give up television, chocolate, and pop.

Which is fine, don’t get me wrong. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and get to the root of Lent. In 650 words.

My creative process

It didn’t take long before I realized a flowchart was in order so I started sketching. It was difficult to take my big ideas and shape them into a streamlined process but after a few tries I had something I could live with. I also had to take the concept to my editors and the graphic designer for approval since I needed half of my article space for a graphic. A graphic directed by a writer. Can you imagine? Well, maybe you can’t but it was quite the pitch let me tell you.

When to use a flowchart

Here are some situations where creating a flowchart will help you.

  • When you’re defining/communicating a process
  • When you’re identifying bottlenecks or waste in a process
  • When you’re problem solving
  • When you’re improving a process
  • When you’re making a decision

Why you’d use a flowchart

  • You can explain a complicated decision-making process on one page
  • You can standardize a process
  • You can make decisions faster

Whiteboard Flowchart

How to make a flowchart

  1. Determine your flowchart’s goal. What’s the desired outcome once someone’s read the flowchart? Start simple and grow from there
  2. Decide on your steps. How many steps are there? Is it a Y/N type thing or is it a walk through?
  3. Put your steps in order. Decide where it starts and where it finishes
  4. Test, test, test. This is where you’ll figure out if you need more steps or you’ve got them out of order. Run it until you’re convinced it’s complete
  5. Press publish! (Or pass it to your designer to make it…good)

There are all types of ways you can build your flowchart once you have the content but I’ll leave it for you to Google. I’m no designer.


If you’re curious about Lent or how to use this chart, the article is posted here. Or if you want to take it for a spin, download the flowchart below.

Lent 2017 will start on Wednesday, March 1 and will end on Thursday, April 13 (wow, what a timely post).

Priceless Movie Review: Blu-Ray + DVD Release February 14

Priceless Movie Review

Priceless Movie Review

When I saw the Priceless movie come up in my review queue I wondered what an inspirational film “shining a light into the dark world of human trafficking” would reveal. I mean, how do you do that?

Dubbed a romantic drama, Priceless follows James Stevens (Grammy-award winning singer Joel Smallbone from For King and Country) on a red-eye delivery with a mysterious package. Sketchy. Stevens is troubled, complicated, and in over his head. He realises this once he hears crying coming from the back of his delivery truck. What are those girls doing back there? Now what does he do?

As Stevens bonds with his delivery he’s faced with an impossible choice: deliver the girls to their destination (where they’re expecting to work as domestics to pay off their father’s debt) or…or what? So he drops them off.

The problem is, in his heart he knows what’s going on and compassion compels him to do something. This is where things get gritty. Stevens, with the help of a new friend, dives in headfirst trying to save the girls. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he is driven—to the point of risking relationships with his family.

There aren’t any surprises in this indie drama but it does pose important questions we might find easier to ignore.

  • What does love look like?
  • What is my responsibility when I see injustice?
  • What’s a life worth?
  • How far would I go to do what I believe is right?

Answer these questions and you may find yourself in James Stevens’ shoes. Because the truth is, it’s not somebody else’s job to fix the world’s problems, it’s your job and it’s my job. It’s our job to stand up for those with no voice. If you’re a Christian, you may find some motivation from 1 John 3:17. “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” Or how about Proverbs 25:26, “A good person who gives in to a bad person is a muddied spring, a polluted well.”

So, do I agree with Stevens’ methods to bring about change? In truth I feel conflicted, he used violence and I found it troubling. But was there another way? I don’t know. And if faced with the same situation, would I be brave enough to stand against oppression and do what I know in my heart is right? I hope so.

Priceless reminds us that human/sex trafficking is not something that only happens in other countries, but happens in our country and we all have a responsibility to do something.

Priceless is available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Amazon and Walmart and available on Digital HD from iTunes.

Priceless Synopsis

Inspired by true events, PRICELESS is a powerful drama/thriller about James Stevens who was, at one time, a good man with a great life—but that was then and this is now. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash—no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, he is compelled to save two beautiful and frightened sisters who are unaware of the danger that awaits them.

Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future? This unlikely hero risks it all to save these women, confront the forces that oppose him and ultimately discover the life he was meant to live.

From the creative minds behind the two-time Grammy Award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY, PRICELESS stars Joel Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY), Bianca Santos (THE DUFF), Amber Midthunder (“Longmire”) with Jim Parrack (SUICIDE SQUAD, “True Blood”) and David Koechner (ANCHORMAN, “The Goldbergs”). PRICELESS is the first film from the Smallbone Brothers. Ben Smallbone directs from the script by Chris Dowling & Tyler Poelle. The film was produced by Steve Barnett (300). David Smallbone and Luke Smallbone serve as executive producers, and Jacob “Cubbie” Fink is co-producer.

Come see TEDxStanleyPark 2017 March 4 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

TEDxStanleyPark 2017 brochure

March 4, 2017 is TEDxStanleyPark and I’m thrilled to be a blog ambassador again. If you’re thinking of going let me encourage you to get tickets before January 31 so you can grab the five early-bird bonuses I’m offering. Just use my link.

TEDxStanleyPark Early-Bird Bonuses

  1. Get a 90-minute float from Floathouse ($75 value)
  2. Get a 30-minute MediCupping massage from Elegance MD Medispa ($65 value)
  3. Get a guided tour of Stanley Park (running, cycling or foraging) from ($45 value)
  4. Get four tickets to a comedy show from Yuk Yuks ($40 value)
  5. Get a couple’s beginner dance lesson (salsa, tango or bachata) from Baila Vancouver-Dancetoday ($40 value)

TEDxStanleyPark 2017 speakers list

All you have to do is click on my affiliate link then purchase your tickets. This year you can choose where you sit (balcony, general admission, or VIP) and even purchase lunch ahead of time. If you attended TEDxStanleyPark last year then you know why this is such a great idea!

A day or two after you complete your purchase you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to claim the bonuses. Did I mention they’re for EACH ticket you purchase? Make sure you use my link so you get the bonuses!

Last year’s event was a huge success and I’m still revelling in the ideas shared. Although I can’t imagine being more inspired to make a difference in the world seeing this year’s lineup I KNOW it will happen.

If you have any questions send me a message. I’m a huge fan of TEDxStanleyPark and want you to join the party.

TED Talks have become more than a conference. TEDxStanleyPark is your chance to innovate and discover ideas worth spreading—putting those ideas into action to make our city and our world a better place.


TEDxStanleyPark is an annual conference that showcases a diverse range of humanity’s tough challenges and activates attendees to implement solutions to those challenges. Our perennial theme is Ideas to Action.

Our Vision

We use high-impact talks to cause actions to happen that move the needle toward a better world. These actions give legs to dreams of what could be.


TEDxStanleyPark is for thoughtful optimists with curious, fertile and open minds in search of practical ways to make the world a better place.