A 13.1 Mile Adventure – Running my First Half Marathon

By: Angel Carlton Anderson

There was a slight December chill in the early morning air, holiday lights that glimmered on the palm tree lined streets lit the way as we jogged from the hotel to the race site at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida. The race started out as any other organized run with hundreds of runners, lining up, all anxious to push their limit, sharing a quiet excitement and anticipation for a great experience. 

For me, the goal for my first half marathon was simply to finish. I had been well-coached, conditioned, and mentally prepared for this. I have trained for months, 16 weeks, to accomplish running 13.1 miles in a single stint although to this point, my farthest run was 8 miles.  Brad Anderson (my coach and now husband) had a solid plan, a strategy for me to run a mile and walk a minute…totally doable! 

It’s 7:05 am, the skies mostly dark, the crescent moon still shining with a hint of the rising sun on the horizon. The temperature was a crisp and cool 56 degrees…perfect running weather! We stood proudly for the national anthem and suddenly we we’re off! I kissed Brad good luck at the starting line, and he took off like a shot, while I took it slow, wanting to preserve my energy for the end, not knowing what I would feel like at the finish line.

Immediately, it was a surreal experience. People were passing me by, and I was totally okay with that. I intentionally wished them well (energetically), enjoyed the competition and feeling the unity between a clan of runners who came from everywhere to participate together. As I found a comfortable cadence and a pace I could manage for the long stretch, my mind began to wander (one of the things I love most about running! I find it to be excellent visualization time!). I usually begin my runs with thoughts of gratitude…listing all the things in life I am grateful for. I find that this practice not only lifts my spirit but also lightens the bodily impact as I make a connection to my higher self. I often wonder if this is what people describe as a “runner’s high” because it truly is an enlightened experience. 

I couldn’t tell you what mile I was in at this point, maybe the 5th mile, but it was almost as if I had an out of body experience. Although my feet were hitting the ground, I literally saw myself running from about 50 feet above me in the air. It was almost as if my little soul stepped out to give me the most fascinating perspective of my own human existence in that moment. Still in that place of extreme gratitude, I felt an immediate appreciation for my human body, realizing the infinite possibilities it can achieve, and literally observing myself exercising some of that unlimited potential.  It was as if I was flying and barely running. This meditative state of mind, this feeling of serenity continued as my feet kept in rhythm with my breathing.  The plush landscape along the path kept me entertained as I intentionally connected with the nature that surrounded me.

It was around mile 7 when I somehow paired up with a woman going at the same pace who struck up a conversation with me. We had great dialogue that lasted about 3 miles and occupied our minds as we ran side-by-side for a couple miles. I decided to take some electrolytes at mile 10 and when I slowed down to drink my water, I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. Thinking it would work itself out, I continued my run only to find it got more painful with impact. I cannot imagine what I did for this to happen! I was going strong. I would walk it out until the pain subsided and then start to accelerate my pace but was met with disappointment every time when I realized I may be causing more damage to my knee by running on it. I went from the utopia feeling of runner’s high to being utterly upset with tears of distress welling in my eyes. 

Frustrated to the core, I power-walked the last 3 miles trying not to think about the disappointment, knowing I had what it took to complete this race with a time I could be proud of. I did my best to shake it off and just “finish the race” as I intended. I preserved all my energy and with a painful knee or not, I was determined to run across the finish line. I came around the corner and saw the big arch. I hobbled my way over the line as they called my name, I smiled with a tremendous sense of completion.  I was being cheered on and greeted by Brad (who by the way finished 1st in his age group!), my parents and lots of kisses from our sweet little puppy, Anni.

I did it. I completed my first half marathon. It was a journey within itself. A 13.1 mile emotional adventure of feeling elated with self-worth, gratitude, and pride to frustration, disappointment, and sadness. There is no question I will do it again. I want a do over! This was by far one of the most exhilarating experiences of my adult life, savoring every moment, every step, every mile, and every milestone. After all, isn’t that what life is about…living in the moment, embracing the unexpected, adapting to whatever change life throws at you, managing your emotional response, and then knowing you have the power to not let it knock you down, but build the determination to conquer it once more.


Angel Carlton Anderson is a published author of Dedicated to Destiny, professional speaker & Leadership Transformation Facilitator. A former professional NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, Angel is an advocate for personal growth, emotional/mental well-being, and enthusiastically cheers on humanity for conscious change.

Healing from a Hurricane – Part 1, Realizing the Hard Truth

Experiencing Hurricane Ian by Angel Carlton

"Life is merely a series of hurricanes, 
some are just more destructive than others."
~Angel Carlton

It’s been 3 sobering weeks since Hurricane Ian swept through SW Florida causing devastation beyond our wildest imagination.  This certainly was not in my plan when I relocated to paradise to start my new life in April of 2021.  

As an author, much of my writings are on the topic of navigating change so that we transform into a greater version of ourselves.  I like to think of myself as someone well-versed on the topic of personal transformation as life shifts accelerate with its array of unpredictable circumstances.  This, however, was one I was not anticipating and can honestly say, it has me reflecting on the cycle of change through a new lens of reality.

What I have come to realize in the past couple of weeks is that experiencing a natural disaster is one of the most extraordinary specimens of transformation and a tremendous opportunity for growth that life has to offer.  Sure, I feel the deepest empathy when I observe natural disasters taking place in other parts of the world, but it is extremely humbling when it happens to you and your home life, work life, social life and your entire community is ripped out from under you and destroyed in a single day.  

Like everyone else in Florida, we closely watched the weather as the hurricane made its way up the Gulf of Mexico.  On Tuesday, September 27th, we made the spontaneous decision to head to my parent’s home after our area was called to evacuate.  Although at that point Ian was making its way toward Tampa, we felt getting off the coast and making our way inland a few more miles would be a safer choice.  So, we secured our home for some high winds and packed a small overnight bag with a few toys for our puppy and headed to Estero for some peace of mind.

Wednesday, when Ian decided to juke hard right toward Fort Myers, we watched television with grave concern.  We kept in close contact with our neighbors who decided to “ride the storm out” in their homes and they said the water was rising so quickly they were lucky to have evacuated when they did.  Unfortunately, not everyone was as fortunate. We realized our home life was in danger when we saw the water surge flood through the Naples area.  It was at that point we knew that our waterfront property which rested on a beautiful canal in Cape Coral was in trouble.  Shortly after that the internet went out and we were now blindfolded with whatever was happening all around us.  Fortunately, my parents are on the same grid as a local emergency shelter, so the power flickered throughout the day but was never completely lost unlike our neighboring friends who had lost power for weeks.  Phone signal was lost and family members watching the storm from afar were doing their best to keep us informed of Ian’s next move.  Meanwhile, the sounds of the hurricane shutters violently banging from the 100+ mile per hour winds were absolutely horrifying and will forever be engraved in my memory. We did our best to keep our 6-month-old puppy occupied by playing with her although she was vomiting from fear; poor little thing was expressing much of what we too were feeling.

We had no idea what we would wake up to and went to bed with a somber anticipation of the marks Ian would leave behind.  Waking up to blue sky and a perfect Floridian day, we stepped outside to take our dog for a walk dodging trees and debris laying amidst the streets, pool cages torn to pieces and neighbors gathering to check on one another.  We wanted nothing more than to head to our home to assess the damages there, but we couldn’t get out of my parent’s neighborhood until Friday when they removed the massive trees that were laying uprooted in the middle of the street. 

Friday morning, the sounds of chainsaws clearing the streets gave us hope that we could give it a try to make our way to see our home.  Needless to say, the drive was solemn as we witnessed the destruction get worse the closer we got to Cape Coral. Traffic lights were down, literally swinging in the middle of intersections, cars cautiously driving through chaos, sirens of rescue vehicles raced the roads, homes and businesses barely standing, missing rooftops made for an unrecognizable drive we’ve made so many times.  

Tears began to flow as we crossed the Cape Coral bridge and witnessed boats upside down that mysteriously made their way to land.  Our beautiful little community looked like a war zone; like an atomic bomb was lit as not a building or tree in sight was untouched.  It’s one thing to watch this on television and another to see it in 3rd dimensional reality…my eyes are seeing what my mind could not quite comprehend.  My heart continued to pound as we drove down our main street, dodging trees, and debris along the way.  We pulled up to the house and saw that it was still intact.  The roof was missing some shingles, the fence was torn down and noticed some of the fence panels blew through the screen and into the dirt-filled pool but felt a sigh of relief thinking that isn’t as bad as some of what we’ve witnessed, at least until we walked to the rear of the home and saw our boat taking a nosedive into the canal with a palm tree on its side across the dock, the pool and lanai filled with river water and debris.   The debris splattered the entire newly painted home leaving a 3-foot water line indicating an approximate 8-12 foot surge from the canal, lending us with great concern of what we would encounter on the inside.  

We slowly opened the door to see if perhaps we were one of the lucky ones.  Initially we were unsure but then as we splattered through the puddles of receding water in our living room, it didn’t take long for reality to set in.   We stood in awe realizing everything in it was completely destroyed from the nearly 2 feet of water that flowed through our home trashing everything it touched.  We were slowly grasping as the reality that we were not coming home any time soon.  So, we grabbed a few things we were able to salvage, went through the precious, irreplaceable items like photos that were forever lost and slowly began to settle into our new reality. 

Everything is gone. Just. Like. That. Our happy life in paradise has been brutally disrupted but we have one thing Ian could not take and that is our love.  We have one another to hug and a shoulder to cry on whenever we need one (and believe me, there have been plenty of tears), we’ve been blessed with my wonderful parents who have provided us with a place to lay our heads as we come to terms with it all and we have the generosity and support of so many friends and family that have brought comfort.  Through all this I realize that love is more powerful than any hurricane.  Love will prevail over fear…fear of loss, fear of the unknown, fear of destruction, and fear of all the sudden change all at once.  Love, relationships, and faith are the things that storms cannot take from us. 

So, on behalf of our temporarily tainted piece of paradise, take the stuff, the material things, if you must, Ian. However, like the buildings you washed away, the beaches & bridges you’ve torn apart, and the trees you’ve broken to pieces, we may be bruised, but we will survive, we will grow from this, and we will reinvent ourselves to become better & stronger than before…because we believe in the power of love and you can never take that from us.


Angel Carlton is a published author of Dedicated to Destiny, a professional speaker, a personal growth & leadership development facilitator, and a former professional NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, Angel is an advocate for emotional/mental well-being and today she enthusiastically cheers on humanity for conscious change.

Regardless of the “hurricane” you may be going through, you’re invited to follow Healing From a Hurricane Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086499379535

Change…Our Silent Teacher

Whenever I ask an audience, “Who here loves change?” I guarantee not a single hand is raised. Am I the only weirdo who thrives on change and loves a great transformation story?! What I have discovered through my studies is that life IS change. We didn’t come here to be stagnant bumps on a log. Imagine how boring life would be if nothing ever changed! We came here to grow and evolve, become more aware of who we are and deepen our relationship with each other and with the world. None of that happens without the magnificent gift of change to propel us on an inner journey of self-discovery. We are all students enrolled in this Earth School and Change is our greatest teacher. Learn to embrace life’s sudden shifts, these uncomfortable transitions, unpredictable circumstances, and disruptions to our “norm” so that we may seek the lesson or message it delivers; because I promise you, it does. Every. Single. Time.

Let’s explore, dissect, and analyze this thing called change in a way that hasn’t been done before. Change, simply put, is to alter, modify, or make to become different. Admittedly, we’ve become “different” with every change we’ve experienced. It seems change is accelerating throughout our world, in our lives, and in the lives of everyone around us. But how well are we coping with these rapid-fire changes? Just look at the news, the violence, stress, and anger all around us, locally and globally. We are failing as a society in adapting to change in a healthy way. According to a recent study conducted by Forbes, 45% of society is living under “extreme stress”! Yikes…45% living with life-threatening levels of stress?! That’s nearly half of your circle of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who are on the brink of a breakdown. Surely this is an indication we desperately need a better way to adapt to our changing world—and sooner than later! It’s time we begin to see these changes as opportunities to gain a better understanding, learn from them and utilize the lessons so that we become a better and stronger society. Let us no longer look at ourselves as victims in an increasingly destructive world, often with a sense of helplessness. Instead, let us stand up, be strong, and move forward as a driver of change, a generator of positivity, in hopes of changing the focus on the lens of which we all view the world.

The truth I have come to realize is that the only change I have any control over is within myself. Unfortunately, I cannot change anyone else unless they have the desire within them to change first. Who I choose to become, what I choose to do, and how I decide to behave all have a direct impact on the betterment of this world. It may only impact a small group of people, or I can expand my circle of influence to potentially impact the masses. Either way, I know I must begin now. We must begin now. Unlike never before, there is an urgency that we as “messengers of change” need to address. It’s time to look a little deeper into our own lives, make appropriate changes, and demonstrate to others what positive change looks and feels like. The time has come for us to conquer the villain of denial and stop white knuckling through these times. Let’s agree to collaborate and create new perspectives that enable, not disable, our ability to change without suffering huge consequences, our mental/emotional/physical health being one of them. It helps to know how change is generated so that we can anticipate the alterations, prepare accordingly, and take proper action with confidence.

How does change occur?

A simple way to understand when change knocks at your door is to recognize either you choose it, or life chooses it for you. Either way, you’re faced with a choice to spiral up toward a greater version of who you are or fall into a state of victimhood, which can grow legs if not turned around quickly. Understanding how that change is generated will help you get to the core of what the purpose, lesson, or gift each circumstance delivers. Once we acknowledge we are experiencing change, then the transformation process kicks in.

Let’s zoom our lens and focus in for a moment on how change occurs. My mantra is “change is sometimes difficult but always worthwhile”. Once I realized that change was inevitable, I then began to embrace the flow in which change occurs, and suddenly life began to take on a whole new meaning. It certainly wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but I began to recognize the shifting sands of change and started to embrace that awkward, uncomfortable feeling and face the hard truth that my life was entering another state of transition. Each time saying to myself, “It’s okay…This is just what transformation feels like.” Like everything else in life, transformation is just a series of phases.

When I dug deep to get to the core of what causes changes in our lives, I broke it down into four categories: an Event, an Encounter, an Epiphany, or when it’s Essential. Here is a simple breakdown and examples of each cause of change that springs us into our growth spurts:

  1. Event ~ These are life-altering events that outcomes are seldom prepared for, such as a death of a loved one, birth of a child, divorce, marriage, loss of a job, new job, an accident, and health or financial crisis. These events cause a sudden awakening and “reality check” forcing us to act. Even when considering happy occasions, like a vacation for example, the anticipation is often more exciting than the event itself, reminding us that we were not as prepared as we thought. So, when reality seeps in, it can be quite stimulating to say the least. When events occur unexpectedly, I see them as directional signs, moving us toward a greater purpose or another path. Think of every event in your life, notice the fork in the road, the choices you made, and how they led you to where you are today.
  2. Encounter~ These changes are caused by an encounter with other people—our relationships. Change can stem from engaging with a perfect stranger or someone we’ve known our entire life. I have started to believe that these people, these encounters, are messengers. We either receive or reject feedback, criticism, or an opinion from another that opens our eyes for us to see ourselves in a different light. On the other hand, when we are engaged with others, we find that we either admire them and see a reflection of our own unused potential, or we recognize a shadow side and can admit we sometimes possess the same ugly quality. This is typically a part of ourselves we realize would be beneficial if changed. These messengers, who hold a mirror up for you to see yourself differently, cause us to react either for the better or for the worse. This change can occur in the form of a disagreement, a break-up, experiencing new love, interacting with colleagues, or parental, spousal, sibling, and offspring issues. Has someone entered or left your life and took you in another direction?
  3. Epiphany ~ The “aha” moment when clarity comes shining through those rose-colored glasses you’ve been looking through seemingly out of nowhere. An epiphany-type change occurs with the power of a single thought, like a truth revealed based on a message, self-discovery, or a breakthrough. It’s like a download of wisdom bearing new perspectives and truths, perhaps contrasting your current belief system. Trust that these thoughts are coming from a place of higher consciousness and are not to be ignored. Remember, truth is sometimes absurd when first heard.  Some call this a “spiritual awakening”. They are powerfully profound and transformation is instantaneous.
  4. Essential ~ This change is more of a necessity that is intentionally made from your internal decision-maker and stems from a need to improve your life physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. This change in mindset occurs for your survival; it’s an intentional alteration in your belief system, recovery from a life that hasn’t served you. Change is the only alternative. It is typically essential for change to occur for those suffering from addictions, abusive relationships, toxic environments, or a health issue. Follow your instincts when you hear change is calling you…step into the unknown with courage and curiosity and know that what awaits you will be well worth it. Get support to make the changes you seek and trust the Universe has your back.

Human behavioral response, spiritual evolution, and human development are as natural as the sunrise and sunset. Without change, transcendence toward the next greatest version of ourselves would not be possible. Rather than sweeping change under the rug or allowing that change to stop us in our tracks, we can now see it coming around the curve. When we know we are experiencing an event, encountering a new relationship, having an epiphany, or making an essential change, we are now prepared for the transformation process. Use that event, circumstance, or breakthrough as a launch pad toward our untapped potential. Remember, change is merely Life tapping you on the shoulder reminding you to step up your game and become an active participant in contributing to its goodness.


Angel Carlton is a published author of Dedicated to Destiny, a podcast host, and professional speaker. As Founder of Power Up People, a personal growth & leadership development organization, and a former professional NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, Angel is an advocate for emotional/mental well-being and enthusiastically cheers on humanity for conscious change.

Cultivating the Corporate Soul (aka Culture)

By Angel Carlton, Founder of Power Up People! Inc.

“The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.” ~Daniel Defoe

The “soul” of any organization is the essence, or the flow of energy, of the collective individuals that embody the workplace. In today’s rapidly-evolving world, aligning the pillars of a company vision or mission statement may not be enough to sustain the destiny of the organization. Destiny goes far beyond what the eye could see or the mind can deliberate. Destiny is the hidden power, or fate of the company. So, have you ever stopped to ponder, what is the true destiny of your company? Most leaders would say the destiny of their company is based on sustaining or increasing a profit over an extended period of time. While this is vitally important for the success of any company, how does the company’s culture truly impact that profit and equally important, how does the destiny-driven leader cultivate the company’s soul? 

The workplace is made up of emotional beings who are either in a “good place or a bad place”, depending on their circumstance. These temperamental moods determine whether the work environment is positive or negative. Then there are people who naturally thrive, some strive to thrive and others just dive when it comes to exploring their full potential.  We cannot fault the “divers” for not being “thrivers”. We must simply understand they may not have ever been reminded of their own magnificence. Sadly, no one has held the mirror up to show them a reflection of their greatness. What I have come to realize is that many adults are emotionally wounded children who have never been fully healed. Whenever I am in the classroom facilitating a leadership program, I ask the question, “How many people have been told at some point in their life, ‘I believe in you’?” Disturbingly, it’s usually 20% (or less) that raise their hands and those folks recall exactly who said it and when. The other 80% are those that may need to be reminded of who they are, their personal capabilities and made to feel validated. Leaders, it is up to you to let them know you believe in them. Trust me, you will be remembered for it.

Another consideration Leaders must be aware of when transforming their culture into a successful soulful environment is to understand what is happening in the personal lives of our employees and how that impacts their level of productivity and engagement. Studies show that change is doubling every year leaving us with little time to adapt to a new normal. When we piggy-back the massive changes happening in the workplace on top of the shifts occurring in our personal lives, it can be extremely difficult to manage this level of pressure. In a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 43% of people say stress has increased in the past year. It’s no surprise to me that 44% of the respondents of a recent survey by Power Up People Inc. indicated the biggest change occurring in their life is a health-related concern.  It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to understand the correlation between stress and the impact it has on our health and how that impacts the bottom line.

When we operate in a positive energy environment, adopt a growth mindset and are surrounded by supportive people, we tend to feel healthier.  Helping our people learn to navigate these shifting times, at home and at work, leads to a healthy culture, not only in the workplace, but also in our communities. And in case you haven’t been watching the news, our world could use this type of domino effect.

A company is only as evolved as its people. We can focus on strategy, innovation and leadership competencies all day long, but until we take the time to devote the proper energy toward enriching the lives of each valuable employee, the collective culture will struggle to evolve.  Culture transformation is the direct result of the personal transformation of its people. Taking a leadership role to help awaken their minds to see their own true essence is the first step toward a unified workforce and even bigger, a peaceful coexistence. We are depending on you, the leaders of the corporate world, to take care of your people and provide them with the tools to thrive. If not you, who? If not now, when?

Perhaps this is the new CSR (Corporate Soul Responsibility). By first recognizing it’s the state of the people who make up the true essence of the organization, then nurturing the well-being of those people and providing a safe space for them to evolve into the next greatest version of themselves is what will truly transform a culture. And when people feel encouraged, capable, and are aligned with a sense of purpose, perhaps their own destiny, they will lead your organization well into the future. The “soul food” for profitability and the new era of leadership is simply to embrace, cultivate and masterfully practice a dedication to destiny.


Angel Carlton is a Transformational Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker, Author of Dedicated to Destiny, A Pursuit of Personal Growth Prosperity & Purpose and podcast Co-host of Chicks Talking Shift

How to Create Our New Normal

There is no question, we’ve been through a lot lately, massive transformation on so many levels. Our lives have abruptly been turned upside down and we’ve been forced to adapt in ways we never knew we could. But we are and we continue to grow in the process. We tested our agility and challenged our ability to change. It’s not always easy when change shows up unexpectedly.  It is certainly more manageable when we are in control of the changing circumstance but that wasn’t the case as 2020 was kicked off with an unexpected call to “shelter in place”. If there’s one thing we can all gain from this pandemic experience is the realization that change will continue to happen, either by choice or by chance, and how we respond to it will have a direct impact on our quality of life.

So, as we are being called to get “back to normal” where we can once again socialize at our leisure, sip coffee on the patio of our favorite coffee shop and embrace our loved ones like we once did, now comes with a sense of caution and uncertainty. The sensation of fear as we begin to go about our daily life is anything but normal.  Now we have to move forward somehow, get back to life as we knew it while taking these extreme precautionary measures and pretending to do the things we always have.  Whether we are aware of it or not, this experience has not only transformed our world from this point forward, it has made an imprint of fear-based emotions, altered our perspectives, has us questioning our level of trust and asking, “What exactly does this “new normal” looks like?”.

If there is anything good that has come out of sheltering in place, it’s that we’ve all had some time to be with ourselves, explore our thoughts about life, and observe our own emotional response to change. The distractions that kept us from dealing with our internal conflicts were ripped out from under our feet.  We are now facing the issues we basically swept under that carpet, be it your relationships, addictions, procrastinations, and everyday avoidances because we have nowhere to run and hide.  If we are honest with ourselves and shine the light on these dark, self-sabotaging patterns of behavior that didn’t serve us well in our “old normal”, then we can transcend them into a new paradigm.  But how? How do we practice such transparency when in the past we could just go to work, or go shopping, or go to school and not have to deal with it?

Change is our greatest teacher but if we don’t get the lesson then what is the point? In order for us to adapt to a positive new normal and evolve into a greater version of ourselves, it helps to understand the Six Stages of Transformation, a simple framework of the cycle we all experience during times like these and whenever change is afoot. Here are the Six Stages of Transformation and a snippet of where we are and where we are heading as it relates to transforming normalcy:

The first stage of transformation is Realize. Nothing can be transformed without first having awareness.  We’ve all been thrown into this stage when COVID19 became our reality and we’ve been left with dealing with our own emotions, our own fears and concerns of these unprecedented times. As we navigate through the chaos, we have to realize with truth, and “real eyes”, what specific changes that are occurring in our lives. When we see past the denial and destructiveness that changes like these can sometimes expose, we need to realize, bring into reality, a more desirable outcome. Stephen Covey said it best, “Begin with the end in mind.” It may seem too easy, but so many of us go through this cycle of transformation without even knowing it. Once we admit things are shifting, see the light at the end of the tunnel, the easier it will become.

The second stage of transformation is Release. Transformation cannot occur without first letting go of something. It is essential for us to create ample space for the elements of our new normal to fill.  With the case of this pandemic, much was released without our permission. Our freedom to be, do and have whatever we wanted was stripped from our lives. We all felt the void inside us, the emptiness that was once our daily routine and the feeling of “missing something” became a daily activity. Whenever we decide to change an aspect of our lives, we automatically release what’s not working. In this case, those things are being released for us, some good and some may not be so good, either way, we have to deal with the circumstances and get comfortable with this awkward hollow feeling.  As uncomfortable as it may be, the hard truth is, this is what transformation feels like.

The third stage of transformation is Rebound. This stage is much like rebounding in basketball, which we all sadly missed out on this past March, when we need to take the ball where it bounces and bring it back to our end of the court. For some, this may be to sit in sadness or silence while the ball comes our way and for others it means taking action, jumping for the ball, protecting it from the opposition and running with it. Whatever your experience has been is okay. There is no right or wrong way to rebound from change. What we need to be aware of in this stage is to acknowledge the grieving period whenever something in our lives has been lost. To allow ourselves to feel whatever it is we are feeling and to nurture ourselves through the process.  This is a natural part of transitioning into our new normal. Sure, we can white-knuckle through it and ignore those emotional reactions, but it will serve us better when we allow time to recover, rejuvenate and refresh our mind, body and spirit. Our well-being has been tampered with however, with some self-discipline and self-nurturing we can gain control of our life, set ourselves up to take the game-winning shot that propels us toward a more beneficial version of normal.   Allow yourself time to rebound in healthy ways.

The fourth stage of transformation is Reinvent. On the map of the world, there is a little icon saying, “you are here”. A new version of yourself is unavoidable at this point. Being your best self may have been a challenge under the circumstances…until now. What will you create for yourself now? In this exciting phase of recreating your life, we get to choose what is next for us. We know things have changed, we’ve let go of some aspects that we can’t take with us and we’ve recovered from the shock of it all. Now we slip our feet into the shoes of the unknown, take that first step and see how it fits. This is the time to put into action our new beliefs and behaviors whether it’s a greater appreciation for family time, managing time while working remotely or using your time more wisely.  You get to choose who to become now and how to best spend the most valuable commodity we have, our time. Life has given us the flexibility to make these choices now and we’ve all been given the freedom to reinvent our lives. Remember that grand vision in the realize stage? It’s time to live it. This is the practice field for our new normal where we find balance in what was and what is. Our new normal is right around the corner as we boldly step onto the path of empowerment.

The fifth stage of transformation is Resurrect.  Once you’ve put into practice your new, improved life, bounced back from the massive turn of events and are able to look back on these times with a new perspective, then you have truly resurrected, risen from the ashes of fear and uncertainty, into that highest version of yourself and what has become your new life. This phase may take some time for us to fully feel like we have our lives back in order but one thing is for sure, you know what you want, you know what you don’t want and at this point in the game, you are not settling for anything less. Understanding how the natural cycle of transformation works, it is encouraging to know this day is in the not too distant future for us all. Our economy is going through its own version of transformation. Rest assured, this glorious stage is upon us, much like anticipating the changing seasons. Those who reach this stage of transformation first will become role-models for us all.

The sixth and final stage of transformation is Respond. Mastering transformation is an art, life is the canvas and we all have a paintbrush in our hands. With the success of navigating change comes with a great responsibility. And that is responding to the needs of others who may still be struggling through the process. I mean, what is the point of going through all this and making it to this point if we can’t share our personal experience to inspire someone else? This is the stage where true leaders are born and without hesitance, they step up to the plate to make a positive impact within their circle of influence. People become the priority over everything else and offering a helping hand for others becomes second nature. Whether at work or at home, having the awareness of the internal suffering of those around us will open opportunities for compassion and healing. Let us all be aware of the needs of our youth during this time, whether you’re a parent or not, we can all take a leadership role to empower our young people with kindness and words of encouragement.  They too are experiencing the pain of transformation and these memories of their childhood are something none of us have ever had to look back on.  This is not a normal childhood experience and it’s important that we remember this when conversing with our children. This final stage is a courageous call to action. You are the stone being thrown into the waters, creating the ripple effect of humankind for generations to come.   Use your power wisely and often.

In closing, I will say this, the transformation process isn’t always easy, but I don’t think anyone can argue that it is always worthwhile especially when we can make a positive impact when all is said and done. May this message come with the reassurance that we will all resurrect from this with the vision of transforming into a greater version of humanity. We have all witnessed so many blessings during this sacred, historical time. Be sure to keep those in your pocket as you travel on your journey to normalcy.  And whether you’re on the first lap or approaching the finish line, I’d like to be the first to congratulate you in discovering your “new normal”. I applaud you for your dedication and commitment toward creating a better world for the human race, starting with your own.  Life is what we make of it. We’ve got this. Believe in yourself. Believe in each other. Believe you can.

Angel Carlton is the author of Dedicated to Destiny and Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host of Leading the Way Today, Transformational Leadership Coach, Founder of Power Up People! Inc. and Co-Founder of Leadership America.

The Six Stages of Transformation is intellectual property and cannot be published or produced elsewhere without the written consent of Angel Carlton and/or Power Up People! Inc.

From Struggle to Striving

By Angel Carlton

“The deeper the pain, the greater the GROWTH.” ~Angel Carlton

Several years ago I experienced some major life changes and went through some tough times.  I meditated and journaled on a regular basis to manage my emotions and keep my sanity. Through those journal entries came a consistent message of hope and an explanation of where I’ve been, where I am heading and the most profound idea, why it was happening. I captured these messages and created a framework so that I can better understand the process I was experiencing during each life-altering change being tossed my way. From there, I was guided to write a book with this message and seek a publisher.  So, I did just that and the very first publisher (Changemakers Books) that I sent my proposal to accepted it which, from what I understand, never happens! I am proud to say the time has come and it’s finally hitting the shelves of booksellers all over the world.

I have to be honest here, although the content of this book came through me several years ago with the intention to help others navigate life’s rapid tides of change the same way it helped me, I have continued to experience incredible growth since then. Despite what you may see on my Facebook posts, life’s challenges didn’t stop showing up.  The truth is, change always in motion.  And the more I talk to people, the more I realize so many of us are experiencing the same struggles, stresses and symptoms of transformation. Studies show the pace of change is doubling every year and because our brains are not programmed to adapt to change, it creates stress. Just look at the news! 

It was when the publisher recently sent me my first copy of my own book and read it in its entirety that I gained the perspective I needed for me to prevail through the past few years. It’s almost as if I wrote the book to my future self, the person I am today who needed to hear these messages again. I share this because I truly feel this message is meant to be shared. My purpose is clear, to help people navigate change so that they transform into the next greatest vision of themselves…starting with myself.

So, as I am in the process of introducing my baby to the world, please join me in the celebration of welcoming my new book, Dedicated to Destiny, A Pursuit of Personal Growth, Prosperity & Purpose. It’s about adapting to change in this crazy, hectic world of ours. The book explains how to maintain our focus on a greater purpose, a grander vision of ourselves, to help us get through those tough times and thrive as a result of it all. I introduce the 6 Stages of Transformation that helped me move through some of life’s most horrific challenges, a natural process that if we pay attention to it becomes a powerful life tool.

I remain a student of this process and the more change that occurs in my life, the easier it gets…almost to the point where I embrace it and become wildly curious about the outcome.  There is a confidence in knowing my struggles are part of the journey toward a striving life experience. I invite you to explore the messages for yourself and share them with those around you so that we may create a more compassionate, kind and caring world. Visit:  Dedicated to Destiny to grab your copy.

#ibelieveinyou #changeisgood #dedicatedtodestiny
Continue reading “From Struggle to Striving”

Do You Suffer from the Open-Door Syndrome?

open door syndrom

Choosing to open or close the door when opportunity knocks, will determine the course of your life. The clearer your vision, the easier the choice.   

Written by Angel Carlton

Imagine a path without borders…it would be difficult to determine where the path lies, which direction you were heading and unidentified guidelines would certainly make reaching the destination a bit more challenging. The same goes for traveling the path of life. Setting solid boundaries is one of the most powerful behaviors those seeking a greater purpose, can embrace.

When we fail to set boundaries for ourselves, we end up with a case of what I call, the Open-Door Syndrome. When you’re not guarding the door of your destiny, then you’ll find yourself walking through the door of temptation. Once you become aware of the doors you’ve opened, and learn which ones benefit you, you can then be empowered to choose to either walk in or walk away. Only then can you begin to gently close the doors that will not take you to your highest vision. Some doors you may find yourself slamming shut, others you may want to keep cracked open if a future opportunity for growth exists. Either way, this requires some honest self-reflection, communication and humility on your part.

Perhaps you will recognize these doors in your life:

  1. Revolving door – when you make the same relationship choices, allowing the same type of people in your life over and over again, one enters another on leaves, still keeping you in the middle of nowhere. Nothing changes until your choices change. This is the behavior shift that will propel you to the next phase.
  2. Sliding door – only opens from one side – either they let you in or you let them in, but seldom is there mutual respect. Be very cautious with these relationships. One-sided relationships are energy vampires.
  3. Swinging door – not clear on who is entering, you never know which way the door will swing, people coming and going from your life. If this is an occurrence in your life, then it’s time to set some strict boundaries and begin to control who enters next.
  4. Screen door – simply keeps the bugs out, but not quite sturdy enough to keep out the thieves in the night luring to steel your dreams.
  5. Locked door – where you let no one in and trust very few people, the barriers limit you to any opportunities and you stay stagnant because you’re not willing to take any risks, or you may fear any type of change.
  6. Basement door – when your door opens to a downward staircase to only those people who bring you down, lowers your energy and keeps you in the dark.
  7. Rooftop door – lifts you up higher, takes you to a place where there is no ceiling, feeling of limitless possibilities. Imagine you’re on the top of a skyscraper, when you open this type of door to possibility, you have great perspective of your life and clearly see where you’re heading and with whom.

Recognizing the type of doors you open throughout your life will help you to manage the “Open Door Syndrome”. It’s all about creating awareness and setting healthy boundaries so your life path is more defined. Regardless of the doors you open or shut, I found that this simple exercise will help to “clear the weeds” along the path. Reconnecting with the people who have contributed to your journey thus far will help accelerate the transformation process.

Make a conscious effort to reach out to those people who have served you in some way, believed in you and supported you. Just a simple thank you for that act of kindness, brings them back into your stream of consciousness. What this does is create an energetic support system. I truly believe, we place certain people in our lives with a higher strategic insight, knowing they will deliver the perfect experience for us to evolve at that particular time on our human journey. They have a right to know how they contributed to your personal growth and will feel empowered to know this truth.

Angel Carlton is the Author of 2 books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, and Dedicated to Destiny, the Founder of Power Up People!, Motivational Speaker, Transformation Coach, serves as a Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp.com) and is a Radio Show co-Host on Leading the Way (KLIF.com). Learn more at www.AngelCarlton.com.


Align Your Allies

allign allies

By Angel Carlton

Outgrowing your relationships is a symptom of personal evolution.

Times of change are life’s monumental moments of transitioning into the next greatest version of yourself, and who you have at your side will have a direct impact on the outcome. Seemingly, it is during times of change, where we evaluate everything in life, including our relationships. Typically, when we “outgrow” a relationship, we automatically want to blame the other person for what they’ve done or not done to maintain our happiness. The truth is, more than likely, they haven’t changed at all. They are the same person they’ve always been. You’re the one who is evolving, transforming, and growing. Suddenly, that person doesn’t seem to be a fit any longer. This is not the time to blame, this is the time to be accountable for your own evolution. With this growth comes a responsibility to be honest, respectful, and compassionate with those around you, as they might not fully understand the changes you’re experiencing.

Be selective as to who you let on the bus that is taking you to your destiny, and who you should be waving to out the window as you parade on by. Some people are not yet equipped to go where you’re heading. There’s no need to discard people who you love and care about. Simply, share your new approach toward life, lead by example, and they will either follow or get out of your way. To help you determine who is destiny-worthy, make a list of all of your relationships, and put them into one of these four categories:

  1. The first category contains those relationships that empower, encourage, and support your highest vision. You usually walk away from these people feeling energetic, happy, and capable. These are healthy relationships to have in your life. You want to surround yourself with these people as much as possible.
  2. The next category are those people that you either admire, envy, and even judge. These are significant because these messengers are here to show you something about yourself that you may have forgotten or haven’t noticed yet. Pay close attention to these relationships, as they bring great insights on what to release during this very important phase of transformation.
  3. The next quadrant contains relationships that require much giving of your energy. These are the people in life that you support, you encourage, and you empower on a regular basis. The fact that you’re helping someone may boost your energy temporarily, yet after a while this can drain you. These types of relationships can create an energetic imbalance in your life. This is why it’s so important for you to give to yourself first, so that you have enough energy overflowing to give unto others without sacrificing your own enlightenment.
  4. The fourth quadrant of relationships is what I call GTHO (get the heck out!). The “GHetTO” is no place for anyone to be. These relationships are destructive, can be abusive, and are very disempowering. In most cases, these people are unsupportive, try to diminish your power, keep you “small,” and discourage you from any growth whatsoever, because if you change, that means they may have to change also, and for some, change can be very scary. It would be to your benefit to distance yourself from this type of unhealthy relationship. Keep in mind, it may take more time to rebound from this type of release, because it occupied so much of your energy, and tainted your self-belief system. In the long run, you will be stronger, more secure, and you’ll become highly self-sufficient once you get back into the flow of life.

There will be a time during the cycle of transformation when you may have to clean up some relationships, and create ones that serve you and your highest vision. When you become intentional about who you align with, you will notice an acceleration on your journey, otherwise your path may be filled with delays, distractions, and dead ends. Remember, those who are truly dedicated to destiny, are on the road less travelled. If it were comfortable and easy, everyone would be doing it. As Roger Staubach once said, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”


Angel Carlton is the author of two books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change: Introducing the 6 Stages of Transformation, & Dedicated to Destiny: A Pursuit in Personal Growth, Prosperity & Purpose (To be published in 2017), the founder of Power Up People!, a motivational speaker, Transformation Coach, AND she serves as a Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity & Radio Show Host on Leading the Way (klif.com).

Symptoms of Transformation


“Change is that uncomfortable ailment that requires a prescription of patience, love and self-awareness. “ ~Angel Carlton

When we think a cold might be coming on, we may feel a headache, stuffy nose, cough or sore throat. When we recognize something out of the ordinary with our health, there are certain symptoms that alarm us that something might not be right. At that time, we might typically consult a doctor if our health doesn’t improve. The same goes for our emotional health during times of turmoil or transformation in our daily lives. Yet, when was the last time you sought help to recover from life’s unpredictable circumstances?

When we begin to recognize the symptoms of the transformation cycle, or signs of changing times, we can administer a prescription and navigate that change in a healthy manner. However, if you continue to ignore the signs of a misalignment in life and choose to white-knuckle through the process, the diagnosis may worsen and so might your level of stress which leads to disease and illness.   This type of stress has a domino effect where it impacts your productivity at work, and that may lead to yet another layer of unwanted stress.  When change is not dealt with properly, you can see how things can easily spiral out of control.

Unexpected change is why 45% of our society lives under extreme stress, according to a study conducted by Forbes. Statistically, that is nearly half of our circle of friends, our neighbors and co-workers! We know from watching the news what unaddressed stress can do. It can be very dangerous! That is why it is imperative to recognize the symptoms associated with change so that we can diagnose the issue, release the stress and prescribe a healthy remedy of self-awareness.

Whenever a tragic event occurs, like a job loss, broken relationship or death in the family, we are initially jolted into a state of shock, what I call the Realize Stage.  These events often serve as directional signs, pointing you to take another direction in some aspect of your life.  If you’ve ever been there, you can easily identify with what I am talking about. It’s when we begin to ask those profound questions about life’s purpose. These phases are a cyclical pattern of human personal evolution, and, when we are aware of them, they can bring a sense of peace and harmony to the trials and tribulations that life delivers. When we learn to identify the lessons from life’s rollercoaster ride, we gain a healthier understanding of our journey, our relationships, and most importantly, ourselves.

It is important to know what transformation (or some might refer to as “an awakening”) feels like so you understand what you’re experiencing is perfectly natural. It also helps to get a penthouse perspective of your path, by reviewing where you’ve been, where you are and where you’d like to go. Let’s take a look at the first of The 6 Stages of Transformation and a few examples of the symptoms you may experience as you respond to the change or event happening in your life (these may vary depending upon the type of event or circumstance).

  • A feeling of lack of purpose
  • Close relationships begin to feel unfulfilling
  • Feeling disconnected from the “norm” and a sense of not belonging
  • A strong desire to be alone and self-reflect; isolation
  • An interest in understanding death, and what happens to our soul when we die
  • Searching and seeking answers for the true meaning of life
  • A (An) unexpected loss that generates a sense of “life is never going to be the same again”
  • A calling to do or be something totally different and out of the ordinary
  • A feeling like you need to contribute to something greater; an urge to make a difference
  • An attraction toward books, videos, seminars, webcasts, and other material on holistic/spiritual/metaphysical topics
  • Music begins to speak to you; lyrics seem to bring messages
  • Signs begin to show up in unexpected places—as numbers, for example
  • People, sometimes strangers, show up as messengers during this time
  • “Coincidences” occur more regularly and are more noticeable
  • You feel a strong desire for a fresh start
  • A sharpened sense of self-awareness and perspective of life

Whether you resonated with one or all of these symptoms of personal change, remember to be kind to yourself as you move through any difficult time. Become the observer of your life journey and recognize when others might be going through difficult times. Rest assured, life’s ups and downs are a reflection of the natural order of everything.  So, take your doctor’s orders…embrace change with a healthy curiosity, apply a dosage of patience and follow up with self-nurturing kindness.

Angel Carlton is the Author of 2 books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, and Dedicated to Destiny, the Founder of Power Up People! Inc. (PowerUpPeople.net), Motivational Speaker and Transformation Coach.  Angel also serves as a Sales Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp.com), a human capital research firm that discovers the people practices that drive high performance.

Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum


What would your life be like if you truly believed that all change happens for your benefit? Would that make you break out into a happy dance? Well, get your dancing shoes ready because the more aware you become of life’s unpredictable circumstances, the quicker you will see how change always works to your advantage.

Understanding how change occurs…

Let’s zoom our lens and focus in for a moment on how change occurs. My mantra is change is sometimes difficult but always worthwhile. Once I realized that change was inevitable, I then began to embrace the flow in which change occurs, and suddenly life began to take on a whole new meaning. When I dug deep to get to the core of what causes changes in our lives, I broke it down into four categories: an Event, through Engagement, an Epiphany, or an Essential. Here is a simple break down and examples of each cause:

  1. Event ~ These are life-altering events that outcomes are seldom prepared for, such as a death of a loved one, birth of a child, divorce, marriage, accident, or health or financial crisis. These events cause a sudden awakening and “reality check” forcing us to take action. Even when considering happy occasions, like a vacation for example, the anticipation is often more exciting than the event itself. So when reality seeps in, it can be quite an awakening. Detach from the outcome and you will never be disappointed.
  2. Engagement ~ These changes are caused by being engaged with other people—our relationships. We either receive or reject feedback, criticism, or a personal opinion from another that opens our eyes for us to see ourselves in a different light. On the other hand, when we are engaged with others, we find that we either admire them and see a reflection of our own potential, or we recognize a shadow side and can admit we sometimes possess the same ugly quality. This is typically a part of ourselves we realize would be beneficial if changed. These messengers, who hold a mirror up for you to see yourself differently, cause us to react either for the better or for the worse. This change can occur in the form of a disagreement, a break-up, experiencing new love, interacting with colleagues, or parental, spousal, sibling, and offspring issues.
  3. Epiphany ~ The “aha” moment when clarity comes shining through those rose-colored glasses you’ve been looking through. An epiphany-type change occurs with the power of a single thought, like a truth revealed based on a message, self-discovery, or a breakthrough. Trust that these thoughts are coming from a higher place, and are not to be ignored. Remember, truth is sometimes absurd when first heard.
  4. Essential ~ This change is more of a necessity that is intentionally made from your internal decision-maker and stems from a need to improve your life physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. This change in mindset occurs for your survival; it’s an alteration in your belief system or recovery from a life that hasn’t served you. Change is the only alternative. It is typically essential for change to occur for those suffering from addictions, abusive relationships, or a health issue.

One way to break down barriers caused by unexpected change is to generate awareness around how change occurs. Ask yourself, how am I responding to these changes? Rather than allowing that change to stop you in your tracks, or set you back, shift your perspective and march to a beat of a different drum. Recognize what type of change is occurring so that you quickly rebound and use that event, circumstance, or breakthrough as a launch pad toward a happier, more balanced and joy-filled life.


Angel Carlton is the Author of Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, the Founder of Power Up People! (PowerUpPeople.net), Public Speaker and a Transformation Facilitator for individuals, companies and organizations.