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Cindy’s Defining Difference…

“Lean into your power, redefine your story and expand your vision for what is possible.” ~Cindy Ertman

I believe that every person has the ability to rewrite their story and create their life by design. Change is hard and most of us resist it. However, when we make the choice to consciously shake up our life and take deliberate risk for the sake of growth, amazing things can happen.

Several years ago, I opened up the door to my own greater possibility and embarked on a whole new journey for my life. Prior to becoming a CEO of my own coaching and training company, The Defining Difference, and a co-host of the morning TV talk show, Wake Up!, I began to make intentional choices on how I wanted to live my life. I started to pay attention to that little voice inside my head that wants to give and to contribute more in the world. With this, I instigated a powerful shift: from success to significance and from intention to impact. I shifted my personal and professional orientation to living on purpose. And that shift changed everything.

It all started with my insatiable curiosity about what makes us tick. I made it my personal mission in life to study and learn from some of the world’s greatest thought leaders, personal development experts and spiritual guides. I routinely spent hours at the bookstore buying and devouring books, listening to audio CD’s, attending seminars, webinars, women’s retreats and training programs. I learned so much…about myself, about my life, about the world and a different way of thinking.

I started to incorporate the new success habits and to bring new daily rituals into my life. I started small, as I like beginning with small shifts that create great results. They say it takes 30 days of doing something new to create a habit. This is true and I began to see shifts in my own life and the way others related to me. What I uncovered was a blazing passion for sharing this life-changing knowledge with others. It was then that I began to expand my thinking of what’s possible and started integrating my transformational work into my mortgage career. The time had come for me to “bridge my own GAP” (Goals Aligned with Purpose) and begin to shift the way I conducted business. I shifted from being in a service industry to waking up “in service” to others. This opened up a completely new door…

Just as I was starting to feel the joy of living my calling, I received a prestigious award from Mortgage Executive Magazine honoring me as being one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives in America.’ Though I had received many awards throughout my mortgage career, there was something profound for me with this one as it said I was an ‘influencer.’ I thought deeply about what it meant to be given a national award as an influencer. I took this as a sign that it was time to fully lean into my passion and purpose and begin to bring my influence to a larger number of people and make a defining difference on the planet.

This award became the catalyst for the shift in my perception and I realized that it was time to play a bigger game in the world. It was time to get serious about The Defining Difference and coaching and training others. I began to listen closer to the deep-seated voice in my head. It was time for me to transition from who I had been, to who I might become and give voice to my dream.

It was late 2014 when I launched The Defining Difference, my success-based coaching and training company devoted to helping people master the power of intentional choice to create a defining difference in their own lives. Using my Total Success Blueprint, I began to teach others how to map out their own personal plan to balance all seven key areas of their life. It has been exhilarating to watch my coaching clients reap the rewards as they make powerful, intentional choices to propel their careers and their income, nurture their health and wellness, build connected relationships, reduce stress and create their lives by design.

Shortly after the launch of my company, I set a clear intention to utilize television as a medium to take my message forth to the world in a bigger way. So you can imagine my excitement and surprise when I received a call only 30 days later from the producers of Wake Up! requesting a meeting to discuss a co-host role in their show. We had an instant connection and I felt that it was the opportunity I had been seeking. After reviewing the mission of Wake Up! and it’s focus on bringing forth authentic and informed conversations to engage and empower women, I said HELL YES! and leaned into the development of the show in a big way.

By co-hosting Wake Up! I was opening myself up to a whole new medium of communication and opening up a world I had never experienced before. For a moment, I allowed fear to creep in, as I had no TV experience. Yet my favorite quote by Marianne Williamson began to run through my head – “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” With this, I followed my intuition to forge ahead and to learn to just get comfortable with being uncomfortable. One thing I know for sure is that when an amazing opportunity knocks on your door, you need to plow through the fear and answer the call. For me….it was time to Wake Up!

Wake Up! is important to me as it reflects my dreams and desires for my own company – The Defining Difference. My mission is to encourage people to lean into their own power, redefine their story, and expand their vision for what is possible in their life. Wake Up! is a catalyst to create change and provides a community of support, love and connection to fuel bigger change in the world. One of my favorite stories is the story of the Golden Buddha. The Golden Buddha resides in Bangkok, Thailand and many years ago was covered in mud by the local villagers to protect it from battle. The plan worked and the Buddha was not destroyed, as the invading army had no knowledge it contained any monetary value. Many years later, while the statue was being relocated, it broke loose of the cables and fell to the ground, breaking away some of its earthly coating and revealing it’s solid gold structure. The story shares that the golden essence was revealed and reflects the “golden essence” we all carry within us – that can only be revealed when you remove your outer “plaster” and break through the blocks that limit your passion, your purpose, and your potential. I believe that Wake Up! through its inspired conversations and expert guests will help men and women alike find their own true beauty and Wake Up! their golden essence.

You can always count on Wake Up! to motivate, to inspire you and to give you real world advice to propel you forward. Every episode is like a free training or a free seminar with tons of information and real-world advice on topics such as personal development, health, fitness, diet, parenting, stress management, and the like.

Our guest list reads like a “who’s who” of people who are making a defining difference in the world. One of our first interviews was with Jack Canfield (Author of Chicken Soup for the Soul & The Success Principles) who focused on how to “feel the fear and do it anyway” and how to remove the blocks that limit your potential. Jack has been a personal coach and mentor to me throughout my life and it was profound for me to personally interview him on the show. His segment was packed with many real ways to move past the fear that keeps us “stuck” where we are and moves us forward to where we want to be.

Another amazing interview was with Lisa Nichols (one of the world’s most-requested motivational speakers and best-selling authors) who shared ways to tap into your infinite potential and also to be the best parent possible. Lisa’s compelling advice and inspirational story serves to help women move past their self-doubt and overcome their self-perceived limitations to live in their fullest expression of themselves. The greatest life lesson that I have learned from Lisa is that I am enough – just as I am.

Our interview with Don Miguel Ruiz focused on his book The Four Agreements. He shared with our audience that the most important agreements we have are the ones we make with ourselves. It is through agreements with ourselves that we determine the story of who we are, how we should behave, what is possible, as well as what is important in our lives.

His Four Agreements below have profoundly influenced my life.

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

I am so honored and blessed to be working with my amazing co-hosts on Wake Up! – Natalie Ledwell, Zhena Muzyka and Betsy Chasse – who are each out making meaningful contributions in the world in their own right. We are united in our vision and mission to create powerful and positive programming that supports and encourages women to live their best possible lives and are grateful for Lisa Marie and Adryenn Ashley for bringing this to life!

So I encourage you to come along on our Wake Up! journey, as we begin to open our minds to what is possible. If you have ever desired your own transition or transformation – personally or professionally, we look forward to sharing this journey with you and invite you to lean into your own personal power and your ability to grow. I made an ‘intentional choice’ to wake up my own life. The possibilities are endless when we wake up our bodies, wake up our minds, and wake up our souls to a bigger conversation!

About Cindy Ertman

A dynamic speaker, author, coach, TV host, and success strategist, Cindy Ertman is CEO and Founder of The Defining Difference, a success-based coaching and training company devoted to helping people master the power of intentional choice to create a defining difference in their own lives. After being acknowledged - for three consecutive years - as one of “The Top 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives” in America by Mortgage Executive Magazine, and years of inspiring growth in her industry, Cindy has now dedicated her life to empowering the growth of others. In early 2015, Cindy joined the conscious-edge, thought leading talk show called Wake Up! which supports and empowers women to lean into a bigger conversation. Cindy graduated from University of the Pacific in Northern California, but is a native of Southern California. Cindy’s #1 priority is her three young adult children and she also enjoys spending time with close friends and family and time enjoying the beach in her local community. She is also a founding and active member of the Association of Transformational Leaders (ATL) which is a forum for individuals of significant influence devoted to doing transformational work in their respective fields.

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  1. Great article. I love the idea of rethinking and recreating your life. I love to read inspiring stories of others who have done it against all odds!

  2. As someone who has been struggling for years to find out who I really am and what I’m passionate about, this really gives me hope that I will find my passion and be able to pursue it like you have! I’m writing those four agreements down and posting them on my wall to remind me every day to take my life in my hands and run with it. I look forward to seeing where you all go on this journey!

    • I learned early on that if I change the story I tell about my life, then my life will always correspond to that new idea of me. In other words, tell the story of your life the way you want it to be. When I learned and understood that principle, it transformed my entire universe.

  3. I know lots of people wishing they were successful in their lives and what stops them? Not being comfortable with the idea that they might have to do things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes it is very hard to go against choosing the path of least resistance but that is how we grow ad individuals. I learn more by making and learning from my mistakes than never doing anything because of the fear of making mistakes in life.

  4. I myself am embarking on a new journey in life. Recent events in my life have caused me to rethink and evaluate myself. These next couple of months will be life changing and I know it will not be easy at times, but I am very excited to see were my new journey takes me. Good luck to everyone!

  5. What an amazing story of transformation and recreating your life. Truly an inspirational tale and gives motivation and hope to me!! Way to create success and a new life!! 🙂

  6. I love the article and I think you focus on very important values. I think we should indeed stick to our word as a matter of principle and if we do have the capacity to don’t think personally we will see things with another eyes. All in all, when we try our best in all we do our life will improve! 🙂

  7. It is amazing to see someone accomplish so much in their life! This person set out to accomplish some amazing goals and actually managed to achieve them. They set out to be a certain person and they did everything they could to make their dreams come true.

  8. I think that your words are really powerful. We can accomplish a lot in this world, but it’s also a matter of perspective because our power can be to help a single person or make a difference to way more, it’s a matter of what we propose ourselves to do.

  9. What an inspiring story. It’s important that we always know the importance of achieving goals, and that you can change your mind in a millisecond, you just have to really want it. Life isn’t about the future or the past, it’s about the now. If people were to realize they can change their lives right now, just by questioning their choices, it would be so much easier for us to work together to change the world. Making a difference isn’t about the masses, it’s about every single person realizing their own power.

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