Can You Ace This Test?

Last week, I wrote about the importance of finding your direction and how your destination needs clarity — something that you can visualize and describe to anyone who asks, like an “elevator” speech. You also need to hold that dream, that vision, that big goal with an open hand. Meaning, that as you take each step forward, you may realize that the destination has shifted, or morphed, or gotten even bigger than you could have ever imagined, and that’s okay. This is step 1 in a process to achieve the success that you desire and deserve. 

The second step is centered on making sure the dream is the right one for you — is it a true reflection of where you want to go? Is it a big enough and not just a series of tasks? There are a number of ways to “test” your dream. At the Life Mastery Institute (yup, I’m giving you another week of Mary-inspired wisdom), they have a five-point process — five thoughtful questions that all need a decisive “YES” as the answer if, in fact, this dream is worthy of you. 

You’re probably wondering what those five questions are. Well, today, you’re in luck — I’m going to give you the secret 5-question “recipe” — followed by a very tasty recipe!

**I know most people have their own word preference when it comes to describing a “dream” or “big goal” or “vision,” but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to use the term “dream” consistently. Just think of the terms interchangeably and mentally substitute your preferred term.

The Five Questions: 

1.    Will It Give Me More Life?

When you’re thinking about your dream and imagining that it is really happening, do you feel an intensified aliveness? Does the image — that picture in your mind — set you on fire with excitement? This dream will take you to heights that you couldn't have even imagined. It’s a far more expansive vision of the life that you want to live, and the best thing is, the structure of that vision will be unique to you.

So when you imagine living the dream, do you feel more alive? Do you feel more expansive?  If you do, then you know that you’re heading in the right direction.

2.    Does My Dream Align with My Core Values? 

Are you aware of your three or four core values and can you articulate them? You should know what those are, and if you don’t, it’s a very worthwhile and essential exploration.

In a nutshell, when all is said and done, when you take that very last breath, what will have mattered to you? What matters most? What things will you, and did you, go to the mat for every single time? When your dream is in alignment with your core values, you line up with yourself. All parts of you agree. You won't have thoughts arguing about whether or not this is your path. You’ll know it’s your path. 

3.    Will It Cause Me to Grow?

Creating your dream is going to require that you step into a larger dimension of yourself and become more than you currently know how to be. Now, does it mean that you know how to do that? No. Does it mean that you know all that is required? No. But, can you see that to live a larger life, you are going to have to grow? Grow in understanding, grow in awareness, grow in action, grow in the many different ways that will be required to anchor, secure, and make stable a larger experience of aliveness. This is your dream. So does it require you to grow? You want a yes to that question.

4.    Do I Need Help from a Higher Power?

This question sometimes flusters people, but ask yourself, “What is that higher power for me?” It is any entity that you envision that works for you e.g.: God, Buddha, Allah, E=mc2, quantum physics, the Spiral Universe, a magical frog, whatever you believe. Because whatever your version of a higher power, it’s there to help you. Another way to ask this question is: do I know every single thing that needs to be done to bring this to fruition? 

If you know every single thing that needs to be done, then the dream isn't big enough — it might be a worthy goal or collection of tasks — but it’s not big enough to be YOUR dream. Now, part of this journey is an exploration of the unknown aspects of who you really are. In Mary’s words, “You have to allow the dream to build you, not just you build the dream.” But, for now, the question is: do you know every single thing that needs to happen? Do you need help from a higher power? Yes, you do.

5.    Is There Good In This Dream For Others?

We are all connected in this world. Therefore, in order to tap into the power and support of the Universe, your dream has to make a difference for good. Your dream may be that you want to find an intimate relationship and a truly loving partner. You may ask yourself, “Besides being good for  the two of us, how is finding a partner going to be good for others?” Well, here's the truth. Any two people who demonstrate what true love looks like are an inspiration to every person who knows them. 

If your dream is to grow a garden, you are either going to produce a bounty of food or beauty in the world. There truly is good in that. 

And honestly, as you begin your journey, any idea of the impact your dream will have on others will be minuscule compared to how much good there really will be. So, your idea of good for others does not have to be obvious, it's not like that. Therefore, in that context, look at your dream and ask, is there good that will come from this for others? 

All of these questions should have a definitive, "YES!" If not, you need to go back and make the necessary changes and adjustments. Once that is accomplished, then it’s time to move your action plan forward — taking one step, then the next, then the next…until you arrive at your dream destination.

**The five-question test courtesy of the Life Mastery Institute


Cooking for Joan

Earlier this week, I decided to make French Onion Soup (Julia Child’s recipe, of course). The only problem was that I had plans after work every night and I wouldn’t get home until after 9:00 pm. Now, I’m usually a late eater and most of the time, I’d make a 30-40 minute recipe for dinner.  But this soup recipe calls for caramelized onions, and anyone who’s made them knows that they take a very long time — 45 minutes to an hour.

 So, as is my way, I cruised the internet to see if I could find a quicker way to get the same results — yes, I was looking for a life hack. Immediately, I found an article on caramelizing onions quickly on one of my favorite sites — Serious Eats.

Since I didn’t have enough time to make the soup and I wanted to test the method, I only caramelized one onion. Well, much to my delight, it worked! The onions were so tasty with deep, rich, complex flavors. 

Since I gave you a soup recipe last week, I’m saving the French Onion Soup for another time. However, I’m going to offer up the recipe in the article — Real French Onion Dip! An old standard party appetizer updated using caramelized onions. I’m only giving you the recipe for the dip, and I’m including the link so that you can make the caramelized onions — a long article, but a simple way to do it.

This is “a creamy dip with an intensely onion flavored base. A splash of lemon juice adds some brightness while a bit of Worcestershire sauce gives it a meaty, umami-ful backbone. Looking to up the umami factor even more, I decided to also add a touch of grated Parmesan cheese.”

Here's the link to make the caramelized onions:

Real French Onion Dip

Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Makes: 8 - 10 | Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 large yellow onions, finely diced (about 1 quart)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced chives


Heat sugar in a pan over medium-high heat until completely melted and light brown, about 3 minutes  
Add onions and stir with wooden spoon to coat onions in sugar 
Add butter, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds black pepper  
Toss to combine 
Cook, shaking pan occasionally until onions release all their liquid and brown coating builds up on bottom of pan, 6 to 8 minutes 
Add 2 tablespoons water shake pan while scraping with wooden spoon to deglaze brown bits from bottom of pan  
Cook and shake occasionally until coating begins to build up again, 3 to 5 minutes  
Repeat deglazing and cooking steps three more times until all water is used up and onions are deep brown  
Transfer to medium mixing bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes 
Add sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parmesan, and Worcestershire and whisk to combine  
Run through blender or food processor for smoother texture
Chill in a sealed container for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days (flavor will improve with time) 
Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve with chips 

bon appétit!

Categories: Personal Growth - Action Plans

Tags: life coach , life coaching , building an action plan , finding your direction , building your dream , creating your dream lfie , life vision , finding your life vision , finding success , achieve success , achieving your goals , healthy recipes , french onion dip