Posted by: Maria Marinakis | June 17, 2012

We’re Moving…Brand New Blog

Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to apologize for no new posts in so long.  The blog was hacked and I was completely frozen from being able to access it.  It has taken quite a while to get back up and running, but I’m determined to continue.  The hard part is over.  I will not make additional posts here, but keep a look-out on the new blog site at:

It’s just a shell right now, but I’ll be working diligently to relaunch in the next couple of months and bring smoking hot material to the site–inspiration, motivation, worksheets to get to the root of what’s holding you back, and planning templates to help you map out what you really want and take the little steps required daily to get you there.

Thank you so much for hanging in there with me during this time of restructuring.  I promise I will make it worth the wait!

Don’t forget to visit me at:


Posted by: Maria Marinakis | October 1, 2010

Staying the Course When Fear Resurfaces


Ahhh...Refreshing Nap...

Last night was the first night I slept like a baby and I’m up, refreshed, renewed, and alive in my own skin.  Several posts ago, I shared my trailblazing jump from day gig back to self-employment and creativity.  Yet, something happened along the way.  I was covering all the bases, moving forward with promoting my businesses, while throwing in the occasional application for a ‘real’ job.  I found myself in an interview, dressed in my best pin-striped superstar suit, looking like a million bucks, when I started sweating profusely as though a faucet went off on my head.  As I responded to the usual mundane questions, I was simultaneously having an internal dialogue in my head, like, “What the hell am I doing here?  Look at this way, it’s good practice.  I’m not nervous, so why the hell am I sweating like crazy?  It must be hormonal.  I’m the best dressed person here.  That’s pathetic.  I have run organizations bigger than this.  I know, but you need the dough in this economy, so shut up and put up, and act enthused.  I can do this gig with my eyes closed.  How long can I keep myself excited about this job?  It could be fun.  Who am I kidding, I’ll be screaming into my purse in the bathroom in about three weeks.  But, I need this job.  I hope they like me.  What? etc.”  On and on, the battle went on in my head.  Part of me wanted it, as the steady pay and benefits would allow me to catch my breath for a minute.  The other part of me was deflated at the thought of selling out, seeing all my dreams and plans flushing down the toilet again.  In the end, I didn’t get a call back to the second round of interviews, which initially bummed me out–my ego was bruised.

So, when I got the call for a part-time contract gig with a non-profit, providing treatment recommendations, I immediately jumped at it.  Part time would give me the best of both worlds, I rationalized.  It took me a day and a half to complete all the paperwork necessary to formally apply for this gig.  It took less time to get my top secret, compartmentalized information clearance with Department of Defense years ago.  I called to reactivate my drug and alcohol license and found out the Board had changed some rules, and I was supposed to have been ‘renewing’ while I had been on inactive status, so my drug and alcohol license is expired.  WTF?  My heart sank again, but I finally took a minute to stop and be still. 

What the hell was I doing?  I was acting desperate.  I was applying for jobs at places that I should be running.  I was wasting a day and a half applying for some bullshit job I could have done out of college 18 years ago and didn’t even know what the pay would be.  I was buying in to the fear and hysteria of the ‘economy,’ and I was making myself miserable.

Back on track. Bring it!

I took a step back and called my friend Sammie in Los Angeles.  He’s a longtime real estate investor, who hasn’t had a ‘real job’ in probably 15 years.  Sometimes, I call him to bitch-slap me back into reality.   So, I’m whining around about my panic that my money will be running out in a couple of months, and how I need a real job to get me through, and, if only I can get a contract gig that will cover my mortgage and sky-high health insurance, I could be okay, and what am I going to do, and on and on.   I’m really getting myself worked up here, and I’m hearing Sammie laughing on the other end of the phone.  WTF?  I call for your support in my meltdown and you’re laughing?  He tells me in his usual, no-nonsense tone, “Maria, you could fart and make $20,000.  What are you talking about?”  And, you know what?  After I practically pee’d myself laughing, I realized that he’s absolutely right.  Just 6 big talks each year would more than replace my old salary.  Just one real estate deal each month will cover my expenses.  These things are not difficult to do, at least not for me.  And yet, I had allowed myself to buy in to other people’s ideas and plans once again and paralyze myself with fear.  Fear is the dream-killer, my friends.  Any decision made out of fear is the WRONG decision.

So, thanks for the bitch-slap, Sammie.  I sure as hell needed it.  This week, I got busy getting organized, finally filed my taxes hanging over from 2009, got everything set for 2010, outlined a business plan for my speaking and real estate business, and rewarded myself with a good nap yesterday afternoon.  I slept like a baby last night and I’m up and ready to work it this morning. 

You’ll be seeing more timely updates and great content coming up.  I’ll be doing video Skype interviews with some amazing ‘jumpers’ that will motivate and inspire you and give you practical tips for going the distance when the well-meaning outside observers try to sidetrack you.

The tip of the day:  Continually re-evaluate your true goals, where you’re heading, whether you need to adjust the course or adjust your techniques.  By all means, keep moving, keep making decisions and keep correcting course.

Ride the wave and keep moving...

Please post your comments, ideas, musings, and questions below.  I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.  Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the awesome upcoming interviews.

Maria M. Marinakis, Ed.M.

Posted by: Maria Marinakis | September 10, 2010

The Balance Myth

Feel like you're on the hamster wheel?

So often, we hear people talk about wanting to achieve balance in their lives. How do you balance work, career, finances, personal fulfillment, parenting, family, physical well-being, and spirituality? I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. What if the idea of having a utopian balanced life were all a myth? Think about it. Life is full of change and crises that help us challenge ourselves and grow. If you’re like me, some days start out so nicely planned and end up with putting out one fire after the next. So what about balance? Where’s the balance? Most days, we can feel like a hamster, spinning our wheels and getting nowhere.

Planning Works

I think it’s great to want to grow in all the areas of your life and it’s important to have a master blueprint of where you want to go, but it’s equally important to stay flexible enough to deal with what life throws in the way in the meantime. I’ve written before about my master ‘to-do’ list, where I chunk activities into goal areas, say finance, career, projects, etc. I give each area a title that excites me. It’s hard to get excited about a life area that you title, “Dig Out of Debt.” Think of something that will motivate and excite you to WANT to do the things that will get you there. Here are some of my life area titles: Home Sweet Home, Body Temple, Financially Fierce, Superstah Speaker, Marketing Maven, etc. I set aside some time each week, usually Sunday night, to go through each category and think of as many things as I can do under each to get me closer to the final outcome I want to achieve. I don’t sit and consider whether it’s feasible or not. I just brainstorm everything I can think of, no matter how big or small. Then, for the bigger items, I go back and break them down into smaller tasks. Now, I have my road map. Each evening, I review my list and prioritize the top 3 things I need to do the next day that will get me closer to my goals. They may be simple things, like making a phone call, sending an email, etc. The funny thing is, once I get rolling the next day, I actually end up accomplishing more than those 3 things. Then, I move on to the next top 3 priorities. Each evening, I review what I’ve accomplished and acknowledge myself for moving closer to the ultimate goals, no matter how small the baby steps. By the end of the week, I’m amazed at how much progress I’ve made.

The amazing Dan Thurmon

My friend, Dan Thurmon, who is an amazing speaker and juggler, uses juggling and balance in his talks as a metaphor for life and business. He demonstrates and teaches his audiences to juggle, literally. He talks about how most people think the art of juggling is difficult because they can’t imagine focusing on so many things at once. He explains that, when juggling, as in life, he focuses on only one specific thing at a time–he just does it really, really fast!! Check out Dan’s book, “Off Balance, On Purpose,” and his other products at: 

Dan Demonstrates Balance

Dan demonstrates some amazing balancing techniques (like juggling while riding a unicycle!) and explains how balance is a process of making constant small adjustments to keep from falling. Visit his site for inspiration and watch some of his amazing videos at: 

So, quit beating yourself up for not being able to do it all at once. Just keep in mind that you only have to do one small thing at a time and learn to do that faster and faster while making small adjustments to stay on track. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to achieving all of your goals in every area of your life, while giving the outside world the illusion that everything is in balance!! And you know, that’s exactly what balance is.

Until next time…

Maria M. Marinakis, Ed.M., LADC

Posted by: Maria Marinakis | August 26, 2010

Resources to Prepare for Your Jump!

Wow!  The response to this blog has been downright overwhelming.  I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to publish it, considering that it’s pretty personal overall and I was just looking for a place to let out the rambling thoughts in my head.  I had dozens of private responses to the last posting and I’m seeing that it appears to be helpful to people to realize that we are not alone. 

We all basically want the same wonderful things for ourselves–financial security and abundance, freedom of time and money, intimacy and close relationships, making a difference or positive contribution to the world, the freedom and ability to express and indulge our creativity, etc.  We may differ in how we’d like to express those things, but somewhere along life’s magnificent journey, we get bombarded with an onslaught of messages regarding what we should do, how we should live, what we should have, how we should behave, what should be important to us, blah, blah, blah…(You’ll notice, I use ‘blah, blah, blah’ to express the background noise to which we are all subject).  Add to that, this era of economic uncertainty, and it’s easy to retreat into fear and become paralyzed to do anything at all.  Even that, my friends, is a decision, and any decision made out of fear is the WRONG decision.  So, how do we get out of paralysis and into kinesys? (from the Greek–Kinysei–which means movement.  See, the dad in, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” wasn’t nuts afterall!) 

Just to get the cobwebs clearing and the mind activated, I put together a few resources, listed below to get you started on thinking a bit differently.  These resources have been very helpful to me along my many journeys and jumps in life.  I hope they’ll be inspiring to you as well.

1)  This is the link to the free online version of the book, “Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts.”  (Those of you who know me know my motto:  If it’s free, it’s for me!)  It’s no longer in print as the author has died, but you can probably search for it on and find a copy.  That’s how I replaced my original that I gave away.  This is the book that has a ton of introspective exercises to help you figure out what you want to do next.  I also love the multitude of inspiring and sometimes funny quotes.  If you’re not sure what your passion is or where to start, this is the book to help you figure it out.  It’s amazing the self-discoveries I’ve made through this book and it keeps me on track with what’s really important for me to do next.
2)  The other book I absolutely love is, “The 4-Hour Work Week,” by Timothy Ferriss.  Here’s a link to his site:  You can seriously spend some time going through the blogs, videos of other people who have incorporated the lifestyle, etc.  It’s a completely different way of looking at work and life and gives you the blueprint for figuring out how to choose something to promote online and make money from wherever you want to live or travel.   He contrasts the ideas of the old rich–work like a donkey so you can save money and retire and then enjoy life, freedom, and travel when you may be too old, sickly, or dead to actually do it; with the new rich–enjoy life, take mini-retirements throughout your career while still earning money while you’re young and healthy enough to enjoy it.  Internet, social networking, etc. has made it possible to actually live while working, instead of living to work.  Trust me, I won’t be on my death bed wishing I had worked just one more 14-hour day!! 
3)  A follow-up to that one, but this guy believes in working around the clock, is, “Crush It,” by Gary Vaynerchuck.   He discusses how he blew up sales in his family’s business through social networking and blogging.  It’s a quick read, but packed with practical info you can use right away.

If all this reading, researching seems overwhelming, build a bridge and get over it!!  This is your life we’re talking about. 
So, to get you motivated to move forward, take a look at…
4)  Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford: 

5)  Jeff Bezos’ Interview on how he made the decision to quit his cushy job and start

All the best as you prepare to take your leap, or are just thinking about it, or just want to see what other crazy people are doing, or have no intentions of ever leaping, but maybe you want to start dreaming about it, or…

As Steve Jobs says, “Stay Hungry-Stay Foolish.”

Maria Marinakis

Check out my other site/blogs:, blog:

Posted by: Maria Marinakis | August 15, 2010

Fortune favors the bold…

I named this blog, “Adventures in Jumping,” because I wanted to focus on everyday leaps, both figurative and literal, that we take to progress in life.  I was surprised by the  response I received from friends and acquaintences after leaving a nice paying full-time contract position ‘in this economy.’  As much as many of my friends cringed at the thought of me going jobless by choice, I was shocked at how many told me how much they admired my guts and determination. 

The job environment had become so toxic and I was being consistently bullied and screwed with on a daily basis.  Now, the Maria of yesteryear would have told them on the spot to kiss my fat Greek ass with feta on top, and left back in February.  However, I was attempting to be a less impulsive version of my former self, and doing my best to listen to my more conservative friends–that I should be lucky to have a job that pays so nicely in this economy, blah, blah, blah.  I know from growing up in inner city Baltimore  that the only way to deal with a bully is to beat the living crap out of them the first time they try to screw with you.  I did not heed my own advice in this job situation and was left having my spirit broken on a regular basis.

It came to a head in June, and I’ll spare the details here, but I just knew it was more than time to go and not look back.  I knew the week before that I wouldn’t last long.  The sickness had spread to the department head and these people did not want to know or see the truth.  The writing was on the wall and I knew I would be the next person to be ‘thrown under the bus’ (a term they loved to use there).  I would be wasting my breath to say anything.  I went on a SoCal road trip with my friend, Doris, to audition for Oprah’s OWN network talk-show reality series.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make the cut, but I felt so good doing what I really wanted to do, what brought me joy and happiness, and felt more like myself for the first time in a long time since being beaten down daily on the job with my little spirit in tatters.  I knew the time was right.  I would never be stronger than now.  If I waited and tried to postpone, my resolve would dwindle and I’d be feeling defeated again.  So, I took swift action, with the help of Doris’s husband, who actually went with me that fateful Monday morning.  Luckily, there were no confrontations, no drama, and I have never looked back. 

I still have the occasional panic attack over finances in the future, but I’m doing the daily footwork to move forward with my businesses and contract work.  Fortune favors the bold and I would rather go down in a blaze of glory to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix, than to live in misery and mediocrity.

So, my advice when you know it’s time to move on and you’re scared to make the leap:

  • If possible, get something else going in the works while you plan your escape.
  • Dump the nay-sayers and (as my friend Marigo says) the Debbie Downers IMMEDIATELY.
  • You have to get yourself to a place of certainty and strength.  Any decision made out of fear is the wrong decision.  So, do something that connects you to yourself and helps you feel strong. (For me, it was the road trip and taking a risk with the Oprah audition.)  I also sought out positive media, like Steve Jobs’ commencement speech to Stanford, Jeff Bezos’s interview on deciding to start, Tony Robbins’ material, etc.
  • Another friend told me that he has taken many jumps that seem utterly crazy to the outside observer, but before he jumps, he burns into his memory the exact reasoning for why this is the only possible course of action.  Later on, if things don’t go exactly as planned or anticipated, you can rest assured you still made the right decision without second-guessing.
  • Enlist the help and support of friends and family who are positive and behind you all the way.
  • Take swift action and jump. 
  • Don’t look back!  Go boldly forward.

Fortune favors the bold.  Stay hungry-stay foolish!

Maria Marinakis

Posted by: Maria Marinakis | August 4, 2010

Get ready to jump!

Have you always wanted to do something–in your personal, professional, or love life–but haven’t had the guts to do it?  Have you dreamed of a different life?  Different career?  Adventure?  Travel?  etc.?  Have you put off your dreams until ‘someday’ or maybe given up on them altogether? 

This is your wake-up call.  Stop living in a coma like the majority of the ‘walking dead’ of this world and wake up to create a life by your design and desire.  I’ll be sharing much of my story in the hopes that it will show you how to avoid mistakes I’ve made, incorporate the lessons I’ve learned, and consider what you really want out of your life.  I hope to encourage you on your path, to realize the life you want and to share the journey.

Subscribe (box to the right) to receive updates and new posts as they happen.  I’ll eventually be doing some video blogging and adding photos from past and present adventures.


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