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John is dedicated to helping you get more out of life through his writing, mentoring and coaching programs— https://www.synergypersonaldevelopment.com

Greetings from the road less traveled

Hello, I’m John Cunningham. It took me a long time to be comfortable saying that. I used to just think of my name being a formal label that others could use to identify me.

Nowadays, I consider it a description of who I am and what I am about. While I express this every day in my work as a corporate trainer and executive coach. Medium has given me a new space to present the me that lies below the surface.

I am from the Silicon Valley and now reside in Tokyo. I have…


When it gets tough, your options seem to shrink

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Recently, a friend of mine started a new job. As to be expected, they were initially assigned all the tasks that no one else wanted to do. Considering these tasks part of the training process, they did the work with a smile. Though they came home exhausted each night, they felt they were getting a better understanding of the job and its requirements.

Now, three months later, my friend has settled into their position and their smile has turned into a lump of stress that they can’t get rid of no…


The eyes must see all sides & the ears must hear in all directions

Photo by Taylor Deas-Melesh on Unsplash

I have just been given a new assignment. I am now an editor here in Illumination. As a way to celebrate this new role, I am sharing some stories that have had me thinking deeply this week.

There are so many enticing stories about empathy, giving and compassion in Illumination that I hope you find these six inspired reading and an appetizer for further exploration. …


Your advice is not always the solution

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

A friend in need may not always want your advice. They could be looking for a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, or a show of support. As a trusted friend, you will serve the situation well if you listen with empathy. Real companions are always willing to listen and provide support through difficult times or when their buddies are just feeling down. As tempting as it may be, they are not going to give advice unless asked, but they’ll be there no matter what.

Listening requires you to suppress your ego…


2020 Tokyo Olympics

My Olympic Journey

A volunteer’s journal

Image by author

When I moved back to Japan in 2017, one thing that excited me was a chance to volunteer for the Olympics. While that journey was delayed by a year, the opportunity to be part of one of the world’s biggest events is now becoming a reality.

The Olympics brings to mind an ideal of unity, sportsmanship and inclusion like no other event. These ideals are what I signed up for. Being part of such a massive global event, I reasoned, would surely be a beneficial experience.

My goals for participation beyond that are to…


Win the Day — Chapter 10

Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash

This chapter comes from the second section, Your Emotions, of Win the Day — How to Win Your Daily Battles With Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. Your emotions are signals that your unconscious sends to your conscious mind. Often times we create barriers in our own lives by letting our words and emotions control us, rather than considering more deeply what they are trying to communicate to us.

This chapter focuses on those emotions and actions that create self-imposed limits. Then, explains how to move beyond these barriers to achieve success.

Language choices which create…


Your book is finished, what do you do next?

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

I’ve written previously about how to write a book using Medium to test the chapters. This directly, or indirectly helped to inspire those astute editors at Illumination to launch Book Chapters. Now you have countless excellent examples to follow in your journey regardless of the genre you are writing..

Once you’ve finished the second draft, making sure there is cohesion throughout your book is vital. To achieve this, you should turn it over to friends for their opinions. After you have incorporated their feedback, it’s time to bring in the professionals.

At this point your role changes from author to…


Four stories of finding new insight

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

I am forever positive, and one of my secrets is reading inspiring writing. Though this week I have been mostly feeling my way to success rather than running on a clear path. Recently in Illumination’s Synergy I have read four articles that reminded me sometimes we need to grow into the answers and be open to new possibilities.

Hitting a roadblock as I was working in my business, I took a little time out to edit for Synergy and found these 6 tips for making your side hustle into a profitable reality. John Teehan’s…


What does a cannibal call a woman in a hammock?

Image by CandiceP from Pixabay

Some days we need more inspiration and illumination than others. Here are four stories from writers with broad perspectives that should get your creative juices flowing, enhance your mood and have you ready to challenge the next big thing.

Don’t let complacency become an ally. Kristina Segarra writes about habits that lead to laziness in her article 5 Habits of Extremely Lazy People. If you are starting to notice these in yourself, it is time for a change. Personally, I have found that too much sports talk radio and social media have me feeling that I’ve wasted the day. Avoid…


Win the Day — Chapter 29

Photo by Imat Bagja Gumilar on Unsplash

This chapter comes from the final section, Daily Habits, of Win the Day — How to Win Your Daily Battles With Stress, Anxiety and Depression. It is said that we become what we consistently do. As a result, if you want to change your life, it is vital that you adopt new habits. One habit that will make you stronger is connecting to nature, and that is what this chapter is about.

It’s easy to get absorbed in the day to day of your life. You get up, go to work, come home, do…

John Cunningham

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