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A Little Boy’s Fears Sparked a Pivotal AHA! for Bridgette Laird, CEO of Wings for Kids

Bridgette Laird was working as an after-school counselor at Wings for Kids, a program that teaches kids the social and emotional skills they will need to be successful in life. When she got engaged, she couldn’t wait to share the new with the kids. They were all very excited for her, except one little boy. Instead of being excited,he was afraid for her. His reaction to the news sparked an “aha” moment that defined Bridgette’s career path.

AHA! trigger for Bridgette: Understand the perspective of others



An AHA! Can Point You Toward the Perfect Career — The Story of Steve Call

“What do I want to be when I grow up?” That sure can be a difficult question to answer. Steve Call was a senior in college when an “aha” moment answered the question for him. You can read Steve’s story at this link. And as a total tangent, check out this fun video of Steve and the members of his jazz band playing an impromptu concert for a herd of cows.

Can an AHA! Help You Beat a Cigarette Addiction? You Bet!

As I’ve been working on a press release on the power of AHA!s to break a nicotine addiction, I remember my mom’s struggle to stop smoking. She started smoking as a teenager. Over the next 40 plus years she tried many time to put down her cigarettes but always went back to them. Then at age 60, she decided to quit smoking—cold turkey, and never looked back. Five years later I asked her about her decision. To which she said, “I decided to do it. I did it. It was easy.”

Researchers have found that nicotine is powerfully addictive. How do people suddenly overcome a nicotine addiction in order to stop smoking? An AHA! can make all the difference. Check out this Mutual of Omaha aha moment video in which Christian of sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico, describes why he began to smoke, the moment of clarity that convinced him to stop smoking, and the power impact that AHA! had on his health and well-being.

What triggered Christian’s AHA!? Seeing himself clearly.

Jordin Sparks describes her “AHA!”

I’ve got three great AHA! videos to share with you! Let’s start with Jordin Sparks. Winner of American Idol when she was just seventeen, Jordin describes in this AOL On Health interview how a trip to her doctor sparked an AHA! that transformed her health.

An AHA! Could Give You What You Need to Shed Unwanted Pounds recently posted two blogs that spotlighted AHA!s that lead to weight loss. They’re great stories! Theresa Benoit experienced a flash of clarity when she discovered some dated pictures of herself. Mommyweighless was hit with her AHA! after an annual checkup.

M.D. Jeanette N. Keith, a Buffalo-based gastroenterologist, says that she’s a believer in the importance of insights when it comes to losing weight. In an interview with Jane Kwiatkowski of The Buffalo News, Dr. Keith said,”Every individual who I’ve talked to has had a different ‘”aha” moment.” But what is similar is the inner motivation that allows them to stick with their program. Your friends and family may want it for you, but until you own it, the change just won’t happen.”

What tends to trigger a weight-loss AHA!? The biggest trigger, I have found, is catching a glimpse of yourself, whether it’s by seeing yourself in a photo or mirror or seeing yourself through the eyes of others. (There are four weight loss accounts included in The AHA! Handbook: How to spark the insights that will transform your life and career. Kelly Jens, Julie Hadden, and Nathan Phillips each experienced an AHA! after seeing themselves clearly, while Bil Cornelius was hit with a flash of clarity when he saw himself from the perspective of others.)

AHA! Alert: Alicia Keys Trades Compromise for Cooperation

I love reading AHA! stories. Don’t you? In this month’s issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Alicia Keys described an AHA! that has had a powerful impact in her life.

Alicia had always relied on the people closest to her for advice, whether she was making simple what-to-wear decisions or long-lasting career decisions. The problem was that she often found herself bending to the wishes of others rather than following her own instincts.

Then the comment of a friend triggered a pivotal insight for Alicia. “Don’t compromise—cooperate!” the friend said. In a sudden flash of clarity Alicia got the message. It wasn’t an either-or situation! She could listen to the advice of the VIPs in her life and remain true to herself. In the days and weeks that followed, she did exactly that. (Alicia’s story is such a great one! Here’s the link if you’d like to read what she wrote in O.)

Before I pass along a story to you, I look for signs that the realization was truly is an AHA! I ask myself three questions, and Alicia’s AHA! story passed the test with flying colors:

You see, not all ahas are created equally. I’m interested in AHA!s not ordinary ahas. AHA!s are those sudden flashes of clarity about the reality of a situation that have a profound, lasting impact on a person’s life. Now that’s powerful!

Nora Ephron’s Inspiring AHA!

Silkwood. When Harry Met Sally. Sleepless in Seattle. Julia & Julia. What comes to mind for you when you think of Nora Ephron? When I think about Nora, I remember a day almost three years ago when I read her AHA! story in O, The Oprah Magazine.

“This Aha! moment is probably going to seem like no big deal,” Nora wrote in the opening line. I read that and was hooked. And, by the time I reached to the end of the article I had decided to take on a project that would consume my life (in a very good way) for the next three years.


What’s an AHA! anyway?

An AHA! is a special kind of aha moment. Ordinary ahas are pretty common—in a sudden flash of understand we see something we hadn’t seen before, we understand something we hadn’t understood before, we make a connection we hadn’t made before. For example, I sometimes I get stuck when I’m writing, not being able to find the words that work for what I want to say. When I do I know it’s time to take a break—to take my morning shower, to throw a load of clothes in the washer, to take a walk to the mailbox. Then invariably, almost like clockwork, I will be hit with an idea and will be back to work in front of my computer.

AHA!s are all that and so much more. They are the kind of aha moments that has a personal and profound impact on the person who experienced it. I experienced my first AHA! when I was in my mid-twenties. I was very unhappy in my career but didn’t know why. Then in a flash of insight, I understood what was blocking my progress, and that made all the difference in my life. I described that experience and it’s impact in my life in a Mutual of Omaha aha moment video. Click this link to watch the clip. I also wrote about the moment in my soon-to-be-released book, The AHA! Handbook.

Andrew Zimmern shares his life-changing AHA! in Guideposts magazine

Photo by Revati Upadhya

I just love stories life-changing AHA!s. Don’t you? I just read in this month’s issue of Guideposts magazine the powerful story of how an epiphany put Andrew Zimmern’s life back on track after he had struggled for years with a drug addiction.

If you watch the Travel Channel, you’ve probably seen Andrew’s show, Bizarre Foods. He travels the world to introduce his audience to the foods that people in other cultures eat—things they consider delicacies, things we couldn’t imagine eating.

Andrew knew as a boy that that he wanted a career in the food industry. While in high school, he began working in a restaurant, and from there he steadily worked his way up to become an executive chef and then a food service consultant. Along the way Andrew also became addicted to drugs, alcohol, and prescription medication. Eventually he lost everything—his work, his apartment, his friends and family. (more…)