Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

begin

Vanessa Perez Vanessa Perez compassionate pianist. musical communicator. moment enjoyer.

Pianist Vanessa Perez, praised for her passionate performing style and keenly sensitive musicianship, is a product of the energized musical culture in Venezuela that produced international stars like conductor Gustavo Dudamel and pianist Gabriela Montero. [www.vanessaperez.com]

Playing the piano brings me so much happiness. When I was five, my mother got me the Fisher Price LP of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I couldn’t stop listening to it. That was when I knew I wanted to play the piano. I wanted to play that music.

All my life, music has been my way of connecting, of reaching out to people and talking to many at the same time. Music lets me express a kaleidoscope of sentiments that I wouldn’t be able to express with words.

When I’m playing music, I feel that same feeling of being in love. It has to do with being in the present. When I’m onstage, I’m fully present and living each moment. If I tried to play while looking back, I’d miss the music I’m making in the moment. If I tried to look forward, I wouldn’t connect with what I’m playing. For me, music is a lesson for life.

I’m happier when I’m enjoying the moment and not letting my mind wander to the what-ifs. I’m in an incredible moment right now, but how long does one enjoy things? We work so hard to achieve something that’s amazing, and then we’re on to the next goal. Too often, what we achieved, what we so wanted to enjoy, passes by too quickly, our focus already on to the next goal. I’m trying to enjoying being present in my life the way I’m present in music.

When something is bothering me, I go for a walk to refocus. Then, instead of paying attention to what’s in my head, I just start doing. When there’s something I don’t want to do, I force myself to begin. Once I start going through the motions, things pick up and I feel alright.

It’s impossible to feel inspired all the time, with any job, even making music. Sometimes I don’t feel like practicing for five hours. So I just begin, and after a while I’m focused.

Sometimes we don’t find inspiration until we begin. We have to start going through the motions. Then, in the middle of our work, inspiration appears. Connection and inspiration will come. But first we have to begin.

– Vanessa Perez

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