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Wondering what to do about your personal – and our world’s – current struggles? Niki Spears has practical strategies for finding the opportunities within our struggles.

Niki is a former school principal who now works as an educator and change leader. She shares her passion and enthusiasm for creating positive school culture based on shared leadership. Niki is leading the charge to develop positive schools by sharing the importance of embracing a leadership mindset.

Niki Spears is the co-founder of the Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey. She started this organization to bring the positive messages of Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus, to schools everywhere. Niki has spent over 15 years working in education. Once an elementary school principal, she now works full time as a teacher educator and change leader.

The Beauty Underneath the Struggle: Creating Your Bus Story Book Description

Life if full of struggles and challenges. Are you ready to use these moments as opportunities to grow? Join Niki and learn how to find the beauty hidden beneath. Often the darkest moments in life are the ones that motivate us to move out of victimhood and walk into our purpose.

Beneath the personal struggle lies a chance to discover meaning and bliss. It’s a matter of knowing how to transform challenges into impassioned change.

On this journey to self-enlightenment, motivational speaker and author Niki Spears shares strategies to help you embrace struggles and recognize them as opportunities for self-discovery. Personal stories and testimonials from people like you, will motivate and inspire you to see struggles in a new way.

The workbook feature will help you apply these techniques to your life right away, and by using the step-by-step guide, you can capture your own unique BUS story as you find the Beauty Underneath the Struggle.

Struggles and challenges don’t have to be negative components of life. Join Niki on this journey to help you write the next chapter as you transform the meaning of struggle to create your masterpiece.


• We can view our struggles and challenges as opportunities to move into our purpose.

• We each have a different lens through which we view our life stories, and changing the lens can change our life outcomes for the better.

• Challenges and setbacks may be caused by other people or events in our past, but we can choose to stop spending our timing blaming and take responsibility for creating our positive future.

• In the most challenging of circumstances (like this pandemic), we can improve our own lives by helping others.


Connect with Niki and find out more about her work at

The Map of Consciousness Explained by Dr. David R. Hawkins

The Success Principles  by Jack Canfield


Audrey & Niki, Energy Bus Training 2017

Niki: “What I explore in the book is talking about our perceptions, and rewriting some of those negative perceptions, our stories that we tell ourselves.”

Niki: “When I was a little girl, I grew up in a family where I didn’t always feel valued and appreciated. And that story I was telling myself was really controlling everything that was happening to me in my adult life. I was blaming my parents. I was blaming my upbringing, and it was keeping me stuck.”

Niki: It’s like I woke up and I said, ‘You are going to have to start owning everything in your life.’ If you continue to blame, you’re giving the situation, you’re giving the person, power over your happiness and your ability to create the life that you want. Once I started to take personal responsibility, everything around me started to change.”

Niki: “I want to teach people how empowering it is just to own your life experiences and embrace the struggle.”

Niki: “You create your world. So that could be a positive world based on your perceptions of what’s going on, or it could be a negative experience.”

Audrey: “It’s a really challenging time. And a lot of people are feeling very negative about their lives, about our country, about everything.”

Niki: “I want you to look at struggle in a new way, as an opportunity that’s going to propel you to move into purpose. Because struggle is not a negative term at all. If we look at struggle, and we break it down, struggle is a verb that says that we’re still moving in the face of adversity.”

Niki: “We have to look at things that are happening around us as an opportunity for us to showcase our best selves.”

Niki: “In these moments of challenges, there are great opportunities for us to show up and to show out. And so that’s what I want to encourage everybody to do. Instead of looking through a negative lens, look and see, where can you help?”

Niki: “We cannot compare ourselves to someone else. Our journey is totally our journey.”

Niki: “And so it’s not necessarily always something that you do, but just to contribute a positive self, to smile, to say hello, to write a nice letter to someone, those are, those may be small things, but they serve in a big way. So even recognizing the people who are doing the big things and just being their cheerleader could be part of what you do in your story.”

Niki: “I think you need to look at what are some things in your life that you’re unhappy with right now, think about those. Be honest with yourself, be willing to go there with yourself, be vulnerable. What are those things in your life that don’t bring you the love, peace and joy that you want? Then ask yourself, who’s responsible. And if you’re holding someone else responsible, or you’re holding some event responsible, I want you to cross it out and put “me.” You put yourself there and you have to practice that.”

Niki: “You’ve taken ownership. You’re no longer blaming your parents, blaming your bosses, your friends, or COVID. But now you understand that even though these things may not be your fault, it is your responsibility to do something about it.”

Audrey: “Even in families, it’s like, you know, the conflicts are happening and people have misunderstandings over sometimes silly things because we’re spending so much time together. So it’s just being able to, again, just take that pencil and just say, wait, I can still be calm. I can still be loving. And I don’t have to like take in something that someone saying perhaps out of anger or whatever it might be.”

Niki: “And I think that in this moment now that we’re so divided, that it gives us the opportunity to kind of test ourselves in that area where we can listen to different points of views without feeling angry, and all these other emotions that can come into it, but just listen, and let it flow through, but don’t let it impact, you know, your mood and how you feel and, and those kinds of things.”

Audrey: “I really hope other people will pick up your book or hear your words and really find the beauty underneath their struggles. Because as you’ve inspired us, there is always something to be learned or to be gained, to come out the other side stronger, more resilient, even with the worst of stuff.”


Ep. 125: Transforming Schools with Positivity

Ep. 108: Simple Acts of Giving Back with Natalie Silverstein

9 Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults

The Power of Compliments


Pick a 30-Day Challenge to do for the next 30 days (or a designated month)

Pick something that, if you do for 30 days consistently, will improve your well-being or move you closer (small step by small step) to a goal you have. It can be anything! Ideas include something creative, intellectual, relational, spiritual, or health-related.

Some tips:

Be realistic – make sure it won’t take you more than 5-10 minutes max to do or it’s likely that you won’t get it done (especially as you’re building the habit).

Pick something enjoyable, that you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t fit in to your daily routine yet.

Here are some ideas:

  • Read for a certain amount of time or a certain number of pages, every day for 30 days.
  • Call or text a friend every day for 30 days.
  • Walk a minimum number of steps every day for 30 days (use a fitness app to keep track).
  • Drink a minimum amount of water every day for 30 days.
  • Practice some kind of mindfulness for 5 minutes every day – can be staring out a window, meditating, listening to music, or using a meditation app (like Calm or Headspace).
  • Work on a creative project for 10 minutes every day – drawing, sewing, woodwork, painting, needle work, baking, etc.
  • Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.
  • Use cash only for 30 days.
  • Do one Random Act of Kindness per day for 30 daysSome popular, challenging 30-Day Challenges:
    NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writers Month
    Whole 30


The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique helps you resist all of those self-interruptions and re-train your brains to focus. Each pomodoro is dedicated to one task and each break is a chance to reset and bring your attention back to what you should be working on.

The core process of the Pomodoro Technique consists of 6 steps:
  1. Choose a task you’d like to get done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro (timer) for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings.
  4. When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper.
  5. Take a short break.
  6. Every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break.



If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas we talked about, please share!

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Here’s to raising a generation of kids who become thriving adults AND modeling for our kids what thriving adulthood looks like!