Commitment #3: I Choose to Give Myself Grace

I choose to give myself grace as i need it— without beating up on myself

As leaders, our inner voice is often our most critical influence. We are taught from a young age to be kind and quick to forgive others. Extending grace to ourselves seems to be a completely different story. 

In a world that says, “Hustle. Do the most. Be the best,” we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have it all together. When we don’t meet our own expectations, the pressure builds and releases in the form of harsh self-criticism. 

It’s hard to forgive yourself for your own mistakes, perhaps because you were never taught how to. Or maybe you don’t give yourself grace because you’re a perfectionist; you know the ins and outs of your shortcomings and mercy feels disingenuous. Whatever the case may be, the vast majority of leaders struggle with the concept of forgiving themselves.

But why does it matter? Why should you strive for forgiveness and grace in your own self-talk? 

It’s impossible to experience freedom if you’re bound in the shackles of your mistakes— and ultimately, neglecting to extend grace to yourself will limit your ability to serve others. Being unkind to yourself serves no purpose. In fact, grudges you hold (even against yourself) take up negative space in your mind and distract you from performing at your best. 

Compassion over Criticism

Studies are consistently showing that success is directly related to an individual’s ability to fight self-criticism and practice compassion. Take it from the scientists at Stanford Medicine,

“We mistakenly think that being competitive and pushing ourselves hard is required for success. Research, however, is proving these theories wrong. Most of us don’t stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude are helping us achieve our goals. We don’t realize that they are actually standing in our way. Scientific data shows that self-criticism makes us weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures. Studies are finding that there is a far better alternative to self-criticism: self-compassion.

Less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures.

When we understand that failure is a normal part of the human experience, we allow ourselves the freedom to grow and learn through our errors. Mistakes are inevitable and often painful, but they provide a unique opportunity for growth in wisdom, compassion, and empathy. When we identify and meet our own flaws with grace (and understand how much we really need), it becomes easier to forgive and extend that grace to others. Recognizing where things went wrong and how you could have acted differently brings great wisdom, often more powerful and memorable than success.

“Remember this journey is for your benefit, not for beating up on yourself. We may never change the past, it is done!” -April Ballestero, Slaying the Onion

Choose compassion over criticism when talking to yourself. Face your failures head-on and greet them with grace.

Commitment #2: I choose to assess what is on my radar/life wheel to know what is real.





Commitment #2 from Slaying the Onion is, “I choose to assess what is on my radar/life wheel to know what is real.


The Radar tool is designed to give you a visual representation of your satisfaction in life.

If you completed this exercise, would your wheel look flat or full?

How do you suppose a “flat” lifewheel would affect your ability to show up at work or at home?


For access to this tool and more information about how to do your own assessment, get your copy of SLAYING THE ONION or visit our website to start your journey today!

Commitment #1: I Choose to Look in the Mirror Daily and I Love Who I See

Studies have shown self-reflection to be adaptive; leading individuals to assign meaning, coherence, and structure to their emotions. 



The Cambridge Dictionary defines self-reflection as “the activity of thinking about your own feelings and behavior, and the reasons that may lie behind them.” 

Self-reflection can happen anywhere. Every person is different, and a simple assessment of your daily activities can help spark ideas of where you can regularly practice this skill. You’ll want to search for something that happens consistently on your schedule and doesn’t take up too much mental energy. For example, if you commute to work, your drive time could double as an opportunity to survey your day and look back on how your decisions and circumstances (both good and bad) have molded your current perspective. Are you in a sour mood? Do you feel rushed? Are you more productive than usual? We are a product of our choices. You are the driver of your life. An honest look back at the turns you’ve taken and the roads you’ve chosen will give you a better understanding of where you currently are and how to move forward with better direction. 

If you’re having a hard time finding any free time in your day, schedule a few minutes in the beginning or at the end of your day to reflect. The busier you feel, the more you may want to consider writing down your thoughts. Having a running record of your reflections will help you identify both constructive and harmful thought patterns and make your time more effective. 



Perhaps the first part of this commitment is easy for you; self-reflection may come naturally. But loving who you see… that can be a different story altogether. For many of us, self-reflection is our inner critic’s prime time to shine. In this case, the practice is often maladaptive and works against you. If you avoid self-reflection because you end up more upset than when you started, you may be ruminating more than reflecting

Another term for ruminate is “to chew the cud.” Animals (like cows) chew their food, partly digest it, and regurgitate it to be chewed on again. Many of us do this when reflecting on our negative experiences. We chew on it, swallow it, and bring it back up later to be chewed on again. This type of rumination isn’t constructive. By doing this, have you changed anything about your perspective? It’s not likely. 

So how do you avoid ruminating on your bad experiences or choices? No doubt, it’s no easy task. The challenge is to become an expert at investigating your emotions and asking yourself the tough questions—

 “Are you operating from opportunity or obligation?” 

“Does that mistake actually make you a failure, or does it make you imperfect, just like everybody else?” ” 

“Did your boss really give you a dirty look because he hates your guts, or could he be having a bad day?”

There’s always an alternate perspective. We get to choose for ourselves which perspective is aligned with who we want to be. 

Once you’ve thoroughly and honestly investigated, reframe your mindset around how you’re going to use these answers to improve yourself or better serve others. This is key to effective and constructive self-reflection. It can turn some of the darkest experiences into powerful testimonies of resilience and victory for others to cling to. 


Before you start slaying any onions, you have to first be comfortable and familiar with your own layers. Can you commit to looking in the mirror daily and loving who you see?

For more commitments, get your copy of Slaying the Onion and follow with us as we visit a new commitment each week.

The Gift of Living Unlayered

The holidays are upon us! Most of us will be surrounded by family and friends more often than usual. We want to share three gifts that living unlayered will bring you this holiday season: understanding perspectives, developing connections, and building bridges.


Understanding Perspectives

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard, “Each of us has a unique perspective.” Yet, how often do we get so caught up in our own point of view that we forget how many other valid perspectives exist in the world? The holidays are the perfect time to embrace new perspectives, as you’re surrounded by loved ones that, let’s face it— you may not be totally aligned with.  Embracing new perspectives doesn’t require that you adopt them as your own. Rather, simply affirming other perspectives as valid, though different than yours, will open up opportunities for growth and connection. 

When perspectives are limited, your decisions are limited. Your perspectives are valid, and they matter, but they are limited by your own experience. This is true for all of us. If your experience doesn’t cover something, turn to someone who has the experience you lack. Build an arsenal of perspectives to use when life brings you into uncharted territory. Opening up yourself to understanding new points of view will expand your options and ultimately improve the pool of choices you use in your decision-making. 

Understanding different perspectives will also help you develop more authentic connections, which brings me to gift #2.


Developing Authentic Connections

Living Unlayered is impossible without authenticity. Honestly sharing your perspectives and inviting others to share their own is an excellent way to build trust within your teams and with the people around you. Leaving that open line of communication generates feelings of significance in others, which bolsters your connections and relationships.

In physics, Newton’s 1st Law of Motion (simply put) is: an object at rest stays at rest, or if in motion, remains in constant motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Surprisingly, this principle is also true for our relationships and connections with other people. You are the outside force! If we want to make a difference in others’ lives, unless we make a direct connection, there is zero chance that our ideas are going to make any impact. The object will stay at rest. Focus on making the authentic connection first, and your influence and ability to make a difference will follow. 


Building Bridges

One great way to develop real connections is to be purposeful about finding common ground. T.D Jakes said, “I like to see myself as a bridge builder, that is me building bridges between people, between races, between cultures, between politics, trying to find common ground.” Chapter 5 of Slaying the Onion is dedicated to mastering this skill.   

 “Your opportunity is to learn to listen, hear and confirm your understanding. The message you give back is, “This is what I heard you say—tell me more about this—”  You will start to watch each person you walk with slowly start to release a bit of their guard.”

As you traverse this path, one other item to remember at this very sensitive time is to not to attempt to move anyone over to your side of the bridge. It’s so easy for us to want someone to experience our conversations from our side of the bridge— forcing them into our perspective. A bridge with only one anchored post is bound to be unstable! Yet, to be powerful and effective bridge builders, we must not lose the opportunity to root the foundation posts on both sides. Our relationships have to be deeply rooted on each side to withstand any weight. Otherwise, the bridges we build have no integrity and are quickly destroyed. We get to show each other the value of our initiative when we meet them where they’re at. 


The Living Unlayered Challenge

Want to learn more about what it means to LIVE UNLAYERED? Join one of our pilot groups of The Living Unlayered Challenge here. We are offering a very special price for the holidays that won’t last long!

Living Unlayered Challenge

Don’t miss participating in the Living Unlayered Challenge! With 2022 around the corner, our annual theme at One Light Ahead is appropriately, “Living Unlayered.” To give you practical tools you need to slay those onions, we have initiated a 4-week challenge. This is an introductory offer as we launch our first groups, so there are limited spots available.

The Living Unlayered Challenge is a 4-week commitment (1 1/2 hours per week) designed to help you assess and improve the balance within your life and dive deep into the tools featured in April’s new book, Slaying the Onion

We will run two groups. They will both be the same, so just select whichever time works best with your schedule:

    • Tuesday Evenings: PST 4:00 – 5:30, MTN 5:00-6:30, CST 6:00-7:30, EST 7:00-8:30 PM
    • Wednesday Afternoons: PST 10:00-11:30 AM, MTN 11:00-12:30 PM, CST 12:00-1:30 PM, EST 1:00-2:30 PM
Take advantage of our very exclusive pilot price of just $350 (currently valued at $1500!)


To register, click here. Have any questions? Reach out to for more information.

Time to Slay Those Onions

People may appreciate having a balanced life that includes serving their family and their community through their gifts and skills. Achieving that balanced life is easier said than done. Business and life coach April Ballestero is often asked for a quick fix recipe for maintaining the momentum required to sustain that balance. “It should come as no surprise that there are no quick fixes,” April declares. “It requires consistency, self-discipline, and a willingness to take a good, hard look in the mirror.”

“Not only will you learn a refreshing, fun and comprehensive process of how to run a business, but you will fall in love with the author because of her authenticity and rawness; she is a true leader in the coaching industry.
~Becky Evans
Executive Leadership Coach

In Slaying the Onion, April dares readers to decide they are worth the investment, time, and challenge of removing layers so they can discover their unique recipe for reaching their ideal destination. And she encourages them to pursue community as a means of removing isolation as they begin the process of aligning themselves with others who also need and want support to discover their highest potential.

“With over 35 years of working with human behavior, I am always looking for fresh material where I can gain insights. I will admit, when I pick up most books, I scan them and find most are a “rehash” of previous thought, not new challenging content. As I read, Slaying The Onion, I found myself reading and discovering fresh thoughts that made me stop, think and ponder. April has done an excellent job of reaching from her journey to share with us steps that will release us from the prison we make ourselves a hostage to. You will find thought provoking ideas, a journey that will feed your spirit and open you to pondering new life altering information. Great job April!”

~Richard Flint, CSP
Author, The Truth About Stress

Grab Slaying the Onion for yourself or someone you care about: Available on Kindle, in paperback from Amazon or on our website here.

For Amazon purchases, please consider leaving the book a review. (Amazon will toss out any reviews that mention your personal relationship with April, so be sure to focus on the content of the book so that your review can be featured!)

Slaying the Onion Launch Party

You’re invited to come celebrate the launch of April’s new book, Slaying the Onion: Unveiling Your Layers to Reach Your Highest Potential!

Come visit us at the following locations:

Mustard Seed Christian Gift and Book Store

October 30, 2021           2:00-4:00 PM PST

17973 Bear Valley Road Ste 2 Hesperia, CA 92345

Roseville Chamber of Commerce

November 5 & 8, 2021    12:00-4:00 PM PST

650 Douglas Road Roseville, CA 95678  

Can’t make any of these events? No worries, you can get your Kindle or paperback version on Amazon today.

How to Address the Elephant in the Room at Your Next Business Meeting

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® with Coach April Ballestero. Join us as we interview guests about the ELEPHANT in the room. We talk about the hard things to talk about and shed light on difficult subjects including Diversity in the Workplace, Interracial Relationships, and many more important topics.

The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players just visit


The dreaded “elephant in the room” – those conversations that should happen, but most of the time do not. Or, as explained by definition: “A major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable to do so.” There are many reason why these conversations to address the “elephant” never happen: Fear – that bringing it up could cost you credibility or your job or Comfort – that it’s easier to not make waves and just work around the problem ( 


How to Address the Elephant in the Room at Your Next Business Meeting

Is the “elephant in the room” eating up your meeting time and squashing your productivity? That enormous issue that everyone’s thinking about but no one wants to discuss can stand in the way of your ability to run smooth meetings. So how can you get him out of the meeting room to make room for an efficient exchange of ideas among everyone present?

In order to hold an efficient meeting, you need to have the right people in the room. But it’s not enough to assemble bodies in a space; everyone needs to be truly present in mind and spirit too. Sometimes even a minor distraction can disrupt the flow. For instance, a major storm is moving in, and employees are anxious to get home before it hits, or the local sports team is in the middle of a key playoff game.

In cases like this, the solution is usually as simple as acknowledging the distraction and addressing it. Performers understand this instinctively; in 1972, Canadian actor William Hutt famously announced the winning score of the Russia-Canada hockey series while he was onstage starring in Shakespeare’s King Lear (to great applause).

But what if the elephant in the room is a more aggressive beast? For example, your company is being taken over, or your department is amalgamating with another, and layoffs are feared. Or perhaps an employee has recently and suddenly been terminated and “walked out of the building” for reasons not known by staff.

All the experts agree that in the words of Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures “There is only one way to deal with your Elephants head on.” By facing the unspoken fears with as much clear, accurate information and reassurance as you’re able to under the circumstances, you can slow down the elephant’s charge.

In a 2013 Forbes article titled “How Leaders Can Address The Elephant(s) In The Room”, author George Bradt of PrimeGenesis suggests there are three types of problem pachyderms: Ignored: Once identified, these can be addressed right away or deferred. Imagined: These will simply disappear if you talk about them. Insistent: These are the ones that must be dealt with right away.

For those times when dealing with the elephant means more than just correcting inaccurate rumours, communications professor Rick Bommelje offers “5 Steps to Deal With the Elephant in the Room”: Name it Get ideas from team members Get agreement on the best solution Get buy-in Step forward together One type of situation that may need to be dealt with outside the meeting room is when the team has become dysfunctional, with factions or individuals who cannot work together. “If it’s tension between employees, it’s better to handle that off-line,” writes career coach Hallie Crawford in her 2015 article “How to Handle the Elephant in the Room During a Meeting” .

The elephant is one more reason to have solid, entrenched meeting rituals that encourage everyone to voice their opinions, a strong culture of teamwork building, and a system for handling conflict in the workplace.


“The more regularly you check for signs of elephants in your organization, the more likely they are to be discovered at an early stage,” write Pamela S. Harper and D. Scott Harper of Business Advancement Inc. in their article “How To Take Control of the ‘Elephant in the Room’”.


In fact, when a team is working well together, they can even make elephant-spotting a regular check-in moment at every meeting. It may add a few minutes to the agenda, but that’s a small trade-off for making sure everyone in the room is present and ready to participate in making every meeting a good one.

Has your meeting productivity ever been blocked by an elephant in the room? How did you deal with it? Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.


The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players, just visit:


Elephant In The Room

If there is an elephant in the room, it means that an obvious problem is being ignored. Put another way, it is a noticeable issue that is not acknowledged or addressed.


Jim arrived at work and his clothes were soaking wet! He was scheduled for a business meeting that was starting any moment, so not wanting to be late, he walked in and took a seat as if nothing were wrong. So his boss turned to him and asked: “Would you care to address the elephant in the room and tell us what happened?” An elephant in an office room.




Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® is hosted by Coach April Ballestero with ONE LIGHT AHEAD and Produced by Eric Ballestero.

Article written by Eric Ballestero.

© Copyright ONE LIGHT AHEAD® 2021. All Rights Reserved.

SEASON ONE: Episode(s) 1-11

The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players, visit

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® is hosted by Coach April Ballestero with ONE LIGHT AHEAD and Produced by Eric Ballestero.

Article written by Eric Ballestero.
© Copyright ONE LIGHT AHEAD® 2021. All Rights Reserved.

One Light Ahead Presents Our New Look

From Coach April Ballestero

If you have been following One Light Ahead over the years, you know that we just recently rebranded in 2015, but now it is 2020 and we are releasing our new brand, yet again. I want to take a few minutes to explain why and share the story of how.

Beginning this process, all I could think was “here we go, revising our brand, presence, and colors… again.” 

Why now, during this challenging year? Believe it or not, we chose to rebrand before the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrations, and financial constraints we are all facing now. We have been through a few different web developers and “branding” agencies in our attempt to find the right fit; so trying something new, we expanded our reach outside the country. 
Eric Ballestero, my son, and Operations Coordinator stumbled across a company called Canny Creative. He subscribed to their blog and soon reached out to Canny to explain the situation. He took the lead to guide us in this new venture to learn about the public image One Light Ahead was displaying and the image we wanted to represent. A few incredibly busy months of work later, and we now have a brand and a strategy that represents One Light Ahead more accurately. The branding we created aligns with our purpose and brings us into the modern era.
The brand strategy document Canny provided led us to look inward and discover who we wanted to serve, what we wanted to provide, and the pillars we wanted to build the foundation of One Light Ahead upon. Originally only serving real estate agents, One Light Ahead quickly opened the doors to serve a wide variety of industries. We continue to expand our services for entrepreneurs, executives, and influencers (leaders). We deliver one-to-one coaching, group coaching, team-development, keynote speaking, strategic consulting, and conflict management resources. We have adapted our previously offered programs into newly inspired courses. Currently, we offer a self-paced online course (All About YOU), and a hybrid group course complete with weekly live group sessions called the Masters League Competition™.

We proudly structure our programs from our brand pillars of partnership, commitment, and leadership with the motivation to light the way and provide guidance for every journey.

My primary goal in leading this organization has always been to transform self-awareness and decision making to the benefit of my clients. Leading by example, I now have my master’s degree, many certifications, and years of experience to enhance the experience of One Light Ahead’s community.
One Light Ahead’s team is full of different perspectives. So, to achieve a culture of consistent results, we needed to focus our energy on the brand and image of One Light Ahead.

Each part of our new brand brings together the whole concept.


One Light Ahead New Logo and Brand


The new logo represents an intentionally aligned integration of colors. Green representing our energy and slight tinting of blue to represent trust. The white is to represent our commitment to transparency. 
We brought bright colors and white text on a dark background to represent One Light Ahead as the guiding light in the darkness. As we launch our new website, our brand, and our renewed commitment, we continue to focus on creating light bulb moments and guidance for every journey.

We wanted to share how thankful we are for you and our ability to serve your transformation. We are in an environment where authenticity, energy, and trust are the highest priorities. It is our mission to provide customized partnership plans, positively impact, and improve our community. We light the way for business leaders to reach for the stars and shine at their highest potential. To inspire transformation.