Aila Accad & LifeQuest International,LLC
How I Killed Super Woman and Lived!

Introduction There I was an exhausted, burned out, immobilized stress and time management expert sitting on the sofa with a comforter over my head. I didn't want to see anyone, talk to anyone, go anywhere. I just wanted to disappear for three months and start over.

How could this happen to ME? I knew better!

Everything seemed to be working fine until that fateful morning when suddenly nothing worked. I couldn't move, think or feel anything. Was I dying?

All choices and options were gone but one -- let go of doing anything. Letting go changed everything. My previous belief structure, founded on the ceaseless efforts of competence and control, collapsed. "Super Woman" was dead and all I could do was wait to see what happened next. To my amazement, like the mythical phoenix, gradually a more authentic self rose from the ashes.

Over time, I soared with more ease as a real woman living a uniquely happy, multidimensional life. I never saw instructions in any book or workshop for living this kind of life. I created it through an inner process of discovery fueled by curiosity.

The stress and time management skills I learned and taught for twenty-five years just kept me busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic -- postponing the inevitable plunge into deadly waters.

The resulting shift ignited a passion to share realistic strategies and tools for living with less stress and more peace in the world. LifeQuest International provides presentations, books including the best-seller "34 Instant Stress-Busters, Quick tips to de-stress fast with no extra time or money",paradigm-shifting models like "Breaking the Perfection Myth" and coaching.

Background I first remember feeling hopelessly stressed at the age of nine. Sitting on the edge of my bed one night, crying, I remember demanding that God "Either tell me why I am here or take me back!"

Immediately feeling a sense of peace flow through my body, I knew one day I would have an answer.

Years later, as a senior in nursing school, an instructor said, "85% of all disease and illness is due to stress." This re-ignited my quest to discover what stress is about and teach people how to prevent illness and achieve greater health and happiness.

I worked in cutting edge areas of mental health, community health, autism, addiction and employee assistance. Finally contracting to teach stress and time management through my own business while running a household, being a wife, raising two kids, while getting a masters degree in nursing and taking care of my ailing mother.


There was too much to do and not enough time, yet coming of age during the 60's, I believed that if I knew enough and tried hard enough, I'd be it all, do it all and have it all. I am Woman -- Hear me Roar?

While I had tons of knowledge and skills, I was not in touch with how hard I was working to achieve and maintain this image or that the core fear of failure continuously fueling this drive was about to give out like an overworked muscle.

My "to-do" list was out of control. I said "Yes" to anyone who needed me; never questioning whether my expectation to fulfill those demands was realistic.

On my birthday, October 6, 1987, I had a "moment of truth" -- an awakening.

That fateful day, I sat on the sofa, pulled the cover over my head and cried. I wanted to disappear. I wasn't suicidal, just overwhelmed. I wanted to escape from life for three months and start over again

I wondered, "What if I had a heart attack and died right now? Who would do all of this?" The answers were life changing!

A mental movie showed how others would manage essential jobs.. My organized ten-year-old daughter who enjoys cooking would prepare dinner. My twelve-year-old son would help with laundry. My husband would grocery shop and deal with school issues, though not bake brownies and cupcakes for school.

No one would do a lot of the tasks I was doing. I questioned, "Why am I doing them?"

I began to realize that most of my "to-dos" were not mine at all. Most of them came from others "to-do" lists starting with mom and dad. I never re-evaluated my list or took anything off when I added something new. The task list I wrote in the morning wasn't my real list. That extended list was in my head, heart and cellular memory!

I also realized that my orientation to taking care of everyone and everything by myself started very early in life. By three, I was mom's helper with a new baby. I was continuously employed by others starting with babysitting from the age of ten, through college and marriage. Then, as a self-employed business owner after the kids came along.

Nursing school education reinforced my strengths and capacity for huge responsibility. By the time I married and started my family, the habit of doing everything perfectly and alone was well ingrained and unquestioned.

From that day of awakening forward, my life quest took a turn inward. Nothing was too sacred to question. All that I knew intellectually I either validated experientially or released through an intensive self-discovery process.

Today, I not only "know," "understand" and "teach" about stress, I "live" a stress free and happy life.

I now share new, realistic strategies through my writing, speaking, coaching and products to help people achieve successful life management. The people I serve report that these strategies are eye openers and helpful in making significant and successful life changes.

Yet, I wonder….

Did I have to "hit bottom" in crisis to turn my life around? Can others learn from my experience? Or do we all ultimately have to have our own inner crisis to "get" the lesson? Are we still rearranging the deck chairs only at a higher level? And so, this Life Quest (name of my business) continues to unfold.

Professional Challenge: Even though I was an expert, I still fell apart. One of my challenges is to trust that what I share now is ultimately the truth. It is certainly my truth. And, I am currently living a happy, fulfilling, successful life by my own measure.

Is that good enough to promote to others? Part of the challenge is letting go of what I call "The Perfection Myth." That is having the courage to put forth what you know today while realizing it is not necessarily the end of the story. It helps me to know that Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of my co-authors of "Living in the Now" says he has totally changed his thinking about what he wrote in his first books.

Another feature is that my message is counter-culture. You must break from the status quo in order to achieve the life I'm promoting. That also takes courage. Many of the popular "pull your self up by the boot straps" motivational quotes I once used are now red flags.

Lesson: An authentic message can be unique and at the same time resonate as true in human experience. True or not, sharing a radical change in perspective can engage resistance and some people will not like it.

When I am tempted to modify my message to appeal to the masses, I am supported by Clarissa Pinkola Estes' words, "… it has been proven over the centuries that being different means standing at the edge, means one is practically guaranteed to make an original contribution, a useful and stunning contribution to her culture."

Personal Challenge: Can I still be a good mom, wife, business owner, be all around successful and be sane, stress free and happy? This was unachievable with my old paradigm, strategies and life style or by applying others measures of success.

This outcome became possible and achievable by first coming to terms with reality. Life is finite and I don't know how long I'll have to live. When I was face to face with death, I "got" this. John Lennon said it well, "Life is what happens while we are making other plans."

Lesson: I needed to see the challenge from a completely different paradigm. I had to let go of the erroneous concept of work life balance, which assumes work and life are separate entities.

Life is whole, not made up of compartments. Know what you want and make moment by moment choices that unfold in a continuously satisfying life experience. Life is a lived experience, not a future destination. All of the strategies I recommend today have this truth as a foundational principle.