Archive for October, 2009

29 oct

Ten Tips for Staying Up When the World Is Down

Marci-Shimoff“How can I be happy when the economy is tanking?”

It’s a question I hear a lot lately. It seems that as the financial picture becomes more depressed, so do we. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important to be happy from the inside out, or what I call Happy for No Reason.

Doing the research for my book, Happy for No Reason, I interviewed scores of scientists, as well as one hundred unconditionally happy people, and discovered 21 core happiness habits that anyone can use to become happier and stay that way.

Here are 10 simple and effective tips to get you started:

1. Incline Your Mind Toward Joy. Have you noticed that your mind tends to register the negative events in your life more than the positive? Reverse this by consciously savoring the positive experiences you have as they happen: the sun on your skin, the taste of a favorite food, a smile or kind word from a co-worker or friend. Let the good feelings sink in!

2. Lighten Your Load. To make a habit of letting go of worries and negative thoughts, start by letting go on the physical level. Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien recommends giving or throwing away 27 items a day for nine days. This deceptively simple practice will help you break attachments that no longer serve you.

3. Get Your “Happiness Rest.” One sure-fire way to boost your happiness level is to go to bed by 10 p.m. for three consecutive nights. You’ll find that the world is a different place when you’re rested and fresh.

4. Become an Inverse Paranoid. Choose to believe that this is a friendly universe—one that’s out to support you, rather than out to get you. When you find yourself facing a challenging situation, ask yourself, “if this were happening for a higher purpose, what would it be?”

5. Hang with the Happy. Study after study indicates that happiness is contagious! Spend as much time as possible with people who are supportive and upbeat to amplify those qualities in your own life.

6. Don’t Believe Everything You Think. Interrupt the downward spiral of worry and anxiety by questioning your negative thoughts. Just because you think something doesn’t make it true.

7. Seek Out Silence. Prayer, meditation, and being in Nature have long been recognized as ways to access a deep place of peace and strength inside.

8. Move Your Body. All the experts agree that some form of exercise is essential for maintaining optimal well-being. The next time you start to feel glum, get your blood moving faster—even if it’s just by standing up and moving around while you talk on the phone, or parking farther away from your destination and “going the distance.”

9. Ground Yourself in Gratitude. Research shows that thinking of the things that you’re grateful for in life definitely raises your happiness level. Writing them down is even more powerful. So start a Gratitude Journal today.

10. Wish Others Well. Try “beaming love” to people—your friends and family, as well as strangers you pass on the street. It fills your own heart in the process.

Join the ranks of the resilient by becoming Happy for No Reason. Though you may not be able to control the markets, these ten tips will help you make regular deposits into your own “happiness account.”

By Marci Shimoff. Based on The New York Times best-seller Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out, which offers a revolutionary approach to experiencing deep and lasting happiness. The woman’s face of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a featured teacher in The Secret, Marci is an authority on success, happiness, and the law of attraction. To order Happy for No Reason, newly released in paperback, and receive free bonus gifts, go to www.happyfornoreason.com/mybook.

Posted by Marci Shimoff on October 29th, 2009 in Health | No comments Read related posts in

28 oct

Go Deep

fullmoonFor quite some time I’ve had a self-righteous judgment that most people in our culture are way too shallow. I find myself regularly annoyed at what I consider to be a lack of depth around me—in the media, in politics, in business, in my industry, and even in my family and many of my personal relationships. As is often the case with most of our self-righteous opinions, however, this judgment (as has become crystal clear to me recently) is really all about me and my own lack of depth, not about everyone else.

I’ve noticed that while I might “talk a good game” about going deep, I really have quite a bit of fear and resistance to it. Real depth often seems hard, scary, time consuming, challenging, messy, uncomfortable, embarrassing, intense, negative, painful, vulnerable, and more. It’s much easier for me to stay busy, keep things on the surface, and pretend to live my life with a real sense of depth, than it is for me to actually go deep myself.

I remember years ago when my counselor Chris said to me, “Mike, all of your power in life is trapped inside of your pain. In order to retrieve your power, you’re going to have to confront and heal your own pain. Everyone has pain. Most people simply aren’t willing to deal with it and don’t know how to heal it.”

While the wisdom and truth of Chris’ words resonated with me back then, and even more so today, I find myself often avoiding my pain, covering it up, and pretending that “it’s no big deal.” (I’m wondering if you can relate?)

However, think of the power, freedom, and liberation we experience when we actually do go deep, get real, and address our own pain. While it’s usually scary and difficult at first, we’re almost always glad that we did. And, as I’ve been learning more and more these days, if we truly want to live a life of authenticity and fulfillment, we can’t run and hide from our pain—we have to face it. As some deep pain in my own life (and from my past) has been showing up lately, instead of judging it as “bad” (which is what I usually do), I’m choosing to see it as an opportunity to go deeper, to heal, and to grow (even though it doesn’t feel so good).

When we think about the most important aspects of our lives, and the most significant people around us, having a real sense of depth and truth is what most of us want. Living our lives, having relationships, and doing our work in a way that has real meaning and value to us won’t happen on the surface, it takes place at a very deep level.

While many of us crave an expanded level of depth and authenticity in our lives, work, and relationships—it’s not always easy for us to create. Our culture doesn’t often encourage depth, we each have our own versions of fear and resistance to it, and in some cases we simply aren’t willing or interested in going there or doing what it takes to keep things real.

However, most of the people I know and work with, including myself, long for enhanced strength and an empowering environment that encourages them to go deep.

Here are a few things you can do to expand your capacity for depth:

1) Tell the Truth—Be honest about your own willingness, ability, or difficulty with going deep. It may be something you long for, but resist. You may avoid doing and saying things at a certain levels. You may not be all that interested in going any deeper right now in your life. You may be totally comfortable with depth and simply looking for ways to go even deeper. Or, you may be some combination of these things or others. Whatever the case may be for you at this point in your life and evolution, as with many things—by telling the truth to yourself and others about where you are, you can start from an authentic place and begin to deepen your experience (if that is what you choose to do).

2) Find People to Support You
—Search out and attract people into you life who can help you deepen your journey. For many people, like me, going deep can be scary, vulnerable, and challenging. It often helps to have people around you who you trust and you know will hang in there with you. Whether it’s a coach, counselor, friend, mentor, family member, support group, spouse, or anyone else. We all need encouragement, feedback, witnessing, support, and even challenging and pushing to go deeper in our lives and with our growth. One of the biggest paradoxes of personal growth is that while it’s always about our own personal journey and evolution, so often we can’t do it as effectively or as deeply without the help of other people.

3) Surrender—Let go and trust! Being able to surrender is an essential aspect of life, growth, and depth. Surrendering is a big one for me and is something I continue to both struggle with and learn about each and every day. When we try to control everything (and everyone) in our lives, we limit our ability to grow and our capacity for depth and authenticity. Trust, which is fundamental to this process, is a real leap of faith that is important for us to take as we expand our ability to go deep and live our lives the way we truly want. When we surrender to the journey, mystery, and magic of life, we allow ourselves to learn, grow, and deepen in new and exciting ways that we didn’t even realize were possible.

Going deep is not always the easiest thing for us to do in life, but it’s what most of us truly want at some level. When we’re willing to tell the truth, get support, and surrender to life in an empowering way, we tap into a place of deep authenticity and in so doing can liberate ourselves from struggle, suffering, and avoidance.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). For more info, check out his web site.

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 28th, 2009 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in ,

25 oct

So You Want to Start a Business? Here’s How

happier_confidenceI’m speaking at the Maria Shriver Women’s Conference in LA this week. Very exciting. I am honored to have been invited again.
For those who won’t be attending, I wanted to share what I am going to be speaking about. Here are top tips on how to start a business and create change.

1) You must do something you love.

It must be your passion, what you most want to do, the thing that tugs at your heart, no matter what.

This is the only necessity, your reason why you want to start a business. Your intention is what will guide your business. It cannot be about ego, significance, money or something else. It must originate in your heart, in the part of you that knows this is what you must do. Starting a business will reveal so much to you about yourself, life, other people and give you good days and really tough days. And yet the most important factor that will guide you, get you off the couch, put you back on the path is the underlying reason why you wanted to start this business.

2) Find a way to serve, contribute, help other people.
Nowadays, businesses that are sincerely helping others, that have that as one of their core reasons for being, are thriving. Find a way to take away some type of pain from people’s lives. You can do that with any type of business. If you are starting a business to make money, to be a success, to get freedom, know that the bigger driver not only of success but also fulfillment is always including others in your journey. Power moves through those who serve. You will never feel weak or overwhelmed or a failure if you know without a doubt, that you are making a difference with what you do and who you are.

3) Know how your business makes money.

We need to be clear on what the path is to revenue. It doesn’t mean the business is going to make money on Day One. But you do need to know who your customers are, how you are going to rise above the noise and how people will know you exist. If you need to distribute something, know who is the best at doing that, and so on. Also, allow yourself to be flexible. Your business can’t just rely on one source of money, or one big customer or one success factor. Many small businesses find other ways to make money as they get going. Yours can, too.

4) Negotiate everything.
We live in a time where everything is up for discussion. Barter, trade, exchange services, ask for discounts, do whatever it takes to get started or to maintain. It’s cheaper to start a business now than ever before. Everyone needs some business, so whether it’s a logo, legal advice, PR, web design, go with 50% of the quotes people are offering you. Do not fall into the trap of thinking it costs money to get going. Everything is going for cheap now. Make the most of it. And if you don’t have money, look at what you do have and what you can trade. For instance, if you need a web site done, perhaps you can offer for trade editorial or copy help if that’s your skill.

5) Know what to expect.
a) Time. Plan for your business adventure to take at least twice as long as you’d thought. Yes, we all think it’s going to be an easy ride. But it really will take longer than you planned
b) Teamwork. You really are not supposed to know most things. It’s OK and necessary to ask for help and to do so early on. Don;t try to go it alone. There’s no shame in asking any and every question along the way.
c) Mistakes. You are going to make them, tons of them. It’s part of your journey. Fellow entrepreneurs can tell you things, but starting a business is purely experience. You get your own ticket to the party and learn along the way what you need.
d) Friends/Family. Do not ask their permission and do not expect their approval. Very often, pursuing this kind of a change is disruptive for the people around you. They worry. They face their own fears. They don’t relate to you, your choices or your days anymore. Just know this upfront. Continue to love them, of course. Brand new people are coming into your life who are fellow business leaders, dreamers and agents of change.
e) Be a woodpecker. Pick your tree—your idea—and just get up everyday and peck away. Other people may laugh or disapprove. Your beak will hurt at the end of the day and you will never know when your tree will fall. But it does and it will. Stay clear and committed to that tree. It’s each little action, each little chip that makes your business grow. And I can tell you, the days when a tree falls are great days. And they will surprise you. Many times they happen when you want to give up, you’re tired, other people are telling you you’re crazy. And when one tree falls, pick the next one to focus on. Yes, one little bird can make a giant tree fall. One brave woman—and of course man—can change anything in the world. Anything!!

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on October 25th, 2009 in Ariane, Career | 2 comments Read related posts in

24 oct

The Five Essential Messages: A Key to Extraordinary Love

P&PRichardsEverybody needs positive messages, and no living creature possessing a personality can escape this fact any more than a sentient being living in a human body can deny that body’s need for physical food. Equally important, negative messages are poison to the personality; they starve and deform it. It is therefore the business of all sentient creatures to avoid both internalizing negative messages themselves and offering a negative message as sustenance to any other person.

Each person must receive at least five key kinds of positive messages every day. In addition, the genders each have their own set of message requirements. They are vital to the creation of powerful intimacy and are just one of many vastly underestimated stumbling blocks relating to need on the path to great intimacy.

Despite the fact that everyone obviously and desperately needs these messages, our culture at present shows little consciousness of this basic fact of human life. And most people deliver only a fraction of the number of messages truly called for. We would do well to be sending positive messages to everyone around us, and especially to our mates, whenever such messages are true.

The necessary five messages follow here. They tend to build on one another in a hierarchical way—for example, most people need to feel seen before they can really hear an apology. That said, each message is a stand-alone, and all are equally important.

I see you. Tell your lover, and everyone else in your life, that you see them fully and completely. Then tell them exactly what you really do see. Let them know that you really are seeing them by paying careful attention and delving into detail beyond what they might expect. Tell them your impression of their hopes and fears, their special talents, and, when appropriate, their deeper feelings.

I regret your pain and suffering. Next, express regret. Tell your lover, and anyone else you care about, that you regret their misfortunes and sufferings. Feel free to apologize for the pain life itself may have caused them, if it seems appropriate. You can apologize for anyone, for anything, without taking the guilt or blame on yourself, and your apology will have value. Think of apology as the expression of regret rather than acceptance of blame. Remember that only about one out of every thousand needed apologies is ever conveyed in our world.

You are loved and a part of the pack. The third message to give freely to everyone is the message of unconditional love. I always think of this message in concrete terms. I want people to know that if I was the helmsman of a crowded lifeboat in frothy green stormy seas, and if they were to fall over board, I would go back for them. This third message is, therefore, a lifeboat message for me, rather than a syrupy declaration of emotion. The message you give your lover is an ultimate version of this message; it is both beyond gender and highly sexualized, and the pack is the couple itself. When expressed to the rest of the world, the message is free of gender context, and the pack is the fellowship of human beings everywhere.

I appreciate your contributions and achievements. People need to hear that they are appreciated for their contributions, achievements, and victories. Here too, people rarely receive the messages that they have earned. Moreover, most of the incredible feats achieved by human beings are internal. People suffer in silence, they struggle internally, they face demons and dig deep inside for hidden resources, and it is almost all hidden from view. Great things happen inside the human heart. Look there and don’t hold back when you perceive something wonderful or amazing in your fellow creatures.

You are safe with me and from me. Finally, people need to hear that they are safe, really safe. Watch over them, and tell them that you are doing so. Incredibly, many people I meet have never been effectively told that safety exists. Most people believe only in degrees of jeopardy and live in degrees of greater or lesser anxiety, but never in true relaxation. The assurance of safety is a vital and wonderful resource that we need to share with one another. A great many contentious behaviors in the world are attempts to compensate for the lack of needed messages. People ask for raises because they haven’t been told they are appreciated. People sue other people because they haven’t received an apology. They destroy and even murder because they have never felt seen, and it seems as though any attention is better than none.

Knowledge of the messages and their roles in human life is one of the simplest and most precious things to have come my way in a lifetime on this path. It is the most needed idea about need. We hope it gets passed along.

Paul and Patricia Richards are highly sought after consultants and trainers in energetic perception (Seeing) and its practical application in human health, personal empowerment, and relationships. For more information please visit www.sentecenter.com.

Posted by Paul and Patty Richards on October 24th, 2009 in Relationships | No comments Read related posts in

17 oct

Are You Diet Ready?

LauraFenamoreFor that matter, are you even exercise ready? Americans spend $61 Billion supporting the weight-loss industry but often fail because they are not diet or exercise ready. They may be sustaining the industry, but are they really supporting themselves in permanent change?

How many of us have homes littered with failed attempts at losing weight or attempted exercise plans guaranteed to take the pounds off and give us new bodies?

You know what I’m talking about:
• the dusty food scale stored on the top shelf of your kitchen cabinet
• the specially designed measuring cups to count every morsel you eat
• cookbooks and low-calorie recipes torn from magazines and piled in a drawer
• special elastic bands, so old that they’ve lost their elasticity
• that piece of equipment to shrink your abs, butt and core now draped with clothes in the corner of your room

It’s embarrassing to look at this stuff because we see reminders of failure, reminders of money spent with no results to show for it. How many of us will beat ourselves up today for failing and not being strong enough to lose weight or exercise? Ironically, this negative self-talk creates a negative state of mind which may cause us to eat more, to sit lumped in front of the TV or computer, and to comfort ourselves from the mental stress of defeat with other destructive behaviors.

It’s time to forgive ourselves and realize that we simply were not ready for the changes we wanted and attempted to make.

How do you know when you’re ready? You are ready when you are willing to change the story about yourself that you have believed all your life up until now. It boils down to one fact:

Are you willing to create a new story for your life?

Forget the excuses, let go of the “shoulds,” move beyond the “if onlys,” and ask yourself this one question: Am I willing or not?

All the many things that go into any achievement can be reduced to one clear and simple factor. And that is: Am I willing?

When you are willing to do what it takes, you’ll find a way. When you are willing, though circumstances conspire against you, you’ll get it done anyway. When you’re truly willing, the problems will have a way of transforming themselves into opportunities. When you’re really willing, the disappointments will have a way of giving you even more determination.

If you’re willing, that’s great—go for it with everything you have.

Yet if you’re not willing, there’s still a way to become so.

For those of you reading this who are unwilling and know it, consider it a gift. To be honestly awake to that fact is great news. There is hope. Step one is being aware that you are unwilling. You can begin to seek internal and external guidance to get you to willingness.

If you are aware of your resistance, then most likely you have the courage to ask for assistance. There are gifted people to support you through this journey. I know. I am one of them.

I have been where you are. Now being on the other side and looking back, I have so much love and compassion for wherever you are on the path to willingness. More importantly, from this perspective, I see what is possible for you and know that, as you become more willing, doors will open and people will appear to guide you easily and effortlessly.

You don’t have to know the way or have any answers. You just have to take the first step!

Laura Fenamore has a free report and other resources about becoming diet ready at www.OnePinky.com.

Posted by Laura Fenamore on October 17th, 2009 in Diet and Fitness | No comments

17 oct

The Dalai Lama’s Amazing Proclamation to Women!

WEEHis Holiness the Dalai Lama made a proclamation that stunned the crowd at the recent Peace Summit in Vancouver: “The world will be saved by the western woman.” And at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference where I will be speaking again this year, they sold an astounding 14,000 tickets in the first 20 minutes after registration opened. The theme is “Women, the Architects of Change.” Something big is stirring among women. And if you’re a guy reading this right now, keep reading! We need you, too, and you all have women you work with or are connected to in some fashion.

Most people I meet have a new fear—the fear of not being relevant, the fear of not making a difference, the fear of working on things that don’t really matter in the important times of transition we live in. We’re hungry to be part of making things better. We want to create, we want to do what we love again and find our voice. We sense intuitively that we have a critical role to play in shaping the future of our world. And yet, so many of us give in to excuses of not being good enough, young enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, creative enough. We still play small, still give in to the “victim” archetype. We still buy into what society’s beliefs are and put them right above our own.

Bu we don’t really have time for these fears. If I could create a vaccine, instead of the flu one, I’d create one against fear. It’s what holds us back, every one of us, in every area of our life. And, while we’re holding back, time just moves on faster than ever. We are at a critical time in the evolution of our planet, a time where each one of us is waking up. We feel it. Our intuition is growing more acute. Our inner microphone, as I like to call it, is getting harder and harder to turn off, so that we can’t just go along with our normal day. There’s a rise in consciousness where we feel more connected to others, a part of something bigger going on, where we each have a role to play. The most important thing isn’t to get the promotion, or stay in the marriage, or lose those 10 pounds. The most important thing is for us to remember who we are—why we are here—to do the inner work and find what are our “spiritual” reasons for being on the planet. Yes we do have something great to accomplish. Now. At any age. Wherever we are.

I am passionate about having us all take back our power, whether it be from our spouses, our jobs, our kids, our parents, our weight, whatever or whomever we lent it to. Ask yourself: To whom have I given my power?

As a fellow change optimist, I also want to share with you an amazing free series called Women on the Edge of Evolution: Awakening to the Power to Co-create our Lives and Shape our Collective Future. This series was created by my dear friends Katherine Woodward Thomas & Claire Zammit. They’ve been working hard with their team for months to bring together the world’s leading female spiritual luminaries, thinkers and agents of change. There’s no catch. We are all really volunteering our time to help anyone face these important questions and be part of a bigger change movement.

Ariane

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on October 17th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | 3 comments Read related posts in , ,

12 oct

Finding Big Love Is Possible at Any Age

Is it your dream to find a soul mate? A life-partner who will love, cherish and adore you?

As someone who didn’t meet and marry my soul mate until I was 44, I learned a lot along the way about what does and doesn’t work in the world of love and romance.

Here’s what I know for sure: Finding true love is possible for any one at any age if you’re willing to prepare your self, on all levels, to become a magnet for love.

This wonderful Universe of ours is set up to deliver the people and things we draw to us that our consistent with our personal belief system. If you don’t believe you will ever find the ONE, then, guess what? You get to be right…you probably won’t find the ONE.

If, however, you learn to believe that the ONE is not only out there but is ALSO LOOKING FOR YOU, then true love can be yours.

When I was in my early forties I decided to manifest my soulmate using everything I had ever learned about manifestation, psychology, spirituality, and the Law of Attraction. My intentions became crystal clear while I simultaneously cleared out the clutter in my house AND in my heart. I learned and invented techniques, rituals, visualizations and prayers that helped me prepare my body, mind, spirit and home for an amazing relationship. And they worked. I met my husband, Brian, who has exceeded all of my desires and expectations. He was and is everything I ever wished for.

What if I told you that it’s not your job to know HOW your soul mate is going to appear? What if I told you it’s only your job to be ready, willing and open to love. Think about it this way: you really don’t know where air comes from but you do believe that it’s always there for you, right?

The same is true for love. It’s there for you. It’s always been there for you. You just need to remember the love that you are and once you do, the Universe will deliver to you the perfect soul mate.

The basic Law of Attraction states that you will attract to you those things that match your state of belief.

Believing that your soul mate is out there is critical to the preparation of manifestation.

I believe that the Universe is always mirroring back to us our beliefs about our selves and the world. If we believe the world is a loving and friendly place, then most of the time that will be our experience. But, if we believe the world is a chaotic, stressful and fearful place, then that becomes our reality. So, believing and knowing that your soul mate is out there is the most important part of the formula.

Prior to meeting Brian ten years ago, I had a daily ritual in which I would light several candles at sunset, put on my favorite CD of Gregorian chants and sit in my big, cozy chair. With my eyes closed I would drop into the feeling of remembering the joy of having my soul mate in my life. I would experience these wonderful feelings in every part of my body KNOWING that he was on the way. There were days when the thought that he was very late did cross my mind but I would just let those thoughts go and get back into a state of grace….feeling and knowing that his arrival was assured.

To manifest your soul mate here are the ten top things to do and remember:

• Be the loving person that you are. Find ways to express more love to everyone in your life.
• Live in the knowingness that you are in a loving, committed relationship.
• Live that truth every day as you savor the waiting for your beloved to arrive.
• Create a “vision map” of your romantic vision and look at it daily.
• Write a list of the most important qualities your soul mate will possess.
• Heal your heart of any past hurts that will prevent you from magnetizing big love.
• Clear out the clutter in your home and create space for your beloved (especially in your closets).
• Create an altar in the relationship corner of your home.
• Listen to your intuition to take action when opportunities present themselves.
• Fall in love with yourself. Know that you are lovable.

Big love is possible for any one of any age if you are willing to become a magnet for love. Continue to live each day in the knowingness that you are in a loving, committed relationship as you savor the waiting for your beloved to arrive.

# # #

Arielle Ford has spent the past 20 years living and promoting consciousness through all forms of media. She is the author of The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction (Harper One). She lives in La Jolla, CA with her husband. Please visit her websites: www.everythingyoushouldknow.com and www.soulmatesecret.com.

Posted by Arielle Ford on October 12th, 2009 in Personal Stories, Relationships | 1 comment

12 oct

Don’t Waste a Good Crisis

How do you react when dealing with a crisis?  When I’m faced with a crisis myself, I often go into “survival mode” – doing anything and everything I can to get through it.  In other cases, I may simply deny that the crisis exists, hoping that it will just go away on its own.  While both of these approaches can and have “worked” in my life, in terms of making it through the various crises I’ve faced, they don’t allow for the depth of growth, healing, and transformation that is ultimately available in these situations.

Instead of just gutting it out or going into some form of creative denial, what if we embraced the crises in our lives and actually utilized them for the incredible growth opportunities that they are.  We often waste so much time and energy fighting against, resisting, denying, or complaining about these “bad” things in our lives; instead of remembering that a crisis is simply life’s way of letting us know that something needs to change or some old pattern no longer works.

Many people I know and work with are facing intense crises right now – related to their health, money, career, family, spirituality, and more.  Our country and our world are dealing with some major challenges and most of us are impacted, at least to some degree, by what’s going on around us.

As scary, humbling, and disturbing as these crises can be – one of the most beautiful aspects of going through a crisis in life is how it can literally bring us to our knees and remind us of what truly matters in life (which, as we realize, has very little to the mundane stuff we worry about and get upset about on a daily basis).

Here are a few things you can practice when dealing with a crisis (and in general), which will allow you to maximize your growth, healing, and transformation.

1)  Be real. Like with everything else in life, if we deny or lie about what’s happening or how we really feel, we make it difficult, if not impossible, to grow.  The more willing we are to acknowledge what’s happening and how we feel about it in an honest, vulnerable, and passionate way – the more likely we are to move through it consciously and gain the life-altering lessons the situation has to offer.

2)  Lean on others. For many of us, reaching out and asking for support (and then ultimately receiving it) can be quite challenging.  We worry about being perceived as weak, being vulnerable with others, getting rejected, and more.  However, when we’re dealing with a crisis it’s essential and incredibly liberating to lean on the people in our lives.  We don’t have to go through it all alone, and in many cases we can’t.  We each have way more love and support around us then we usually realize.  Asking for and receiving the support of other people not only helps us get through the “tough” time, it also allows us to connect with the people in our life in a meaningful and intimate way – something most of us truly want.

3)  Let go. Being able to let go and let things be as they are is not easy for many of us, especially for me.  Those of us who like to control things, have it all together, and take charge in life often find it difficult to simply let go.  Crises, however, force us to let go – whether we want to or not.  They also allow us to remember that everything in our physical world is temporary and transitory.  When we can embrace the idea of letting go, it frees us up in a powerful way and allows us to move through things much easier.

As with many of the things I talk about and write about, it’s really important for us to have lots of compassion for ourselves and others as we face the challenges and crises of our lives.  It takes a certain amount of conscious naiveté to find the authentic silver linings to some of the dark clouds that show up in life.  But, when we remember that in the midst of our pain and difficulty we can find a deep sense of joy, peace, and growth – we’re able to utilize the crises in our lives as catalysts for remarkable transformation.

Mike Robbins is a best-selling author, sought-after motivational keynote speaker, and personal growth expert who works with people and groups of all kinds. Mike is the author of the best-selling books Focus on the Good Stuff and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. He and his work have been featured on ABC News, and the Oprah radio network, and in Forbes, Fast Company, and many others.  To learn more about his work and his books, click here.

© Mike Robbins

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 12th, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

12 oct

Get Honest Feedback

How do you feel about people giving you really honest feedback?  If you’re anything like me, you may both love and hate it at the same time.  Most of us want the honest feedback of those around us, yet at the same time we’re often scared about what people might say – especially if it could hurt our feelings, ruffle our feathers, or leave us feeling insecure, vulnerable, or embarrassed.

For the most part and in many situations, groups, and relationships in our lives there is an unspoken, unconscious agreement that we make with others – “I won’t call you on yours, if you don’t call me on mine.”  While this makes sense and is understandable, given how sensitive many of us can be, especially when it comes to feedback, this lack of authenticity doesn’t serve us, bring us closer to others, or allow us to support and empower each other in any real way (which is what most of us truly want).

Think of some of the honest feedback you’ve received in your life and career and how valuable it has been to your growth and evolution.  Although some of it may not have felt so good to hear at first – I bet you’re incredibly grateful not only for the feedback itself, but for the people who were (and are) willing to be honest with you.  It takes courage to both give and receive feedback authentically.  And, it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give to others.  Learning to receive the honest feedback and coaching of other people is a critical aspect of living a life of success, growth, and authenticity.

Here are some essential things to think about and practice as you enhance your ability to receive honest feedback:
1.    Ask for it. Since honest feedback can be a tricky thing all the way around and many of us are a little insecure about giving it, letting people know that you want them to be honest with you and pro-actively requesting the authentic feedback of others is a great way to make sure you get it.  Give people permission to be straight with you – even if you’re a little scared about what they might say.  We usually get what we ask for.
2.    Be open to the feedback, but remember it’s not the “truth.” It’s important for us to be open to people’s feedback, whether or not we asked for it, and at the same time remember that nothing anyone says to us is the “truth,” (it’s just their opinion).  This is one of the many paradoxes of getting feedback from others.  Just because they say it doesn’t make it so.  And, at the same time, the best approach we can take is to be open to anything and everything people have to say about us.  Try on their feedback like you would a coat – if it fits and can help, use it.  If not, disregard it.  However, be careful about your ego – which will want to argue with feedback you don’t like as a way of survival (yet another paradox).
3.    Give honest feedback to others. Be willing to speak your truth to other people, even if you’re a little (or a lot) nervous about it.  This is not about “tit for tat” or some kind of competition, but if we really want to create relationships, teams, families, and environments where we can talk to each other in a free, open, vulnerable, and authentic way – we have to be willing to speak up and say things that might be uncomfortable to those around us.  Doing this not only gives us the opportunity to make a difference for others, it also creates a standard by which we relate to one another and communicate.
Have empathy and compassion for yourself and others as you engage in these types of honest conversations – they can be sensitive and challenging (especially at first).  And, as we all know and have experienced, when we’re willing to get real and give each other honest feedback like this – everyone wins and is empowered at a much deeper level.

Mike Robbins is a best-selling author, sought-after motivational keynote speaker, and personal growth expert who works with people and groups of all kinds. Mike is the author of the best-selling books Focus on the Good Stuff and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. He and his work have been featured on ABC News, and the Oprah radio network, and in Forbes, Fast Company, and many others.  To learn more about his work and his books, click here.

© Mike Robbins

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 12th, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

12 oct

It’s Okay to Do It Wrong

I got an email a few months back from a woman on my ezine list who shared a great saying that she loves – “If it’s worth doing, it’s even worth doing wrong.” I laughed out loud when I got it and have been thinking about it ever since. What a great message. A little different than the idea many of us have been told, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” While I actually agree with both of these statements, being okay with doing things “wrong” is something that would make a difference in most of our lives in a profound way.

Many of us, myself included, get so obsessed with doing things “right,” or at the very least not doing anything that could be perceived as “wrong,” we organize much of what we say and do to avoid ever being “wrong.” While this makes sense and is quite normal, think of how much of our power we give away to our fear of doing something wrong or looking “bad” in the eyes of “them” (whomever “they” may be).

There are so many things I have not said or done in my life, personally and professionally, because I was worried I might do it “wrong.” Even right now in my life as I consider my next book idea, think about some new stuff I want to try in my business, and even as I interact with my wife and my girls, my fear of being or doing something “wrong” shows up all the time.

What if we were able to make peace with this and let go of our attachment to always doing things “right.” The concept of “right vs. wrong” is one that creates a great deal of stress in our lives and relationships to begin with. But, think of the freedom, peace, and power that would be available to us if we didn’t avoid being wrong so much.

We’ve all done lots of things “wrong” in our life and in the process of our mistakes and failures, we’ve learned so many important lessons and been able to gain skill, awareness, and insight necessary to take us to the next level of development.

Our baby girl, Annarose, who is now 13 months old is teaching us a wonderful lesson about this as she learns to walk. She has taken some steps, but is not quite “walking” yet. When she does take some steps and falls down, she is fine, doesn’t seem bothered by it, and simply keeps going. She clearly isn’t worried that she is doing something “wrong.” Imagine if you and I had to learn how to walk now in our lives. We’d probably make a few attempts, but after falling down and feeling embarrassed a couple of times, we’d quit, give up, and decide, “You know what, maybe I’m just not cut out for this walking thing after all.”

We’ve all had this experience in our lives, many times (in addition to learning how to walk, assuming we are fortunate enough to have that ability). Thank goodness we have some capacity to do things wrong and be okay with it. Failing doesn’t make us a failure. Making mistakes doesn’t mean we’re a mistake. If we could make peace with failure, mistakes, and outright doing and saying things “wrong,” we’d be empowered to take more risks, speak our truth, and go for what we truly want in life with a real sense of passion and joy, and a lot less fear and anxiety.

This is all much easier said than done for me and most people I know. Here are three specific things we can do to expand and enhance our capacity to do things “wrong” in a conscious and healthy way:

1) Take inventory. Look in your life, your relationships, and your work right now and see where you’re holding yourself back because you’re worried about doing or saying something “wrong.” Make an honest assessment of where your fear of doing it “wrong” is getting in your way.

2) Admit your real fear. What is it that you are really scared of? What are you worried that you will lose if you do or say something that might be considered “wrong?” See if you can get underneath the superficial fears and dig down into the real stuff. The more willing you are to be honest and vulnerable, the more likely you are to break free (with this and anything else in life).

3) Seek out support and accountability. Reach out to some of the people in your life who you trust and are close to – ask them to support you and hold you accountable to go for it. We all need people around us to have our back and kick is the behind when necessary – with love, honesty, and kindness. Let people know where you’re stuck, what you are scared of, what your ultimate goal or intention is (in regards to one or more of these places where you’re worried about doing something “wrong”). Having this support and accountability is what we all need to push past our limits and step outside of our comfort zones.

When we’re willing to be honest about where we get stuck, express our real fears and feelings, and get the support we need from those around us – we absolutely can expand our capacity for doing things “wrong,” which in turn will give us the freedom and confidence to do, say, and go for the things that matter most to us in life! Doing this is the foundation for living a life of authenticity, appreciation, and, fulfillment.

Remember to be kind to yourself in this process, and also to ask yourself the important and inspiring question that Robert H. Schuller made famous, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Go for it! And, even if you end up doing it “wrong,” it’s okay.

Mike Robbins is a best-selling author, sought-after motivational keynote speaker, and personal growth expert who works with people and groups of all kinds. Mike is the author of the best-selling books Focus on the Good Stuff and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. He and his work have been featured on ABC News, and the Oprah radio network, and in Forbes, Fast Company, and many others. To learn more about his work and his books, click here.

© Mike Robbins

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 12th, 2009 in General, Global/Social Change | No comments