Archive for January, 2010

31 jan

Success Comes Quickly When You Keep Your Promises

by Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA

Now is the time to take ownership of making positive changes in your life, and begin a journey to another level. As more of the people around you discuss the issues and opportunities they are facing these days, it is even more important we consciously choose what to work on (and what not to work on!). To make the journey from where you are to where you are going, spend a little time clarifying 1) a set of clear objectives and 2) a clear path to achieve measurable results.

If you have looked back over the past few weeks and wondered “where the time has gone,” it’s a great time to revisit your goals for the year. Create a roadmap and review it often. Your roadmap—consider using The Promise Guide, available for free at www.ThePromiseGuide.com—is a document you create to define your measurable and specific goals. Consider defining specific projects you intend to address over the next few months.

Create Your Roadmap – Four (4) Key Areas

When building your roadmap, consider the following questions regarding these areas of your life and your work:

1) Financial Goals – What would you like to earn this year? Is there something you could be doing “on the side?” Are you looking to take on new/bigger projects at work to gain a promotion?

2) Family/Friends – What kinds of events or trips are you planning to grow as a family? And, who in your circle of influence do you want to spend quality time with?

3) Personal Development – Are there any books to read, classes to take or development programs to enroll in?

4) People – Who will you need to get to know? Who can your mentors or partners be? Who can help to “coach” you to your next level of you?

Measuring and Tracking

With your roadmap in place, what’s needed next is a way to measure and track your progress. Knowing what to focus on and committing time and resources to reviewing those goals, is the single biggest challenge that we have in business (and in life).

Goals are promises, and promises are commitments. They begin the moment you say yes to yourself or to others. But how do you keep track of these yeses? And more importantly, how do you ensure that these are the things you really should be spending time on?

First, write them all down! Capture all of your commitments, the ones you may have scribbled down on various lists, on your calendar, and the ones swirling around in your head. If you capture them centrally, you can begin to look at them strategically.

Many of us have a multitude of projects, to-dos and tasks on the go. Some of these commitments may even be prioritized. However, unless there is a strategic vision that overrides all of your commitments, the bigger, long-term promises and commitments may get sabotaged by smaller, less important tasks which always seems to soak up your valuable time, resources and mind space.

Here’s a simple, but powerful guidance system for measuring and keeping track of all of this:

1) Identify key promises/commitments – Look at your centralized consolidated list of projects, to-dos and tasks. Identify the ones are key, that are central to your roadmap. These are your top priority commitments – promises – you have already made to yourself and/or others. As you complete these, you will build upon your vision for success.

2) Develop milestones for achievement. For each of your key promises, develop due dates and milestones to track your progress.  Specify target dates and, for those items where you are working with others, specify who will be responsible and what will be done.

3) Have a “check in” and “status update” process. On a regular basis (for example, once every week) take time to check in on how you are progressing on each of these key promises.

At work and in life, YOU are your brand. Your personal and professional success is directly proportional to your ability to make promises and follow through on them.

Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA is the co-author of The Promise Doctrine, a guidebook and system for consistently delivering on your promises at www.thepromisedoctrine.com. A master educator and executive coach, Jason works with organizations worldwide to uplevel productivity, performance and time management skills. Contact Jason at 805.640.6401 or at www.womackcompany.com.

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Posted by Jason Womack on January 31st, 2010 in General | No comments Read related posts in

31 jan

Breaking Through With Dad

By Fred Burks

At age 27, after having spent two adventure-filled years living and teaching English in mainland China, I found myself getting ready to move back to the US. With two years completely immersed in another world away from family and friends, I’d had plenty of opportunities to reflect on my life back home. In those periods of contemplation, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction in realizing that I had really come to enjoy my relationships with all of my friends and family back home with only one major exception – my Dad.

As a child, I had very mixed feelings about my father. He took us on wonderful, exciting vacations car camping around the country for a month out of each year. In his engaging moments with me and my sister and two brothers, he could be adventurous, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun.

Yet like so many fathers out there, most of the time he was distant and unavailable. As a Methodist minister and a fighter for peace and justice, his work was by far his greatest passion with family a distant second. What’s more, at meals – our only regular gathering time each day – he would all too often preach politics to us, his unwilling captive audience. There was no debating him, either. He was always right.

In looking back, however, I could see now what I once would never have admitted – that I was just as stubborn as Dad. There was no way I would acknowledge that he was right in a debate or argument. I would argue with him fiercely, yet still he managed to get me every time. I remember countless times when our interactions ended with me stalking off frustrated and angry, as dad settled back triumphantly into his chair reading the newspaper. Sometimes I just hated him. His righteous attitude seemed so hypocritical and just wrong!

After moving away from home at age 18, I had dedicated myself to improving my relationships with my family and others in my life. Thanks to some wonderful divine guidance, I had been successful with everyone except Dad. He was the one person I still just couldn’t get along with.

As I contemplated leaving the wonderfully rich experience in China, I knew that the time had come to change this. I knew that on getting home, if I wanted to get along better with him, my job was to learn to let Dad be Dad. I realized that I could not change him, but I could change myself by letting go of my need to be right and of my harsh judgments of him and his behavior. I knew that If I wanted to change our frustrating dynamic, I was the one who would have to change.

The idea came to me that the best way to heal this old family wound was to move in with Dad and make a commitment to opening my heart and to becoming friends with him for the first time in my life. I knew it would not be easy. Yet I also knew that if I could hold fast to my intention of not needing to be right and not letting his comments get to me, we could have a significant breakthrough. I wrote Dad a letter asking if he was interested in becoming friends, and if he would be open to my living with him on return from China to work on this.

Dad was thrilled at the idea of us becoming friends and warmly welcomed me into his home. He was very supportive of my desire to move through our difficulties. He even spruced up a little room in his house for me. Yet after a brief, enjoyable “honeymoon” period of about two months, I found those same old patterns staring me right in the face again. Dad again was always right and I ended up leaving frustrated, knowing that I was actually right – just like old times. Why did it always have to end up that way?

Yet I held to my commitment. I remembered that If I wanted to change this disempowering dynamic, I was the one who would have to change. So gradually, I learned to hold my tongue. When discussion turned to debate, I would do my very best not to engage, not to get caught up in trying to prove him wrong. If the conversation turned competitive, I learned to be quiet and to wait for the appropriate moment to excuse myself, so that I could go let off steam on my own.

Even though I still didn’t agree with him, I slowly learned to simply listen and to be OK with letting Dad have the last word. I couldn’t change his behavior or beliefs, but I was gradually changing mine.

Those few months were tough. It’s not easy to break deeply ingrained family patterns, but I was committed. Every time things spun out of control, I reminded myself of my deep intention to become friends with Dad and even to love him. By holding strong to that commitment, I got increasingly better at pulling back whenever our talks didn’t feel supportive.

By the end of six determined months, I had done it! I could sit through a conversation where Dad was telling me how I was wrong and feel no need to engage or respond. When he challenged or blamed me, I could just let him have his say. I learned to just acknowledge that I heard him, remembering not to take anything personally and to just let Dad be Dad.

As I got better at this, I eventually came to understand that Dad was not consciously trying to attack me. He was just playing out old patterns and programming within himself. I could accept and even love him just the way he was – even the part of him that would very rarely admit he was wrong. Dad seemed to notice the difference, too.

I especially remember one particular day when Dad was doing his thing. I simply nodded my head occasionally and said “I hear you, Dad,” without feeling any need to defend myself. At one point he fell silent, and I just sat quietly waiting. Then I heard words I don’t think I’d ever heard him say in these circumstances, “Well, Fred, what do you think?” And for the first time in a situation where we didn’t agree, I felt Dad was really interested in what I had to say.

From that point on, though we still would hit occasional rough spots, Dad and I began having meaningful conversations. He became increasingly interested in my opinion and his tone of voice lost that cutting edge. For the first time ever, we were actually friends!

What an incredibly empowering change in my life – in our lives! I was amazed that although my deep intention was just to let Dad be who he was, once I made the big shift, Dad shifted, too! What a gift!!! From that point on, our relationship gradually grew warmer and deeper.

Many years later for my Dad’s 70th birthday, I recorded his fascinating life story on over two hours of audio tape. What great, rich stories he had! What a wonderful, bonding time we shared!!! What a long way we’ve come!

Thanks, Dad, for being such a wonderful presence in my life. And I give thanks for the divine guidance which helped me to realize that if I want to transform any significant relationship in my life, I can stop trying to change others and open to accepting and loving everyone just as they are.
By focusing on making shifts and changes in myself, I now know without a doubt that I alone can positively change any relationship in my life.

Fred Burks served for 18 years as a language interpreter for such notable figures as Clinton, G.W. Bush, Gore, and Cheney. After receiving a wealth of eye-opening information on major cover-ups from respected friends and colleagues, Fred is the executive director of the PEERS network of websites and manager of www.WantToKnow.info.

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Posted by First 30 Days on January 31st, 2010 in Family, Relationships | 1 comment Read related posts in

31 jan

Make Life an “Event”

JayForteLife is precious – and really short in the grand scheme of things. So, I am determined to live each day the best I can – to celebrate each day – to make each day of life an “event.”

For me, making it an “event” is not about elaborate trips or expensive dinners. Rather, life becomes an “event” when you pay attention to the little details that show those in your life you care, love and value them. The greatest value in any relationship is not found in the things you have to do, but in the extras you choose to do.

Coffee in the morning may be ordinary. But adding a rose on the table, making a quick trip to Starbucks or bringing coffee on a tray to bed can make even coffee extraordinary – you can make coffee an “event.”

There are so many places during the day to move from ordinary to extraordinary – to do the little things that make life a constant celebration.

Life is an “event” when:

  1. You get a note in your lunch in addition to your favorite sandwich.
  2. Your favorite cookies or crackers never seem to run out.
  3. You thought you needed gas in the car but it has been filled up.
  4. Candles are lit at mealtime, even at lunch.
  5. A book by your favorite author shows up on your nightstand.
  6. You forget and ask the same question 3 times, but you get the same gentle response.
  7. Your favorite shampoo or soap shows up in the shower.
  8. A card is left on your computer or in your briefcase – just because.
  9. Your conversations about easy or difficult things are always easy to do.
  10. The bedsheets get a spray of lavender when they come out of the dryer to smell great on the bed.
  11. There are boxes of your favorite candy in the car, in the kitchen and everywhere else.
  12. Regular wine become sangria and dinner becomes a festival.
  13. You tell a story you told before and are not interrupted.
  14. Your least favorite task (emptying the dishwasher for me) seems to happen by itself.
  15. A look, a smile or a wink means “it is you, it has always been you, it will always be you.”

A life that is extraordinary gets the big things right and constantly celebrates the important little things. Details matter. Feelings matter.

I have this kind of life; it means everything to me. It encourages me to respond – not because I have to – but because I want to. It empowers me to be fully present and constantly show how I care about the important people in my life. I make life an “event” for those I care about. And in the process my life becomes extraordinary.

So, how do you make your life, and the lives of those you care about, an “event”? Don’t wait – you don’t get these days back. Do the little things. Do a lot of them. Do them often.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

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Posted by Jay Forte on January 31st, 2010 in Family, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships | 2 comments

30 jan

Self-confidence from the Self

SarahMariaIn my experience, there is only one real way to increase your self-confidence, and that is through Self-confidence. Self-confidence, with a capital “S”, comes from focusing on the Self, your true Self, your actual Self. Self confidence with a small “s” comes from looking for stability, safety, and security, in that which is inherently unstable, transitory, and fleeting, which is never ultimately effective. Let me explain…

A lack of self-confidence, or low self-esteem, comes from the ideas, beliefs, attitudes, etc. that say you are not quite enough the way you are, that something is lacking. Perhaps you think your body is not thin enough, strong, enough, or healthy enough. Maybe you think you are not smart enough, not fast enough, not loving enough. Maybe you think you are too selfish, or too giving. No matter what your particular story line, no matter what your particular perspective, you think and believe that something is wrong with you, that you are somehow flawed and lacking in some way.

This belief-system, this set of assumptions, is the result of your conditioning and is simply not true.

You can spend your whole life working to build your self-confidence by changing certain things about yourself. And it can feel like it is working, like you have improved your self-confidence.

The problem is that anything, absolutely anything, that you perceive of as an object is transitory and fleeting. So you can improve your health, increase your income, experience beautiful relationships, but all of this is subject to change, and when it does, it can undermine the sense of confidence that you worked so hard to achieve. So consider instead shifting your focus entirely. Shift your focus from the ever-changing person of your imagination, to the Self which is immutable and never-changing. This is the Source of true Self-confidence.

The fact of the matter is that who you are, or rather what you are, is already, has always been, and will always be perfect. Who you are is the eternal Self, the Source of all reality. You cannot not be perfect. Yet in order to see this, you need to continuously shift your reference point. You need to fastidiously shift your focus away from the fleeting and temporary “person” that you think yourself to be and shift it toward that which is eternally perfect.

Instead of constantly looking for ways to improve yourself, give up the idea that you need improvement. Instead of spending your whole life attempting to perfect your “person”, discover that you not a person in need of perfection. Who you are is already perfect.

Life then becomes a practice of letting go of all the false ideas and beliefs that you carry around with you. Just like an overweight suitcase, these false assumptions drain you of your energy, vitality, and beauty. They eclipse the experience of your perfection.

So if you are interested in true Self-confidence, consider this as a practice:

1. Accept the premise that who you are, exactly as you are, is already perfect.

2. Become aware of every thought, idea, belief, behavior, feeling, and perception that runs contrary, that tells you somehow you are not quite good enough.

3. Practice letting go of those perceptions. Let them go, one-by-one, staying focused always on that which is eternal and unchanging.

When you realize that what you are is already perfect, all questions of self-confidence disappear of their own accord and you are left with the ultimate Self-confidence.

Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, for true, lasting healing. Purchase your copy, begin to love your body today. Visit: SarahMaria.com, BreakFreeBeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on January 30th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

29 jan

Is It All Right Not to Know?

spirituality_rockpathOnce upon a time, a great scholar and a very wise person, a true sage, lived on the same street, and they arranged to meet. The scholar asked the sage about the meaning of life. The sage said a few words about love and joy, paused to reflect, and the scholar jumped in with a long discourse on Western and Eastern philosophy. When the scholar was finished, the sage proposed some tea, prepared it with care, and began pouring it slowly into the scholar’s cup. Inch by inch the tea rose. It approached the lip of the cup, and the sage kept pouring. It ran over the top of the cup and onto the table, and the sage still kept pouring. The scholar burst out: “What are you doing?! You can’t put more into a cup that’s already full!” The sage set down the teapot and said, “Exactly.”

A mind that’s open and spacious can absorb lots of useful information. On the other hand, a mind that’s already full – of assumptions, beliefs about the intentions of others, preconceived ideas – misses important details or contexts, jumps to conclusions, and has a hard time learning anything new.

This week, let yourself not know:
• Be especially skeptical of what you’re sure is true. Remind yourself: “Just because I think it doesn’t make it so.” One of my relatives was a wonderful person, but she had a problem: she never had a thought she didn’t believe.
• In conversation, don’t assume you know where other people are going and then stop listening in order to rehearse what you’ll say when they finally stop talking. Don’t worry about what you’re going to say; you’ll figure it out just fine when it’s your turn. Remember how you feel when someone acts like they know what you’re “really” thinking, feeling, or wanting.
• Let your eyes travel over familiar objects – like the stuff on a dinner table – and notice what it’s like during that brief interval, maybe a second or so, after you’ve focused on an object but before the verbal label (e.g., “salt,” “glass”) has popped into your mind. Try to expand that interval of not-knowing by relaxing your mind and your gaze and dropping any need to categorize what you see. Or go for a walk. Notice how the mind tries to know the things all around you, to place them in boxes so it can solve problems and keep you alive. Appreciate your mind – “Good boy! Good girl!” – and then keep letting go of needing to know.
• Now, go even further into the deep end of the pool – look at something and ask yourself if you really know what it is. Say it’s a “cup.” But do you know what a “cup” is, deep down? You say it’s made of atoms, of electrons, protons, quarks. But do you know what a quark is? You say it’s energy, or space-time, or sparkling fairy dust beyond human ken, or whatever – but really, do you ever, can you ever, actually know what energy or space-time truly is?? We live our lives surrounded by objects that we navigate and manipulate – spoons, cars, skyscrapers – while never truly knowing what any of it actually is.
• Deeper still – since you don’t really know what a spoon is, do you even know what you are? Or what you are truly capable of? Or how high you could actually soar? Consider any limiting assumptions about your own life . . . how you’ve “known” that your ideas were not very good, that others would laugh (or that it would matter if they did), that no one would back you, that swinging for the fences just means striking out. Is that so?

Notice how relaxing and good it feels to lighten up about needing to know. Soak in those good feelings so you’ll feel more comfortable hanging out in don’t know mind.

May you know less now than at the beginning of reading this.
And therefore, know more than ever.

Dr. Rick Hanson’s latest book is Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom. www.buddhasbrain.com

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Posted by First 30 Days on January 29th, 2010 in Spirituality | 3 comments Read related posts in

29 jan

On the Edge of Wholeness

Lately, my posts have been flowing one from another, as if writing one allows an insight to surface and wash over me. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, where one clue leads to the next, and that one to the next. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but close enough…

After writing my last post, The You That Takes Your Breath Away, I remembered something I wrote a few years back. It was never shared here on my blog. In fact, I don’t think I shared it with anyone. At the time, what I was writing felt too close to my heart to make known to others. Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen; we need to not speak those moments of insight so that they continue to work their way through us.

What I wrote to myself was sparked by this passage from , “Shadow Dance” by David Richo:

“We can even declare that we are what Byron saw: ‘a rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.” Eventually we realize that whatever in us has remained folded up is really that about us that was never loved. This is the sadness in the folded rose of ourselves. What was not confirmed and loved by others, especially our parents, did not have full permission to emerge. It is up to us to find this confirmation now from within ourselves, our relationships, and our spirituality. Joy results from permission to unfold.” (pg 110-111).

“Joy results from permission to unfold.” Wow. How powerful this statement is.

We are the only ones that can give ourselves permission to do this – to unfold those oh so sweet leaves of our being, those that hid away because, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel safe.

Now, we are adults. Now, we can hold these sweet and tender places within our own heart, hear what they have to say and give them permission to unfold, permission to be seen. Perhaps, being seen first by ourselves is the greatest gift we can give to them.

With this permission comes joy. And peace. And, as these parts come back into the light, wholeness naturally occurs.

The other piece is about the exquisiteness of vulnerability. Complete unfolding brings no more separation. When we open to the fullest extent possible, nothing hidden, petals outstretched, there is no longer anything that knows separation, and this can be frightening as hell.

But, our lives are really about the flower unfolding. We yearn to unfold, to blossom into complete nakedness, raw vulnerability that allows one to be seen and known.

This ripe blossoming is also the very last step before the petals fall and the blossom dies. This is our return to the whole, the moment of wholeness that is simply a breath away from death, where death ends our separation from the whole.

At the singular moment when we unfold every ounce of our being and exist at the height of vulnerability, that of out-stretched petals, we know our sense of separate self will fall away. When nothing is hidden, we can no longer be separate. In our complete vulnerability, we open to all and to everything.

There is a peak of each blossom, when it is poised at its pinnacle of beauty. This is our moment of realization of all that we really are. In this moment, our sense and identity as a separate flower falls away and we let go into our true identity as all that is.

When our petals fall and decay, we can grow into the fullness of a human being, wise and unconditionally loving, for who we now know ourselves to be is the life force that compelled the flower to emerge, bud and blossom, the instinctive drive to open fully to the light, the air, the wind, and all of the world around us.

The edge of wholeness, this edge of ripe beauty, happens many, many times, over and over, until we know ourselves to be the beauty itself. Nothing lasts forever. And, it’s in this knowing of our ephemeral nature, that we know what it is to be fully alive.

So, here is what I wrote, back a few years ago:

On The Edge Of Wholeness

Standing on the threshold of the one true moment of existence
I know myself as both blossom and the urge to bloom.
Every ounce of my journey has been to unfold
To follow the blueprint of this flower
From young rosy bud to powerfully stretched petals
From nubile possibility to the height of complete engagement.

As my petals open to the arc of full bloom
my arms stretch open wide and vulnerable
my chest aches with joy and
I am completely available to Life.

It is in this moment of complete openness
I know that I have loved to wholeness
Every ounce of who I am
Even those parts that once felt impossible to love.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Being
I realize the natural path of this process and
begin to feel the life force that has propelled
my unfolding welcoming me home.

I know there is this one moment
When my petals are at the height of ripeness
The height of the arc of fullness
just before I turn to the face of release
This moment happens many, many times
And at the same time is a singular moment in my life

I can now see that petals falling is also an act of grace
For as I stand on this threshold of change
I realize it is only by being courageous enough to open
That I have come to know what I truly am

The sunlight and soil of grace have held my becoming all along
my urge to bloom was always at the heart of who and what I am
This urge to blossom is also my urge to return
To the one constant in all of Life, the very nature of all that is.

~ Julie Daley

Just look at the beauty of this inside of this flower. We would never see it if it remained closed.

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(Image permission granted by Connor365 under CC 2.0.)

Posted by Julie Daley on January 29th, 2010 in Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

29 jan

It’s Not the Circumstances, It’s Us

mike_robbinsI recently read a great quote from Ben Franklin that I hadn’t seen before. He said, “Joy doesn’t exist in the world, it exists in us.” While the quote was new to me, the concept wasn’t. However, as I began to think it more, I realized that even though I “understand” this wisdom and do my best to live by it and remind others of it, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself living as though I’m simply a victim of the “things” that go on around me and in the world – especially the stuff I don’t particularly like, agree with, understand, feel like I’m on top of, or enjoy.

The circumstances of our lives, especially when they seem stressful or intense (as is the case for many people I know and work with these days) do have an impact on us, for sure. However, all too often we give away our power to these circumstances and situations. We act as though it’s a foregone conclusion that we will feel a certain way based on specific circumstances (i.e. the economy, the weather, our health, our level of activity, the state of our romantic relationship or lack thereof, the behavior of our children, our families, the state of our career or business, our environment at work, and more).

Our experience of life (grateful, worried, peaceful, angry, excited, sad, alive, depressed, joyous, or anything else) is much more of a reflection of us and what’s going on within us, not a reaction to what’s going on around us. We’ve all had many examples of times in our lives when things were going “great” on the surface or we accomplished or experienced some “wonderful” external success, only to feel a sense of disappointment or sadness underneath because whatever it was didn’t satisfy us at a deep level. And, on the flip side, most of us have had moments of incredible joy, excitement, and bliss that weren’t directly connected to anything “worthy” of these feelings externally.

Even though we know this dynamic to be true, we still seem to get caught in the hypnotic, erroneous notion that if we just got rid of some issues, altered some circumstances, manifested some increased success, or changed some specific situations in our lives – then, we’d be happy, peaceful, and relaxed (or whatever it is we say we want to experience).

Author and teacher, Byron Katie, says, “The definition of insanity is thinking that you need something you don’t have. The mere fact that you exist right now without that which you think you need is proof that you don’t need it.”

What if we lived our lives with a deeper and more conscious awareness of the fact that we get to create our experience of life at any moment? Imagine what our lives, our careers, and our relationships would look like if we stopped blaming our experience on other people or on external circumstances. We would free up so much positive energy and take back so much of our personal power.

Here are a few things you can do to enhance your capacity to own your experience of life in an empowering way:

1) Admit where you play victim and give away your power. As is always the case, “the truth will set you free.” Take a look into your life, especially in the areas where you find the most pain, suffering, and struggle right now. Without judging yourself, can you find places where you’re acting like a victim of your current circumstances (as though it is simply “happening to you”)? The more honest and specific you can be about this, the more freedom it will provide for you.

2) Acknowledge, own, and express your underlying emotions. Whenever we go into victimhood there is something we don’t want to deal with, take responsibility for, experience, or express emotionally. Even thought it can be a little painful and scary initially, by dealing directly with the emotions we’re avoiding, we go to the source of the issue and address it at the root. Ironically, once we’re able to acknowledge, own, and express the emotion(s) involved, much of the suffering and struggling go away – if we’re willing to really take responsibility for and express what we’re truly feeling.

3) Make a commitment to fully own your experience. Declare to yourself and those close to you that you’re willing to take 100% responsibility for your experience of life. This doesn’t mean that “stuff” won’t happen, but it does mean that you make a commitment to live your life by design, not default. It’s also likely that you’ll forget, slip up, and fall back into victimhood from time to time (or often). However, making a commitment to yourself and to others – and also asking them to hold you accountable with honesty and kindness – can create an environment (within you and around you) conducive for you to enhance your capacity to live your life with power and responsibility.

Give yourself some space and have a lot of compassion with yourself and others on this; most of us have been trained, educated, and encouraged to live in “victim consciousness” – even though it doesn’t work or give us what we want ultimately. When we’re willing to tell the truth, express our real emotions, and make a commitment to live as designers of our experience – we can literally transform our lives in miraculous ways.

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). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on January 29th, 2010 in Career, Finances, New Directions, Relationships | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

25 jan

Does Your Paramour Have All 5 Out of 5 of These Essentials for Love?

Whenever I coach people in improving their love life, I always start by asking folks what they are looking for in a longterm partner. Everyone gives me kinda the same list. They want someone

sexy, smart, funny, charismatic, successful, rich

I say it’s okay to want these things – but there are 5 essentials which must come first — and if your partner doesn’t have these 5 essentials, then it doesn’t matter how sexy, smart, funny, charismatic, successful, rich he/she might be — they will not make a good partner!

The following is a FREE EXCERPT from my OPRAH-loved book, Prince Harming Syndrome. (By the way guys, this empowering love advice also applies to making sure you avoid PRINCESS HARMINGS.) Voila! The FREE EXCERPT:

Prince Charming/Princess Charming Trait #1: Does he/she want to be in a committed relationship? (Basically, does he embrace character values that match with your values for a committed happily ever after future? Are there “value deal breakers” when it comes to marriage, monogamy,kids, religion, etc.)

Prince Charming/Princess Charming Trait #2: Does he/she value growing as a person? (Basically, does he embrace character values that show he has an open and growing soul—values self-responsibility and seeking insights?)

Prince Charming/Princess Charming Trait #3: Does he/she understand that a relationship serves two functions. It’s not solely a “den of pleasure”—it’s also a soul’s “laboratory for growth.” (Basically, does he embrace character values that show he absolutely wants a “relationship of shared virtue”?)

Prince Charming/Princess Charming Trait #4: Does he/she make you feel “safe” in the relationship to reach your fullest potential? (Surprise: The top feeling a relationship should inspire is “safety.” Without safety, you will never arrive at feeling love—because you won’t allow yourself to be vulnerable enough for true intimacy. If your man embraces high-integrity character values, then you will trust him enough to reveal your truest self!)

Prince Charming/Princess Charming Trait #5: Is your paramour happy? (Surprise: If you want to live happily ever after, your paramour has to be happy! If he/she’s unhappy all the time, he/she will view you through non-rosy, dark-lensed life glasses! You need to find a man who embraces character values that help him be emotionally stable, eventempered, addiction-free and full of high self-esteem.)

For more empowering love advice, check out my OPRAH-loved book, Prince Harming Syndrome.

Posted by Karen Salmansohn on January 25th, 2010 in Relationships | 2 comments Read related posts in , , ,

25 jan

A Healthy Diet for Life

Whether or not you are dieting for weight loss it is important that you consume a healthy diet for life. Never ever deprive your body from the delicious food once in a while. Instead do everything you can possibly can in order to stay healthy through following certain guidelines and instructions as recommended by your nutritionist or dietician.

Be very meticulous about the food you take. Remember to avoid those types of foods that can trigger or add up to problem later. Being choosy with foods does not mean you can’t eat delicious and sumptuous meals; all you have to do is to compliment these foods with healthy ones like fruits and vegetables in order to have balance.

So if you are keen to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy body, here are few tips that you can apply to your day-to-day living and achieve your goals:

1. Taking in enough calories for your body to burn. Too much or too few calories intake is not good. You should always remember to take in just enough calories to keep you up the whole day and do your routine. In order to know what the recommended calorie intake is you should ask a nutritionist about this matter. Since, every person’s calorie intake differs.

2. Eat in moderation. If you think eating one whole meal will give you what you need, then you are wrong! This will just trigger your body to crave for more and experience hunger much longer. If you eat in proportions and in a slow manner, then you are going to train your body to get full easily and not crave for more food.

3. Daily servings of fruits and vegetables. You would probably have remembered the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, this is very well true to this present day. It might sound a little bit childish but this can go a long way. There are a lot of nutrients and vitamins found on every fruit and vegetable. It does not hurt if you are going to add up couple of fruits and vegetables on your diet.

4. Slow down and don’t rush in. Like any other things in life, you need to slow down the process in order not to ruin the momentum. In this way, your body will get attuned to the change that is going on and show certain symptoms or signs of bad effects of drastic diets.

Treat your body as a temple. Be sure you are giving your body all it needs in order to keep up with the daily routine without having to show signs of weakness in the long run.

Whether you are dieting for weight loss or just want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the above-mentioned tips will definitely do wonders for you.

Posted by Susan Brown on January 25th, 2010 in Diet and Fitness | 1 comment Read related posts in ,

24 jan

Be the You that Takes Your Breath Away

ColumbineBud“We are the only species on earth capable of preventing our own flowering.” – David Whyte

::

This quote floated across the Twittersphere yesterday, and grabbed my attention. When I posted it as my status on FaceBook, a lovely male friend commented in response, “Yet we are drawn to flowering. Such a juicy existence.”, causing me to pause and consider the dynamic tug of war between closing and opening, concealing and revealing, preventing and surrendering.

So many ways we fight what is. Human beings that is. Only human beings. At least as far as I can see, human beings are the only ones who try oh so hard not to be what we are.

Then, I thought of how much energy it would take for a plant to keep itself from blooming. Oh my. Can you imagine if a bud could keep itself from blooming? I can just see it trying to scrunch everything in, holding itself back and in as if holding its breath, trying so hard not to be what it is meant to be.

Or at the other end of the spectrum, if the plant desires to blossom, gets to the height of its bloom and then tries really hard, incredibly hard, to keep the bloom beautiful. forever. without a flaw. without losing its perkiness. without fading.

::

Fighting one’s design is exhausting. I know. I’ve done it all my life. Especially my design as a woman.

I’ve hid my deeply sensual nature. I’ve kept myself small. I’ve taken on others’ shame as my own. I’ve apologized over and over and over simply for taking up space, for being in the way, for reasons I didn’t even know, even as I was in the midst of doing it.

I’ve been really, really nice, keeping the anger and rage down inside where it won’t be seen so I won’t be seen as threatening or angry or a bitch.

As far as I know, flowers can’t choose. They do what they do because their intrinsic design is to do that. But people, we get to choose. We get to self-reflect. We get to do this dance between ego and soul, a dance between pretending and being.

Fighting one’s design is the never ending staircase, the infinite treadmill, the highway to hell, but you never get to hell, because no matter how hard you pedal, you end up exactly where you started. Preventing flowering IS hell.

As I let myself feel my exhaustion, when I stop and allow the full force of my dance with the illusion of my not-enoughness to flow over me, something else makes itself known. It is always there. It’s just doesn’t clamor for my attention. It doesn’t have to. It’s just what is.

It’s the wake up call to remembrance.

It’s the quiet, yet insistent, push to bloom, to flower, to be the one I know I really am. The one I allow myself to see in rare fleeting glimpses. The one that flashes across my face sometimes when I’m caught off guard looking in the mirror. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its persistence. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its beauty.

You know the one I’m talking about… the you that takes your own breath away.

::

My project has exhausted me for years. And, it shape-shifts. Just when I think I am being real and truthful and risky, I can feel the oh so familiar tightness and constriction of the project taking over again.

Let me make something really clear. The project is NOT bad. It is a ingenious survival strategy to stay safe when young. It’s filled with well-meaning parts that will do whatever it takes to keep safe. The only thing is, if the urge to bloom is there, then the project is standing in the way of blossoming. And, hence, creating exhaustion.

It can feel really risky to be the you that takes your breath away. But, in my experience, it hurts like hell to keep hiding it. The body suffers. The soul suffers. Hiding this you is fighting your design as a soul, as a human being, as a woman.

Beauty appears when something is completely & absolutely & openly itself. ~Deena Metzger

Beauty is something being what it is. Sometimes this learning to allow beauty is messy. Sometimes I don’t feel beautiful, but then I remember THAT beauty was the beauty I was taught to believe in…not the beauty of something being real. messy. powerful. strong. This is the beauty that pushes the seedling up to the light, the bud to open to the light, the petals to fall, the flower to die.

::

Right now, there is a force calling us forth to be beautiful, to be completely and absolutely and openly ourselves. Yes, it is a very persistent and fierce force, like truth always is, because, as Andrew Harvey says,

“Everything is at stake, and everything is possible.”

This force is compelling women to blossom. Fully. In all our feminine majesty. It is time.

::

image by fireflies604 CC 2.0 license

Julie Daley is a coach, creativity catalyst and consultant. She works with women who long to discover sovereignty, interdependence and joy. Find out more at UnabashedlyFemale.com.



Posted by Julie Daley on January 24th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 comment