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Marci Shimoff on Change
Marci Shimoff is one of the world’s leading motivational experts. She is the president and co-founder of The Esteem Group, through which she delivers keynote addresses and seminars on self-esteem, self-empowerment and peak performance to corporations, professional and non-profit organizations and women's associations. Shimoff is the New York Times best-selling co-author of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul. She was also recently in the movie, “The Secret.” Shimoff shares her thoughts on making it through any life change.
Your new book is titled Happy for No Reason: Seven Steps to Being Happier Right Now. What is the definition of happiness?
There are different definitions of happiness. What most people have defined as happiness up to now is what I call “happy for good reason.” And that’s, “I’m happy because…” I’m happy because I have the job that I love and I’m happy because I have a great family, I’m happy because I’m living in a beautiful home that makes me comfortable.
What I’m talking about is another level that goes beyond that. You can lose any of those good things and then your happiness goes away if it is dependent on those things. So what I’m referring to as happiness in Happy for No Reason is a neurophysiologic state of peace and well being that goes beyond circumstances.
What is it that helps someone through any life change, large or small?
Take baby steps. If you jump in headfirst and want to change everything right away there tends to be a resistance that the brain puts up as a shield. First I suggest you just take it easy and approach change in small gradual ways. And you can just go, “I’m making a little change today and a little change tomorrow” and after 30 days you’ll find that tremendous change has been made rather then jumping in head first and lasting only two or three days.
The second thing that I suggest you do is use my little formula for manifesting anything in life. Your first step is intention—be clear on the change that you want to make. What is it that you intend to have different in your life? Then your second step is attention. Put your thought, your words, your feelings and your actions all in alignment with that attention. Your third step of the formula is no tensions. Relax. Let go. Trust that the universe is always out to take care of you and support you. This is the step that everyone seems to have a problem with. You may be good at getting your intention clear, or good at putting your attention on it, but you may hold on like a bulldog rather that just relax, trust and let go.
What do you feel is the role of spirituality in change? Do people need to believe that there is something bigger going on in addition to their change?
In the research that we did, we interviewed 100 unconditionally happy people. These are people that I call happy for no reason. People who are deeply happy have a belief in a benevolent universe. Happy people, truly deeply happy people, all answered absolutely in the affirmative that there is a force. Some people call it God, some call it Spirit, some call it the unified field and some call it the Divine Mother. I don’t care what you call it but it’s a force that’s bigger than yourself and it’s friendly. Successful people, I believe, look at whatever happens as a gift or a blessing.
What are the likely obstacles during the first 30 days of a change?
There is an old saying that says love brings up everything unlike itself. Anytime you start on a new program of change everything will pop up that’s unlike the thing you want to change. And that’s a good sign. It means that you’re on the right track. You may think it’s a bad sign, but it’s not. If you intend to be happy for no reason everything unlike happiness will show up in your face. The key is for you to take small steps so that you won’t resist the change as much. Just know that when the resistance issues come up, you can get through them better with more support and by leaning into the positive, registering the positive more than the negative.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
The universe is out to support me. In the midst of change, by far the biggest help is feeling the benevolent universe and expanding beyond my own fears, doubts and limiting belief patterns.
The best thing about change is…
…that it moves me deeper and deeper into the truth and love of who I am.
What is the best change you have ever made?
The best change I have made is consistently to choose to listen to what my heart is telling me.
For more information on Marci Shimoff, visit www.marcishimoff.com.