Category Archives for Mind & Motivation

4 Ways to Stop Your Suffering & Attain Peace of Mind

By Dick Sutphen

Whatever you refuse to face consciously you must suffer unconsciously.

In fact all your current suffering is the result of situations you have refused to confront. You’ve refused to act, repressing your thoughts, feelings and emotions until they are like a rubber life raft held just below the surface of the water.

You can stand on the emotional raft, forcing it down, but when you run out of energy to do that, or when you are not guarded, the repressed emotions surface and you experience the effects.

The only way to resolve the conflicts in your life and attain peace of mind is to deal with them as directly, honestly and efficiently as possible. There are four steps to end suffering and to attain peace of mind:

1) ACCEPT SELF-RESPONSIBILITY: In accepting karma as your philosophical basis of reality, you accept self responsibility. Your problems are karmic situations you need to experience to learn and grow. There is no one to blame for anything you’ve ever experienced. And remember, wisdom erases karma, and the law of grace supersedes the law of karma (if you give love and mercy and grace in your life, you will receive the same in return).

2) ACCEPT THAT WHAT IS, IS: Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference. Remember, you cannot change another human being.

3) DEVELOP DETACHED MIND: The goal is to enjoy all the good stuff life has to offer, but when outside conditions change, refrain from sinking into the basement of emotions (anger, hatred, desire for revenge). Allow negativity to flow through you without affecting you.

4) HARMONIOUS VIEWPOINT: The way you experience life is based on the way you choose to view what happens to you. Your viewpoint is the deciding factor in whether you perceive life as a troublesome journey or a harmonious experience.

Four steps to end suffering and obtain peace of mind! I’ve been working on these four wisdom points for 40 years and I’m still not there. But I can’t imagine living my life without this philosophical back up.

Psychology’s Newest Secret

By Dr. Sean Sullivan & Dr. Carol Morgan

As a communication professor, I have also done training and speaking to businesses and other organizations over the years. And what amazes me the most is that some of them don’t realize how things like communication skills, the ability to get along with people, and mental health issues are intimately intertwined with the success (or failure) of their business.

The good news is that over the last few decades, this is starting to change. That’s why businesses bring communication/relationship experts such as myself into their organizations so that they can work on the “human” aspect of business.

One thing you may not know about me is that I am continually seeking out other professionals in all sorts of fields who are doing similar – yet different – work. One such person that I have been working with for about a year now is Dr. Sean Sullivan, a performance psychologist based in San Francisco honored by OpenCare for having one of the top psychology practices in the city.

I see so many parallels in the work we – both with individuals and organizations. It’s so exciting to see what is on the cutting edge of psychology, and how Dr. Sean is bringing it into the mainstream. I’ve come to think of Dr. Sean as San Francisco’s psychologist.

So in order to learn what exactly he’s doing, why I think it’s so ground-breaking (and why you should care), I’m going to let Dr. Sean’s own words describe this powerful phenomena that can change not only your business life – but your personal one as well.

Here we go …

As great scientific discoveries so often do, psychology’s newest secret is finding its way into the business world.

To improve employees’ performance, contentment and health – i.e. overall wellness, leaders are beginning to harness a discovery that shifted how psychotherapy is practiced.

It’s only the beginning…

What’s the big secret?

I call it “Mind Exercising.”

A Mind Exercise is a strategic meditation that guides your attention through specific shifts with the intention of achieving and maintaining “real life” results.

Think of Mind Exercise as meditation’s high-performing cousin. You can Mind Exercise to improve your tennis game, customer service style, sales results or personal relationships.

Brain scientists have concluded that how and where you direct your attention produces measurable changes in your brain’s structure, physiology and function. A changed brain produces changed results.

The impact of Mind Exercise is not only theoretical or intellectual; it’s psychological, physiological and practical too.

How does it work?

Mind Exercise works like physical exercise. Just as the right physical exercise can improve your body’s strength and function so you perform better at particular tasks, the right Mind Exercise can improve the strength and function of your attention so you perform better at particular tasks.

How much practice produces measurable results?

Let’s look at examples of meditation research results that relate to changes to the brain that have been found in meditators.

Eight weeks of strategic meditation has been shown to increase the thickness of the hippocampus—a pair of thumb-sized structures located in the center of your brain that are vital to your ability to learn and remember.

When you manage your stress effectively your hippocampus can generate roughly seven hundred new brain cells every day. When unmanaged stress accumulates your hippocampus cells can shrink and die.

A shrinking hippocampus is associated with stress-related conditions such as anxiety and depression, and lifestyle choices like being sedentary and eating junk food. Your performance is negatively impacted in very real ways when you don’t manage your stress effectively.

What are other important findings?

Improvements in attention and concentration, (i.e. less mind wandering), have been repeatedly found in empirical research on meditation’s effects.

The average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013 (National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine).

Where does Mind Exercise come in?

Meditating with the intention of achieving a specific goal — Mind Exercising — is meditating strategically to change your “real life.”

With the right practice, you can reduce stress and access your ideally focused state of mind and body for performing at specific tasks that are important to you.

My clients typically set five to twenty-minute appointments with themselves throughout the day to complete Mind Exercises that relax their brain and body and strategically reconnect them to their personal, real-life, intention.

Mind Exercising can improve performance of teams as well. Group objectives are integrated into a customized Mind Exercise sequence that team members complete on a schedule. The exercises align team member’s mind-body state with their intention to produce clearly defined results.

Strategically applied habits of mind can lead to increased productivity, propagating a virtuous circle of improving performance and propelling teams toward shared goals.

What’s the rub?

The rub is that research indicates a variety of specific requirements must be met to realize many of the benefits of meditation. My experience is that the same criteria apply to benefiting from Mind Exercise.

While the benefits of meditation and Mind Exercise are significant, developing an effective practice is a commitment.

What’s the best way to begin?

Since maintaining your Mind Exercise practice after the initial fun and excitement of learning something new wears off is a challenge, it helps to clearly understand how your brain is changing, and how that will benefit you if you keep it up over time.

I developed an online learning format to guide people through the sequential steps my clients and patients take when they begin a Mind Exercise practice. You can complete the steps free at BeYourPurpose.com anytime.

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Dr. Sean Sullivan consults to organizations about brain training and Mind Exercise and maintains a performance-focused psychology practice awarded as, “One of the Top Psychology Practices in San Francisco in 2015,” by OpenCare. Dr. Sullivan is the author of two popular books about Mind Exercising: The Mind Master’s Silence Journey and Be Your Purpose. Join Dr. Sean live on Periscope to meditate and Mind Exercise.

Late to the New Year’s Resolution Party?

By Kristi Hoffman

Getting a late start on your New Year’s resolutions and now it’s February? Well lucky you. Join the party! February is the new January. So jump on, late “New Year New You” starters.

If hopes of starting a fresh new year filled with resolutions didn’t quite work out as planned. — health or family crises may have taken over, over-commitments didn’t allow it, poor time management took over — c’est la vie. Let’s get going #RightNow.

Here are three actions to get you February-motivated, to step aboard and get unstuck. Who says January 1 is the magic start date? “New Year New You” starts now, no matter what the calendar says!

Action #1: LOSE SOMETHING.

-Release an unhealthy habit such as smoking, over-indulging, impatience with others.

-Let go of an old routine — eating sugar-laden cereals for breakfast (try oatmeal), getting on your computer for hours every night (try talking with the family or call an old friend instead)

-Walk away from a negative, judgmental, nasty person in your world. Meanness is so last year.

-Let go of complacency and become active.

Action #2: CHANGE IT UP.

-Eat breakfast in a different chair.

-Drive the kids to school a different way.

-Get up 15 minutes earlier and read the headlines.

-Stretch before bed.

-Walk for 20 minutes in the morning.

-Have something to look forward to: spring, a vacation, a new job.

-Pray upon waking.

-Start a craft, an adventure, join a club. Start a new “thing.”

Action #3: BE THE FORCE THAT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING.

-Smile at a stranger.

-Lead by example; people are watching, what are they learning?

-Don’t wait for someone else to tell you it’s “go” time. Take action.

-Trust your intuition.

-Speak positive words about yourself to others.

-Stop gossiping and start complimenting.

And now….. Download the Total Package Lifestyle App for daily positive #MeMantras! Your total package of Body, Brain, and Spirit will thank you! Happy New Year to you, no matter what the date is!

Let’s Make Commitments, NOT Resolutions!

By Talya Flowers

There’s a running joke in my house around the New Year that we each start our resolutions on Dec. 31 and then break them on Jan. 1. That’s a stretch, but it never fails. We become motivated to begin— we start, and then slowly everyone forgets what their new year’s resolution was in the first place. Incredible. Now instead of making ourselves crazy by starting and stopping, we just do nothing. Nothing is easier than making a resolution and sticking with it throughout the New Year.

But let me tell you a secret: doing nothing is for the mediocre. You and I are not mediocre. Doing nothing is harmful because we are subconsciously telling ourselves that we do not matter, we do not trust ourselves, and/or that we do not value ourselves to commit to our goals and see them to fruition. When I realized that I was sabotaging myself and killing all of the potential chances that I had for success: I stopped making resolutions.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

I became self-aware and critical of the damage that I was causing myself. I became critical of myself, and I started to see a major flaw with my resolutions: I had the heart, the motivation, and the drive, but I lacked action. I constantly told myself that I would lose weight this year and when winter hit, I was back to the old me. It was a vicious cycle: I exercised extensively during the summertime. I would lose all the weight that I had gained. BUT I was not enjoying my summer because I was too busy exercising all of the weight off. By winter, I had amassed even more weight than what was lost. I was in a sense driving my own self crazy and sending the message that I could not be trusted.

A major shift occurred when a friend said “you are letting yourself go!” It was the truth. I did, I was, and I had. I had to start making some drastic changes. The next day after our heart-to-heart, while at work, I pulled out some construction paper, a marker and began to write out the goals that I had for the year. High on my new list was a healthy lifestyle and daily exercise. Instead of telling myself that I would start in a week or so, or when I felt like it, I started the next day. I woke up at 5 a.m. and began to run. On days that had prior commitments or needed to go to work early, I woke up even earlier. Why? Because instead of making a resolution, I made a goal, and a commitment to myself. I told myself that I was too valuable to accept any more lies. I told myself that I deserved to consume nothing but the best foods—healthy foods. As I reprogrammed my palette and mindset, the weight came off, and I began to work on other goals, always aware that being healthy is the first priority.

I am proud to say that was two years ago, and I am still going strong. I even went running in the cold several times, and it was fantastic. On the days that I do not go outside, I join a workout class, and, for me, it is mandatory and not optional.

Here are my six tips for keeping commitments:

1. Decide now

You are not a victim. You have the power to create and choose. Colossians 3:2 is a powerful reminder that once a decision has been made our minds will actively create pathways for success, but you cannot be double-minded. You have to decide and be firm and resolute.

2. Value yourself

I have been on this two year life style change because I learned to value myself. How much are you worth? How much do you value yourself? Those are two of the best questions to ask yourself before starting a new commitment.

3. Use Declarations/Affirmations

I am a giant fan of affirmations so on the days that I did not feel like getting out of bed at 5 a.m., I would ask myself “How much do you value yourself?” and then my body would jolt out of bed. Two of the best affirmations for starting difficult changes are “I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ, and I am disciplined and self-controlled,” which came from Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts.

4. Visualize success

I never visualize myself to be skinny, I visualize myself to be healthy. And even still, I try not to visualize myself skinny because it becomes frustrating when the image in my head is not congruent with my body. I don’t do that, instead, I visualize myself cooking a healthy meal, getting out of bed excited to go running and fuel up my day, or meeting new friends during a group fitness class. Train your mind, like your body, to work for you and not against you.

5. Write out your goals

The minute I wrote out my goals on a large piece of paper and put them on my wall, my brain automatically reminded me of the commitment I made. Your mind will ensure that you do not forget.

6. Make a commitment

Once a commitment has been made on the inside, life begins to portray the fruits of your labor on the outside. It requires dedication and self-control and discipline. But you are worth it, remember?

Well, what are you waiting for? If you’re nervous, make a small commitment and increase as you go. I know right now, I am making huge commitments because I trust myself to only succeed. I know that I used the example of weight loss but you can make a commitment in any area of your life that has left you feeling stumped. For some, it is financial, mental, emotional, or relational struggles, but whatever it is make a decision that some things are going to have to change, and then begin to implement strategies for those changes. For 2016, the biggest commitment that I have made is stepping outside of my comfort zone and aiming higher because I want to succeed. How badly do you want it? Only you can define what “it” is, exactly.

Discover The Power Of Acceptance

By Alice McCall

All of us have had disappointments in our lives. We have worked hard for something that just didn’t happen – like a promotion, or a job offer. Many of us have had an unforeseen event or accident occur that renders us helpless.

When you are faced with a life experience that isn’t what you expected, consider the power of acceptance. That’s right, plain old ‘acceptance’.

It is easy to accept life when everything goes your way, but most of us tend to resist when the tide shifts, therefore not accepting things as they really are.  Often the most powerful life lessons come from these times. You learn about yourself, what you are capable of, and what you have to offer others.  Remember, everything is in perfect working order from your soul’s perspective.  Since you do not have that perspective, it is best to accept the moment and let go of your expectations.

You may think that things are not working, because it is not what you had planned or expected. You then complicate the process by resisting – due to the expectations that you have created.

You may feel that if you are good and follow your truths that nothing bad will happen. You then can feel frustrated and betrayed when ‘bad’ things happen. I’d like to offer another perspective. There are no bad experiences. What appears bad is only the result of your perceptions and classifications about a situation at a particular moment in time.

Have you ever looked back on a so-called ‘bad experience’, only to see that a new direction followed? This experience probably changed your path, creating something that was so much better for you.  It is not easy for us to recognize the bigger picture in the moment, but our soul can. Remember everything that at first appears bad, always has a gift inside for you.

You may also feel as if you have been ‘stopped’ from moving forward. Your progression probably isn’t halted but rather, you are finding a new direction.

As your soul grows and evolves there are always ‘tests of faith’. These can often feel like a struggle, however, to your soul it is an advancement, which you often complicate by resisting. As easy as it is to fall into a pattern of resisting or getting upset, it won’t change the situation. So, why not switch that pattern and support your soul’s advancement through acceptance.

Here is a message that I received in a meditation the last time I was faced with a ‘why me’ experience which was leaving me angry and in despair… “Do not be hurt or angry when your soul is following its natural course of direction.”

Therefore, when things are not going your way, let it be so. But how? How do you find acceptance?

First: Surrender the need to change it.  Surrender the need to question it. Surrender the expectation of how it should be. Surrender the need to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Just accept that this is what is supposed to be happening right now.

Second: Quiet yourself. All answers come to a quiet, harmonious mind.  Peace comes to you when you accept it. Peace cannot be forced or willed, it must be experienced. Wealth in all forms comes easily when you acknowledge, accept, and appreciate all that you have been given. Accept your plight as an opportunity to learn and move forward. Do not view it as an obstacle. See the opportunities in your available directions, and accept them as they are.

Third: Release the need and frustration of what it is not available at this time. Let go of what is not working and move forward. Do not dwell on what you are leaving behind, if you do, it will only hinder your new opportunities. Remember the future is always greater than the past.

A great exercise to help you visualize and release attachments is to see each thing or thought inside a balloon. Focus in on the color, the size, and even the shape of each balloon. Then see your hand holding the strings. Slowly release each balloon, watching them fade away into a cloudless blue sky.

My final word on the topic of acceptance is to allow the process of your life to unfold gracefully. Acceptance allows this to happen. Choose acceptance and you will receive the gift of all that is suppose to be!

10 Things I Want To Tell My Daughter

By Talya Flowers

I believe that God has a great sense of humor.

I will believe this until the day that I die because several months ago, I started working with children, and not school age—I worked with toddlers. You know the group of kids that every parent, as they drop their kids off with us, says “I just don’t know how you do it.”

Neither did I.

Every day I would come into work, bright and early, and see the prettiest little girl. I’d come in and she’d hover near me, give me a hug or ask me a million and one questions. Then I’d begin my daily routine: Lip-gloss. Deodorant. Lotion. “Taya, what is that?” “Can I have some?” she’d say in the cutest voice, with her hands wrapped around my thigh.
I’d squeeze the tube so that just a dab of lip-gloss came up and then I’d place it on her finger. As she placed the lip-gloss onto her lips, I’d tell her “you are the most beautiful girl in the world.” And she’d smile the biggest smile.

Looking down at her, I’d picture my own daughter one day saying and doing the exact same thing. She’ll want to do what mommy does because she can only do what she sees. She’ll want to know what mommy knows because she can only know what she has been taught. As a queen, I want to raise a queen.

Here are 10 things that I want to tell/show my daughter; ten non-negotiable facts about her worth.

1. God loves you unconditionally.

I can tell you all day that God loves you, but you have to believe it for yourself. He does. He really does.

2. Know your value.

When you accept that God loves all of you, you begin to see yourself as he sees you: worthy, deserving, a queen. God raises queens. Always know your worth.

3. You are more than enough.

Everyone has their own interpretation of who somebody should be. Define yourself and never allow someone else to determine your worth. We have raised you better than that.

4. You are beautiful.

When I see you, I hear the scriptures “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” and “you are altogether lovely my darling there is no flaw in you.”

5. Honor your body.

I have heard this scripture quoted so many times in church. I understood what the intention was, but then I started analyzing the scripture. God tells us in scripture that a house divided cannot withstand. Then he tells us to honor our bodies and that we are a temple (we are a house). Hear me out. When you honor your body, you are honoring your mind, your body, and your spirit. To deny one of the three (mind, body, soul) is not honoring you.

6. Wait. Wait. Wait.

We meet people. We fall in love. We fall out of love. We are heart broken. We learn not to repeat those steps. Who you are in elementary school will be different from who you are in high school. Who you are in high school will be totally different from who you will become in college. Don’t rush. Wait. Wait. Wait. God blesses those who wait.

7. Guard your heart, don’t gate it.

I have a big heart, and I pray that I am going to pass that down to you. Guard your heart by wisely choosing who will be close to you. Love everybody but only allow those into your queendom who are willing to do the same for you. Never gate your heart but become selective in who gets to get close to the gift. You are the gift and not everyone can afford you.

8. Believe in yourself.

I will support you. I will fight for you. I will motivate, encourage, and uplift you. That will mean nothing if you don’t believe in yourself first. Believe in yourself and you will take on the world.

9. Work hard for what you want.

I am in a place mentally where I know that my decisions now will impact you. I am working hard to figure out what is going to be the best decision for the family. I am working hard. I value hard work. And you should too. It’s okay to rely on other people, but you have to work hard for what you want. Become your own cheerleader.

10. Your life, your rules, choose wisely.

I know I will see myself in you. I pray now that you do not inherit my stubbornness or self-sufficiency (you can have some but not all :). It’s your life. Period. Point. Blank. I can only offer guidance from what I have experienced by having a heart too big in a sometimes cruel world. Every choice you make has a consequence. As your mother, I’d advise you, of course, to reread number 6 on the list.

If you know that God loves you unconditionally and you know your value, then I am sure you will be just fine.

I love you, and I haven’t even met you yet.

Sincerely,

Your mother

12 Wrong Assumptions People Often Make About Their Life

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So you think you know how the world works, huh? Sure, we all do. We all like to think that we have it figured out. But do you really? Many times, people make assumptions about life that simply aren’t true. Here are 12 of them.

1. People are watching your every move and judging you.

We live in a world that is highly judgmental. Every time you open up a celebrity magazine, you read about how the latest beautiful actress has suddenly gotten “fat.” And if you’re not a superstar in your chosen field or your kids aren’t getting straight As, then you’re a loser. At least that’s probably what goes through your head. And you also think that’s what other people think. They don’t. Most people are so busy judging themselves that they don’t even give you much thought at all.

2. You have “failed,” when in fact you just haven’t succeeded yet.

Anyone who has ever achieved greatness has “failed” more times than they have succeeded. Donald Trump lost all his money many times, only to make it back again. George Lucas got Star Wars turned down by countless movie studios. And Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. If any of them had given up because they thought they had “failed,” then where would they be now? Nowhere.

3. If you ignore a problem, it will go away.

Ahhhhh. The ostrich. Keeping your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away. Well, here’s a newsflash for you: It won’t. I don’t care what the problem is—it can be problems with your marriage, at your job, your kids—it won’t go away unless you take action to fix it.

4. You need to be perfect.

You don’t. Perfection is just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist! The problem is that we all think it exists. What is “perfect” for one person is not perfect to another. It’s all subjective. So instead of chasing perfection, how about chasing happiness instead? Do things you love. Spend time with people who make you happy. That’s a much better goal than non-attainable perfection.

5. Everything that goes wrong is other people’s fault, not yours.

Personal responsibility—it’s a lost art in our culture. We see this every time we hear crazy law suits where someone is suing a restaurant because they spilled their own hot coffee on themselves. Sure, other people contribute to problems. But it’s up to us to adjust our attitude and reactions to that. All you can control is your perception of the problem, and then take action toward personal responsibility.

6. You just can’t do it.

You can. You can do anything that you set your mind to. So stop making excuses. I don’t care what your goal is, if you want it badly enough, you will find a way. If you don’t want it enough, you will find excuses. Spend some time really examining what you want. Then go after it.

7. All of your expectations of other people are reasonable.

Expectations are deadly. If people don’t live up to your expectations, then you are disappointed and it creates problems. Think about this: how do you feel when other people place expectations on you? It feels suffocating, doesn’t it? So let people be who they are. If you don’t like it, then stop hanging around them.

8. You think “this” is permanent. It’s not.

I don’t care what “it” is: an unsatisfying job, unemployment, being single, or being in debt. It can all be changed. All you need to do is believe it. Then take action. The only thing that is permanent is death. All other things change. One of the sayings I love is, “And this too shall pass.” It’s true. Really, it is!

9. You’re not important.

Everyone is important. You don’t need to be a CEO of a company or Oprah to be important. We all have our own little niche in the world. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you are hugely important to your kids. If you’re a cashier at a fast food restaurant, you’re important to the people who are trying to buy food. Reframe “important” and believe that you are valuable in your own way.

10. You think you’re always right.

Perception is reality. That’s a motto I live by. And you should too. Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s point of view, well, that doesn’t make them wrong. And just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t make you wrong either. Everyone is “right” because it is their perception of a situation that matters. And that’s it. So agree to disagree.

11. Something is holding you back.

The only thing holding you back is yourself. Examine your beliefs. Do you think you’re smart? Capable? Worthy? That you can add value to the world? If you don’t, then you need to figure out why because those thoughts are like a cage that keep you stuck. Being stagnant isn’t healthy. So learn to get out of your own way and believe you can do it!

12. You can’t be happy.

You can. It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take beauty. It doesn’t take fame. It doesn’t take any of that to be happy. But you know what it does take? A decision. A decision to be happy. Yep. That’s it! Another motto I have is, “It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.” It’s all about viewpoint and attitude. You are in control of both of those. So changing your thinking will change your life and ultimately make you happy!

10 Ways To Get Up When You’re Feeling Down

By Steve Goodier

Do you ever feel blah? Ever wish you had a permanent “picker-upper”? If so, this may be for you.

In the 1920s, if you were looking for a little pick-me-up with your mid-afternoon snack, you might have reached for a cold, refreshing glass of 7-Up. Well, it wasn’t called 7-Up back then, it was called “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.” (Say THAT three times fast!)

Inventor C. L. Griggs’ original recipe included the antidepressant lithium until the 1940s as a “picker-upper.” The original Coca-Cola formula also included a “picker-upper” — cocaine.

Today, people not suffering from serious depression understand that they usually don’t need mood-altering drugs to cope with daily life. But most folks struggle with bouts of mild depression, despondency or “the blahs” from time to time. How do you pick yourself up when you’re feeling down, without the aid of Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda?

I hope I’m not telling you anything new when I say that talking about the reasons you’re down, making needed changes, watching your diet, getting enough exercise and sleep, developing a positive mental outlook and utilizing spiritual resources are all important pieces of our emotional puzzles. But one important strategy for feeling better (and one that’s LEAST used) is as important as the rest. It is helping others in need.

1. Visit a shut-in neighbor.
2. Write a letter.
3. Call a friend who has been struggling.
4. Volunteer at church, synagogue or the local food pantry.
5. Rake someone’s leaves.
6. Bake homemade bread for a new neighbor.
7. Wash your spouse’s car.
8. Volunteer to baby-sit for a young mother.
9. Plan an unexpected act of kindness.
10. Give a gift for no reason at all.

The needs are abundant, and those who put aside some regular time to do something kind for others will often forget they were feeling low. Why does is work? I don’t know … it just does. Reach out and lift somebody else up and for some wondrous and magical reason, you lift yourself up, too.

Corrie Ten Boom beautifully said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” And if you’ve been feeling low, the best time to donate a piece of yourself is now.

3 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Dreams

By Amanda McPherson

Something inside of you is saying that you want more…that you have more to offer the world. But, the thing is, it just stays there—sitting stagnantly inside that head, that heart, that gut of yours…

Why?

Here are three ways you may be sabotaging your dreams:

1. You are waiting to feel “special”

Here’s the deal, the people who are out there living their dreams are special.  Yep,that’s right.  They were born with this super fantabulous specialness chip, and you simply didn’t get. Sorry. You’re out of luck.

How ridiculous does that sound?

When we look at the people who we admire; the people who are using their unique gifts in a way that fills them up and makes them shine from the inside out, we aren’t looking at some kind of alien from the Planet of Specialness of which we don’t belong.  Those people don’t have anything you don’t have —except maybe the realization that they didn’t have to be “special” before they started pursuing their dreams.

Take the pressure off of yourself to be “special” and allow the flawed, imperfect, brilliant, unique, authentic you to put one foot in front of the other.

2. You think you’re “lazy”

A mentor of mine once told me, “I don’t believe in lazy”.  She went on to explain her belief that there is always something deeper behind a person’s laziness— Maybe it’s a fear of failure. Perhaps it’s disbelief that you really can be happy; or that you deserve to be. Or, maybe, you have no tolerance for the discomfort and hard work that comes with leaving your comfort zone.  The next time you blame your “laziness” for not pursuing your dreams, I encourage you to look deeper. Examine it.

Don’t let yourself believe in lazy.

3. You don’t want to be an acorn

You’ve probably heard the analogy about how every beautiful oak tree once had to start out as an acorn. But, I mean, who the heck wants to be an acorn?! We want to be beautiful, big, strong oak trees, darnit!

I am going to take this opportunity to practice what I preach about vulnerability and share something with you—I would love, loooove, loooooove to be sitting on a couch across from Ellen someday (yes, as in DeGeneres). You know, just us girls. Chatting like old pals about spreading kindness, empowering women…saving the world…yada, yada, yada. Whoa! That’s some serious Oak Tree dreamin’, right? Sure, I’ll admit it. I have some big dreams. But, if I put that kind of pressure to succeed on every word I write or speak,I’d be paralyzed.

You have to be willing to be an acorn.

Tonight, being an acorn means sitting home on a Saturday night to write this post. Other days, being an acorn means submitting my writing to a publication and having it rejected. And, some days, this little acorn gets watered and fed by hearing that my words helped someone in some way.

It’s okay to have big Oak Tree dreams.  But, you can’t skip being an acorn. And, honestly, you don’t want to because it feels pretty darn good.

So, what is holding you back from pursuing your dreams? I really hope you’ll take the time to search for the answer to this question.

The world is waiting to receive what you have to offer.

On The Brink Of Breaking Your New Year’s Resolutions? Try These Tips …

By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

Many New Year’s resolutions are broken by the end of January. If that sentence describes you, don’t fret. New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep because we humans—and probably most primates—have brains that are designed for pleasurable sensations and encounters such as eating delicious food, having sex, socializing or mastering a difficult task.

And you probably guessed it—New Year’s resolutions defy your brain’s wiring for pleasure. And when your fun actions stimulate your brain’s hormones of oxytocin and endorphins, you don’t want to stop.

Soon your brain makes neural connections for those experiences that make you feel good. No wonder you don’t want to deprive yourself of your favorite food or activity. Too much restriction feels so horrible that you over-correct by bingeing. And then you resolve to work harder to stop whatever it is that you are trying to fix—and you get trapped in a resolution-restrict-indulge-resolution cycle.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill or process that guarantees New Year’s resolutions success, but here are some tips that have worked for the women in my study and for people in general. You will have to experiment to see which ones work for you.

Smart Steps for New Year’s Resolutions Success:

1. Evaluate to motivate.

Make a list of all the things you’d like to change. Now rate them in both in degree of importance and difficulty. Ask yourself, “How likely am I to do this?”Since health issues are often the most important, you might choose to work on that. Yet, some health-related problems such as losing weight are the toughest ones to address. What should you do?

2. Build in on-going help and support.

Get professional guidance immediately. You don’t want that first week at the gym to be your last. The best solutions combine motivation and pleasure. Weight Watchers uses group support and motivation, and they design diets that permit treats. Tell all your family members and friends about your resolutions and ask them to help you—or join you!

Get a buddy. Tell a friend to check in on you—or go with you or speak up when you shop or eat too much. Going it alone courts failure. Or, if you really want to quit smoking, consult a professional and find a support group.

Even if your partner does not want to join you, do it without him or her—at first. Usually, one partner’s new behavior eventually sparks the other person to participate, too. Be careful, though, of the temptation to give up together!

3. Take small steps to train your brain.

Rather than make big resolutions, vow to take one small step a day. Allow your brain to get used to going without the pleasure of a cigarette or drink or dessert. In some cases, though, eliminating totally your unwanted behavior works better. Now you can see why resolutions are so complicated! Some people don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all since the resolutions are almost always too big. Instead, truly take it one day, one hour at a time.

4. Know your moods triggers.

Get mindful of your feelings and state of mind. Do you feel insecure, lonely or unloved? What have you done in the past to soothe you—drink, eat, shop, for example? Ask yourself: “How am I feeling right now and what would I normally do about it that is not good for me? And what can I do to handle my situation that is good for me?”

5. Start again—and learn. Don’t give up.

Get back on that horse, as they say. Giving up old behavior that made you feel less stressed and unhappy is difficult to change. Learn from your setback. Ask yourself, “What triggered my relapse?” When you relapse, which is very common, just start over—and be more vigilant about your triggers. Remember, behavior is a choice.

6. Create rewards to assist your brain to connect pleasure with discipline.

A reward might be permission to eat one or two small bites or buy one item under a certain amount—or not buy anything at all! Eventually, your success will become its own reward. Or, create a money jar where you deposit a dollar or all your change every time you stay on course. Or, don’t allow yourself to watch your favorite show or use social media until you complete your task for the day.

7. Be your own buddy and stay positive.

Think about your previous success in overcoming your urge to spend, smoke, eat, drink or do any other undesirable behavior. Keep a Success Journal so you can read what you did to recognize and resist the temptation to give in. Say these words out loud: “I know this change is difficult, but I deserve to be healthy and happy.”

Happy Smart New Year!

Is Your Way Of Thinking Aligned With Lack or Abundance?

By Alice McCall

Are you holding on to foundational thoughts of lack? If someone asked me that question a year ago, I would have said, “Of course not! My intentions are positive, and I trust the power of my own manifestation.”

What caught me by surprise over the last year was the discovery that deep within me, I was holding onto ‘lack thinking’. We all know that this can create the opposite of what we desire and deserve!

Let’s play out a few examples:

My thoughts about support:

My intentions were that my life flows easily and effortlessly – that all the support I need is available to me. I believed it. I knew it was true. But one day I caught myself saying to someone – (not a premeditated conscience thought) – “I always have to work hard for everything in my life.”

In an instant, I realized that I have carried around this thought for years! It had become a part of the energetic fabric of me. It had become a foundational thought for me and my life. I quickly went to work to shift that thinking on all levels.

My thoughts about time:

My intentions were that I had a peaceful flow to my life where I was centered and balanced. Then one day, I found myself saying, “I can’t keep up. There is not enough time!” Wow! Where did that come from?

In exploring this, it appears that my ‘not enough’ thinking has become a norm in our society. There is not enough time, not enough money, not enough love, not enough caring, and not enough understanding. We are a ‘not enough’ society, and this mass consciousness creates and recreates our world. The result is a behavior to hurry up and get as much as you can, before someone else takes the little bit that there is. In truth, there is more than enough for everyone.

It occurred to me recently that my local economy is so linked to Real Estate buying and selling. It is a foundational thought of everyone right now that there are not enough buyers. As a community we have ‘lack thinking’ as part of our fabric! I wonder what would happen if we all collectively shifted our own thinking to: “There are many buyers of real estate who have the money and the motivation to purchase in our area.”

Bottom line, the universe reacts to all thoughts. If you are holding on to lack thinking subconsciously, while manifesting with positive intentions, you are sending mixed messages!

I have recently structured an abundance workshop that has two distinct parts: (1) Shifting your lack thinking and (2) manifesting the life you desire. I believe the process of getting rid of the old before bringing in the new is extremely important. Especially, if the old is working contrary to your positive purpose!

No one is immune to ‘lack thinking’. What’s yours? What is so integrated into the fabric of you, that you are not even aware of it?

Reset Your Patterns: 10 New Habits To Try

By Cierra Savatgy-King

Do you wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and do it again the next day? Have you found yourself rinsing and repeating?

I know this story all too well. And I never thought I would. Somehow the day-to-day shuffle found roots in me and it was like an invasive plant. The nasty roots kept growing. My life was an auto-pilot, and I wasn’t taking notice of the beautiful, magnificent world around me.

After some ah-ha moments of realizing my patterns weren’t healthy, I acknowledged something had to change. I shook it up big time to try to loosen those nasty roots so I could put them back in a healthy place.

I put my life in a storage unit, started renting vacation rentals and moving every two weeks in my home town. Among the lost clothes and shoes, I somehow found myself because I wasn’t on auto-pilot anymore. I was forced to wake up and look around me (literally, I had to remember where I lived). My comfort zone had to be broken down just a bit.

Getting out of our comfort zone doesn’t necessarily have to mean jumping off of a cliff when you’re terrified of it, or quitting your job right now because it’s not perfect. Sometimes it’s the tiny things we do that allow us to see life just slightly differently: and then those big steps aren’t clouded with fog. Clarity emerges.

After more than a year of living in vacation rentals, I wanted to share the top 10 tiny things that contributed to a monumental change in my life by simply resetting daily patterns.

Here are 10 simple ways to reset your daily patterns to turn off auto-pilot and allow for self discovery:

1. Drive home a different way.

When living at 17 homes in Austin in a year, I literally had to remember where I lived. I had to be awake and aware. I started finding new streets with beautiful parks & creeks that I had always just driven by before.

2. Stop using the word “busy.”

When someone asked how I was, I used to always respond with, “busy.” I realized how often I was using this and how it provides no value to say it. We are all busy! It’s like answering, “I’m alive! And you?” I tried not allowing myself to use this word for a month, then realized how big of a change I felt. I now consider “busy” profanity in my house. Consider the question with a real response. It shifts the energy. “Today I’m excited because I just killed it in my presentation.” “Really? What was it about?” Boom. Authenticity unites.

3. Call your barista by their name.

It somehow feels awkward for me to do this. I don’t think it’s just me, because I noticed most of us don’t do it…even when the person is wearing a nametag. Test it out: you may be surprised at how it actually wakes up the person in front of you and they engage with you personally. It’s a fun experiment.

4. Do your daily walks/runs backwards.

Not literally backwards, though that would shake it up too. Go the opposite way you normally go. Or pick a different path altogether, even if you have to drive 3 minutes to get to another neighborhood. Houses, trees, and yards look different. You don’t know what’s right around the next corner.

5. Pick a restaurant or bar you’ve never been to.

The next time a friend suggests happy hour, look for a place you’ve never been before. I am prone to pick the places I know I can find parking at and I know the drinks will be a hit. But living in different neighborhoods in my town required me to take a look at restaurants and bars I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to. What better discovery than new places to share a cocktail!?

6. Dance like a complete fool with a ‘Morning Happy Dance’

This sounds totally silly & I may regret sharing this, but sometimes at my house we have “Morning Happy Dances.” They consist of about 30 seconds of throwing your hands around in the air, jumping with no rhythm whatsoever, making contorted movements…then going back to normal like it’s no biggie. If that doesn’t “wake me up” out of a funky pattern, I don’t know what would.

7. Switch your pantie or bra drawer.

With each house we live in, our clothes live in different closets. Our shoes go in different places. Our towels dry on different hooks. And my pantie drawer gets moved around. Instead of reaching in the exact same place each and every morning, I had to think one extra second where something was. Because it’s so minute, it doesn’t add additional stress of not finding something. It’s so incredibly tiny, but still wakes up your brain.

8. Try saying ‘yes’ to something you wouldn’t normally say ‘no’ to.

I have a friend who believes in saying ‘yes’ to almost every invite. It has led him to some incredible experiences that most of us would consider once-in-a-life. (It’s also led him to being taken by real pirates once, so there’s that). Point being, saying ‘yes’ to something wild can completely wake up every inch of your senses. A friend invited me to a trapeze class. “What? You want me to fly through the air, 40 feet up with no training?” I did it. My hands were shaking like I’ve never shaken before – and I’m not even afraid of heights. It was truly terrifying. But holy crap, it was amazing. I felt more free than I’d felt in years. I walked away like I was on top of the world.

9. Try saying ‘no’ to something you normally say ‘yes’ to.

Alternately, I’ve had some serious breakthroughs saying ‘no’ this year. I tend to pack my schedule completely full. The old me would think if my calendar wasn’t filled, I was doing something wrong. But what actually has happened with some empty slots, besides less stress and ‘me time’, is that open slots have allowed for spontaneity with things I truly care about. It never gets written in my calendar, it just happens.

10. Set a goal (with a deadline) and reach it.

This can be small and attainable. It’s so easy to say someday you’ll do this or that, but then we get filled with guilt for NOT doing it. We can’t always do everything we want, but something changes inside us when we reach a goal. This month for me was getting up on stage & singing karaoke at the neighborhood karaoke joint. I did it it, and I feel like I surpassed a big hump. For me, it isn’t just about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but working towards something. Like finishing a painting, picking up the phone and calling an old friend, taking a dance class, or even having a “first date” with yourself to consider setting some big goals. Pick something small, put a short deadline on it, and just do it. I was surprised how this change in pattern made the BIG goals much less scary to conquer.

I’m a work in progress, like we all are. Some days I do the above magnificently well. Others I stumble and fall right back into my previous patterns. But, realizing that small changes in my pattern can wake me up gets me excited to try something different.

These experiences have inspired me to think differently, act differently, and see the world just at a slightly different angle. I still wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep, but I’m doing it awake. These tiny changes made a monumental impact in my life.

I hope one or two of these makes an impact in your life.

10 Reasons Why Women Need To Have Inner Strength

By Anisha Joshi

Being a woman in the 21st century isn’t always easy. People gaze you, they judge you, they weaken you, they criticize you, and can even make you feel guilty for your own existence. But it is you who needs to define yourself. Your power lies in being a woman who is so internally strong that nothing can break her.

Being a woman is all about being responsible – being responsible for how people perceive you. It is not defined by the clothes you wear, but how you wear your own attitude. Yes, you got it … the right ATTITUDE is the word that needs to be defined from your own perspective. If you think you are strong, you truly become so. The inner strength is the most important attribute that you must have. It is your life, and you are the Royal Mistress who has every right to live your life the way you want. Nothing can stop you from being the woman you want to be.

Here are 10 reasons why women need to have inner strength:

1. People will say things about you – you just can’t stop them.

My grandmother reminds me of a popular cliché: “If a woman walks fast, they say she a procrastinator. And if a woman walks slowly, they say she walks as if she has no energy and enthusiasm.” Hence, people will always say something about you. Whether you pay attention to compliments or take the criticism constructively, it is all your choice. The truth is you can’t change the people. But you also don’t need to change yourself. You just need to be strong enough to ignore their perceptions and move ahead in life. Ignore a few things, accept certain constructive criticisms ,and follow your joy.

2. Situations and circumstances will not always be in your favor.

There will be situations in life which you detest. After working very hard, you may not always get the desired results. Don’t be disheartened. Continue your life’s journey with a smile and remind yourself that “even this will pass.” Just stay strong when things are not in favor.

3. People of opposite values may often be your family members/office colleagues.

You may hate onion pizzas, but the person who is right next to you in the office may order them daily for his lunch. Should you be irritated and complain daily?? No, certainly not. You need to adjust. This trait of adjusting to people comes only when you are internally strong. People who cherish the happiest relationships are the ones who are flexible and internally strong.

4. Every man will define you differently, so stay intact with your own definition.

A guy at school called “Miss G.” fat. Another guy at college called her a geek. There was a person in the office who felt she was stubborn. Can you imagine the plight of such a woman if she allows herself to be influenced by everyone’s opinions?? Certainly she will be declared mentally unfit. You just can’t be a football for others’ opinions. You must have the clarity regarding who you are. If you know yourself, you will stay intact with your own definition.

5. Gender bias or the taboos of the society can’t be the reason for your failure in life.

Oprah Winfrey had to bear sexual atrocities in her early days. She was rejected in auditions. But this didn’t stop her. She did all that she could and tried again. Today, I am quoting her as an inspiration for you. Every woman has some set of limitations gifted to her by the society, family or maybe even religion, but those limitations are so small when the sky is the limit.

6. You need to be yourself – unique and special the way you are.

Over a period of time, people will come into your life and will try to change your beliefs just for their sake. There will be emotional or social blackmails too, but you must accept and embrace yourself. You must learn to celebrate your existence. Love yourself so much that nothing in the world can make you feel inferior. If you love yourself, you start loving your life, too.

7. There will be times in life when you will be standing alone.

Sometimes, the toughest battles of life are fought alone. Only these battles provide you with strength. You may have to overcome a financial crisis or may have to move ahead with your ambitions. Just fight your battle with valour, even if you are alone. If it is required, God will send an angel, but you need to be strong. Be fearless.

8. Unexpected and unprecedented results may be deprived from your consolidated and confident actions.

Life is an unexpected and unprecedented tale. Do you ever enjoy watching a movie if you already know the story? In fact, many people don’t even watch a thriller if the end is known to them. Same is the case with life. Life is a thriller, tragedy, romantic tale with many emotions. Have an open mind and an open heart too, to accept the results. This is the true beauty of life … you can predict and expect everything!!

9. You need to stay strong if a relationship doesn’t work and then collapses.

A person either enters your life to stay there or to teach you a lesson. It is perfectly fine and normal to misunderstand a person. If you happen to do so, you aren’t the only one. But take care of yourself. Go and throw a “break up party” and welcome your single status with pride because the past relationship has made you mature – and you have a new life lesson. Isn’t that a great thing?

10. You are beyond this body, name, and position – you are an eternal energy.

Yes, that is the ultimate truth about your life. So there isn’t any point in being in fear. The quantum physics has proved that our thoughts too, are vibrations and have a frequency. You have the power to create your life. Be the creator of your future. You can create only when you have the clarity of thoughts. You have the clarity of vision when you are internally strong.

STAY STRONG!!

6 Self-Analyzing Questions

By Dick Sutphen

He teaches best what he most needs to learn, so when I tell you this, I’m really telling myself. What you think, feel and say about the circumstances in your life can keep you from acting to remedy situations that need to be resolved. We often lie to ourselves, not consciously, but by accepting circumstantial evidence as truth. And it can keep us from experiencing our power.

1. What career negativity have you accepted?

Take a look at your career and explore any kind of programming you have accepted that isn’t serving you. Assumed limitations and faulty assumptions can easily result from a downturn in revenue or a shift in market conditions. This kind of negative thinking can also be related to your self-image, the size of your vision, or your current feelings of power. Until you become aware of such self-imposed beliefs, it is unlikely you’ll do anything to rise above them.

As an example: I’ve been guilty of echoing the New York publishing world in saying, “New Age publishing is a dead genre.” But in reality, although the number of books being published is greatly reduced, new titles continue to come out and plenty of people want to read them. So I’m going to work on a new book.

2. What relationship negativity have you accepted?

If you’ve been dwelling upon your partner’s flaws, or a difference of opinion in regard to values or a life direction, have you allowed the differences to become a block to an otherwise good relationship? If so, your expectations are in conflict with what is. Your mate thinks one way, you think another, and that’s what is. You probably won’t be able to change their mind, so can you change your viewpoint?

In most life situations we don’t actually solve problems, except through our viewpoint-our perspective. By changing your viewpoint you can often eliminate the effects of a problem (so you’re no longer effected). And if you’re no longer effected by a problem you don’t have a problem … although nothing about the problem situation may have changed.

3. If you don’t have a primary relationship but desire one, what negativity have you accepted in regard to establishing a loving relationship?

Fate isn’t going to send a lover to your door while you sit home. You have to act. Go out and meet people. Research studies of single people who are lonely showed they often had rigid and demanding expectations about relationships. Perfectionism is not a positive trait in this area.

If you desire a relationship, ask yourself, what will change when I get what I want? Obviously a lot of things will change. Now, look at the changes you won’t like, because among these changes you’ll find the negative blocks that are keeping you from having what you want.

4. What goal-achievement negativity have you accepted? If you know what you want, what are you doing to get it?

It is easy to be discouraged, or to procrastinate when it comes to manifesting your desires. But most change takes time. The secret to success is to keep at it, step- by-step. Be tenacious and use mind-programming to remain focused and accelerate the process.

5. What Universal Laws are you failing to consider?

Where your attention goes, your energy flows. The Law of Attractions says that you attract what you are and that which you concentrate upon. If you’re negative, you draw in and experience negativity. If you’re loving, you draw in and experience love. You can attract to you only those qualities you possess. So if you want peace and harmony in your life, you must become peaceful and harmonious. So, where is your attention? What kind of energy are you generating? What are you attracting?

The Law of Attitude says, nothing in the Universe can harm you but your attitude. It is your attitude that moves you toward events and experiences and it is your attitude that will worsen or lighten any event, catastrophe, or tragedy. You and you alone choose the attitude with which you will respond.

6. Have you allowed others to fool you when it comes to self-interest?

There are three types of people to consider: 1. Self-actualized people who know they act only in their own self-interest; 2. People who know they act in their own self-interest, but attempt to make you believe otherwise; 3. People who don’t allow themselves to know their own truth and sincerely believe that other people’s interests are put before their own.

Become involved with the first type of person, one who acknowledges how the game of life is played. The second type is attempting to fool you. The third type fools himself and also attempts to fool you.

Anything you want that will add pleasure to your life-success, love, friendship, freedom, material items-will cost you in terms of time, energy, money, sacrifice, or any combination of these things. If you don’t accept the cost in advance, you may regret it when the bill comes due.

Throw Away The Cookie Cutter

By Mary Miller

Have you ever had a dream you thought was real? So real that you were just about to throw down in a fist fight to stand up for what you believed in? Yep, that happened to me.

Picture this. I was at a High School graduation telling the students to forget about what society tells them and to define their own American Dream – their own version of success. And to add to the drama, then I threw cookie cutters at the oppressors symbolizing I did not agree with their ways. And as I prepared to get accosted … I woke up …

Isn’t it funny how dreams are sometimes not that far off from reality? As a society we give lip service to individuality, but when someone tries to be their true self, they are shut down, scolded, or worse. It’s not a secret that not everyone was made to achieve a Ph.D., start a business, climb the corporate ladder, or to stay home and raise a family. You get the point! We were all born with unique gifts and talents which enriches this world IF we use them.

Yet when I ask people how THEY … not their parents, teachers, family, spouse … but how THEY define success, they often say “No one has ever asked me that before.” Well my friend, I’m asking you today. How do you define your version of success? How do you throw away the cookie cutter?

Here are 5 tips to help you answer that question:

1. Repeat After Me: “I Am Not Selfish.”

Realize that defining your version of success is not selfish. Maybe you have a good job, a great husband, a nice family, but you are living your mom or dad’s version of success – and you’re miserable! Let me share a secret with you – you are not the only one! But think about this – to not let your individual light shine is actually selfish. Why? Because we all miss out on who you could become.

2. Pay Attention to Your Day Dreams.

What do you day dream about? Going on a mission trip, teaching horseback riding, inventing something, writing a book, helping people, solving math problems, editing stories, crime scene investigation, owning a farm, flying a plane … fill in the blank. Your day dreams will give you clues for defining your own version of success.

3. Listen to Others’ Comments.

What do others say you do well? Do you put information together like no one else they know? Can you bridge a tough communication gap? Are you known for reading way too many self-help books? Listen to what others are saying about your uniqueness.

4. Observe Yourself As You Play “The Game.”

Yes, life is a game that is all about connection and fitting in. How do you play that game? What part of your identify do you give up when you play? This will tell you more about your true skills, talents, and abilities.

5. Self-Discovery.

Take a personality/strengths test (i.e. Myer Briggs, DISC, Strength Finder etc.), take a personal development class, enroll in a mentor program, go to a conference, hire a coach, spend time with yourself to re-discover your strengths.

Which of these 5 tips will you put into action TODAY?

Stop “Believing In Yourself”… Just Do It!!

By Dan Munro

The education system you were raised with, if you went to a traditional school, is basically the same around the world. And it is completely messed you up.

As described in this awesome TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson (click here to view), there is a globally recognized hierarchy of subjects. Most of the world’s schooling systems subscribe to this, despite research often showing that there is no longer alignment between this hierarchy and the highest paying jobs (most are in psychology, medicine and IT, for which there are almost no specific subjects available until university level). So, the first problem is that you were discouraged from pursuing your natural talents and passions unless they aligned with this hierarchy.

The second and far more insidious problem is the structure of learning. In school you passively learn a new concept before you apply it (i.e. take action). You sit in a classroom being bombarded with information without being encouraged to apply it practically until the last minute, often in an unrealistic pressured situation.

In some high-ranking subjects, like English, the ratio between passive information and application (essays, exams, assignments) is ridiculous. You sit for 1-2 hours per week in class, for up to 40 weeks (60-80 hours of passive learning), and are then asked to apply it in high pressure exams (3-6 hours) and unsupported assignments (another 3-6 hours). So your opportunity for trial and error learning, which your brain is wired towards as a preference, is a mere 5-10% of total learning time.

Simply put, we are raised to believe that we somehow learn before we apply. For some reason, this has not been questioned by the schooling system.

In my coaching work, I’ve found that an opposing approach is far more productive. It’s all about re-framing your understanding of learning, from sitting there and passively absorbing information to getting active and trying ideas spontaneously.

There are few obstacles to this approach. Once you overcome these, your progress will skyrocket (or your money back!)

Fear of Failure

In school, you were taught to be afraid of failure. I call this the “red pen effect.” Every time you venture an incorrect answer in school you’ll face a high likelihood of punishment, through either embarrassment, dismissal, degradation, or rejection.

You learn quickly that it is safer to avoid answering a question than to guess. This is supposed to condition you into studying so that you know the answers prior to the class. That’s like asking someone who’s never driven a car to tell you the best way to parallel-park. It makes absolutely no practical sense.

In school, mistakes are highlighted and ridiculed. The teacher will write disparaging remarks in red pen next to guesses or incorrect answers. You will get into trouble if your grades fall low enough. You will be placed in “special” education, learning at a slower rate than the others, if your grades continue to remain low.

Bear in mind that this is all related to learning mostly about subjects which are not linked to the highest paying jobs!

In the real world, the ability to continually face failure is rewarded. The most successful people on the planet are those who have been through mistake after mistake, and learned from those. There are very few overnight successes in the top 1%, nor are there many people who played it safe.

Failure is something to be admired, not feared. Every time you screw up you are one step closer than 99% of people to success in that area.

Not Knowing Where to Start

School conditioned you to follow instructions and wait for guidance on how to get something started. In real life, no one tells you anything unless you’re a wage-slave.

If you want to be free, you need to accept the responsibility for initiation. It is your job to start things, even when you don’t know how. I’ve worked with some very ambitious people who had great ideas but never took action on them. It was like they were waiting for permission, or for someone to convince them that everything was going to work out fine.

There are no guarantees. Let go of the need for them. Instead, like serial entrepreneur Marie Forleo says: “Start small and sucky.” As soon as you have your first rough draft idea, take action. Even if the action is a dismal “failure,” you are now at least one step into your journey instead of sitting on the bench.

Temptation of Passive Learning

We feel good when we sit still and absorb information. It feels like real progress. This is because we were conditioned to feel rewarded for attendance. In school, you get more social reward points for simply showing up than you do for innovation.

As Eben Pagen says “Without action there is no learning.”

We feel good about ourselves when we absorb new information. This is why seminars by certain motivational speakers sell so well. You get there, you feel pumped and excited, and you are exposed to a bucket-load of new information. You walk away thinking “Wow, I learned so much!”

Fast-forward three months later, however, and your life has not changed a bit. All those revelations and epiphanies you experienced have not resulted in actual, measurable changes to your life.

“What happened?” you ask yourself. You figure it must be your fault, and that perhaps another seminar is the way to go. I mean, you felt so good the last time, right? That must be the answer.

Nope.

You’ve fallen for the oldest marketing trick in the book: you’ve been made to feel that you received value while your problem remains unsolved. This turns you into a repeat customer. Time for you to attend another seminar, or by the book, or subscribe to the monthly video series. None of which will solve your problem.

Without action there is no learning. Without learning there is no change. Without change in behavior, the results remain the same. Why is sitting there and absorbing information so tempting? Because it is EASY.

School has us believing that we are entitled to the good things in life if we just attend what we are asked to attend. It’s not the case I’m afraid.

If you want results, you need to take action. Period.

The only people who walked away from the seminar and saw actual improvements in their lives long-term were the ones who put the ideas into action. They set goals, based on behavioral changes, and went to work making them happen. They faced setbacks, misunderstandings, fear and embarrassment in order to implement the changes.

They got their money’s worth.

Focus on Outcome Instead of Process

Sometimes we do take action and yet feel like nothing’s changed. I see this all the time with clients who start working out and going to the gym, or changing their diet. Months go by and their frustration goes up due to lack of “results.” It’s only a matter of time before they give up.

You cannot control results.

Let me say that again: results are not under your control. Predicting the future is impossible.

So what does attaching your self-worth to the outcomes/results you’re after do? It puts your confidence in the hands of forces outside of your control, which will inevitably turn against you over time.

It all comes down to how you measure yourself. Let go of the results and focus on the part of the journey that is completely under your control: the process. Focus on the actions you take and efforts you make. It’s all about the attempt, not the outcome.

Let’s say you have a potential promotion coming up, and there are two choices: 1) try to write a perfect job interview script based on articles and hope to land your dream job (passive learning first with a focus on outcomes), or 2) practice being interviewed by friends you can trust and aim to use the job interview as a learning experience for your career (active learning first with a focus on process).

Which option leaves you feeling better about yourself? Which is more likely to get the result you desire?

Conclusion

You may be wondering about the title implying that “believing in yourself” is wrong. Let me clarify; this process I’m advocating is actually all about believing in yourself. But the perspective is different.

Rather than trying to be perfectly prepared before you take action, believe that you will learn what you need to learn from the experience. Believe that you will be able to handle getting it wrong. Believe that you a strong enough to face fear and rejection.

Actually, you don’t need to “believe” at all. Don’t trust it, just test it.

Use passive learning to understand your mistakes better after the attempt. By the time you attend the seminars, they should simply confirm what you’ve already found through trial-and-error, and give you ideas as to how you could do things better in the future. Make the first thing you learn be based on experience.

Just do it.

The 4 Letter Word You Need More Of In Your Life

By Mary Miller

I have said my share of 4 letter words. I “grew up” in manufacturing. Sometimes it was just a way to communicate. And other times, it was a way to make myself feel better even if it was for a couple of minutes. Then I tried to stop swearing, and would swear because I swore … ever done that one?

I’ve since learned that words are very powerful. They are the first outward expression of our thoughts and a step towards our actions. They can make or break your or someone else’s day. They can make or break relationships. They can confuse people, enrage people, comfort people, and help people.

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like everyone else is speaking a different language? Some days, communication can be so frustrating that you’ll be tempted to throw out a 4 letter word – maybe one that start with an “F” or “S.” Well, go for it. But try one that starts with an “H” … “H.O.P.E.” It may just help!

• H

Are your words helpful?

Do the words you speak help the other person you are talking to? Are they constructive? This includes what you say to yourself when you’re by yourself. If you wouldn’t say something to a friend, then don’t say it to yourself. When people talk to you, are they trying to be helpful but don’t know how? How can you guide them?

• O

Are your words objective?

Have you jumped to conclusions by reading into what someone else is saying which ended up not being what they meant at all? How many times has this happened to you? How many times have you had to back pedal and say these words “What I meant was X.” As best as you can, stick to words that are direct, impartial, and unbiased. Let people know what you mean. And if you don’t know what they mean, don’t assume. ASK!

• P

Do your words consider perspective?

When you chose your words, do you put yourself in the listeners’ shoes? Or after listening to someone else, do you take note of the words they use and perhaps understand more about their point of view? Remember that you are talking to communicate – not to just hear yourself talk.

• E

Do your words encourage others?

With all the negativity in the world, wouldn’t it be nice if you chose to encourage others? If someone is vulnerable and shares a new idea, what can you say to encourage them? Asking questions about their idea can build them up – or even just listening to them. Which words encourage you? How can you use them to build yourself up?

How can you add more H.O.P.E. to your life TODAY?

6 Things to Remember if People Try to Kill Your Dream

By Carol Morgan, Ph.D.

Not everyone will understand you or your dream. Some people will mock or criticize you. Others will tease you. Some people may even avoid you. But does that mean that you should listen to them and give up on your dream? Absolutely not! If you always wanted to own your own business, be an actress, or change careers, then just do it! Don’t let other people’s negative opinions prevent you from going for it!

Here are 6 things to remember if people try to kill your dream:

1. You <might> want to listen to them.

Sometimes people seem like they are criticizing when in fact they are simply offering some advice based on experience. It is wise to listen. That doesn’t mean that you have to follow what they say, but gathering as much information and opinions as you can is actually a good thing. Being open to advice will allow you to be flexible with your strategies to achieve your dreams. Maybe something they say will help you in the long run.

2. Talk to them.

Many people aren’t used to talking through their problems when they have major disagreements. But this is a very valuable way to clear the air. When you begin the conversation, do it non-judgmentally. Say something like, “I get the impression you do not think me pursuing my dream is a good choice. Am I right? I would like to talk to you more about it and explain why I am so passionate about it.” Refrain from becoming defensive and approach the conversation with a “team” mentality instead of a “me vs. you” mentality.

3. Thank them for their opinion.

Instead of getting defensive when people criticize your dream, thank them for their opinion. This will disarm them. People do not expect kind, loving words to be directed back at them when they are purposely trying to tear you down. So when you thank them, say something like, “I appreciate you sharing your opinion with me. It gives me something to think about. However, I am still passionate about pursuing my dream, so I will take your advice into consideration in the future if I need to do so. But for now, I’m going to continue on.”

4. If that fails, then stop talking about your dream with them to avoid their negativity.

If talking it out doesn’t work, then you are not obligated to go out of your way to talk about your dream with them. If the topic ever comes up in conversation, you can gently remind them that since they are not supportive, you would rather not talk about it. If you continue to be exposed to their negativity, it can affect you–but only if you allow it to. Simply avoiding the topic might be the best option with some people.

5. If worse comes to worst, then you may have to sever ties with them.

If you can’t talk it out or successfully avoid the topic, then you might have to completely stop seeing them. Obviously, this depends on the type of relationship. It is not likely or advisable that you sever ties with your parents or family. However, if it’s a friend or a co-worker, perhaps having their “naysayer attitude” out of your life for good might help you stay focused on your dream.

6. Don’t quit!

Always remember this: do not ever give up!! Don’t buy into other people’s negativity or believe that your dream is unreasonable. Anything is possible! You will find a way to happen when you work for it. Make your plan, keep your passion, take action, and then you will definitely make your dreams come true some day!

5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Confidence Issues

By Dan Munro

As a former sufferer of low self-confidence (without knowing it), I really sympathize with everyone out there. When clients finish my coaching program, we often discuss how they see the world differently now that they are confident. Without exception, one major change is always that they finally see how lacking in confidence nearly every person is.

Before, when they lacked it themselves, they thought everyone else had it all sorted out. Yet, it only takes a little personal experience of stretching your own comfort zone to start seeing how no one else is doing it.

I can’t work with someone until they’re ready to see that they are not living up to their potential. Sometimes, I can help someone see that by creating an internal crisis by pointing out the signs of low confidence.

If you think of yourself as confident and yet aren’t totally enjoying life, check out some of these common examples that might be sneaking past your conscious awareness…

1. Procrastination

Many people think of procrastination as some sort of uncontrollable pattern of behavior. They will often justify it by downplaying the task they’re procrastinating on, giving it a lower perceived value or importance.

Procrastination is actually caused by many different confidence issues.

The fear of a wrongful decision: being so unsure of your own ability to call the shots that you think it’s safer to not make any calls at all. The fear of failure: avoiding the risk of getting something wrong by not completing it. The fear of rejection: staying away from the task most at risk of getting a negative reaction from others.

Basically, it’s all about the secretly perceived consequences of actually doing the task.

When you procrastinate, it’s not because you’re lazy, busy, or overloaded. It’s because you are scared. Simple as that.

Solution:

Eat the big ugly frog. To translate: do the biggest, most uncomfortable task first, every day. This is almost always the most important activity for the day, and the one most likely to get the results you seek. Tell yourself you cannot even check your emails or eat breakfast until it’s done. Then you won’t having it eating away at your attention and confidence all day!

2. Obsession With Busy Work

This is often another form of procrastination, but the reason I separated it is because it’s so much more than that. The more someone is bored with their job, the more likely they are to remain as busy as possible. Chores, multi-tasking, rushing around, and doing lots of little tasks on the to-do list.

Quite often, I even see people somehow creating crises for themselves, as if to sabotage their own ability to find time. You know the ones I mean; their car always breaks down, there’s always some relationship having issues, or they’re often late.

Being busy is a nice easy distraction from the painful questions our Higher Self is trying to ask us. Questions like “Why do you keep making things worse?”, or “What the hell are you going to do with your life?”, and even “What’s the point of all this?”

Be keeping yourself physically occupied, you are essentially plugging yourself into the Matrix. You give yourself the illusion that you are productive and purposeful, because gosh, you’re just so busy, aren’t you? That must mean something, right?

Solution:

Do less. Sit down and write out a story about who you wish you were. List the kinds of behavior you would see in someone you admire. Admit and accept the time wasted that you regret. And then, every day, instead of doing a million things, just do the few things that actually matter.

Start living up to a higher standard rather than just running on fumes the whole time.

3. All Information and No Transformation

The self-development industry has a crucial flaw. It perpetuates the notion of being able to change without taking action. Life simply doesn’t work that way, but boy don’t we wish it did?

We can convince ourselves that we are improving by doing lots of nice little safe things. Reading self-help books, attending seminars, watching videos, and asking for advice. Feels like you’re doing a lot to improve yourself, right?

Wrong.

Seriously. Just wrong.

None of these things will create a single microscopic fraction of improvement until you take action. When you learn of some potential improvement strategy, the thing you dread most – trying it out – is the most important step of all.

Change is painful. Accept this fact or be doomed to a life that stays the same. If you want all that information to work for you, it will require facing failure, rejection, uncertainty, frustration, and lots of hard work.

And it will be totally worth it.

Solution:

Put down the books, trade in your seminar tickets, and stop asking questions. Take the information you have so far and go and put it into use. Measure your attempts as objectively as possible, and aim to make small improvements each week. Focus on your behavior rather than the results you want.

4. Reasonable Excuses

Rationality is what fear likes to hide behind. Excuses are the number one cause of quitting.

You can sit there and tell yourself all tons of interesting, credible, and completely understandable reasons as to why it’s not the right time to do that important thing. Or why you can’t afford it. Or why it would upset other people.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

You know you’re lying to yourself! That’s the most messed up part: you have to first lie to yourself and then go through the laborious journey of making the lie true.

The ironic thing is, it’s actually easier to just face the fear and do it. I know because I’ve been both the excuses guy and, later on, the guy who just went and did it.

Solution:

Start approaching life with the assumption that 99% of what you believe is not accurate. That everything in your head telling you “No, not yet!” is actually your fear sabotaging you. It’s trying to keep you safe, a slave of beliefs that do not help you achieve your dreams.

Every time you think that you “can’t” do something, test it out. Design an objective way of testing your beliefs, and measure the evidence. Prepare to be wrong, time and time again, and prepare to be glad you were wrong! Failure is your friend, you simply haven’t been properly introduced yet.

5. Anxiety Before Work

This should be an obvious one, but it isn’t. We’re raised to believe that work is a suffering we must endure to survive. We should be slaves for wages, and be grateful for the opportunity.

Can you really be a confident person if you’re feeling anxious every week? Can you really have high self-worth if you think your job is pointless and unrewarding?

Most people can convince themselves that their job doesn’t suck, or that they have no choice. This is to avoid the pain and guilt of wasting their time. But some part of them still knows. That’s why they feel the anxiety.

I used to wake up every day with excuses I could use to call in sick. For 15 to 30 minutes each morning, I would lie in bed debating whether or not to use them. Most times I could drag myself to work, after a long battle convincing myself that it was worthwhile, that people needed me.

Solution:

Figure out what your dream job is, and then put together a step by step plan as to how you could achieve it. No matter how “impossible” it seems, assume that you will find a way to make it work. Then, in your spare time, put as many hours aside as possible to take those steps.

Just one at a time.