Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where Did THAT Belief Come From?

Posted by Joyce Shafer

You're aware many of your beliefs were imposed on you--and you're working on this (yes?). See if you've ever had a subconscious belief similar to one I was surprised to recently discover.

A cold wind interrupted our early, warmer spring weather. I woke and felt chilled air from my partially opened window and smiled at the warm comfort of my bed. I felt deep appreciation for the comfort and the moment--and that delicious feeling was immediately followed by guilt on behalf of those who may not have a warm bed in their own space. Where did that come from, I asked myself?

I flashed back to when I was six or seven years old, dawdling over a lunch I didn't particularly like. I heard my grandmother say what was likely said to her, "Eat! There are starving people in (whatever country) who would be grateful to have that food."

I considered several substrata layers of that surface thought:
• You have to "eat" (accept) even what you don't feel is appropriate for you or desirable. (This can tilt into settling for less in any area of your life or permitting forms of abuse.)

• Whatever you feel is inappropriate or undesirable for you, you have no right to your feelings (dissatisfaction is inappropriate) or to want something better for yourself (who do you think you are), because others have less and would be grateful to have what you have or have been given.

• You should feel grateful for whatever you have AND guilty because if you have anything, remember there are others who don't have even that much. Somehow, what you have (been given, earned, acquired) directly connects to what others don't (or don't go after). And somewhere inside that thought is a responsibility for their situation that you should absorb--and feel bad about.

This reminds me of something Wayne Dyer said, and I'm paraphrasing: You can never be hungry enough to feed all the people who have no food. I assure you I was stunned to realize any guilt about having a modest comfort was roiling around in my psyche.

A statement intended to make sure a child received nourishment locked in way more than it was meant to. It locked in guilt as a stronger emotion than appreciation, which wears many "masks." It locked in a holistic, circular relationship with beliefs about lack. What kind of vibrational matching or order fulfillment will that create? Not the desired one, that's for sure. What opportunities for self-sabotage exist through that belief?

Reread the paraphrased Dyer statement. How many of your desired outcomes have subconscious guilt statements attached to them? Have you ever experienced a similar fleeting thought (or another) and ignored it? I'm almost willing to bet you've had them and brushed them away like an annoying insect. Next time this happens, pay attention. If not then, as soon as you have or can create a quiet moment to look at it and assess its implications in your life.

We learn beliefs, and we can unlearn them. We can decide to keep or not any belief imposed on and absorbed by us, no matter the source. If any belief withholds a fulfilling life from us, we have a responsibility to give it real thought and reassessment.

It doesn't matter how "evolved" you are after applying yourself to self-improvement and new thought, such beliefs long-buried deeply in your psyche will surface--if they aren't already obvious. Let go of any embarrassment about this, it's not useful. A natural part of the self-evolving process is to open to such moments so you can engage them and let go of them--see them for what they are and aren't.

Do a quick check-in on some of your beliefs. Pay attention to the first answer that pops into your mind. Then look at particular experiences and see if they match what came up.

• Men/Women are ...
• My relationship with money is "destined" to be ...
• Love is ...
• My self-worth is based on ...
• That race/culture is ...
• Aging is ...
• If I make a mistake ...
• If I do what is appropriate for me ...
• My right to success is ...
• I can feel lovable or worthy of love only when ...

We take a limiting belief and act as if it's real, as though it's the truth. Every belief is acted on automatically through our thoughts, feelings, words, choices, and actions. Then, we are not surprised--or are--by our experiences and results. Even when we attempt to change at the conscious level, we don't realize our subconscious still accepts the ingrained belief--until we see it, let it go, and grab onto one that supports us.

We've been conditioned to measure everything by results instead of what motivates us. We are motivated and directed--aware of this or not--by our conscious and subconscious beliefs. A good question about anything is what do you believe and who do you believe it for? If it's not for you, what would you like to do about it?

Doing more of the same--thoughts, feelings, words, beliefs, actions--will not bring you different results.

Here's a mental exercise from the training manual created by Bruce Schneider, Founder of iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching). It works best if you allow private time to align with the feeling of it as a "real" experience.

"Imagine that you have just awakened from a night's rest and whatever challenge you have come here with was miraculously overcome while you were sleeping. The challenge was completely solved overnight; but you were sleeping, and so you didn't know it was solved. You wake up and something is different. You inherently know that something is different, that something must have happened during the night. What is the first thing you notice that confirms that something actually did happen?"

Out-of-balance beliefs create tension. Tension reminds you to return to the truth: You are an infinite creative consciousness deliberately having a human experience.

You are what you practice.

Test-drive Reinvent Yourself. Visit the Empowerment Extras page on my State of Appreciation Website to see how you can get Implement 3--Design Your Magnetic Life and Business Vision free! Self-Doubters & Second-Guessers: learn to trust and follow what is natural, fulfilling, and even fun for you in life or business. Let Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business e-book or coaching program show you how. You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say (jls1422@yahoo.com). Details, her books and e-books, and current free weekly newsletter at http://stateofappreciation.webs.com

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Mother Teresa's Words of Love!

Happy Friday everyone. It's been an amazing week here at this desk. Lessons about life, who we are, what we do, and why, have been flooding over us all week. We give great thanks for them all, as we were caused to focus on the "giving" nature of our personalities.

We picked Mother Teresa as our example.

As one of the most influential women of the twentieth century, Mother Teresa devoted her life to serving the poorest of the poor, with the motto "To love until it hurts". The 100th anniversary of her birth is now being celebrated around the world.

Enjoy today's lovely piece in celebration of the many lessons she shared with us all.

Have a wonderful weekend.


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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who’s Got an Elephant or Three?

Posted by Steve Wickham

Forgive and forget wrongs — again and again and again!
~Janvrin & Selleck.

When our backs are against the wall we invariably bring out the big guns - those unsorted relational dilemmas that we really haven't forgiven or forgotten like we said we had. The plain fact is those who don't forgive and forget wrongs propel their relationships to a land of unforgiveness and hence distrust and uncertainty.

At least three types of elephants can form and intrude on the relationship, spoiling much collective good work that's previously been accomplished.

The Memory of an Elephant

In some respects it pays not to have a good memory. Wisdom dictates those things that are irresolvable we must simply resolve as 'accepted as-is' - or we'll only cause ourselves and our partner's ongoing pain as the madness is re-hashed over and again.

There is a great maturity in accepting the things we cannot change. There are things in all relationships that are tested in this way; things we'd have changed about our partners in a flash given the chance. But acceptance is the magic elixir every time.

An Elephant in the Room

Whether it's the stark body language or whether there's absolutely nothing giving it away, there are times in all relationships when the elephant in the room is not acknowledged. This actually builds and exacerbates the tension, contributing to the first elephant - when push comes to shove all the elephants come tumbling out of the closet.

The elephants in our marital rooms need to identified and acknowledged. Again, denial of the issues that grate only puts the important off - it can only ever spill over eventually in anger.

Feet like an Elephant

Whether it is feet like an elephant or the huffing and puffing around the house, the sullen mood does nothing productive for the relationship but place the same walls and barriers up that existed yesterday, last month, two years ago.

When we make a commitment to forgive and forget it means we also commit to doing our own internal work to process such things so they're truly no longer issues - we've resolved them, properly. This of itself is a process i.e. it doesn't happen overnight.

Anger and resentment are caustic factors in all relationships, particularly marriage relationships. These two - amongst others - have the power to destroy that which is good between you both. Will you let that happen or work together to deal with the truth, promoting peace and harmony, squashing anger and resentment at source?

Truly, forgive and forget!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yes, No or Maybe!

By Lynn Colwell

The amount of time spent making a decision should be in proportion to the impact it will have on your life. Anon.

There are two kinds of decision makers in this world. The type who, when you ask whether they prefer lasagna or spaghetti for dinner answer, "Lasagna, please," and the rest of the world who hem and haw and never get around to responding until dinner is done, the pots are washed, the kids are in bed and the lights are out. If ever.

I belong to the former group.

Not that it's a bad thing to be in either. It's just that it's difficult for the two sides to understand, much less empathize with the other. That's a nice way of saying we drive each other to the brink of insanity.

When I read the quote above, it seemed like a wonderfully even-handed approach. Frankly, I wondered why I hadn't thought of it. Guess I was too busy making instantaneous decisions!

The point is that residing at either end of the spectrum (as is true with most spectrums) can cause problems. Living somewhere in the middle most of the time, brings peace and harmony to relationships, even the one we have with ourselves.

Quick decision makers like me may fail to notice opportunities, generate errors in judgment and miss more creative and effective responses. Our measured brethren, on the other hand, risk wasting enormous chunks of time debating items that have no real impact. Often these people feel completely overwhelmed.

What keeps each of us in our corner? Most often it's fear. Quick decision makers are afraid of wasting time and can tolerate the possibility of error. Leisurely decision makers, on the other hand, fear being wrong. Of course there are reasons why we adopt our individual ways of coping with life. But regardless of why we're attached to a particular way of functioning, we can choose to change or at least loosen our death grip on a way of being that does not always serve us.

Whether quick decision makers or more deliberate ones, we can all benefit by considering how much impact any decision we're facing will have on our lives. Then, either get on with making it or give it the time and attention it deserves.

Lynn Colwell was a life/personal coach when she wrote this article. Then her daughter approached her with an idea that turned her life upside down (in a good way). They now work together at www.CelebrateGreen.net and www.GreenHalloween.org helping people put the meaning in the greening.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Forgive!

What does it mean to forgive?

One of the first things we typically think when we hear the word "forgive" is that it is a spiritual concept that is mostly out of reach for us mortal human beings. The bible talks about it, pastors implore us to forgive, we might believe that it is something that we “should” do but for the most part, most of us find it very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Not only do we not forgive, but we often turn situations of hurt or offense into justifications for attack or punishment. But consider this. Forgiveness is not just a spiritual concept. It is a psychological process as well. In my view, forgiveness is an oft misunderstood process that sometimes gets lost in religious meaning. If we can look at forgiveness in its pure and simple terms, I believe that we can find a way to accomplish forgiveness very simply, not always easy, but simply.

Let's talk about how we typically define forgiveness. Someone does something or commits an act that is offensive to us and we might feel a range of certain emotions in response to that act ranging from anger and resentment to hurt and rejection. The person has committed a transgression or crossed a boundary of what we might believe is right or acceptable. Or we might even transgress our own boundaries or standard of what we believe is right or acceptable and so we might hold a grudge even against ourselves which may result in guilt or shame. That amounts to an unforgiven situation. We end up holding a grudge against another person or ourselves.

And so to forgive means that we would no longer hold a grudge and we think that we are somehow doing this for the other's benefit. Like I am doing this for you.

When an unforgiven situation arises I submit there are three major obstacles to the accomplishment of forgiveness.

One, if we talk about forgiving someone else, we say in effect, “If I forgive that person for what they did, somehow I might be seen as approving of what they did.” And so if the other did something terrible, I might say in so many ways that that person doesn't deserve forgiveness. And not only do they not deserve forgiveness but they deserve punishment and retribution and in some situations maybe even death. So we would not want to be seen as approving of someone's negative actions and so we don't forgive.

A second obstacle to forgiveness is that we might get hurt again and so we say in so many ways, “What if I forgive and the other does something to hurt me again, so I better not forgive because I don't want to get hurt again.” And so we hold on to our grudges or negative emotions as an unconscious way of protecting ourselves from hurt again. “I am going to hold on to these feelings so they won't ever do that to me again” as if holding on is going to control another's actions. And so we don't forgive.

A third major obstacle is that we tell ourselves that we "should" forgive. We might think it is the spiritual thing to do, our religion might say that it is the right thing to do. And so when we find it difficult or impossible to forgive because of the reason's just mentioned, we end up in conflict either feeling guilty because we are not forgiving or pretending to be forgiving but all along still hanging on to the negative emotions. And so we don't forgive.

So with that said, I would like to offer a simple definition of forgiveness. Forgiveness is learning to let go or release negative emotions that impact our happiness and well-being.

Why would we want to forgive? What do we gain by forgiving? What do we get out of it? Very simply we get our happiness and well-being back because when we really look at it, when we are angry, upset, holding a grudge or are bitter, we are not very happy campers. We may be right in our feelings and even self-righteous in our need to punish someone for their wrong doing, but the simple fact is that we are not happy. How can we be resentful and happy at the same time? I submit that it is impossible.

So what do we have to gain by forgiveness? Very simply, we get our lives back and we return to happiness and well-being. When we can see that forgiveness is really for our own benefit then we have a motivation to forgive because we want to be happy. And when we can see that it is impossible to control another's behavior then we can let go of our justification for hanging on to the negative emotions.

So forgiveness can be simple but not always easy. The question always arises, “How do I respond to another's trangressions?” Do I pretend that I don't see it? Do I turn away from it? Do I ignore it? These are questions that we can't ignore and there are no simple answers. But if we find ourselves hanging on to negative emotions we can always make the choice to let them go.

Why? Because you can.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Get Uncomfortable!

Posted by Rob McBride

Take a moment and think about the following:

In this instant are you where you want to be and how you want to be?

If the answer is yes, congratulations you have absolutely nothing to do except to keep doing what you are doing!

If, on the other hand, like the majority of us you feel something is lacking or there is a part of your life which can be improved, Get Uncomfortable!

While it’s true we love to be in a cocoon of comfort, it is also a surefire way to continue getting more of the same and, in some cases can lead us to the edge of an abyss.

Mankind’s greatest achievements have occurred as a result of discomfort. In addition, many of us have achieved our greatest feats after feeling uncomfortable with a situation or result.

Discomfort drives us to find other solutions and take alternative courses of action to obtain a different direction. When we face an uncomfortable situation, we can choose one of two courses of action: The first is to manage the pressure and do nothing. The second is to get up and find another avenue to achieve what we most desire.

Our most outstanding successes tend to come after situations which shake our world like an earthquake. For example: marriage, the birth of a child, taking on an obligation which is greater than we believed possible and even the death of a loved one. Pressure and discomfort can stimulate or diminish our ability to establish new ways of working and acting.

Following, a story about discomfort: An older gentleman is rocking in his chair on his wooden porch. A traveler requiring assistance walks up to ask for help and notices the dog lying down beside the man is visibly troubled. The dog whimpers and whines in agony. The traveler asks the man, “What’s wrong with your dog, is he sick?”

The man laughs and says, “No, he isn’t sick. He is sitting on a nail which sticks out of the porch and it’s poking one of his testicles.”

“Why doesn’t he move?” the traveler asks.

“Well, you see he doesn’t move because it hurts just enough to complain though not enough to move!” exclaims the owner.

This same situation happens frequently in life. We are hurt enough to complain though are not in enough pain to move. If this is the case, we can get more uncomfortable with regards to our present situation, get up and take action to effect positive change.

“It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”
~ Al Batt

When we Get Uncomfortable with goals and objectives which go beyond what is comfortable and convenient, we can go farther than we ever imagined possible.

Rob McBride is an International Public Speaker who motivates, inspires and trains people. His keynotes, seminars and workshops enhance effectiveness and increase corporate productivity with concrete, dynamic tools which enable people to take control of their professional direction and destiny. Visit his website at: http://www.inspire.com.ve/rhm/

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Three Magic Moves!

Posted by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks

Consider this amazing fact: what you give attention to grows. So no matter where you are right now in your life, if you practice three magic moves, you can expand your vitality and creativity while continuing to open a flow of love and connection with others.

The three moves:
1. Do your best to speak honestly, rather than concealing the truth. When you focus your attention on noticing your body sensations and describing them, sharing your feelings as they arise, and especially sharing what's familiar in any conflict, you immediately open more aliveness in you. You also solve problems more quickly and free up lots more free time for creating and connecting.

2. Take healthy responsibility, wonder rather than blaming others. When you catch yourself blaming yourself or others, simply take a breath to be present with what's happening, then create a pleasant "hmmm" sound either out loud or inside yourself. Then add this powerful question: "Hmmm..., I wonder what I can learn from this." Life then becomes a series of discoveries and learning opportunities.

3. Express appreciation, rather than criticizing. Appreciation inspires connection and partnership. When you listen with sensitive awareness, you're appreciating. When you tell someone something positive about them that you genuinely appreciate, you deepen the flow of intimacy. When you continue appreciating over time, your relationships grow in value. Appreciations can be simple and are best delivered out loud.

Don't wait to be perfect or dig yourself out of whatever pit you may be in. Practice these moves and watch your life blossom.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

The Many Faces of Full Spectrum Leadership

by Peter Comrie

Here in the beautiful Okanagan Valley we are enjoying the many blessings and richness of an awesome summer season. The local produce is fully on tap, the orchards promise incredible bounty, and the vineyards, well, wine lovers are going to be happy.

At this time, as we celebrate simply living in this corner of paradise, we are caused to consider those less fortunate than we, as they navigate the many changes this spinning orb is undergoing. In the midst of much chaos, Full Spectrum Leaders emerge, and with courage, insight, and a whacking doze of commitment, they make this world a better place for many.

Amitabha Sadangi is one of those leaders.

25 years ago, Amitabha was so poor he couldn't afford 2 meals in one day. He worked hard to put himself through school despite his deep poverty, so that he could get a good job and become wealthy. Today, he is a businessman giving up wealth and fortune to tackle irrigation and poverty in India.

Amitabha's vision is to empower even the poorest farmers to irrigate their land. He believes that giving rural farmers a chance to pull themselvesout of poverty is the way towards sustainable and dignified development. All you need is a $1 and a dream...and a lot of hard work.

This short video will touch you.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

A New Perspective on Self Esteem!

Posted by Eddie Beverage

Fortunes have been made by so-called self help gurus on the topic of self esteem. Hundreds of books have been written and countless others touch on the subject in way or another. I have to admit, I haven’t read any of them. Every thing I’ve ever learned about self esteem was through my own process of discovery and examination, and it started when I was very young.

When I was a child, my mother read to me every night. My favorite was always Dr. Seuss; it didn’t occur to me until decades later what made him so special. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) reveled in the abstract. Possessing a curious, active imagination, I was instinctively drawn to Geisel’s wild characters and escapist worlds. Unlike Geisel, many authors of children’s books choose instead to tell stories of this world, or at least their versions of it. They intend harmlessly enough to teach values and lessons, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

For example, how many children’s books introduce young minds to the idea of career selection before they’re old enough to ride a bike? The question commonly raised is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A fireman? A banker? This instills in a child’s mind at an early age that their value in society is directly tied to what they want to be when they grow up. Of course, it’s not only children’s books that take this approach. Parents and teachers are just as guilty. So are we allowing our children enough space to just be themselves?

Perhaps dad places a heavy emphasis on athleticism but his son has no athletic ability and besides that, no interest. Son wants to play the guitar and write songs for a living. Is it a father’s right to stifle that desire? Who decides which is more important? Is it time to reevaluate the old adage, “Father knows best?” The more space a child is given to assign his/her own value to the various building blocks of self, the greater the chance that a strong, healthy self image will take shape. A parent’s role is to facilitate this discovery with loving kindness, not dictate the terms and steer the ship.

The classic case studies of individuals with self esteem problems often paint a picture of someone who’s consistently told “you’re not good enough” or “you’re smart enough.” Many have suffered not only demoralizing verbal abuse, but physical and sexual abuse as well. Still, as prevalent as these scenarios are and not to minimalize them by any means, I would argue that the roots of many self esteem issues are far less insidious and affect all of us in one way or another.

Self esteem issues are found in the twenty-something executive who went to college to please his parents and now plays salesman during the day and paints at night. Or the devoutly religious who deny themselves earthly pleasures in the name of dogma and guilt. Or the teenager raised on MTV’s version of how to be a rock star, win friends and influence people. The problem lies in our social sonar, the signals we send out to the world around us for feedback on where we stand on the food chain. We live in an “on demand” world now and expect fast, convenient snapshots of who we are rendered at 300 pixels per inch. Unfortunately, these pictures are blurred and skewed by other people’s shortcomings and value judgments, and by media and advertising with their slick ploys to squeeze us into their narrow demographics.

Eastern religions have recognized this problem for centuries and addressed it through the doctrine of negation of self and ego. So shall we eliminate all outside influences by removing ourselves to nature and destroy the self? I’m not advocating such a radical step. On the contrary, I believe a sense of self is important. The concern is that ours is too often built like a house of cards, nothing more than a series of illusions stacked precariously on top of one another. A strong self image can only be built on a foundation of truth to our own inner nature.

The philosopher J. Krishnamurti said, “You will see how absurd is the whole structure that you have built, looking for external help, depending on others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your strength. These can only be found within yourselves.”

So meditate often on the things you love. Journey inside yourself with no fear of what you might find there. Good and evil exist side by side in every one of us, so resist the temptation to judge yourself. Embrace your contradictions—they become you. And remember that no one’s opinion of you means more than your own. A book can’t and shouldn’t touch you self-esteem. It comes from within, not from without.

Eddie Beverage operates a web site for friends and family of the chronically ill at http://www.healingcarepackages.com. His novel, "Tom Brown Saves the World," is available at independent bookstores everywhere.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Discrimination - The First Law of Success!

Posted by Oscar Bruce

As the author of personal development publications distributed world wide, I am frequently asked why certain people seem to succeed at practically everything they attempt, while others fail no matter how hard they try. My response is "I definitely can tell you, but you're really not going to like the answer." But here it is.

Most people spend 97% of their time with the wrong people. This fact means your best friend could very well be your worst enemy. It's here that discrimination as a process is the essential element that will create success or disappoint.

What the ear hears, the mouth repeats. In short, you absorb the language of the people with whom you frequently associate. If the language is mundane, and loaded with meaningless clichés and useless figures of speech, soon that is the way you will speak. And, it's a well known fact that people judge you by the way you speak.

Your mind is like a giant sponge that soaks up everything it hears. Many words that are not favorable to your well being and personal success take residence there. Through a psychological process I call: "Psycho-Semantics," they impose a detrimental influence on your imagination and your vision. Those words will direct your outlook and expectations.

Out there is a beautiful world and beautiful people everywhere. Why clutter it with relationships that don't belong in your life? It's an easy life if you don't let others drag you down. You therefore must break ranks from ordinary people whose language you do not want to become your way of speaking. Treat them like you would a cancer: early detection and swift removal.

Unless you discriminate deliberately and savagely, the people around you will engage in conversation about the trivia of their latest ailment, their relationship problems, and gossip in the form of "I said, and then, she said." Even worse, a generous sprinkling of "isn't it awful" and "pity poor me." If all this sounds all too familiar, you must learn to initiate new conversation topics - topics that cause listeners to perceive you as intelligent and insightful.

Albert Einstein is quoted as follows. "The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome." In my book "Winning Words Winning Ways" I make the salient point, "Your future will be exactly like your past unless you make major changes."

Now that we've covered the primary liability that holds most people back, I'm going to share the powerful dynamic that will provide all the best that life has to offer.

Since the mind and life abhor a vacuum, you will need new and better friends. This will require new, personal communication skills to make you appealing in better circles. You will need new words and phrases to make your conversation sizzle. That is upgrading the way you verbalize your ideas and feelings.

Why are new communications skills and new conversation topic important? Big things happen when you say the little things right. And, you'd be surprised at what you can get when you ask for it the right way. The power superior verbal skills will give you has absolutely no limit.

You must become a word specialist, a person who paints beautiful pictures with an invisible brush of magical words, a skilled verbal artist whose conversation is both persuasive and compelling. That draws people to you. They compete to be with you.

You don't see eagles hanging out with sparrows.

On the other hand, through the process of Psycho-Semantics there are also certain words and phrases that will be uplifting and tend to expand the mind's perception and vision. Select words and phrases that help the mind to see opportunities previously overlooked.

You don't see eagles hanging out with sparrows do you? After all, gutter language wouldn't work well in the office of your company's C.E.O. "If you want to hang with the natives, you'd better speak the native tongue. Within that simple sentence lies the reason that "discrimination is the first law of success."

Chose your friends and associate carefully.


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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Say Goodbye to Struggle!

Posted by Jeanie Marshall

Struggle is a common expectation in our society. We tend to plan for it, anticipate it, and invite it into our lives. It has become so familiar that we often push away joy or peace or harmony, declaring such experiences to be unreal or temporary or frivolous.

Many folks tend to feel more alive when they are struggling against something. Work groups and whole organizations are established to compete -- a form of struggle -- against something. War and violence are glamorized. War against war is still war. Ill health is considered routine. Senility is the prospect of advanced years. Suffering is considered noble. Whether we struggle against struggle or resign ourselves to struggle, we are in struggle.

And so Now, to You....

Let's move from the collective "we" and the impersonal "they/many" to you and your inner self and outer behavior. Consider how you struggle. Knowing how you struggle will assist you in replacing your pattern with different behavior. You may also find it helpful to reflect on what you struggle against, but I caution you about lingering there too long. It is too easy to fall into the trap of explaining or blaming the "what" against which you struggle. Your struggle is not about the other person or thing; your struggle is about you.

So pick something real in your life that you struggle against, just to give yourself a laboratory. It may be some little annoyance, such as a spouse's dirty socks on the floor or wet lingerie in the shower stall. Or you may select something work related, such as a co-worker's competence or an assignment you dread. For the purpose of this initial exercise, select an issue that you classify as a small to medium concern. Practicing on something real but not overwhelming will give you courage to explore something you consider a major struggle.

Bring this idea or issue into your mind and feel the feelings. You may find it helpful to close your eyes to stay focused on the task. What does the struggle feel like? What sensations do you feel in your body and where do you feel them? What emotions do you feel and how do you feel them? Hear what you say about this issue to yourself. What does the resistance/struggle sound like? What color is the struggle? How big or small is the struggle?

Identify all the reactions and signals and sensations and feelings and emotions that you can. Try not to deny anything that comes into your awareness as you read this. How does your neck feel? Your shoulders? Your stomach? Do you feel agitated or impatient? Are you fascinated by the sensations? Do you want to do something else?

How you respond to these questions suggests how you respond to struggle in other parts of your life. While you may want to believe that this is just a hypothetical exercise, it is not. It is a real exercise, one that can train your awareness and all the muscles in your being to choose responses other than struggle. It is helpful to know how you struggle if you wish to change your pattern.

Goodbye; Graduation

Often when I talk to people about "holding on" and "letting go" I experience their resistance. What variety! (And, yes, I experience my own resistance, my own brand of struggle, which helps me to speak with greater authority on the subject.) In certain situations in our culture we celebrate goodbyes or endings well.

Graduations are endings we tend to do well. Graduations are also recognized as beginnings. Yet, so too, are all endings! That is the point. When we say goodbye to something that we no longer want or need or when we say goodbye to someone who is ready to leave, a space opens for something or someone else. This is a process, not a linear sequential set of cause and effect steps. However, if you find it easier to perceive this process as linear, do so.

So, are you ready to graduate from the School of Struggle? If you choose to stay longer, you will continue to learn. That is guaranteed. Keep in mind, though, that you are likely to learn and re-learn and re-learn again the same lessons. Other schools await your enrollment. The School of Joy. The School of Peace. The School of Abundance. The School of Love. The School of Health. The School of Laughter. The School of Enlightenment. The School of Mastery.

Entrance exams are simple: Give up struggle for freedom, fear for love, illness for health, pain for joy, hopelessness for mastery, etc. Say goodbye to those experiences you have completed or to those persons whose relationships with you have ended. You will not be able to stay in The School of Joy if you hold onto struggle -- you will be expelled or asked to take a leave of absence. Merely enrolling in The School of Love is not enough, you must practice unconditional love and not cut classes to get intimate with fear. You can stay in these schools even though you occasionally fail an exam or re-visit your old school. The principals/principles of these schools are infallible; the teachers, exacting and loving.

Goodbye Party

Our joyous goodbyes often prompt us to give a party, a celebration. We do this on New Year's Eve: to say "goodbye" to the old year and "hello" to the new one. We do this for school graduations: to celebrate the ending of education in one institution and recognize the rite of passage to another institution or the military or the "real world" as we are fond of saying. We do this for retirements, sometimes accompanied by the gold watch: to honor the work place contributions and welcome the retirement years.

So, why not create a Goodbye Party for Struggle? You may prefer to have a Hello Freedom Party, instead. However, if you need to say goodbye or thank something or someone who has been with you, focusing on the goodbye or graduation party will be useful. You will not be successful claiming "all is well" or "life is good" while fierce anger or pain or unresolved issues are dominant in you. Celebrate the passage.

If struggle has been your friend, give a going away party or a hello freedom party to celebrate the release of this energy. Thank struggle for being a teacher. Make the party your unique event: buy balloons or not. Celebrate your party alone or with friends. Let an object represent the struggle and release the object to the trash or a fire or the great outdoors. Use rituals that have meaning for you. Welcome in the new opportunity.

Goodbye, Struggle, goodbye.

Jeanie Marshall, Empowerment Consultant and Coach with Marshall House, produces Guided Meditations on CD albums and MP3 downloads and writes extensively on subjects related to personal development and empowerment. Voice of Jeanie Marshall, http://www.jmvoice.com

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Friday, August 6, 2010

It's All About Attitude!

By Jeff Earlywine

When I was a fifteen year old kid a very large, and very drunk, cowboy made me an offer. He said, “Son, if you will ride a bull I will give you my cowboy hat.” Well, I really wanted his hat, but I certainly was not drunk and knew better than to agree to this deal. Bulls have a way of “horning in” on your business if you know what I mean?

In fact, bull riding is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. People from all walks of life attend rodeos to see cowboys strap themselves to the back of an animal that has the power to not only buck them off, but to inflict major harm and injury. The cowboy only has to stay on the bull’s back for a short eight seconds. But that eights seconds seems to turn into minutes when the gate is opened and the fury of the bull is unleashed with powerful jumps, kicks, and convulsion-like moves; all meant to sling the cowboy into to the ground.

It is often said that rodeo bulls have “bad attitudes.” This usually means that a particular bull is mean and nasty, and a rider will have a difficult time making his ride last the eight seconds. Bulls with the worst attitude seem to be given names to match (or to reveal the bull’s personality); Mudslinger, Yellow Jacket, Hammer, Hurricane, and Ugly, just to name a few.

It seems to me that many times during our regularly programmed day we symbolically strap ourselves to the back of a bad attitude. We hold on to that attitude with all our strength not willing to let go. We seem to think that if we hold on long enough we will conquer it and win a big prize. However, the people we care about and love are standing on the sidelines watching and wondering when will the eight seconds be over?

I recently interviewed a person that has had many bumps and bruises in life. Such a tough life that anyone would agree she definitely has the right to have a bad attitude. The amazing thing is her outlook on each day; it is one of power and success. She knows that she is someone special and has a lot to offer her employer, her family, and herself. So, what does she have that causes her attitude to be so positive each day?

In interviewing her I found five ideas that you can apply in just eight seconds. It has been said that attitude determines our altitude. By daily applying these five tips you will find that your life will climb to exciting new highs.

Smile. It has been proven that smiling and laughing results in chemicals being released in the body resulting in increased health and energy.

Speak something positive about yourself. Each day we hear all kinds of negative remarks about ourselves. From heart-piercing jokes told by our friends to television advertisements telling us that we must be in perfect physical shape to reach our goals in life. Creating a habit of positive self-talk will build your self-esteem with long lasting benefits.

Count your blessings. Your family members, occupation, material things, health are all blessings. You are so blessed. Stopping to count your blessings will cause you to be satisfied with who you are and what you have. Having goals to achieve greatness is important, but not being satisfied with what God has blessed you with will only cause you to become frustrated and desiring the proverbial “greener grass on the other side of the fence.”

Treat someone you care about or work with as if they are the most important person in the world. I once heard a story about some monks living at a convent. They were getting discouraged because the hope of a coming Savior was becoming more a memory than a dream. One monk shared this morale problem with the head monk. The head monk’s response was classic. He said, “My dear brother, Christ the Savior has already come, and He is living among us now.” The monk quickly went to all the others and began to spread the news. But then a question, who is He? Since they didn’t know, they began to treat each other as if they were the Savior of the world. The hopelessness of the convent was replaced with dreams of a greater tomorrow because everyone was treated as if he were the Christ.

Don’t take yourself so serious – learn to laugh, especially at yourself. We all make mistakes, but not all of us laugh at them. Learning to do this will not only help you smile, but will create an attitude of joy and happiness.

Footprints and Monuments is a free monthly leadership and motivational e-newsletter. www.jeffearlywine.com

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Developing Personal Depth.

By Mark Myhre

Everyone seeks personal depth to one degree or another. Personal depth stands as *the* way to add richness and beauty to our lives.

Nobody wants to be considered a shallow person. Still, the concept of becoming a ‘deep’ person turns many people off. We have this image of a deep person as someone who spends a little too much time stroking his beard and smoking his pipe, lost in thought way beyond us mere mortals.

They ponder too much. They’re smarter than us. They go to the opera -and actually know what the fat lady is singing about! They’re just not normal.

Fortunately, personal depth exists as something else altogether.

Achieving greater personal depth (and not coincidently, greater success at anything you pursue) involves taking specific actions. You can achieve greater personal depth starting today by working with the seven characteristics listed below.

1. Develop and use the generating energies of trust and value.

Trust: Even though you don’t have all the answers, you know you’ll get by. You’re ‘enough‘ and you know it. You can count on yourself. You can rely on your power, strength and talent. Whatever happens you know you can face it: you know you’ll make it. Even though it may not be perfect, you’ll handle the situation at hand ‘good enough’. That’s trust.

Value: You might not be highly visible in the world, but the role you play in life *is* highly valuable. You know you are valuable in your way - to yourself and to those who love you. Also, you recognize, respond and act upon your value.

2. Develop and use the sustaining energies of life such as discipline and ownership.

The discipline that’s self-imposed: You decide on something and then you *follow through*. You follow your own plan, your own rules - that’s discipline.

Ownership: Own your thoughts and feelings. Own your emotions. Own your failures - so you can change them. Own that you’re responsible. And own your successes - so you can keep them. Ownership gives you the ‘right’ to change.

3. Continuously create new meaning, new destiny, new personality, and new self-image.

People with personal depth never settle for the way they are. They may be satisfied, but they always seek to become more. More meaning in their life. Higher destiny. Greater complexity of personality. And new self-image.

4. Develop and strengthen character.

Character: By knowing your ideals and your principles, and living by them…. by having ideas and opinions and standing by them…. That’s how you build character and thus increase your personal depth.

5. Continuous expansion of your power, strength, responsibility and creativity.

You look for ways to be more powerful; to act, to get involved in the world around you. You look for ways to take more responsibility from the most minute to the most magnificent. You know your strengths and look for ways to use them. You work on expanding your creativity. (Creativity is anything you do that inspires you or inspires others.) Just taking a walk can be creative!

6. Sustained actualization.

You’re in touch with your thoughts and feelings, and you’re not afraid to put them into action. You always think and feel. You’re aware of that thinking and feeling. And you act upon those thoughts and feelings.

7. Generating spirituality.

You don’t have to separate yourself from the mundane of life to experience your spirituality. Rather, you seek the spiritual *within* the material. Your spirituality eventually becomes your number one priority.

You come to realize everything you experience is a manifestation of your spirituality. There is no separation between the spiritual and the living of life - that’s the goal of the person seeking or having personal depth.

As you can see, personal depth is not something you check off on a to-do list. Let’s see… walk the dog, take out the trash, and oh yeah - achieve personal depth. No.

It’s an ongoing, never-ending, always-expanding endeavor. Basically it all comes down to becoming more of yourself.

There are no limits, and that’s the good news. You can always experience greater personal depth.

Mark Ivar Myhre, The Emotional Healing Wizard, offers unique cutting-edge emotional healing tips, techniques and secrets that teach you how to deal with depression, stress, anxiety, and much more. http://www.join-the-fun.com

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vision: How Leaders See The Invisible!

By Eric Garner

The one thing that distinguishes great leaders from also-rans is the power, depth, and breadth of their vision.

Vision is a strange concept. It’s much more than just a goal or purpose. Goals simply state what we aim to achieve. Visions paint a fuller picture describing our most cherished dreams, hopes and possibilities.

1. Seeing Possibilities. The ability to see possibilities that others don’t see is one of the hallmarks of great leaders. Where most of us see just a consignment of goods, leaders see an exciting product that can change someone’s life. Where most of us see an office with space for desks and filing cabinets, leaders see a place where teams can do groundbreaking work. Where most of us see people with names and titles, leaders see budding organizational champions. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Some people see things as they are and ask “Why?” I see things that are not and ask “Why not?””

2. Clear and Compelling. Management writer Warren Bennis was fascinated by the ability of leaders to see what the rest of us can’t see. A few years ago, he carried out a study of 90 top leaders in the United States. They included the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong. What Bennis discovered was that, despite their different backgrounds, disciplines, and circumstances, these people all had one thing in common: a clear and compelling vision of what they wanted to realise. To them, the vision wasn’t at some point in the future. It was right in front of their eyes.

3. A Vision Without Limits. The truly great leaders don’t put limits on their vision. They go for the biggest dream they can imagine even if it is only realized at some time in the future when they are no longer around. There is a story about the filmmaker Walt Disney who died six years before the opening of the first Disney World. At the opening ceremony, two Disney executives were sitting together. One said, “Too bad Walt couldn’t have been here to see this.” The other replied, “You’re wrong. Walt did see it. That’s why it’s here.”. While most of us see no more than three months ahead, outstanding leaders can see several years ahead. Elliott Jaques of Brunel University believed that one person in a million can see 20 years ahead. The Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita even has a 250-year plan for his business.

4. Drawing Others In. Leaders do more than have a vision of what is possible; they articulate it and draw others in. They do this through metaphor, images, and by triggering the innate desire of all people to be part of something big. Compare the visions of the two leading soft-drinks companies in America in the 1920’s. One was a Boston-based company called Moxies. Their stated aim was “to sell herb-based drinks”. Nothing to get excited about there. The other company’s vision was “to quench the thirst of a nation”. That company was Coca Cola. Today, nobody remembers Moxies.

5. Action. Without action, visions are just dreams. They are creations of our imagination, no more. But with action and the ability to see the steps from where we are now to where we can be, dreams become reality. In Shell UK, managers are taught to develop a quality known as “helicopter vision”. This is the ability to see across three time zones of the future, as if in a hovering helicopter. From here, you can see the near plains, the middle range foothills and the distant peaks. Being able to see all three zones at once harmonizes your tactical actions, your operational planning and your overall strategy. There is a clear map to the realization of the vision.

We all dream but few of us remember our dreams let alone act on them. But leaders are different. They make a difference to our daily lives and our collective lives. They do this by capturing our dreams, nurturing them with care, and in the fullness of time helping us bring them to the glorious light of day.

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