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What do you want to leave in 2017? What do you want to add to 2018?

Part 1 of 4

Notepad Art by Stephen Dann on Flicr

As the year winds down, and holiday activities kick into full gear, not all of us are focused on the reflection that actually comes naturally this time of year, nor are we always thinking about the new year until we make it through the other winter holidays.

However, before a commercial, consumerist, highly socialized society created new traditions for this time of year that keep us busy rushing around, the tradition was very much focused on peace, quiet, reflection, and resolution.

In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he recommends reflecting on 12 different categories of your life and rating where you are and creating a clear vision of where you want to be to know where to focus on improving and determine how. We’ll go through all 12, 3 at a time, leading up to the New Year. Starting…now!

  1. Money

There are the administrative tasks, like making sure your financial records are in order, that need to be done. This gives you the chance to pay attention to a very critical part of your world, your income, where a lot of us derive our value, right or wrong. Even if what you see when you confront the financial part of your life isn’t what you sought, noticing a contrast sets the foundation for creating a new financial goal and vision for the new year. Many people save this reflection for last, or might find it ironic that I appear to be discouraging materialism toward the beginning of this article, but quickly put the focus on money. This says a lot about your relationship to money, actually. Have you been taught that money isn’t spiritual, or that having money means not being spiritual, or even that it’s evil, or to love it is? How do you treat money? If money were your lover, would it want to be with you based on how you treat it? We all know that money is essential to living, but often we resent it, neglect it, or even fear it. I am not promoting making money the most important area of your life, but I am saying that if it is the area of improvement that you want most to focus on improving in 2018, give it the focus and attention it deserves.

If you hadn’t reached your 2017 goals, what accountability can you take for that, and what new knowledge can you gain, people you can meet, or habits can you create to bring about a better result in 2018?

Also, in regards to bookkeeping, here are 5 tips for people who changed jobs in 2017.

2. Career

Speaking of jobs, there is also a very good reason I started with money. While there is a “market price” for most positions, did you know you can still reverse engineer your income to match your desired lifestyle? If there is something that you LOVE to do, so much so that you would do it for free, but it traditionally doesn’t pay well and you need to make a good living, there has never been a better time to build an income infrastructure that allows you to do what you love WHILE earning a healthy income. There are formulas you can follow, depending on what kind of life you want to create, and while I’m not saying they’re easy, or even simple, if you have the resolve and vision to pull you through the challenges, you can absolutely follow steps that will lead you to freedom and empowerment in your career. Too many have settled for the “safer” path, but how safe is it really?

“Life is all risky, if you think ‘trying’ is risky, wait til’ they hand you the bill for NOT trying. Wait til’ you get the tab for not investing. It’s all risky, getting married is risky, having children is risky. Don’t worry, in life, you’re not going to get out alive” ~ Jim Rohn

Is your health suffering because of stress at work or based on finances? Do you ever go to work with anxiety, or even physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches that could be caused by anxiety?

Do your relationships suffer because of the time and energy required of your job? Is there a level of joy in life you have yet to experience because your priority was financial “security”? Is your job that secure?

Here’s the most important question: Does your job give back to you as much or more than you give to it?

Most people have not yet tasted what it is like to be exhilarated by their jobs, and if you have tasted it, have you been striving ever since to re-create that feeling but landing jobs that continually fall short?

There is a formula and a system (with tools) you can follow that will put the power back in your hands to bring this experience into or back into your life. We previously made this available to you, have since dropped the price dramatically so that it’s affordable for most people, and intend to bring you a new and improved format that maximizes retention, application and FUN in 2018.

3. Health

Speaking of health, our life expectancy just went up dramatically, but we will only live that long if we take proper care of our self-healing bodies. This, I know from experience, is no easy feat. But good health enables all of the other areas of our lives to operate. Without it, we can’t expect to achieve fulfillment in any other area of our lives, so it’s pretty important.

So many people struggle to create better habits in this area. We all have heard by now that diets don’t work, and that aiming for a healthy lifestyle of moderation instead is a more realistic goal. That sounds like a commitment, though. It’s scary. From 2015-2016, I was in great shape. I started small, with subsequent 21-day challenges. Within those 21 days, I lost enough weight to motivate me to continue my journey, developed better awareness of old habits and created new ones, and improved my relationship with my body, which was an unexpected, but a very welcomed, outcome.

Honestly, my habits now are a far cry from those, and a year is a long time to sustain results, but it wasn’t a lifetime. I had began to crave better and better results, and dove into more and more intense exercise regimens, and stricter and stricter diets, until – I needed stitches in my arm and wasn’t able to lift for a month. When I read Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin pointed out that often when we develop good habits in one area of our lives, we find it naturally easier to develop good habits in other areas of our lives, as well. From my observations, health is the area in which I see that trickle down impact most powerfully, and I can say that when good health habits deteriorate, good habits in other areas tend to go downhill, as well.

It seems counter-intuitive, because if we devote more time to health, we’ll have less time to sustain all of our other habits, but I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, to creating a habit of devoting time to exercise and nutrition, starting simply. I will exercise 5 days per week to make it a habit, even if it’s only 10 minutes, but it has to challenge me at least 3x per week, in other words, I will work to my limit. I will also make sure that I eat something plant-based with every meal before I go for a starch, meat or treat. I am not committing to depriving myself of anything. I will make this about ADDING what is good for me, which I feel will naturally lead to a decrease in cravings for what I know isn’t good, but I enjoy.

Starting small worked for me at the beginning, and I believe it’s sustainable for a lifetime, though I may not experience the initial large weight drop that motivated me so much the last time.

It’s all about finding what works for you, and if you form healthy habits, but they don’t have the desired outcomes, such as massive weight loss, you know at least you are gaining better health.

Next week, we will explore 3 more critical areas of your life to evaluate as 2017 winds down and 2018 approaches.

Remember to rate yourself in these areas and write down a vision in each of these that inspire you to make changes in 2018.

Counting Crows – A Long December

Listen to more from Counting Crows: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/Essentials Explore the incredible history of Counting Crows here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/artists/counting-crows Stream a playlist of their biggest tracks: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/counting-crows-best-of Experience Counting Crows on Vinyl LP: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/f6ubC Follow Counting Crows https://www.facebook.com/countingcrows/ https://twitter.com/CountingCrows https://www.instagram.com/countingcrows/ http://countingcrows.com/ Music video by Counting Crows performing A Long December. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2,037,577.

It takes courage to follow your dream. How courageous are you?

Dream by EvelynGiggles on Flickr

Last month for our podcast, Epic Career Tales, my assistant, Syndie, interviewed a professional artist, Jessica Serran, who has successfully made not just a great career of being an artist, but a great living. Truly epic, right?

Many of my clients have Epic, yet very conventional corporate careers, in that they started out as an entry-level employee and worked their way up the corporate ladder.

Then there are those who ventured off the corporate ladder. Of those clients, some of them really hedged their risk, and saved up 18 months of income as their safety net before they jumped off. Yet others answered the call to adventure in a moment. That moment could have been inspired by a straw that broke the camel’s back, which is the more common. But there are a couple of clients, I recall vividly, who just had an epiphany inspired by something that they witnessed, or watched, or learned, or read. Those clients inspired the idea for the Epic Career Tales podcast.

I wanted to nudge, or even catapult, people toward their dreams by telling the stories of people who successfully climbed the ladder, jumped off the ladder, or never bothered to climb in the first place, even though it seems that the infrastructure of our world promotes a corporate career as the ultimate path to financial security.

That was not my point of view, actually. My dad’s corporate career provided a good stable living for my family and I when I was young, but the divorce decimated financial resources, and when I was in 9th grade, my dad was forced into early retirement and he had to sell the home I grew up in. While my mom’s job in a small company (it was small then, but grew tremendously during her time there and since) provided her with enough for us to live, eat, and stay clothed, but there never seemed to be enough for anything extra, or extra nice. Plus, she was pretty miserable and complained a lot about her job. She came home exhausted. Her pay raises, even after 10 years, were less than a dollar an hour. I was getting better pay raises at my food service job at 15 years old.

For me, the safer path to financial security seemed to be achieving semi-celebrity status in media. When I realized a year into that career that I really wasn’t willing to do what it took to get to semicelebrity status in media, because it wasn’t really what I wanted, it took courage to realize that I really loved my temp assignment in a corporate recruiting office. And, it took courage to follow that path in consideration of the fact that I was going to take a door-to-door job first to learn sales, and in spite of how I thought it probably would wind up – giving more to a company than they were giving back to me and resenting them for that.

Wow, my outlook was pretty bleak back then.

I know there is a population of people who do not see a corporate career as one that will be financially fulfilling. These people are entrepreneurial and usually seek out multiple streams of income. Some people don’t believe corporations have any honest employees or leaders. Certainly our beliefs shape our decisions, for better or worse and whether they are based on truths or not.

It doesn’t really matter what your dreams are. I don’t see a large percentage of the population following dreams. Why is that?

One revelation that I have stated before was that there is an epidemic, a very pervasive belief among people that we are not worthy of our dreams – that happiness is for other people.

People think they are protecting themselves by not pursuing their dreams; they’ll never have to find out if they weren’t good enough. They’ll never have to fail at making their dream come true. They’ll never have to mourn their dream.

This is tragic because they also never get to find out how brilliant they have the potential to be and how beautiful life can be when you are aligned in your career with your purpose, talent, and interests.

We all have to decide for ourselves what level of risk we are willing to take in order to have what we really want. In a lot of cases people decide what they really want, over having a career that makes them happy, is financial stability.

If that is your empowered choice, I have no qualms. Even though, I still believe that you have disqualified the idea that you can have a career that you love and that provides you with financial stability. That bothers me, and it bothers me more when people decide that what they really wanted to do wasn’t viable for them because they felt unworthy. They may not even realize that this belief was influential in their decision.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I believe that if you decided that anything was more important than having a career that you love, then you never even tasted what it’s like to have a career that you love. You don’t know what you’re missing. You don’t know how incredible and meaningful life can be when you have a career that feeds your soul.

We interview these Epic Career Tales guests because we want listeners and readers to awaken to their own potential to have a similar tale. I want them to be clear that no career path is going to be without its challenges, and we wouldn’t want that, because then we wouldn’t grow. There are ways to overcome these challenges, and these peoples’ stories demonstrate what it took as well as how amazing it is to be on the other side of those challenges, and to be in a place of knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

It’s OK to be afraid, and it’s OK to be terrified.

According to Jack Canfield, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

And according to Will Smith, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.

And FDR said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

If a professional goal scares and excites you, it probably represents your highest probability of having an epic career and life. Commit to it; give it everything that you got. If you do find out that it’s not the right goal, or that you don’t want it enough to overcome the challenges, it won’t kill you, but I promise you, you are more capable and worthy than you realize!

Shoot for something Epic

Exhilarating

Purposeful

Intentional

Conscious

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6342823094884929536

 

Aaliyah – Journey To The Past

ATLANTIC RECORDS 1997. “Anastasia” Soundtrack.

5 Ways to Give Joyfully During the Holidays, Even with Financial Shortcomings

Gifts by Jennifer C. on Flickr

The holidays aren’t so happy for us all. The idea that giving is receiving, and that we find our joy by giving can make us feel worse if we have very little to give.

I have been there, more than once. In college it’s supposed to be acceptable, but in my senior year I was also facing my mother’s re-marriage and responsibilities of being maid of honor which I knew little about. My brother also was married on New Year’s Day. That year I wanted so much to give them something special, but had only my talent to contribute. I wrote illustrated poems for my family. I realize that in some families the sentiment would have been appreciated, if not at least considered adequate. I was not reassured, especially with a new almost-sister-in-law.  My mom and dad, however, still have those on display in their homes.

Then after I was laid off in August of 2002 and still had not landed by Christmas (and in fact spent another 6 months unemployed after that) I was living on a meager unemployment check that didn’t even cover my student loan payments. I had no savings. I had no budget for Christmas. I used one of my unemployment checks to subscribe to Ancestry.com and did thorough genealogical research on both my mom’s and my dad’s family.

I found out a LOT that none of us knew before (like we’re Swiss!) I took the portion of another check and went to my local craft store and dollar store where I bought picture frames for a one-page family report I compiled on each side, and artful things I could color/frame for my boyfriend (at the time/now husband) who was supporting me financially.  Two of those pictures now hang in our daughters’ room. I felt bad giving so little at the time, even though I put a lot of time into those, because he had been giving me so much. I didn’t even appreciate my own gifts to him until years later when I realized that he had envisioned them there all along.

One of my best friends was having a baby during this time of unemployment. She asked me to make her a playlist for each stage of labor. She wound up not listening to each of them for her first (he came quickly) but she did listen to them all for her second. Then nearly 10 years later I listened to the same playlists during my births. That wound up being another gift that blessed me back.

Look, gifts aren’t always appreciated the way we want, and that’s true whether you spend $10 or $1,000.  Focus on putting thought and heart into your gifts, and find peace in your own gesture. Here are five ideas of ways you can give this holiday season if you don’t necessarily have the budget you want.

  1. Volunteer – I know you have heard this before, and that is because it is really one of the best ways to remember how valuable you can be for others, and at the same time helping others less fortunate than you will remind you of your own blessings. Gratitude is a powerful emotion, and will give you the energy to move forward and make greater efforts for yourself. Volunteering may not give you enough material wealth to give the people in your life presents, but it will make you a more uplifting person to be around. If you can’t give them something material, give them something they can feel.
  1. Upcycle – Make what’s old new again. Hometalk.com has a ton of ideas for taking things you might have around your house or obtainable from your local restore or thrift shop and turning them into masterpieces worthy of giving.
  1. Photo albums – Memories are priceless! Yes, we have become very accustomed to looking at pictures digitally, but let’s not underestimate the power of that physical photo album that you can open and look at with others to remember and honor how these people made your life so special.
  1. The new “mixed tape” – Make playlists on Pandora, iTunes, or even YouTube. Does someone have a road trip coming up? Do they do a lot of cleaning or project work? Do they love to run? A great playlist can be an awesome companion, and they’ll think of you every time they listen. Keep the other person’s musical tastes in mind; don’t impose your tastes upon them. Make it something that expresses how well you know them. Pick songs that have messages they will find meaningful.
  1. Coupons for services/experiences – Time is one of the most precious, finite resources on the planet. The thing I have found about these coupons, however, is that if you fail to deliver, you feel worse, not better. So give the coupons with an expiration date and specific days/times that you are available to deliver. Remember couth, too. For instance, if someone has a messy office, offering to clean and organize it for them may make them more self-conscious. Unless they specifically mentioned that this messy office is a problem for them and they WANT help, don’t be that specific. You could offer handyman services, babysitting services, or contribute a talent. Perhaps there is something you know how to do that the other person would like to learn. There are so many possibilities with this.

Something else that can help ease the pain of not having enough to give, devise a plan to improve your situation where YOU are the determining factor of success, not a plan in which you have to rely on someone else to give you an opportunity. Having a greater sense of possibility and control does wonders for your spirit. That is an area in which we can help – reach out for a free consultation.

While the feelings associated with not being able to give what you want to give can bring you down, we can also learn for ourselves a new value of gifts. If you have always been able to give materially before now, this new experience can provide unexpected blessings to your life. If you have struggled during this time before, hopefully you can use one of the above ideas to have a new experience of gift giving.

We are not our bank accounts. Our value is not dependent on our wealth. We are valuable just as we are, and part of the joy of this life is exploring all the ways that we can create value for others. Whether you have a lot or a little to give, may you feel blessed and be a blessing to others.

 

Happy holidays!

Sarah McLachlan – Fear [live] [HD]

From “Afterglow Live”. Buy the DVD!

Can Your Opinion Get You Fired or Keep You from Getting Hired?

Thought Bubble by Ian Burt on Flickr

If social media is a powder keg, traditional media is the gun powder. Bubbling to the top of daily trending news are new allegations of sexual harassment. A Wall Street Journal headline this weekend showed that concerned corporate leaders are initiating much deeper investigations into employee claims and are finding much more than credible complaints about sexual harassment, but also evidence of toxic behavior in the form of bullying. Political tensions at work are at historical highs.

Companies are now even more invested in hiring talent who will be able to operate effectively in a diverse climate, and that means that they are looking for potential biases that can signal intolerance that has the potential to constrain effective collaboration, productivity, and therefore profits. Companies concerned about their employment branding are now trying to institute and enforce clearer standards on exactly what opinions employees are allowed to express about at work AND publicly.

Remember this woman who was fired for giving Trump’s motorcade the finger?

Every company ultimately relies on people to operate and profit, so alienating people is a recipe for failure. This includes employees as well as clients or customers.

I rarely post anything political on my social media. Do I have opinions? Yes, but I also have no interest in battling with people opinion-to-opinion. I may, however, raise awareness on an issue of importance to me. For most issues that impact people, like healthcare, civil rights, taxes, etc., I usually let other people voice their opinions and support them with a “like” or “love,” maybe the occasional “fist bump.” Last week’s news about the potential overturning of the elephant tusk ban inspired my rare action, and it was intended to be very issue-based, just letting people know where to sign the petition. For me, this was about animals who cannot speak for themselves, and not about people.

I thought I was clear that I had no interest in politicizing this, and yet three people commented, and two of them made political comments representing opposing sides, while the 3rd  made sure it was known that the overturning of the ban was tabled, which I had also posted the day before.  She did not state anything political, but I see what she comments on frequently through my feed, and historically she tends to be very overt in her political views. I appreciated that she was subtle in her comments on my feed.

While I like her personally, I know there are certain subjects we should not broach in our interactions. I’m actually glad to know where she stands and what we shouldn’t talk about, though I’m discouraged that I feel we wouldn’t be able to have an intelligent discussion because of the emotional context of our opinions. I try not to let these differences of opinion separate me from people. I have vastly different political views from many in my family, but I have no intention of letting that interfere with our closeness.

She at least showed some restraint, whereas others seemed to completely disregard my desire to keep this at an issue-level post and keep party out of it. It seemed like a compulsion, and perhaps even a symptom of an addiction. I have grave concerns for many out there who seem to be in the habit of vocalizing their bias, even though it is within their legal right to do so, because employers have equal rights (as of now,) furthermore the responsibility, to hire people they feel will be contributors to, or at least compliant with, an environment free from all types of harassment.

If I was evaluating my friend as a candidate, she would not even be a contender, in spite of her skill level or performance. I would have serious concerns about how her opinion might influence interactions with my customers or other employees, and I am not alone.

Jobvite’s 2017 Social Recruiting Report states that 57% of recruiters see bias as a real problem in the American workforce. That may not seem like a large majority, but imagine that you are now precluding yourself from 57% of the positions for which you are qualified because you choose to exercise your 1st amendment rights and freely express your opinion. 51% of recruiters “gave pause” to consider a candidate who ranted about politics on social media.

Listen – I do not intent to discourage people from using their voice to stand up for what they believe. However, I want people to make an informed, well-evaluated decision to do so – to be aware of potential risks, and to evaluate the methods, as well.

 

Follow these tips:

  • We rarely influence people when we insult them. If you do decide that something is that important that you must use a public platform to make your point, focus on the issue and data.
  • Notice in yourself if you have a tendency to post before you think, and consider your habit could be harmful.
  • Think about your intention and if any part of it is to induce shame or pain, refrain!

Texas – Say What You Want

Watch the official video to Say What You Want by Texas

 

Top 5 Reasons Why All of Your Efforts to Land a Job Are Failing

Business woman working on laptop in her office by perzon seo on Flickr

This is going to sound backwards, and I don’t blame you if you find it hard to believe at first, but give me a chance and I will prove that there is a way to do LESS, have MORE FUN, and get the BEST job possible, in spite of the fact that you have been doing everything possible, perhaps even everything you have been advised to do, and have not enjoyed or sustained momentum in your job search.

There is a huge misconception out there that if you are out of work, you need to HUSTLE. And yet, so many job seekers feel as though they are doing everything right, but not being offered the jobs that they feel are the best suited for them. Some receive offers they know are not the best suited, but accept them anyway. This is the cause for the 69% disengagement rate that causes US companies to lose over $400B annually.

If you have applied to over 100, even 50 jobs, and have yet to receive an offer, one of the following, or a combination of the following, are most likely the reason:

  1. Your efforts are not the right efforts

It never fails when I speak to a group of job seekers. I ask the question, “How many of you have heard that networking is the #1 way to find a job?” and everyone raises their hands.  Then I ask, “How many of you are spending at least 50% of your job search on job board or filling out online applications?” and 75-100% of the room raise their hands.

Even when they know that networking is the most effective way to find a job, they spend a small percentage of their time networking and a majority of the time on resources that only have a 5-10% chance of turning into an opportunity. And, even if they are networking, most are doing that ineffectively, either meekly asking for favors instead of boldly articulating their value, or collecting and distributing cards to essentially spam people, instead of asking rapport-building questions, nurturing their networks by providing value, and then inspiring contacts to generate leads based on the value to the employer.

I also think that many people have an inflated idea of how much time effective networking takes and that it has to look a certain way, for instance like schmoozing with people you wouldn’t normally associate with, or sucking up to people for whom you don’t have any respect or admiration. While it is outside of many people’s comfort zone, it can look a lot more like you engaging in fun and/or purposeful activities, even unrelated to your profession, and in small groups versus big events.

Spend over 60% of your time on people, who will always be much more powerful advocates than technology. Also, be proactive in your pursuit of a job over 60% of the time rather than passively filling out online applications and hitting buttons. You get what you give.

  1. Your goal is not the right goal

People are not as good actors as they imagine themselves to be. People can also genuinely believe that they are pursuing a noble goal, even if it is not the right goal for them. If you experience challenges pursuing a particular position, ask yourself if you are targeting the right position. You may have decided that something else you really wanted to do wasn’t viable, it would take too long to land or wouldn’t pay enough, but it’s actually the right thing, the thing you will attract like a magnet, and your best chance of increasing your income trajectory in the long-term. A job that utilizes your strengths and allows you to pursue a passion represents your best chances at success, but also happiness and fulfillment. Sometimes things don’t just happen TO us, they happen FOR us.  No good company wants to hire you for a consolation career.

This applies not only for pursuing the wrong position, but also the wrong employer. You don’t need to appeal to all companies in an industry if only a few of them would recognize you as a fit for their culture. Decide ahead of time what cultures you fit into and be proactive in pursuing them.

  1. Your brand is stale

So many people stop short of distinguishing themselves from their competition, feeling as though their qualifications are strong enough to make them an obvious choice. If you were on the hiring end, though, you would realize that there are a good crop of people with the qualifications to do the job. The one that gets the furthest the fastest, and ultimately the offer, is the one who can create excitement and a sense of urgency based on what they bring above and beyond meeting the requirements of the job. Your brand needs to be genuine and distinct.

It can be challenging to be objective about whether you are distinguishing yourself or not. So many people think if they call themselves “driven,” “a team player,” “passionate,” “a leader,” or “creative” that this is adequate branding. It isn’t. It’s probably true, but it isn’t distinct.

I have found that there are 4-6 major distinctions every person has that will help them rise above the rest. It’s frequently not WHAT they do, but HOW or even WHY. Everyone has his or her own unique set of experiences. This is where you have to dig to find the artifacts and evidence of your unique value.

  1. You are being perceived as a risky candidate

How critical, skeptical, even cynical recruiters and hiring managers are is vastly underestimated by job seekers. There are often more risk signals between a job seeker’s résumé and social media than there are value signals. As soon as the scale tips more toward risk, the job seeker gets passed over. What also gets underestimated is how clued in recruiters are to the tactics people use to hide risk factors. Instead of sweeping a risk factor under a rug, they often put bright red tape right on it.

Look, no candidate is going to be perfect, but the riskier candidate is the one that can’t admit where the imperfections are/were. If you can’t admit it, you can’t demonstrate your ability to learn from mistakes and even help companies prevent them.

You want MOST of the focus on value, but if there is a risk factor, such as being fired, having a visible project fail, experiencing long-term unemployment, or even having personal events interfere with work, then you need to craft a simple, relatable story based on facts that is appropriate to tell in various media, such as in your résumé (perhaps), your LinkedIn profile, or when networking or interviewing.

While some risks are common, how you might address them is very particular to your circumstances and target employer. If you want specific advice, I recommend a complimentary 40-minute consultation and some one-on-one branding and campaign assistance.

  1. Your mindset is out of alignment

We give off vibes. We pick up vibes. Even the most scientific, empirical people among us will admit that we get vibes from people. In fact, as I demonstrated in a previous post, science can actually explain why this is.  Maya Angelou said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Positive psychologist Shawn Achor proved that negativity and stress are contagious with an experiment at an airport. I don’t spend a lot of time talking to my clients about non-verbal communication tactics or things that they can do to manipulate the interviewer into alignment. None of these things has to be manufactured when there is real alignment, so that is what I coach my clients on. This is not “positive thinking,” which doesn’t fool anyone, including yourself. This is learning how to accept what is, truly appreciate yourself and know your own value, genuinely connect and empathize with the other person, trust in God (or the Universe, or whatever you believe is operating in your world,) and inspiring the support of others. You can’t put a band-aid on stress and anxiety and expect that no one will know it’s there. Others can feel it. And even if you walk in to an interview fully confident, there could be that one question you dread, and it can all go downhill from there. Your stress responses will take over and even if you learned how to tactically shift your non-verbal communication, you will forget or execute poorly.

If you network or interview without a fortified mindset, it can not only sabotage the results you want, but it can be a big waste of time and can make you feel worse, making it that much harder to get into a state of mind that lubricates your efforts and creates ease in getting results.

 

There are things that can be done just prior to an event or interview to help with mindset, but even the things you do behind a computer can be much more effective if you do them with a fortified mindset. Another Shawn Achor study proved that investing 10 minutes in meditation actually creates 62 minutes of productivity.  Exercising prior to doing work is another hack to improve your mindset, make you less vulnerable to getting thrown off your game, and boost your IQ.

Bananarama-It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)

The band’s 1982 release with Fun Boy Three

Playing Chess With a Bow and Arrows: Meaningful No-competition Marketing Campaigns

Final part of the MindValley Reunion = Mind Blown series

It has taken until November to cover all of the mind blowing teachings imparted to me in August at the MindValley Reunion in San Diego. While it’s hard to say that they saved the best for last, because I had many favorites throughout the weekend, the last outside speaker was rated highest among their speakers, and it was very easy to see why.

I had known Eric Edmeades as the “WildFit” guy. Wildfit is a nutritional program published by MindValley that has produced very impressive results. He wasn’t there to speak about WildFit, however, and it appears that is just one of many programs, businesses, and successes from which he could provide us with valuable lessons. He went through a list of possible topics, all of which appealed to me. What he chose was inception marketing.

What is inception marketing? If you consider yourself part of a tribe, than you have been incepted. If you are on any mailing lists, you have been incepted.

First let’s talk about what inception marketing isn’t: it isn’t tactical or transactional. It isn’t competing for people who are searching for what you sell. It isn’t guessing what will make your prospect buy. It’s not about modeling your competition.

If you are a job seeker reading this, you might be wondering how this applies to you. Firstly, I ALWAYS assume when learning something about marketing that there is an application for job seekers. That being said, not all methods are appropriate for all job seekers. Branding is the exception, in the 11 years that I have been advising and interviewing job seekers, all have or would have benefited from branding.

In this particular case, inception marketing is applicable to those actively or passively seeking an opportunity to increase their influence and impact, the byproduct of which is faster career growth and greater income.

Back to what inception marketing is: It is defining your target, understanding deeply what is important to them, identifying what they are thinking about, strategizing ahead of time the steps and stories that are going to create attraction, and providing them with engaging content that subtly moves them to realize and decide that they want and need your product.

This is about asking (a la Ryan Levesque’s ASK method) and listening. It’s about nudging and nurturing.

It is about appealing to your audience’s emotional reasons for wanting, and their logical reasons for feeling good about that (because sometimes we feel better justifying that in which we invest.) Then, they naturally sell for you.

If traditional marketing is darts, where you try to hit one little target, this is chess.

Before I share with you the steps, let me share with you the example that he gave, which demonstrated why he is such an in-demand speaker. Eric has had some enviable adventures, which give him a wide variety of intriguing experience from which he can compose compelling stories. The adventure he shared was hunting with an indigenous African tribe. This particular story took place during a second stay he had in their village, and it seemed the tribesmen were even more accepting of Eric as one of their own because he was able to hit the target on the first try with one of their bow and arrows. The pressure of these bow and arrows is much higher than one you might find at a sporting goods store here in the US. He showed us pictures of their more senior tribesmen, who you could definitely not identity as more senior based on their fitness, because they were ripped!

After hitting the target they invited Eric to go hunting with them, which he did a couple times. The second time it was an all-day event. Eric had been an avid runner until some time in his thirties when he had a knee injury. But these men were running…long distances…bow and arrow in hand…without making any sounds. This was something he noticed as he was struggling to keep up, his knee giving him pain. They were not running the same way as him. While he was putting his whole foot down, making a ruckus and probably scaring game away, he noticed the tribesmen were only using the front pads of their feet, and they seemed to spring off of them rather than stride. So, he started mimicking them, and he found that, not only was he now running without noise, he was running without knee pain. He was better able to keep up. He went home and considered taking up running again, but this time he was also considering something he never thought he would – buying a pair of those feet shoes. You know the ones – they look like feet.

Prior to starting this story, Eric demonstrated how at any given time, 3% of the population is actively seeking and shopping for something. He asked us to raise our hand if we were currently looking to buy a new phone, renovate our kitchen, looking to book a cruise, and buy running shoes. Time after time the number of hands raised represented roughly 3% of the room.

After that story, however, he asked how much of the room was now considering buying the feet shoes. Much more of us raised our hand – me included, and I totally made fun of my husband for buying those shoes. He even got a few bucks from the class action suit against the company for false advertising the health benefits.

At first, from a time and money perspective, it sounds very appealing to think that marketing doesn’t have to look like guessing about SEO, bidding on keywords, worrying about rankings, etc.

What you have to realize, however, is that the steps involved in a successful inception marketing campaign require quite a bit of legwork, and then, once you have incepted prospects, you have to continually keep them incepted by providing value and advice. This is not the easier way, so to speak, but it is a more meaningful way to build a customer base, and over time you will have less selling to do in order to increase your reach and continually grow your customer base.

It is a long-term strategy. This is where job seekers who seek to increase their influence and impact for greater career growth and income can apply this method: Start to notice where there are events in your life and at your job where a need for you is created. Tell the stories using the platforms available to you – LinkedIn posts/status updates, corporate wikis, industry publications, on stage at conferences, in a book, etc.

In the career management course that I teach at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, we share various kinds of stories with our students and introduce how they can frame a story in a compelling way wherein the story actually becomes their proof of unique value.

Here are some of them:

  • Romance
  • Drama
  • Fable
  • Mystery
  • Adventure

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew which kind of story appealed most to your audience, which would be the employer if you are a job seeker. But NOTE: one of the first steps is to really be intimately familiar with what drives your audience to take action.

Here are the steps of inception marketing:

  1. Identify an overall target market – This defies what most marketing gurus preach. They usually tell you to identify a niche, and qualify the demographics and buying behaviors. He used the example of being a wedding photographer and targeting anyone getting married or involved in the wedding.
  2. Then, he suggested that you ideal multiple target markets and pick one that your competition might not. Most wedding vendors focus on the bride, but what if you focused on grooms.
  3. Dig down to what drives them. What does a groom want? To make the bride happy, and give her the perfect day.
  4. Engage your audience with a promise. For example, 10 ways your wedding photographs can go horribly wrong and how you can make sure they are perfect.
  5. Then you incept them by telling them a story that allows them to conclude that they want your help. This made me remember my wedding, which was perfect except…we were supposed to get all family photos done in between the wedding and reception, but the damp conditions were causing some of the cameras to malfunction. We had an indoor alternative to use, but the photographer needed time to get that set up and let the cameras dry out. This meant that we were now using precious reception time to take photos, and we never did get around to visiting our 280 guests at their table, including the cousins who flew in from Amsterdam. I know he had a different example, but this was one that struck me as a personal experience that served as a better example for me.
  6. Advise them, and in advising them, establish that YOUR experience, expertise and skill will save them from such a fate, or move them toward a desired fate, and in turn, keep your promise.

Eric certainly offered us some very pragmatic content, and he did so with humor and humility. Considering that since language existed, storytelling has been how human beings teach, it seems logical to expect that it will never go out of vogue. The media we used to tell these stories will evolve, certainly.

If you need help understanding your audience and telling your story, well that is our specialty. We LOVE to help corporate influencers influence, because that is how meaningful change occurs.

 

What kind of action would you like your audience to take?

Survivor – The Search Is Over

Survivor’s official music video for ‘The Search Is Over’. Click to listen to Survivor on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/SurvSpot?IQid=SurvTSIO As featured on Ultimate Survivor.

If You Don’t Believe in Energy Healing, You Refute Einstein

Part 10 of the MindValley Reunion = Mind Blown series

And that is all fine and good for me. I am a questioner (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and I need to understand the science of how something works before I can adopt the premises of something and then apply principals to my life or, furthermore, teach them to others.

So, when I started seeing my friend’s mom, a massage therapist and self-proclaimed “light worker” after I had an accident and could FEEL the healing went beyond physical explanation, I wanted to know how it worked and if I had any healing gifts to use. I had been told by a self-proclaimed healer that I am energetically “sensitive,” now recognized as an empath, who I found much more credible after she recounted a very strange dream that I had about my boyfriend’s uncle, who he never spoke of and may not have even known existed. Even years later I was told that by another intuit that I have used my healing powers before without realizing it to save my cat, who did make a miraculous 2-day recovery after being hit by a car, an impact that she mostly took to the head.

I wanted to know if that was at all possible. In a recent discussion with a fellow Law of Attraction practitioner and teacher, he told me that he encourages skeptics to be more open-minded by pointing out that even science cannot (yet) explain everything. This is proven by the continued discoveries being made. There is more to our universe than what we can see. Remember the discovery of radio waves? This discover even helped us understand more about how energy travels through space via frequencies.

Even as long as 200 years ago chemist John Dalton purported that all matter is made of atoms, and that is still accepted generally by scientists.

How about Albert Einstein’s discovery:

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

~ Albert Einstein

So, what seems to be true to me, is as follows (remember theorems?):

Huller’s Theorem #1

> If all matter is composed of atoms (credit: John Dalton, 1803)

AND > even the most minute parts of an atom are not actual physical matter but nearly 100% empty space (credit: Ernest Rutherford, 1911)

AND > splitting an atom converts some of its matter into energy (credit: Einstein’s theory and mathematical equation of E=mc2, proven accurate by the fission of a Uranium atom by Phsysists Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Lise Meitner, and Otto Frisch)

Then > We are physical beings made of nearly 100% energy

I welcome any of you to refute this. Just know that I will only be convinced by scientific discoveries of equal or greater significance.

While most people who know me would say that I am a very logical person, it might now not surprise you why I have found it logical to believe it is possible that all of our physical systems can be adjusted by manipulations in our energy field.

While I consider the audience at the MindValley Reunion to be on the more progressive and open-minded side, I know there were still skeptics in the crowd, and I happened to be sitting next to one when Donna Eden and her husband, David Feinstein, PhD in Psychology, were on stage.

As I had shared last week in Are You Impacted by the #1 Cause of Suffering?, I was feeling rather heavy after Marisa Peer took us through four modules of her Rapid Transformational Therapy, and what I really needed at that time was a boost in my mood and energy. Donna is a light beam type of presence. You can’t help but feel a sense of joy and a love for her. Had she not ushered us through some techniques that strengthened our energetic systems, I would have benefited solely from her presence in the room.

I should also note for those who do have an understanding of the law of attraction that until that point, I had been able to manifest seats in or near the front for all previous speakers, even in a crowd of 800, even when I was one of the last ones in the room. I should also note that I had been able to meet many speakers for brief exchanges, including Donna (who I embarrassingly called Barbara) and her husband and daughter, Titanya. I even ate lunch with David and her daughter.

For this presentation, however, I had stayed toward the back and off to the side. The person I sat next two revealed himself as MindValley ambassador, or someone who has been identified as an avid MindValley student and influencer. I was surprised that he was a skeptic, but was glad because when he changed his mind, it made what Donna demonstrated that much more credible to me.

She can “see” energy. She sees how it moves through meridians and in layers in and out of a person’s body. She could take a look at you and know what you might be experiencing as symptoms and where the energy can be manipulated to relieve the symptoms. However, the best way she knows how to prove that to us is through muscle testing.

Donna and David invited many people up on stage. She used muscle testing to show that there were areas where their energetic systems were out of alignment and how she could do certain techniques to put the energetic systems back in alignment and how it made that volunteer stronger. To test someone’s strength before and after they would put one arm out and Donna could either easily push down with just two fingers against the volunteer’s resistance, or Donna, a smaller and older woman, could not even leverage her body weight to push down the volunteer’s arm down.

She share many of these techniques with us, and the first I want to share because even if it doesn’t help you out of a deep depression for the long-term, to try this might help you get just enough energy to do more that would help you out of your deep depression, or it might make everything else you do get you further faster. If you are depressed, it means your energy is moving homo-laterally, or it is staying on one side, whereas your energy is optimized when it crosses over. How you can get your energy to move from side to side is called a shoulder pull. We all demonstrated this on each other by pulling down from shoulder to the opposite hip across their back. You can actually do this to yourself by pulling down from the shoulder to the opposite hip across your front.

Another method is the cross-crawl.

She demonstrated how when we are tired, we either need a nap, or we need a tap – we tap an area just under out collar bone on both sides, points she refers to as K-27. This will instantly raise your energy. You would tap them with quite a bit of pressure. You may also rub them. You might find that they are tender if you are quite tired.

If you are coming down with a cold, thump your thymus, which is located in the center of your chest. This activates T-cells and will improve your immune system. She claims you can even irradiate a cold before it starts if you do this early enough upon onset.

Grounding yourself enables you to pull natural energies from the earth. You can do this by thumping your sinuses right on top of your cheek bones, or by rubbing your palms together and pressing them on your thighs.

As Shawn Achor discussed at the PA Conference for Women, negative energies and thoughts are contagious. You may also tend to steal energy away from others to heal yourself. She demonstrated this between two volunteers. It was quite staggering. To prevent this kind of energetic vampirism, do the four thumps together – cheek bones, K-27, thymus and then also the neurolymphatic spleen points that are located both right below your nipples one rib below the breast and about four inches from your armpit at your side. You only have to do one or the other.

When you feel lonely or lost, you can do the technique she calls “Heaven Rushing In” to feel instantly connected.

David also demonstrated the power of our thoughts. He showed us how one stretch would increase mobility in our neck, but then we just imagined ourselves doing that stretch on the other side and enjoyed just as much of an increase in mobility in our neck. This is also demonstrated by sports science: visualization can improve muscle memory.

I understand if you are skeptical, really. If you consider yourself a logical person, or even a scientist, then I challenge you to take her 30-day daily energy routine challenge. I had done it prior to the MindValley Reunion, and now it is a part of my routine.

 

Keep a journal and record how you feel afterward. Try these techniques if you notice you are feeling sapped, sad or solitary. Write down how you feel afterward. I am very curious to know if you notice a difference in how you feel, and even if there is an unexpected impact of that.

The Platters – The Magic Touch – Lyrics

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Are You Impacted by the #1 Cause of Suffering?

Part 9 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week


After years of personal development study and practice, I was amazed that I could be made aware of a truth so obvious, and so fundamental, yet never realized its prevalence and the vast impacts that it has on so many lives. It is why Marisa Peer is the most quoted expert in Vishen Lakhiani’s book, Code of the Extraordinary Mind, and among my blogs.

There is a reoccurring automatic thought (some experts call them ANTs – Automatic Negative Thoughts) that many other thoughts can be traced back to. And if you have felt as though you have fallen short of your personal goals, or that your life is not living up to a par you have established, even if by most standards your life is good, this is often the thought responsible for that feeling.

As a world-renowned hypnotherapist who has worked with youth and the destitute as well as the rich, famous, and even royal, Marisa has seen this thought play out in so much needless suffering. This thought causes marriages to fail. It causes emptiness even when resources are full. It causes people to hurt others. It causes suicide. It causes addiction.

This thought is, “I am not good enough.”

Can you see anywhere in your life where this thought, which by now is most likely a belief, impacts your decisions, which impacts your results?

Have you ever shied away from speaking with someone? Have you ever decided a goal was “too big?” Have you pushed love or friendship away because you felt at some point it would go awry?

When you look in the mirror, what is your internal dialogue? When you see someone with an outfit, haircut, or career you admire, does it make you feel good, or worse?

If you are reaching for really big goals, why? Are you doing it for you? Are you hoping that by achieving big goals you will feel like you are doing enough? Are you hoping that it will make someone proud, perhaps someone who never seems fully satisfied with your efforts?

When you do experience success, do you feel ease or do you feel something else – anxiety, pressure, fear?

A couple other common pervasive and limiting beliefs are “It’s not available to me” and “I am different, so I cannot connect.”

Really take a look at this, because converting these thoughts and beliefs into positive supporting thoughts and beliefs will change your life for the better.

Here is a simple pattern that we can observe easily:

A thought, especially one that is reinforced with evidence or one that recurs, becomes a belief. Beliefs drive our decisions, which become our actions or inactions. These actions or inactions become our results.

Neuroscience has helped us understand better how our brain operates, and how neural pathways are formed that make certain things automatic, and they become habits. Habits are behaviors that we don’t think much about – we just do them. This is supposed to be helpful to our survival, except that this is how bad habits are formed.

Chances are that if you have identified this thought at work in your life, it has been at work for a very long time – since you were a child.

The traditional treatment for this is therapy. Marisa points out, however, that it is still highly inefficient and based on the fact that some people spend years in therapy without vast transformation in their lives.

Newer discoveries in neuroscience have found that we are more capable of changing our brains than once believed, and that it doesn’t have to take years to do it, and to see results from it. Hypnosis has been scientifically proven to be effective in accelerated, even instant, resolution of bad habits.

Marisa has been working with some of the top neuroscientists to develop a program called Rapid Transformational Therapy, and at the MindValley Reunion in San Diego in August, she brought us through 4 of the 7 modules of this program, which is based on practical neuroscience and teaches you to be your OWN healer.

If you have ever tried to change before, you know how hard it is, and this is also thanks to our brain and its tendency to want to protect us. When anomalies in patterns or our environment occur, our brain naturally fires synapses and releases hormones that we experience as unease or even anxiety – our heart rate increases, our breathing gets short, our muscles tense up, our palms may sweat. This can feel uncomfortable, and depending on the level, can even feel painful. If we do nothing to intervene with these responses, we will naturally be inclined to avoid things that create these responses. We may even use our logical brains to validate our need to avoid them.

By becoming mindful, we can choose to be more conscious than subconscious about our reaction. We can ask questions that our mind will naturally answer, such as, “Is my life being threatened?” We can also manipulate our physical response by choosing a slower breath and relaxing our muscles. If we can make this a practice, we can create new responses to change, and even associate positive change with good feelings, and release dopamine instead of cortisol, which will make us crave change and the good feelings we have started to generate. The thing is, this practice still takes significant time.

What Marisa has done is leveraged what we understand now about the brain to build neural pathways in ONE short session.

Here is the GREAT news > Right now MindValley Academy is offering a FREE 30-minute Masterclass so that you can experience this for yourself! I have no idea how long this will be offered, so do not hesitate to sign up now!

 

In the meantime, if you feel brave and see how it can serve others, share with us in the comments what you discovered about how these common thoughts and beliefs have impacted your life.

P!nk – Don’t Let Me Get Me

P!nk’s official music video for ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’. Click to listen to P!nk on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/PSpot?IQid=PLMGM As featured on Greatest Hits…So Far!!!.

We Are All Messengers; What Kind of Messenger Are You?

Part 8 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week

While Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, challenged us to think and act in ways that are humanity+ versus humanity-, including choosing to start, run and/or work only for humanity+ corporations, our Sunday at the MindValley Reunion held in San Diego in August started out a lot more solemn.

My Lyft driver had asked me if I was on my way to church, like some of his other fares for the morning, and I had said, “no,” but the experience of watching Don Miguel Ruiz, world renowned author of The Four Agreements, speak resembled the church experiences that I enjoyed most.

The room was full of reverence, and I had a front row seat. He spoke slowly and deliberately, and if I allow my focus on his image to grow fuzzy, I could see a glow around him, as though he was connected to a higher source and was channeling it to us. Though I absorbed every word, I only captured about a third, as I wanted to remain present, entranced, and really take what he was saying deep into my consciousness.

All the following excerpts are quotes from Don Miguel Ruiz, with my reflections below:

“Gratitude becomes generosity.”

My own perception of what he meant was that if we give without being grateful, we can harbor resentment. We must give from a place of gratitude, knowing that we are provided for and supported by the divine. Once we fill ourselves with the gratitude of our own blessings, we tend to want to spill it out onto others. So, focus first on gratitude, and then generosity.

“The problem is our domestication and disillusion.”

I am going by my impression, because it has been some time now since the actual event and the context of his intention is forgotten. My interpretation of this based on the notes I took that followed this are that we focus on our material needs and perceive separation between us and others. This causes us to perceive life as a struggle for survival, an “us versus them” or “us or them” mentality. However, we are more than physical beings, and our separation from each other is merely an illusion that we create needlessly.

He proclaimed the Human Manifesto: Preserve our planet and morality

This theme emerged from several of the speakers throughout the weekend. If we do not allow the progression of our nature from what we have been and how we have lived to what scientists, spiritualists, and intuits agree is the movement toward higher consciousness, then we just may destroy ourselves. If you pay attention, you’ll see this emerging everywhere around you, too.

“Awareness allows you to see possibilities of what you can do with your life.”

Awareness of what? Your own true nature and the nature of everything. To start simply, use the awareness that there can be other ways to be, to live, to act. Question the status quo, especially if you see things around you that concern or irritate you. If that is not the way, what are the other ways? Perhaps your noticing is your soul calling you to a higher purpose. However, as Jeffery Allen warned, we have to be careful not to become elitists in our higher consciousness. And as Vishen advised, the way to help others see your side is to seek understanding first, and to debate worthy issues without alienating people. Alienating those who opine differently from you will only cause them to become stauncher and give them motivation to hold on to their ways of thinking.

“We want to have the eye of the artist. We follow that beauty…Every single human is an artist…creating a story in which we are the main character.”

This reminds me of quote from T. Harv Eker, “Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it.” Your life is an empty vessel, even with your past. We are meaning-making machines. And in the consciousness we have been living we have created many stories, many of which don’t serve us, such as the epidemic belief that fuels most misery, “I am not enough.” Marisa Peer, the next speaker I will chronicle in this blog series, attributes this belief for epic suffering, even among the rich and famous and royal. It’s prevalent, and if you want to know if this belief is part of your story, ask yourself why you do certain things – buy the products you buy, pine for the job you never really try for, decline to make a connection with someone. But is it true? Not if you see yourself from the Divine’s perspective. Whatever your story has been, you can change it – Right NOW!

“I am not real. I am the force that make [that story] happen.”

From a quantum physics perspective, we are energy; everything is energy at an atomic level. It cannot be created nor destroyed, only change forms. Remember this physics lesson: “An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force?” That outside force can be you. It can be a conscious decision and the actions resulting from that decision. What makes something matter is our perception of it. This can be applied to physical matter, or things we deem important. What are you making important, and is it really? Why? Does that empower your or disempower you? If the latter, this is something you can change.

“A dog doesn’t know it’s a dog. A cat doesn’t know it’s a cat. And they don’t care. Why should we?”

A lot of time and energy is invested in trying to live up to a standard either set by ourselves or society. When we perceive ourselves as failing to reach that standard, suffering ensues. Many believe it is in our nature to continually grow, and we have been taught that setting goals is a positive step in achieving them. I am not refuting this. However, there is a very powerful question that we need to ask if we are to commit our time, energy, or even money, in becoming that version of ourselves – why? Why do you care if you earn $100K+? Why do you want to own a beautiful home? What does being CEO really mean? What criteria are we using to define how we want ourselves to be? Whose criteria are we using? Who are you really? Does it matter if you live up to standards? Can you love yourself unconditionally? Can you allow others to love you unconditionally?

“We only have 100 years to enjoy our physical body, or to suffer our physical body.”

This one hit home for me, as I have been confronting my self-image after gaining back all the weight I lost and then some and seeing my skin decline into continual painful breakouts. I just climbed a mountain on Saturday, and I am thankful that in spite of my lack of conditioning, I was able to do it. At times, the grade was so steep that I had to use my hands, and it had rained the day before, so with the rocks and leaves, it was very slippery. My body came through, and I was very proud of it. It also made it down the mountain – 8 miles in total. I want to make it a regular practice to see what my body can do and be grateful for that rather than spending time being critical of how it looks and comparing it to how it used to look or comparing it to how others look. This is very challenging. Don Miguel had suffered a heart attack, so this was coming from a place of life-experience wisdom, not just Toltec wisdom. Can I look into the mirror and instead of noticing a few white hairs, wrinkles, and painful cystic acne appreciate the joy of my smile, the eyes given to me by my father, the lips given to me by my mom? Can I appreciate that my own daughter has gotten the same lips, and my other daughter has gotten my nose? Can I see my scars and be thankful that…well, I don’t know…I’m still working on it. I got a book written by Wayne Dyer’s daughter, who suffered a painful skin condition that she healed herself by accepting and loving herself as is.

“You can create your own personal paradise or you can create your own personal traumas, your own personal hell, but it’s not real; it’s just your story. Your challenge is to face the main character of your story…Face the end of your story as you know it, and [create] a new beginning.”

Here is a blog I published in 2015 explaining some things I learned both from Landmark Education and Vishen Lakhiani on flipping the script of your sad story. I will be honest – it has not happened overnight, and I continue to identify sad stories I have been telling myself from a very young age. They have kept me in a victim mentality, from taking action on my own behalf, and from following through on what could have been huge opportunities. In essence, the stories of my past have been perpetuating into my present, and will continue to do so in my future UNLESS I am aware of them and can take back my power to create a new story. Technology has been developed, and continues to be developed, to help you access and override these stories, including John Assaraf’s and Brent Phillips’ brain entrainment programs, isochronic and binaural beats (Yes, Pearl Jam’s Binaural album was produced with these, but you have to experience them with headphones to benefit), and Marisa Peer’s Rapid Transformational Therapy (more about that next week.)

“I believe in angels. I believe in you – because you are angels. You are a messenger. But what kind of messenger are you? Are you a messenger of truth [or of story?]”

This is what resonated through from the day before. What kinds of messages am I perpetuating when I share my opinion? What are my intentions and are they pure? Are they good? Am I needlessly and even harmfully creating divisions between myself and others or between others? My most popular post shares an all too common practice of recruiters to blacklist candidates. Though my intention was to help prevent people from unconsciously burning bridges with recruiters, the article had an impact I did not expect. The majority of the comments were job seekers sharing their disappointment, and even disgust, with how [some] recruiters operate. By no means did I intend to justify any unjust or immoral recruiting practices, nor did I intend to instill a fear of recruiters, but my headline certainly did leverage potential fear. That is probably what garnered so much readership. In spite of how excited I am by the number of readers and the high engagement, I am choosing to be more conscious of my headlines. I am using the post to attempt to generate conversations that encourage people to be more empathetic, and to see people from all parties as people, flawed, but innately good.

Don Miguel’s son and co-author of The Fifth Agreement,” Don José, also relayed some powerful messages that complimented his father:

“The minute we let our art come out, something happens > judgment.”

“How do you want to hurt the human mind when the human mind is suffering the same mistake a hundred times over and over again?”

“Now it’s time for my will to be loyal to my body.”

“What brings us happiness is to be loyal to the sacred heart; it’s our intuition.”

“Mistakes teach us what we want to participate in in life, and what we don’t want to participate in.”

“If you created the virus, you can create the anti-virus.”

“Decide – it ends with me!”

“Magic is in every word that you speak. You can break a spirit or we can lift a spirit with the words that you speak.”

“You are here to make a masterpiece out of your life.”

When Don Miguel and Don José left the stage, nearly all of the 800 attendees were in tears and gave them a standing ovation. The host came out in tears, and it seemed to dishonor the experience to just move on to the next speaker. Instead, she told us to meditate or journal on what kind of messengers we are and want to be. I realize that I cannot recreate the reverence of the room on that blessed Sunday where I was about 12 feet from one of my literary heroes. But I hope that you can take about 5 minutes to meditate or journal on even just one of these excerpts, or start writing a new story for yourself. It is the best way I can think of to pass on the blessing of that experience to you, and gratitude leads to generosity.

 

Please share your insights in the comments below.

07 Insignificance

Binaural is the sixth studio album by the American alternative rock band Pearl Jam, released on May 16, 2000 through Epic Records. Following a full-scale tour in support of its previous album, Yield (1998), Pearl Jam took a short break before reconvening toward the end of 1999 to begin work on a new album.

PennWomen2017

I am pausing my blog series on the MindValley Reunion to bring to you excerpts from the PA Conference for Women last week, which featured life-altering content from extraordinary speakers, including Brené Brown and Michelle Obama.

If you couldn’t be there among 12,000 others, or even if you were there but it went so fast that you could hardly absorb the wisdom bombs that were dropped one right after the other, here is a record. I captured pictures of my Twitter feed where I shared many of these wisdom bombs, and welcome you to follow me for this and all future wisdom bombs I am to share, but if you are not on Twitter, I still want you to enjoy the great takeaways.

I will return to the MindValley Reunion recap next week to begin to share Day 2, which began with a very moving talk from Don Miguel Ruiz and Don José Ruiz.

Sister Sledge – We Are Family

Four sisters: Kim Sledge (born 21 August 1957), Debbie Sledge (born 9 July 1954), Joni Sledge (born 13 September 1956), and Kathy Sledge (born 6 January 1959). Best known for their work with Chic in the late ’70s, Sister Sledge reached the height of their popularity during the disco era but had been recording since the early ’70s and were still active in the late ’90s.