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Great great question Teri!  You’ve clearly been following the positive thinking movement and have made the connection between thoughts and your experiences in the physical world.  In fact you’ll often hear me say: “What you think about you bring about.”  Unfortunately, these maxims are an incomplete picture of how to manifest the wealth and success you desire.  And have created much confusion.   The truth is:

Conscious thought, while important, is not nearly as important as your whole consciousNESS. 

Thinking positively is one of the functions of the conscious mind, however for all its brilliance, it controls less than 5% of your behaviour.  The real power source for you to create the results you want lies in your SUBconscious mind.  This is where your total belief system lives – your beliefs, your habits – and it is your true creative centre.  In fact, it is so powerful, it runs on autopilot in the background of your life 24/7.   It’s continuously creating for you in perfect harmony with what has been programmed into it.   

Teri, if you want to change your results, then you must examine the beliefs and habits that are not serving you.  Habits (habitual thoughts, habitual feelings, habitual actions) will be easier for you to spot, and course correct.  Not to suggest changing habits is easy, but I’m willing to bet you already know which habits need to be examined.

Beliefs however are harder to change.  They are often buried so deeply that most people have difficulty identifying them.  If I asked you what your beliefs are, could you tell me? 

Beliefs become planted at such an early age, and become such a part of our total conciousness that we are usually not aware of their shaping influence.  It takes deep introspective work, often with the support of a professional, to help us uncover the truth behind ourselves.

Thinking positive thoughts is an important part of your success strategy, along with the support of a positive belief system, and inspired action.  You are a co-creator of your reality Teri, and it is up to you, and all of us, to do our part.

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Fran, you are in good company. So many it seems are on the quest for purpose.  First of all, let’s start with this idea of “searching.”  Searching implies that the answer is “out there” outside of you.  That if you just open enough doors you’ll find it.  

The truth is, purpose isn’t something you “find”, but rather an awakening of the truth within you. 

Your job is to pay attention to when the truth resonates.  Because it is in those moments, when you are truly inspired, that you are hovering in the vicinity of purpose.  Think about those occasions when you are uplifted and highly motivated – when you didn’t have to be prodded, when you enthusiastically embraced the activity.  So much so that you lost track of time, and in fact had to pull yourself away.  What were you doing in those moments?  Explore that.

Look to your natural strengths when considering the most meaningful way for you to contribute.  You may love music, but if you are tone deaf and have no natural musical ability, then you’ll find it hard to make the world a better place with your musical career!  Don’t get me wrong, purpose does require you to develop your natural abilities, but it never requests you to start with nothing. 

While you will grow in your purpose it still must feel natural to you.  So natural in fact that it’s probably been running in the background your whole life.  Look for patterns and themes in your life.  Most people assume that what  they are good at, everyone is good at it –  so it can’t be special.  Trust me, that’s not the case.   It should feel like a natural pull of your innate talent – because it is already within you.  

What theme has always been a part of you?  Look in your bookcase, what themes do you see in the books you read?  In the conversations you have.  In the causes that tug on your heart.  In the activities that you love?  What are you drawn to?  All are clues for you.

Purpose always draws upon your natural talents… AND … your passion.  The truth is, there is so much talent bundled up inside of each person that we could easily go in 10 different career directions and create a “successful” existence….that we hate.  So talent alone is not an indicator of purpose.  It’s only when the heart is engaged alongside the talent that purpose resonates.  It must make your heart sing! 

As well, purpose is always broad in scope, meaning it is not tied to a job title, or an occupation, or an industry, or a life role.  Nobody should have a life purpose of being a vice president of marketing for example.  That’s a goal, not a purpose.  Purpose may be engaged in the pursuit of that goal but it’s certainly not defined by it.  Otherwise, should a person lose their job – do they then lose their purpose? Of course not.  In fact, it’s often in these moments that they start looking for it!  

Purpose is far reaching and can’t be contained by labels.  It’s not confined to a career, or a role in life.  It follows you wherever you take it.  Purpose reaches down into your life and shows up in everything that you do.  That’s because your life purpose is YOU – whenever you are using your talents and passion to contribute and serve meaningfully.  How you choose to express your purpose is completely up to you.  It will never lock you in to one particular path.   You just need to choose a path and follow it wherever it takes you, using your intuition to guide you as you travel.  

I hope this helps you Fran.  Thank you for asking about what so many are wondering about.

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my beautiful mother Patricia

my beautiful mother Patricia

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.

A woman who honours her experience and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who believes she is good.

A woman who trusts and respects herself.

Who listens to her needs and desires.

And meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowleges the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.

Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.

A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.

Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.

A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.

Who celebrates her body’s rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honours the body of the Goddess in her changing body.

A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.

Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.

A woman who sits in circles of women.

Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

This woman is you.

 

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John this is a gem of a question, and truthfully it’s deserving of a more in depth answer than a blog response.  So in the interest of time, I’m going to make some assumptions that you know exactly what it is that you want , have clarified your definition of success and expressed it in positive terms, you believe that it is possible, and you are locked on with positive visualizations and affirmations.  So let me give you this to chew on…

While success is your birthright John, it does not mean that reaching your goals will be easy.  Otherwise, everyone would be thriving, and sadly we know that isn’t the case.  The truth is, in order to reach new heights in our personal life, in our career, in our business, we need to step forward into growth.  And growing is uncomfortable… for everyone

Growth means stumbling, and second guessing, and making mistakes, and feeling awkward, and taking risks.  It means we must step out in faith.  This puts us way outside of our comfort zones – and people love their comfort zones!  Comfort zones are very cozy places.  And the moment we abandon them for the pursuit of something better, they call out for us to retreat back to their safety.  Sadly, most dreams die in the embrace of the familiar.

There is an old adage: “You can’t get there from here.”   John, you cannot reach next level success without making a profound shift.  Regardless of what your current level of “success” is, the next level will elude you until you change.  Truthfully, you will feel “stuck” at every plateau you reach.  It’s the cycle of achievement.  

In order to grow, you will be required to shift values, beliefs, attitudes, or habits.  Because who we are today is only able to manifest what we have already manifested.  In other words, if we think and behave the same way today as we did last week, last month, last year, we will continue to produce last week’s, last month’s, last year’s results.  Doesn’t that make sense?

Goal setting is never about reaching the goal…it’s about who you become along the way.  Figuring out who you need to become is the hardest part, and truthfully most of us need a coach to help us see what we can’t see.

So here’s my advice for you: the next time you think to yourself “this is hard“, I want you to get excited.  That’s right..excited!  Because what you are noticing is your own growth.  Get excited about that!  You are releasing an old comfort zone in pursuit of something bigger.  And that’s a wonderful thing. 

To your success John.

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Ouch.  Jamie I can see why you are angry about this.  You do need to take a stand with this person privately, and when your anger is in control (ie you have enough residual anger energy to provide you with the courage to have this conversation, but not so much anger that you’ll behave aggressively, which won’t be helpful).

You have two ways you could approach this.  Both require brutal honesty.  One is giving some benefit of the doubt.  It could sound like this:

“Yesterday at our team meeting when you tabled the idea about ….. I was stunned.   This is the same idea that I shared with you over lunch on Tuesday.  I trusted you with my idea and I feel angry that you broke that trust.  Help me to understand this from your point of view (or What happened?).”  And then listen openly for their response. 

If they apologize, accept it graciously (resist all temptation to say that it was OK), and ask them for their ideas on how they will fix this misrepresentation.  If they deny and get defensive and angry then continue to calmly and directly assert your position,eg “Clearly we do not see this from the same point of view.  And I do not accept your explanation (or your choice of conduct).  I have learned that I can no longer trust you with this kind of information in the future.” 

Option two is to speak assertively about their behaviour, without asking for their point of view to send a clear message that it won’t be tolerated.  This option is appropriate if there is history of this type of sabotage behaviour with this person and/or no doubt that it was a blatant and purposeful act.  It could sound like this (calm assertive tone):

“Yesterday at our team meeting, you took credit for an idea that I came up with.  I feel angry and betrayed.  I shared my ideas with you in confidence and you broke that trust.  You need to know that I will no longer trust you with this kind of information in the future.”  (then walk away)

Jamie, this may seem harsh, especially if you are not used to speaking assertively.  However there is nothing inappropriate about firmly and directly confronting inappropriate behaviour.  Unless you take a stand, you will send the message that people can walk all over you.  And in the long run, it will be your credibility that suffers.  (People don’t promote doormats).

Make sure that you do not speak angrily, and certainly do not use derogatory language or name calling, or assign negative intentions (ie “you did that to sabotage me“).  Don’t go there.  Your job is to speak factually about the behaviour that was inappropriate and the effect it had on you.  That’s it.  Use a firm tone and make direct eye contact, with no fidgeting and no aggressive body gestures (like pointing or clenching your fist).  Your body language needs to support your message.  

Jamie, what you haven’t asked about, but I suspect you’re wondering, is how can you get credit for this idea after the fact without looking like the school yard tattle-tale.  This is delicate but can be done.  Privately to your boss (or to whomever it is that you need to set the record straight):  

“Yesterday when (name) tabled the idea about ….I am concerned that she/he missed some key information.  You should know that I have researched the feasibility of this idea and shared the highlights with (name) before our meeting, with the intention of tabling it myself.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen as planned, but I’d like the opportunity to share my full findings with you now.  My intention is not to create waves, or to get credit here.  I simply want to present the idea fully.”  (and then proceed to share the full merits of your idea)

I hope that helps you Jamie…Deb

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Joan, you are right to be concerned. Communication skills are the most highly leveraged skills in business and in life. While technical competency, credentials, or know-how get us in the door, it’s our ability to influence that determines longer term success.

 

The fact that the two of you are colleagues should not deter you from offering insight and information that could benefit her.  The truth is, we all need feedback to grow.  And I can’t think of a better source of feedback then from a close and trusted colleague.  In fact, use this intention as your opening line:

 

“Name, I have an observation for you that I think will help you.  May I share it?”

 

Next you will give her very specific feedback that you observed (use a caring tone).  Here is the formula that I use:

  1. state your observations
  2. answer the “so what” question
  3. offer praise and/or empathy
  4. make a suggestion

For example: 

  1.  “Yesterday at our meeting, when your idea was challenged, I noticed your confidence erode.  I saw it in your face and your body language, and even in the sound of your voice.
  2.  It’s a pattern I’ve noticed previously which is why I’m bringing this to your attention (or,  I recognized it because this is something that I’ve struggled with myself). 
  3. I know it can be difficult to stand strong in the face of opposition, even as a bright and competent professional, which you are. 
  4. Have you considered taking assertive communication training, or hiring a coach to work with you in this area?”  or “Here are the resources that I used to help me in this area…”

 Joan, I am willing to bet that she will respond with acknowledgement and appreciation.  People know when their confidence is low.  They struggle with it internally and silently.  Putting it on the table, without judgment, and offering suggestions is a kind and supportive act.

 

In the rare event that she responds defensively, simply drop it.  Your objective is not to demand improvement, or to be “right”.  Back out gracefully with something like: “I see that I have offended you and that was not my intention.  My intention was to offer support.  I apologize if I overstepped my bounds.” 

  

Thank you for your question. ..Deb

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Gossip is an insidious form of communication, and left unchecked it can poison a workplace. First of all Lee, make sure that your behaviour isn’t asking for the very behaviour you want stopped.  If you remain present and say nothing when gossip is shared, you unwittingly send the message that you are listening and that you are interested.  If you want it to stop, then you must take a stand. 

Here’s what you could say privately (tone will be very important):
“When you talk about other people in that way, I feel uncomfortable. Please don’t share this kind of information with me again.”

or if you want to cushion the communication a bit:

“When you talk about other people in that way, I feel uncomfortable.  Because I think people should be given the benefit of the doubt.  I respect the fact that you and I have built a trusting relationship and I’d like that to continue.  However please don’t share gossip with me in the future.”

or:
“It’s my policy not to gossip, and this sounds like gossip to me. I’m going to exit myself now.”   (then leave)

or if you are in a group meeting:
“It’s my policy not to talk about other people when they are not in the room to defend themselves. Let me know when this conversation is over and I will rejoin the meeting.”  (then get up and leave)

When you are speaking, make sure your tone is assertive and neutral.  In other words, speak firmly but be very careful not to come across as hostile or accusatory or judgemental in your tone.   This isn’t about judging, this is about asserting your rights about how people behave in your presence.  

And most importantly, make sure you live up to your own no-gossip policy.  When we take a stand, we hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard.  And that means our behaviour will be scrutinized.   Slip once, and your credibility is damaged.

Thanks for your question Lee …Deb

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