The Power of Words: How to Step into a New Truth

August 9, 2010

 If you want to step into a new truth, you must start talking about yourself differently. I recommend The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz to help you create a new truth.  Ruiz says that if you want that if you want to experience heaven on earth you must learn to keep the first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Ruiz says that the first agreement is actually the most important of the four agreements and the most difficult to keep.

At first glance, keeping the first agreement didn’t so difficult to me.  I keep my commitments. I do what I say I’m going to do and I’m known to be honest and trustworthy, but according to Ruiz, the definition is much broader than keeping commitments and being trustworthy. Unbeknownst to me, I made an assumption about what it means to be impeccable.  I guess I’m not so good at the third agreement either. (The third agreement is never make an assumption.) By the way, the other agreements are: never make assumptions; never take anything personally; and always do your best. 

 Being impeccable, as I understand it now has three prongs: the way you speak about yourself, what you are willing to agree with, and the way you speak about others. Take for example, the silent conversation you have in your head every day.  When you mentally abuse yourself you say things to yourself like “you idiot…” or “You are making a fool of yourself…” or “What will everyone think

if I fail?”  You are not being impeccable because you are not acting in your best interests.

Another example is when you compare yourself. More often than not, the loser is you. “He has a bigger house,” or “She is a better at sales” and “They have a better family.”  In the silent conversation whether through discounting or comparisons, you betray yourself and act against your own best interests. 

So how do you make sure you become impeccable on this first prong? Shakespeare said it this way, “To thine own self be true…” However My friend Sue Janick said it another way when she recently won a Toastmasters speech contest:

We all remember 911 and we worry about terrorism in our nation.  We all want peace on earth, but most of us do not realize that every day we live amongst terrorists. The terrorist is the voice inside your own head that speaks to you daily and says things like, ‘you are so stupid…you are not worthy, or ‘you should have done this instead of that’ and ‘you will never be a success.”  

Here’s the trickiest prong of being impeccable: Don’t agree with someone else’s negative point of view. You can’t be impeccable with your word when you fall under the spell of believing someone else’s reality when it doesn’t serve your best interests. For example someone tells you your idea is no good and you believe them. Now instead of pursuing your idea or tweaking it to make it workable, you are under the spell of believing it is no good therefore you lose your passion.  

Just recently I was able to turn a situation around when I was sharing a business concept  with a trusted friend who is also an experienced business professional.  The friend started talking about how difficult it would be to materialize the idea, how others might not understand the concept and how there was a financial risk and it might take a long time.”  I silently said to myself, “I do not agree. This is one reality and mine is different. ”  Saying this affirmation to myself kept me conscious so that I didn’t fall into a collective agreement about how things are supposed to be.  As a result, the business idea materialized in two days, and there was a nice profit.  In the past I might have focused on the fear and not moved forward simply because I was willing to enter into a “collective agreement” with someone else rather than committing to become impeccable with my word. 

With that said, I want to be careful not to criticize my friend for having a different reality than me because it’s also important to have to have a high regard for others if you want to be impeccable with your word.   If you are tempted to gossip or criticize, then read on to see why Ruiz says that criticism and negativity toward others hurts you just as much as it does the other person.

“If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I’m using the word against you. But really I’m using my word against myself, because you’re going to hate me for this, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore if I get angry and with my word send all the emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself.” 

Words have power and magic in them. Words have the power to harm or the power to heal. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me….and you.

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Circumstances Reveal Who You Are

August 2, 2010

I used to use a little humor in my keynote speech by talking about dealing with adversity, and then I would ask the audience a question: Do you know when I’m at my best?

The audience would guess something like, “when you are tested and overcome circumstances?” I would say, “No, I’m at my best when everything goes my way.” 

After a few laughs the audience would recoginze the truth in that statement. All of us want things to go our way and we are happy when circumstances are of our choosing.

However, the opportunity for growth often presents itself through difficulties and unwanted circumstances.
I call this place “The Gap.”

If you are committed to personal growth there will almost always be a gap between where you are and where you want to be.  The visual I use in my Stop Your Drama Methodolgy is that of a rowboat going to an island. If the journey is 5 miles away, there is not so much drama. If the journey is 500 miles away there is more opportunity for drama. In other words, the larger the gap, the more potential for drama.

Here are some truths to help you manage those difficult times in the gap.

1. Know what is required
Do a little planning and research before jumping out there too far. You can’t get to the island 5000 miles away with a rowboat, no team and no map. Know what you need in time, money, and resources before you make such a big commitment, otherwise you are not going to be equipped to handle the drama in such a big gap.

2. Chunk it down
Whether you are working by yourself, or leading a team you can manage the gap more effectively by making designated stopping places. In other words, row to the island 50 miles away and stop on an island to celebrate. Then get back in that boat and row toward your island. Your team will stay motivated if they feel a sense of accomplishment along the way.

3. Make a game of it
Instead of resisting the drama in the gap, be prepared to see how you can handle it with grace. Make it a part of your inner journey of growth. Practice patience if you are normally impatient. See how long you can go without complaining. Make yourself bigger than your circumstances and see how this improves your self-esteem.

4. Realize that life is lived in the gap
Realize that drama in the gap will not equal success on the island. If you are miserable while on the way to accomplishing your goal, chances are you aren’t going to be much happier once you get to “the island.” Keep in mind that life is always lived in the gap and drama in the gap will not equal real success on the island.


Who Is Responsible for Your Success?

June 30, 2010

By Jack Canfield

This isn’t a trick question.

Certainly you know the answer—the person who has been responsible for the life you live right now: YOU.

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing… Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors.

I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life.

When I hear people complain about the state of their life (be it their problems with personal finances, weight, their jobs, or general dissatisfaction) I like to help them see things differently.

If they feel “stuck” and unable to move forward for whatever reason, I ask them to scrutinize both what is working well and what isn’t working well in their life and see how they’ve arrived at where they currently are.

For example, if a woman tells me she’s unhappy with her weight—she travels frequently, and has no to time to exercise or seek healthy foods—I point out that her weight is not a result of her travels and schedule. It’s an outcome of what she chooses to eat and how she chooses to move, regardless of her daily agenda. Why not make a conscious effort to pre-plan healthy meals and snacks, even if it’s on the go, and sneak in 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to be physically active (hey, I know some frequent flyers who make it a habit of running through airports!).

If you’re frustrated with any area in your life, then it’s time to take a little inventory. Certainly there are wonderful things happening, whether it’s your job, your romantic relationship, your children, your friends, or your income level. Your accomplishments are just as important as your missteps.

First, congratulate yourself on your successes; and then take a look at what isn’t working out so well. What are you doing or not doing to create those experiences?

Watch out! If you find yourself beginning to complain about everything but the choices you’ve made, then you need to take a step back. See if you can stop blaming outside factors for your unhappiness.

When you realize that you—and only you—create your experiences, you’ll realize that you can un-create them and forge new experiences whenever you want.

How empowering is that!

You must take responsibility for your happiness and your unhappiness, your successes and your failures, your good times and your bad times.

All too often we choose to claim the successes and blame the failures on others or other circumstances. When you stop blaming, however, you can take that energy and redirect it to focus on shaping a better situation for yourself. Blaming only ties up your energy. Imagine roping all the energy into a positive effort.

Some ideas to make this happen:

Believe, Believe, Believe! Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to accept the fact that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.

Take no less than 100% responsibility . Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don’t waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.

Stop complaining . Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my sister. I’ll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.

Make an immediate change. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain?

You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices.

Pay attention. Looking to others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. Then…

Face the truth and take action for the long term . You have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan additional steps to keep moving you forward, faster.

Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else?

So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this:

Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it’s much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!

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Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com


Three Simple Steps to Change

June 4, 2010

Change always invites a little drama, even when you want the change.  Just a few weeks ago I received my new computer and to go with it, new software, Windows 7.   As excited as I was, and as committed to the change as I was, it was still frustrating. I was slow to find things. I felt impatient and nervous getting used to the new look.  This is an example of a change that I wanted but still I had a lot of resistance around the learning curve.  Another change I created in my life is the commitment to being more “green.” 

I started recycling and made a decision to use those cloth bags at the grocery store.  But what happend the first month?  The intention was there but the action was not. The cloth bags never made it out of the passenger seat of my car for over a month, until I decided to course-correct.

Every time I went to the store, I made a secret vow that even if I was half way through the check out line, I would make myself go back to the car to retrieve the bags.  Yes, it was uncomfortable if not slightly embarassing, but the discomfort helped me create a new habit.  Now I understand that there are three steps to facilitating positive change.

1. Become aware
2. Create a new habit
3. Course-correct

Become aware
You first have to become aware that you need a change. Whether your change is out of a need, such as purchasing a new computer and new software system, or out of a desire to be a better citizen of the earth. The first step is awareness.

Create a habit
Desire and awareness alone does nothing without a plan of action.  To implement change, you must develop a new habit so you start reprogramming your brain until it becomes second nature. Otherwise,  you will have good intentions but no real change.  At first it will be difficult. You will have to think about what you are doing, over and over until one day it comes naturally.  This is the act of going from conscious competence to unconscious competence.

Course-correct
Even though it is now a habit, your old programming will kick in and surprise you.  After a year of using cloth bags, one day you still leave your bags on the passenger seat.  Six months after using Windows 7 you still can’t find the command you have used thousands of times.  After eating all the right foods you go on a binge. That is why you must course-correct. Don’t be hard on yourself and create more drama.  Just make the correction and now you have sort of done what I call a “back-stitch.”  You have sewn in the new habit and now it is stronger.

Yes, change always invites a little discomfort.  The key to getting through change is to develop new habits and this comes through training.


Increase Productivity by Releasing Resistance

May 27, 2010

You’ve surely felt it before.
Your clients resist purchasing.
You employees resist your leadership.
Your spouse resists your ideas.

Maybe you even resist a few things.
You resist looking at your numbers.
You resist looking at the Employee drama,
or you resist dealing with an irritable client.

What causes resistance?

Fear, disagreement, lack of understanding
and navigating through change.

Perhaps you “feel” the resistance in our world
right now because of the massive changes and fears.

Resistance always creates high stress and “DRAMA”
which is what I define as an obstacle to your
peace and prosperity.

The end result of resistance is
feeling stuck, increased negativity,
exhaustion, overwork, anxiety, and
lower productivity.

Whether you are a leader trying to
influence your staff, or sales professional
offering new services to your client,
you must know how to identify resistance
so you can “release the resistance”
and navigate through the change.

Many try will-power, behavioral solutions,
and disciplined approaches, only to have a
very short-term fix, leading to anxiety or
even disappointment.

The solution is secondary

Yes, the solution is always secondary to the emotional
and mental energy issues taking place during a period
of resistance.

There is one mind-set that must be activated
before change can take place. You must get
to what I call “The fulcrum point of change.”

Sign up for my teleseminar series on how to recognize and release resistance and how to tap into the fulcrum point of change.

You can use this information in various ways
1. To change something in your own life
2. To facilitate change on your team
3. To influence your clients
4. To figure out what is keeping you stuck and distracted

This may be one of the most important personal
and professional development tools you will ever
acquire. The knowledge you take from this
content-packed program can be used in your
personal and your professional life.

Who Should Attend?

*You are successful but want to maximize your energy
*You are ready to reinvent in some area of your business
*You want new methods to increase sales
*You enjoy learning cutting edge information
*You are comfortable exploring new methodologies
*You sometimes struggle with low energy and feel “tapped out”
*You are in the midst of a “power struggle” at home or at work
*You want to boost your confidence and self-esteem
*You want your relationships and communication to improve
*Ready for a challenge and a change

To see more about this program click on  Release Resistance.


Need for Perfection Leads to Drama

May 25, 2010

Question: My time management is pathetic. I need some help prioritizing and fitting in important things like exercise and a healthy diet. I expect perfection and have a hard time with expectations.

Answer: I love this question because it truly is an energy issue. All drama has three components in common and one of those components is energetic. I call this energetic charge, RESISTANCE.

One of the ways resistance shows up is in self judgment. Let’s address the self judgment. The need to be perfect is a resistance to our humanity. As a human you will always find imperfections.  When we expect to be perfect we will always fail. Perfection is an empty black hole that is easy to fall in to. So I try to encourage my consulting clients to seek excellence because excellence allows room to grow while perfection is a myth that some day I will have all the answers. This is a big trap that will always have you grasping for something you will never achieve. So there is a bit more flexibility with excellence.

Perfection is all about needing approval and being right. 

There is also some resistance around the issue of time and how we use time, and the myth that technology is going to save you time.  Now let’s look at the myths about technology. One myth is that more advances in technology gives us more time. The reality is it only gives us more choices. Our expectations change to fill up the time. This is very difficult for most of us to accept. We reject the notion that you can never really save time. Time just is. You can be more effective. You can choose differently. You can even master your energy differently but you will never really save time because the expectation changes with the technology. What is called for here is mastering energy.

Energy management is the key issue here. This is a matter of making a decision and sticking to it. Simply spending some quiet time and giving yourself a week to exercise three times for 1 hour would be a nice start. It’s really just a discipline and the willingness to slow down in your thinking just a bit.

Once you follow through your self-esteem and overall sense of well being will increase. This extra energy is what will make you more efficient, not working past your limits, skipping meals and feeling bad about yourself.

In addition, remember that if you don’t give your body what it needs, it will eventually take the down time in the form of an illness or accident. In other words, you can’t fool mother nature.  We always reap the consequences of our choices, even when we fail to choose, it does not keep us from the effect.

Ready to release resistance? Join me  for the upcoming virtual training!


How to Master Your Energy and Reclaim Joy

May 18, 2010

Question: Though I have a loving husband and child, most of the people and life situations that surround me seem to drain me of energy and joy — always something to deal with or fix.  Why could this be?  Is this “just life,” and I am expecting too much?

Answer: No, you are definitely not asking too much, in fact, you are probably “giving” too much. You are not expecting too much you are expecting too little, probably from others.

Often, we take over and give until we have nothing more to offer. The good thing is that your body is giving you warning signs. The lack of joy and the exhaustion is a signal that needs to be listened to.  I would say this is going to take a little courage.

 I see two areas where you can practice
1. Setting boundaries
2. Asking for what you want

(By the way,  asking and setting boundaries are two of the LABOR principles.)

Asking for what you want, means risking rejection when others don’t want to help out or do their fair share.

 What will be required of you to do this is to face feelings of guilt, fear of rejection etc. Others may not understand the new you and if they are used to you being so available to their needs and wishes they may feel some resentment. You have to become more committed to yourself than to their approval.

 My challenge to you is to practice for a week just asking for little things. Be OK if you do not get your request met. Just ask. All you have to do is be willing.

Have an authentic conversation with your family and tell them you love them but you feel exhausted and you want to get your joy back. Tell them you realize you have not been letting others contribute and you are turning over a new leaf. Ask for their support. Let them know it is difficult for you to say “no” and difficult to ask.  This will set the foundation for you to move forward with less resistance from them.