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Self-Help

How Will You Transition at Midlife?

Midlife is a hot topic these days, especially since baby boomers—eighty-one million strong (those born between 1945 and 1965)—began sprinting through the 50s into the wisdom years, ages 60-100. Our extended life span offers us a vantage point at midlife unheard of in earlier generations.

In his book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, James Hollis suggests that adulthood presents varying levels of growth and is rarely settled in the way most of us expect.

Turbulent emotional shifts can take place anywhere between the ages of thirty-five and seventy when we question the choices we’ve made, realize our limitations, and feel stuck—a time often referred to the “midlife crisis.”

Favorite Quotes

“There are reasons why these disturbances frequently manifest at what we typically consider ‘midlife.’ By this age, the ego strength necessary for self-examination may have reached a level where it can reflect upon itself, critique itself, and risk altering choices, thereby values as well.

“So, what has brought you to this point in your life? Have you chosen this life you lead, these consequences? What forces shaped you, perhaps diverted you, wounded and distorted you; what forces perhaps supported you, and are still at work within you—whether you acknowledge them or not? The one question none of us can answer is: of what are we unconscious?

“That which is unconscious has great power in our lives, may currently be making choices for us. No one awakens, looks in the mirror, and says, ‘I think I will repeat my mistakes today.’ And frequently, this replication of history is precisely what we do, because we are unaware of the silent presence of those programmed energies, the core ideas we have acquired, internalized, and surrendered to.

“I would suggest that each of us experiences a summons of the soul not once, but many times in the course of our lives

“Sometimes this crisis of identify occurs when we go through a divorce only to find our problems continuing in to the next relationship. Sometimes it rises out of the traumatic loss of a partner, which reveals to us a dependency we did not know lurked beneath our seemingly independent behaviors. Sometimes it manifests in the departure of our children, who have been carrying more of our un-lived life than we imagine. Sometimes it emerges in the context of a life-threatening illness or some other brush with death. Or sometimes it simply comes to us at a sudden shock and we realize that we do not know who we are.

“This more radical examination of one’s life, cannot be undertaken on the whim, or finessed through a weekend workshop. To engage with the summons of our soul is to step into the deepest ocean, uncertain whether we will be able to swim to some new, distant shore. For some the entry is gradual; others are pushed suddenly into deep waters.”

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In her book, Awakening at Midlife, Kathleen A. Brehony, a Jungian psychologist defines, explains, and connects Jungian concepts into an understandable framework. In the transition to midlife, questions of personal identity often arise, forcing us to reassess beliefs that seemed to hold true during the first half of our lives.

Favorite Quotes

“Most of us leave no time for introspection, reflection, or any kind of contemplation of the meaning or lack of meaning in our lives, about who we really are apart from the roles we play in life, about God, about death.

“What we call the midlife transition is actually a spiritual and psychological process, not a chronological one, and it is quite possible that the dramatic symptoms and change that we associate with midlife can occur at any point in the life span.

“What is happening that creates such upheaval in our lives? First of all, there is a realization whether conscious or unconscious, that we have lived roughly half our life. But regardless of the intensity, inner psychological forces are pressing us to grow and change toward wholeness, not perfection—who we were meant to be.

“The symptoms of midlife are a wake-up call. If they were not so disruptive, we could easily dismiss them and continue on unconsciously through the rest of our lives. The deepest, most authentic part of the soul is crying to be heard and so symptoms of anxiety, depression, relationship problems, dissatisfaction with career or work, or feelings of emptiness collide into our daily lives.

“It is the journey that is the destination. This concept, that the process itself is the important thing, is an alien idea in our outcome-oriented society. And we are being propelled down this path by our own inner strivings to become who we were always supposed to be. And that process leads naturally to an openness of spirit, a deep inner wisdom, and enlightenment. At this place it is possible to love ourselves and other unconditionally.”

“It is this space, between what we have been and what we will become, that is the most terrifying. Deep felt loss, nostalgia, grief, and mourning accompany us through this passage. In addition, we live in a culture that does not honor inner work, and instead, insists on defining goals and moving swiftly toward them.

“That is why so many people in this stage describe it as being in a riptide; where the natural impulse is to swim as hard as you can back toward the shore. Instead, a riptide demands surrender—to go forward not knowing and trusting the integrity of your own inner process, the wisdom of the Self, and your own strength toward a new and previously unknown and meaningful alternative.

“Meaning is not limited only to grand schemes; it is derived by living life in each moment with genuineness an depth. And the journey will be infinitely richer and more authentic if we follow a path with heart.”

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In my book, Awakening from the Midlife Chrysalis, I affirm midlife as a healthy transition, a time of inner questioning that is more about reinventing ourselves than surviving a crisis. This is a time, for either a woman and or a man, to give themselves permission to become her or his truest self and reflect on the questions that will uncover the self that waits to be discovered.

“There comes a time in our lives when we must enter the interior landscape of our heart. The answers from outside of us cease to satisfy our desires for meaning and contribution. As with most earth-linked processes, this interior journey has its own cycle—stages and signposts that let us know where we stand in any particular moment. Each chapter encourages an awakening to where I am and you could be—to face the fears that keep us from moving forward into authentic living for the rest of our days.

“Several years ago, somewhere within the recesses of my being, I heard a compelling call into stillness and reflection, which I steadfastly ignored. ‘Stillness,’ I though. I don’t have time to be Henry David Thoreau.’

“Those of us who wear ourselves out with our busy lives would be envious of Thoreau and the time he took for reflection and thought. Although many assume that he led his simple life in isolation, he often visited the town of Concord, was a regular at the table of Emerson, and invited others to his cabin for discussions.

“Unremarkable to historians, his mother Cynthia, an sisters Helen and Sophia, cleaned, washed, and mended his clothes and brought meals in during the two years he spent at Waldon Pond.

“I expected life to transition through college, marriage, children, and career to the empty next and into some sort of contribution later in life. I did not anticipate or chart the interior changes, the refiner’s fire experiences, or the smoldering, underground forces that shaped my life as well. Loss, disappointment, and trauma were not the experiences I plotted onto my life’s goal sheet.

“I stand at the threshold, aware of a process that has been awaiting my attention for some time. It surfaces again and again—this urge to stop everything I feel essential and desirable. The image of a chrysalis continuously comes to mind. Just as a caterpillar undergoes transformation, the initial structures of my life struggle to be broken down so that new ones can form. I hear only a small echo drumming its consistent beat: “You must grow again in a distinctly different way, apart from all you know.”

“I choose to step into this unknown, uneasy searching of the depths of my heart, thoughts, and feelings alternatively satisfied and frustrated that my specific molting process will not be generated from the advice and experiences of others. It will be developed within the cauldron of impressions I receive from my inner guide.

“I search for a handhold in a boat tossed about on the waves and into the entrance of a new uncertain and undefined turning point. My best clue that I’m seeking the quick fix without the required threshing work comes when I realize I’m mooching someone else’s idea about what worked for them. When I imagine what my life would be like according to what they offer, it’s as if I’m fitting myself into an over-sized or too—tight sweater. Either I can’t breathe or I trip over the hem.

“Yes, I need some time out. Not the kind of time out that has become a too-common parenting technique. Most of us don’t think to use it ourselves when we become crusty, like a boat that needs to be raised up so the barnacles can be scraped away.”

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Conclusion

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. Time at midlife offers you a journey to the heart center where you can be still, shed the old from the first half of life, and discover your future purpose and passion. What will transform for you?

Categories
Self-Help

What’s Your Explanatory Style?

“We live in an expanding universe, a universe of plenty.
Perhaps the safest prediction we can make about the future is
that it will surprise us.
Our key choice is whether to become aware
and take responsibility for the power of our intentions.”
—George Leonard, The Silent Pulse

Think of your explanatory style as reflecting “the word in your heart—the basis for your intentions.” Each of us carries a word in his or her heart—a “no” or a “yes.” Is the word in your heart a “yes” or “no?”

I’ve learned from my own experience that a no says I’m helpless—there are too many barriers. With a yes in my heart, I see possibilities. Once you’re aware, you can choose. With that clarification, you will understand why I enjoy the following delightful poem:

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds.”
–ee cummings

The date Transformational Thinking (now updated in 2023 in Imagine Your Life, Discover Your Dreams, available on Amazon) came off the press signaled the fulfillment of a dream to bring the Life Creation Process into tangible book form after years of presenting and clarifying these life-planning concepts. It is an accumulation of much thought, experiences, questioning, writing, experimenting, refining of ideas, and then more rewriting.

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As I think back to that moment in 2004, I realize that I haven’t stopped learning about and refining the concepts I thought I had so clearly explained in that volume.

Ideas continue to come in clarifying ways, such as the following surrounding explanatory style captured from Marti Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism.

Some Favorite Quotes

“Self-esteem is about doing well in the world, about persisting, and therefore overcoming obstacles. The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault.

“The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.

“At the core of the phenomenon of pessimism is another phenomenon—that of helplessness—a giving-up reaction. Helplessness is the state of affairs in which nothing you choose to do affects what happens to you.

“Personal control—the ability to change things by one’s voluntary actions is the opposite of helplessness. Explanatory style is the manner in which you habitually explain yourself why events happen. It is the great modulator of learned helplessness. An optimistic explanatory style dispels helplessness, whereas a pessimistic explanatory style spreads helplessness.

“How do you think about the causes of the misfortunes, small and large, that befall you? Some people, the ones who give up easily, habitually say of their misfortunes: ‘It’s me, it’s going to last forever, it’s going to undermine everything I do.’ Others, who resist giving up to misfortune, say: ‘It was just circumstances, it’s going away quickly anyway, and besides, there’s much more in life.’

“People who give up easily believe the causes of the bad events that happen to them are permanent: The bad events will persist, will always be there to affect their lives; they use always and never. People who resist helplessness believe the causes of bad events are temporary; they use sometimes and lately they believe good events are permanent.

“Some people can put their troubles neatly into a box and go about their lives even when one important aspect of it—their job, for example, or their love life—is suffering. Others bleed all over everything; they catastrophize. When one thread of their lives snaps, the whole fabric unravels.

“It comes down to this: People who make universal explanations for their failures give up on everything when a failure strikes in one area. Finding permanent and universal causes for misfortune is the practice of despair. People who make specific explanations may become helpless in that one part of their lives yet they march stalwartly on in the others. Finding temporary and specific causes for misfortune is the art of hope.

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Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers helps individuals look at the underlying messages that keep them stuck in resistance language and change them into possibility thinking.

Some Favorite Quotes

“If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear? The answer is: nothing! What I have just told you means you can handle all your fears without having to control anything in the outside world. All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

“As my confidence grew, I kept waiting for the fear to go away. Yet each time I ventured out into a new territory, I felt frightened and unsure of myself. I learned that the fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

 

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“The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out and do it. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

“If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there ‘doing it’ despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem. The real issue has nothing to do with fear itself, but, rather, how we hold the fear.

“For some, the fear is totally irrelevant. For others, it creates a state of paralysis. The former hold their fear from a position of power (choice, energy and action), and the latter hold it from a position of pain (helplessness, depression and paralysis).

“To help your pain to power path, it’s important to realize that certain words are destructive; others are empowering. ’I can’t’ implies you have no control over your life, whereas ‘I won’t’ puts a situation in the realm of choice. From this moment strike ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary. When you give your subconscious the message ‘I can’t,’ it really believes you and registers on its computer: weak . . . weak . . . weak. Your subconscious believes only what it hears, not what is true.

“You might be saying ‘I can’t’ simply to get out of a dinner invitation. In fact, ‘I can’t come to dinner is an untruth. The truth is ‘I can come to dinner, and I am choosing to do something that has a higher priority at the moment. So instead, say, ‘I’d love to come to dinner, and I have a meeting that’s important to me. So, I’ll pass for tonight and hope you’ll invite me again.’ That statement has truth, integrity and power.

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Conclusion

Each of us chooses how we face our fears and distress. Both of these books can inspire you to make different choices about your thinking. Examining your explanatory style and making some adjustments can give you a perspective and encourage you to move from helplessness to a positive and accountable way of viewing the world you live in.

P.S.

My latest book, How to Make Communication Easier is now available on Amazon. It’s the last of the “how to” books I’ve written: How to Make Writing Easier and How to Make Financial Independence Easier. As an instructional writer, it’s been my intent to write books that are easy to read and where concepts are clearly explained.

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Categories
Self-Help

How to Awaken to Whole-hearted Living

I was in a workshop a few years ago with Kate Hofer where Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist, educator, and author, directed us to pay attention to the four-chambered heart—not the physical four chambers, rather the emotional four chambers of the heart.

In her book, The Four-Fold Way, she explains that the Four-Chambered Heart is full, open, clear and strong. For vision to be 20:20 the heart must be firing on all chambers.

  • Where are you currently full-hearted in your life and work?
  • Where is your heart open to new ideas, people and experiences?
  • What are you clear about with respect to your vision, values and behavior?
  • What situations require courage and perseverance, the fruit of strong-heartedness?

What are you awakening to? Any unhealthy thinking patterns and limiting assumptions: where you may be are stuck in resistance thinking, and how you can transform your thinking into possibility thinking.

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The following three books explore the importance of studying and learning from our heart’s perspective.

The Gifts of Imperfection

Brené Brown is a researcher and a storyteller, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging. In her book, Gifts of Imperfection, she shares ten guideposts of wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Some Favorite Quotes

“In the process of collecting thousands of stories from diverse men and women who lived all over the country, I saw new patterns that I wanted to know more about Yes, we all struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough. And, yes, many of us are afraid to let our true selves be seen and known. And in this huge mound of data there was also story after story of men and women who were living these amazing and inspiring lives.”

“As I started analyzing the stories and looking for re-occurring themes, I realized that the patterns generally fell into one of two columns. One column brimmed with words like worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude, and creativity. The other column was dripping with words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity.”

“How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important; but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life: loving ourselves.”

“People may call what happens at midlife ‘a crisis,’ but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re ‘supposed’ to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are. These unraveling journeys could include: marriage, divorce, becoming a parent, recovery, moving, an empty next, retiring, experiencing loss or trauma, or working in a soul-sucking job.”

“It’s not something we accomplish or acquire and then check off our life. It’s life work. It’s soul work. It’s a process, the journey of a lifetime.

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The HeartMath Solution

Doc Childre and Howard Martin, in their book, The HeartMath Solution, ask the following personal-evaluation questions. What is you could easily . . .

  • Make better decisions?
  • Gain control of your emotions?
  • Enhance creativity?
  • Reduce high blood pressure?
  • Increase personal productivity?
  • Slow down aging?

You can, simply by understanding your heart’s intelligence—which has more impact of our emotions, our mind, and our physical health than was ever thought possible.

Breakthrough scientific research proves that the heart is the control tower of the body’s systems and overall health. Pioneers of this research have developed a program to harness the power of the heart with simple, proven techniques. These life-altering techniques will show you how to deepen the qualities long associated with the heart—wisdom, compassion, courage, love, strength, and joy.

Some Favorite Quotes

“This book shows in depth, how the heart is at the core of our body and at the core of how we think and feel. The solution is derived from realizing that the heart is both a physical object, a rhythmic organ, and love itself. It recognizes the heart as the central rhythmic force in the body and shows us how to use the coherent power of love to manage our thoughts and emotions. Like a pebble that creates a ripple of waves where dropped into a still pond, so love and positive feelings in the heart create a rhythm that spreads health and sell-being throughout the body.”

“The intention of this book is to confirm to you, the reader, what you may already feel or know—that the heart is involved in understanding yourself, people, and life. If you take to heart what you read and make even a small sincere effort to apply what you learn, you’ll experience a profound shift in your perceptions and emotions. Life will respond accordingly. It won’t take years to benefit from the HeartMath Solution. In fact, it will save years of looking for answers that are only as far away as the shift from mind to heart.”

“As we enter the new millennium, our increasingly global society is faced with daunting challenges. Many important institutions and systems that we rely on for security and order are in disarray. Largely because of all this change, stress is at an all-time high. As Albert Einstein said years ago, ‘The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.’ To live happily and healthily in all the turmoil that progress brings requires exploring new idea.”

“Heart Intelligence is the intelligent flow of awareness and insight that we experience once the mind and emotions are brought into balance and coherence through a self-initiated process. This form of intelligence is experienced as direct, intuitive knowing that manifests to thoughts and emotions that are beneficial for ourselves and others.

In other words, heart intelligence is really the source of emotional intelligence. From our research at the Institute of HeartMath, we’ve concluded that intelligence and intuition are heightened when we learn to listen more deeply to our own heart. It’s through learning how to decipher the messages we receive from our heart that we can the keen perception needed to effectively manage our emotions in the midst of life’s situation and challenges.”

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Heart Minded

Sarah Blondin has written a book about being heart minded—how to hold yourself and others in love. Heart Minded includes a variety of meditations and teachings to help you detach from your busy, and perhaps sometimes frantic mind and tune into your feelings heart. You may have turned away from your heart and stayed in your mind. Sarah Blondin suggests that we can learn to re-open to and live from our heart.

Some Favorite Quotes

“Each of us has unique reasons for shutting down our hearts and hiding the part of ourselves we are ashamed of. We tuck wounds and vulnerabilities deep inside and make our bodies battlegrounds. We push down and away all the ways of being and feeling that we sense—or are explicitly told—are ‘unacceptable,’ and create rifts between the self we present to the world and what is really going on inside us. Everything we hide and suppress siphons energy we could be using to create a beautiful life and blocks us from accessing joy and abundance, dulling and dimming the light of who we are.”

“To discover the language and message of our hearts, we need to take the time to look deep within ourselves. We must decide to search for the tender parts of us we have abandoned and hidden away. Our hearts house the essence of life and source. They are the well of divinity within us which when aligned with, awakened, and re-connected to, will eradicate and heal, forgive and dispel, and reconcile and release each hurtful relationship and memory. Our hearts are the source of our inspiration to spread and stir love and goodness throughout the world.”

“If you want to live a heart-minded life, the decision is yours. It begins by making the choice to take just one small step toward yourself, instead of away. More importantly, you need tender, gentle, and constant encouragement to strengthen your resolve in keeping your heart open, especially when your finely tuned instincts to protect are activated. This book is built of practices that will do just that. And don’t just read it, live it. Learn what your heart wants you to know, find your antidotes to the hindrances around your heart. Practice.”

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Conclusion

The beginning of a new year offers a chance to evaluate where you are in your heart. Any effort you make to connect or re-connect with your heart intelligence will bring you closer to whole-hearted living.

When you are full-hearted, you are consistent, trustworthy, and committed; not half-hearted.

When you are strong-hearted, you are courageous—able to face conflict in honest and creative ways.

When you are open-hearted, you see life and the human experience as friendly and have a positive attitude. You are willing to learn.

When you are clear-hearted, you are certain, congruent within yourself, and patient; not confused.

Categories
Self-Help

How to Avoid a False Start

“False start” is a term borrowed from sports—specifically from sprinting. Sprinters wait in a state of primed readiness on the blocks for the gun to fire to signal the start of the race. When a runner is over-anxious, other signals from the track (or an internal cue) will set them off. When this happens the race is stopped, and the runners ready themselves on the blocks again.

When you feel anxious or uncertain about the future of your life or the next step in your career, family, or goal, you may experience a false start. You skip ahead of yourself. Taking time off to figure out the next step is labeled wasting time. Other pressures, such as needing to provide for the family may mean you grab what comes along even it isn’t not a good fit.

And, if you fuel your expectations with have tos, ought tos, and shoulds, you may unconsciously create resistance. In fact, these phrases, common though they are, feed into fear and resistance.

The following two books are full of ideas and questions to consider as you move forward in any area of life and want to avoid a false start.

Start, Stay, or Leave by Trey Gowdy is one of the best books about decision-making. Part memoir, and part counsel, Trey asks a number of forward-thinking questions:

  • What are your real motivations related to the decisions you have to make?”
  • “Will you be making the decision for yourself or for others”
  • “What have you accomplished?”
  • “How do you want to be remembered?

Best Quotes

“There is a tremendous difference between what we ‘do’ and what we ‘accomplish.’ Accomplishing something requires intent and purpose. Accomplishing something requires foresight of the ending. When we work toward accomplishing something, we have direction; if we are merely doing something, we are moving without direction, and we are more likely to get lost.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the precise moment I traded the lure of [climbing the ladder of success] for the steady assurance of a mirror. I no longer felt the need to be different or successful in the eyes of everyone else. I no longer needed a title to set me apart.

“With the mirror model, success—the definition of success and the actualization of that success—comes from within. Success is not an external monument of your achievements that you’re constantly building; rather, it is a practice of self-reflection and inner fulfillment enabling you to make decisions that echo your desired path.

“Everyone has a natural bent toward making decisions with their head (logic), their heart (emotions), or their gut (intuition. All three play an important role in our lives, and none should be minimized to the point of having no power.

“When you come to that crossroads, think about what will be best for you over the long haul, not what is best for you in the shorter term. Rushing your aspirations, hurrying your goals, and forcing your dreams into fruition comes with consequences that could very well put life’s other priorities in real jeopardy.

Major in Success, written by Patrick Combs, is aimed at your college student who has no clue why they are in college; they just know it’s often the next step toward adulthood. Even so, it’s also great information for those of us who are transitioning into a new stage of life.

Best Quotes

“Why are you in college? Ultimately, college will give you the opportunity to increase the quality of your life,both now and in the future. Unfortunately, a lot of students do little, if anything, to actively increase the quality of their lives while they’re in school.  Many students seem to think that they won’t start improving their lives until after they graduate.

“In reality, from the day you start college your future resume and even your lifestyle has started to take shape. Moreover, you can get good grades and still not be able to get a good job.

The most dangerous way to approach college is with the idea that all you need to do is attend class and get your degree. After graduating, you’ll discover that you were paying dues to get into a club of people who missed the point.

The point is that you’re not in college to work for your professors, or your parents, or anyone else.  You’re there to work for yourself and your future.

“College is a good thing to do but a college degree doesn’t necessarily result in a great job.  Many college graduates struggle to find meaningful employment. That’s why there are three more steps to being successful:

  1. Discover what kind of work you enjoy.
  2. Get a clear sense of what naturally motivates you the most and then develop a picture of the jobs that suit your interests.
  3. Do things that get the ball rolling. You’ll have different options to choose from and you’ll see many possible routes to your dream job. Focus on what’s really important: motivation, marketable skills, abilities, resources, credentials, and your dreams.

“Benjamin Bloom, a professor at the University of Chicago, studied 120 outstanding athletes, artists, and scholars. The characteristic that they had in common was extraordinary drive. EXTRAORDINARY DRIVE COMES FROM DOING WHAT YOU ENJOY:

“Doing what you love, going with your strongest interests, and your deepest aspirations. Success in any endeavor takes work. The key to doing a lot of work is liking what you’re working on. You know that you are practicing your true vocation when you love all the hard work, responsibility, and tedium that goes with it.

“Work that is to the liking of your heart turns obligations into opportunities. It transforms chores into chances. In addition, no matter what you major in, if you can’t answer the phone, make a presentation, do a spreadsheet, or write a business letter, nobody needs you.

“Graduating without a clear picture of the kind of work you’d enjoy is like getting ready to sky dive without a parachute—you’re guaranteed a hard landing.

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“You can bring your passions and dreams front and center with journaling. In a diary you mostly reflect on how your day went. In journaling you mostly write about how you desire your ideal days to be. Not, “My day went like this . . .” Instead, “Ideally my days will be like this . . .” Also,

  • Continually revise.
  • Write when you’re inspired.
  • Write when you’re reflective.
  • Write when you don’t want to make the same mistake ever again.
  • Think big.
  • Write more from the heart than from the head.
  • Spell out your dreams specifically, right down to the smallest details about what you want.
  • Describe your dreams accomplished in the most successful manner possible.
  • Avoid the phrases “I wish” or “I hope.” there is only “I am” and “I will be.”

“When I first started journaling, I was hard pressed to come up with answers longer than a few sentences. but once I started, there was no turning back. My mind was engaged and I began getting floods of answers at the oddest times.  It is a process like this that transforms you from a person with loosely based wishes and dreams into a person with high motivation, passion, and a plan.

“It is a process like this that enables you to define who you truly are. What you journal about comes true quicker, and often, in seemingly strange and coincidental ways. Your unconscious mind has genius power to filter for, direct you to, and even attract things and resources that will help you create what you have said you want.”

Conclusion

Fear creates insecurity, lowers your confidence, and silences your heart. Learning requires mistakes. People who have reached great heights were not fearless; they learned from their mistakes.

The ones who make it are the ones who can move forward despite having fears. They become clear about what they want, thus avoiding a false start. Remember, self-discovery is a lifelong process that when done with consistency, provides focus, motivation, and joy.

 

Categories
Self-Help

Helping Teenagers Succeed

With all that teenagers are bombarded with these days, plus all the activity and curricular opportunities, it’s critical for parents to have access to constructive resources that encourage them in raising their children.

Add to this the importance of creating safety for their questioning spirits—their enormous curiosity about life—helping them develop and explore their own inner landscape can anchor and nourish them.

Why Focus on Strengths?

In their book, Now Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton have created a program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent performance.

Unfortunately, most teenagers have little sense of their talents and strengths, much less the ability to build their lives around them. Instead, guided by us, by teachers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, they are encouraged to identify, analyze, and correct their weaknesses in order to become strong.

Best Quotes

“This advice is well intended but misguided. Faults and failings deserve study, but they reveal little about strengths. Strengths have their own patterns. To help your teenager excel in his or her chosen field and find lasting satisfaction in doing so, they will need to understand their unique patterns. You will want them to become expert at finding and describing and applying and practicing and refining their strengths.”

“By defining strength as consistent, near perfect performance in an activity, there are three important principles of living a strong life: First, for an activity to be a strength your teen must be able to do it consistently. The acid test of a strength? The ability to fathom themselves doing it repeatedly, happily, and successfully.

“Second, they don’t have to have strength in every aspect of their role in order to excel. They do not have to be well-rounded. Third, they will excel by maximizing their strengths, never by fixing their weaknesses. This is not saying, ‘ignore your weaknesses.’ Instead, help your teen find ways around their weaknesses, thereby freeing them up to hone their strengths to a sharper point.”

Counteract Learned Helplessness

In her book, How to Father a Successful Daughter, Nicky Marone suggests that “there are all kinds of parents. Some get locked into a particular kind of message that puts pressure on a daughter to conform to the stereotypical role of learned helplessness.

The following questions help raise our consciousness so we can begin to understand the complexity of the forces that act on females and affect their lives significantly.

  1. Do I encourage my daughter to explore her environment, seek new experiences, and challenge her physical limits? In other words, do I encourage her to take risks?
  2. Am I inclined to rescue my daughter whenever she becomes frustrated or upset? Do I hover, ever watchful to ensure her comfort and security?
  3. Have I ever shown my daughter how to defend herself or enrolled her in a self-defense course?
  4. Do I accept “I’m scared” or “I don’t want to” as a legitimate justification for avoiding a challenge? (Would you accept this justification from a son?)

Premature Rescuing

“Because of realistic fears concerning their safety, we train girls to be careful and cautious. We do this out of love, and love can make mistakes.

“When we rescue prematurely or protect too aggressively, we send a powerful message: “You can’t do this alone. You need help.

“The result of this training is that girls become fearful and dependent. They rarely get the opportunity to experience the sheer exhilaration of a risk successfully negotiated.

“Consequently, girls are often cheated out of the growth and self-knowledge that come from pushing beyond one’s comfort zone.

“When interacting with daughters, fathers displayed a curious behavior which they did not display with sons. They would pick up the puzzle piece and put it in place for the daughter —before she requested help.

“This [often unconscious] type of behavior, obviously motivated by love and a desire to protect, has devastating effects. Ultimately, it produces a type of behavior called “learned helplessness.

“The theory of learned helplessness is aptly conveyed in the label itself. It states that given the right conditions, individuals learn to be helpless. In other words, the helplessness, which many females exhibit is not a feminine trait, but rather one that has been taught and reinforced. One of the vehicles for teaching learned helplessness is premature rescuing.

“The unspoken message says, “You are not capable of doing this by yourself. You need help.” Females receive this message much more frequently than do males.

“With males, we allow them to experiment in order to build character and test their limitations. We do not offer females the same luxury. Instead, by rescuing them, we cripple them.

“Unfortunately, in a father’s overly zealous desire to protect his little girl from risk and the discomfort of anxiety-provoking situations, he tells her that she is incapable, incompetent, and in need of help. His behavior sends the message that that is what he thinks of her, so she comes to believe it herself.

“Always wait until your daughter requests help. Even then, you may decide it is in her best interest to withhold assistance a little longer. Never, never give help before it is requested. Stop and think, ‘How many times in my adult life has anyone barged in to rescue me before I requested it?’

“Since it is adult life you are preparing her for, the answer is self-evident. Unless it is an emergency situation, pause and ask yourself, “Would I rescue her from this situation if she were a boy?”

“With every risk successfully negotiated comes an equal and proportionate surge of confidence and vitality. In a way, one is almost ensured of success whenever one takes a risk because the act of taking the risk in the first place is a positive self-assessment and a boost to self-esteem, even if one fails at the undertaking! Not to try is the ultimate failure.

“Safety and security are dead ends. They do not foster personal growth, they do not encourage development of one’s coping skills, they do not inspire one to push beyond one’s comfort zone.

Motivate Boys to Learn

In his book, Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax highlights several disturbing trends influencing growing boys. He draws on the scientific literature and his more than 25 years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home.

Best Quotes

“Many kids who are being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD today are misdiagnosed. They’re not paying attention, true, but their deficit of attention isn’t due to ADHD, its due to a lack of motivation in the classroom.

“Those boys don’t need drugs. What they need, first is a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, and second, teachers who knew how to teach boys.

“There are two kinds of knowledge: book learning and experiential learning. Kids need to experience the real world. Only the past decade have developmental psychologists come to recognize that a curriculum that emphasizes book learning at the expense of experiential learning is deficient.

“You can easily find high school students in America today who can tell you about the importance of the environment, the carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle, and so on, but they’ve never spent a night outdoors. They have plenty of book learning but not a trace of experiential learning.

“For boys in particular, emphasizing book learning while ignoring experiential learning may seriously impair development—not cognitive development, but the development of a lively and passionate curiosity

“‘Nature is about smelling, hearing, tasting,’ Richard Louv reminds us. ‘The end result of a childhood with more time spent in front of computer screens than outdoors is what he calls cultural autism.’ If boys are deprived of that balance between book and experiential learning, they may simply disengage from school.

“What about video games? One key is balance. If time spent on video games is crowding out time spent with friends or time spent on homework, then your son is spending too much time on video games.

“Researchers find that the more time you spend playing video games, the more likely you are to develop difficulties maintaining sustained concentration on a single item.

“No one else can do this job for you. You must know what games your child is playing. There should be no expectation of privacy when your son is playing a video game.

“If your sons is going to a friend’s house to play video games, you must find out whether the parents share your concerns about violent video games. What rules should you lay down?

“Professor Anderson recommends first of all that you either play the game yourself or watch it being played.

Conclusion

These books provide numerous ideas for you to consider. It’s easiest to raise our teenagers on autopilot because we’re all so busy with so many things. It takes time to check out their video games and it takes awareness to notice when we’re rescuing them.

Time is what you have for a short eighteen years, and consciously deciding how to help your teenager discover their strengths, avoid premature rescuing—allow them to make mistakes and learn from them in order to develop self-reliance, and helping their balance their lives will, in the long run, help them become more successful in life.

 

Categories
Self-Help

Are You Creating Your Life or Drifting?

Are you consciously creating your life or drifting?

Years ago, my husband finished his job in Mississippi, and moved to the Texas Panhandle to be near his family. I assumed our lives would roll smoothly through the next job change and sale of our home without any effort or planning . . . and it didn’t.

I was a victim of what Michael Hyatt refers to as “the drift”—a metaphor for living without a plan. In his book, Living Forward, Michael teaches, “Drift usually happens for one or more reasons:

  1. It happens when we are unaware.
  2. It happens when we are distracted.
  3. It happens when we are overwhelmed.
  4. It happens when we are deceived.
  5. As a result, you drift, feeling powerless to change course. Drift is a state of no passion and no progress.

A study of the responses of 4,000 retired executives over the age of 70 by Dr. Gerald Bell revealed a common regret: They wished they had done more life planning. “I would have carved out life goals and owned my life.” I should have taken charge of my life through goal setting.” “I would have spent more time on my personal development.

“A Life Plan won’t insulate you from life’s adversities and unexpected turns, but it will help you become an active participant in your life, intentionally shaping your own future.

“The experience of creating a Life Plan, regularly reviewing it, and updating it as necessary, has been transformational. As family, friends, career, and other interests have grown, our Life Plan has kept us on track, holding true to the things we value most.”

Experiment

It took a financially unstable transition for me to wake up. As I became thoughtful about how I perceived the situation, I came to realize that expecting the worst colored my thinking and kept me stuck. That’s when I began to experiment with my thinking patterns and eliminating those that kept me in a place of resistance rather than possibility—I moved into problem solving and imagining my life better.

I brainstormed what I wanted to have happen in several areas: marketable skills to develop, education goals, financial goals and personal growth goals. This included goals like getting m teaching certificate and master’s degree, planning a career path, living debt free, creating an emergency fund and college funds for our children, and figuring out fun things we wanted to do and places we wanted to see with our children as they grew up. This was the genesis of the book, Imagine Your Life, Discover Your Dreams.

Write Your Plan Out

Most people I talk with about creating a life plan fall into two categories:

  1. Those who want to take life as it comes.
  2. Those who wake up and decide where they want to go.

Using the activities found in Imagine Your Life and Discover Your Dreams, these individuals create a flexible action plan that moves them toward what they want in life. They make a life list of things they want to accomplish and think about attitudes and talents they want to improve. Thoreau wrote,

“Most people live lives of quiet desperation: they die with their music still in them.”

Let your music out by creating your life as a blueprint on paper first. Then evaluate and adjust your plans along the way. How will you bring more happiness, gratitude, and enjoyment into your life?

Download and print my 5-year planning handout – set up the years in the left-hand column: 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027.

Want my 5-year life-planning template?

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One Step at a Time

You can improve your life one step at a time. Once you have begun to create the details for your primary goals, the next step is to:

Brainstorm: Brainstorming helps us expand our thinking to include goals and aspirations that can be integrated into our daily lives. We can invent the future in our imagination before creating it tangibly to discover possibilities—moving ideas from vision into form. Use the following open-ended sentences to generate 8-10 new ideas:

  • If I could do, be, or having anything, what would my heart say?
  • What would I do if I could do anything without training?
  • What would I do for fun?

Go for Detail: When we create dreams without the particulars, what we want is usually too large in our heads. Our desires need to be broken down into smaller tasks or amounts, just as we make smaller monthly payments to pay off a large loan, for example.

Set up timelines: Creating a structure, framework, or blueprint offers a view of what lies ahead before you move forward. Follow through is essential; it includes creating timelines and dated action plans for managing the details of dreams to ensure continued progress.

Once you have specific details, you can identify the smallest action that fits into your weekly and monthly schedules. To say you will lose a pound a month, or save $100 toward a family vacation every paycheck lets you make continual progress toward your goal.

You begin to bring your dreams into reality.

Stay in the language of possibility: The most important rule of creation is to avoid negative self-talk ordevalue your efforts. Your self-talk powerfully impacts intention and commitment and keeps you either flowing energy or depleting energy.

The language of possibility fosters hope, optimism, and responsibility: “I can,” “I will,” “I’ll figure it out,” “I want . . .,” and “I promise,” are phrases that encourage you to move forward and open you to further insight and problem solving.

Enjoy the process: If we wait to celebrate until the fulfillment of our goal, we miss the pleasurable moments of the journey in the middle—the illuminating ahas, and what the experience is teaching us. Savor each moment of struggle and ease.

Choosing to develop your creative imagination and engage in life planning will transform your life. As your thoughts and dreams become visible, you will discover pathways leading to their fulfillment . . . and live a life free of regret.

Categories
Self-Help

How to Teach Kids Mental Immunity

No matter how healthy or dysfunctional or absent or controlling our parents were while we were growing up, this generation of parents has the opportunity to improve and provide a safety net for their children to develop mental immunity.

And, while we’re raising a family, it’s critical to increase our own mindfulness and working on ourselves to increase our resiliency during these challenging and uncertain times.

This means more than over-scheduling their time with an abundance of activities, competition, and regulating social media.

It requires us to carve out time and create a safe place for them to express the myriad of swirling thoughts and feelings that accompany growing into adulthood in today’s confusing, distracting, and morally shifting” world.

Defining Mental Immunity

Besides defining mental immunity, here are three concepts contained in the following books that can help parents make the difference:

  • create safety through containment,
  • accept who our children are, and
  • listen for their brilliance.
  • The term, mental immunity is explored in The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Besides sharing their own experiences of suffering and joy, they also identify the science of various related aspects of joy. They write, “So much of our unhappiness originates within our own mind and heart—in how we react to events in our life.
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Quotes that Resonate

“‘Mental Immunity,’ is learning to avoid the destructive emotions and to develop the positive ones. If your mental health is sound, then when disturbances come, you will have some distress, and quickly recover.

“Initially, we’ve got to accept ourselves as we are, and get to know the things that trigger us. We should not berate ourselves for our negative thoughts and emotions; they are natural and unavoidable. These are the things that we can change, and we ought not to be ashamed of ourselves.

“We cannot control the inevitability of adversity, illness, and ultimately death; we can though, influence their effect in our life by adjusting the attitude we take toward them.’

The first step is to accept the reality of suffering. So much of what causes heartache is our wanting things to be different than they are.” Having unrealistic expectations is the cause of much unhappiness.

“Through self-inquiry and meditation, we can discover the nature of our minds and learn to soothe our emotional reactivity. This is the process of developing mental immunity.”

Create Safety Through Containment

In his book, The Clarity Cleanse, Habib Sadeghi teaches the path to clarity. “By honoring both positive, negative, and in-between emotions, we integrate them into the clear space inside us that’s our true being. Clarity is a cup. Like water being poured over tea leaves without a cup, our thoughts and feelings flow all over the place.”

Habib tells the story of a man who said, “‘I was a mess—until my friend Gary came along and did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He contained me. In that crucial moment, he served as my cup.’

Quotes that Resonate

Containing means being able to gather and hold what we’re feeling, being present with it so that we consciously experience it in a nonjudgmental and empathic way. As we process it in this way, we enable it to pass through us.

“Clarity is a clean cup. The muck stuck in the bottom of our cups consists of our biases and prejudices. It’s our limiting beliefs and our many distractions. It’s repressed emotions and unprocessed experiences that stick with us, drain our energy, and get in our way.

“If we cannot properly digest our emotions, we tend to react by rejecting the situation outright, often dramatically by blaming others and venting our outrage. This is feeling without thinking, and it means we are emotionally uncontained.

“One of the main things we aim for as we reach for greater clarity is the practice of containment in ourselves in any situation, which allows us to solve the problems we are presented with rather than—

  • expecting someone else to solve them as we adopt a powerless attitude,
  • blaming someone else for them as we adopt an aggressive attitude, or
  • avoiding them altogether by adopting a passive attitude.

“When we practice containment, we see and accept a situation as it exists, and then work with it to achieve a positive outcome, learning what we can from the experience along the way. This doesn’t mean we have to be happy about what’s happening to us or that we allow others to avoid responsibility for their part.

“Parents are our primary teachers in the art of emotional containment, but if they haven’t mastered it for themselves their children may never learn it.

With clarity on your side, you’ll find yourself more prepared for whatever life may throw at you. You’ll better enjoy the ups and more easily handle the downs. You’ll be more resilient, and more powerful, and better able to steer your life in the direction you want to go,” and help your children learn emotional containment also.

Accept Who Our Children Are

Shefali Tsabary’s book is my all-time favorite parenting book.

Shefali explains in her book, The Conscious Parent: “You are raising a Spirit throbbing with its own signature. When children are just being themselves – creative, joyous, generous, forgiving, they are their own person. It’s easy to not pay close attention to them. It’s no surprise we struggle to tune into our children’s essence.

Quotes that Resonate

“How can we listen to them, when so many of us barely listen to ourselves? Does your parenting method especially include listening to your child’s spirit?”

“It certainly isn’t out of a lack of love that we impose our will on our children. Rather, it stems from a lack of consciousness. However, when we begin to be aware, we redesign the dynamic we share with our children. Until then, children may pay a heavy price when we lack consciousness. This is because, coming from our own unconsciousness ourselves, we bequeath to them our own unresolved needs, unmet expectations, and frustrated dreams.

“Despite our best intentions, we enslave them to the emotional inheritance we received from our parents, binding them to the debilitating legacy of ancestors past. The nature of unconsciousness is such that, until it’s metabolized, it will seep through generation after generation. Only through awareness can the cycle of pain that swirls in families end.”

“While you may believe your most important challenge is to raise your children well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting. This task is to raise yourself into the most awakened and present individual you can be.

“As much as conscious parenting is about listening to our children, honoring their essence, and being fully present with them, it’s also about boundaries and discipline. Even when we are called upon to discipline, consciousness shows us how to do so in a manner that bolsters our child’s spirit rather than diminishing it. To parent consciously requires us to undergo personal transformation.”

“A certain child enters our life with its individual difficulties, stubbornness, and temperamental challenges in order to help us become aware of how much we have yet to grow. When we approach the relationship between parent and child as “this is it” then we introduce an element of awareness.

“The most ordinary moments provide us with opportunities to nurture self-definition, resilience, tolerance, and connectedness—the attributes that spring from being fully present. Keep in mind that the conscious way of parenting is something we inch our way into. Even a tiny shift in the vibes in a family has the power to alter the consciousness of the entire family.”

Listen for Their Brilliance

Nancy Kline’s book, Time to Think, is the best book about listening I have ever read.

Quotes that Resonate

“Listening to a child—giving them good attention—makes them more intelligent. Poor attention makes them stumble over their words and seem stupid. Most parents see themselves as guides, protectors, and assume they know best for their children.

“We think we listen to our children, but we don’t. We interrupt what they’re saying with our own stories and comments and judgment. We look at our watches, sigh, frown, tap our finger, read what’s on our smartphone, or walk away. We give advice, additional counsel, and more advice. We talk at them all the time and wonder why we don’t think they are listening.

“We have been taught this almost since we could breathe, that helping people means thinking for them—giving them our ideas. Therefore, we listen only as long as it takes our brain to think of an idea for them.

“But our ideas are not their ideas. Real help consists of listening to our children, of paying respectful attention to them so that they can access their own ideas first.  What are we listening for? We’re listening for their brilliance; their own best ideas.

“This is not to say that advise is never a good thing or that our ideas are never needed. Sometimes our suggestions are exactly what the person wants and needs. Just don’t rush into it.

“To help a child think for themself, first listen. And listen some more. And just when they say they can’t think of anything else, you can ask them the question, “What else do you think about this? What else comes to mind that you want to say?

Conclusion

When we’re trying to help a child or teenager sort through themselves, our listening empowers them to think for themselves.”

These three parenting skills: containment, acceptance, and listening provide a bedrock—a solid foundation, safety, and a sustainable opportunity where our children can develop emotional immunity.

Categories
Self-Help

Habit Books: Influencer vs. Atomic Habits vs. Tiny Habits

There are dozens of published books about changing habits and other self-help books that include a variety of tools for individuals to improve their lives. In today’s post I’m going to review three of the most well-known books available.

Why I like the book, Influencer, better than the books, Atomic Habits and Tiny Habits

I recently finished reading BJ Fogg’s book, Tiny Habits, which is the Mitchener edition of changing habits—everything you ever wanted to know and much, much more.

It’s a dense, tightly spaced, slow read. BJ Fogg, PhD, founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. In addition to his research, Fogg teaches industry innovators how human behavior really works.

For those who are willing to wade through his book, there are gems to be found therein:

  • Stop judging yourself.
  • Break your goals down into small progressive actions.
  • Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.
  • You change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad.
  • No behavior happens without a prompt. A prompt, whether inside yourself, or from someone else, cues you to take action.
  • Emotions create habits, not repetition; emotions make behavior more automatic.
  • Celebrate immediately after a new behavior and your brain repatterns to make the behavior more automatic in the future.

There are plenty of helpful ideas in BJ Fogg’s book, including chatty stories and multiple graphs.

I gave his book 4 stars.

Atomic Habits

James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement.

This is an easier read with better spacing without a plethora of graphs and illustrations. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear teaches similar principles to help readers develop a positive change in their behavior.

By committing to the process of making tiny changes, marginal gains, 1 percent improvements, eventually new habits become part of your identity. You take the smallest action that confirms the type of person you want to be.

Here are some gems from his book:

  • Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. In fact, people who do not have their habits handled are often the ones with the least amount of freedom.
  • Create a good habit: Cue – make it obvious; Craving – make it attractive; Response – make it easy; Reward – make it satisfying.
  • Break a bad habit: Cue – make it invisible; Craving – make it unattractive; Response – make it difficult; Reward – make it unsatisfying.
  • Reprogram your brain to enjoy hard habits. Change just one word: You don’t “have” to, you “get” to. Reframe your habits to highlight their benefits rather than their drawbacks.
  • Changing habits is a continuous process.

James Clear’s book is another helpful book about changing habits, and the stories are better crafted.

Still, I gave his book 4 stars.

The book, Influencer, is authored by Kerry Patterson, et al., leaders of VitalSmarts, and follows the stories of 16 change agents from across the world.

There are actual people out there who—instead of asking for the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and seeking the wisdom to know the difference—have sought the wisdom to make a difference.

The purpose of this inspiring book is to share the principles and skills routinely employed by a handful of brilliant change agents so that readers can expand their set of influence tools and bring out important changes in their personal lives, their families, their companies, and even their communities.

In their summary sections, the authors encourage readers to search for vital behaviors, those few behaviors that can create a cascade of change, and recovery behaviors when you make a mistake—notice where you went wrong, and without judgment, take corrective action.

They suggest six sources of influence: personal motivation—make the undesirable desirable, personal ability—surpass your limits, social motivation—harness peer pressure, social ability—find strength in numbers, structural motivation—design rewards and demand accountability, and structural ability—change the environment.

Pick a challenge of your own and read these six chapters. Then fashion your own six-source influence strategy.

Here are some gems from this book:

  • Almost all profound, pervasive, and persistent problems in our lives don’t require solutions that defy the laws of nature; they require us to act differently.
  • If you want to change how you behave, you have to first change how you think.
  • The greatest persuader is personal experience.
  • A characteristic of human nature is our capacity to transcend and hence transform our own behavior. If we can find a way to change the feeling associated with a vital behavior, we can make formerly unappealing activities become satisfying.
  • The most powerful incentive known to humankind is our own evaluation of our behavior and accomplishments.

Influencer – The New Science of Leading Change

I found Influencer to be the most inspirational book about making changes and gave it 5 stars.

In a nutshell, each of these books has something to offer to any person who wants to make changes for the better in their life among many others that have been published.

The best read is Influencer because it crystalizes critical problems nobody could possibly fix and identifies how the change agents analyzed the problem and figured out how to fix the impossible.

Want our Influencer index? Download Here!

What happens, though, is expressed by Tessa Warschaw in her book, Rich is Better:

“Too often what we read and profess becomes part of our libraries and our vocabularies, instead of becoming part of our lives.”

What I have learned is that when I want to make a meaningful change, however small, it makes all the difference in the world if I’m wholehearted about it—loving myself in the process, rather than half-hearted, doubtful, and judgmental.

And that’s a blog for another time . . .

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