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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Expect the Best"

Sure, we’ve all heard it a thousand times… “Expect the best!” But does positive thinking really work, or is it just some cliché? It really works!! You’ve gotta use this phrase correctly, though. Keep reading to find out how…

The thoughts you think and the mental images you picture in your mind lead to your future reality. Whatever you are telling yourself and visualizing now is what will eventually come to pass in your life. For most people, it takes awhile to really buy into this concept. They’re either not fully conscious of the thoughts and images they’re feeding their minds, or they’re feeding themselves so many contradictory thoughts and images that it’s hard to figure out what’s going on in there!!

Here’s an example which hits close to home for me. Can you relate to this one? You’ve interviewed for a new job and have made it past the interview stage to the salary negotiations stage. Congratulations! But… what do you think about and tell yourself when it comes to your desired salary? Your company has offered you salary X, and you countered back with salary Y. So far, so good! You wanted more money, and you asked for it! They tell you, however, that they need some time to think this over and will get back to you in a few days. Now’s the time to pay really close attention to your thoughts.

I would venture to say that the average person (myself included) will spend the majority of the next few days focused on the following thoughts: “What am I doing to do if they don’t give me the salary I asked for? How will I pay my bills if they don’t meet my counter-offer? How will I take that vacation I’m planning if I only get x amount of dollars?” And on, and on, and on…

Sounds familiar, right?? That’s because we all do it! I think it dates back to our pre-historic days when we had to always be on the lookout for potential danger, so we could protect ourselves and not be eaten by a bear! We’re always focused on the worst-case scenario, but our thoughts create reality. Therefore, focusing on not getting the salary you want = not getting the salary you want! Initially it can be difficult to make this distinction because you may think that you are in fact focusing on getting the higher salary that you wish for. However, if the majority of your attention is actually on not wanting salary X (what your company is offering), then your attention is still on salary X, not the actually salary that you want. Bummer.

If this is you, instead steer your thoughts in the direction of what it will be like to actually receive the salary you asked for! What will it feel like to have the offer letter in your hands with the salary and benefits you negotiated for? How excited will you be when you tell your spouse that you received your desired salary? Go ahead and even decide where you’ll take your family to dinner to celebrate once you are offered the salary you desired! Do you see the difference? In the second case you are creating mental pictures of actually having the salary you would like, whereas in the first case you are feeding yourself mental pictures of being stuck with the salary you don’t want…

Unfortunately, even if you are telling yourself that you do not want something you are still focused on it. Heard the example of a pink elephant? Right now, do NOT think of a pink elephant!! Whatever you do, do NOT think of a pink elephant!! You thought of a pink elephant, didn’t you? :) It’s the same thing when you’re trying to create your ideal life. Always put your attention on what you want to create, rather than on what you don’t want to create (or what you’re trying to avoid). After all, thinking about “don’t want” = creating “don’t want.”

Here’s another example: Say you’re trying to lose weight. When you think of your body, do you think of yourself in terms of how you want your ideal body to look (hot bikini!), or do you see yourself as how you don’t want to look (x lbs. overweight)? Gotcha again, didn’t I? ;) Remember, energy goes in the direction of your thoughts. Or, what you think about is what you bring about!

Trust me, this stuff takes time if you’ve just realized all your thoughts are focused in the wrong direction. I’ve been studying this stuff for years and it still trips me up on a daily basis… but that’s part of the fun! When you catch yourself in the middle of thinking a thought that is leading you in the wrong direction, simply change the direction of your thoughts and instead steer them in the direction of that which you are wanting to create. Visualize yourself as already having whatever it is you desire, and with those thoughts and images you are literally magnetizing your ideal outcome to you... faster than you can imagine!

Post in the comments below if you have experience with the above and a story to share. I'd love to hear what you think :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Being Your Authentic Self

“Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste.” Patricia Hampl

I stumbled across the above quote the other day, and it immediately spoke to me. I am definitely going through a phase in my life where I am learning to be more authentically me, instead of being who others want me to be or what society wants to me to be. I am taking the risk to be who I really am, and it certainly does feel like a risk sometimes!

For anyone who is a follower of self help or personal development, we know that the gold at the end of the rainbow is finding out what it means to truly be our real self and to live from that self as often as possible. As the above quote says, though, sometimes living from your authentic self can take some getting used to and can be an acquired taste.

It can be scary to be your real self, especially when your real self goes against the grain of society. Fortunately I have received nothing but positive feedback on my website since I launched it, but honestly it took a bit of a leap of faith when I first created it because I had no idea whether people would respond to it or not. When I was a little girl and began reading self help books and scouting out the best personal growth resources, it certainly wasn’t as “mainstream” as it is today and people hadn’t fully recognized the value of self help resources yet.

It can be scary to be your authentic self when you find out that what your authentic self wants is a little bit out there! For example, if your real self is telling you it wants to grow up and get married to someone of the same race, have 2.2 kids, a dog, a white picket fence, and work for the same company your entire life, then that person might not feel as much apprehension at being their true selves as someone whose real desire deep down is to own their own business rather than doing the worker-bee thing, or not get married, or not have children. Everyone has their own right to pursue whatever dreams their heart desires, but unfortunately society does not always remember that.

Think about Barack Obama when he ran for president. He’s said that he feels it was his destiny to run for and be elected as president. So far things seem to be working out for him, but I’m sure when his inner self first started telling him to run for president he probably felt feelings of apprehension and fear. I know I would! Just to know that I was meant to run for president of the United States, let alone as the first African-American candidate to be elected, would take me a little time to get used to. It takes a lot of courage to step outside the box that society has placed around us.

The good news is, our authentic selves know the bigger picture and when you are brave enough to truly live from your authentic self, doors will fly open that you never even dreamed were possible! Opportunities will fall into your lap without you barely having lifted a finger, and people will appear in your life seemingly out of nowhere who can help you fulfill your dreams. All of a sudden things will really start to fall into place in your life. You will be amazed at how much more “in the flow” you are, and will wonder why you didn’t start living from your authentic self sooner!

If you need help getting in touch with your authentic self and finding the courage to be able to live from it full-time, please check out Jeannette Maw’s Art of Self-Love. I highly recommend it! There are not a ton of resources out there that explain what self-love is and how to love yourself, but this one really gets the job done. I have been following Jeannette's work for years, and admire everything she does.

I recently published an article on self-love on ezines.com, and was surprised when it received twice the number of hits as other articles I had published that were not related to self-love. Apparently people are really resonating with this idea of loving and accepting yourself as you are, and living your life from that place!

Again, for Jeannette Maw's "Art of Self-Love", please go here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Create Your Best Week Ever!

The other day on Twitter, I sent out a tweet that said something along the lines of “Create your best week ever! What would that look like for you? Use your imagination… ”. It was the beginning of the week and I was feeling great and ready to seize the day! Then someone tweeted me back and asked, “SelfHelpGoddess, what does your best week ever look like?” and that really got me thinking...

I know what I think a great day would be: warm weather, lots of money in my bank account, emails from good friends, etc. But what would constitute a really great day for me, and more importantly, what would it take for me to have an entire week that is my best week ever? And that’s where things got juicy!

When I really thought about it and figured out what my best week ever would entail, I was reminded how important it is for us to be super clear about what we want in our lives. It says this in just about every self-help book I’ve ever read, but it bears repeating here: In order to accomplish a goal or make something happen in our lives, the first step is always to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. Sounds pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect this step, including me!

Without getting perfectly clear about what you want in your life, you are basically just leaving things up to chance. Sure, some things will work out to your advantage without a lot of forethought, but why not stack the deck in your favor by getting really clear about what you want and then going out and making it happen. I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record here, but our thoughts do in fact create our realities so go take control of your thoughts and start thinking good ones that lead you in the direction of your dreams!

Here’s how it works: Say that one of my goals for creating my best week ever was to attract 100 new subscribers to my bi-monthly newsletter. I was thinking about it the other day and visualizing what it would be like to have 100 new subscribers this week, and all of a sudden I had this idea to put a subscription box to the right of this blog. This may seem pretty obvious, but I’m a newbie to this whole on-line business thing and it just hadn’t occurred to me yet. So I immediately figured out how I could get a subscription box on my blog, and voila! Which reminds me, go sign up for my newsletter in that pink box to the right... :)

Do you see how I got really clear about what I wanted, figured out a plan, and took action? Chances are I’ll be a lot more successful in accomplishing my goals if I go about it that way, rather than just leaving life up to chance without any real direction and just accepting whatever comes my way.

That simple example illustrates how consciously creating your life works: a) Become clear about what you want to create, b) visualize and feel what it would be like to already have that in your life, c) let go of attachment to the outcome, and d) take action when an opportunity presents itself! And that, my friends, is all it takes… Easier said than done, I know, but that’s really the gist of consciously creating your life.

And before I forget, don’t be scared to really allow yourself to dream about what your ideal life would look like. Let your imagination run wild! I’m willing to venture a guess and say that the majority of our society is focused on current reality, or “what is”. Everyone is so caught up in what is going on right this very second, that they forget that things can change in an instant. If you get a phone call from an employer offering you your dream job, your life is instantly changed. If you happen to meet “The One” at a coffee shop while you’re picking up your daily coffee, I guarantee that your life will change overnight.

So go for it!! Right now, stop and think what it would really take to create your best week ever… Think about all the juicy details, figure out exactly what you want, and then formulate a plan and take inspired action when the time is right. Good luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do You Really Want Money?
A Lesson in the Law of Attraction

For whatever reason, this past weekend I was freaking out about money. I think all the news about the economy was getting to me. Yet at the same time, I know how important it is to keep your mind focused on the things you wish to create, rather than those you don’t. Law of attraction dictates that whatever you focus on will attract more of that into your life, so make sure you’re focusing on what you want to see more of!

I was consciously trying to find thoughts that felt better with respect to money, when “out of nowhere” a new idea came to me that had never occurred to me before. I knew that selling stock I own probably wouldn’t be worthwhile given the current state of the market, but it occurred to me that maybe I had money sitting in my account that I could access without having to sell anything. I quickly called my financial advisor (remember, the Universe loves it when you act FAST) and low and behold I had $664.78 sitting in my account, which I could withdraw immediately without having to sell anything or pay any penalties. Woo hoo! My financial advisor told me he would mail out my check that day, and sure enough two days later I had the check in my hands… This is a great example of how quickly the law of attraction can work if you focus your thoughts on what you want and release your attachment to the outcome.

Here’s the funny part, though. After I got off the phone and realized I had this money coming to me, I didn’t feel any better. I was hoping to feel relieved and more secure, but I didn’t feel any differently. That’s when it occurred to me that it wasn’t really money I was after, but something else entirely… And this is what we all need to remember.

So many of us think that once we get a raise, or win the lottery, or pay off all our debt, or this or that, that we will finally feel better about money and about life in general. We will finally be happy! But a lot of the time, this just isn’t the case. It’s not really the money you want, instead it’s the quality that you think the money will bring to your life… In my case, the quality I’m after is freedom to be able to pursue my own interests and continue developing my website, rather than being forced to work a corporate job that I really have no interest in. Freedom to be able to travel when I want to, go out to nice restaurants often, and just be able to do the things I enjoy doing. A lot of people think money will finally bring them the security they’ve been looking for their whole life.

I’m here to tell you that you could have all the money in the world, but if you’re not expressing that quality in your life that you’re truly looking for, then the money won’t make you feel any better at all! Granted, you may get a temporary “high” from a raise, or a higher-paying job, or an unexpected check in the mail, but unless you learn how to cultivate that quality in your life on an ongoing basis that temporary high won’t last…

From now on I encourage you to figure out what it is that you’re truly after and place your attention on that, rather than trying to decide where the money’s going to come from. Figure out what you really want, deep down, if money wasn’t an issue for you. You’ll be amazed at how many different ways the Universe can deliver your desires to you! For example, say your main desire right now is to take a trip to the Caribbean. You’ve been working hard and you’re dying for a vacation. Normally you might start focusing on ways to find the money to be able to travel, but this time I urge you to focus on the vacation itself. Visualize what it would feel like to be laying on the beaches in the Caribbean, relaxing in the sun, without a care in the world… Pick up some travel brochures and buy a new swimsuit. How would you feel? Free, liberated, relaxed, calm? Focus on those feelings you would feel on your dream vacation rather than worrying about where the money will come from, and just watch! You may just win a free trip to the Caribbean in a contest you entered awhile back, or a friend may invite you along on all expenses-paid trip that her company is paying for… you never know!

So many of us get caught up in worrying how we’re going to make things happen in our lives, but if you steer your attention in the right direction you’ll be amazed at how the Universe can deliver things to you. I read a story once where a woman was dying to move to Spain and live in the countryside, but had no clue how she was going to afford it. However, she maintained her focus on living in the Spanish countryside, and not long after she was asked to permanently house-sit a home because the owners were never there. Not only was she able to live in the house rent-free, but they also helped pay her expenses. And guess where the house was? The Spanish countryside, of course! Not bad, right?

Here’s the even cooler part: When you start focusing on and expressing those qualities you really want in your life, there’s a very good chance you will start manifesting money anyway! In the Caribbean example above, say you do end up winning a free trip to one of the islands… There’s a high likelihood that you’ll also start manifesting more money to you in general, because you’ve shifted your vibration regarding money. You are no longer needing money to make you happy, because you realize that the Universe can bring your desires to you in several different ways, many of which don’t even require you earning more money. And as you release your neediness and attachment towards money, you’ll discover that money can flow more easily into your life! Try it, and you'll see:)

Have you noticed examples like this in your life, where money wasn't really what you wanted after all? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Self Help Goddess gets publicity!

This article was just published by USNews. Check it out here or read the full text below.

In a Recession, Hiring Celebrity-Style Coaching Pays
Professionals pay experts to shape their image and careers in response to the recession
By Kimberly Palmer
Posted March 3, 2009

When Mary Knebel, a 30-year-old in Washington, DC, was laid off from her corporate job last December, she wasn't sure whether she wanted to find a new one or follow her dream of launching her own website. To help figure it out, she hired Kimberly Wilson, a yoga teacher, author, and business woman who offers one-on-one mentoring sessions for $150 per hour. "[Wilson] was helpful in giving me the confidence to go forward and say, 'This is possible,'" says Knebel.

Knebel is one of a growing number of professionals hiring coaches to help them achieve their dreams amid the recession. Whether it's to find a new wardrobe for a job search or to get business advice for a new venture, people often turn to coaches during times of transition. "The primary reason is that they're not achieving their goals in the workplace, and they want some help to position themselves for upward mobility," says Lois Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office and president of Corporate Coaching International. One growth area has been from people affected by lay-offs. "We're finding that as people get laid off, they're trying to figure out why were they laid off and not someone else?" Frankel adds.

The most common goal is to earn more money, says Bill Dueease, founder and president of Fort Myers-based Coach Connection, which helps connect clients with coaches. "With people getting laid off and saying, 'I don't want to get back in the rat race,' that's the perfect time to hire a coach," he says.

Finding a good coach. All coaches, though, are not created equal. Frankel warns that when it comes to business coaching, it's important to make sure the coach has specialized expertise and experience. She recommends looking for people who have 20-plus years of experience working inside a corporation, masters degrees or higher, or a certification from the International Coach Federation. According to a recent survey by Harvard Business Review, the median cost for one hour of coaching is $500 and ranges from $200 to $3,500.

That warning also goes for life coaching, which is sometimes called personal coaching. "It's not regulated, so everyone can call themselves a coach. Maybe 50 percent of the time, they are not providing coaching," he says. Websites like his FindYourCoach.com, which has screened thousands of coaches, can make sure people find trained coaches.

Getting started. For business coaching, the first step is to give the client feedback about how others perceive them. "A seasoned coach can usually sit with someone for an hour and figure out why they're not getting promoted," says Frankel.

Frankel once coached a manager who was surprised to hear that his employees felt he didn't care about them. To fix that problem, Frankel recommended that he hold more staff meetings, offer personal development in the form of guest speakers, meet one-on-one with staff at least once a quarter, and walk around the office more for casual chats. Frankel calls that last technique MBWA, or managing by walking around.

Another client, an information technology professional, tended to talk too much in meetings and dominate the conversation. Frankel suggested that he never speak first in a meeting and that when he did speak, it should be to comment on what others' had already said. That way, says Frankel, he learned how to become an active listener.

Life coaching, says Dueese, usually starts with a conversation about who the client is and what his preferences are. "The coach asks questions about you to get you to open up and reveal things that you've never revealed before," he says. The coach might start by asking what the client thought about when he first woke up in the morning, for example. "You discover what all of your passions are, and what the self-imposed obstacles are," Dueese adds.

Looking good, feeling good. Rachael Shayne, a style coach based in San Jose, Calif., starts sessions by examining clients' current wardrobes. Usually, she says, clients come to her when they're at a crossroads: They have a new job, just got divorced, or are celebrating a big birthday. Shayne recommends purging some items from their closets and then helps them build a wardrobe that reflects their lifestyle. One common mistake she finds herself correcting is that people often have closets full of clothes, but too few high-quality pieces they love. "Buying the best shoes you can afford means they're more comfortable, they look better, and then you carry yourself well when you have some of that confidence," she says.

While some people might feel they can get this kind of advice by watching shows such as TLC's What Not To Wear instead of paying several hundred dollars for a coaching session, Shayne says the difference is customized advice. Sometimes, people need to be told that they can explore different color combinations or move away from a comfortable polo-and-chino pairing. Shayne says she often encourages working women to experiment with color. "If you get too matchy-matchy, it can be very aging. Instead of wearing navy with cream, try wearing it with lavender, or olive with mint," she says.

Making dreams come true. Before Kimberly Wilson meets with clients, she asks them to fill out a questionnaire about their goals and vision statement. She says the women she works often want to grow or start a business, but they feel stuck. A mentoring session can help them see what they need to do to move to the next step, she says.

That's what happened for Camille Moses-Allen, a 26-year-old yoga teacher based in Baltimore. She was feeling stressed out and underpaid teaching 15 yoga classes a week. Wilson pointed out to her that she was spending too much time in the car and recommended that she create a website where she offered yoga-related services, including workshops, which can pay more than classes. Moses-Allen recently arranged to teach her first workshop and is in the process of creating her website.

"She helped me find out what would be more lucrative instead of giving 110 percent of my energy for something that wasn't working," says Moses-Allen. Wilson also offered some personal advice: Moses-Allen had suffered a bad break-up, and Wilson urged her to use the personal ads on publications such as The Onion and Salon to find someone new.

Since meeting with Wilson, Knebel began working full-time on her website, www.selfhelpgoddess.com, which she is in the process of expanding. One of her favorite pieces of advice was to "act as if you're already living the life you want to be living," down to what she'd wear and who she'd spend time with. Says Knebel, "It definitely had an impact."