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Monday, September 28, 2009

Feeling Overwhelmed? Take Back the Reins!

It’s official, folks… I’ve been feeling seriously overwhelmed lately, so I’m taking back the reins and taking back control of my life!! Who’s with me?

I started my website back in January and it was the fulfillment of a dream I've had for several years now. I’ve always wanted to have an on-line business where I compile and recommend the best self-help resources I’ve found over the years to create my ideal life. I love self-help books and could honestly spend hours upon hours reading them, and I wanted to create a place where I could share what I've learned with others. So I was super excited when I finally took the plunge and created my site, and even more excited when people really seemed to resonate with what I was doing!

At some point along the way, though, my website has started feeling more like a job than a creative and fun outlet for me. Writing blog posts and publishing my bi-weekly newsletter used to be rewarding and exciting for me, but now they just feel like extra tasks to add to my already lengthy to-do list. I find myself not wanting to get word out about my ebook, even though I know the information it contains can truly change lives and allow others to fulfill their wildest dreams!

As part of my plan to use fall as a time to reconnect with myself and my dreams, I took some time this weekend and curled up with my journal to figure out what’s really going on with me. I made some interesting discoveries, and I think what I discovered may help you, too!

I realized that I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately because I’ve lost touch with and control over my vision for my website. Initially I saw my site as a place where I would list products I had discovered along my journey and had received value from. Lately, though, people have been coming out of the woodwork to pitch products and resources they want me to list on my site! And while I am *extremely* grateful and appreciative that people want to be involved with my project and support what I'm doing, I’ve also realized that I’m losing control of what I envisioned for my website in the very beginning. Rather than being able to enjoy my on-line business as a means to explore my passion of self-help and personal growth, I feel like my website has turned into a means for other people to promote their products and put their interests first, while little old me is kind of getting pushed to the side!

Don't get me wrong, I am definitely happy to help others promote their materials (if they are worthwhile), but I don’t want to lose sight of my initial goal for my website. I think that part of what makes my website different than others, and special, is that I've been reading self-help books for years and can spot the real thing a mile away while weeding out the fluff. I don't want to take away the integrity I've been striving so hard to establish on my site.

So, all that to say I’m taking back the reins and I encourage you to do the same!

Are there areas in your life where you’re feeling overwhelmed and maybe even burnt out?

Check in with yourself to see if your needs and wants are still getting met, or if you are just existing to make others happy. Are the actions you're carrying out still in-line with the overall vision you have for your life (or your business, your relationship, etc.)? Are you still getting a sense of joy or exhiliration from the activities that used to make you happy? If not, find ways to reconnect with your larger desires and what you're trying to achieve. I'm going to be implementing some new practices with respect to my website that ensure that my needs and wants are still being seen and heard!

A good reminder is what they say on airplanes: Put on your oxygen mask before putting on your child’s oxygen mask! After all, we have to be able to breathe and flourish if we are going to be there to help others breathe and fully flourish.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Using Fall as a Time to Reconnect with Ourselves

I published this article in my last newsletter, but I thought it would be a good post to repeat here. (Be sure to sign up for my newsletter here!)

It’s just recently turned fall where I live (in Washington, DC) and I can definitely say that fall is my favorite time of the year. Time to put away the shorts and tank tops, and get out the jeans, comfy sweaters, and blankets to snuggle under while reading a good book! I love the colors of the changing leaves, the cooler temperatures, and just the overall slower pace of life (maybe that’s just me) as we prepare for winter.

Maybe one of the reasons I like fall so much is because the changing weather is a great excuse for me to stay in, catch up on my reading and to-do lists, and reconnect with my vision for myself and my life. I’d like to invite you to do the same, even it’s not the fall season where you live!

Let’s be honest, any time is a great time to reconnect with ourselves, check in on how we’re doing with our goals, and plot a strategy for the upcoming months before year’s end. Many of you may have set goals that you wanted to accomplish in 2009, and now’s a perfect time to monitor your progress on them and make any adjustments or changes to your goals if needed.

I’m not normally a “set measurable goals” type of person, although I’d like to become one! It's been said that the best goals are the ones that are specific, quantifiable, and measurable, so that you know exactly what you’re going after and will know exactly when you’ve achieved them. Normally I’m more of a “go with the flow” type of person, but I’m going to take some time this fall to come up with some measurable goals that I can go after before year’s end and also in the upcoming year. Heck, maybe I’ll even set goals for my five-year and ten-year plans! It’s never too early (or too late) to come up with a vision for your future and start pursuing it.

It’s also a good idea to periodically check in with yourself and see how you’re doing in the self-care arena. Summer is a time when a lot of people are outdoors all the time and extremely active. It’s easy to neglect ourselves and our bodies during the summer, so the fall is a great time to reconnect with our self-care practices. I’m going to make a firmer commitment to do yoga twice a week, and meditate as often as I can (even just for 5-minute stretches!). Sleep is always important to me, so I want to make sure I’m getting enough every night and on the weekends. What are some self-care practices you can recommit to in the coming months?

I also just signed up for a Conscious Loving & Living retreat with Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks at the beginning of October, which I am super excited about! I’ve been huge fans of theirs for years, and I can’t wait to learn from them first-hand. Personal growth conferences are also really restorative times for me because I get to connect with like-minded people, absorb as much information as possible, and just really get in touch with my authentic self. Are there any vacations you can take or retreats you can attend before winter arrives to help you reconnect with your authentic self?

I know some people don’t particularly like the fall because the leaves are falling off the trees, winter is quickly approaching, and it reminds them more of death or dying than possibility or opportunity. However, for me the fall is a great time to reconnect with ourselves, reconnect with our plans for the future, and take some time to be less active and go inward to find out what our latest inner yearnings are. I hope you’ll take some time to really enjoy the changing seasons, no matter where in the world you are!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Self Help Best Practices

I read A LOT of self help books and participate in a ton of self help programs, but trust me when I say it can be overwhelming (not to mention exhausting!) to implement all the advice and suggestions that are out there. Much of the stuff I come across is spot-on and has helped me create really fantastic results in my life. However, some of it is just so-so and hasn’t produced any results for me at all.

In an effort to help you sort through the myriads of self help techniques and information that exist in our world today, I've compiled a list of some my favorite self help practices that I’ve come across over the years (and used successfully). I've featured resources on my website for several of the techniques mentioned below, so if you would like additional resources be sure to click on the pink links!

Here's my list, in no particular order: (drumroll, please!)

1) Pray Rain Journaling: This is a simple, yet highly effective, technique whereby you keep a journal and write in it daily (or as often as you can) as if whatever you are trying to manifest in your life has already come true. The more imagination and details you can use in your journal entries, the better. The story goes that by the time you’ve finished your journal, your manifestation will either have already arrived or be well on its way to doing so! I use this technique in my own life and have created several amazing outcomes with it.

2) The Mirror Exercise: Learn how to love yourself once and for all with this exercise, which even some of the top self help gurus use in their own lives. Look in the mirror every night before bedtime, and flow as much love, acceptance, and compassion to yourself as you can. Also, be sure to acknowledge yourself for all the things you accomplished throughout the day. This may feel a bit uncomfortable or awkward the first few times you try it. Before you know it, though, you will be feeling extra great about yourself!

3) Visualization: I cannot recommend this method highly enough. Use your imagination to create pictures in your mind of what your ideal life looks like, or ideal scenarios you'd like to bring to fruition. Add as much detail to the pictures as you can, just like if you were watching a movie in your mind. Make sure to put yourself in your visualizations, and imagine yourself enjoying the presence of whatever it is you are trying to create. Do this even for just five minutes a day, and you will notice results in no time! For extra power, while doing your visualizations, really feel the feelings in your body that you would be experiencing if your manifestations had already come true.

4) Gratitude Journal: This is a particularly effective strategy to use if you notice yourself feeling like things just aren’t going well for you. Every day, record all the things you are currently grateful for in your life, no matter how large or small. You will be amazed at how much you really do have to be grateful for, even before all your dreams have manifested. You want to also list things you are intending to create in your life, but which haven’t arrived yet. Expressing gratitude for these things in advance, before they make an appearance in your reality, actually speeds up their arrival!

5) Meditation: If you have a particularly busy mind (and really, who doesn’t?), then this technique is a must-do. Even just five minutes of meditation a day can really change your life! Find a quiet spot in your home or office where you will be undisturbed and can have some time to yourself. Bring your focus inward, and take a few deep breaths to relax. Once you feel centered within yourself, bring your attention to your breathing. Just observe your breaths as you inhale in and out. If your mind wanders (which it will), just gently bring your attention back to your breath. Do this regularly and notice how much more calm and relaxed you feel!

6) Positive Aspects Journal: This idea comes from the original law of attraction teachers, Abraham-Hicks. This will help you turn around your thoughts about a “negative” situation or relationship in no time! Simply choose something that is bothering you, let’s say your significant other, and list as many positive aspects about him or her as you can. Only focus on the positive qualities of that individual, not the negative ones. Doing this on a regular basis has turned around many a relationship, and caused people to fall in love with their spouse or partner all over again! You can also use this technique on a particular situation that you feel badly about. List all the benefits you are actually experiencing from the so-called “negative” situation, and before you know it your situation will have completely turned around!

7) Evidence Journal: I love this technique! If there is something specific you are trying to create (a new relationship, new career, weight loss, etc.), it can often be frustrating if it seems like it’s not arriving fast enough. Start keeping an evidence journal, though, and you will notice that whatever it is you desire IS on its way to you, much faster than you realized! Record all the evidence you notice that your dream is coming true and that you are on the right path. Often times we overlook all the evidence that shows us our dream is just around the corner. By focusing on the evidence, not only will we feel better about our situation, but we actually speed up our particular manifestation!

Finally, if you're intrigued by the techniques above and would love to learn even more of my favorite self help practices, be sure to check out my new ebook! My ebook, Secrets to Creating Your Ideal Life: Everything I've Learned from Reading Hundreds (Maybe Thousands!) of Self Help Books Over the Years, has an abundance of tips, techniques, and resources that will have you leading your ideal life in no time! To read reviews and learn more, go here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Being Seen for Who You Are

“Your intent should pour out of you. It should emanate from every cell of your being so that you attract the people and circumstances that can support you in manifesting your desires.”
~ Dianne Collins

This is a bit of a follow-up to the last post I wrote, but it’s such an important topic that I figure we can never get enough of it! I’m reading a good book right now called Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love & Fulfilling Relationships,which came highly recommended by a friend of mine. I’m only about halfway through it, but so far I’ve really resonated with one of the concepts in it: that of being seen, or telling the truth about yourself and who you are.

The premise of the book, at least from what I’ve read so far, is that the lack and emptiness that most of us feel in our lives comes from an absence of being unconditionally loved. Deep down, what we are all craving is a deep sense of unconditional love and acceptance, for being exactly who we are. Problem is, most of us have never experienced this because our society is not really set up this way. Instead, we are usually taught to hide who we really are in order to achieve success as society has determined for us. The author of the book, Greg Baer, says that being seen is one of the ways of finally obtaining this elusive unconditional love that we are all seeking.

Being seen means expressing the truth of who you are, without fear of rejection or concern for what other people will think of you. It means authentically being who you are deep down, even when telling your truth might not be the easiest or most comfortable thing to do. The author says that in order to feel unconditionally loved, you have to express yourself, ALL of yourself, and ultimately be loved and accepted, even for those parts of yourself that may make you seem flawed or less than perfect. His point is that by showing these parts of yourself that you normally don't let others see, there will inevitably be people in your life who will love you, in spite of these "flaws," and then you will not be ashamed of these aspects of yourself anymore. Instead, you will feel unconditionally loved!

I really like the quote at the top of this post because for me it represents what it means to truly be seen and to show yourself to others. Who you are should radiate from you so much that people can get a real sense of you, without even asking! If someone were to meet you and spend just five minutes with you, could they get a good sense of who you are and what you are about? Even if you can't discover specific details about someone in five minutes, you can usually tell if they are happy, angry, friendly, joyful, annoyed, optimistic, hopeful, etc., just by the way they carry themselves. Are you expressing who you truly are on a daily basis?

I know before I started my www.selfhelpgoddess.com website, I was definitely not authentically expressing myself! I was expressing part of who I am, but there was this whole other side of me that I was basically hiding from others. I had never really met others with such a deep interest in personal growth, so I just didn’t bring it up in conversations or share that part of myself with friends.

I took my first step towards really being seen last year when I went to the Breakthrough to Success conference with Jack Canfield. I had no idea what to expect, but I was so surprised when I discovered that there are a TON of other people out there, just like me! It was as if I was coming home. :) I met all these fabulous people who have the same interest in improving themselves, becoming the best they can be, and making all their dreams come true, just like me. Now that I’ve started my website, I get emails almost on a daily basis from others who have been to my site and can relate to my story or resonate with what I’m trying to do. I wish I would have started showing this side of myself sooner!

Of course, you want to be careful in who you choose to start expressing yourself to, especially if you’ve made it a habit of hiding your true self from others your entire life. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with your new openness about who you are. You can start out with baby steps, though, and make larger strides as you go along.

It's also especially important to remember that if you do allow others to begin seeing more of you and they react in a negative way, it's NEVER about you!! It's always about them, period. It's just an indication that they are not entirely comfortable with who they are yet, and are still hiding parts of themselves from others.

Are there areas in your life where you could start allowing others to see more of who you really are?