Identity is the foundation for authentic living

Identity is constructed from core values. If someone is confused about what their core values are, they are also confused about their identity and will find it impossible to live authentically. 

In business, identity is similar to what we know of as “branding”. Like identity, branding will only attract an audience if that audience shares the company’s core values. Unfortunately, branding has also been associated with “spin” in the corporate world, which is manipulative. It is expressed as a superficial superiority, but not a true identity.

If an individual or a company is inauthentic, it will not attract those that share it’s core values. If that happens, the connection is flimsy at best.

Identity must be consistent in order to come off as authentic. 

According to Sherrie Campbell, psychologist and author of Loving Yourself, The Mastery of Being Your Own Person, discusses authenticity in an article in Entrepreneur magazine (September 2016). She identifies 10 qualities of authentic people. They are:

  1. Self-reflective – a person who knows who they are, lives in harmony with themselves and doesn’t try to hide anything
  2. Healthy ego – authenticity has to come from your heart, not your head; success is not measured by status or money; acceptance and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  3. Focus on possibilities – focus is always on the long term; you are relationship oriented
  4. Good character – you stay in a place of integrity in all things; you have a sense of inner wholeness and don’t take yourself too seriously
  5. Visionary – you think with vision, always adding value to the relationships you have with others; self-development is paramount
  6. Listeners – your ego is not easily threatened; you value learning and thirst for the truth
  7. Transparent – open communication combining honesty with empathy; you are self-confident, but not conceited
  8. Open and consistent – non-judgmental and respectful towards yourself and others, while also sticking to your principles and not easily swayed by superficialities
  9. Team oriented – you give credit where it is due, are flexible and share your success and achievements with others
  10. Draw upon experience – you live in the present moment, drawing upon every experience to live in a thorough and thoughtful way

Do you aspire to be authentic? How do you rate yourself on authenticity?  On a scale of 1 – 10 (with ten being the highest level), where do you rank with regard to these qualities.

Who do you know in your life who is authentic? What qualities do they have?

I’d love to hear from you, so please comment below.

 

Finding Happiness

“When you decide to make your happiness the chief organizing principal of your life, everything else will fall into place and you’ll never make another mistake.”   –  Brian Tracy

Those words from Brian Tracy make it seem so easy to have a fulfilling life. All you need to do (!) is to make happiness your primary focus.

Happiness is one of those abstract concepts that have had philosophers, authors and even politicians stumped for many hundreds of years. Everyone seems able to agree that they want happiness. But no one seems to quite agree on exactly what that means or exactly how to achieve it.

The Dalai Lama tells us that “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dalai_lama.html

Let’s make that requirement #1:  Happiness requires action on the receiver’s part

Denis Waitley tells us:

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
Let’s make that requirement #2:  Happiness is living every moment with love, grace and gratitude

And from Albert Schweitzer:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Let’s make that requirement #3:  Happiness must be a priority over success.

Success cannot bring happiness, but happiness can bring success.

That’s probably enough to chew on for now. This blog is Chapter 1 in our quest for happiness.  Please comment below.  What do you think about happiness? How do you think it is achieved?

Next time we’ll look at how you can “hang on” to happiness, if, in fact, that is possible!

 

Mary’s Story

You will never do great things in the external world until you think great things in the internal world.”

~ Wallace Wattles

You have probably heard the term, limiting belief, but maybe you haven’t realized how very important our thoughts are. This is a real story about a woman who almost died as a result of her limiting beliefs.

Mary went to high school in Beaverton, Oregon, and enjoyed the kind of school life that most girls only dream of. She was class Vice-President, she had the lead in the school play, and she was a Homecoming Princess.  In May of her Junior Year (1966), she learned that she was pregnant.

In the 1960’s it was a disaster to get pregnant “out of wedlock”. Girls just disappeared sometimes from school with no warning and no explanation. When Mary told her parents that she was pregnant, her mother wept, believing that her daughter’s life was ruined. Mary’s parents and her boyfriend’s parents put together a hasty 10-person wedding.

Mary had a favorite teacher in school that she trusted. She told the teacher that she was pregnant and had just gotten married. A couple of days later, the Principal called Mary into his office and asked her, “Is it true what I’ve been hearing? Are you pregnant and married?” Mary admitted that it was the truth. The Principal just shook his head and replied, “I hate to do this, but you will not be able to return to this school for your Senior year. It’s a shame, given your excellent academic achievements. There is an alternative school for people like you. It’s held at night in Southeast Portland. That’s where we send the pregnant girls and the delinquent boys.”

Mary was, of course, devastated. In the Fall she began going to the alternative school. This was her new student body — pregnant girls (or new mothers) and delinquent boys.

In December 1966, Mary gave birth to a little boy. In May of 1967, she graduated from the alternative high school, and by Mid-July she was diagnosed with fatal kidney disease. The doctors said that one of the kidneys was completely gone and the other one was probably at least 50% gone. Back in 1967, there was no such thing as kidney dialysis, and organ transplants weren’t available yet either.

The prognosis was that, if she had surgery to remove the one kidney that was destroyed, she would have maybe 6 months to live. It’s difficult to imagine how she must have felt. She’s 18 years old, has a 7-month-old son and only has six months to live. The God of her upbringing was an angry God if you screwed up, and Mary had screwed up big time!

The night before surgery, Mary was alone in the hospital room until the chaplain came by and asked if she wanted prayer for her surgery the next day.  Mary was really scared, so she agreed to pray with the chaplain. As the chaplain sat down on a chair, she said to Mary, “Before we pray together, would you be willing to tell me what has been going on in your life in the last year or two?”

Mary shared her story with the chaplain and once she finished, the chaplain said, “Mary, do you know that everything is created twice?  That first it’s a thought before it can become a thing? Look around this room. The bed you are lying on, the furniture, the equipment, even your nightgown was a thought before it became a thing. Knowing that, can you possibly believe that the toxicity in your body has been caused by your toxic thoughts?”

At that time, the mind-body connection was not spoken about, so Mary responded that she could not believe that. The chaplain went on to say, “I hear that you love your little boy, but I also hear that you hate yourself for becoming pregnant and shaming everyone, including yourself. Do you believe that you could actually experience a healing if you got rid of your toxic thinking?”

Again, Mary replied “no”. The chaplain said, “Are you willing to believe in MY belief that you could be healed by simply changing your thinking?” Mary was scared so she agreed that she could believe that the chaplain believed it was possible. The chaplain said, “That’s all we need. Just one corner of your mind open to the possibility.”

During surgery the next day, the destroyed kidney was removed and the doctors reported that the other kidney didn’t look quite as bad as they predicted. Mary went home from the hospital and began recovering. After a couple of months she felt better, and after six months her kidney was completely back to normal. The doctors had no explanation.

You see, from the time she got home from the hospital, she had been thinking about her little boy, about taking him to his first day of kindergarten, of being there for his graduation from high school and college, and there for his wedding. Her toxic thoughts had been replaced by positive thoughts about a future that she wanted very badly.

Even at 18 years old, Mary became very curious about the phenomenon she had experienced in her own body, and she began looking everywhere for more information on the mind-body connection. There wasn’t much out there yet, but what she found was indeed enlightening.  Her studies lead to her 45+ years as a teacher of this information and as a life coach. Eventually, she started training other coaches, which is how I came to know her.

What can we learn from Mary’s experience? We can learn that:

  1. Everything is created twice. It must first be a thought before it can be a thing.
  2. We don’t have to limit ourselves. We can be liberated to consider the unlimited possiblities for our lives.
  3. We can choose our thoughts to control what happens in our lives.
  4. Our thoughts can be very destructive, if we allow that.

It is a freedom that eludes us, until we hear about it and apply it to our own lives. It’s not easy to let go of our limiting beliefs, but we can do it.  And the first step is to become aware of thoughts we have that are disempowering.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please let me know below.  And be sure to share this with social media and friends you think would benefit from the information.

 

Avoid Energy Vampires!

Life energy flows through us like a swift stream when there is nothing to obstruct it.

~ Madisyn Taylor

You’ve likely heard about the Universal Law, “Everything is Energy”. While we can’t actually experience most energy with our five senses, everything in the Universe is made up of it. Nobel Prize winning physicists have proven beyond a doubt that the physical world is one large sea of energy that flashes into and out of being in milliseconds, over and over again. The science of this phenomenon is Quantum Physics.

You literally become what you think about most. Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most.

Human relationships are an exchange of energy between two or more people. People either uplift us (energize us) or pull us down (de-energize us). You can probably think of people in your life who have de-energized you. After being around them, you feel less happy and often tired — as if they sucked the life out of you, which in a way they have.

I have always been a nice person, trying to like everyone I meet, giving them the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, I was afraid of rejection, so I bent over backwards to not insult or hurt the other person, no matter how much of a toll it took on me.

Well, all that being nice does take its toll. I entered into relationships with people who were mostly just using me. You see, an energy vampire is “fed” by other peoples’ energy.  They cannot create or sustain their own life force in any positive manner, so they latch on and feed off of others, slowly sucking the life force out of them.

In order to be my best and do my best, I needed to protect my energy from those energy vampires. That forced a major shift in my life.

“You are the guardian of your own energetic space. And to live a healthy, happy, and positive life, it is absolutely vital that you surround yourself with people who promote the same way of living.”   ~ Jen Nicomedes Stone

So, what do you need to do to protect yourself from these vampires? According to Jen Nicomedes Stone, you can:

1. Take a deep breath and let it go! There’s no need to allow their words or actions to linger and take up space in your heart and mind.

2. Recognize when their words or actions are unacceptable. Don’t give them permission to leech your energy.

3. Keep things light and change the focus. Learn not to react on impulse; instead, go with the flow, and tactfully bring the situation back to neutral ground.

4. Remind yourself of the purpose of your bond or connection (e.g., why is this person in your life, how are you associated with them?), and know that you are allowed to walk away.

5. Take a step back by putting their words or actions into perspective. Their behavior is a reflection on them, not you.

6. Visualize a protective light around you, like an energy shield. This can help you remain energetically neutral without letting their words or actions cut or affect you.

7. Affirm your self-worth. You deserve to be surrounded by positive, genuine, and caring people who inspire you to be your very best.

I have put into practice a few of these ideas and they work!  Let me know in the comments below what you think about these recommendations!

Also, if you know someone who could benefit from this information, feel free to forward it to them, plus you can always share this blog on your social media sites.

 

The Power of Persistence

It is said that “Success is inevitable. The only variable is time”.

 

The definition of “persist” is: to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.

How would you rank yourself in the area of persistence?

My commitment to my dream of helping people through coaching has been challenged many times. Most recently, I attempted to hold a webinar, Living Life Full Spectrum, and was all set to go until the audio did not work. I had to abruptly end the workshop webinar and lick my wounds! It was embarrassing, sure. It was frustrating, of course. But my strongest emotion was to feel disappointment. I want so much to give my gift to the world!

Did I give up? It’s always tempting, isn’t it?

I said to myself and then others:

“No! No way! No way in hell will I give up on my dream!”

There’s no going back. If I hadn’t already decided for my dream and made a commitment to it, I probably could give up. But not now! I will persist until I can no longer take another step forward. That might be because I have transitioned out of my body or I’m incapacitated, whichever comes first.

Do you have a dream … a vision … that motivates you to persist, no matter what?

Like anything else, there is a trade-off. No commitment means no pressure.

Finding Your Center

“All too often our lives can be spread too thin and it becomes important to gather our thoughts and center ourselves to become whole again.”

~ Madisyn Taylor

Every adult I talk to is feeling overwhelmed right now. In part, that feeling comes from trying to pay attention to the past, the present and the unknown future all at the same time. The stress that comes from that can be harmful — both physically and mentally.

When we are in that frame of mind, we feel out of control. We don’t know which way to turn, so sometimes we just try to escape in some way (TV, alcohol, food, sleep, sex), but in the end, we must conquer this condition or we will be held hostage by it. Can you relate to any of these statements?

  1. I can’t handle this.
  2. I’ll never get it all done.
  3. I’ve let them all down.
  4. I can’t get it together.
  5. My life is spiraling out of control.

 

At the time, we feel helpless, trapped. We often resist our own attempts to calm down.

What can really help is to do some mind-body integration work. Angela Marchesani, a psychotherapist and Holistic Health Coach practicing in Wayne, Pennslyvania, suggests five steps we can take to achieve the mind-body connection:

1. Three-Count Breath

One way to help the body relax and restore its basic functioning is to steady your breath. Start in this way: Inhale for three counts. Hold for three counts. Exhale for three counts. After a few rounds of that, attempt to prolong the counts so that your breathing can slow and return to normal. This process can be helpful in less than a minute.

2. Stop Sign Visualization

Those negative, looping thoughts that are spiraling out of control in your mind? They don’t serve you. There’s no time to listen to them, anyway: You have very important things to do!

So, to move forward without letting your thoughts drag you down, try this: For each self-defeating thought that pops up (“I’ll never get it all done!” and so on), visualize a large, red stop sign in your mind and think, “Stop.”

Try to drop the rest of the thought. This takes practice, because those thoughts have a lot of “psychic inertia” and that’s why they need a “Stop Sign.” Use it liberally.

3. Mantra/Affirmation

Used alone or in conjunction with the Stop Sign Visualization, a simple mantra can be an effective tool.

Consider a few affirming phrases to repeat during these moments. It should be something that rings true to you and can reassure you. For example, “I can manage,” “This will pass,” “There is no emergency,” or “It will all get done.” Experiment with the right mantra for yourself, and repeat it often.

4. “5-5-5”

This technique is often recommended for people in dissociative episodes, but is useful and applicable during times of everyday stress as well. The purpose is to generate an awareness of your sensory experience so that you can feel more grounded in your body.

It’s very simple. Name the things you are experiencing for each of the senses: Identify five things you can see, five things you can feel, five things you can hear, and five things you can smell. For taste, a sip of cold water is often enough to bring awareness to the body.

5. Core Rooting

Take a moment to stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Visualize your body as a tree, with your torso representing the trunk and your feet representing the roots. Focus your attention on your core and scan down your legs until you reach your feet.

Notice the ground beneath your feet. Feel the strength of your body. You are not “scattered” anymore; you are right here.

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Experiment with these 5 steps and decide how well they work for you. One or two may be the most beneficial, so begin by practicing those and see what happens. Once you can regain a sense of control, things become easier. You can let go of the stress and begin again, taking one step or task at a time with your mind on the present moment.

Let me know how these strategies work for you by leaving a comment or question below.

 “Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

~Hermann Hess