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Is The Fear That Holds You Back Really Selfishness in Disguise?

You are afraid of what they might think.

Afraid of what they might say.

Afraid of what they might do.

And so the relationship is never challenged. But it may never be saved either.

The distrust and anger may escalate. Or the misunderstanding may be resolved. [Read more…]

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You’re the Decider

You’re the Decider. You Make the Choice–Always!

In 2006, President George W. Bush made the dramatic statement, “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best.”

This is not a post about politics, but I’m using that quote as a launching point for my assertion that you are the decider in your life.

This is the second part of a 3-part series inspired by insights from my book, An Imperceptible Spark.  If you didn’t catch part one yesterday, you can go here to check it out.

You create the meaning of your life. The nature of life is constant change and stimulus, but you decide what each circumstance of your experience means. [Read more…]

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What To Do When You’re Afraid of Taking The Wrong Path

Fear of the Wrong Path

Wooded Path –
Devil’s Lake State Park, WI

I don’t know if you’re like me, but it seems like I’ve always had a fear of fucking up.

I am insatiably curious and love to try new experiences.  I have worked with a friend in a new start-up business, run my own massage therapy clinic, worked in healthcare, and (most recently) written a book and launched a speaking career.

My resume looks a little…well, let’s just say it’s a little disheveled!

Despite trying at least 3 different careers before 35, I am still afraid of taking the wrong path. [Read more…]

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Excuse Me…But Your Ego is Showing

Threat is a Myth That Exposes the Ego

Your Ego Is Showing

Today I learned a valuable lesson that I’ve actually learned before, but apparently needed to review.

I am not responsible for someone
else’s reaction to me or to life.
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 As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been conducting some training at work.  This morning, a group came into our class for the training.

This is a short training (about an hour), but is essential because we’re updating systems and everyone needs to be trained before the new system goes live. [Read more…]

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How to Honor Personal Priorities by Setting Boundaries

A Lesson in Priorities

Today at work, I was supposed to be in a training class at 12:30.  But I’m also conducting training classes all this week. I was helping wrap up a session I’d just finished, making sure that all the trainees had the resources they needed when a co-worker came running up, breathless.

“Steve, you have to come now. You’re late for training,” she gasped.

I looked up at the clock.

12:35 p.m.

“They sent me to come get you,” she panted, turning to strut away.  I followed.

I still needed to stop by a supervisor’s desk and touch base about one of the trainees on her team.  I was torn. I really did need to get to class if they were holding up the training for me.

As a trainer myself, I know how bad it is to start off behind the gun on the agenda.

Setting Boundaries and Honoring Your Priorities

Once I got to class, I began to think about urgency.  When my co-worker showed up and insisted that I come to class with her, I followed because she was insistent.

I really needed to go to the restroom and wrap up what I was doing first, but I followed her instead.

What are the areas of your life that you allow to be taken over by urgency?

Do you let go of your own priorities because someone else appears with an urgent demand for your time or energy?

Only you can set the boundaries on your own life and say, “Thank you for letting me know that. I have to finish what I started and I will take care of that as soon as I can.”

Only you can decided what is most important for you to dedicate your energy to. Only you can ensure that this priority is protected from others.

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Oh…and most importantly, share your thoughts in the comments below!

Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. During the month of July, 2012, I will be posting 31 times. Since this is a lot of posts over a short period of time, I prepared a special page where you can catch any you may have missed.

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The Affirmation That Changed My Life

My Most Destructive Affirmation

Me on my 3rd B-day

I was not even aware of the most destructive affirmation in my life.

It was planted in my mind when I was a small child.  No one said it to me, but because I said it to myself…and believed it, it became my truth.

My most destructive affirmation was this:  I am ugly.

I believed I was ugly. Because I thought I was ugly, I was always finding other destructive beliefs to support this core affirmation.

I hated my skinny arms.  I thought my face was ugly. I hated my hair.

These beliefs affected every area of my life.  They affected my confidence (or lack of it) and even the way I dressed.

I would  often wear clothes 10 times too big trying to hide the fact that I was skinny.  In reality, it just enhanced the fact. [Read more…]

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Express Your Inner Madea (or how to set boundaries and protect your dream)

“You Best Check Yo’self!”

This is my favorite scene from Madea Goes to Jail. It’s only moderately tied to the topic of setting boundaries, but it will make you laugh your ass off, so take about 3 minutes and enjoy.

There’s an inner Madea in all of us. It’s the old black woman who’s not gonna take any bullshit from anyone.

You need to express your inner Madea when it comes to protecting your dreams.  There are Dream Snatchers that pose as your friends, family and even strangers. They will stomp all over your dreams.

It is your responsibility to protect and nurture your dreams until they’re firmly rooted.

Fear Leads People to Violate Boundaries

It is often those who love you that are most quick to violate your boundaries.
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Fear is the primary motivators behind the Dream Snatchers in our lives.

They are afraid of losing their own sense of stability or certainty if you change.

They fear losing their influence with you.  This is especially true of parents, ministers and teachers.

They fear losing themselves. This often happens in a romantic relationship. When your spouse or partner realizes that you’re changing, it challenges them to change as well.  That can be fearful.

They fear how they will look or how others may judge them.

As you can see, all of these fears have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

How Fear Manifests

Your Dream Snatchers may express fear in a variety of ways, but it is always fear underneath it all.

  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Hostility (outright or passive)
  • Concern and worry
  • Manipulation
  • Withdrawal

There are many ways that fear may be expressed. The key for you is to resist reacting to the manifestation of the fear. Instead, recognize the root of it–fear.

If you respond to the fear instead of reacting to how it shows up, you empower yourself to set boundaries in a healthy way.

Respond to the underlying fear instead of reacting to the drama.
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Setting Boundaries is an Act of Love

Love is the only real response to fear.  It is the solution to every problem.

The greater the fear; the greater the love.

There are a few ways you can show love through setting boundaries.

1. Clear Communication
Be clear. Tell the truth.

Most of us avoid the truth because conflict makes us uncomfortable. This is unkind–to ourselves and others.

Use this formula for telling the truth:

“When you say (or do) ________________, I feel _______________.”

Resist the urgency to accuse.  Just state your feelings.

The point is not to place blame. The point is to uncover the real issue.  (What you’re arguing about is never the real disagreement. Remember it’s always fear)

2. Call It Out
Call out the underlying issue without drama and without placing blame. Reassure your loved one at the point of their pain.

Use phrases like…

I can understand how this would make you feel like we’re less connected.

It makes sense that you would feel uncertain or scared that….

I know you must be feeling frightened that…

3. Ultimately Love and Respect Yourself, First

Repeat after me…

I am not responsible for someone else’s feelings,
disappointment or well-being.

Each person’s fear–and ultimately, their journey–is their own. You are not responsible for it.

By loving and respecting yourself first, you are liberated to treat others how you would like to be treated. You can be gracious without needing anything from them.

Boundaries are Kindness Expressed

Boundaries are power.  They are kind because they honor your spiritual well-being. They are kind because they let others know exactly what to expect of you.

If you consistently hold your boundaries, people will respect you and it will open doors of opportunity which lead to great intimacy and authenticity in your relationships.

It’s up to you to embrace and enforce them.  So let your inner Madea flourish!

Check out this week’s AWAKE! Podcast episode for more on this topic.

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How to Be Confident (When You’re Shakin’ In Your Boots)!

Courage and 169 Minutes of Terror

Trudging from the theater, my mind was foggy. I was completely disoriented by what I’d just witnessed.

It was like I had been there.

The skies were gray and angry. The seas churned and spat.

The doors fell open. Wave after wave, young men rolled up on the shore, welcomed by the barrage of the machine gun fire.

Some ducked and dodged. Others didn’t have the chance.

Normandy.

D-Day.

June 4, 1944

The opening moments of Saving Private Ryan changed me. It has been 14 years since I saw that footage, but I will never forget it.
[Read more…]

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017: AWAKE! Podcast – How to Develop Confidence and Courage

The only way to produce confidence is to be courageous enough to face your fears and step into them.  Taking action, produces results and creates momentum.

Results + Momentum = Confidence

Often we get sidetracked evaluating our options.  Make a decision, take action, then evaluate.  The time to evaluate is after you’ve begun to produce results.

This episode will teach you how to build courage in trusting your intuition. You will learn several ways to identify that you are on the “right track”.

You’ll also learn why it is so essential that you begin to create results in order to build confidence.

 

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How to Accept Criticism as a Gift

You experience criticism. I experience criticism. We all experience criticism.  Perhaps you try to avoid it all costs. If so, it may seem difficult to see the gift in criticism.

I want to show you how because it will transform the way you live and will help strengthen your sense of confidence and  personal power.

Over the next 3 weeks, I’m going to be covering 3 areas that many of us struggle with when following our dreams–criticism, building confidence, and setting boundaries. [Read more…]