Friday, October 30, 2009

Say Goodbye to New Year Resolutions

No, it isn’t too early to consider this; it is exactly the right time. The very things you do or don’t do about resolutions are what you do right now. And, you can do them differently starting today.

First, it’s important to understand why resolutions you make any time fizzle out. For one, you may feel a strong desire for something to shift or change, but if your commitment to make it happen doesn’t match your desire, you’ll do what’s convenient (for a while or forever) rather than what it takes.

Another reason is maybe you aren’t clear on your why—why you really want what you say you do. The reason you think you want something may be buried under layers, hiding your real reason—which is a feeling you wish to have and keep. For example, if you want to reduce the numbers on a weight scale, what’s your why? If it’s so the opinion of others about you will be what you want it to be, that’s a formula for failure and an unpleasant experience.

Sometimes the absence of an effective plan is what causes the fizzle. What is an effective plan? It’s something you have head and heart alignment about or stated a less woo-woo way, are fully committed to and enthusiastic about. Resolution means you are resolved, intentional.

There are key steps to take in order to fulfill any desire and say goodbye to resolutions you don’t keep.

You have to have your Self aligned with what you say you want. If every day you replay images of yourself as not having your desired outcome—what it feels like to not have it, you aren’t fully open to ways you can make it happen more easily and with less effort. Whether you call this energy or attitude management, it’s important. You can’t feel hopeless and effect positive change. A small shift from “this is awful” to “there is a way” does make a difference, simply because one closes you off to inspired ideas and actions and the other keeps you open to them.

I’ve heard people state that anger is the motivation that moves them into action. Well, that is a step up from hopeless or apathetic, but actions taken from anger are not always the best ones to take. You might feed a need in the moment, but what do you intend to build long-term? How do you feel once the anger need is satisfied? It’s important to feel what you feel, but is it the best and only place you wish to or think you can act from? Is this state of being your desired one?

There are two ways to make a plan. One way is motivated by fear and/or frustration. It leads to long hours, agitated energy, and lots of activity that may not actually be productive.

The other way is to take a little time to get clear on what you really want then align your energy or attitude in a way that keeps you open to inspired ideas and actions, open to right timing, right people, right opportunities, and right resources.

You may be conditioned to believe that worry, strain, stress, frustration, criticism, and other such “motivators” are effective ways to create change, but how’s that working for you?

It’s also key that you put your attention on what really creates shift. You’ve been told you can’t succeed without a goal, without strategy, without a plan. These are tools that help you stay on track, but they aren’t what really make things happen.

Tremendous shifts happen, desired outcomes and even better ones happen, and your experience of your life is more effortlessly fulfilling when you take your main focus off outcomes and place it on the creative process and you as the creator—the inventor, engineer, or pilot of how you experience your life, at the inner and material levels.

This isn’t pie-in-the-sky thinking. When you do this, you build a foundation that is so strong, you can construct anything your truly desire on top of it . . . because what you build is self-trust, self-esteem, and self-empowerment.

Whatever you tell yourself you want through your New Year resolutions or resolutions at any time of the year, those three Self attributes are what lie underneath your reasons. You want to believe in yourself completely and from an authentic perspective, not a perspective of trying to get the approval of others—though that may happen as a side-effect.

You really do have the right to know what is appropriate and fulfilling for you and to go for it. You really can identify what would be ideal for you—the ideal relationship, business, holiday experience, self-image, and so on.

What’s probably causing you to feel fizzled-out is that you’ve never taken the time—or the courageous stand—to define what your ideals are for YOU in the different areas of your life.

How can you go for what you really want if you don’t even know what it is? A resolution is only as good as your clearly defined image of it, your commitment, your why, your enthusiasm, and your alignment with it.

Start now. It’s neither too early—nor too late.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Mainstream the Wrong Stream for You?

For many, mainstream is like a tailored suit; for some, it’s like a straightjacket. Are you swimming in the wrong stream or against the current?

Mainstream, in this writing, means demonstrating via your life, work, relationships, etc., an “acceptable” model or role model, as much as possible—a model that is allowed some leeway as long as it’s a composite of descriptions provided by the various prevalent social, religious, and educational systems and models, as well as family and cultural descriptions or models.

Stated simply, what you do and how you do it appeases the tribe and sub-tribes—which allows you to feel safe—considered worthy of inclusion by the tribe. It means you’re more likely to receive rewards of approval and compensation.

Be clear, please: there’s nothing “wrong” with mainstream. It has its purpose. Mainstream provides a level of order so society’s “mechanisms” work more often than not. It’s a perfect fit for many. And, mainstream and non-mainstream each have their positive/negative aspects.

Mainstream swimming is only problematic if you’ve always known it wasn’t the right stream for you. You might try to swim in it, but it’s like an obstacle course rather than a fulfilling journey or adventure. Swimming with a “fin” in each stream may be a better fit for you.

Why is this important?

If you’re a more non-mainstream type, you may still be trying to fit in, so you do what the tribe and sub-tribes say you should in order to receive the rewards of approval, compensation, and the feeling you are safe. Feeling safe underlies your motivations. And, even if you have some periods of serenity or happiness and rewards, they’re temporary and/or not as fulfilling as you desire.

If you are contemplating the leap into a stream that fits—or if you’ve made the leap—unless you’ve dealt with your fears and contrasts about being comfortably mainstream vs. fits better in a different stream, you’ll experience contrasts in your life, some of them huge. And, you may not understand why they show up—repeatedly. You may even think it’s because you’re not worthy, not really unique, actually mainstream and just fooling yourself (or lazy, as some mainstreamers may have told you).

This has huge implications if you’re a person who knows you have to be an entrepreneur so you can follow your passion(s) as this relates to the services or products (solutions) you feel compelled to share with others (but apply this to any area of your life). How might this impact you?

You may withhold rewards from yourself—because you’re running a program that says being different deserves a penalty.

Consider this: if you’re non-mainstream and have experienced less-than-ideal rewards or fulfillment while “playing” in mainstream land . . .

1) It needed to be this way so you could discover you’re better suited to a different stream, one that allows you to be yourself—or you need to create a way to merge the two.
2) You may have been penalized because you didn’t fit the mainstream model. This could include comments from anyone that states disapproval of you because you aren’t making a “real effort” to fit the model someone wants you to fit. (Some of those people who disapproved are actually non-mainstreamers too afraid to leave that stream—sort of a “misery loves company” affect.)

What’s interesting about the second one above is that if you received disapproval for being non-mainstream (maybe even told you were a source of humiliation), it more than likely started when you were a child. AND, if your life isn’t fulfilling now, it’s more than likely you’ve continued to punish yourself, deny yourself rewards, disapprove of or criticize yourself—even into adulthood.

Ahh . . . the great quandary: you are a unique individual and you found yourself in a playground where being too unique and not homogenous enough was not appreciated by the majority of your play mates. By the way, you can find or create your ideal playground.

All this is interesting, but what are you supposed to do—that’s the question, yes?

I offer three approaches to those of you who have decided you’re ready to be Uniquely You, as we’re not all playing the same game.

Life: I’m okay, you’re okay; and I can choose to let go of what others think and be my authentic self, from a place of personal integrity. And, I’m so focused on creating the life I choose, I don’t direct my energy towards criticizing others.

Law of Attraction: I match my vibrations to my ideal expression of self in every area of my life, and attract ideal people, events, and resources into my life.

Quantum: I’m an infinite being (creative consciousness) having a human experience, which means I decided to see what it’s like to feel the opposite—limited—until I decide to wake from this lucid dream and play differently. To do this, I created a playground with play mates who read the lines I gave/give them. I create(d) everything in this lucid dream I chose/choose to make sure I have this experience. I understand the true power is not in the scenery, not in the actors, not in the words, not in any material thing—not in the dream—but comes from me. I install the patterns into the quantum field, and I can appreciate what a brilliant job I did/do of making it feel real. As it feels appropriate, I reclaim energy from patterns I created, as they get my attention, and play differently.

The crux of this is, it’s more than likely your life experience isn’t what you desire if you’re punishing yourself (withholding rewards: approval, appreciation, monetary, success, etc.) for being You.

Next time you aim at a target or goal and start to create the strategies and action steps to achieve or attain an outcome, check in with yourself to see if you’re ready to receive the desired outcome or if a belief that you don’t deserve it is rumbling around at a deep level. Use the approach, out of the three offered above, that resonates most for you to move this forward.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach and Author in New York City Email her at to get information about her one-question-at-a-time and Reinvent Yourself coaching options, or to receive her free weekly newsletter. Her books, e-books, and Kitchen for the Mind Topic Bites are available at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are You Attached to How Your Life Looks?

Which is more important: the structure of your life or the foundation of who you are? One individual provided an extreme example of why this is important.

A friend/coaching client asked me to help him find his footing about a work-related incident. He works in the mental health field where clients receive whatever assistance they need, as well as guidance to live as independently as possible. A co-worker is away for a while, so my friend and members of his team have each taken on several of her clients.

One of these additional clients received money to make payments, but lost it. My friend shared, “Because he lost the money, this client made a strong departure from the structure by not reaching out to us and tried to kill himself.” He used the word “structure” in several more sentences, primarily because one of many ways they assist clients is to help them create a structured process or routine to follow.

This event, this departure, was what my friend struggled to understand, as well as why this client would choose death over contacting my friend or anyone who could help him. The client told him that when he realized he’d lost the money, he simply fell into a dark vortex he thought there was no way out of. His suicide attempt was his way to stop the pain, the seemingly endless fall.

As my friend spoke, I wrote down what popped into mind: a structure, even a really good one, is not the foundation.

What I offered about this is that a structure can be torn down, redesigned, and rebuilt as many times as someone wishes or needs to do so. And, it’s always built atop the foundation. The stronger the foundation is the sturdier the structure.

The client went to an extreme end of what we might call the Personal Value Gradient. We tend to move around on that gradient or occupy a particular position on it, short- or long-term, as it relates to our experiences (our structure).

The structure in place for the client includes receiving money to pay rent and other monthly expenses and people to contact if any problems come up. This client gave us a clear demonstration, an extreme example, of how beliefs about money having more value than we do can lead us into shadowy or pitch dark inner places.

The structure helps the “wheels” of his life, as it looks, turn; but his ability to know his life has more value than money or any thing ever could, obviously wasn’t in place. This is not to be taken as a criticism towards my friend or the work he and his co-workers do. I know how much my friend cares and does for his clients.

The prevalent “policy” of many cultures, societies, dogmas, and systems is not one that supports our human value above money and stuff. And, there’s a lot of emphasis on what our physical, mental, emotional, professional, financial, and other structures are supposed to look like—with little attention towards how strong our foundation is. What we hear more often is that what we have or can get defines us, establishes our value, rather than, “Be truthful about what you really want to experience, go for it, and allow everything to enhance your experience.”

What if the place of personal empowerment comes from knowing your foundation and that it’s firm—realizing that whether by choice or by what appears as external events, every aspect of your structure experiences ongoing change from the moment you begin your life experience to the moment you depart from it.

The foundation IS you. The structure is like visiting a variety of clothing stores and trying on different styles, colors, and fabrics until you find what suits you best or what you wish to play with a while until you’re ready to try another.

One of the biggest structural flaws in place, and time, is that money defines us, has more value than a human life, instead of that it can be used to enhance our lives.

I’m not going to offer bulleted suggestions for how you can assess and/or reassess your structure and/or your foundation. You are unique. You are the one who knows your foundation better than anyone. You’re the one who can strengthen any weak areas. You’re the one who makes decisions about the structure you place on top of it—what it looks like, how long you keep it, and so on.

The right questions are often the answers. And, sometimes we have to ask for assistance when we feel weak so we can get strong again.

Get quick online coaching, without having to sign up for coaching sessions, with Joyce Shafer, LEC, Coach, and author of I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say. Learn about You Are More online coaching: 3 levels - Life, Law of Attraction, and Quantum at ~ Email me at to receive my free weekly uplifting newsletter, State of Appreciation. See reviews of my books/e-books online at Lulu.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How do You Grade Your Worth and Self-Worth?

Have you ever thought about how the way we’re taught to measure worth and self-worth is similar to how we got tests graded in school? There is an interesting parallel.

The school grades you received for tests measured, in a limited fashion: how well you took tests (often designed to be tricky), memorized, understood (or liked, from your side of things) what you were tested on, and—though more from your perspective than the system’s—whether or not you believed you’d have a use for the information now or in the future (felt it was applicable to your life experience or goal).

Whatever was being evaluated, your ability to conform was included, even though this measurement was subtle. There was little allowance or reward for thinking or performing “outside the box.” Play by the rules to be rewarded; failure to follow or conform received a penalty. (“Outside the box” is where inventions, innovations, and masterpieces live.)

What school grades didn’t measure was the truth of your unique intelligence and how you express it, emotional intelligence, common sense, creativity, humor, self-learning or self-adjusting abilities—and they never, ever measured your worth (as a contributing member to life) or self-worth (priceless, as you’re one of a kind).

When you consider what wasn’t measured, you can see the system was set up in a way that required you to adhere to limited and restricted criteria (rules of the game) in order to meet specific (limited and restricted) outcomes. It was never about who you really are, what you can do or flourish at or contribute, or your potential to expand at the inner and outer levels, as a unique individual.

Also, remember how obvious the restriction of high school seemed once you graduated, especially if you went to college and could schedule the classes you really wanted and at the times you preferred? You could chew gum, get rewarded for creativity (usually), and do lots of other things you couldn’t or didn’t do in that more circumscribed environment.

There’s a similar system in place when it comes to worth and self-worth, especially in regard to money. Adhering to the system is what mucks with most people and holds them back from playing a better game, the one where their worth and self-worth is a given, no matter what.

You’re taught that the number in your bank account or on your assets sheet is real and measures a particular “something” about your worth and self-worth. But, it doesn’t. It only measures how well you play that particular game; how well you conform. You’re taught you have to work certain ways, usually for an hourly or salaried wage; work an “acceptable” number of hours; and so on. Yet, we know people who do this differently and have fun and prosper. How do they get away with this?

They play a different game—because they don’t allow others to measure their true value.

Let’s presume you’re a spiritual- or metaphysical-minded person. Maybe you’re a Law of Attraction advocate (not necessary). If the number in your bank account is lower than you’d like, does that number reflect the Truth of You or does it reflect your belief in how your worth and self-worth is measured or should be—because others who adhere to “the game” told you it was so?

If you believe the latter half of the last sentence above, how does this influence or impact your ability to believe in yourself? What does belief in self have to do with success (the way you define it for you) or your ability to have a fulfilling life?

Look at biographies of some who’ve made a name for themselves in history. You’ll see there are those whose school test scores measured them as average or below average. It’s a good thing they didn’t allow this to stop them.

There’s a chance that, if you’re not doing as well as you’d like, you probably adhere to “outside” measurement standards that don’t serve you. Whatever your life (or bank account) looks like now is a reflection of your trying to play by rules that don’t fit you, especially if you know there’s more to “reality” than what you see. Two opposing thoughts/beliefs existing at the same moment, in the same space, cancel each other out.

Maybe it’s time you create your own game with its own rules—a game you win. One of the biggest wins you can have is to know your worth and self-worth, no matter the opinions of or rules set by others.