Friday, March 26, 2010

Where Did THAT Belief Come From?!

You’re aware many of your beliefs were imposed on you—and you’re working on this (yes?). See if you’ve ever had a subconscious belief similar to one I was surprised to recently discover.

A cold wind interrupted our early, warmer spring weather. I woke and felt chilled air from my partially opened window and smiled at the warm comfort of my bed. I felt deep appreciation for the comfort and the moment—and that delicious feeling was immediately followed by guilt on behalf of those who may not have a warm bed in their own space. Where did that come from, I asked myself?

I flashed back to when I was six or seven years old, dawdling over a lunch I didn’t particularly like. I heard my grandmother say what was likely said to her, “Eat! There are starving people in (whatever country) who would be grateful to have that food.”

I considered several substrata layers of that surface thought:
You have to “eat” (accept) even what you don’t feel is appropriate for you or desirable. (This can tilt into settling for less in any area of your life or permitting forms of abuse.)
Whatever you feel is inappropriate or undesirable for you, you have no right to your feelings (dissatisfaction is inappropriate) or to want something better for yourself (who do you think you are), because others have less and would be grateful to have what you have or have been given.
You should feel grateful for whatever you have AND guilty because if you have anything, remember there are others who don’t have even that much. Somehow, what you have (been given, earned, acquired) directly connects to what others don’t (or don’t go after). And somewhere inside that thought is a responsibility for their situation that you should absorb—and feel bad about.

This reminds me of something Wayne Dyer said, and I’m paraphrasing: You can never be hungry enough to feed all the people who have no food. I assure you I was stunned to realize any guilt about having a modest comfort was roiling around in my psyche.

A statement intended to make sure a child received nourishment locked in way more than it was meant to. It locked in guilt as a stronger emotion than appreciation, which wears many “masks.” It locked in a holistic, circular relationship with beliefs about lack. What kind of vibrational matching or order fulfillment will that create? Not the desired one, that’s for sure. What opportunities for self-sabotage exist through that belief?

Reread the paraphrased Dyer statement. How many of your desired outcomes have subconscious guilt statements attached to them? Have you ever experienced a similar fleeting thought (or another) and ignored it? I’m almost willing to bet you’ve had them and brushed them away like an annoying insect. Next time this happens, pay attention. If not then, as soon as you have or can create a quiet moment to look at it and assess its implications in your life.

We learn beliefs, and we can unlearn them. We can decide to keep or not any belief imposed on and absorbed by us, no matter the source. If any belief withholds a fulfilling life from us, we have a responsibility to give it real thought and reassessment.

It doesn’t matter how “evolved” you are after applying yourself to self-improvement and new thought, such beliefs long-buried deeply in your psyche will surface—if they aren’t already obvious. Let go of any embarrassment about this, it’s not useful. A natural part of the self-evolving process is to open to such moments so you can engage them and let go of them—see them for what they are and aren’t.

Do a quick check-in on some of your beliefs. Pay attention to the first answer that pops into your mind. Then look at particular experiences and see if they match what came up.

Men/Women are . . .
My relationship with money is “destined” to be . . .
Love is . . .
My self-worth is based on . . .
That race/culture is . . .
Aging is . . .
If I make a mistake . . .
If I do what is appropriate for me . . .
My right to success is . . .
I can feel lovable or worthy of love only when . . .

We take a limiting belief and act as if it’s real, as though it’s the truth. Every belief is acted on automatically through our thoughts, feelings, words, choices, and actions. Then, we are not surprised—or are—by our experiences and results. Even when we attempt to change at the conscious level, we don’t realize our subconscious still accepts the ingrained belief—until we see it, let it go, and grab onto one that supports us.

We’ve been conditioned to measure everything by results instead of what motivates us. We are motivated and directed—aware of this or not—by our conscious and subconscious beliefs. A good question about anything is what do you believe and who do you believe it for? If it’s not for you, what would you like to do about it?

Doing more of the same—thoughts, feelings, words, beliefs, actions—will not bring you different results.

Here’s a mental exercise from the training manual created by Bruce Schneider, Founder of iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching). It works best if you allow private time to align with the feeling of it as a “real” experience.

“Imagine that you have just awakened from a night’s rest and whatever challenge you have come here with was miraculously overcome while you were sleeping. The challenge was completely solved overnight; but you were sleeping, and so you didn’t know it was solved. You wake up and something is different. You inherently know that something is different, that something must have happened during the night. What is the first thing you notice that confirms that something actually did happen?”

Out-of-balance beliefs create tension. Tension reminds you to return to the truth: You are an infinite creative consciousness deliberately having a human experience.

You are what you practice.

Feel free to reprint this article. Just include my bio as a complete statement.

(Test-drive Reinvent Yourself. Visit the Empowerment Extras page on my State of Appreciation Website to see how you can get Implement 3—Design Your Magnetic Life and Business Vision free!) Self-Doubters & Second-Guessers: learn to trust and follow what is natural, fulfilling, and even fun for you in life or business. Let Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business e-book or coaching program show you how. You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say ( Details, her books and e-books, and current free weekly newsletter at

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do You Prefer Experiencing or Learning?

Someone emailed this comment to me: “They say live and learn, but I think we should just LIVE. Learning is overrated. We would never accomplish anything.” Do you agree or disagree?

This comment gave me pause; and I could have chosen to go down a certain mental-emotional path of disagreement. But, I chose a different one because my primary focus, fun, and fulfillment is about and comes from learning. Had I chosen to criticize, argue, or judge from a position of feeling right, I wouldn’t have learned anything—which just doesn’t work for me, as it’s not my nature, my prime motivation.

This is one version of something we see all the time: differing viewpoints and approaches. My position about this is that neither of us is right or wrong, just different, individual—and that is how we are supposed to be. But, of course, that’s just my opinion and how I play in this vast playground. And, neither of us are 100 percent of what we prefer, we just lean more in that direction. You could say learners lean more toward inner experiences and experiencers toward outer. My opinion about this is we can benefit from both.

It’s also my opinion that you can’t have an experience and not be presented with information that can help you learn something from it. I believe you can choose to ignore such information, which is an individual right. You can choose, by default or deliberately, to have the same types of experiences and get similar results and choose not to look at what may be causing such repetitions, positive or negative. It all depends on whether the experiences and outcomes you have are ones you agree with, enjoy, prefer, are addicted to, habitual about, or any number of words you might insert here.

Here’s a brief thought experiment: Imagine everyone being exactly like you in every way. At first blush, you might imagine how nice it would be and how smoothly the “wheels” of life might turn as you consider your finer qualities. Now imagine those “other” qualities you also have. Remember, no one will do or offer anything different. How does your reality look and work? Is it really your Utopian dream?

There is a playground where people who believe matters are black and white vs. those who believe shades of gray, as well as black and white, exists. Both sides could debate who’s right until the “cows come home” and never move the discussion forward—because each are “correct” some of the time.

A problem is created when each side believes the other side must see the “truth.” What’s really being discussed, though, are perceptions and preferences, which means at this time, based on Earth’s population, there are around seven billion perceptions and preferences co-existing or attempting to—or not.

You could say the “truth” is that each of us is here to follow our unique path AND seek a way to do this as both individuals and members of the human race, family and friends relationships, and our communities. This is because—no matter any other thoughts about it—we need others to survive and thrive on every level.

This topic brings to mind that there are proponents of Ready, Fire, Aim and Ready, Aim, Fire approaches to life—or rather about decision-making and action-taking. There are “positives” and “negatives” in each.

Ready, Aim, Fire types are planners by nature. They take risks, but their risks are calculated, deliberate, and deliberated. They prefer to anticipate potential obstacles and/or negative results and consider them before they have a chance to happen (or get created), or at least have a contingency plan if they occur. You could say the negative in this is if they have perfectionist tendencies or self-confidence issues, they get stuck—usually by a fear-based thought or belief—in, more often than not, the Ready (planning, decision-making) stage. These individuals would benefit by using and learning from the Ready, Fire, Aim approach from time to time. This would loosen them up and get them moving because they’d learn a “mistake” or misstep can be dealt with, if one happens—and these, plus the unexpected, happen no matter how much someone plans ahead.

Ready, Fire, Aim types are action-based by nature. They aren’t afraid of taking a risk, or adjusting or fixing something if the outcome isn’t what they desire. Their desire for action creates a vast array of experiences and movement, which is what they desire more than before-and/or-after contemplation (stagnation and hesitation feels intolerable to them). You could say the negative in this is that they sometimes create extra steps or “small fires” (or large ones) that could have been prevented had they spent a little more time on the Ready step, and as they move forward, to anticipate and gauge possible (or likely) results they may not wish to experience. They could learn how to reduce or avoid some of the frustrations and disappointments they experience by seeing how they contribute to their cause.

Each can benefit from some of what the other does, but the twain shall never fully meet. Nor, in my opinion, was this designed to ever happen, specifically so that we would be compelled from need and desire to create something new (expansion and evolution) on an ongoing basis. The quote, “. . . and never the twain shall meet,” means opposites will never truly unite, which also keeps individual status in tact. But, we do share time and space, which requires co-existence. If we desire a more productive, peaceful co-existence, each of us has to decide how we can make this a constructive (learning or not) experience for ourselves and others.

So, what could we do with this? Here are two thoughts . . .

We could become more curious. We could ask questions with no attachment to the conversation other than to get information we didn’t have before (to expand understanding), whether or not this has anything to do with decision-making. This could satisfy experiencer and learner types without infringing on their preferences, if they will choose to set aside their preference to be right, that is.
We could acknowledge that no two individuals (much less even more) will ever arrive at 100 percent accord or definition about anything. We could, then, create a shared framework that allows freedom of definition about individual desires and choices, and discovery and expansion of our true natures as individuals and as participants in a shared existence. We could understand that we will compartmentalize which needs and desires belong to us as individuals and which belong to the collective. (We already do this to some extent, but would benefit by doing it with more conscious awareness.)

Mark Twain said, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Whether you’re an Experiencer or Learner by nature, be comfortable in your own “skin.” But, consider allowing others the same comfort—unless, of course, you prefer to experience conflict or find conflict a preferred way to learn something.

This doesn’t mean passive allowance of what doesn’t work. It does mean to seek what does work while maintaining integrity for all as individuals and participants in the bigger picture. Whether you’re primarily a learner or experiencer, improvement, harmony, and wisdom are arrived at from one method only: Practice.

You are what you practice.

Feel free to reprint this article. Just include my bio as a complete statement.

Self-Doubters & Second-Guessers: learn to trust and follow what is natural, fulfilling, and even fun for you in life or business. Let Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business e-book or coaching program show you how. You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say ( Details, her books and e-books, and current free weekly newsletter at

In This Week's Issue of State of Appreciation:

Guest Article: Stand on the Unshakable Ground of Your True Self by Guy Finley

Empowerment Extras:
~3 Free Videos from Bob Proctor: The change that created his success
~From Rebecca of The Science of Getting Rich: Access to her GOLD MINE Blog
~Also from Rebecca: set your own fee for her Practical GeniusesTM online course
~From Donna Marie Thompson: Free 32-page e-book, Bouncing Back From Loss: How to Overcome 7 Key Obstacles
~Access Your Personal On-Call Life Empowerment Coach
~Ready-to-Use Empowerment Gift for You or to Give to Your Clients/Customers or as a Bonus Item
~Journal Your Way to Clarity and Creativity – Cindie Wilding
~Personal Life Readings by Leeya Brooke Thompson, author of The Wisdom of Sound and Number: Phonetic Chaldean Numerology
~Expand Your Empowerment Library with Free Empowerment eBooks from Joyce Shafer (by various authors) ~ See which are right for you, or get them all! AND see Joyce’s e-book Bundle offer for her e-books and e-workbooks

Friday, March 12, 2010

Does Your To-Do or Goals List Overwhelm You?

Lists are handy to help you stay organized. But, what if your list leads you into overwhelm instead of focus, achievement, and fulfillment?

One of my newsletter readers emailed that he was not able to focus or move forward on any of his goals, and included a list of almost thirty items he’d written down for himself, and added there was more not included. He felt overwhelmed, and this left him stuck in place. I looked at the list and immediately saw why he felt this way. His list included everything from household matters to various size dreams—some of which have been on his mind for a long while.

Overwhelm is about chaos, which is a form of clutter—whether that’s in your personal or work space or in your mind (and possibly each of them simultaneously). Your to-do or goals list will clearly reflect if chaos is present—and even create it, if your list-making technique isn’t productive. If your list is anything like the reader‘s, the following suggestions can help you lift yourself out of overwhelm and into action and fulfillment.

List Making Tips:

If you don’t have a to-do and/or goals list, make one. If you have one or more lists, see if the following suggestions assist you.

First, you need separate list categories. Everything you need and/or want to do does not belong on one list. You may find a way to do this that resonates better for you, but see if these tips help. (I'll give you a tip in a moment about how to prioritize.)

*Identify any items that are Must Do items. These are things like get the oil in your car changed, make or schedule a home repair, file taxes, etc. Prioritize them on their separate list.

*Identify items you Intend/Are Committed to Do. This means nothing will stop you from doing them because you are compelled by passionate commitment. Be honest with yourself about this. Don't come from ego, but from head and heart alignment and Personal Truth. This can include clear up debt, write and publish the book you’ve talked about, expand your education or get certified in something in particular, and the like. Prioritize them.

*Any item not on one of the two lists above goes onto a list labeled Would Be Nice. This means you’d like to do these, but if you never do them it’s not a big deal to you. You do not need to prioritize this list.

Prioritizing Tip:
Look at item one and item two on the list (do this for the Must Do and Intend lists). Between those two items, which one would you most want to do now? Put some sort of tick or check mark by it. (The Must Do items may be more about urgency or importance.)
Look at item one and item three. Repeat this comparison process.
Look at item one and item four. Repeat this process.
Continue this process until you've compared item one to all the other items on the list.
Go back to item two and repeat this process (item two to item three, two to four, etc.).
Do this until you've compared every list item in this way.
The item with the most marks should be the one you feel the strongest commitment and motivation or inspiration to accomplish right now (or greatest need on your Must Do list).
This also shows an "order of importance to you" for the rest of the items.
If your priorities change, redo this process. You may find an Intend item becomes a WBN and vice versa.

I suggest you get a spiral notebook with sections and write these prioritized lists in it in pencil, in their respective sections—or create a computer document with three columns. You want to be able to easily add, move or reprioritize, and remove items.

Create a Daily Focus list. You might find it best to follow the How listed below each evening so you "sleep on it" and wake ready to go.
Select one or two prioritized items from the Must Do and Intend lists and add them to the Daily Focus list. How many you choose needs to fit realistically into your schedule.
Get the Must Do item(s) completed or moved forward first. Be sure to use your own system for indicating you've completed the item. When you do this, it's almost as though available time to work on your Intend item is a reward you've given yourself.
Intend items may take time to develop; so, you want to create a plan for this. Some of the items may take more than one day, so put it back on your daily list until you've accomplished the step(s) that fulfill your target for that day. (Implement 8 in my Reinvent Yourself e-book shows how to create a plan-of-action that works for you.) If some or all of these are larger items, you may wish to pick one or two a year and develop them as fully as you desire to. My book/ebook, How to Have What You REALLY Want, helps you zero in on what’s needed for each Intend item.
Each day, after you’ve completed your Must Do(s) and Intend item(s) or moved them forward, you can decide if you'd like to pick an item from the Would Be Nice list and focus on it. Maybe you pick a WBN item only once a week.
Commit, but be flexible. Daily events can shift, and inspirations can hit you with a whoosh. You can even fool yourself about what you believe you want to do. See if you've "should" on yourself about an item. And, you may think you want to do Item 4 on your Intend list today, but feel nudged to focus on Item 6 instead. It's likely you'll find there's a good reason for this and you'll be happy you listened to your inner guidance rather than your ego's "shoulds."
Whenever possible use the “touch it once” approach to any item.

You cannot do all of the things on your list at one time, but you can pick one at a time—the one that must be done and one you feel strongest about—and get them done, then move on to the next items on their respective lists.

Remind yourself that laser focus experiences no chaos. If you don't feel laser focus about an item, explore this—without self-judgment.

I'll share with you that I also had to look at how I was saving emails about opportunities and ideas (a habit the reader stated he did)—and, they stack up quickly. I finally came to the realization that some of those were me "shoulding" on myself. I realized what was important was to check in with my true feelings about each one: was it something I thought I "should" do or something I felt inspired and motivated to do—especially if it would move me closer to a specific target of mine (no one else's—mine).

One of the biggest obstacles we face is the absence of a true target. This means, we're grabbing arrows and firing them, pretty much randomly, at lots of targets, in the hope we hit one or more. No marksman becomes a marksman by following that method. Think of the items on your lists as targets. Are they ones you must hit (responsibilities/obligations); have a passionate commitment to hit and you'll do what it takes, however long it takes; or would it be nice if you hit them, but that's all?

Laser focus and chaos cannot exist in the same space. Work for uninterrupted blocks of one or two hours. If you work at your computer, turn off your email for that period of time and check emails during five- to ten-minute breaks after you complete your chosen time block. You lose two to four hours of productive time a day when you bounce between your project and other tasks.

Small improvements are powerful and make a difference. You want to do what it takes to create successes or achievements, even “smaller” ones, because each one gives you energy to go for more.

Feel free to reprint this article. Just include my bio as a complete statement.

Self-Doubters and Second-Guessers: you can learn how to trust and follow what is natural, fulfilling, and even fun for you in life or business. Let Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business e-book or coaching program show you how. You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say ( Details about the program, her books and e-books, and current free weekly newsletter at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Is Being Open to Receive Hard Work for You?

There’s a contrast in the idea that you have to work at allowing yourself to be open to receive what you desire. Without meaning to, you block or delay receiving if you “work” at allowing it.

A reader of my article, “The Give and Receive Confusion,” contacted me to say how much she resonated with the message and that she was working on allowing herself to receive, that she affirms often that she is open to receiving. I’m grateful she contacted me because it inspired me to revisit this.

You may think allowing yourself to be open to receive is about getting the desired outcome, but it is, in reality, more about how you explore and expand your Self Awareness and Attention through the dynamics or process of what it means to be open to receive—which can be either a smaller or larger “conversation” you have at the inner (and outer) level.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you have a particular expense you need to take care of and the money, anticipated or not, comes in (or is in your account) to help you meet it. There may be more than the two ways you can feel about this than will be considered here—but, how you feel is absolutely important to the experience before, during, and after.

One way might be to think, “Isn’t this just how it always seems to happen? Look at this money that came to me. I could really use it in so many ways—I could be ahead for once; but instead, I have to give it over to this expense. And then I’ll be back where I started or even behind. I can’t catch a break when it comes to money. As fast as it comes in, it goes out.”

Another way might be, “How perfect that I received what I needed when I needed it to take care of this! And, if it happened this time, it can happen again and again—after all, it really has happened before. I love how I feel about this. It definitely feels like my need was anticipated, (maybe) even before the need showed up; and, I’m able to meet it, even though for a while, I wondered how I’d be able to. It comes in so it can go out, which is the point of energy exchange, the give-and-receive circulation. It allows me to express appreciation for products and services. It even allows me to express appreciation that I appreciate this. And the more I appreciate, the more I receive to appreciate.”

If you notice you work on allowing yourself to receive—either in specific instances or nearly all the time, you want to put your attention on why you doubt this. If you’re open to allowing yourself to receive what’s in your best interest, you know it (best interest means whatever helps you grow and expand your attention and awareness, and supports self-empowerment in all areas of your life—received in its right time). If you feel a need to work at it, another conversation is going on and you want to listen in.

Effortless allowing walks hand in hand with genuine appreciation—and here’s the “tricky” part—for everything that comes to you. Such appreciation comes from a deeper understanding that a “bigger tapestry” is being woven all the time, and it’s never just about particular “threads.” Know that if you haven’t been living this all along, it’s beneficial if you allow this to open in your life in right timing, usually aligned with how and when you integrate this, and may be a step-by-step process instead of an “instant” flip. Small improvements are powerful. You learned the alphabet and small words first; then expanded your ability to read and use language to your advantage. The more you read, the better you get at it.

If you feel blocked or challenged about allowing yourself to receive, you are engaging a level of poverty consciousness. This may or may not be obvious to you; but it is a form of anti-prosperity thinking. And, it’s not just about your bank account; it likely touches more than one, if not every area of your life to some degree. This includes how you perceive yourself, others, and your life experiences. And, you may not have money issues, but block receiving your good in other areas of your life.

If you don’t feel enriched in a particular area of your life, you know it’s because you “affirm” that you aren’t, which creates more of the same. And, each experience brought about through this feeling-thinking asks for you to feel and think what WILL allow desired results. If you by-pass the programmed habit to self-judge, you can move forward faster.

Allowing yourself to receive is meant to be as natural as breathing—done without effort, without reminding yourself to inhale and exhale. What messes with this is all those limiting beliefs heaped on us and that we hold onto. This is influenced by outside opinions that say our lives have to look a certain way or we’re failures. That’s a “store” you might want to stop shopping in.

What if the way to remind yourself of the truth of your true inner power is a matter of putting your attention on what does and doesn’t support this truth? This means feelings, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and particularly self-talk and even what you say to others. Our “struggles” are more often caused by our doing what doesn’t work rather than doing what does. We may even feel too busy or frustrated to pause and look at this.

We also feel a contrast with being one with allowing ourselves to receive because of the “work hard” model vs. the “live on purpose” model. We carry this “work hard” mentality into everything we do—you have to work hard to succeed in business, finances, relationships, and the like. And, this is in direct contrast to a desire and even an inner knowing that being in flow and following inspirations is where the experiences and the joy we desire occur—in the way we know they can. There is a difference in taking actions that work and being aligned with and passionate about this vs. what we typically assume working hard means—it usually means we do a lot of busywork and worrying rather than what produces desired results and experiences.

Another contrast is that even if we’ve experienced that not everything we ask for is in our best interest or aligned with our life purpose, there is a philosophy that says if we do “this thing,” we can have everything we ask for—that if we don’t have everything we ask for, we’re not doing what we’re supposed to. Maybe what’s “wrong” is our believing the last part of that philosophy—that we’re supposed to be able to have/create/manifest everything we ask for—rather than questioning whether or not it strengthens our ability to connect with our inner power or makes us feel disconnected, less, or lacking. This causes you to try to measure up to expectations of others rather than attune to and tune up why you’re here, which is for your own soul purpose. The threads weave the tapestry, but it’s about the tapestry.

The belief that you lack inner power—or use of it—causes you to believe there’s something you need—rather than allowing that you have what you need, but it’s likely buried under beliefs and self-doubt.

This conversation can be paralleled to losing weight by dieting (losing old beliefs rather focusing on better ones). You can either view it from the perspective of the harder challenges that usually go with this process—what stands in the way of your desired result (often about what you have to give up), or a matter of doing what works to help you feel healthy, strong, happy with yourself, and fulfilled. The typical approach causes you to focus on what you believe you have to lose rather than on what you desire to gain.

You can expand how you allow yourself to receive if you pay attention to when you do anything that’s opposite that natural state—and let go of your attachment to it. Awareness of this will do more to get you on track faster than most techniques.
I invite you to visit this week's issue of my newsletter at

Guest Article: Unwrap the Unimaginable Gift by Guy Finley

Empowerment Extras:
-Find out how to get Discovering Your Life Purpose free
-Reinvent Yourself ~ Start with where and who you are and expand this!
-Guy Finley’s profound (free) 6-minute audio message about meditation and attention
-Watch what happens before a water drop creates a ripple ~ a real surprise!
-Bill Harris of Centerpointe provides a free 28-minute audio well worth a listen, especially on how to deal with what triggers you
-Journal Your Way to Clarity and Creativity – Cindie Wilding
-Personal Life Readings by Leeya Brooke Thompson, author of The Wisdom of Sound and Number: Phonetic Chaldean Numerology
-Free Empowerment eBooks from Joyce Shafer (by various authors)